The death of a spouse is one of the most devastating experiences in life. It brings forth sadness, sorrow, mourning, and grief. During this time, one feels numb, fearful, and shocked. These emotions are especially challenging for active adults who find it hard to cope and get their lives back to normal. When a spouse dies, mourning becomes part of the surviving spouse. One can end up feeling depressed, angry, and regret. All of these are normal feelings. There is no right or wrong way to mourn.
Supporting a Friend After They Lose a Spouse
For active adults, the death of a spouse hits differently. The person who spent their whole life at one’s side, who had their back, is now gone. As time passes, the mourning feelings either grow stronger or lessen. They still miss their loved one, but the severe pain subsides. To support a grieving person, the first thing is to make sure they have company. Keeping company with them ensures they aren’t lonely, sad, and depressed. Knowing someone is their to support them is a tremendous help. Spending time alone can be depressing as memories of the spouse keep coming back, which increases depression.
You can support the grieving person by ensuring they are taking care of their overall health. Are they eating well, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep? Are they taking any medications? Are they using alcohol or smoking as coping skills – addictive habits that can be detrimental to a person’s health?
Let them talk. It’s healing for a grieving person to talk about their spouse and their feelings. The best way to help is to listen. No advice. No recommendations, just listen. If you aren’t that person, make sure they are in contact with family and friends – any person they are comfortable talking and sharing.
There are Always Options and Help Available
Grief support groups. Talking with others who are grieving helps a person understand they aren’t alone. Having a group of people who are experiencing the same situation, and feelings can be very comforting. Hospitals, religious groups, and local government agencies have information on support groups.
Anyone grieving should avoid making major changes in life right away. Wait until the shock is over before making any significant changes, such as moving or changing jobs. Many counselors recommend waiting one year.
Understand that mourning takes time, and it’s not uncommon to experience confused feelings during this time. Keeping a routine will help one feel normal – there is comfort in that. It won’t happen at once as healing is a process, but it will happen.
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