Module summary


I've been there
Bonnie shares about living with loss. (3:22)

I have moved forward – I haven't “moved on.” The difference is that moving on means forgetting, while moving forward means taking the experience with you, learning from it.

When your partner has died, you experience a major shift from being part of a couple to being a single person. This is a big change, involving your identity, roles, and relationships. In your grief, you may notice just how many losses you are experiencing. These will reflect the unique nature of the relationship you had. Recognizing your losses is an important first step toward responding to them and finding healthy ways to live with them as you move forward in your life.

The death of a spouse usually affects your other relationships with family and friends. They, too, must adjust to this loss and to you as a single person. Because not everyone grieves in the same way or on the same timeline, there may be times when you feel “out of sync” or alone. Patience and honest communication may be needed by everyone.

Although your partner has died and is no longer physically present in your life, it’s still possible for you to have a relationship with them. You may have intuitively known this but wondered if it was normal, and indeed, it is. One of the ways you can move forward in a healthy way is by carrying what you value from this relationship with you. This might be memories or experiences that you cherish, or it might be what you have learned about yourself and other people, which will inform your future relationships.

There may come a time when you feel you want to find a new spouse. This can be both a scary and exciting time. It doesn’t mean you are trying to forget your partner who has died or that your grief is “over.” Instead, it can mean that you are working toward a life that includes and is supported by your memories of them. You can hold contradictory feelings, such as sorrow and joy, and you can both hold on and let go.

Listen to your heart and do what works for you.