Losing your partner is one of the most traumatic things that can ever happen to anyone. It throws everything in your life upside down, and life will never be the same again.
“It may seem a bizarre analogy, but widowhood, when it happens, is not dissimilar to being caught in a bomb blast.”- Kate Boydell, Merry Widow website – her husband died when she was 33, leaving her to bring up two small children on her own.
The first few days and weeks pass by in a blur as you deal with the immediate aftermath of bereavement. Registering your partner’s death, organising the funeral., filling out endless paperwork, sorting out your partner’s belongings, if you feel up to it, and dealing with the grief and disbelief of other people too...
Although you probably won’t feel much like eating and sleeping at times, it’s important to make sure you look after yourself properly - and to make sure that you get a regular meal. If possible, arrange for friends to bring round ready-cooked meals that you can eat there and then, or put in the freezer for another day. You probably won’t feel much like shopping or cooking, so this is something practical that friends and family can do to help.
There will also be lots of other practical things that get neglected after your partner’s death. In her hugely practical book about bereavement, If There’s Anything I Can Do..., WAY’s former Chairman Caroline Doughty suggests writing a list of the most pressing things that need doing around your house - from mowing the lawn to fixing a puncture on your bike, from doing the ironing to unblocking the sink - then put the list on the fridge or somewhere visible for visitors to see. If they offer to help, they can choose something from the list.
Here are some other survival tips to help you get through the first weeks and months of bereavement: