Brenda Lyle – Florida Today

Q: I’m lost. How do I start over after my wife’s death?

A: Losing a spouse can be one of the most devastating experiences in life. The unique journey is often accompanied by a sense of loss that can be overwhelming. In addition to leaving a hole in your heart, the sudden absence of a loved one can disrupt longstanding routines and a change in financial circumstances– which can create further turmoil for the surviving spouse.


The Emotional Rollercoaster

When a spouse passes away, it is common to experience a wide range of emotions. The stages of grief, as identified by psychologist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, often include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally– acceptance. These stages can come and go in unexpected waves, making the process difficult to navigate. Allow yourself to cry, express your emotions, and process your grief in your own way. There are no time limits or “right or wrong” way to grieve.


Money matters

No one wants to deal with a financial crisis in the middle of grief. Yet quite often, the passing of the spouse who “managed everything,” leaves the surviving spouse unable to manage his or her finances. Sometimes a significant source of income is also lost with the death of a spouse. Please, if you’re reading this column, talk about (and plan for) financial scenarios– before they happen. Be ready to take over when necessary. Create a budget that accounts for the death of a spouse and discuss the ways the loss of income can be managed.


Build a support network

Surround yourself with loved ones, friends, or support groups who can lend a listening ear and provide the comfort you need. Don’t bottle things up inside. Sharing your feelings and experiences can help you process complex emotions and gain perspective.


Practice Self-Care

If ever there was a time to prioritize your own well-being — it’s now. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Exercise, meditation and spending time in nature can all be restorative and helpful in managing stress. Give yourself permission to enjoy something new. Whether it’s a fresh hobby or an old passion, finding purpose outside of grief can be healing.


Adapting to a New Normal

There is no timeline or one-size-fits-all approach for dealing with loss. However, as you pass through the stages of grief, you will slowly begin to adapt to a new normal. You are not alone on this journey. For help finding a grief counselor, grief support group or a compassionate listener, call One Senior Place in Viera at 321-751-6771.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.