How to Survive The First Year After Losing a Spouse?
The first six months were the hardest, not just because of all the responsibilities that came with her death but also because no one told me what to expect after her passing.
Maybe it’s because people don’t like to talk about death or because they figure everyone will grieve differently.
Getting through the day
It may appear not very easy, including doing someone’s best to get through it. Do whatever you need to do for yourself and those you love. Those feelings of emptiness will slowly fade away in time, but you must allow yourself some time to grieve.
There are also many things you can do now to help ease your pain:
- Take care of yourself physically and mentally.
- Seek out support from family and friends.
- Be patient with yourself (it takes time).
- Work on forgiving yourself for things in your past.
- Read, watch movies or listen to music that makes you feel less alone.
- Remember what was good about your loved one and hold onto those memories.
- This advice is meant as a guide only – it’s entirely up to you what works best!
You are not alone, and this is welcome publicity. In recent years, a scenario has evolved. There are many outlets where you can find support: online forums (like Widowed Connections), social media groups, and support groups like Compassionate Friends. And don’t forget your family and friends; they probably have more love for you than they know how to show right now.
There are so many resources available—don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help if you need it. And as time goes on, be sure that you continue finding support so that one day soon, you can say: I survived—and thrived! After all, life isn’t over just because your partner is gone.
Making plans with friends and family
It’s not easy to make plans with friends and family if you don’t already have something in place. You may find yourself afraid of intruding on others or afraid of them making plans for you that keep you from feeling lonely. But what about programs that support you from loneliness by keeping your social connections strong and active? Perhaps inviting others out (or going out with them) might be what you need.
Don’t overdo it at first—stick with small get-togethers and ease into things—but go ahead and plan things into your calendar. Plan lunches, dinners, book clubs, and movie nights. Whatever seems like it will connect you to others as much as possible. If people are worried about overdoing it, suggest scaling back or cutting back instead. Ask people how they feel about specific events, too; maybe someone wants to take a break from all that stuff but doesn’t want to tell you because they think it will hurt your feelings.
Let them know it won’t hurt your feelings; instead, encourage them! Also, consider using an online calendar service such as Google Calendar so that everyone can see what’s coming up and who is doing what when. If you’re unsure whether something is too much, ask someone else’s opinion: ask a friend or coworker how they would feel if they were invited out too often in their situation.
After you’ve lost your spouse, one of your top concerns will be money management. You’ll need to take care of all financial issues, from credit card payments and loan repayment to new insurance policies and tax documents. This can be overwhelming for anyone who hasn’t had much time or practice handling these issues independently.
As soon as possible, seek out an estate planning lawyer or accountant. They can advise you on managing your finances and taxes to avoid making mistakes with either. It will be essential to keep meticulous records because certain obligations may last longer than one year (such as estate tax), and filing deadlines must be met for you not to incur penalties.
Are you quitting your job?
Whether you should quit your job or not is a difficult question—and it changes depending on how soon you think you’ll be ready to start your own business. Many entrepreneurs decide not to quit their day jobs because they need time to test their business idea, determine if it’s viable, and raise money from investors.
Unless you want to quit your day job but can’t contribute to the brim for a few months, consider taking an evening or weekend class at quite a local university. Even if starting your own business doesn’t work out right away, you’ve still got excellent career skills that could lead to future opportunities.
Rediscovering your love for life
After your partner’s death, you might feel like nothing will ever bring you happiness again. It can be challenging to remember that daily isn’t a constant struggle. Of course, there will be bad days—how could there not be? But if you look hard enough, you’ll notice these good days increasing in number and frequency. This is what we call the rediscovery of the life process.
As time goes on, you’ll find yourself laughing more often and enjoying simple pleasures like eating or walking outside. The key is to keep moving forward. If you stay busy with festive activities, it becomes easier to forget how much you miss your loved one. And then, one day, out of nowhere, it hits you: You no longer ignore them as much as before because they are still with you! Their spirit lives on inside of you now! You didn’t lose them; they’re still here with us!
As you’ve read, each person’s journey will be different, but you can look forward to seeing that life does go on, and happiness does return. During grief recovery, you can support yourself, including joining a support group or receiving professional counseling from your doctor.
Just as every loss is unique, there isn’t one way that everyone handles their grief in all its various forms. When something comes down to that, there is no inappropriate way to cope with grief—your best performance is all that matters at the end of a day. Use these tips for surviving the first year after losing a spouse as your guide, and know that remember: Life is precious when you feel like giving up.