There is no right or wrong way to grieve. However, if you are a young widow or widower, you may be feeling especially lost and alone. You may be wondering how you will ever move on with your life.
This article will provide you with some introductory tips on how to deal with grief as a young widow or widower. It will cover topics such as:
- The different stages of grief
- How to cope with your emotions
- How to take care of yourself
- How to find support
The different stages of grief
There are five main stages of grief:
Shock and denial: This is the initial stage of grief, and it is characterized by disbelief and shock. You may feel like you are in a fog, and you may have trouble accepting that your spouse is gone.
Anger: This is a common stage of grief, and it is often accompanied by feelings of rage, resentment, and bitterness. You may be angry at your spouse for dying, you may be angry at God, or you may be angry at the world in general.
Bargaining: This stage of grief is characterized by attempts to make deals with God or the universe. You may wish that you could have done something differently, or you may wish that you could have more time with your spouse.
Depression: This is a very difficult stage of grief, and it is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness. You may have trouble sleeping, eating, or concentrating. You may also withdraw from friends and family.
Acceptance: This is the final stage of grief, and it is characterized by a gradual acceptance of your spouse’s death. You may still feel sad, but you will also be able to start to move on with your life.
People don’t go through these stages in order and they may not experience all the stages. The stages may overlap or occur in different sequences, and people may revisit certain stages at various points in their grief journey.
Sometimes it can help to reflect on how you are feeling and whether you might fit into a particular stage.
How to cope with your emotions
There is no right or wrong way to cope with grief. It can often feel like you’re ‘doing it wrong’ as most of it will feel just terrible.
However, there are some things that you can do to help yourself cope with your emotions. These include:
Allow yourself to feel your emotions: It is important to allow yourself to feel your emotions, even if they are uncomfortable. Trying to suppress your emotions will only make them worse in the long run.
Talk to someone you trust: Talking to someone you trust about your grief can be very helpful. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or grief counselor.
Write about your grief: Writing about your grief can be a helpful way to process your emotions. You can write in a journal, write letters to your spouse, or even write poetry. You might like to try our online journal which is free as part of your Griefity membership.
Do things that make you feel good: Taking care of yourself is important during times of grief. Make sure to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. You may also want to do things that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, listening to music, or reading.
Check out our list of Daily Practices in the members area to find some simple things to try each day.
How to take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself physically and emotionally is important during times of grief as a young widow or widower. Here are some tips:
- Eat healthy foods: Eating healthy foods will give you the energy you need to cope with grief.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential for your physical and emotional health.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and improve your mood.
- Spend time with loved ones: Spending time with loved ones can help you feel supported and connected.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: Alcohol and drugs can numb your emotions in the short term, but they can make your grief worse in the long term.
People may not know how to help
Unfortunately, other people may not always provide the support you need. Death and loss is difficult for everyone to process, and especially so in younger people.
As a young widow or widower you may feel that your friends and family don’t understand you, and may say the wrong thing, leaving you feeling more alone.
Some people will fall out of contact with you because they find it too difficult to deal with the loss of a younger person, or they don’t know how to include you socially any more.
It’s incredibly hard to deal with this when it happens and the only ways around it are to focus on those people who are there for you, and to try to forgive and move on from those who are less supportive.
This is often one of the biggest secondary losses for young widows and widowers.
How to find support
There are many resources available to help you cope with grief. These include:
Grief counseling: Grief counseling can be a helpful way to process your emotions and learn how to cope with grief.
Support groups: Support groups can provide you with a safe place to share your grief with others who understand what you are going through.
Online resources: There are many online resources available that can provide you with information and support.
Online communities (like Griefity) can help when it’s difficult to access counseling or support groups. We’re here to support you with free resources.