Care After Losing a Loved One
One widow shares “When your loved one dies, as a caregiver, there is suddenly a big hole in your life. It feels almost like a vortex and you become immobilized. It is hard to make decisions and you lose your groundedness.”
“It is invaluable to have a trusted family friend who can walk beside you and help you through the myriad of paperwork attached to the passing of your loved one and their estate or arranging the funeral. Emotions are heightened and you are more sensitive to the external world because of being in a state of mourning and grieving. A sense of emptiness and a feeling of loneliness surfaces when you find yourself alone for the first time after the funeral and all the people have gone back home.”
You may find yourself going through the 5 phases of grief:
- Denial and Isolation
You may spend varying amounts of time in each of these phases and sometimes even double back to previous levels. The longer you were together, the more apt you are to need extra time in emotional recovery and grieving.
Enlist the help of your physician if you are not taking care of yourself; are unable to sleep, or feeling depressed. Make a relationship with a bereavement coordinator if you have used hospice and, if not, join a support group for spouses who have lost a love one. Some churches offer bereavement support groups as well. Utilize clergy if you have a relationship with them.
Take the time you need to grieve and process. Monitor your own health needs. Reach out and share with a compassionate person – someone who is non-judgmental, empathetic, and a good listener.
Men are less likely to reach out after the death of a spouse. Many times they are depressed. They are also much more likely to commit suicide after the death of a spouse. Include them in activities and family gatherings. Encourage them to keep eating, exercising and socializing.
Here is some recommended reading:
The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook
by Diana Denholm
From One Widow to Another by Miriam Neff
When Men Grieve by Elizabeth Lavange