Grief in response to the death of a loved one—or even an enemy—is specific to the individual who has died and to the survivor. There always seems to be some element of disbelief, even if the deceased has suffered from a protracted illness. About spousal grief in the words of great writers…
Julian Barnes, Levels of Life (2014)
…you have never done this kind of work before. It is unpaid, and yet not voluntary; it is rigorous, yet there is no overseer; it is skilled, yet there is no apprenticeship. And it is hard to tell whether you are making progress; or what would help you do so.
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind.
My thoughts on this topic are unfinished. I have not lost a spouse to death. If you have, I hope you can relearn your world and recreate an identity.