But what happens when you give yourself time to heal, and find someone else to share your life with?
Yesterday, brave Redditors flocked to the social media platform to share their difficult stories, each vocalising one consistent truth: it is bittersweet.
‘Cancer wasn’t part of the plan.’
“I married my college sweetheart,” writes ‘ShineBrine’. “We bought a house, made plans, didn’t include cancer in that plan, and I lost her after six years of marriage, and an additional nine years of being pals, friends, best friends then dating.”
But three years later, the anonymous man came across someone “amazing, smart, witty, resourceful, beautiful and passionate”. They married a year later.
That was 14 years ago. While the Redditor still feels the pain of losing his first wife, he says it’s not in a debilitating way as it once was. The grief is something his wife might not understand, but respects.
"My wife appreciates that my first wife was part of what moulded me into the person I am today," he added.
"But both of our lives are better together and better because of where we each came from. It's a beautiful thing."
"And somehow I know that my first wife would have been really good friends with my wife if she had known her."
'My partner tries to understand, but he can't.'
For 'PearlRedwood', it took a few years to recover from the loss of her husband, who died in 2012.
"It was hard," she wrote. "But eventually I moved to a new city, found a job and made a new life. I'm 33 now and I live with my SO, we're not married but talking about it."
Still, PearlRedwood thinks about her husband daily.
"I miss him. I love him," she explained. "My SO tries to understand but he can't, which is OK. He doesn't like talking about past and likes focusing on the future. That's why I keep my past to myself but I also keep it close."
"The hard truth is, I think I will never be as happy as I once was. And that's also OK, because I am happy, just not so young or naive to think that things can't fall apart in split second. It's bittersweet, because there's always a bit of pain there too."
'I still can't talk about it.'
For 'MadPainter', the pain of losing his wife of 29 years to a sudden heart attack was so intense, he can't describe the loss.
"I still can't talk much about it," he wrote. "Even typing this is emotional."
"I remarried after about two years and I have been married now for 12 years, so I guess my natural state is to be married. I don't talk about my first wife, or even talk about anything about that past life. I explained what happened when I first met my second wife, but I sensed as time went on, she felt she might not measure up since I clearly idolised my first wife, so I just put it all inside and that's where it stays. In a box inside me."
The seven stages of grief on The Well.
If you're wondering what that pain feels like, MadPainter provided a beautiful, shattering description of how he feels about losing the love of his life:
"Sometimes the grief just comes out. In the first five years or so after my wife's death, it came out a lot. Not so much anymore, but it still does and you never know when it will happen. It's sort like a wave at the beach. You are standing in shallow water, and something happens, a sight, a sound, a song, a smell, and you suddenly recall, and then without warning a giant wave of grief just comes at you and knocks you down. You try to get up, and another knocks you down. Finally you stand, and everybody is acting normal, but for you the world looks wrong. It takes a long time to get back."
Have you lost a partner? Let us know your experience in the comments below...