how to cope with the usual at an unusual time

Daily life is full of things that go wrong or break down.

The refrigerator goes on the blink.

The car needs new brakes.

Or the plumbing creates a disaster.

Some of these problems may have been neglected during your late spouse/partner’s illness, but now demand your attention. Having to deal with these headaches while you’re grieving can feel overwhelming. Before you give up in despair, try these strategies:

1)Prioritize. Which tasks are most urgent? What can wait a while?
2)Get support. Although you may be very capable under normal circumstances, this is not a “normal” time for you. For now, it’s okay to ask family, friends and neighbors for assistance.
3)Give yourself permission to make a mistake. If you later find that you didn’t make the best decision to solve a problem, be kind to yourself.

Remind yourself that you’re going through one of life’s most stressful experiences. At least you did something to handle a problem.

Remember: For now, your usual coping abilities are not working as they used to. This is only temporary! You will get better.


Anonymous said...

I still find this very overwhelming. My husband took care of all those things, car maintenance, appliance malfunctions, etc. But you adapt. My neighbors have been very helpful and supportive. I use whatever resources I can find to help me and it is just part of the process of creating your new "normal". I was so proud of myself the first time I had my oil changed without anyone reminding me!

Laurie & Ruth said...

Thanks for sharing your success at mastering something your husband used to take care of. We're proud of you, too!

Unknown said...

I just recently lost my fiancé on 4/13/2017. It was an unexpected death and now life seems to stand still. I'm lost without him. We were suppose to get married on 10/30/2017. I just don't know how to stop the hurt and start healing. I feel so alone. I'm 40yrs old and been through 2 bad relationships with 3 kids. I finally found someone that I wanted to share the rest of my life with and then I lose him. I don't understand why this is happening.

Laurie and Ruth said...


Please give yourself much more time to just take in what's happened. You raise some very important issues about trying to make sense of this loss and trying to move past the pain.

Keep in mind that in addition to losing this special person, you're grieving all the plans and dreams you shared.

Mourning a death, especially an unexpected one, is a process that needs to be respected, and given as much time as necessary. The pain is still very new and intense and can be frightening, but will soften with time. For now,consider checking out GriefNet.org, for online support groups for younger survivors. They also have an online site for kids (who show grief differently than adults).

Whatever you do, don't make any big decisions for at least a year. And please get some emotional support your yourself & your kids.