A Widow’s Loneliness – Part One

Your quiet home is a constant reminder that your loved one is gone – really gone. The silence can be crushing and you may find it hard to concentrate. TV is boring and nothing excites you! There is a nagging, restless desire to do something, but on the other hand you just want to withdraw from the world.

Loneliness is poor company and so our need for emotional warmth may become insatiable. This need may stifle our friends until they have nothing left to offer you.

Seeking ways to escape this loneliness, many widows become “busy addicts”, with an activity for every day of the week and twice on Saturdays and Sundays. They find all kinds of excuses to keep busy so they don’t have to come home to an empty house. They go out with people they really don’t care for just so they won’t be alone.

When widows do this, they are running from themselves and their grief. The truth is you can never run fast enough or change locations often enough to avoid your loneliness and your grief.

This busy-loneliness varies in length and intensity from widow to widow. Eventually we all get tired and begin to realize that there must be more to life than running from our loneliness.

18 Responses

  1. Blueoceandreamz

    That is so very true. I found it more exhausting & depressing to force myself to go out with people I don’t really care about & force myself to do things I don’t really care to be doing just to be out & about & not home alone crying. So I have taken a break from doing this. Thank God I have a full time job that keeps me busy & away from my lonely little sad home. I am going to force myself to join a Gym soon maybe that will help I just cant seem to get myself to do it.

  2. Jo

    Oh how true. But a shock to read just how I am feeling. Thank you.

  3. Janice B Berry

    Dear Mary,
    It seemed when reading your Blog that you were singling out me, and I know that this pertains to all, but it is so uncanny. What’s the saying when you are at a loss for words, “I got nothing” and my husband has been gone for almost 20 months!
    A friend of my sister’s lost his wife 10 months ago, and he is already remarried! How do men do it? A widowed man where I live said he was looking for a wife! I told him, well good luck with your search and I hope you find one! How do they move on so quickly? Are they more lonely than we are? Most women at least the ones I know are still by themselves, that included, my Grandmother, Mother and Sister and so many women where I live and know.
    I feel like my bedroom is my shrine to my late husband. I have his urn on my dresser surrounded by a host of things that jar my memory, plus 11 pictures of either him or both of us. He is in almost every room. Lately I have thought of taking some of the pictures and putting them away however I feel like I would be deserting him in some way. For the longest time I wore his wedding ring on a long gold chain I bought, however I have not worn that in awhile. Not sure why but I felt like he was coming with me every time I wore it.
    Sometimes when I am in my car and I have no visual of my husband and I know that he has never seen or been in my car, I feel a “me” awakening, if you will. I kind of like the feeling and then I feel guilty!
    Wow, this is such a trip……

  4. Laurie zroback

    Hi Mary, have been reading replies to posts on Facebook page. I too have changed some things around thinking that would help but I end up moving things back where they were. And at first when I changed my closets around it felt like I was taking over “his” space, I don’t feel so bad now when I take something out of that closet. I’m seriously thinking of moving, starting fresh. Maybe I’m just running who knows. But I do know that I will give myself the year before making any big decisions. Funny thing is my late husband did say to me that I’ll probably won’t stay in condo after he’s gone even though purpose of buying the condo in first place was so he wouldn’t have to worry about me after he was gone. I feel the loneliness here and there’s just not enough things to keep my busy. I don’t mind alittle yard work and gardening..still quite capable of doing.

  5. Blueoceandreamz

    Hi Laurie,
    I am glad you posted this as I was forced to move 6 months after my husband passed because the condo we were renting was sold and when I moved I was forced to go through all my husbands cloths & personal items which made me devastatingly sad also the fact I had to give his clothes away & donate other things since I was moving to a smaller unit. I was not ready to do any of this & it set me back in the mental health dept. I too felt so guilty when I had to take up the whole closet in the new place & not leave room for him in the drawers, closets & medicine cabinet. I was also upset whenever I came across any food I found in the pantry that was bought for him – had to give all that away too. So sad..take your time

  6. Sharon Marshall

    Dear Mary,
    I am a recent widow of 6 months. Was just feeling lost and read your article. Made me feel better to know I’m not alone. So true about not wanting to come home and wanting to move .But than doesn’t feel right. Like your dishonoring your husband for all you worked for. At the same time if he was here he would tell you do whats right for you. So hard to know whats right, but good to know people understand and I’m not crazy. Thank you

  7. Mary Francis

    Hi Sharon. Your not crazy but I know that the emotional ups and downs sure can make us feel that way? We get stronger, so hold on tight. Take care of yourself and thanks for sharing. Mary Francis

  8. Rita Andress Andress

    My husband of forty years passed away November 23, 2015. He had been ill for quite sometime. My drive in life was to get him well again. Even when the doctors said his numbers were dropping I was in the firm of mind to get him fixed. On that last night at the hospital, the doctor spelled it out for me. His organs were all failing and he would pass away soon.

    I was stunted. I heard the words, but could not believe them. at 3:30 AM Nov. 23rd. He was gone. This cannot be true! I suddenly felt all the pressures of my world land on my shoulders. I had to face this bravely for the children. Be there to console them and help them through this terrible time. The funeral over, the children gone home. It was like the world took a breathe and was holding it. Now everyone watching how I handle this. Now it will soon be 24 months since I last saw my husband. Family, Friends, and Church are very supported. I am keeping busy. My children think I should be begin dating. I cannot picture myself romantically involved with a man. I really miss my partner in life. It is hard to go places alone and I feel like extra baggage when I go out with married friends. Yvonne

  9. Mary Francis

    Dear Rita. Don’t date because others think you should. Date because your ready and because your have met someone that is worth it. Your in control of your future so do what feels right for you. Mary Francis

  10. Sharon

    We were married very young, some 63 years before he passed. Cry still for him daily after almost 2 years. Children moved us while he was ill but miss my old friends and church. Each day is a challenge for me.

  11. Mary Francis

    Dear Sharon – I’m sorry for your loss and can understand after 63 years that it is hard to get back on your feet without him. Is it possible to visit your old friends once in a while or are you too far away? Did you join a new church in your area? It’s important to get out and be sociable as it helps us to heal. It’s normal to still be grieving within two years but healing should be there. It may be that your not only grieving the loss of your love, you are also grieving the loss of your home, friends and church. Too many changes in a short period of time will make it harder to get rebalanced. Try to make some new friends, join a church with some good outreaches and bible study classes. Take control because your worth it. Mary Francis

  12. mary Crawford

    I have been a widow fir 6 years. Ivwas so lonely that 2 years after he died i married just to say im married. It lasted a month. Then after the divorce i met a man eho i thought was good and i did love him but not thr same as my late husband. He ended up being a mental abuser. He was a widower so i thought we had slot in common, it lasted almost 3 years. 2 days after i asked him for a divorce he was on pof looking for a new woman, who he of course found and married. She thinks hr is wonderful, i feel sorry for her. Ever since i got my divorce from him i have realized that i compare any man to my late husband Pat, no one will ever compare to him. So at 53 i have just decided to face the fact that i will be lonely the rest of my life. I have my 2 grown kids and few friends but just doesnt make up for losing the love of my life.

  13. Vernette Andry

    The loneliness is SO BAD. I am sitting up in bed at 1am in a STILL lifeless house. My husband and I were in love for forty years them he had a massive heart attack and died. I always had my grandson living with me but now he is gone and for the first time I AM totally by myself. My family do not seem to care. No male has approached me. I wonder why. I am so sad. Day by day by night I am alone. Oh I am a very active person however my life is so sad. I cry sometime.

  14. Mary Francis

    Dear Vernette – I’m sorry for your loss. I don’t know how long you have been a widow but I do know that loneliness is the hardest part. Your family has there own lives (as do mine) and I learned early on that I have to make my own way and not depend on them to fill my needs. You don’t have to be alone every day – join a social group of anything that interests you or the gym to get out and meet new people. It’s okay to cry but there comes a time when you heal by taking control of what you want to do. Don’t let life pass you by, because I’m here to tell you it is a lot easier to stay sad and do nothing then it is to get out of your comfort zone. We are spiritual and energetic beings and our health is directly related to the environment we are in. It’s important that your emotional needs are looked after – to feel safe, loved, important are needs that when filled will help you be motivated to surround yourself with people who understand and support you. This is your life, create an inner circle of people who you enjoy being with, and free yourself up from others that will sap your strength. I wish you the very best, Mary Francis

  15. Mary

    Hi, I have been a widow for 3 years with 4 grown children, plus 3 grand children, but yet I have begun to fill lonely, with no tell how I really feel. I have discussed this with my Pastor, and my church gives me great support, but still I am lonely. I am 62 years old and was with my husband for 41 years, I try to stay busy all the time but, it just tried me out, one while I was just.runni.g in and out of town for the peace of mind. It had to stop, meet someone who I thought wanted to enjoy life with me but he really didn’t, it felt like he was just playing around and I don’t need to play games so I moved on. Now I am tryi.g to find something else to get I interested in.

  16. Mary Francis

    Hi Mary – It is tempting to date to fill in the loneliness but it rarely works out if that is the main reason we do it. I also used being busy to fill my days and I just added “being worn out” to “being lonely”. In the second year I found my passion in working with other widows and over the last ten years it has lead me here. Look for something your passionate about, means something to you, something that you really enjoy and feel is worth doing. If you find that, then your life will get back on track and you won’t be quite as lonely. Take care, Mary Francis

  17. Hazel

    Hi, I’ve been a widow for 3 years, my husband died of a cardiac arrest in 2014. I’ve kept myself busy ….working, taking on an Open University course, looking after my 7 step grandkids whilst their parents go on holiday. It has all helped me to get through the past 3 years however I’m exhausted and having to face what can only be described as crippling loneliness. This year I went on a short break with a friend who I considered an understanding person however I now realised that for some time I have been filling a gap for her needs and becoming a sort of lapdog who is always available to sign up to classes or some other activity to satisfy her needs when her own husband is away on golf trips with his friends. I feel like my friends want me to become more cheerful ( recently another friends told me to smile more !!) she had never spoken to me like this before and it felt like a set back. The upshot of this just makes me feel my friends do not understand what it is like to have lost the love of my life. I feel I want to cut them off but will make my excuses and instead seek out an organisation where I can speak with other widows. I feel sad most of the time, but make a huge effort to stay positive however it is hard to smile when your heart is so heavy. I doubt I ever fully understood what it was like for a widow friend of ours (she moved away and I don’t see her now) however I do know that I was always kind and considerate of her situation and tried to be respectful. Right now I feel lonelier than ever. Hazel

  18. Mary Francis

    Dear Hazel – Believe me when I say it’s not you, it’s them. Please don’t start wearing the mask of “I’m okay” just because your grief makes others uncomfortable. Don’t make excuses because grief is a natural part of living and it’s needed before we can heal our broken hearts. Sometimes friends just don’t know how their actions affect us and they don’t know how they sound. Speak about how you feel and if they can’t respect your feelings than it may be time to find friends that do. I did a great 40 page guide on Relationships that is available on this website that may be of some help. At the very least please go to the “Just for You” section and enjoy the samples. Take control and make the changes necessary to feel that your appreciated just as your are. Take care, Mary Francis

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