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Adjusting to Life as a Widow

Your worst fears have just came true – you are now a widow,  single and very much alone. Although you have friends, family and children around offering you constant support, you feel stranded, confused, hurt and afraid. You are starting to ask the questions you never thought you’d have to say. What becomes of life now? How will I raise my children? Will I ever love again? What will happen to my finances? Who do I talk to?

It’s not an easy time to go through for anyone. The pain from losing a spouse runs deep. You will be going through a very rough time in your life from this moment on, and the best thing you can do is remember this: It is normal for you to go through stages of grief, sorrow, indifference and even anger. All of those emotions are necessary in the process of moving on after the loss of a loved one.

Your heart needs time to heal. Not to forget, because you can never replace the memories and experiences you shared with your spouse. Rather, the heart needs time to find peace and acceptance of the death of your beloved.

You need to lower your self expectations. Don’t try to force to be better right after the funeral. Allow yourself to cry and mourn, and talk to a great friend if you feel the need. You can join a widow support group and meet up with people who truly understand and sympathize, do outdoor activities, or start a hobby. Just keep yourself busy and moving forward, while simultaneously allowing yourself time to come to terms with your grief.

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21 Responses to “Adjusting to Life as a Widow”

  1. olive_indonesia says:

    my worst fears had just came true – i am now a widow, single and very much alone- yup that’s right. i’m 27 and a widow. my husband had affair n having a baby with someone i knew. it was hurt me so much. now i’m trying hard to cure my life. working working n working, looking well waiting actually for a right man. but the truth is i’m afraid starting new relationship with someone…. can i falling in love again??? i have someone but hard to decide it. it have been 1 and a half year i’m become a widow…. while my ex husband happy with his new wife n his cute daughter…… what kind of life that i have to get trough…………..????

  2. Joygeee says:

    Is your EX husband still living??? If so, then you are not a widow. You have experienced a loss, but you are NOT a widow. It is VERY different.

    I am speaking from my own experience as a widow. My husband died 2 years ago. I cannot speak to him, get a message to him, yell at him, talk to him, nothing. He is gone. Forever.

  3. Lisa Mayberry says:

    Wow, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be posting here. I just lost my husband of 24 years 4 days ago. I really thought we would grow old together before anything like this happened. In just a few hours I have to attend his service. I haven’t been able to sleep, or eat. I know that my life will never be the same. The plans we made together and the dreams we had together are gone. Just like that. I am numb right now. Granted, even as a couple we were independent people also, or so I thought. I never really realized just how much I was dependent on hearing his voice, the touch of his hand, or just the idea of him being in our home. What happens now? I keep asking myself this. What happens now?

  4. Well… I visit your website first time and found this site very useful and interesting! Well… you guys doing nice work and I just want to say that keep rocking and keep it up!!!!
    Elenora

  5. m johnson says:

    Hello. I also just lost my husband within the last two months after a brief battle with cancer. It is so surreal. I just want to wake up from this bad dream. I guess it is comforting to know that there are people here who know exactly what I am going through.

  6. Bonnie says:

    Hi, I just now found this website, I wish i had found it months ago. My husband passed away 11 months ago, after battling cancer for 17 long months. We were married for 26 years. I am 46 and was with him from age 18. In our wedding photos we look like children, in fact we almost were. This loss I am going through is very hard to put into words. He was a wonderful husband and father. He was a firefighter and loved by all his co-workers. I am raising our fourteen year old son, who grieves his Dad so much. They were as close as father and son could be. Our 23 year old holds up a lot for me, but I know she misses her Daddy. Sometimes, I have found our children are here for US. I have let my children see me grieve, because I cant easily hide it and grieving is natural to do after such a loss as ours. When you hide your tears from your children or tell them not to cry or be sad, you are not validating their feelings. They must cry and get angry and experience all the stages of grief. It is just our job to keep them focused in a right, healthy direction,as much as possible, anyway.

    Our lives will never be the same. I too wonder will I love again? Jeff told me he wanted me to remarry if he passed before me. He told me he wanted me to be happy and move on. He told me to find someone that would be good to us. His shoes are going to be hard to fill, I am telling you he was an amazing person that loved people and would stop to help a stranger, anytime….

    I miss his laughter, his voice, his touch and even his sweet smell. His clothes still hang in the closet, but his smell is long gone from them. His smell was sweet and comforting to me. He took care of me. He took care of his family always putting himself last. It was heartbreaking to see him suffer all those months. It still hurts so bad. I would have died in his place. I would have ask the doctors to take my good liver and put it in him, if they could have.

    I have gone through the shock, denial and have now pretty much accepted his death. Sometimes I forget for just a fraction of a second, and then the harsh, cold reality hits.

    I am still on 2 different anti deppressants and sleeping pills at night. I have gained a lot of weight, finding comfort in food. I know what I need to do, to get back into the gym, eat better, but I dont know why I dont do it. Its as if I dont care…

    I am and have never been angry at God, neither was Jeff. We dealt with it the best we could. I wouldnt have traded anything in this world to be his care taker. I tried so hard to make him happy, comfortable and feel as good as he could. The truth is my heart was breaking all the time. I was so sad for him. This even now brings tears to my eyes. I guess I have already blogged too much, so I will close saying, I find comfort in my faith in God, I believe that LOVE bridges the gap between life and death. Your love never dies for the one that passed before you, not even death can sever your love between us. I also believe one day we will be together again. One day in Heaven is as a thousand years on earth, as a thousand years on earth is as one day in Heaven. So I believe Jeff is looking at his watch, saying, they will be here soon…. I LOVE YOU JEFF< ALWAYS AND FOREVER

  7. Bonnie says:

    I was thinking about cancer and how it can metastasize (spread) to other organs. then I began to think about how the diagnosis and loss of a cancer patient spreads to so many other peoples lives that love and know (knew) that person. Its ironic how the metastasis of cancer is spread to not only the physical surrounding organs, but cancer spreads to the surrounding people who love them. It has reached me, for now my life is forever changed. I have lost the single most important person on this earth to me, my husband,my soulmate…I am never going to be the same, not since WE were diagnosed. Notice I say we? When you love someone so much, for 27 years, when they are diagnosed, you are too. You may not be carrying the cancerous cells in your BODY, but believe me, you are profoundly affected. I know I was, and still am. My son now 14 is growing up without his loving father, and our grown daughter (who is 23) will one day marry without her Daddy to walk her down the aisle. The cancer has spread to them as well. My mother in law buried her son, who she dearly loved, is affected, as well as his only brother, and his sisters. This metastasis has spread throughout the fire dept. where he served for decades, to all his fellow firefighters, as well as friends and relatives dist

  8. I am really afraid that my mom will become a widow. This might sound terrible, but I hope she passes before my father. I don’t think she could deal with the loneliness…

  9. Kim says:

    Bonnie,

    I am so sorry for your loss. After reading your story, we have so much in common. I too lost my husband of 25 years to cancer. I was his caregiver, like you were to your husband. I have three children, with the youngest still at home, he was 15 at the time his dad passed. They were best friends, did everything together. My older two children, a daughter 24 and a son 21 at the time of their dads passing, each handled the loss differently. You are so right, the whole family has “cancer” and it has changed our lives forever. The loss of a loved one is tough, but along with the loss are financial concerns, children graduating, weddings, future grandchildren, holidays; all which new traditions are formed. If you would like to talk, I am here. Enjoy your day! Kim

  10. lynn says:

    I hope this blog is kept current because i really need to have others with experience help me. My husband died two months ago and I am trying to live in a rural area without many resources, no support groups.

    Need help to see how this grief process works. I know it to be different for each of us but to know that my brain and my anxiety with will and the stress will lessen would help me.

    Any thoughts on either of those issues

  11. i am a in grief over the death of my husband 11 years this june of 2010.i can recall a time period when it was to painful for me to count the years lesding of to the he departed.i am thank for the encouragement and peace of mind granted when through educational resources i was introduced to the concept of praying for the holy souls through the teaching of the catholic church.if ever i received such a spiritual awareness of life after death,and a unspeakable exceptional comfort that can only be administered through the caticism charismatic movement.please know that your tears of sorrow rain upon the heart of GOD OUR FATHER AND ALL THE HOST OF HEAVEN.
    LDIANAINC.

  12. lorraine says:

    I lost my husband 18 months ago and feel my life will never be the same again, besides trying to deal with the grief, pain and sorrow I am constantly bombarded with letters from the solicitors and in and out of court. Reason is he had an illigitimate child who is now 14 years old. He left a will and made provisions for her but based on the sale of a house he owned that is occupied by his elderly mother, this girl’s mother felt it wasnt enough. She is trying to get the whole estate before her daughter is old enough (i feel for herself), she also wants my husbands ashes. Everything is frozen now and I am not only homeless as the house we lived in was heavily morgaged and he left no life insurance. The estate is very small and the cash we saved up together has been eaten away in legal fees. I am now living with my mother and as a result of this been so ill and was hospitalized having lost 3 stone in weight. My legs are weak and sometimes I can barely walk, its impossable to get a job at the moment. This woman has a full time work, a home and child tax credit plus child benefits but she is trying to get the small 400 pound a month pension my husband left for me from his employment.

    Yes its hard to lose the one you love, but even harder when someone wont let you get over the grieving process.

  13. Chi says:

    This is a good site so we all know we are not alone. I lost my husband a year and half ago and all stills eems like yesterday and yet so far away. i have walked the various stages of grief and back again. Some days are good were i make a consious effort to live again and be joyful. While on other days its like ‘why did this all happen’. He passed in his sleep. Way too sudden. We went to bed today and tomorrow i’m alone… Well to encourage others, as the days pass there will be more good days than bad. I’m a christain and my faith has helped me. also knowing i have to be there for my kids 3 and 1 yr, I keep my head up an forge ahead. so for all u out there all i can say is ‘Find something to hold onto’. It’ll keep u from drowning.

  14. Lori says:

    My husband died suddenly–18 days ago. I am amazed at how well I am coping. I have to get it together. My husband did everything for us and now it feels that it is time to grow up. My daughter is 14. I feel that this is all so unfair to her, she’s just a kid!! My husband too, was awonderful man. The man of my dreams. We moved into our dream house 2 days before he died. I just seem to cry and cry. It seems no one could be this cruel.

  15. Marilyn says:

    Your stories are so familiar to mine. My Don suffered from bladder cancer past two years, after 20 years cancer free from a preivous cancer and colostomy. I too was the caregiver for many months. Don died Oct 9, 2009. we would have been married 53 years in december. All our five children are grown and away from home; but comfort me when their love, calls and visits, only one lives fairly close. Friends and my faith have also supported me, try to keep busy with volenteer work, walking, visitng friends, but the lonly time are very much there.
    when do you remove wedding ring? i do not want to yet as seems to be the final god bye.

  16. ann mallory says:

    I was married for 34 years before my spouse died fifteen months ago. I was very close to my mother-in-law who died a few weeks ago. His remaining brothers and his son are having an estate sale and have completely excluded me. I read about it in the paper. As a courtesy, I feel that I should have been given an opportunity to see something special in the house that I wanted of my mother-in-law’s as a keepsake. My three children should have been given a keepsake. They were little when my deceased husband and I married. I am no longer a wife and apparently nothing at all. My mother-in-law’s will left everything to her three sons, son #1, my husband, had died. The two remaining sons and my step-son are now the heirs. Does that mean that after thirty-five years as a daughter-in-law, I get no courtesy. I did nothing wrong. I took care of my sick husband several years. I am so hurt! Why are the other two daughter-in-laws more important than I am just because their husbands are still alive.

  17. nancy says:

    i have been a widow for 5 years now, like they say some days are easier then other.today..nov.21st seems to be one of my bad days ..dont know why….i was on anti..depressents..but they caused me to gain weight..never took the weight off….i just never feel like doing much…..oh well…good luck everyone….

  18. Linda says:

    Response to Olive,

    Your sorrows from losing a husband through his affair and abandonment may be a different kind of loss trhough death, but it is no less painful. Please, those of you who are widows be careful to not judge her words. Just because he is walking around on the planet doesn’t make her pain less. It can actually increase it, knowing he is lost to you forever. No public acknowlegements. No memorial service. No honor. No fond photos to keep on the walls. Totally alone. Future dreams crushed. All assets cut in half or worse. Rejection and abandonment by a beloved spouse cuts to the core of your worth as a woman in a way that death does not.

    I knew a man who had lost two wives. One to cancer and one to an affair. While he suffered from both greatly, he said to me that losing his spouse to another man was MORE HURTFUL to him than losing “the love of his life” to cancer. In death there is usually no personal rejection involved. Both experiences bring untold sorrow. But please do not discount the huge losses of the betrayed and abandoned.

    It took me ten years to feel “normal” after losing my own husband through an affair. Please respect our loss, too.

  19. ify nwafor says:

    I lost the love of my life 3 years ago.Ilost him to cardiac infaction.He left me without a word,it has not been easy for me and our 5 girls.I feel so miserable and lonely,he left with all our dreams.It is not easy to move on after 20 years,it is only a fellow widow that will understand my plight,the lonely nights etc.

  20. julie says:

    Hi there,
    I lost my husband to suicide 11 mths ago. Never thought we would ever go through something this traumatic. We have been together for 18 years and have three
    small children. I’m 37 and have lost my best friend. He was a nurse and had a heart of gold.
    He got into a depression for the first time ever over losing one of his jobs this time last year.
    We did everything as a family and he was the happiest man alive. Our kids and I were everything to
    him.

    Its hard to help your loved ones when you dont realize that they lost their own coping skills.
    If I knew how bad, than I would have saved him .
    Ive never been so alone. thanks for the children and my job to keep me going.
    We lost our home, left the town we raised them, so new school, and our german shepard lives
    with a friend. We our very empty and the pain is like a dagger. I miss my best friend
    and my kids miss their daddy extremely. We see a counselor to help us through, but the emptiness
    is left unsaid. This is one guy that you couldnt imagine doing this. Our lives are not fulfilled…
    no one knows your children like their own daddy. I hope love and life come back to us someday.
    Ive had many dif feelings towards him from missing his hugs and smile to feeling abandoned
    and lost with many pressures added.
    Good luck to all the women that have lost the love of their life. May we get stronger.

  21. julie says:

    I guess Im not alone.’

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