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Coping with death of a spouse

By July 20, 2008 - 11:45am
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What are some helpful ways of coping with the death of a spouse?

I've heard about cultures who actually celebrate death, and would love to hear more about that---does anyone practice any of these "celebrations"? How would someone who grew up in a family who prefers to not even acknowledge death incorporate some of these celebratory practices?

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EmpowHER Guest

I am a widow of four years. At first, you're so numb that life just kind of skates by. Gradually, you begin to live again, you have no choice. There are choices to make, kids to feed, bills to be paid. We all use our coping skills and do the best we can. One thing I've discovered, you have to remain open to living, or you will just shut down in anger, fear and bitterness. Elaine

July 21, 2008 - 6:43pm

Losing a spouse is probably one of the most difficult times in a person's life. I know many widows and some have dealt with it in many ways. Some women never cleared out their husbands' closets because parting with their belongings was just too difficult. While others found having the belongings around was just too much -- meaning everyone needs to grieve in the way that feels right for them.

With regard to your question about celebrating the lives of the dead, the first that comes to mind for me is Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead -- a festival around Halloween that takes place in Mexico and celebrates the union of families with their loved ones who have passed.

The ancient, indigenous peoples of Mexico (Purepecha, Nahua, Totonac and Otomí) believed that the souls of the dead return every year to visit with their living relatives. Marigolds help lost souls find their way back home or back to their loved ones. (Source: Mexonline.com)

While my mother hasn't embraced Day of the Dead with regard to my father, who was German and passed away more than two years ago, growing up in the Southwest, I wear Dia de Los Muertos jewelry (a necklace with a traditional Day of the Dead skull) to remind myself in my own way to respect and celebrate my father's life. Like Todd, I cannot imagine losing my spouse.

Perhaps there's a small but similar gesture to try. I would also like to know what you're doing that's working.

July 20, 2008 - 6:29pm


What have you been doing that's been working? I'm interested in hearing from you.

Your post is a huge question and though, thankfully my wife is alive, I have lost very dear people in my life.

In family, we lost both of my grandparents within two days. They were like parents to us all, and we honor them by carrying on the live they raised us to live.

We all talk on their birthdays and anniversary. And we tell funny stories that always seem to keep their spirits near.

I also have funny pictures of them around my home. I want to remember them as they lived, and not how they died.

Connie555, I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my spouse, but I can imagine how she'd want me to live.

I hope this helps and please share what you are doing to cope. I'd love to learn from you and you are in my thoughts and prayers.


July 20, 2008 - 6:05pm
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