You can feel that you have lost a part of yourself as well as your partner, and be grieving that part of yourself that you feel will never be the same again.
This resource has been designed to help you understand and care for yourself as you grieve. It was developed by the Canadian Virtual Hospice in collaboration with national grief specialists and people who have grieved the death of their husband, wife, or partner. We are grateful to those who shared their wisdom and experiences.
About this resource: When Your Husband, Wife, or Partner Has Died
The death of your spouse or partner can change the way you see yourself as well as how others see you. The shift from being part of a couple to being a single person takes time and effort as you and others in your life adjust to many losses, including changing roles and relationships. Although your spouse or partner is no longer physically present, you can continue to have a connection with them. In this way, you can carry forward memories and experiences from your past into your future. During this time, you may experience a range of thoughts and feelings that can change as time passes.
This resource has been written primarily for people who were living with their partner when they died. It may still be useful for if you and your partner were living separately at the time of their death, or if you were separated or divorced. You may want to also visit another of our resources, called Unrecognized Grief.
We recommend that you review the nine Grief Basics modules found on our MyGrief.ca site:
As you read through this information…
You might be reading this shortly after your spouse or partner died, or sometime down the road. We encourage you to revisit these resources often as you may only be able to absorb so much at any one time. What you find helpful may change over time. You might recognize your experiences or find that some of them aren’t reflected here. If there is content you believe should be added, please tell us about it in the survey at the end.
As you read this, you may have strong emotions or feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to step away from it for a while, or it might help to talk with a trusted family member or friend. Canadian Virtual Hospice provides online Discussion Forums where you can connect with others who may have experienced similar losses. You can also ask our healthcare team a confidential question at Ask a Professional. You will receive a written response within three business days (not including Canadian statutory holidays).
A note about language
In this module, the terms “partner” and “spouse” are used inclusively refer to people who are married, who are common-law, who are life partners and people who have chosen to make their life together. The terms partner and spouse are used interchangeably throughout.