How to Move On from the Death of a Spouse

One of the most painful events that humans can experience is the death of their partner in life. They are the persons whom they shared their dreams with and loved more than their own life. A partner in life is not just a spouse, but a person that filled many roles in the presence of another individual – to him/her such as traveling companion, life adviser, co-parent, confidante and best friend.

The passing of someone so special to one’s life is painful physically, emotionally, and practically. It seems that a person’s life is dependent on the partner that the other can no longer function adequately. The emotional burden is a typical reaction, and it is even more painful if the relationship has gained a stronger connection and years of togetherness. It is understandable for someone to feel that nobody can replace the loved one or take away the pain. But one can seek support from other people as the feelings of grief persists and starts to learn how to change one’s life in so many areas. The presence of a non-judgmental and caring person may help the one who grieves in facing the following four essential things on this journey.

Accept The Reality Of The Loss

Accepting the death of a special someone may be very difficult to do. At first, a person will experience denial responses that may take place for a couple of weeks. Accepting the reality of loss involves overcoming the natural denial response. Activities such as viewing the body of the partner, attending the funeral and burial services, and visiting the tomb can be a great aid in helping the person embrace the truth. Sharing one’s feelings with other significant people may also aid in admitting the real situation. When a person accepts this reality, a sense of freedom is also established to take the consolation of knowing that there is life after death and there is no reason for prolonged grieving.

“Understandably, grief is complicated and we sometimes wonder if the pain will ever end. We go through a variety of emotional experiences such as anger, confusion, and sadness.” –Jodi Clarke, MA, LPC/MHSP

Experience The Pain Of Grief

Pain is a natural feeling during death and loss of a significant person. But many people are trying to cover up their suffering by bottling up their emotions or hiding their feelings. The only way to overcome grief is to go through all the pain until it all dries out. A person who is not allowing himself to grieve can fall into depression or other health problems. Crying, shouting and other forms of expressing grief provides genuine relief.

Adjust To An Environment In Which You Are On Your Own

If a person has an established relationship with the lost partner, most likely they had already assigned specific roles and responsibilities to each other. Assuming the part of the deceased loved one can be very challenging at first, but eventually, the other partner will adapt to the new environment. If the person feels that the house is empty, getting a pet can ease loneliness, or joining organizations or hobby groups can keep one’s time busy. Regular phone calls from friends and other family members can also be a practical help. Staying with children and spending time with grandchildren can also ease the burden of depression.

“When people are given a supportive environment and a safe relationship, they can let down their guard and heal.” –Lisa S. Larsen, PsyD

Invest The Emotional Energy You Have In Healthy And Life-Giving Relationships


It is not advisable to rush in finding a new romantic relationship but having connections to other people with similar interests is essential. For the younger individuals, this aspect is still very much open, and the possibility of engaging in another relationship is not far from happening. For the senior group, finding a new partner is no longer their priority; however, there are also some that seek new relationships for the sake of companionship.

“Losing someone or something you love and care deeply about is very painful. You may experience all kinds of difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness you’re experiencing will never let up.” –Kevin Stevenson, LMHC, MCAP

There are no comforting words that can ease one’s pain when grieving the death of a life-long partner. Nonetheless, one can go through the process and as the adage says, “Time heals all wounds.”

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