Regardless of how long you’ve been married or how close you were, losing a spouse significantly disrupts your life. Along with the change, a range of emotions could come with it. You could be overwhelmed by sadness or feel numb. You might be scared of the prospect of managing your life alone. You may feel guilty about being alive while your partner isn’t. You may even resent your partner for leaving you behind and perhaps be embarrassed for feeling that way. Alternatively, you may not go through any of these emotions.
However, don’t lose hope, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll just need a bit of help getting there. Here are tips for navigating the path to accepting that you’ll never see someone again.
1. You May Need Some Alone Time
Spending some time alone is a key step towards accepting that you’ll never see someone again. After losing a partner or a loved one, it’s normal to feel emotionally and spiritually torn apart. While spending time with family and friends is also an important part of accepting that you’ll never see someone again, taking some time to be alone is also beneficial for the grieving process. It instinctively pushes you to slow down and turn inward, which allows you to appropriately wallow in the pain. It’s easier to be vulnerable with your feelings in solitude. Spending time alone isn’t the curse that it has been made out to be, it’s a blessing. Shutting the world out for some time will eventually allow you to create the space needed to let the world back in. A great way to get some alone time is to stay at a cabin rental for a few days. The fresh air and sounds of nature are just what you need to feel your feelings.
Grieving in solitude is both necessary and therapeutic. If you’re the type of person who avoids solitude by filling your time with constant distractions or attaching yourself to others, you may be putting off your natural, necessary pain. Distractions drown out the quiet, inner voice that is telling you to slow down, look within, and pay attention to it. This leaves you stuck in the avoidance and denial stage of the grieving process, stalling your progress. That said, note that too much solitude is just as harmful as too little solitude. Shutting the world out completely and refusing to accept the support of friends and family may also leave you stuck in the cycle of avoidance and denial.
2. It’s Okay to Feel Happy for Others
After losing a loved one, you may feel like being happy for others is impossible. However, grief and happiness can coexist. Staying in the ‘darkness’ of grief without finding some ‘light’ is quite overwhelming. Indeed, life is never quite the same after losing a loved one. However, healing is possible, learning to enjoy life’s pleasures again is doable, and inevitable. The key is to let the grieving process run its course. Don’t rush it. You can only be truly happy again once the intensity of your grief subsides. Work through the intense anger, sadness, pain, guilt, and every other emotion and feeling. You can reach out to a grief counselor to develop a structure for doing this work.
You likely won’t be able to fill the void in the same way. It often takes something new to ease the pain. Seek new experiences and hobbies from which to derive pleasure. It may also help to look at intimate wedding venues or visit a bridal shop as a way of reliving the happy memories you shared with your partner in a positive light. Whether it’s the personal gratification of achieving goals, spending quality time with family, or trying new activities, learning to live again often calls for a change in perspective and way of thinking. There’s no given formula when it comes to the grieving process. How a person deals with a loss is personal. Familial relations, place of origin, and religion are some of the factors that affect how different people cope with and manage their emotions and attitudes. However, regardless of your situation, you can feel content or even joyful for others while you’re grieving. Being able to feel happy for others is an important part of accepting that you’ll never see someone again.
3. Exercise Can Help
You’ve probably come across videos or articles about the positive effects of exercise on your mood. Exercise has also been shown to alleviate depression symptoms, but depression and grief are two distinct conditions. While exercise may not completely extinguish grief, it can be valuable in helping you adapt to the loss. When you’re physically active, the body releases endorphins, which are brain chemicals that help to relieve pain and boost your mood.
Losing a loved one is physically and emotionally draining, which makes it difficult to focus on other aspects of life. Dealing with the barrage of various emotions that tend to re-emerge at any time can be overwhelming. Adopting an exercise routine can help clear your mind so you can focus, even if it’s just for a while. Being physically active can also give you back a feeling of control over your life, which you may have lost after losing your partner. Grief not only affects an individual emotionally but physically too. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted a study in 2010 that revealed sleep issues were common during the grieving process.
These sleep issues can in turn impact your mental health, aggravate grief, and contribute to other issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Exercise has been shown to help establish a healthy routine and improve sleep, which minimizes the negative effects of grief. After losing a loved one, it may be wise to redefine how you approach exercise. Some people believe that exercise isn’t worthwhile until they work up a sweat and burn hundreds of calories. However, consider the fact that your body will not be in optimal shape during the grieving process. Think of exercise as ‘movement’ instead. You don’t even have to go outside, you can have indoor turf flooring installed in your home to create a workout area. Exercise can be valuable in your journey towards accepting that you’ll never see someone again.
4. Finding a Hobby Could Occupy You
Finding a new hobby is another key step towards accepting that you’ll never see someone again. After losing a spouse or partner, you’ll find that you have a lot of time on your hands, especially when it comes to your social schedule. Your friend’s and family’s support will gradually wane as they settle back into their normal routines. There may be occasional or no social invites. You’ll start to feel the weight of your loneliness when your close friends stop asking you to join them for couple date nights or game nights.
As soon as you start to get to the acceptance stage of the grieving process, start looking for new hobbies so you don’t succumb to your loneliness. Picking up a new pastime after losing a loved one offers a wealth of benefits. If you’ve been thinking of adopting RVing as a hobby, now’s a great time to start. As part of welcoming change into your life, consider remodeling your home to include an RV garage.
It’ll not only provide a welcome diversion from your grief, but it can also present you with a fresh outlet for expressing your feelings and give you a sense of moving forward. However, considering how emotionally draining planning a funeral can be, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Start with little commitments and gradually increase your level of engagement with people who share your hobbies. Taking on too much too soon will have the opposite effect.
5. Caring for Another Individual Can Help
Caring for another individual after your partner dies can also be beneficial in your journey toward accepting that you’ll never see someone again. There are different ways you can go about this. One way is to adopt a child. Adoption is a legal process that permanently transfers the responsibilities and legal rights of being a parent from the biological parents of a child to the adoptive parents.
To adopt a child, you need an adoption order. By signing this document, the birth parents formally cede to you, the adoptive parents, all parental rights and obligations. This means the child’s legal rights in relation to their biological parents, like inheritance, are removed. If the child’s name was changed, a new birth certificate with the child’s new name and the names of the adoptive parent or parents may also be issued.
You can also opt to have a baby through artificial methods like IVF, IUI, or at-home insemination. For this, you’ll need to have a fertility center test done. Once you have the results, your doctor will let you know how you can proceed.
6. Caring for a Pet Can Be Healing
Adopting a pet after losing your spouse can be beneficial for your journey toward accepting that you’ll never see someone again. The saying “when you rescue a pet, your pet rescues you” couldn’t be more fitting than after the death of your spouse or partner. Adopting a pet can give your life new meaning. Pets have a way of bringing a renewed sense of love and companionship just when you think that nothing can fill your heart with joy again.
Researchers at Florida State University, Tallahassee, studied data on older persons (50 years and older) and discovered that those who lost a spouse and didn’t have a pet experienced more intense depression and loneliness compared to those who had a dog or a cat. The researchers concluded that having a companion animal, at least for this age group, may buffer against the adverse impacts of major social losses on the grieving person’s psychological health.
However, not everyone makes a suitable candidate for adopting a pet. Consider whether you have the time for a pet, if you can afford one, if you’re capable of raising a pet, and if you can deal with behavioral issues. If you think it may not be the best move for you, you can look into alternatives such as temporary pet fostering or volunteering at a nearby animal hospital or shelter.
7. Allowing Yourself to Mourn Is Important
Giving yourself the room to mourn is important for your journey toward accepting that you’ll never see someone again. Losing a loved one affects your spirit, heart, and head. Expect to go through a range of emotions as you work through your grief. Confusion, relief, explosive emotions, guilt, and fear are some of the emotions you may feel. They may occur one after the other or simultaneously. Even though some of these feelings may seem strange, they’re healthy and a normal part of the grieving process. Allow yourself to feel these feelings so you can learn from them. Don’t be shocked if you experience sudden surges of grief even at the most inconvenient moments.
Everyone goes through grief differently. Your experience is influenced by several factors. These include the circumstances surrounding the death, your religious and cultural background, your emotional support system, and the relationship you had with the deceased. Having a cemetery headstone custom-made for your loved one is a great way of paying tribute.
8. Treating Yourself Is Important, Too
Going through grief can be overwhelming. Once you get to the acceptance stage, start scheduling activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s reading, praying, creating art, music, baking, or going to concerts, just make sure you treat yourself. You can also pay a visit to a custom jeweler to have a custom piece that pays tribute to your spouse made. This can be a great way of immortalizing their memory. Treating yourself is an important part of accepting that you’ll never see someone again.
Whether your spouse passes away suddenly or after a protracted illness, it’s a devastating ordeal. You’re married one day and single, heartbroken, and alone the next. As you go through the grieving process, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about your future. Don’t lose hope though, it’s possible to rebuild your life while still valuing the memories of your loved one.