How To Cope With The Loss Of Your Spouse

Fond Memories & Learning How To Cope

As we draw to the end of another year, we look back with fond memories.  We also think about the lives of those which have changed, maybe due to losing a partner through illness.

Losing a loved one through illness can be traumatic and learning how to cope with the loss of your spouse can take time.  My aunt lost her husband earlier in the year and relates her feelings as such:-

Bereavement is a very hard situation to deal with, especially if you spent the last year or two looking after your partner.

You constantly beat yourself up, ‘should I have done this, ‘should I have done that?   Did I really do all I could, could I have done more?’  Then you think ‘was I too harsh?’

The trouble is because you have been constantly worrying about them, watching them lose their dignity with the carers, moaning because they may have had an accident, you become stressed and uptight.  You know you sounded harsh, and didn’t know how to cope with their constant demands.  It hurt when they screamed at you, but you could not do any more.  You say ‘no’ when they want to go out because it is too cold and you want them to keep well.

When they have gone, you sit down unable to go forward.  Unable to do the jobs that need doing.  The general tidying up, cleaning, hoovering, even making your bed.  You feel totally empty and all you can say all day long is ‘I can’t go on, I don’t know what to do’.  Then your mind wonders back to certain happenings, and how they suffered with their illness.  

Learning How to Cope With The Loss Of Your Spouse

It took a while but then I found a way of easing the stress of  the loss.  I got all the photographs of him and myself and paired them up.  Photos of when we were on holiday, in the garden or days out.  I put these photos into empty picture frames, which I can now look at all the time.  It gives me a feeling of warmth and helps to ease my grieving.  I still get bad days when I feel I can’t go on even after 8 months since his death.  

It will be a long time before I can completely move forward.  I constantly carry something my late husband was always worrying about like his small wallet.  I hold it all night in bed and I have his cardigan on the bed and hold the sleeve.  It makes me feel better. 

I  also manage to cope by trying to go out every day.  I walk the dog twice a day so I meet people, and pop to the local co-op which is very friendly.  Thankfully I have many friends and my sister is very supportive.  

I have joined several groups: a bereavement club, a carers club, one called First Steps.  We have days out, coffee mornings, craft activities and they are a place where we all have something in common and we can talk about how we are feeling.  Day by day I am feeling stronger.

My writing also helps and I wrote this poem for my late husband which was read at his funeral.

                THAT VERY FIRST YEAR

My feet felt free,  my body warm

It was great when he took a hold of my arm,

And we descended the steps down to the promenade,

Together, the two of us, we really felt made.

There was a chill in the air, but we were without care

As we strolled along together feeling able to share

The freshness, the briskness of our matching strides

Only just audible above the crashing tides.

As we walked we watched the lapping of the waves

Heading like white horses towards the lonely shores,

And 'though we were glad to be clad in our warm winter wear,

It was that tender, inner, intimate warmth of which we were aware.


We will all go through loss at some stage in our lives and it is times like these when we are thankful for having people around us.  To help us pick up the pieces, to stay strong and carry on with our own journey. 

Our memories are there to cherish and share, and to help us move on, until such time we may be reunited. 

red rose

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