Q: My husband died of lung cancer a little over a year ago. I lost my job. I’m back in school but I’m scraping my with B’s and I’m trying to be a decent mother but I know I’m letting everyone down. I had PTSD from abuse as a child. Now I think I have like double PTSD. I think about my husband constantly and just wish I could have my old life back. His death was so slow and awful. I can’t stop thinking about all the details. People think I should be over it by now. Should I be over it by now? How do I do that?
A: There is no certain time frame associated with grief. Everyone must do it in their own time in their own way. A year is not that long when you have lost your life partner. The person you spent everyday of your life with and planned to spend the rest of your life with. In addition, if you already have PTSD, a significant loss can most certainly kick up your symptoms. If you are not in therapy I highly recommend finding a good therapist. I would personally suggest considering a therapist who is trained in EMDR which is a great technique in dealing with trauma. I would also suggest finding a grief support group in your area. You don’t need to spend time worrying about what others think is normal or right for you, but you do need to spend time on nurturing yourself through this loss and finding other things to occupy some of your time. You really don’t want all your waking moments spent thinking about your husband’s illness and death, but some of that is to be expected. It’s always good to spend time with friends and family but to also make new friends and develop new hobbies. I am sorry for your loss and I hope the pain eases for you soon.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Apr 2007
Counts, H. (2007). Should I be over the loss of my husband by now?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/04/09/should-i-be-over-the-loss-of-my-husband-by-now/