You’ve been together a lifetime, raised a family and went through the highs and lows of everything life has to offer, together. You looked forward to retirement, visiting the children and grandchildren, and traveling the world. But now he’s gone, and you’re alone. We are all transient in this world, but knowing that does not make the loss of a spouse easier to bear.
At one time or another, many residents of senior living communities have to deal with the loss of a spouse. As devastating and heart-breaking as it may be, you will survive. And you have to do it your own way.
Everyone grieves differently. Allow yourself to go through the range of emotions: anger, denial, loneliness — all these feelings are normal and expected. Remember the good times you had together, rely on your personal belief system to comfort you, and don’t forget to breathe.
Depending on your own needs and personality, you may be ready to start socializing with your friends and family after a few weeks. For some people, it may take a few months. Don’t force yourself to resume a social life immediately if you need more time alone. But also do not let anyone judge you if you do feel the need to be out with friends, and to meet new people. We each instinctively know what is best for us and act accordingly.
Being in a senior living community gives you the advantage of a built-in circle of friends. When you are ready for company, call a close friend, and invite her for a cup of tea and a chat. A good friend will know when she has to be a good listener, when to encourage you, or when to distract you and make you laugh. Yes, you will laugh again. And you will survive the loss of your spouse, and eventually, thrive in your new life.
Remember to take good care of yourself, especially if you live alone. You owe it to yourself to be as strong and healthy as you can be. Eat nutritious meals, drink plenty of water, exercise as much as you are physically able, and see your doctor regularly. Find (or organize) a walking group in your community. Reach out to your friends and family for company and support, and consider adopting a pet. Time heals all wounds, and you will eventually feel ready to smile, laugh and enjoy life once again.