Grief Guide: 6 Ways to Rebuild Your Life after the Death of Your Partner

Time heals all wounds.

Somebody may have said this to you after your partner or spouse died. While the sentiment was well-intentioned, you might have realized that it doesn’t ring true. Just waiting for the days to pass by isn’t going to make you feel better. However, what you do during your grief can make a big difference in your healing process. The National Institute on Aging1 shares some advice on how you can start to feel whole:

Nourish yourself

Some people lose interest in food while they’re grieving. If that’s how you feel, it’s important to remember that your body needs food to function — even if you don’t feel like it. Try to eat three healthy meals each day. Want some company? Ask a friend or family member to come over. Cooped up in the kitchen? Take a sandwich outside and eat it in a park. Don’t feel like cooking? Order take-out from your favorite restaurant.

Talk to friends and family

Your family and friends will take cues from you on if they should share memories about your spouse or partner. For example, they might not talk about your partner because they are afraid it could make you feel sad. But let your family and friends know that you want to talk. This is a wonderful way to heal and keep your partner’s memory alive.

Get connected to your religious or spiritual community

Many people lean on their faith during times of grief. You might find comfort in praying, talking to people in your religious organization, reading spiritual texts or listening to inspiring music. Many religious organizations stream their services online, if you prefer to listen at home.

Don’t forget about your doctor

You have to take care of yourself. This can be difficult, especially if you went to the doctor’s office with your partner. You should call your doctor’s office and let them know about your loss. If your partner was the one who would remind you to make your appointments or pick up your medication, make sure you have everything you need from your doctor to stay on track.

See a grief counselor

Tell your doctor if you’re having trouble with everyday activities, like getting dressed or making meals, says the National Institute on Aging2. They can refer you to a grief counselor, to help you work through your pain. You also might benefit from a grief support group. Religious groups, local hospitals, nursing homes or funeral homes might know where to find one.

Get your legal and financial paperwork organized

This can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if your partner was the one who mostly handled it. But now, you’re the one in charge. If you have a financial advisor or accountant, make an appointment to get your affairs in order. Talk to a lawyer about writing a new will or updating your advance care planning. Put all your joint property (like a house or car) in your name. See if you need to change your healthcare, life, car or homeowner’s insurance.

The loss of a spouse or partner can make you feel lost. But with proper support and care, you can start to re-build your life and find your way again.


  1. “Mourning the Death of a Spouse,” National Institute on Aging, June 10, 2022,
  2. “Mourning the Death of a Spouse”