When End of Life Care is Finished
Losing a spouse after a long battle in hospice can be draining, overwhelming, sad, and stressful. You may have spent the last several months or even years helping your beloved spouse through their illness and now they are gone and you are left wondering what your purpose is. But take heart knowing you can get the continued support you need with bereavement services after end-of-life care in San Mateo and elsewhere. Worldwide Bereaved Spouses Awareness Month was observed on Friday, April 1st, 2022. That’s why we want to talk this week about what to do when end-of-life care is finished.
Losing a Spouse
Your world changes when your spouse dies. Things are turned on end, you may feel lost, not know where to turn, and most of all, you may feel an overwhelming sense of grief for the gaping hole left in your heart. You’re mourning. Even though you may have been expecting the loss over the last few months, you may still feel numb, in shock, and fearful about facing a future without them. You may also feel guilty for being a survivor or even anger at your spouse for leaving you, points out the National Institute on Aging. These are all normal feelings. No one says there’s a right or wrong way to mourn.
Grieving brings about both emotional and physical pain. You may:
- Cry often
- Have difficulty sleeping
- Have little interest in food
- Have problems concentrating
- Have a difficult time making decisions
As time goes on, you may still miss your loved one but that intense pain from the beginning should lessen. You will still have good and bad days. The important thing to remember is that when the good days outweigh the bad ones, you are on your way to healing.
Find Your Support System
You will have to find a way to grieve and accept the loss. This is hard work. But you’re not alone. Ignoring your grief will only make it worse, and will only serve to delay the healing process. Look for and accept support however you can get it because you can’t manage your grief all on your own. Turn to family and close friends for support during this time. If they loved your husband or wife too, then they are also grieving. You can lean on each other in the best and worst times. Share stories about your loved one. Don’t feel bad bringing up their name in conversation to keep their memory alive. It can help immensely to speak directly about the loss, says Very Well Mind.
In addition to family and friends, you can seek out support groups for grieving spouses. By choosing this specific type of support group, you can immerse yourself with others who are in your same situation. Grief counseling, whether one on one or in a group setting, can be very beneficial too in sorting out your feelings after a loss.
Take Care of Yourself
Grieving takes a toll on your emotions, to be sure, but also on your physical body. You may feel like you don’t have an appetite or you may be having trouble sleeping. It may be the last thing you feel like doing, but right now it’s essential that you take care of yourself. You can do that by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising every day (even if it’s just getting out for a walk), and getting enough sleep. Some people turn to alcohol to drown their sorrows, but this can also worsen the situation and your pain. Avoid alcohol or other avoidance measures that can harm your health in the end. It’s better to face the loss head-on and get on the path to healing.
Studies show that the risk of death for a surviving spouse increases in the first three months of bereavement. In addition, if you have children or grandchildren to care for, you need to be healthy so you can be your best self for them. These are all good reasons why you need to take good care of your physical and emotional health after the loss of your spouse.
Wait Till You’re Ready
You may feel pressure from well-meaning friends and family members who want you to “snap out of it” and move on with your life. They don’t understand how you feel, even though they mean well, and just want to see you smile again. As you know, it’s just not that easy. There are some things you have to do right away, but generally, don’t force yourself to do anything until you are good and ready. Make vital decisions now and wait to make other decisions. Do not let other people make decisions for you or rush you along.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
Our bereavement services in San Mateo and elsewhere can help you cope with the loss of your spouse after being in hospice for so long. We will guide you on where to go next, what to do, and how to deal with your loss in a healthy way. To learn about our grief counseling and support groups, contact us today at 888-978-1306.