Loneliness is the greatest challenge faced by survivors. When it comes to accepting and dealing with loss, each day presents its own challenge.
A simple everyday task can trigger the loneliness of loss. Loneliness is judged to be more difficult to endure than fatigue, anxiety and memory loss.
Indeed, the intensity of loneliness can be so severe that widows and widowers may experience illusions and hallucinations of the deceased. About a third tell their doctors they have seen, heard or even talked to their dead husband or wife. These experiences do not in any way indicate mental illness as it’s just their way of dealing with the loss of their loved ones.
The oldest widows and widowers have the most consistent improvement in their loneliness over time – they do this by relying on friends. I suspect that friends provide a respite from daily routines and an outlet for confiding thoughts and feelings.
People who can talk about their worries and fears with friends are better able to deal with the challenges of loneliness.