There is arguably no harder life change than losing your marriage partner. Whether your spouse died suddenly or after a prolonged illness, you are left in a familiar yet devastated world. Understanding the natural aspects and steps of grieving can be beneficial as you begin the process of living life without your partner.
Acknowledgement of the Loss
The first response to the loss of a loved one is that of thinking, “they really aren’t gone, are they?” As you grieve, you gradually move from this initial response to a more intellectual acceptance that your spouse is gone and they will never return.
This knowledge also becomes your new emotional reality – e.g. when you remember that your partner is no longer there to turn to, or when you expect familiar words, gestures or responses.
Such habits of togetherness only serve as painful reminders of your loss. This explains why some people suffering from the loss of a loved one reportedly “see” their departed spouse in public places, only to realize later on that it was someone else with a striking resemblance of their loved one that merely conjured memories. Seeing someone you mistake to be your loved one usually brings a ray of hope, a temporary thought that your loved one is not gone after all.
The Need for Expressing Grief
Experiencing the pain of loss is another natural and important part of the grieving process. It includes being willing to not only feel but also express your hurt and any other emotion brought about by your loss.
Grief is a painful experience and it is normal to be overwhelmed with sadness. Feeling the pain and grief of death helps you to process the different aspects of your loss. It is normal to feel alone because as the bereaved spouse, you are now alone in the relationship.
These strong emotions play an important role in helping you come to terms at an emotional level that your partner is no more. Sometimes, some upsetting and uncomfortable emotions might also emerge. Anxiety, anger, despair, guilt, regret and even depression may surface. These typically reveal the difficult parts of the relationship between the deceased and the bereaved.
Finding Hope in Pain through the Cross
For believers in Christ, death is more than a natural event. We were actually created to be immortal but as a result of sin, death comes upon mankind. We not only die but we also go through the pain of watching loved ones die.
Nonetheless, the death of Christ and his conquering of sin give us the hope that death is not the last state for us and our loved ones.
Christian Grief Counseling for the Bereaved
Friends, family and everyone else in the support system of the couple (like social groups and a church family), should help support the person that loses a loved one. However, after three or four months of grieving, the bereaved spouse is often encouraged to move on with life or at least adjust better.
Naturally, the loss will hit the left spouse harder than it will hit other people. When the initial shock of the loss of a loved one begins to fade off, at a time when they would really do with more specific support, the support almost always declines. This is an ideal time to pursue Christian grief counseling in Newport Beach to find the necessary additional support and guidance.
“Grief”, Courtesy of Claudia, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Gone”, Courtesy of Ian Dooley, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Prayer”, Courtesy of Ben White, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Grief”, Courtesy of Kinga Cichewicz, Unsplash.com, CC0 License