Quora Question: How do I cope with the death of my ex husband? He died 5 years ago shortly after we got a divorce.”

The sadness of losing someone you love, or loved, never goes away completely, but it typically doesn’t remain center stage after five years. Being preoccupied to the extent it disrupts your daily routine or undermines other relationships is referred to as “complicated grief.” So what’s the complication? Your experience of death and divorce appear to be closely related, both in time and probably in raw emotion. How traumatic was your divorce, or for that matter you marriage? It’s rare when divorcing couple’s don’t harbor resentment for each other, or worse. Did the uninvited thought, “I wish he were dead?” ever cross your mind? Or perhaps you felt you didn’t “try hard enough” to save the marriage, that it was somehow, primarily your “fault.” Either way, your bereavement may be overcompensation for feelings of guilt. If wishing for the demise of an ex-spouse (or current) had effect, a third of the population would likely disappear. Thoughts have the power to kill peace of mind, not other people. Or perhaps there was a lot said in the months prior to his death that you wish were unspoken, or words you wanted to share that were never said. Unfinished business, complicating grief.

Try this. Write your ex a letter. Picture him in front of you. Tell him your thoughts and feelings. What do you miss about him, what DON’T you miss? Apologize or confront. Be honest. Don’t share what you think you SHOULD say but how you. really feel. If you want to mail the letter, burn it and scatter the ashes.

If you’re still struggling to cope, try joining a support group. Or find a professional grief counselor or therapist to discuss how to turn the page.