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Struggling to cope after my wife [43] died recently.. Not sleeping, not coping..

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Home Forums Loss of a loved one Struggling to cope after my wife [43] died recently.. Not sleeping, not coping..

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  • #14491

    My wife died late January, and it’s still very raw. I wake up just about every morning at 3 or 4 am and shake my head hoping it’s a really bad dream then I have trouble getting back to sleep.I guess the frenzy of activity around the funeral has subsided and I feel incredibly lost and lonely now. I found a shopping list that she wrote in my pocket the other day and totally broke down. I’m just super sensitive now and trying to remain positive but it’s really hard work. Everything in the house, her clothes, her belongings, her shampoo and just about everything tend to trigger me.. how can I process these things and not end up in a mess?

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  • #14499

    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. 🌸


    thanks for this.. yesterday was a good day, today I’m a bit down, so hopefully tomorrow will be better again.. it’s a bit of a ride that I can’t predict when the ups and downs will be.. I just have to keep walking I guess! 🙂

    GL friend

    it feels like that way doesn’t it @PeteM i found this quote that struck me. i hope it helps you too

    Asking our emotions to stay predictable, easy, and flat in grief is like asking the ocean to be a smooth, glassy, back- yard pool. It’s just not possible. Can you imagine an ocean that didn’t roar and crash into the shore? It wouldn’t be an ocean, would it? We allow our humanness in grief by giving ourselves permission to experience our feelings in their fullness as they surface.
    -Shelby Forsythia


    Hi Pete, seeing your wife’s belongings can trigger a flood of memories. I lost my brother just 5 days ago, 9 Aug 2021. There is a kitchen knife that he used to use in the Hospitality class. It reminds me of him and it breaks me down in tears. There is no easy way to cope with it. We have to try one step at a time. Sometime we succeed in controlling our emotion, other times we just end up in poodle of mess. Do not hold back and cry all the tears. That is what I did in the last 4 days. Write a journal to put your emotion into words. There is no easy path. Each day is a struggle, we have to be patient. Only time can heal.

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