Coping with the death of a spouse or a companion at any age is tough. But, it is more so in the old age. When still young, there may be many distractions like social interactions, job, family, friends, etc. as a way to cope with the loss and grief. If one is busy, one may easily find avenues to forget the sadness and also being young, there is always the societal pressure to move on as well.
However, in the older age, most often, it is the spouse who is the companion in most activities that one partakes in. The spouse may also be the one who looks out for you and vice versa. In fact, in many cases, if one spouse is immobile, the other may be fully involved in taking care as well. Thus, the loss of a spouse can suddenly bring in a huge vacuum in life that looms large in front of the surviving person. It is at such times that possibly, people slip into depression, lose interest in life, etc. Hence, it is at such times that people need the maximum support, cooperation, and understanding from people and family around.
While we all are aware that we will die someday, and the possibility is more so as we age, we are still not prepared to accept it, unless someone has some terminal disease. Hence, in the old age when one is bereaved, there is the possibility of an initial denial, then acceptance, and so on. While acceptance brings grief, it may also alongside, bring in a loss of interest in everything around, including living on.
People lose interest or forget to eat, may slip into depression, show some adverse behaviors, and may overall fail to take care of themselves or in some extreme cases, even harm themselves or commit suicide. Hence, it is important for the family to understand this, and help them to recover and lead a normal life. Most often, they may not say or show that they need help, care, and support, especially if they know that the family around has their own commitments to look into. Hence, it is up to the family members to observe, keep a watch and figure out if such people need help to cope with the loss and get back to normalcy.
While outside help is most often required, there are ways in which one can help oneself to cope with the loss of a partner. This help can be started even when the partner is alive. For example, it is essential to maintain a healthy social life and be active. Ensure to find and sustain likeminded people who can join in with you in activities like walks, yoga, laughter clubs, book clubs, travel, etc. These can act as your support group. When you are already having a social circle like this, it would be in many ways easier to continue doing what you were, even when your partner is no longer there.
If you were not doing any such activity earlier, you could choose to start as well, once your partner is no longer there. Being engaged can provide an outlet for the grief and also allow one to be busy and thus forget the same. Also, being involved in some social service kind of activity may the also provide great relief and happiness as well.
If you find that you are becoming forgetful and careless, after the loss of a loved one, then perhaps it’s best to be open about it and inform someone near that you need help to cope. It is not a sign of weakness and people around to have a responsibility to help you recover. There is no harm in being open about it, as it is something natural. Outside help can sometimes work wonders on the path to recovery.