Few things in life are as devastating as the loss of a spouse. Although the intensity of grief may lessen over time, it is not likely to disappear completely. You will learn to live with it and find ways to cope. It is not unusual to feel waves of grief at unexpected times, such as when you remember a happy occasion or hear a piece of music that reminds you of your loved one. It is important to understand that these episodes are a natural part of the grieving process and it is okay to take your time healing. It can also help to find support from others who have suffered a similar loss.

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Your personal circumstances can also affect how long it takes you to grieve. If you are caring for children or elderly relatives, it can be difficult to take time out to deal with your own loss. In addition, if you are physically or mentally unwell it can impact your ability to cope with intense emotions.

The way you grieve will also depend on the circumstances surrounding the death of your spouse. If the person was expected to die, it can be easier to accept than if the death was sudden or traumatic. If you were able to say goodbye or spend some quality time with the person before his or her passing, it may also help ease your grief.

Grief is a complex mix of emotions and it can be challenging to work through all the feelings. You will probably experience sadness, anger, fear and guilt, but there may also be moments of relief and happiness. You might feel all these emotions at once or you might move through them in a specific order. Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross described five stages of grief, which include denial, bargaining, acceptance, depression and shock. Some experts have expanded her stages to include more or different ones. ( I think there are 105… haha I am all over the place)

Marcie Lyons | Jay's funeral 2008|

It can be helpful to talk about your feelings with friends, family or a professional counselor. It is important to avoid people who criticize your grief or tell you that “time heals all wounds.” Instead, seek out those who will listen and support you as you work through your feelings of loss.

Some people experience complicated grief, which is more severe and can last longer than normal grieving. It is associated with a lack of social support, trouble coping and poor physical health. If you are experiencing complicated grief, it is important to seek treatment from a therapist or counselor.

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While the pain of grief will always be a part of your life, it does eventually get better with time. YOUR TIME!. Over time, you will learn to live with your grief and create a new normal for yourself. You will start to recognize the places, events and occasions that trigger your feelings of sadness and you will learn to refocus your thoughts on positive memories. While you will always miss your spouse, you will learn to live with your grief rather than letting it control your life. You will begin to heal your heart.