After a cremation service in Bellingham, WA, the reality of the death of a spouse can be devastating to the spouse that survives. For younger spouses, all the dreams that were not yet realized, all the futures that still laid ahead before them, and all the life left to live as a couple has been cut short, never to be fulfilled.
For older spouses, a lifelong partnership has ended, leaving only memories of spent yesterdays and cancelled tomorrows. For every surviving spouse, however, an intense state of grief, loneliness, and even constant depression settles in during the days, weeks, months and years (depression is common for up to three years after the death of spouse) when their spouse dies.
One piece of common-sense wisdom that is usually given to surviving spouses is that they should not make any major decisions – such as selling homes, changing jobs, remarrying (or even dating), or making a major move from one location to another – until one year has passed by after the death of their spouse. This is excellent advice, because the first year after the death of a spouse is so emotionally intense that all decision-making will be adversely affected.
Healing occurs in bits and pieces with time. But the surviving spouse will never stop loving, missing, and thinking about their spouse who has died. Even if a surviving spouse eventually remarries down the road, the place that is reserved in their heart for their deceased spouse stays intact. It can never and will never be filled by anyone else.
One healing step that should be taken after the death of a spouse is to acknowledge grief. After the immediate tasks that need to be done after someone dies have been completed, and family members get back to their own lives, grief must be faced.
The surviving spouse must acknowledge that they are grieving, and they must accept that life is different now. Mourning the loss of what they had with their deceased spouse, as well as the loss of a spouse, will help the surviving spouse to start the process of moving forward.
The surviving spouse must take care of themselves after they lose their soulmate. Extreme exhaustion and mental fog are very common symptoms that surviving spouses will experience. The body produces a lot of stress hormones when a loved one dies.
When a spouse dies, stress hormone production can be even greater. This can lead to “broken heart syndrome,” which is characterized by severe chest pain that can cause other serious health problems. The surviving spouse needs to ensure that they eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.
Another way to facilitate the healing process when a spouse dies is to make decisions about their personal things. This can be painful, because these things represent memories, but the surviving spouses must do it so that they can move forward in their own lives.
However, surviving spouses do not need to rush to get rid of their deceased spouse’s things. In fact, they should not. If they start too soon, they may discover in the future that they gave away or threw away something they shouldn’t have or that they wanted to keep.
Creating a memorial for the deceased spouse can also help with the healing process. Memorials can be as simple as a custom-made box or chest filled with items that were special to both spouses or a memorial stone placed to mark the deceased spouse’s favorite spot in the yard.