When people think of the impact of losing a spouse — people on the outside of the situation, that is — they often think of realistic costs. If your spouse was the main breadwinner, how will you pay your bills? If your spouse took care of the home, do you now have to pay someone to do that? What medical bills did your spouse leave behind, and what did the funeral costs look like?

These are legitimate concerns, but it is also important to consider the emotional impact. It can change your life forever, as those on the inside of these situations know well.

For instance, one woman said she had never lived alone in her life. She lived with her parents, then moving into a dorm in college, and then lived in an apartment with five friends after college. When she got married, her and her spouse lived together for 40 years.

That’s when her husband passed away, and it was her first time being truly alone. She said it was overwhelming and that it was, emotionally speaking, the “lowest point in my life.” She had an intense craving for human companionship and felt like her life was empty without it.

She spiraled into apathy and depression. She had no interests. She cried every day. She didn’t even do simple things like cleaning the house. She could never get to sleep alone. In the end, she wound up in therapy.

That’s the type of impact that losing a spouse really has, and it can be devastating. After a loved one’s death, it’s important for family members to know all of their legal options.

Source: The Star Democrat, “Learning to live alone after losing a spouse,” Audrey Krienen, accessed May 18, 2018