McDowell Technical Community College


Yancey County Hospice

Grieving the Loss of a Spouse

By Jacob Willis

Yancey County

More than your children, parents, or friends, your spouse knows you more intimately than anyone.  You share in life’s ups and downs, the ebb and flow of life takes you on a journey as one.  That’s why the Bible says, “The two shall become one flesh”.  It is a relationship like no other.  When marriage is good there is nothing else like it.  People who got married in High School and have lived together their whole lives should be thankful.  People who are divorced and remarried know this is a second chance on what God established as the most holy of endeavors.  Marriage is the first institution of God before the Nation of Israel, before the church, and before human government.  God knew Mankind should not be alone.  We need a partner, someone to navigate life with.  So what is to be done when the love of your life passes away?

First of all it is of the utmost importance to work our way through it.  You don’t get over it, because unlike any other loss,  a part of you has died.  A part that this side of eternity you can never get back.  “Letting patience have its perfect work. James 1:4” is the first step.   You are not going to get over it, but you will get through it with God’s help.  You may find in the first few months that even normal everyday life is difficult to navigate.  You have spent the majority of your life in many cases adjusting to and complimenting one another.  You became dependent on each other for certain things.  You consciously or subconsciously assigned certain household tasks to each other, and many tasks you did together.  Therefore, folding laundry, cutting the grass, paying the bills, and other simple things bring memories, challenges, and grief.  Be patient during these times.  Understand that grief is a marathon, a process, and if you patiently grieve you will be comforted Matthew 5:4.

Secondly, clean out the closet.  When you feel good and ready in a figurative sense begin to deal with your grief.  I will never forget the finality of them cleaning out my grandfather’s closet, gone were the things most associated with him.  Many of his clothes we gave away, others I kept and wore, others still yet we left in the back of the closet.  It is important that some painful memories we give away.  We give them to God and no longer carry them, because they don’t fit us or our loved one anymore.  God is the only one Big enough to handle some hurts, so give them to Him.  Some memories we need to share with others and give them away.  Certain treasures about people in your family need to be shared so that others can remember them.  Because, remember our loved one lives on through the positive ways they impact our lives.  This is to be shared and celebrated.  Then still there are other memories we keep to ourselves.  Intimate things you shared together as lovers, friends, and partners.  These are your treasures and no one else’s.   Unpacking all of this takes time, patience, and the Spirit of God to lead us to understanding and hope.

Finally, it is important for us to reinvent ourselves.  So much of us died with our spouse and it can be hard to find ourselves during this time, however, it is of great importance to do so.  We need to find out what life is now.  It is important by the leadership of the Holy Spirit to set goals, to remember and find new positive activities that you look forward to participating in.  Get involved in the lives of others, and this will help you positively progress through your grief.

God left you here for a purpose and remember, in losing your best friend here on earth, God is here to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  A friend who is acquainted with grief and sorrow.  When you take this hurt to Jesus you are taking it to someone who understands and loves you.

Jacob Willis is an ordained pastor and Bereavement Coordinator for Yancey County Hospice.  You may contact him at