Stay in contact with friends and family (don't try to tough this out
on your own).
Maintain your health.
Join a bereavement group.
Don't make any drastic lifestyle changes (selling the house and moving
to Tahiti sounds like a good idea until you've done it).
Answer all your sympathy notes, personally, by hand, even if it takes
months (it will help you more than it helps them).
Create a memorial: a gravestone, a dedicated object, a bequest - some
enduring physical presence.
Simplify your life.
Some have found that keeping a daily journal helps. (One widower we
know has filled up 12 legal size pads.) In addition to expressing your
thoughts, sorrow, anger, whatever, try writing down three things you are
Don't try to do this alone. Get together with family, friends, anyone,
preferably at their place, not yours. Better yet, meet somewhere totally
different. The memories may be too painful if you try to reproduce what
you used to do together.
Observe or skip whatever traditions you want, but memorialize your
loved one in
some way, even if you just light a candle.
Reward yourself afterwards - you made it!
Start a new tradition for yourself and your family/friends.
Rent funny movies.
Buy yourself a nice gift - something you always wanted but didn't want
to splurge on (but don't go overboard).
Stay busy. Find your passion and indulge it.
Seek out support of family and good friends.
If you find that you're losing the battle, see your doctor - there
have been some significant medical advances in treating depression.
Known as "survivor guilt" (Why am I alive and he's not?) This is very
common and very self-destructive.
Let it go. If you had left her a widow, would you have wanted her to
Give yourself permission to release the feeling of guilt.
These become intertwined with guilt (I could have been
nicer, more generous, less complaining about the small stuff)
Every long term relationship has good and bad times. (Josephine
thought Napoleon was away too much.) With an ongoing relationship, the
disagreements, misunderstandings, and petty peeves can always be worked
on. After death they can't. The memories of those bad times can live
Let them go.
Remember the good times. They are infinitely more important.