When your spouse dies, you are in mourning – feeling grief and sorrow at the loss of your loved one. There are no rules about how you should feel and there is no right or wrong way to mourn. People who are grieving often have:
- Trouble sleeping
- Little interest in food
- Problems with concentration
- A hard time making decisions
As time passes you may still miss your spouse, but for most people the intense pain will start to go away. There will be good and bad days and you will know you’re feeling better when the good begin to outnumber the bad. However, for some people mourning can go on too long leading to depression and anxiety and it becomes unhealthy.
What can you do?
- Take care of yourself - Eat right, exercise, and try to get enough sleep
- Talk to caring friends - It may help to be with people who will let you say how you’re feeling
- Try not to make any major changes right away
- See your doctor
- Remember, mourning takes time
Do men and women feel the same way? Men and women share similar feelings when their spouse dies, but there can also be differences. Men can be at a loss when it comes to doing household chores. Those who are both widowed and retired may tend to feel lonely and depressed. Women who have never paid bills or balanced a checkbook before will need to learn how to do so for themselves. Women can also worry about their safety.
Take charge of your life. Many people find it helps to have things to do every day, such as:
- Taking a walk with a friend
- Going to the library
- Getting involved with your community
- Meeting up with old friends
- Adopting a pet
Is there more to do? When you feel stronger you may want to:
- Write a new will
- Look into hiring an attorney for legal matters
- Put joint property in your name alone
- Check on all current insurances
- Sign up for Medicare by your 65th birthday
- Pay your taxes
What about going out? Some things you should remember when you are ready to go out again are taking things slowly, trying group activities, and finding an activity you like. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, be open to new experiences, and don’t feel guilty if you laugh at a joke or enjoy a visit with a friend. You are adjusting to life without your spouse.
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