Coping with the Loss of a Partner


Jennifer Robson
21 October 2018

Few events in life are as painful as the death of a spouse. You may be uncertain you will survive this overwhelming loss. At times, you may be uncertain you even have the energy or desire to survive, much less try to heal.  It’s ok to mourn.

You may feel like part of you is missing.

If your spouse passes away, you are faced with one of the most stressful events you will ever have to experience. It is easy to completely look yourself in grief. But, you absolutely must continue to take care of your physical and mental health. This is especially important if you have children to care for.

Don't try to avoid, deny or postpone your grief.

Feeling sad, angry, fearful, uncertain, frustrated, alone, helpless, disappointed, panic, confused, depressed, guilty, numb, relieved, etc. is to be expected.

Tiredness, shock, extreme lack of energy and motivation, lack of appetite or over-eating, and crying are common reactions to grief.

Take care of yourself by eating healthy foods, drinking water and avoiding alcohol, sleeping regular hours, getting exercise, and finding ways to make yourself smile and laugh.

Find ways to care for your child make sure they are eating properly and have some time to play and laugh
If you need help, ask for it.

Try to not make major decisions about selling a home, moving, etc. until the first year of being alone is over.

If you have young children, talk to them honestly about the death of their mother or father. Don't give any impression that he or she has simply gone away. Be on the lookout for changes in their behaviour and seek counselling quickly if you sense they aren't handling the grief they feel in a healthy way.

Grief in the Second Year

If you find yourself struggling with new waves of grief after having reached the one year mark, you are not alone. Most people expect to feel better after that first year of bereavement as if they've reached some sort of significant milestone in their grief journey. But it is quite normal to still feel pain. The first year is about survival. In the second year, you are grappling with the harsh reality that your loved one is physically gone forever.

It is the second year after a loss that brings new concerns. Support groups are less available, and family and friends return to their own lives. The second-year becomes a time to reclaim your life and work toward the future. While you never forget your loss, it is vital to begin life again with a new twist - as a single person. This brings many new challenges and questions, such as, “How do I start again?” and “What do I want to start?”

At this point, if you are a single parent it is important to involve your child in this decision-making process. What sort of life do you want to build together?

We have created a video series and workbooks in the member's area to help you to cope with grief and plan a happy future for yourself. Please accept our condolences and we hope that you find the resources we have created useful.