Heartbreak

How To Survive When The Love Of Your Life Dies

Photo: Aleshyn Andrei / shutterstock.com  
Woman alone, monochromatic image against the sky

The last few words of the standard marriage vow are, “for as long as you both shall live” and they are profound. These words are life-changing because they mean the couple taking their vows are committing to be with each other until the day they die.

A marriage involves totally giving of oneself to their spouse and when one of the partners dies there is a physical, emotional, and spiritual void that needs to be addressed.

Recovering from the loss of a spouse depends upon many factors. The health, age, and circumstances of the living spouse may factor into their recuperation. A person’s energy level can be a factor as well.

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Making the adjustment after losing a spouse

There are major adjustments that are needed once a person becomes widowed and the grief that is felt is unique for that person. A marriage is between two people, but they become two halves of a single unit. When a spouse dies the surviving spouse may no longer feel like they are a whole person and crippled by their loss.

The reaction of the living spouse may surprise people observing them, but they need the space to heal in their unique situation. Others must be supportive according to the circumstances of a widower or a widow, but they must “de-couple” according to their individual psyche. The loss of a spouse no matter how much it could be expected is not an easy situation to accept.

The loss can be devasting to the point that a surviving spouse may pass away soon after they have experienced their “other half” dying. This is a common scenario for some who are inextricably tied to their partner. You can view this phenomenon as a final demonstration of love and devotion.

Some people marry another person shortly after their loss. The new marriage should not be a substitute for the loss of a beloved person. However, the need for companionship, physical intimacy, and a sense of being in a loving relationship is part of the healing process for them.

A new marriage offers new opportunities no matter the similarities that may be evident between the new and former partner. The loss of a longtime marriage companion is not like a divorce or a breakup. There is a finality that does not address any unfinished issues, emotional needs, or spiritual companionship.

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Survival tips for a surviving spouse

A surviving spouse has the task of continuing to live their life and being fulfilled without the love and support of their partner. It is not easy but there are at least 10 things the living spouse can do to fill the physical, emotional, and spiritual void resulting from their loss.

1. Cultivate a positive attitude.

A surviving spouse needs to have a positive outlook on life and have the desire to find ways to be physically active and fulfilled.

2. Try to be grateful for what you had.

There needs to be a sense of being grateful for the life they had with their partner and the joy they built together.

3. Seek support from the living.

The living spouse should seek support from family, friends, and others who are in their life and want them to thrive without their beloved.

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4. Build a secure environment.

A new life requires having a safe place to live and a sense of being secure in their new life.

5. Be open to enjoyment.

This can be attending sporting events or finding other forms of healthy entertainment to help them find new joy in life. Music, movies, and live theatre can be good choices depending upon the person.

6. Establish healthy habits.

There is a need for routine, a good diet, proper hygiene, and a clean environment to support the healing process.

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7. Make a plan to socialize.

It is important for a single individual to socialize with family, friends, and others who may share a similar experience.

8. Make a will or estate plan.

An estate plan or a care plan for a survivor is a good idea if it has not already been done. This is about peace of mind which is part of a healing process.

9. Turn to your spiritual community.

Practicing faith and attending services can be a healthy activity for healing and perspective

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10. Plan a way forward in life.

Memorializing the life, a person has had with their loved one is a way of healing. It allows a sense of joy, peace, and legacy for a couple. Time is an element that assists with healing. When a surviving spouse feels that life has much to offer them then the marking of time assists with healing. This element may be dependent on how well the living spouse feels and their circumstances.

The is no guarantee you can fill the void

The areas mentioned are not hard, fast cures for the loss of a spouse, but they may help in recovery. A spouse is not just a partner. They are your best friend and confidant and when this person is no longer there it can be devastating.

Good marriages and models for them seem difficult to come these days but they do exist and should be acknowledged. The loss of a spouse from a good marriage creates a vacuum that can never be replaced even if the surviving spouse remarries. Filling the physical, emotional, and spiritual void after a spouse dies is not an easy task for one to accomplish.

It means the words, “for as long as you both shall live” had real meaning. The couple reached the finish line of marriage. Their love and devotion for each other mattered and serves as a model for the rest of us.

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John Cappello, M. B. A. is a lecturer, author of metaphysical and children’s books about angels, and a psychic medium who has been in practice for over 25 years. Visit his website for more information.

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