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Surviving and Thriving After the Loss of a Spouse

This article is for all women who have lost, or anticipate losing, a husband. With loss comes grief. You grieve after the loss whether the death was through natural causes, an accident or suicide. You grieve whether he was a good mate, an alcoholic or a narcissistic abuser. His death was still a loss. […]

Rituals Help Us Deal with Loss

If we live long enough, we all have to face loss. There are two very different rituals for dealing with loss, one following the loss and one preceding the actual death. […]

After Marriage Failure: Could We Make It Work Again?

A reader wrote, “If my husband who has been gone for a year and is with another woman decided to… change his life around and come back to his family, do you think we could ever make it work again. I ask this because I ponder why you never tried to correct your previous relationship and I wonder why.” This is an excellent question, albeit with a personal twist. In the extreme, I’ve seen couples divorce, remarry, lose their new spouse through divorce or death, and then connect with their former spouse and remarry. This is usually over an extended period of time, not a year or two. In another case a couple split up and lived in separate cities without contact, except through their adult children. With one party always wanting to get back together and therefore never dating others, they finally did reconnect after several years and have been together ever since. So the short answer to your question is that it is possible. One of the more difficult issues to overcome, however, is that of trust. Would you be able to trust him again? Without professional help — and sometimes even with it — inability to trust can linger for years and is a major relationship killer. A Personal Perspective Six weeks after my former spouse said to me “Our marriage is better than it’s ever been,” she told me by telephone she was splitting. (She already had an apartment in another city.) I was devastated. When within a few days my grief had deepened to the point of my feeling suicidal, I got professional help with my grief. I begged her to come back, but the answer was always no. Then finally she agreed to come back but it would take a couple of weeks to tie up some loose ends where she lived. I was elated, but as the date approached, my stomach started to get tied up in knots. I realized I had grieved her loss and had moved on emotionally. I couldn’t trust her to not leave again. I had long since learned to trust my instincts, so I said no. We divorced and had no contact for a number of years. We both remarried. Now we are good friends. Back to your question about whether you could ever make your marriage work again. What he says he will do doesn’t count for much. It’s what he has done that counts. When your husband has left the other woman and has turned his life around (with or without professional help), when the two of you are enjoying one another’s company and are at ease with each other again, then it’s time to consider reestablishing the marriage. […]

The Natural Flow of Life… and Death

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We grow up with the conventional thinking that we will become adults and our parents will grow old and die before we do. Furthermore, our children will grow up to be adults and we will predecease them in old age. Fortunately for most, the flow of life and death follows that pattern. But for some, the sequence and timing get messed up and it takes an emotional and behavioral toll. […]

Dealing with Grief during the Christmas Holidays

woman in mourning

We think of the Christmas holidays as a time of joy and celebration, a time of giving and receiving, and above all, a family time. Unfortunately for lots of us, life intervenes and we find ourselves dealing with grief at the holidays. Many are entering the Christmas season with a keen awareness that one or more of their family will be missing, whether by death, divorce or circumstance. So the question is this: is there a way to enjoy the holiday season while dealing with grief? […]