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Losing A Husband Or Wife

Losing A Husband Or Wife

David Kessler (Director of Palliative Care, Citrus Valley Health Partners and Hospice) gives expert video advice on: Are there support groups that will help me cope with the loss of my spouse?; Are there bereavement groups we can attend as a family?; After the death, how do I handle anniversaries without my spouse? and more...

What are common emotions after losing a spouse?

Common emotions after losing a spouse are certainly all the stages. These can include the denial that this could be happening, the anger that the person most important to you is gone, the bargaining to try to get them back, and the depression that the loved one is no longer with you. The acceptance can be very hard to find when it's that person that you've spent so much time with. So, you're going to have many different emotions, which can sometimes include physical symptoms. You may just get more colds and flu's, or just feel really worn out. Dealing with the loss of a spouse is one of the hardest losses that we go through in life.

Are there support groups that will help me cope with the loss of my spouse?

There are many bereavement groups that specialize in groups that are dealing with losses relating to a spouse. Call your local hospice or bereavement center to see if they have groups especially for widows or widowers.

Are there bereavement groups we can attend as a family?

There are very few support groups that work with the family as a whole. Sometimes church groups and religious groups will do that. But many times bereavement groups want to separate out family members only because a child's needs and understanding are very different from the parents. Certainly if you feel like there's a dynamic going on with grief in your whole family, talk to the bereavement leader of your group or talk to an individual therapist who might be willing to see your family as a whole.

After the death, how long should I wait to begin dating again?

The idea of dating again is different for everyone, and it's also very dependent upon your age. Some people may feel like they're never going to date again and don't. There are others who might just feel that way, but eventually go on to date again. It's different for everyone. You have to ask yourself when the time is right. Some people aren't clear when the time is right, and you may just try it again and you will know very quickly if it's too soon. Just do what's right within your family, within your religion, and within your belief system. Do what's right for you, and don't listen to the pressures of society. There also are times when people may feel like this would be a betrayal to their loved one. Sometimes it even necessitates someone asking their loved one in their heart for permission, or even going to the graveside and asking for permission to love again.

Are there ways we can memorialize my spouse at home?

There's ways to memorialize your spouse at home, such as having pictures around, having things around that are a part of their life. You may find in time that things increase and decrease, you may feel like at times you want more pictures out, and you may want more things out to remind you. In time that may begin to decrease. It's a very individual thing, but just know your loved one was a part of your home and will probably remain a part of your home in some way.