“He taught me a lot about the world”: Coping with the loss of a spouse

Content Warning: Suicide, Grief.

While there is no hierarchy in the bereaved (loss is loss), losing a soul mate comes with a unique set of challenges and emotions.

Losing a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, or significant other is one of the most painful experiences anyone can go through. Usually, they are your best friends, the ones who support you, and the people who understand you inside and out. To lose them is like having to pull the whole mat off your feet. To lose them to suicide is even more complicated.

From shock, anger, despair, depression, ‘survivor’ guilt and everything in between, there’s no template for the grieving process, especially when you’ve been through one of The most profound and life-changing events anyone can experience. Everything changes overnight and suddenly you are faced with a future you never imagined you would have; short-lived plans, shattered dreams, what-ifs, single again. That is unthinkable.

People often ask how long the pain will last and even though grief is not linear and healing is gradual, you *will* learn to go through life with happiness and joy again, while always remembering his partner with love.

We spoke to one of our readers, Charlotteabout the sudden death of her partner, Charlesand what she is doing with her grief journey today. For anyone who is grieving the loss of a partner and trying to learn their new life while dealing with unspeakable grief, we hope Charlotte’s experience helps you feel less alone. more simple. You never get over it, but over time, the pain gets milder and the life around it grows more developed. You are not ‘moving forward’, you are moving forward.

Can you tell us your story, as long as you feel comfortable sharing it?

In January 2019, my life suddenly changed when my loving partner, Charles, suddenly took her own life. We had a very happy life together, shared a lovely house and spent wonderful vacations together. One day, he didn’t come home. I filed a missing person’s report and the police found his body the next day.

No warning signs, no prior mental health concerns, and nothing unusual about the morning he left me. Charlotte

No one can see it coming. No warning signs, no prior mental health concerns, and nothing unusual about the morning he left me. He’d woken up, made his usual breakfast (orange jam with toast and a black coffee) and had his beard all over the sink. But we never really know what’s going on inside someone’s head.

The days that followed were hazy for me, but there was never any explanation as to why he did what he did. The hardest part is not knowing why.

Can you share something wonderful about your loved one with us?

His passion has helped me grow. He taught me a lot about the world. He is very kind, attentive and caring.

How is your heart today – where are you with your pain?

Some days are good and some days are bad. I still miss him terribly, and I’m sure I always will, but grief doesn’t take over my mind 24/7 beyond that. It’s nice to get some peace out of it.

How have others reacted to your loss?

It’s hard to relate to someone who hasn’t had such a different experience and the pain of suicide is very unique.Charlotte

It was very difficult, being only 21 years old when it happened, as most people my age have never experienced any grief. I see that a lot of friends always keep their distance. People don’t know what to say because suicide is a taboo subject. It’s hard to relate to someone who hasn’t had such a different experience and the pain of suicide is very unique. There is a significant shortage of resources out there aimed at helping people deal with the pain of suicide.

What was your biggest lesson from grief, or is the moment you surprised yourself at what has to go on is the most difficult and dismal human experience?

How powerful is the ability to exist.

What is one thing you want people to know about your experience?

Your story is not something to be ashamed of and it does not have to define you. Please tell and share your story, it can help others.

How has your loss changed you?

I have become much more confident when it comes to my feelings. I opened my heart to my family, doctors, and friends and received the help and support I needed to work through my grief. I kept getting help and in turn, started helping others. Being open has allowed others to open up to me.

How did you learn to express yourself during the healing process? What helped you learn to live with your sadness?

The first weeks were difficult. Survival is difficult. Little things like bathing and brushing my teeth seem impossible and forgotten. What helps me the most is journaling.

I start by writing Charles right before bed, telling him about my day just like I would if he were still around.Charlotte

Writing down my thoughts got them out of my head. Once on paper, I can refute them to make more sense. I start by writing Charles right before bed, telling him about my day just like I would if he were still around. It translates into my writing for myself, and eventually blogging with advice for others.

How do you feel about the word widow? You’ve suffered an unimaginable loss, but is that something you always have to identify with?

Since we are not married, I am not a widow. It certainly shouldn’t define your life, however, I think labels can be helpful. Instead of a widow, I feel like I’ve been dubbed “the one with a dead boyfriend”, which doesn’t sound good. It can be difficult meeting new people as if Charles were to strike up a conversation because I still don’t know how to describe him. He’s not an ex; we never broke up. But people are shocked to hear the news of the deceased boyfriend from a young person.

There is often a lot of judgment surrounding women dating after the loss of a partner. Is this something you’ve been through? If so, how have you dealt with mixed opinions about the ‘right’ time?

There’s definitely a lot of talk from people around me about whether it’s “too early” to start dating. I didn’t set a timeline for myself, but the people around me did. It’s hard listening to people argue about my future. It was hard to make my own decisions with so many people trying to influence me, but in the end I realized that my own judgment was most important.

When do you know you’re ready to start dating? What feelings and challenges did you face to get there? What is the reality of dating after losing a partner?

I was lucky enough to meet someone who was willing to listen to my experience and help me work through the pain in my own time.Charlotte

I was lucky enough to meet someone who was willing to listen to my experience and help me work through the pain in my own time. I explained on our first date what had happened and I didn’t know how I would react in the coming situations. He was extremely understanding and we took everything slow. It was definitely tough and I’m sure he also learned a lot along the way. Most importantly, he stuck with me through the highs and lows.

How do you feel about the future now?

It took a long time to get back on track. After losing Charles, I felt as if I had lost myself. The passion disappeared and I questioned many of the choices I had made in the past. I changed jobs a few times but I finally managed to start feeling like myself again.

The future looks much better. I am currently working on a project within the scope of my work to help police officers reach out for help with their mental health. Helping others is extremely rewarding.

One thing you wish people would stop asking/telling you…

When should I/shouldn’t do things. At first, many people told me how I should feel according to the “5 stages of grief” but you really can’t put everyone in these boxes.

What’s the best thing someone has ever done or said to you? An important moment that makes you feel seen and understood…

The first time my current partner, Dan, took me to Charles’ memorial bench and sat there with me. The fact that he understands that Charles will always be an important part of my life and is willing to share that love with someone he has never met is unbelievable.

Do you have any advice for someone going through the loss of a partner right now?

Please don’t give up. Now it seems hopeless, it seems your world is over, but life will go on and the pain will lessen. Take advantage of any time you need.

Alternatively, you can also stay away from people who make you feel bad. Not everyone will understand and that’s okay. But remember that you are the one who is healing, you do not need to correct or educate them first.

Websites and resources

Care: Open Monday to Friday, 9-6pm. Call: 0300 123 3393

The Samaritans: FREE call, open 24/7. Call: 116 123

Patience: Open 5pm-midnight. Call: 0800585858

Widow and young: Open Monday to Friday, 9:30 – 17:00. Call: 0300 201 0051

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