When a spouse passes away, especially if the death is sudden and unexpected — such as a car accident — it can impact you drastically and irreversibly. No one knows exactly how this is going to hit them until it happens. Remember that any reaction is fine; we all deal with it in different ways. Do not put expectations on yourself. Take the time to sort through your emotions with the support of friends and family.
At the same time, though, you should know if you are experiencing “a complicated grief.” This can drastically interfere with your life on many levels. You may not find yourself able to work. You may withdraw from your social circles. Even after a long time, the loss may feel all-consuming.
Signs of a complicated grief
Are you unsure if you are going through a complicated grief based on that description? To help, here are a few common signs:
- You never want to socialize. You spend too much time alone. You won’t go out with friends or people you loved and cared about before.
- You do not think you have any purpose. Your entire identity was tied up in your marriage and you often think that you don’t know what to do with your life now.
- You have thoughts about the end of your own life, perhaps wishing that you had passed away along with your spouse. If you ever feel like this, please talk to a therapist or a medical professional. There is help and support.
- You have trouble going through with everyday activities. Simple things like making meals and taking a shower feel overwhelming. You stop going to work and going to the store. You just have no motivation to do anything on your own.
- You blame yourself, even though you had nothing to do with the car accident, and you have endless feelings of incredible guilt. You can’t escape them, even when people tell you not to blame yourself.
These are just a few examples, and this often looks different for different people, but the general trend is similar. The death isn’t something you can move past. It doesn’t get better with time. It changes the way you act, think and feel. It consumes your entire life. You cannot think about anything else.
When this happens, it may lead to clear medical issues like depression or anxiety. You could even have post-traumatic stress disorder, especially if you were also involved in the accident. You may need assistance from doctors, therapists, medications and the like.
As such, it is critical for you to understand what rights you have to financial compensation for all of your costs.