Losing a loved one can be very traumatic, especially when the person who has passed away was your spouse. Grief is something that you cannot rush or outsource, and it will take as long as it needs to. Here are some tips for coping after losing your spouse.
Five Stages of Grief
People who have lost a spouse are going to be feeling a flood of emotions. You might find some comfort in knowing that what you are experiencing is something that all humans go through. Let yourself feel whatever emotion it is you are feeling, and realize that this will change.
The five stage of grief are:
* Denial – A person convinces themselves that the death of their spouse didn’t happen.
* Anger – A person becomes angry at their spouse for dying and leaving them.
* Bargaining – A person appeals to a “higher power” in an attempt to have their loved one return to them. They make a promise to do something, or to stop doing something, in exchange for having their spouse be alive again.
* Depression – A person realizes that their loved one is not coming back to them, and is very depressed about it. The person may also be depressed due to how they think their life will be as a result of that loss.
* Acceptance – A person has come to accept that their spouse has passed away. This doesn’t mean they are happy about it, or completely over the loss. Instead, they are at a point where they can start to heal.
Many of us have been told that people go through the five stages of grief in order. It turns out that most people fluctuate between the five stages for a while.
Sheryl Sandberg lost her husband Dave Goldberg very suddenly. He died from severe head trauma while on vacation. He was 47.
Sheryl is Jewish, and she participated in the rituals that her religion calls for when someone has died. She may have found some comfort in doing them. She sat Shiva – a seven day period of intense mourning after a loved one is buried. After she finished sheloshim, the completion of religious mourning for a spouse, she wrote about her experience on Facebook.
Humor can be Healing
A study done in 2008 that involved 292 recently bereaved men and women who were age 50 or older. It was done by Dave Lund of California State University. 75% of the participants reported finding humor and laughter in their daily lives at much higher levels than they expected. Other research finds that thinking back upon happy memories can also help a person cope with grief.
Image by martin on Flickr.
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