Loss of Partner
Death is a part of life but one that none of us are ever really prepared for. At such an advanced age, it can be even harder. You are now alone in the world.
The first thing you can do if this happens to someone you love is sit down and talk to them. Simply listening when they want to talk about the experience gives them a healthy outlet for their feelings. They may be afraid because it brings their mortality much closer into view.
Create a support system. If this is your mother or father who has experienced the loss, it can be hard for the entire family. But, it is harder still for the surviving spouse who has no one to help care for them. As a family, rally around your loved one in their time of need and help to make any arrangements necessary so that the burden doesn’t fall completely upon them.
Learn the five stages of grief. These are denial, anger, sadness, bargaining and letting go. While the time spent in each stage varies, most people go through them all. Be there for your parent or friend each step of the way as they try to reach the stage where they can let go.
Denial is self-explanatory. They will almost expect to see their partner as if they never died. Anger is a misunderstood stage. It is okay to be angry because they passed away. It keeps the bereaved person from being bitter.
Sadness and bargaining have similarities. Through their tears they plead for one more day or one more chance to see them, all the while knowing it is not to be. It may seem like the pain will never end, but it does dull enough to move on eventually.
A loved one that pulls away from their family or withdraws from life after the death of their partner may need counseling. A therapist can answer questions that you can’t and also offer helpful ways to overcome each stage of the grief process.
Talk with them about their partner. Help them to remember the good times and not to shut out their memory because of the pain.
Give the person a sense of new life. While they miss their partner, life can go on and they can be happy again. Instead of letting them stay in the house all the time surrounded by painful memories, get out and have dinner or take a walk. They’ll appreciate the love that you are showing by helping them to cope.
Death is not pleasant for anyone, especially those left behind in their senior years. Teach a senior in your life how to survive the death of their partner.