Questions that Widows Frequently Ask

Question:  How do I come to terms with the way things are and start seeing all the positives of being on my own? My greatest fear after my husband died, was that I would one day be alone.  Now the kids are grown up and I am alone as I feared I would be.  M.A.

Answer:  You need to get out to social events or do some volunteering because it will get you out of the house and lift your spirit.  For more on the your mental health do a Google search or go to http://www.ask.com/ and ask for research on mental health.

 Mary Spacer

 

Question:  Do other widows feel their husbands presence after their death?   Last night I swear as I fell asleep I could feel him all around me. Touching my hair. Then it was like swords passing through my body that didn't hurt, at different angles, sweeping down and through, down and through. A couple of days ago I felt his presence and saw a movement in the bedroom door way twice. Not a shadow, how would I describe it,  more like a whisper or a fleeting corner of the eye image. Not even a body just a movement somehow.  T.K.

Answer:  Many of the widows I have talked to plus a few in the book talked about feeling their husband’s presence.  It only lasted a little while and after the first few months it went away, but it gave them some peace when they needed it.

Mary Spacer

Question:  As a Widow I can't move forward– how do I let his things go?   I have two big decisions left, one where to bury Jose's remains and two, what to do with his boat. I can't bear anyone having or touching the boat. Imagine a stranger putting their hands where Jose's were, touching what he valued, his passion. I just can't see past it. Not yet and maybe never.   D.S.

Answer:  Who says that your late husband's things have to go this soon?  Hold on to the boat until you are ready.  One of the widows in the book held on to her husband’s boat for a few years before she sold it.  Don’t rush to make decisions as it’s best to wait until you are comfortable with them.  You may change your mind and you don’t want to have any regrets.

Mary Spacer

Question:  Can you give me some advice on how to manage my money?   I am one of those widows who did not look after her money, and I am on a very tight budget.  S. B.

Answer:  Many widows, myself included, were numb after the death of their husband.  Looking back I should have gotten some professional advice from the bank (they don’t charge for a consultation).  Put any extra money into one year investments so you have time to plan.  Write out exactly what your monthly bills are and also your monthly income so that you know exactly how you are.  Sometimes we think we know but are surprised once it’s all on paper.  For more information check out http://sisterhoodofwidows.com/widowed-insurance-and-finance/

Mary Spacer

Question:  I made my late husband a promise that I may not fulfill.  What is the right thing to do?   Last night someone told me that my husband wouldn't want me in such agony and if he had known asking me to take his ashes across the country would cause such pain, that he would have never asked me. Well fine, but he did and I agreed. Someone else told me we sometimes make promises we can't keep. I just wish I could sort out my feelings, myself, without allowing influence.  T.G.

Answer:  This is a tough question because it depends on you.  Will you be o.k. with not keeping the promise or will it bother you?  If you can see the reason for not following his wishes and are at peace with it then regrets will not follow you.  Go with your heart!

Mary Spacer

Question:  Is your book "The Sisterhood of Widows" appropriate as a gift?   My best friend's husband died 6 weeks ago from a heart attack and they have 2 children.  Her husband was 56 and everyone admired his way of taking care of his health. As a widow I understand her pain and I want to help her.  I saw your book advertised on CTV and I feel sure that this book will give her hope and peace.   R.C.

Answer:  Yes, as a gift it shows that you understand and care about her grief.  The Sisterhood of Widows is a collection of stories from 16 different widows who talk about their own grief.  Your best friend will know it’s your way of showing you are there for her.

Mary Spacer

Question:  How can I feel better about myself?   I went crazy after my husband’s death.  I hit the bars 7 days a week (not that person) which was a quick fix.   Probably dated too soon for fear of being alone, angry, faced fears of handling thing myself, finances, insecurities, emptiness, and a big void in my heart that still exists. My children haven’t understood my loss.  (They think they do) I was not myself for at least the first three years.  But I have come a long way since then but I’m still unsettled.  N.G.

Answer:  We have to heal emotionally and that takes time.  In the meantime you need to look after yourself in all aspects: Physically, mentally and spiritually.  Do more than “survive” – get to know yourself and come out swinging.   Be a survivor in more than body – be a survivor in your heart and soul.   For more on the your emotional health go to http://www.ask.com/ and ask for research on emotions. 

Mary Spacer

Question:  Where can I find the support of other widows?   Hi Mary!  I LOVE the cover. I think it is absolutely perfect! I like the way the 2 women are holding hands which suggests the comfort and compassion that can be received from another widow, and the tranquil view suggests to me that peace can be yours once again after a long hard struggle with the help from another or other widows.   I love that widows are supporting other widows and helping them to understand the journey.  A.T.

Answer:  There are many different social programs you can get involved in.  If you don’t like to volunteer then try something that other women are involved in.  I joined a women’s curling league two months after Donnie’s death and it made me get out when I just wanted to stay in.  I made some great friends and that is where I had my first big, old, belly laugh and that is when I knew I was finding my way. Stand up and fight for a life that is full of friends and family.  Join groups, volunteer, find your passion and just go do it. Don’t feel bad that you are the one that’s alive – instead be even more alive by seeking out positive people.  The more you are out and about the more you will notice other widows in the groups.  It's like buying a new car and then noticing just how many other cars are like yours on the road. You don't notice the widows until you become one yourself.  Reach out to them and you will find the support you seek.

Mary Spacer

Question:  When is the right time to take off my wedding rings?

Answer:  When you feel comfortable doing it and not because others are making comments about it.  I took mine off in my fourth year and had some pendants made.  There are alot of widows that never take their wedding rings off.  It is a very personal choice that each widow makes based on her own grief journey.  Please read more about this from my blog article:  http://sisterhoodofwidows.com/2012/05/10/widows-and-their-wedding-rings/

Mary Spacer

Question:  I'm thinking about dating but having sex with a different man is scary.  How do I get past my fear?

Answer:  I would suggest that when you start dating you take your time and go slow.  If the guy tries to rush you and you are not comfortable then tell him so.  If he doesn't respect your wishes then he probably isn't the guy for you.  More about this from my blog articles:

Mary Spacer

Question:  Do I owe it to my children to keep in touch with their grandparents (my in-laws) after the death of my husband?  Although they are nice people I don’t agree with their values and I just don’t have the energy to keep in touch with them.  My children are 8 and 11 and they get along with them but they don’t seem to care if they see them.

Answer:  You are tired and everything is an effort but you will see things different in a few months.  They lost their son as you lost your husband.  Think how you would feel if it was your grown son and you also lost your grandchildren.  Please make the effort, even if it’s only to drop your kids off for an afternoon with their grandparents once in a while.  Do it for the children so that they don’t lose their grandparents as well as their father.

Mary Spacer

Question: I’m getting all kinds of advice about what to do with the insurance money.  Our children are grown but I still have a mortgage and debt. What should I do?

 

Answer:  Be careful about telling anyone you have this money. If anyone asks if you’ll be OK, say “Yes”. That’s all they need to know and this will save you from people who are looking to borrow a little cash.  Once you’re feeling better, get in touch with a certified financial planner, a CFP. They will be able to give you good advice on how to manage your insurance settlement so that it will work for you going forward. If you have any doubts, meet with another planner – you need to be comfortable with their recommendations and decisions.

You need to educate yourself and demand careful explanations with fast follow-ups. This is your life – prepare yourself intellectually and emotionally to take charge of your future. Don’t assume others have your back, don’t take for granted that it will all work out on its own and most importantly don’t depend on others without first taking the time to check things out.

Mary Spacer

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If you have any questions you would like posted to this website and have Mary answer then please send an E-mail to – Mary@thesisterhoodofwidows.com or reply below and hit submit.

79 Responses

  1. Mary Francis
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    Oh Lisa, you are beautiful just as you are and your late husband could see the beauty in your heart. God does love you and I’m sure that He spared your husband a long and painful death. Now it’s your time to live a full life and the only way you are going to be able to do that is for you to talk out your fears with someone who can help you work through all your pain. It’s time to take control of your future and not stay in the house out of fear. The beauty in your heart needs to come out and be shared with those that need your insight and caring. When you are ready look into volunteering and join some groups. The only way to make friends is to first be a friend – that takes courage but I’m sure you can do it. Take care of yourself, Mary Francis

  2. Sharon
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    After almost two years, l still find myself crying when I see his photo. We spent 63 years together and I still am a Lost” soul.

  3. Mary Francis
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    Hi Sharon. It is so hard to get rebalanced in life after we lose our husbands. It wasn’t until my third year that I could feel like I was starting to live life again. Hold on and don’t give up on yourself. Mary Francis

  4. Rosy
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    Some of the men that know about my husband death, “flirt” with me, but they don’t mean it, then they’ll say they have a girlfriend somewhere else, I find it confusing and immature. Now, a new perspective is flirting and is very successful but I’m scared!

  5. Rosy
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    For all the struggling widows including myself, listening to Eckheart Tolle or Tony Robbins, or most motivational speakers has been my “life line,” seriously, I have a daughter to live for and I don’t want to mess her up!

  6. Mary Francis
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    Hi Rosy – I so agree with you about listening to motivational speakers. When grieving we need to feed ourselves all the positive messages we can get. I would like to add to your list some of the greats – Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy. You don’t need to buy their programs, just go online to YouTube and type in their names and you can watch them all for free. Great Advise Rosy, thank you. Mary Francis

  7. Mary Francis
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    Rosy – you have value and should be treated with respect. Let this man be a friend first and only a friend. If he proves to be a good friend, that treats you with the respect you deserve, than you can go from there. Don’t jump into relationships that are based only on sexual flirting. Especially as a mother you need to be very careful about the man you bring into your life. Now on the other side, if you want to date again than I say go for it because there are good men out there. Just be careful and listen to what your gut instinct tells you. Mary Francis

  8. Gale
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    My heart seems to break more each day of the 20 months since my husband passes away. I have an elderly ,96 year old father that I help care for. It’s hard for me to be around him most of the time. I’m resentful he is here and my husband is gone at a young 60 years. I’m not sure how to be more positive with him or my life. My husband and I were like 1 whole person. Since he died , I pretend to be getting it all together, but truth is I’m not. I seem to be missing him more each day. I have wonderful children and grandchildren, but I can’t burden them, I have to be the rock.mentally and physically I’m slipping away and just want to be back with my guy.
    I’m not sure I want to stay here, just want my dad to live out his days well, so I can just disappear.

  9. Mary Francis
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    Dear Gale, please take time for yourself. Being a caregiver is exhausting both physically and mentally. When we are grieving we don’t have a lot of extra to give and it’s a fine line between natural grieving and depression. You need to talk to someone and not worry about being a burden to others. Wearing a mask of “I’m okay” is just making it harder in the long run to deal with your pain. It’s time to look after yourself so that you can be happy again. And yes, it is possible to be happy again. It’s different, I know but you can do it. Mary Francis

  10. Karen
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    Hello Mary,
    I realize that the grief period is different for everyone. I suddenly lost my husband (best friend) a year ago. I’m wondering when will I be able to tolerate people talking about their husbands? It seems that’s all people actually have to talk about and every time I hear it, it feels like a knife in my heart.
    Thank you,
    Karen

  11. Mary Francis
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    Oh, Karen – how well I relate to your question. I never noticed how much we talked about our husbands when I had mine, but boy did I notice it after Donnie’s death. When I’m out shopping I also notice every couple my age and it still feels unfair and it’s been almost ten years for me. I’ve moved forward in life, but it still hurts not to have my husband. I wish you could be free of this pain but it is unfortunately part of our grieving. Time does help soften our pain, but you are only one year into your journey and it would be misleading for me to tell you all is right after one year. As grieving lessens and healing begins you will be able to tolerate women who talk non stop about their husbands. The worse is when they complain about small things while we are seating there wishing with all our hearts that we had our husbands back. Meanwhile, focus on the positive in your life as that will be where your healing is. Mary Francis

  12. Dorothy
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    Very inspiring.Hubby passed away on 15th July 2016 after being together for 43 years and very lonely.I do have adult kids all being married and have their own lives.Have a few questions and appreciate if you can please give a little advice.
    1.You feel you lived with hubby for many years and will never settle again but do you have a change of mind and whats your take on it?
    2.Are you answerable to your kids or do you let them know everything that happens in your life?Many Thanks

  13. Mary Francis
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    Hi Dorothy.
    1. I never wanted to date but changed my mine after nine years of being single. Still not interested in anything serious but I’ve learned to “never said never” because who knows what the future holds.

    2. You are not answerable to anyone. The kids deserve the same kind of respect that you deserve. In other words they shouldn’t be hearing things from others by gossip. If you start dating one man then they should be told. But they don’t need to know everything about your life anymore than you should know everything about their lives. Good questions. Mary Francis

  14. Rose
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    I lost my husband 11 year’s ago, I’m pregnant with out second child when he’s gone,and our first child is only 3 year’s old that time. I really don’t know what to do I feel I wanted to die also so many questions pop up on my head. So many Why’s LORD? He’s so good husband, he’s the husband that so perfect but he’s gone. It’s hard to accept until my family encourage me ,pray for me and thank God I did not lost my faith for him. And now my girl’s are big now and me I have to work hard for them, I leave them to my parents so that I can work, but still hard for me being far to them .
    Some of my friends advice me to love again give my self a chance to meet another man. But I’m feeling worried how if I meet a man would they understand me and love me back just like how my husband love me?

  15. Mary Francis
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    Dear Rose – Don’t over think about dating or not. Just be open to the possibilities and if the right man comes into your life you will feel it. Listen to your heart and don’t date just because you are lonely. Instead let it come naturally and if he is the right man he will take the time to understand your grief and love you just for who you are. Mary Francis

  16. Leah Mills
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    I have some great advice after losing my husband 9 years ago.

  17. K
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    I have been a widow for 7 years now. I am currently 34 years old with 3 amazing children. Now age 18, 11, and 9. I have been in a couple relationships. One of which has been pretty serious. I find myself going through stages where one minute im fine. Showing love and affection comes easy. I want to make this relationship work. To not wanting any love or affection. Finding it easier to run and possibly sabotaging the relationship. We have had many ups and downs. Have split a couple times now. Partially for my back and forth feelings partially for other reasons. I often just feel as a loss. What is wrong with me. This man has tried very hard to prove to me how much he loves me and wants to be with me. Yet i just get in these funks where i don’t want anything to do with it or him. Is there something i can do to stop the back and forth? Am I just not ready even after all this time? Any advise would be great. Thank you

  18. Mary Francis
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    Dear K – In all the world nothing can be as complicated as relationships. In my journey it was nine years before I decided to date a wonderful man who kept asking me out. If I had a check list of all the things I wanted he was near perfect. But, after 3 months I realized that I just did not want another man in my life, no matter how great he was. I had become used to doing my own thing and not being accountable to anyone and I started to resent the changes made because I was in a relationship. Perhaps I’m looking for that “love” that I had with Donnie and no one can match up or maybe I’m simply happier single, I don’t know. Others tell me that if he was the right guy I would always want to be with him, so therefore he just wasn’t it. The truth is even when married I wasn’t always happy, I had my funks even then, so perhaps that just part of life. Maybe your expecting too much from the relationship or maybe he just isn’t the one. Only you can decide, but I do know one thing, a decision has to be made because sitting on the fence isn’t healthy for either you or him. Take care, Mary Francis

  19. Stephanie hunt
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    Hi I’m Stephanie I was wondering if there’s any widows out there that are feeling the way I am I’d like to hear from you please I’m having a really hard time with my husband’s death it’s been 5 months but at night when it starts getting dark I either have to leave go somewhere I can’t stand to be in this house alone when the light is turning tonight does anybody else have this problem

  20. Mary Francis
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    Hi Stephanie – I can say from talking to hundreds of widows that you are not alone in feeling the way you do about not wanting to be home alone at night. Widows handle it different ways from always having a light on, to getting a security system or a dog, some move because the house is no longer peaceful. This question needs to be posted in a better place to get other widows to answer. I will post it in my Facebook page “The Sisterhood of Widows” and let others reply there to it. Please follow that Facebook page and hopefully you will get the feedback you are looking for. Sincerely, Mary Francis

  21. Lisa
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    It has been a month l lost my husband and i find it so so hard to accept it, neither to believe it. I miss him i just find it hard to live without him, he was my everything and we had so many plans together like planning to have children next year and we so much happier. how can i accept this? i feel like my life has come into an end..

  22. Mary Francis
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    Dear Lisa – I’m so sorry about your loss. I wish I had some magic words of comfort but there are no answers as to why we lose a loved one. You are so fresh in your grief and it’s natural to be angry and confused about where this leaves you. All your future plans and dreams are also gone and are part of what your grieving. Your life as you knew it has come to an end – sadly your life as a wife has changed, so your grieving is normal. Don’t hide your pain as sharing your grief will be part of your healing. Reach out to others and consider support groups in your area as this is too hard of a journey to do on your own. Take care of yourself because your life matters. Mary Francis

  23. Lisa
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    Thanks so much Mary, i hope i will be fine soon but it won’t be easy and it will take sometime for me to let go maybe years.

  24. Lesley
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    I lost my husband of 28 years 3 weeks ago. It was so sudden that I don’t think I have got my head around it. I function thro the day but not sleeping/eating well. I want to be on my own to cry but I know that this isn’t healthy so I seek company which is difficult in itself. I lurch from being devastated to managing a laugh and I love to talk about him. On good days I worry that I’m doing too well. I am so confused and sad.
    I can’t imagine ever being right again. I was funny outgoing and upbeat but I have changed so much in 3 weeks. My sons seem ok but I worry for them too.
    I need my husband to help me but he’s not here and I miss him so much.

  25. Mary Francis
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    Hi Lesley – I was married 27 years when Donnie died and I’m speaking from the heart when I tell you that it’s normal to be confused, sad and totally unbalanced. It is a terrible thing – grief and there are no magic shortcuts. The best thing to do is talk about how you feel and don’t start wearing the “I’m okay mask” when others ask you how your doing. If you can’t find someone to talk to then please search out some grief support in your area or other widows that will let you talk and share your grief. Take care of yourself and hold on tight to everything positive in your life. Mary Francis

  26. Susan
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    My husband died 2 years ago at age 68. I have not moved on. We were married for 46 years and he was ill from age 34, so I spent most of our marriage looking after him now I’m alone and have found I don’t know how to enjoy myself or laugh anymore. Don’t know how to move on. Any advice you can give me will be appreciated. My grandson said I’m terribly flat.

  27. Mary Francis
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    Dear Susan – I’m not surprised that your grandson thinks your “flat”. Sad but understandable as you have been a caregiver for over 30 years. You not only have to grieve his loss but also a way of life that you had become used to. But now it’s time for you – and if not now, when?? Time to get a new hair style, update your clothes and go out. Shop around for things that interest you, that you could never get out to do before. In other words – live life for yourself. Others can’t do this for you – take a leap of faith and get out of the house. Mary Francis

  28. Marlene
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    I have been widowed twice. My first marriage lasted 17 years and my second lasted 16 years. I’m very involved with a wonderful man now who has just been diagnosed with a serious heart condition. I must have all the signs and symptoms of PTSD at this point. I’m not nearly as old as you might think but I sure feel like I’ve lived a few lifetimes. After trying so many things there’s no healing for me. I’m just waiting for the next catastrophic event. Precious life is hard.

  29. Mary Francis
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    Hi Marlene – How blessed you have been!! Do you know how many widows want to be blessed with a second love and you have had three in your life time. Time to honor what you have had instead of what you don’t have. Mary Francis

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