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I lost my spouse to cancer a year ago. I thought would be doing better after a year. Any suggestions?

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Therapist Answer and Transcription

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Hey, thank you for asking your question here on brighter mornings. I’m Dr. Kevin Skinner. I know it’s not easy to reach out for support and help when you’ve when you’ve lost a loved one. So, I thank you for taking the time to, to ask your question and hopefully my response can give you some ideas on, on what to do. First your question your question has to do with,

I lost my spouse to cancer about a year ago. I thought a year later that I would be doing it better than I am. Do you have any suggestions for me?

First of all it’s been a year, and if it’s been a year, my experience is that about our year anniversary or during the anniversaries of when those things happen, where we lose our loved one. That time of the year, sometimes the sounds, the smells the day, can drum up a whole lot of emotion and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re feeling more of those pains right now because the season is the season that you lost your spouse. And so that’s the first part that I would say to you is it’s often more intense feelings around seasons or times when you’ve lost your loved one. So that’s concept number one.

And the next part of it is, people often say, shouldn’t I be through this. And, actually my experience is that it’s actually not that you’re not going to be through this. That idea of being through something is just not fair to you and fair to people who’ve lost loved ones. The idea of just being through something it means we’re over it or done, it’s done. And, that relationship that you had with your spouse, it’s not something that we finish because they’re gone and they’ve passed on.

That’s not how this world works.

When you love somebody, those feelings are going to be with you and that’s going to bring pains, it’s going to bring hurt. And so it’s very important that you honor those feelings rather than feel like you’re not getting through this. And sometimes people feel like they have to get through it because others are putting pressure on them. It’s you got to be done with this. Move on, start doing X, Y, Z, and I think it’s very valuable for you to step back and honor, wherever you’re at, and the time it’s taking. Nevertheless, as you go through this, there’s maybe times where you think this is overwhelming me, this is too much. If you’re finding that, I think it would be very helpful for you to reach out to a professional and get support. Maybe attend a support group where you can talk with others who’ve lost loved ones and, hear their experiences. Because we know that in groups where people are talking openly, there’s great value in hearing and experiencing what others are going through as well and realizing that you’re not alone anyway. So I would suggest that if it’s, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, please do reach out to others, seek maybe a group support, I think that could be very valuable too.

And then the final part that I’d like to offer today, is because it’s been a year there’s some things as you go through this next year, I’ve actually told people this and they’ve found it helpful, maybe during a time, like now on the day that your spouse died, getting together with family and friends on that day and maybe what I had a friend do is actually get together with their children, spend time celebrating the life of your loved one who’s lost or gone. And, think about pictures and memories and share those memories in this celebration.

And I shared that with a friend and her children have done that and it’s been interesting that they get together and that day is a day where they support each other, strengthen each other. And think of their favorite memories with her lost dad.

That’s just a suggestion. At this time, I wish you the best and thank you for taking time to ask your question here on Brighter Mornings.

May you have Brighter Mornings as you go through this difficult time.

My thoughts are with you and thanks for your question.

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