Chapter 2: What may be different about your grief

When “we” becomes “I”

I've been there
Bonnie talks about losing part of her identity when her husband died. (3:22)Video transcript
Dianne describes the impact of her husband's death. (3:22)Video transcript

It is not just about “we versus I.” It is also about grieving the person you used to be – not only part of a couple but a happy, confident, loved person.

A lot of the time when we were together, I felt there was a bit too much “we.” I wanted more time to myself. Now that he’s gone, I’m surprised by how lost I feel.

When you commit to another human being, you enter into and contribute to a union. In addition to your own identity, a second identity as part of a couple begins to form. Perhaps you and your spouse referred to each other as my “other” or “better” half, or “my life partner”; or you may have talked of “completing” each other.

Even if your relationship was troubled, when your partner dies, the shift from “we” to “I” can be very difficult. This new “I” is not the same as the old one. You may find yourself re-examining your sense of self and asking questions like, “Who am I now?” or “What is it that I want or like?”

Helpful resources - Module 3 - How has this loss affected my family and me, Chapter 1 - What did this relationship mean to me? - Module 6 - Managing difficult situations, Chapter 3 - Living without my partner