Death of a partner is something nobody can really prepare for.
Your partner is the one person you confided in; the person you shared inside jokes with; the person with whom you spent most of your time.
Losing a partner is like losing half of yourself.
While most of us understand that sorrow and sadness are part of loss, there’s one emotion that’s rarely talked about.
That emotion is loneliness.
How do you manage the loneliness? How do you begin to rebuild without the person who completed you?
Below are 5 tips to help.
Keep Yourself Busy
It sounds cliché, yet the age-old advice of keeping your mind busy is solid. Loneliness creeps in when you have nothing to occupy or distract your thoughts. By minimizing the time you’re alone with nothing to do, you’ll minimize the time you feel lonely.
That said, it’s impossible to keep busy all the time, and frankly, it’s unhealthy as well.
So live by the rule of saying “yes.” When a friend offers to take you for coffee, say, “Yes.”
When a family member invites you over for dinner, say, “Yes.”
When an opportunity to get out of the house arises, say, “Yes!”
Although you won’t always feel like it, most of the time, accepting an invitation is good for you.
Loneliness is normal
It’s good to distract your mind, yet important to remember that you need to embrace loneliness, too. The idea behind keeping yourself busy is to offer a short reprieve from the loneliness, not to forget about it. Not dealing with your grief is a slippery slope that can lead to a number of issues.
It’s vital to understand that loneliness is a normal emotion. Recognize that no matter how much time you spend around others, loneliness can still ensue, and that’s totally fine.
Allow yourself to remember
Your loneliness is a reminder of the wonderful relationship you shared with your partner. Celebration those memories with fondness.
Pushing memories to the back of your mind can backfire by negatively impacting you in in the future. It seems easier to not honor those memories, and that’s fine for a time. But in the long run, remembering the good times is important.
Turning painful memories into welcome reminders is hard at first, and may even seem counterintuitive. But by training your mind to turn negative feelings into positive moments of remembrance, you’ll begin to process the loss while keeping your partner’s memory alive in your heart.
Consider creating a dedicated space to celebrate the life of your partner. Many choose a memorial keepsake urn they can display prominently as a reminder that love lives on.
Don’t stop doing activities you enjoyed together
It may be tempting to stop the activities you once enjoyed together. This is completely normal. But doing so will help mitigate feelings of loneliness.
If your preferred activity was a group activity, that same group can be a circle of support. If you used to do things as a duo, adopt a friend who will enjoy it, too. Maybe your partner’s passion will live on in your friend.
Further, by continuing activities you once enjoyed with your partner, you’re likely to find others who share the same passion. The sense of belonging can be a wonderful remedy for loneliness.
This might bring up painful memories at first, but find peace in knowing that you’re continuing the rituals and traditions the two of you enjoyed.
Try things you didn’t do together
While you should continue to do things you did as a couple, it’s important to begin making your own way in the world. Exploring new passions or reigniting old ones not only will keep you busy, it will also help give you an identity of your own.
It might feel strange to start new hobbies and add new strings to your bow, but it’s important to note that companionship doesn’t mean completion.
Simply put, you are your own person; you are now, and you were when your partner was alive. You may not have embraced other passions before your partner passed, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t there.
If you’ve lost a partner, I offer my deepest condolences. Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things any person could face.
Just know that things will get better, allow yourself to grieve, and give yourself time to enjoy the sun again.
Nat Juchems is the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat helps those grieving the loss of a loved find the right memorial to cherish.
Before becoming the Marketing Director at Green Meadow Memorials, Nat worked for six years in the memorials ecommerce industry as a Marketing Director and Ecommerce Director, using his skill set to manage powerful paid search and organic search campaigns as well as implement merchandising strategies and manage the software development teams that made everything work.