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When you get married, you sign up to be partners for life. As partners who have been together for years, you become an indispensable part of each other’s lives. When you lose your spouse, it is one of the most traumatic and stressful events in your life – it is actually a life-changing experience.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, people who have lost their spouse can feel symptoms of depression for up to two years after their partner’s death. At times, you may even feel like you will not be able to survive without them.

However, when you choose healthy ways to heal, you will eventually be able to deal with the loss of your spouse.

Acknowledge the Grief You have just lost your spouse. You may spend the first few weeks taking care of all the practical things and keeping yourself busy. Your children and friends may even decide to stay with you for a few weeks to give you company, but you will need to face the facts sooner or later.

Ignoring the grief and trying to be strong through it is not a healthy way to deal with it. It is important for you to acknowledge the fact that your life has changed, and now, you will have to live without your spouse. Letting yourself mourn their loss is the healthiest thing you can do at this point in time.

Take Care of Yourself The grieving process has several physical and psychological implications. When you lose your spouse, it is perfectly normal to feel exhausted and experience difficulty in thinking clearly. The stress hormones released after the death of your spouse can actually trigger what is known as the ‘broken heart syndrome.’ The intense chest pain brought about by this syndrome can increase the risk of heart attacks. Because the psychological pain is unbearable, you may look for ways to numb yourself like indulging in alcohol, smoking, or even pills, which will be counter-productive in the long run.

Therefore, it is very important for you to take care of yourself. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, avoid abusing alcohol and get enough sleep.

Avoid Making Any Major Decisions Whether you are planning to move or are thinking about quitting your job, push off these decisions for later. Making any major life decision when your grief is still fresh is not a good idea at all. You are definitely not thinking clearly when you are grieving. And when you make hasty decisions, you are likely to regret them later on in life.

Whatever decisions you make after the death of your spouse are going to be influenced by your emotions and they are not going to be logical.

Decide what to do with the Personal Belongings of Your Spouse Take as much time as you need to deal with the death of your spouse. Grief is an ongoing process without a fixed end date to it. However, this does not mean that you will grieve for your spouse for the rest of your life.

What you do with the personal belongings of your spouse is completely up to you. When you choose to take care of it is also your decision. Do not let anyone else force you into clearing out his or her closet before you are ready. You will get to it when it doesn’t hurt as much anymore and when you have the energy to go through with it.

If and when your grief becomes unbearable, ensure that you either join a support group or seek professional help. Even though living without your spouse may seem difficult to contemplate at the moment, you can actually heal yourself by using these healthy ways of coping.

Creating a Memorial to Help Cope with Grief Creating a remembrance for your spouse can help you move through the grieving process. It is a way to reflect on the wonderful moments you shared, to honor your love for each other, as well as to help heal the pain of loss through the act of creating.

Your memorial can be a simple stone placed in your spouse’s favorite place, a handmade box of cherished items, or a custom piece of art as a memorial urn. We work with individuals coping with grief each day, and feel honored to help them celebrate the life of their loved one by creating custom memorial urns.