Grieving, especially for a spouse, is not a one-size-fits-all process. This is especially applicable to those who have been the primary caregivers to their spouses. The emotional toll can be incredibly high. While we may think that there is a “playbook” for the proper way to grieve after such a monumental loss, that thinking is actually flawed. We here at HPFY may be able to shine a light on the grieving process that you may find helpful.
Just like each person is different from others, everybody grieves differently, but grief is a natural process and you may experience emotions ranging from sadness or loneliness to even anger or rage. Regardless of your loss, you can move on and heal if you understand your emotions and seek support or help if needed. The Kubler-Ross model identifies some general steps in the grieving process and they can include:
While the Kubler-Ross model presents five clear steps for grieving, it is important to realize that each person grieves differently than another. As you can notice, there is no timeframe for each step and somebody in the grief process may experience each step at a different rate. Some may get through it quickly while others may process the loss significantly slower.
In many cases, the primary caregiver at home is a spouse. Often these caregivers experience guilt after the death of their spouse. You often hear phrases such as “if only I had done something different” or “if I had only spoken up” as we look back when dealing with a spouse’s death. We frequently can get the concepts of guilt and regret mixed up. Here’s a good rule of thumb:
These are just one way of defining these two terms. You may or may not agree with what I have just put forth but understand these are two completely different emotions. Be sure not to confuse the two during your grief process.
Okay, once you have experienced acceptance everything will be peachy, right? Well not exactly. It is inevitable that we will be reminded of our loss from time to time. Whether it is the anniversary of their death, a birthday, or another important moment you shared, there will be reminders of them and your loss. These reminders can even be triggered by sight, scent, and sounds that can bring on a flood of emotions. This can trigger a wide range of emotions such as anxiety, guilt, sadness, and loneliness to name just a few. The Mayo Clinic suggests several steps to take during these tough moments. They include:
Grieving for a spouse is an amazingly intimate time and you may run the full gamut of emotions during this time. It is not a sign of weakness to show that we are sad or lonely, but part of the natural healing process of grief. Don’t run or hide from your emotions, embrace them so that you can come out of it healthy and maybe happier!!
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
In 2006, ...
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