Q. My husband died about five months ago and I think I should be feeling better by now, but honestly, I feel worse. Is there something wrong with me?

A.

Let me first begin by mentioning that there is nothing is “wrong” with you and what you are experiencing at the moment. This experience is normal and actually quite common. Many people with whom I have worked have indicated discovering themselves on an emotional roller coaster at times. People often believe that grief and the healing process manifests itself in a linear fashion. We assume that we simply move from one “stage” to another. The grief experience however is quite contrary to this perception. Remember that grief and healing is instead an evolving and dynamic process. Changes in how we feel physically, emotionally and spiritually are to be expected. There will be days in which you may feel good about yourself and life and conversely there will be days when you may feel everything around you has fallen apart. Our feelings and experiences are similar to the tides of the ocean; the tide flows in and the tide flows out. Keep in mind that everyone is different. People cope with loss and heal in their own way and in their own time.

Healing is not simply about picking up from where we left off as if nothing ever happened. Rather, it consists of an attempt to create legacy and keep the memory of our loved one alive. It is important to allow the process to be what it is and to allow yourself to be where you need to be. Try not to judge yourself nor be critical of your feelings and experience. Nurture your soul during this period and always reach out to those around you who are supportive and caring.

Engaging in individual bereavement counseling, participating in bereavement support groups and reading literature pertaining to loss, grief and healing can be exceedingly helpful in normalizing your experience and validating your feelings. It can also afford you a safe space to share your story so you may not feel so alone.

I would recommend reading these CancerCare fact sheets as they may be of benefit to you; Living with Grief: How Can You Help Yourself and Coping with the Loss of Your Partner or Spouse.