A Widow’s First Year

Every widow is unique and responds to grief and healing at her own pace. It is essential never to compare one widow to another. Each and every widow has her own individual beliefs about how to deal with her feelings of loss.

Some widows need to talk about “What Happened” almost immediately following the loss. It pre-occupies them, just as a person may be pre-occupied with an accident or some other tragedy.

As a widow, if you’re living alone you must make use of your social skills because absolute loneliness is just too hard to bear. Work at gradually getting out and meeting new people by traveling, donating your time or getting a part time job.

No one can take risks for us, face our grief for us or give us self-esteem. No one can spare us from the journey of grief to healing. That is simply the way of things, and after a while we learn to appreciate our blessings.

A new widow is immediately plunged into a scary new life. The challenge of going from being part of a couple to being single is daunting.

Sociality believes that grievers want and need to be alone. How many of you remember being told not to bring up the death of your Uncle to your Aunt? Your family hoped to avoid the topic of the loss, in an attempt to protect your Aunt.

But we need to let a widow remember her husband and share her stories when and how she wants. Love and respect her enough to quietly let her talk and just be there for her.

8 Responses

  1. Sharron Challis
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    Sometimes it helps to talk about my husband and sometimes it hurts so bad. It hurts being alone.

  2. Angie
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    It has been 20 months since my husband passed away. No one talks about my husband with me and when I bring him up (just a memory that our conversation brings up) I can feel the discomfort in the room or on the phone. Why don’t people understand we need to remember our husbands? Why can’t I just say a memory and someone chime in with a memory of their own? My life as I knew it ended on 12/3/2015 and this new life has been a hard start. I still cry everyday and miss him so much. I’m realizing that I still have not gotten to the place of acceptance. I’m involved in everything I can find and have met a few acquaintances and one good friend, a fellow widow. But I am still alone a majority of the time and it plays havoc on my mind.

  3. Mary Francis
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    Dear Angie. I’m so sorry about your loss and agree that others get uncomfortable when we talk about our memories. But it’s important that we do so. Key an eye out for others in your area that have also lost a loved one because they also need to talk. Together you could make some new friends. Mary Francis

  4. Mary Francis
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    Dear Sharron, I wish there was an easy way out but there isn’t. Grieving hurts and there is no way around it, being alone and single is hard. But we widows are strong and we survive so hang in there. Mary Francis

  5. Ruth Dodds
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    I live alone as well and have very little family. I feel I am trapped in this house with bad memories,not happy ones,the cancer saw to that. I want so badly to move but my husband did not make very good arrangements for my future. What little money I have doesn’t get me much.I was told I’m not rational,I should see a doctor,you name it because I am so unhappy here. I do work and I’m starting pet therapy for Hospice patients. That doesn’t change the fact that I have to come home to this empty hose. My husband and I agreed when we were left alone we would leave. My attorney tells me walk away,walk away to where! I am on anti depresses but their not helping. Time that’s what everyone says. My fear us my sanity won’t stand the test of time.

  6. Mary Francis
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    Dear Ruth. Your attorney advises you to “walk away” so that must mean that there is no equity in your house. Step back a moment and think – if you could live anywhere you wanted where would it be? What kind of place – rental, senior apartment, assisted living – know your options. Get all your financial data together and consider your choices. Your not trapped in the house – as your attorney has said you can walk away. But before you do that know all your facts. Your in charge of what you want so don’t let fear of change keep you in a situation where your not happy. Mary Francis

  7. Janette Lewis
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    Hello, So many wonderful and loving sharings. I am new widow — four months. My husband took his own life by shooting himself. I found him within seconds and was unable to save him. He suffered with treatment resistant depression. I am Bipolar and we were primary caregivers to my husband’s 40 year extremely demanding, sometimes violent developmentally disabled son – 200 lb., three-year-old mentality though most of the time a gift to all. I took care of him for 22 years. His mother hasn’t seen him in 14 years after being accused of molestation – never proven. She is a minister! He has now gone back to his mother who will likely try to dun me or legally try to get money. I have had no one around who wants to talk — even when I ask — unless it’s about what a tough time they are having. I am learning that there is sometimes a level of rejection of any loss but particularly of being a survivor of a loss by suicide. Some people judge or simply just turn away. Some think that they understand and feel compelled to tell me all about what they know nothing about. Some shun — in the truest Biblical way. I would simply like to be alone during the upcoming holidays. Family dynamics are complicated and often, I can be all right in the presence of people, only to feel like I must leave seconds later. There are also emotionally abusive people involved — some alcoholic. (I am a member of AA and Alanon for almost 30 years, as was my husband. I am medication compliant and actively work at my recovery in all areas.) I have a deep faith. I don’t find it difficult to be alone. I am not suicidal. I still put the highest value on the life God gave me. At this time, I don’t feel like doing volunteer work but will, in time. I am starting grief counseling — group and one on one. Perhaps, there will be people who want to be with others who are experiencing the same loss – by suicide which is “complicated grief” who would like to get together. Maybe, if the group is good, I can offer to put it together myself at a restaurant of someone who has a home large enough to provide a place. Thank you for this site and I look forward to being a participant. I find on line support extremely beneficial. I look forward to not being so verbose! Blessings, Jan

  8. Mary Francis
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    Hi Jan. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I think it’s great that you are doing one on one and group support for yourself. Who knows where our journey will take us and you may very well be helping others in the near future. Take care. Mary Francis

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