Managing loss of a spouse - The Nation Online

Managing loss of a spouse

How soon after the death of a spouse is it considered appropriate to start dating? That is the question that often faces bereaved spouses.

While some people are stuck in the emotional quicksand, when a spouse dies and cannot adjust to life without them, others jump right into the dating pool in no time at all.

Should we grieve forever or mourning have a period?

After five years of her husband’s death in a traffic accident, 32-year-old Stella could still not get over it. In her mind, she replayed moments with him and as every year passed, the date of his death would bring fresh memories.

Marriage education and Research Network (Mern) executive director, Daniel Chibwana believes in such a case, it is clear that the woman was not assisted enough when the husband died.

“Firstly, she needs to seek professional help. In this particular case, she needs grief counselling. Counselling will assist her to accept that the man died and won’t come back. She needs to bury the past and accept her present scenario. She needs to break the soul ties between her and the late husband.

Should we grieve forever or mourning have a period?e

“She also needs to accept that she will live without him for the rest of her life. Her mind needs to be renewed and open to the ‘new her’. Only then can she open her heart to new love where she will live a new life of no comparison to the former,” he points out

The worst part was that even after attempting to move on and remarrying, Stella would constantly tell the new man of how much she loved her late husband and how she believes she would never find anyone like him.

That might seem like the new man is only a shadow of the late husband, says Chibwana, pointing out that doing that might tempt the new man to start cheating on her.

He suggests that the new husband must assist her in the healing process by looking for professional help and being supportive in the whole process.

“It’s hard, but with determination, she will be fine and create a better future with the new man,” he says.

Prophet Enock Kapira of Living Word Outreach Ministries emphasises the need to understand that when someone dies, there is a separation.

“When we get married, especially the holy matrimony where we make vows, we say until death sets us apart, meaning that death is a separator. No matter how much you love or are committed to the person, death comes in to separate the two of you.

The Bible clearly says there is no relationship between the living and the dead, so, it does not make sense to continue being connected to the one who died, no matter how much the widow or the widower loved their deceased spouse. Because even if they do that, the dead will not come back to life.

It will, actually, keep bringing pain and memories that will delay the person from moving forward,” says Kapira.

He advises that while the iron is still hot, the widow or widower needs to make it a point to move on.

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