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Visiting Familiar Places After Your Wife, Husband, or Partner Dies

When you were a couple or part of a family, chances are that you had a favorite restaurant, wonderful memories of places that you visited, and local shops that you went to regularly. Going to these locations alone now might be comforting, but in many cases, it can cause emotional stress that you hadn’t anticipated.

Be prepared for an unexpected reaction when you initially return to these places on your own. It may take time before you feel at ease in these settings.

Before Paul, my late husband, had been diagnosed with cancer, I remember our routine of going to the grocery store together after breakfast on Saturday mornings. At the time we had this weekly errand, I never thought of the experience of trudging through a grocery store as one that was particularly bonding or fun. It was just another chore to do on my day off from work. I went because he wanted me to join him, even though it always took twice as long when we did this together as when I shopped alone.

It wasn’t until he died that I realized how much I missed our trips to the store. About two weeks after his death, I walked into the store with tears in my eyes, knowing that this simple routine would never be the same. I thought of all the times I grudgingly joined Paul, and I wished I had appreciated our time together. It was so lonely walking into that familiar place without him.

As I moved my cart down one of the aisles, I heard a couple fighting. I walked over to them and said, “Are you married?” When the wife answered yes, I looked this stranger in the eyes and said, “Both of you should stop fighting and hug instead. Be grateful that you have each other. I used to come shopping here every week with my husband, but I can’t do that anymore because he just

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