Chief Wellness Coach for Seniors
Losing your spouse is one of the most excruciating experiences you will ever endure. You may no longer feel you are a whole being, and your grief can be tangibly painful. Your world may feel familiar and yet completely shaken, even if you are confident your loved one is with the Lord.
Grief is a part of your healing process. We grieve to grasp the loss and to be able to move forward. Everyone grieves differently, and you shouldn’t feel you are on a schedule or that you have a spiritual flaw for going at your own pace. In Matthew 5:4, we are told that those who mourn are blessed and will be comforted. Trust that it’s part of God’s plan for you to grieve. In time, your pain will ease.
As Focus on the Family points out, there are four key phases of grieving. First you will accept the loss, as feelings of denial are natural. You may find the services and burial celebrating your loved one’s life helpful in this piece of the process. Talking with friends and family members and remembering your spouse can also help in this step. Experiencing the pain is another aspect of the journey, and avoidance is an obstacle that makes it tough to navigate. While we may instinctively want to seek shortcuts around feeling the loss, we can’t move forward until we deal with the pain. The third aspect is adjusting to life without your loved one. It will involve you assuming roles your loved one filled. For instance you maybe never balanced a checkbook before, or handled the car repairs. Lastly, you will find you can reinvest in other people. The energy you focused on your loved one can be used toward others, and this doesn’t mean you are disloyal, nor does it necessarily mean you’ll remarry or seek romantic relationships. It means you heal enough that you can remember your loved one without heart wrenching pain, and that you can engage in friendships and family functions without feeling guilty about enjoying yourself.
Losing a spouse is a major cause of mental health concerns. Psychology Today explains that some seniors can experience depression, stress, and a reduced life expectancy. Make sure you take care of yourself while you are grieving. Some studies show that engaging in exercise is a natural mood enhancer and can help reduce stress and fight depression. It’s also vital to ensure you get proper nutrition so your own health doesn’t decline. Some experts warn against a desire to self-medicate during grief. If you find yourself turning to drugs or alcohol to ease your pain, reach out for help.
Throughout your grief, allow family members, friends, pastors, and church family to support you. You’re rebuilding your life, but you don’t need to do it alone. You might benefit from a grief-loss support group or Bible study. Many seniors engage with an online wellness course to help them through their loss. It’s a way to connect. You can receive comfort and assistance from home.
Remember to spend time in prayer and seek His guidance throughout this time. Isaiah 43:2 tells us He will be with us as we pass through the waters, and rivers will not overflow us, we will walk through fire and not be burned. Even in the worst of your pain, God is with you and will sustain you from within.
There is another side to your loss, and in time your pain will ease. Don’t rush yourself through the process, and allow your support network to help. God will never leave you, even through this difficult journey.