Editorial: Seeking coping advice on death of spouse

  • Simple math suggests that roughly one out of every two of us will suffer the loss of our life partner. How do we prepare ourselves?

    Simple math suggests that roughly one out of every two of us will suffer the loss of our life partner. How do we prepare ourselves? THINKSTOCK PHOTO

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 8/14/2017 12:24 PM

Simple math suggests that roughly one out of every two of us will suffer the loss of our spouse, our life partner.

This reality is all but assured.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And yet, most of us arrive at that point unprepared for such grief.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer who headlined the annual Willow Creek Leadership Summit in South Barrington last week, describes that loss as "a vast emptiness that fills your heart and lungs and restricts your ability to think or even breathe."

Her husband, Dave Goldberg, died while exercising on vacation two years ago. He, as was she, was a Silicon Valley giant. He founded LAUNCH Media and had been chief executive officer of Survey Monkey. He was 47. They were living the big life.

And then, from out of the blue: Death.

In Option B, the newly released book Sandberg co-authored with Wharton psychologist Adam Grant, she said, "It felt like the grief would never subside. The waves would continue to crash over me until I was no longer standing, no longer myself."

Simple math suggests that roughly one out of every two of us will suffer the loss of our spouse, our life partner. And yet, most of us arrive at that point unprepared.

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How do we prepare ourselves?

How do we help prepare our loved ones?

There are no simple answers to those questions. Different people handle things differently, heal and recover at different paces and in different ways.

We've got a friend who doesn't want to be described as a widow. She wants to be a wife. Is that touching? Or does it prolong her pain? In real ways, after all, she is both.

We've got another friend who responds to this loss by keeping himself incessantly busy. And another who never goes out at all.

How do we prepare ourselves?

How do we help prepare our loved ones?

On a personal level as mortals, we want to find the answers to these questions. As a newspaper, we want to seek and share them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

An obvious place to look for answers is with those who've already experienced this loss.

If you have lost a spouse, a life partner, write to let us know what you've learned.

Email us at spouse@dailyherald.com or write us at Daily Herald, Newsroom -- Spouse, PO Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006.

Tell us what helped you work through your grief. And tell us about that special person you lost. Include your name and address and a way for us to contact you.

We'll share these experiences. Or at least as many as we can. We'll share these life lessons and these love stories.

Simple math suggests that roughly one out of every two of us will suffer the loss of our spouse, our life partner. Let's help each other bear that tender passage.

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