Hi @PeteM, welcome to the Griefline forums. Our hearts go out to you for the recent loss of your dear wife. The pain and distress you describe including sleeplessness, loneliness and being constantly triggered are the hallmarks of grief which though so very distressing, are a natural response to such a monumental loss.
You ask about stopping yourself from ending up in a mess and we’re wondering if perhaps you’re asking a little too much of yourself? After suffering such a loss, please give yourself time… and don’t expect too much. You have every right to cry, feel overwhelmed… and get really messy right now.
And although it may seem impossible to do at times, sitting in those feelings, even if momentarily, can lead to processing the grief. When you feel up to it, you can even try identifying the feelings and writing them down – both the good and bad. This way you will get to know your grief and start to process it. You’ll come to understand the worst triggers and the things that help you out of the ‘mess’. Over time you can start to remove or manage the triggers and engage more with the things that are helpful – whether it’s calling a friend, picking up a photo of your wife, taking a walk, journalling, whatever works for you. If you need ideas for coping strategies this list from the Griefline resource hub might be a good place to start.
You mentioned the pain that came with finding the shopping list from your wife. It might be helpful to recognise the poignancy of these simple everyday items by including them in a kind of memorial to your wife. It’s part of ‘continuing bonds’ – a proven coping strategy for grief. Some people create a ‘shrine’ of sorts with photos and other special items, or it might be a memento box or even a facebook page celebrating her life with friends and family, where you an upload a picture of the shopping list etc. It’s whatever works for you.
With regards to having difficulty sleeping, you might like to try some of the mindfulness exercises from the Griefline resource hub. There is a sleep story and also a reading to direct your mind to positive experiences, allowing you to step out of your distress even if momentarily.
We hope that you find some of these coping strategies useful. We are here for you as you embark on this difficult journey and hope that you’ll continue to reach out and let us know how you’re going. 🌸