Many months after my husband’s death I remember asking my grief counselor, “When will I be over my husband’s death?”
Her answer was “Never.” However, she was quick to add that I could recover from his loss. That meant eventually accepting his death and learning to cope without my husband Sid.
I knew I would never really get over his death, but I guess I needed validation that it was normal for me to feel the way I did.
Like my grief counselor told me, no one ever “gets over” a death. Years later, you still grieve the loss of a not just a husband, but anyone you loved so deeply. Still, we all need to move on through grief to find individual acceptance and recovery.
Plan “A” for my life was gone. I had to learn to live with it and adopt a plan “B.” I had two choices–I could either stay stuck in the past crying all the time over what I had lost. Or, I could work on finding happiness without Sid. As my counselor pointed out, the very best way to honor the memory of a lost loved one is to go on with your life and be happy and productive again.
No one can take the place of the person we lost. And nothing is a substitute for that person. But the reality is that loved one is gone from this world, and I discovered the world was going to continue whether I liked it or not. I had to find a way to be part of it again. I began to believe that the worst thing I could do would be to stop living just because Sid died. He would not want that.
Some people (generally those who had never been through the loss of a spouse) did try to tell me it was time to “get over it.” I heard that a lot about a year after Sid died. I had to ignore those people and hold onto the memories I had in my heart as I struggled to find a way to make new memories alone.
I discovered that it was not only important for me to find life after Sid’s death–it was important for those around me, too. It is very hard on friends and family members when you don’t move on. They often feel partially responsible for the fact that you aren’t happy. It also wears on those around you when you continue to wallow in self pity years after your loss.
We all have problems and I found it helpful to try to eventually help others. Reaching out to other widows who were not as far down the road to recovery was tremendously healing for me.
Grief is not an easy journey, but we all have to find a way to get through it. I know I will never “be over” my husband’s death. But I can honor him by living every day of my life without him to the fullest.
Updated: August 17, 2015