How to Cope After the Death of a Spouse

The most stressful life event is the death of a spouse. One person in almost every marriage will have to survive this at some point in their life. One day you are half of a couple and the next day you are all alone. Everything in your life will change after your spouse dies. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help yourself cope.


    • 1

      Allow yourself to mourn. Mourning is an open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding your loss. Mourning the death of your spouse is essential to be able to heal.

    • 2

      Take life one day at a time. Grieve at your own pace. Do not compare yourself to others and expect your grieving process to follow a set time frame.

    • 3

      Talk to friends and family about the death of your spouse and how this makes you feel. Talk about your life with your spouse. Share your memories; those that make you laugh and those that make you cry.

    • 4

      Forgive yourself for any emotions that you might feel while trying to cope with the death or your spouse. You might feel confused, fearful, disoriented, frustrated, guilty, angry or even relieved. All of these feelings are ok and are a necessary step to healing.

    • 5

      Join a grief support group. It often helps to cope with death if you talk to others who are also grieving.

    • 6

      Go easy on yourself. You might find that you are tired all the time and can not do the things you used to do. You may be unable to make decisions. All of this is a normal part of coping with a death and will pass in time.

    • 7

      Listen to your body. Be sure to take care of your own physical needs. Although you might not feel like it, make sure you eat balanced meals and get plenty of rest.

    • 8

      Deal with your spouses belongings only when you are ready to. Others might push you to clear out your spouse's stuff right away. This is not necessary if you are not up to it. There is no harm in leaving them where they are for now.

    • 9

      Give yourself permission to heal. It is important to remember that healing does not mean forgetting. Enjoying life again does not mean that you do not miss your spouse. When you find yourself beginning to heal, allow it to happen.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many people are uncomfortable with death and as a result may say or do the wrong things. Forgive them, their intentions are good.
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