“Finding Comfort at the Loss of a Spouse,” Ensign, July 2006, 73
After 32 years of marriage, my husband, Clyn, passed away following a short illness. Even with faith in the eternal marriage covenant and gospel plan, the ensuing years have been painful and lonely. However, I have found comfort and strength through some things we did before we knew of my husband’s illness and some that I have done following his death.
Before a Spouse’s Death:
Discuss together the “what-ifs.” “If I were to die, I would want you to …” “I would want you to remember and know …” Talking about such things openly before emergencies arise provides great comfort later.
Build fond memories. Live in a loving, warm relationship, spending happy time together. Don’t postpone experiences but enjoy them throughout your marriage. Preserve journal entries and photos of these special occasions.
Record your thoughts and feelings. My husband’s love expressed in letters to me, his testimony written in talks, and his goals and desires for our family recorded in other documents bring me great comfort and assurance. Musical recordings of his performances, which are deep expressions of his soul, are priceless.
Learn to be self-reliant. Along with strengthening marital unity, make sure that both of you have participated in each other’s usual responsibilities at home and know names and phone numbers of people to contact for help.
After a Spouse’s Death:
Plan a daily schedule. Keeping busy can be an important way of dealing with loss. Before retiring at night, I organize my schedule for the following day, a practice that helps me arise each morning with a sense of purpose and renewed courage.
Participate in public settings. It can be helpful after a spouse’s death to return to group settings as soon as you can. The support and love of others are essential as one attempts to build a new life.
Increase your faith. Savoring the words of prophets and attending the temple frequently, accompanied with earnest prayer, have strengthened my faith and courage and have made my loved one seem closer in spirit.
Marilyn Barrus, Utah