It’s hard to know what to say because everyone’s loss is different and certainly unique to them. What I did offer was something was this:
Imagine your wife is still checking up on you every day – and try to honor what she would have wished for you by living your life in ways that would make her proud of you. In other words, her voice will always be in your heart, and it will help to listen to it.
We talked for nearly half an hour and eventually he started smiling with the thought that his wife “would be scolding him just about now”. I mentioned that being connected with folks is one of the best medicines available and just look what we had accomplished in less than an hour.
After several major strokes, my dad ended up in a VA nursing facility and when I would take the kids to visit, we would often see him by himself in a room endlessly tracing the border of the tray on his geriatric chair. The way his mind had been reduced prevented him from much real interaction and it always broke my heart to walk into that room and see lonely like that – this man who was a painter, teacher, artist and my father.