6-9 months after death what happens? If you’re dealing with the death of an ex spouse or partner this is usually the hardest time. Here are a few reasons why:
The initial shock has worn off
After death what happens? You made it through the initial news that your ex has passed away. You navigated the difficult decision whether or not you should attend the funeral of your ex. You made it through those difficult first three months after the loss of an ex. You even started making it through some of the first few holidays in the first six months after the passing of an ex.
Months 6-9 after the death of an ex for some reason hit our family so hard! I think part of it is that in the immediate aftermath of a death, all we felt was numb and in shock. We did not even have time to process what happened before we were bombarded with funerals, legal paperwork, and other practicalities. It feels like during the 6-9 month mark whatever bits of adrenaline you are running on to get through those first six months are now gone.
You’re starting to feel more alone
This definetely feels so true for our family as we look back on that time. This was the time we REALLY needed help. As a parent, these were the times that I could really see my kids struggling. I could remember reaching out to extended family or friends for help and it just felt like doors kept closing. I was pushing so hard to help the kids and I just didn’t have a lot of energy left. They struggled so much these months and I often went to the shower to cry so they couldn’t hear me (confession: they heard me!)
In the early days after my exes death, we were surrounded by friends and family who were offering their support. But during these months, people start to move on with their lives. While I was angry on one hand I also had to realize that my extended family were also focusing on their own grief. And because of some of the decisions my ex made prior to him passing, there were some huge fractures that were left for my ex husbands family and I to get through on top of the grieving process.
The Kids are Dealing too
I was mostly angry for my kids. Why couldn’t people see that they needed help and I couldn’t do it all? Why hadn’t my ex done the things he needed to like taking care of himself so he could be with his kids? All the doctors visits we went to where the doctor asked him why he wasn’t caring for himself. I was angry at him. Didn’t you care?? Why did he choose to make decisions that destroyed our family? Why did always wait until the 11th hour to finally try to get it together? Why did you leave our kids hurting like this? How was I supposed to help them? And help them alone?
You’re starting to miss your ex more
In the beginning, you may be too busy dealing with the practicalities of death to really think about your ex. But as time goes on, you have more time to reflect on your relationship.
In my situation, building on that anger I was feeling was also the fear of wondering if my kids were going to make it through these months (and how long it would last). I was feeling like there weren’t a lot of people around me who had gone through what I was going through. On top of being livid at my ex I did start to miss him too. My ex and I had many good times. But my ex also had some major physical struggles and mental health struggles.
The last few years of his life he was making choices that were negatively impacting our relationship, our family and him. But there were times he was able to clearly give me some help or advice with the kids. These were (and are!) some of the things I miss. Only he and I can ever know our children like we do. I will never lie that even know when I hear my husband and his ex talk about their daughter, my heart just hurts to not have that same help. Especially during those times I don’t know what to say or how to help my kids through a difficult moment.
You’re starting to feel guilty
The kids also started having questions about their Dad. They were trying to piece together some of the things he had done prior to their death and it always felt like each of us was riding our own rollercoaster of emotions. I would get snapped at by the kids. I would find myself edgier with them. I would cry a lot. They would cry a lot. They would push me and others away and then want to have someone there for them. I would do the same. It never felt like any of us were on the same page at anytime!
When my ex died, I felt guilty that the kids and I left things so unresolved with their Dad. That things had continued to spiral out of control while trying to make decisions to get them back into control.
I think It’s important to remember that guilt is a normal part of the grieving process and It’s okay to feel guilty. But I’ve also cautioned myself and the kids that we can easily become fixated on this part forever if we let it because it’s the part we don’t have all the answers to and never will. In some way you have to allow that part to go because you have to accept you never will have all the answers as to why.
Helping Yourself and Others
Looking back, these were the most critical months in our healing process. If you are going through these months I want to just send out a big hug to you right now.
Here are a few things you can do to help yourself
- Talk to someone you trust. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or grief counselor can help you process your grief and feel less alone.
- Join a support group. There are many support groups available for people who have lost loved ones. These groups can provide a safe space to share your experiences and connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Taking care of your physical health will help you cope with the emotional stress of grief.
- Allow yourself to grieve. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Don’t try to bottle up your emotions or pretend that you’re not hurting. Give yourself time to feel what you need to feel.
And above all remember, you are NOT alone!