I am a nurse and have seen death up close and then it happened my husband of eight years died last year. We had a great life together but he was a lover of life and a generous man. I know that he would not want me to be lonely or sad as he was my cheerleader! Dave there is no one correct way to respond to loss. While there are some common processes that people must undergo to learn to live healthfully with a major loss, everyone will go about these in their unique fashion. Be careful about comparing your experiences with those of others. Remembering that this is a process and not a state you will stay stuck in, give yourself permission to express your reactions in ways that work for you. Give yourself permission to live and to be loved. People say I am sorry for your loss and I thank them but I know in my heart my husband in in purgatory praying for me to find a partner so that we can help each other to heaven by loving again. I in turn I am praying for his soul so that he can be cleansed and be with our Lord that is the greatest expression of love.
God Bless you in your time of hurting may you find someone you can share your life.
What you say is true. Mental health experts have categorized the different stages of grieving, but acknowledge that they don't occur in the same order, nor do they occur the same way in each individual. As with so many situations, there are "events" that are life-altering. These events can occur in a fraction of a second. Dealing with them afterward is a process, as you said.
As a nurse you've dealt with the losses of many, and I'm sure the impact has been felt. It's much different when it happens to you, as you've undoubtedly discovered.
Another thought you brought out is that although something has been taken away, you may have received an even greater "gift" from above -- having a spouse in the spiritual world (purgatory, or heaven by now) to look after you. A person's physical presence isn't there, but the memories remain.
No one can take those away from you.