Grieving the Loss of a Spouse
While all loss is painful, the loss of a spouse is unique. Losing a husband or wife is unlike any other loss, and it can be overwhelming because this person was your partner in life. No one knew you as well as your spouse, who was probably your best friend, and this makes it all the more devastating. Healing from this loss can be difficult, but there are certain practices that can help you to heal.
- Take care of your health. Someone who has lost a spouse may not feel like sleeping, eating or carrying on the normal routines of life, but all of these things are vital to your healing process. Try to maintain a healthy diet and sleep schedule, and be careful not to let bad habits, like drinking too much, derail your progress.
- Recognize that everyone grieves differently. Your relationship with your spouse was unique, and so is your grief. Adding to your grief may be fear or discomfort over changes in your life and concern about how to move forward. It can be helpful to find someone to talk to, whether it’s a counselor, a priest or a trusted friend. Confiding in someone can help you sort out your feelings and begin to move forward.
- Don’t put a time limit on your grief. The church sets a period of heavy mourning for a spouse at 30 days, with the total time of mourning lasting a year and a day. This is just a guideline, so be patient with yourself. The pain will lessen over time, but it may never go away entirely, and that’s normal.
- Rely on your faith, but be gentle with yourself if you’re struggling. Even a person with deep faith may feel shaken, especially if the death of your spouse was unexpected. Talk to your clergy about your feelings and questions, and be as kind to yourself as you’d be to another person in pain. You will get through this, perhaps with a deeper understanding of yourself and your faith.
- Don’t isolate yourself from other people. It can be tempting to shut the world out, but that is not a healthy response. People who care about you may be unsure how to help, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for what you need. Spend time with friends and family, and remember, many of them are grieving, too. Talking about your spouse with people who knew him or her can help you along your path to healing.
- Find someone with whom you can really talk. Beyond simple social connection, you need someone who can handle the true, deep, unpleasant emotions and thoughts you are experiencing. This person may be a friend or it may be a priest, but you may also find this kind of support in a support group.
- Don’t push yourself to make any immediate decisions. Whether it’s moving to another house or going through your spouse’s things, you don’t need to do it immediately. Set your own timetable, and don’t feel like you’re under pressure.
If you’ve lost your spouse and need to plan a Catholic funeral, we can help. We’re also happy to assist with pre-planning, and we can answer any questions you may have about Catholic cemeteries or funerals. Call us today at 833-428-0379, stop by, or visit our website for more information.