How do you grieve an ex-spouse?

My first wife died several weeks ago. We have been married for almost thirty years, have four children and four grandchildren, and were divorced four years ago. Donna was sick for many years and her body finally gave out. As sad as she was, it was also a relief. As I like to say, the Angel of Death is not always an enemy, and in this case it was true. But as difficult as the last few years have been between us, his death created new and heartbreaking dilemmas for me and the children.

I know no one wants to talk about this, but with our national divorce rate rising, there are more “exes” in our society now than ever before, and they will eventually die. What should we feel when that happens? How will we mourn the spouses who once loved us and we love them? How can we reverently say goodbye to those with whom we made a life and sometimes children; Spouses with whom we had mutual friends, made memories, and shared life stories together? At the end of the relationship, maybe we weren’t in love anymore, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have deep emotions towards them. Love does not die when a divorce is granted.

The death of a “less than loved” is truly a double death. First, they died, and we are left with all the feelings associated with the death of anyone we knew and loved. But second, the possibility of healing the pain of the broken marriage is now also dead. We can no longer pretend that we can “make things right” with them, that time is up forever. Can we heal after his death? Yeah, but it’s a lot easier to do when they were alive. We face the death of the present and, moreover, the death of the future. It’s not easy at all, believe me.

So this double death now translates into numerous decisions to be made:

Do we attend the funeral or not?

If they didn’t want us to attend, do we do it anyway out of respect and the need to say goodbye? Or do we stay at home?

What do we tell our children, especially if their loyalties are divided between their parents?

How should we act to form in-laws?

How do friends comfort friends in this situation? What is the proper sympathy?

These are new questions for me. I made my decisions, just like you did in your situation. What is the right way?” I have no idea. All I know is that it hurts. I pray that Donna’s soul now rests in peace, with no more pain or suffering. She is gone, but those grievance issues will remain. with me for a long time.

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