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 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

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 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:

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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24 Responses

  1. carol delgado

    I don’t know what to do at night in the winter times. It’s been almost 2 years and all I want to do I start go to bed. I find shows on t.v. in the winter during the day but night time I want to drink or just go to bed

  2. Mary Francis

    Dear Carol – please listen when I tell you that there is a fine line between healthy grief and depression. As widows we often weave back and forth across that line but sometimes we get stuck on the depression side and need help. If most nights are just drinking and going to bed out of loneliness then you need to see your doctor. We all need a helping hand and grieving is a hard journey to make on your own.

    Please talk to your doctor and explain how your feeling. He/She should be able to suggest some things to help you. The holidays are especially hard on us widows so take control and don’t let your life drift away. Take some time to research information and other sites that may provide resources that are positive. Take up some old or new hobbies and make yourself get up and out. You are valued and desire to be happy. Mary Francis

  3. MDP

    I’ve lost my husband at a very young age. It’s been two years now. After he was buried, I literally had to pick up and move on. But at the same time, I went out every night and drank. I would sometimes not go home to my children. I used my husbands death just so they would understand. I have 4 children and my first 2 has been so angry at me for the decisions I’ve made. We have not been in talking terms for almost 2 years and it breaks my heart. I also lost my family members in the process. My husband was the glue that held my family together. Now that he is gone, I no longer exist because I was not good enough. I’ve been wanting a relationship for awhile now because I wanted companionship. I am afraid of being alone and I was so desperate to find someone. But I always failed. I come to realize that I need to close the doors from my past and start to grieve for the lost of my husband. I’ve never had the chance to sit and absorb what had happened two years ago. Do you think that if I just stop and sit and realize what I’ve lost, will I be able to start a new chapter in my life without having to look back at my past? Do you think it’ll work and I will finally be happy?

  4. lorraine carl

    Today is one year since my husband died, it seems
    Like yesterday, it was not suppose to happen this way and I am unable to even think of doing anything, two months later his dog passed and I have put all my love in my other dog, I feel like my purpose in life is done now what? Sometimes I think I will sell the house then change my mind, I am angry with God for taking him and no desire to go back to Church

  5. Mary Francis

    Dear Lorraine – It’s okay and perfectly normal to be angry. I would think that God can handle it and understands your pain. I can not begin to understand why things happen the way they do in this world. I quess those answers will come either on my journey this side of life or the other side. Don’t worry about feeling angry because the most important thing is that you are feeling. When we have no emotions at all and are dead inside that is the dangerous “depression” setting in. If that happens you need to talk to a counsellor or doctor for some help on your grief journey. Take care of yourself. Mary Francis

  6. Mary Francis

    Hi MDP – I wish it was an easy journey but the truth is – it isn’t and part of the grief journey is learning to love yourself. Sounds to me that you have come to the part in your journey where you realize that having just any man isn’t going to fill that empty spot in your life and drinking doesn’t either. Your in the right path now because your asking questions of yourself. You are realizing that your life is 100% in your control and created by your decisions. Keep up the good work and take care. Mary Francis

  7. Leah Howes

    Hi Mary
    My husband died on March 9th. 2017.
    A little over 2 weeks ago.
    We had been having trouble, long story there ill try to shorten by saying for a couple of months he stayed away from home, off and on. Ignoring almost every text and phone call i sent him. I left went to my sons where he continued to ignore me, i didnt feel he was being fair to me as far a giving me a chance to show him i wouldnt argue with him so much or call him names , etc. Which I was doing but only because he was ignoring me so much, i told him i knew there was somebody else, and the day he died that night it was confirmed that there was. Im so lost , hurt , confused, and I cant even get even. I dont know , theres so much more to my story that i could write a book. I told him before he died that i forgive him, even though he never admitted to seeing someone. I knew.
    Now ive been in and out of my bedroom, across the floor, even been in the floor sorting papers, but, i layed up on my bed last week , could barely see the floor, where i did see it there was something shiny, i went to see what it was, it was a sterling and 14k ring. I say a gift from him to apologize, to say he feels bad and that he loves me. Nobody else has been in my room, could this be from him ? Or, am I crazy on top of everything else? Thank you. Was also wondering if I would be eligible for some kind of a widows pension from social security ? Or if you know about that. Im in Ca.
    Sincerely, Leah

  8. Mary Francis

    Sorry Leah for the loss of your husband. Please take your time going over all the resources on the website, blog and take your time grieving so you can heal. I do believe that there are signs out there for us if we are open to seeing them. I can’t help with financial advise as every area is different for benefits. Try asking your bank if they have anyone you can talk to. Mary Francis

  9. JDM

    Hi Mary
    My husband died last Oct 7, 2016 but until now, its hard to accept, sometimes I am still in denial, I am imagining he will comeback, I am attending a once a month grieving counseling recommended by my family doctor.Sometimes I just want to run away for all this this things but I have two adult children & one 15 year old. I go back to my part time job to get out , to avoid loneliness, also I attend zumba, but still there are still hard days & sleepless night, sometime anxious, sometimes depressed, what will I do , any advice, suggestions

  10. Mary Francis

    Dear JDM – You are doing great for being a widow just over five months. You are attending monthly counseling and an exercise class. You may be expecting too much in these early months of grief. I tried to avoid it all by staying busy when I was widowed but there will be hard days, sleepless nights, loneliness. Unfortunately it isn’t that easy, and we will never be able to outrun our grief as it’s a journey that has to be travelled before we can heal.

    Keep doing what your doing, reach out to other widows as a safe place to talk about your feelings, go online and research for resources and support, follow my blog or Facebook for advice. Meanwhile, hang in there and take care of yourself. It’s a hard journey with a lot of emotional ups and downs. Let grief have it’s time – cry, be angry, be lonely and have those days of not wanting to do anything. But also take action towards positive things and people so that your grieve doesn’t take away all your joy. That’s when it becomes too easy for grief to slide into depression – you don’t want to go there. Most of all take care of yourself, Mary Francis

  11. HKW

    Dear Mary

    I was widowed in August 2013.
    We had been married for 28 years but knew each other / as friends / as boyfriend and girlfriend / as defactos.
    We ran a business together which just before he died became very
    I was left holding the fort.
    The grief and depression overwhelmed me for 9 months.
    It still does on occasion.
    Every two weeks or monthly now.
    I forced myself to join a grief group.
    I didn’t relate to our friends who were all couples anymore.
    After a couple of meetings in walks a man from the other side of the world whose wife had just passed after 35 years of marriage.
    We instantly became good grief buddies forming our splinter group called the “tissue club” as we always carried tissues.
    He was grief stricken on his own in a new country and all his children and mother and siblings lived a world away.
    We became romantic after a grief period and eventually married sept 16.
    We are blissfully happy and we are very compatible.
    We both still grieve the loss of our significant other and the other parent of our children(I have a daughter grown up). We do accept that we always will. If we didn’t grieve there would not have been much there.
    The grief is as strong as the love.
    Our children adore their respective step parents. We tell each other we love each other.
    At our wedding his family all come over from the UK and mine from all areas of NSW in Australia. Such a happy occasion stemming from such loss.
    It has been such an overwhelming experience I am now writing a novel.
    I just want the widows writing on to you to hang in there. There is much happiness to be experienced.
    Grieve but don’t spend too much time in misery. In the grand scheme of things there is a plan and it doesn’t involve a lifetime of sadness and guilt if that persists. You are alive and you must be happy that you are.
    I am a very lucky 60 year old.
    I’ve lost something precious but now I have four lovely children that I never envisaged.
    Life is for living and life is for love.
    My thoughts are with you all.

  12. Laurie zroback

    Dear Mary, it will be 2 months tomorrow that I lost the love of my life. He had a rare type of cancer and was diagnosed almost 6 years ago. I knew time was running out but I guess I didn’t really want to believe it. The first 2 weeks I was numb and completed necessary paperwork etc. This last 2 weeks it seems I like I can’t keep it together. I have difficulty talking to certain people and will just start crying. We were together since college 33 years this month. I know I have to let grief take its course. I thought maybe if I sent you message it would make me feel better. And I guess in a way it did. I know it’s going to be hard for a long while it’s just all the “firsts”. My friends say “your strong” you’ll get through this. I don’t feel strong!! I’ve never had to ask for anything before but I’m asking now. So I know I will get through this. Thanks just for being there. Laurie

  13. Mary Francis

    Hi Laurie – I’m sorry about your husband and you are early in your grief journey. Don’t be deceived by what everyone calls the “firsts” and that it will be better the second or third time around. That isn’t always true – my “firsts” passed by when I was still numb and not taking it all in. Therefore, I found my second year to be the hardest. This may not be true for everyone but I want you to be aware that “firsts” can be deceiving.

    Friends think we are strong because they only see the outside mask that we wear in public. Grief has weakened us and we have to rebuild our lives before we get strong inside again. Yes, you can do it – but know that grief hits us hard and brings us to our knees in pain. It’s a journey to get back on our feet and rebalanced but we do it because we are strong women. Thank you for sharing your journey and take care of yourself. Mary Francis

  14. Nita

    I lost my husband three weeks ago. People think I am doing good but I have a couple good days, then a couple bad days. I am keeping busy but do take time to cry when I need to, We never had any children and it worries me what woud happen to me if I had a surgery, operation or just an outpatient procedure. I have no one to help me.
    I miss my husband of 38 years and it is so quiet here without anyone.

  15. Mary Francis

    Hi Nita – The only why to have people in your life to help you in the future is to develop good friendships and be there for them. Women support each other, always have and always will. Be a good friend to others and they will be there in your time of need. Get out to meet new friends, join senior clubs or groups like bowling or curling etc. Take control of what you want – one little step at a time and please let yourself grieve and cry if you need to. We all need to grieve so that we can heal. Take care, Mary Francis

  16. Mary Francis

    Dear HKW – I posted your comments and advise for the widows to read. Thank you for sharing your journey. Mary Francis

  17. Asa

    Hi Mary. What a relief it is to find women who are going through the same thing I am. My husband of 11 years passed away last month. He was 29. I feel as if my heart and my head are not lining up. I know that he’s gone but I can’t wrap my mind around it. We have three children and I can’t seem to be what they need right now. I’m terrified of everything. I’ve become scared of the dark. I’m terrified of walking from my bedroom to the bathroom at night. I can’t imagine that this is normal. My husband was my protector and now he’s gone. I’m trying to be strong, but I feel like I’m failing everyone. I just want to lay in bed in my pajamas all day long. My world is shattered and nothing feels right. Is there anything that you suggest I do to calm these fears and pick myself up for my children? Thank you.

  18. Donna

    Mary, I lost my husband 3 1/2 years ago. I started seeing a man that was up front with me that he didn’t want a commitment. But after a couple of months I new that wasn’t what I wanted so I told him that I was on some websites looking for somebody to spend the rest of my life with. I found someone and he has sold his home and moved in with me. I was married for 46 years and we had a fantastic marriage. I have a curio cabinet with several mimentals and pictures of us in my bedroom. My new partner says he understands and it doesn’t bother him that they are in the bedroom and knows that I will always love my husband but I feel bad about having them in there and if I move them to the other bedroom I feel like I’m putting my husband away and forgetting about him. I need to mention that the other bedroom is like a storage room What do you think I should do? It is ok for you to post this on your website because I’m sure there are other widows with the same question.

  19. Mary Francis

    Hi Asa – It’s quite normal to be off balanced when we are grieving. Our minds go numb and it’s hard to be focused or even care about what is going on around us. You were married young and for 11 years had him in your life for love and support.

    It’s only been a month so please don’t worry about what is “normal” and what is not at this point of your loss. Feelings and emotions are tricky and do not follow rules, if we don’t control them they take over our lives. You need to talk about your feelings; the good, the bad and the ugly. Please find someone you trust – family, friends or other widows and share how you feel. Your world is shattered and only you can create another world – it won’t be perfect, it won’t have the love of your life BUT it will have you as a loving mother who is stronger because of her journey. Take care of yourself – read and search out positive material. Filling your mind with good, positive things will help to calm your fears. Mary Francis

  20. Mary Francis

    Dear Donna – What to do with pictures and keepsakes is a question we widows all face at one time or another. It’s almost the same as the question – to wear our wedding rings or take them off. They are all personal questions and every widow has to follow her heart on this. What does your heart tell you? Not your logical head but your emotional heart?

    It sounds like you have another good man in your life and he is letting you make your own decisions. As a widow I can say that I will never forget my late husband whether I moved or gave away his things. You see – our memories are forever with us so it doesn’t matter what happens to things. Memories are with us till the day we die and for me, that’s good enough. I hope that I have been of some help, Mary Francis

  21. nicky

    I lost my husband In 2012 and I miss him desperately ,but I cannot pretend that ours was a perfect marriage. It was stormy to say the least but we loved each other and we stayed together.
    I live now for our children. I know that the reason I can’t move on is the guilt.
    It is people who have had healthy loving relationships who can have them again, not screw-ups like me.

  22. Mary Francis

    Hi Nicky – I’m not usually this firm but here it is, you are not “a screw up”. Do you think that your the only wife that had troubles in her marriage? My husband was an alcoholic and we had our share of hard times but that doesn’t mean we didn’t love each other or that either one of us was a “screw up”. Life sucks and it’s a fairy tale to think that it will always be happy ever after. But what we do have control over is how we move forward. We can choice to call yourselves down or lift ourselves up – what do you want to do?

    I used to also feel guilty about what I could or could not have done but I let that go once I realized that what I really wanted was to be happy. I couldn’t be happy carrying around that burden of guilt so I had to let it go and you should too. You are beautiful, inside and out, so fill your life with positive things and people. They will help lift you up so you can hold your head up high because your worth it, this I know!! Mary Francis

  23. Donna

    Thank you Mary.

  24. Mary Francis

    Your welcome Donna – we are all in this together and it’s healing to share our journeys. Take care of yourself and I wish you the best. Mary Francis

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