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How Do You Cope with the Death of a Spouse?

My dear husband recently died quite suddenly and I am devastated.  I feel like I am in a nightmare that never ends. How do you cope with the sudden death of a spouse?

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Comment by MidnightBear (Tony) on January 11, 2019 at 12:04pm

I will say that the simplest answer to your question is this: 1 day at a time. 

I know it is old hat, it is not very helpful, but it is true.  You tackle one day, and then you tackle another.  Each day you try to move yourself at least 1 step further forward than you let yourself be dragged back.  It isn't easy, it isn't fun, it isn't something anyone asks or wants.  It is simply the truth of where we all are.  There are days when you will only get back to where you started the day when it ends, and I am sure there will be days when you have fallen back a bit and will need to drag yourself back forward some how the day after.  Take it in stride, recognize it for what it is, a symbol of your love pushing you to the familiar which you can no longer truly have.  We grieve hardest where we have loved the deepest, and so it will not be simple, but know it is because that person meant so much to you that you find yourself in a place like this.  Listen to others, try to share with others where you are and what you are experiencing.  By doing so, it takes a little of that burden off your back and shares it with the community.  Most of us have grown strong enough to share your burden for a little while until you can join us to share that of others.  

After 14 months, I find I still have days when if I can just be where I was when I woke up I am super pleased with my progress.  Not to let the grief drag me backwards is sometimes an amazing accomplishment.  

The only other piece of advice I would have is to be easy on others but don't take their view of you in the wrong way.  They don't understand that when they talk about losing a dog, or a relative they only saw one a year, it isn't the same.   It comes from a similar place, but it just isn't the same volume.  It is like going to a concert at the symphony and saying it is the same as going to a heavy metal concert.  Our volume is turned on perpetual high, and unfortunately we can't turn it down.  That said, they are trying to come from a good place and share the weight of your burden, they just don't know the right way to get under the load.  

Hope to see you in the forums, and you might consider joining us at a Camp Widow event, it is a great way to be surrounded by people who understand and can at least give you a hand to help you up for a little while. 

Comment by loveboo on January 8, 2019 at 10:36pm

My wife passed away almost four weeks ago after giving birth to our baby girl.  She was 36 and the sweetest and as-innocent-as-one-can-be type of person.  I keep thinking this isn't what she deserved.  Out of every type of person I've ever met in my life, my wife would have been last on the list if such a thing needed to be deserved.  I also still can't believe she's gone.  It just saddens me to the core of my being.

As for coping... I cry.  I write.  I read.  I cry.  I post photos of her and us on facebook for families and friends to see.  I try to eat something even if it makes me feel guilty that I can eat something still.  I cry some more.  I sleep because being unconscious helps as you no longer feel any of the pain but as soon as you wake up it'll hit you hard.  My wife loved drinking water and used to tell me to drink more water so whenever I wake up, I just drink a glass of water and whenever I miss her, I drink another glass.  I pray.  Also taking care of a newborn with my mom's help.  That is me in a loop.

I don't think there's such a thing as a "wrong" way to cope with a loss.  I do think it's important that you try to eat something and keep yourself hydrated.  Try to sleep even though it hurts when you wake up.  I'll need to add exercise to loop cause that is something my wife has been reminding me about that I've always put off thinking "I have time"...

Comment by sis on January 7, 2019 at 10:59am

I wish I could tell you how to cope,but I'm new to this too. My husband also died suddenly in March from a cerebral aneurysm and I found this site when I was looking widow/widower groups in my area. I read some of the writings and found it was a place of others that truly understood. We all cope differently in ways that make sense to us. The nice thing about here is you can get things off your chest without judgment or offending anyone. God bless you .

Comment by Starfish5 on January 6, 2019 at 11:26am

Welcome to the land of the widowed, a land that none of us wants to be in but we are here nonetheless. There is NO simple answer to coping. Even after 15 months, I personally don't feel like I've made a whole bunch of progress. Oh sure, I can function by myself but it's the hole in my heart that's not healed even a little bit. The pain is still very acute. People say you get used to it - you don't 'get over it'. I joined a grief support group that's been very helpful but still my heart is broken and I haven't the slightest clue about how to fix it. I don't feel like I'm ready to get into another relationship. So I'm caught in this no man's land, kind of an emotional purgatory. I had a wonderful marriage, and my husband was my best friend. I wish I had some better advice for you. I do know there are tons of other people in this very same situation, but still, that only just goes so far. When you lose the person who was everything to you, indeed it is devastating on many levels. Add to that how people now treat you differently (i.e., good friends that have since evaporated into thin air) and you feel abandoned and very much alone. 

The short answer on this may be to find good self-help books on the topic, join a support group, and *try* to get involved in outside activities such as church if you're so inclined. Somehow we just go on, a day at a time. Not that I ever envisioned or wanted my life like this. 

Stay on this site - perhaps others can give you better advice than I have here. I was offering my two cents of experience. Nothing on earth can prepare anyone for this.

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