Updated: Jun 19, 2019
The loss of a loved one is the most stressful event you’ll experience in your life, which is why it’s so important to take care of yourself during this difficult time. While you should avoid making major decisions for the first year after your spouse’s death, there are some things you’ll need to take care of right away:
Life Insurance: Making a claim to your spouse’s life insurance is the first thing you should do, so that you’ll have money for funeral expenses, legal fees, as well as your own living expenses.
Funeral Arrangements: Your friends and family will offer to be involved with arrangements. Consider allowing them to help.
Pay Attention to Your Health: The first few months without your spouse are the hardest on your physical health. Try to keep eating healthy food and to exercise.
The financial decisions that you will have to make very much depend on your personal circumstances. You should use both a lawyer and an accountant as advisors on every financial decision. Don’t rush into anything you’ll later regret.
Update policies: Your life insurance and other policies may currently list your spouse as a beneficiary. Update them as soon as you can to help give your family peace of mind. Remember to update your emergency contact information too.
Change names: Your accounts and assets may be partially or completely in your spouse’s name. Talk to a lawyer and accountant before making any changes and ask about potential tax ramifications.
Cancellations: Your spouse likely had memberships and subscriptions that you won’t use. Prevent incurring charges by canceling these as soon as you can.
Consider Your House
Many widows rush into selling their home, thinking it will help them grieve. However, many regret this decision later.
Hold onto your home for at least a year after you’ve lost your spouse. If it is too painful to live there, stay with friends or family.
If you’re struggling to afford your home by yourself, consider homesharing to help you pay the bills. You don’t have to have a separate living space for a housemate. With homesharing your housemate pays regular rent and shares common living spaces like your kitchen.
Interested in homesharing but not up to the hassle of finding the right housemate? At HomeShare Alliance we take care of everything so you can focus on your health.
Navigate Changing Relationships
As the person closest to your spouse, their loss will affect you the deepest. But, those around you will also be affected, and it’s normal for your relationship with them to be strained or strengthened during this time.
Don’t Retreat: During the first few months, you will receive many offers of support and expressions of condolences. It can be overwhelming, but try to accept help wherever you can.
Let Go of Some People: Some friends will eventually distance themselves from you. This can be a painful experience many widows are unprepared for, but try not to hold on to the pain this can bring. Let it go.
Reach Out: As time goes on, offers of support will become less frequent. That’s not because people do not want to support you, but because they don’t want to upset you by reminding you of your spouse’s death. Reach out when you need help, or need to talk.
Tips to Move Forward
Get Help: Grieving for your spouse is a long and difficult process. Every widow can benefit from regularly seeing a therapist or meeting with their spiritual advisor for support and guidance.
Maintain Your Social Life: Did you know that 30 percent of women feel that loneliness is the hardest thing to deal with when they lose a spouse? Spend time with friends and develop new relationships to expand your social circle. Homesharing is an excellent solution for anyone experiencing loneliness at home.
Explore New Experiences: Visiting new places and trying new hobbies can help you find joy and meaning again.
The team at HomeShare Alliance specializes in creative solutions to help widows overcome the financial and social barriers of loss. Contact our HomeShare advisors to learn more about the social and financial benefits of homesharing.