When you are widowed you wonder if you 're the only one that cuddles up in bed in the middle of the day because it's just too much effort to get on with life.  Or maybe you're so busy that you haven't had time to stop and grieve and you wonder if there are other widows like you.

This page is full of stories widows have sent us about their own journey and we have them here so you can see that you are not alone.

Questions? – Click here for the email us  "Contact Form".

 

Mary Spacer

Hi Mary!

I LOVED your story!!!You gave some wonderful insight, and what I really liked was that you gave lots of ideas for getting on the healing path. I found your words were very wise, but more importantly, inspirational.  I could certainly identify with so much in the chapter and found myself nodding "yes", throughout the story.

Since my interview with you, I am currently on a different path than I was at that time. I have come to the realization that I do not require a man in my life to feel complete and enjoy life. I am selling my house and buying a garden home in Hampton. I have applied for a teaching position overseas and am looking forward to my son's wedding this coming summer. I have a true sense of freedom and am enjoying it to the max!! My greatest fear after Roger died was that I would one day be alone. It was hard seeing my children grow up and go out on their own, but I eventually accepted it and believe it or not, I have come to terms with the way things are and I'm actually seeing all the positives of being on my own.

The poem by Pat Perrin is amazing, and certainly lends itself to the theme of your book.    Thanks for sharing with me.  

Melanie

Mary Spacer

Hi sorry I can’t join you for supper. I was one of those widows who did not look after her money, and I am on a very tight budget. have fun, when I am in a better place I will join you again my pastor received your book and called me to see if I wanted it. I had stopped going to church about 2 years ago and it was so strange he called me because there is some widows in our church. As a result of his call I have gone back to church and intend to become active in my church again, so your book does other things beside help with healing, so strange or not.

Mary Spacer

Well done Mary! I was impressed. Our guys are not replaceable that's for sure. There were several phases that really caught me,

  • Everyone dies and its not avoidable.

  • Only God knows how much time you have.

  • I'm afraid of growing old and having regrets for people and places I never made the effort to explore.

  • people are more important while things have lost their appeal.

  • I didn't have to cater to other people's needs all the time. I started to slowly change as circumstances forced me into a new lifestyle. I    questioned my habits…

  • (about the lawnmower)… No one used it but Donnie and the first time I had to start it up and mow the lawn I cried the whole time.

  • I have made room for friends in my life.

  • (about grief) That's ok, I let it have its time, but I make an effort to keep moving so it doesn't find a home in my soul.

  • And the most profound;  'The greatest thing in the world is to have someone exclusively of your own – to love, to trust and to share'.

There were so many others Mary. I have scribbled and highlighted all over it. It gave me a sense of peace to read it and I will many times. I hope you are very proud of your accomplishment. If you are like me, unfortunately death spurred us on to an area we wouldn't have explored, certainly I wouldn't have chose it, and yet you have made value from it. We need this book Mary.

You are most welcome to take excerpts (if you want) from what I wrote and forwarded to you earlier. Greif evolves and now I'm in a different place with it. The strangest things will set me off. 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. I'm really stuck. Last night someone told me Jose wouldn't want me in such agony and if he had known asking me to take him back to the Acores 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. So overall I guess I'm not ready.

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.

I am forever changed for having known him. People say the spirit stays with you for a year – how they know beats me, but it scares me that the year mark is approaching, does that mean he'll leave me? I'm becoming desolate in my own fear of being completely abandoned.  I feel like I have come to know you through your writing. That's the part where we expose ourselves and you have done so with skill and the ultimate love of others in our situation.     Again I say well done.   

Barbara

Mary Spacer

I was widowed at age 44  –  By Lynn

I was widowed at the age of 44 on October 10, 2002. My husband, David was also 44 at the time of his death.

I stumbled upon your name while surfing the internet one evening which in turn led me to your website and the book that you wrote called “The Sisterhood of Widows.”  First, let me say that I am sorry for your loss and second, congratulations on being an author!!

This is my story….

I pondered over buying your book for a couple of weeks and then eventually I felt brave enough to actually drive to Indigo Book Store on the east side of the city, search the self-help section and purchase your book.

I remember thinking to myself that I hope that no one that I know will see me purchase this book because I’m sure it would have been followed with a dozen questions of which I certainly didn’t feel like answering.  So, in fact I hid the book in my arms with my other purchases until I got to the cash register.   I have never had counseling when my husband passed and I thought maybe it was time for me to read about what widows tend to go though and how they cope with their loss.

It was a Saturday afternoon when I brought the book home and sat down on the couch and read all afternoon and well into the late evening. Tears filled my eyes after reading the first chapter and from then on I felt compelled to keep reading.   I was so wrapped up in reading about each widow’s journey and how their experiences made me reflect on my own journey that I couldn’t put the book down until I read every last page.

Throughout reading your book I have shed many tears.  Each chapter had a passage written in such a way that it was exactly how I felt at the time that I lost my husband and that I still feel sometimes even today almost nine years later.   And here, after all these years I thought I was the only one who felt some of the things I was feeling.  It’s nice to know that there are other women out there that have gone through or are currently going through the same thing.  Your book is bursting with many excerpts that strike a chord with me.

There are still times when I have a hard time coping with my loss.  I still can’t seem to talk about my husband very much with my children or to anyone for that matter and there are many nights that I still cry myself to sleep.  To this day maybe a certain song on the radio, maybe a television program or a movie, maybe something someone said, or maybe a certain look from someone can all bring back memories.

As sad as it may seem the way I look at death is that it is a fact of life.  We live; we die. Die.  I can’t stand that word!  I can’t even say it!  It’s such a dark terrifying word!  I am surprised that I even typed it just now.  I always used the phrase “passed away” or “passed on” because these words don’t seem as harsh to me.

I became isolated living in my own little world for the longest time.  I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything.  I always felt and still sometimes feel like I’m a third wheel so I tend to do things by myself most times.

My two daughters were 16 and 19 years old at the time of their father’s death, old enough to understand what was happening but yet young enough that they still needed me.

  • At the time I remember thinking about how am I going to live when my both of my daughters decide to move out on their own someday?

  • How do I survive by myself?

  • Who will look after me?

  • How do you live in a house full of silence?

  • Who will greet me when I get home from work?

  • Who will be around to talk to?

  • How do I go on?

So many questions but yet… life continues. One minute at a time.  One hour at a time.  One day at a time.  One month at a time until the next thing you know years have slipped by.

If it wasn’t for my sister-in-law, Dee Dee and her husband Glen I would never have made it through my husband’s funeral.  Thank God for guardian angels!  To this day I don’t remember the funeral or who all attended the service.  People tell me the church was jam packed.  Everything from placing the obituary in the local newspaper, to picking out the casket, to making funeral arrangements is all one big blur.

Where do you find the time to think of everything that needs to be done?  So many decisions have to be made in so little time.  The whole thing all happened so fast.  It all just seemed so surreal.

It happened while he was at work.  I received a phone call at 1:00 a.m. in the morning from Glen telling me to get to the hospital because David had been hurt.  Of course I asked what happened but all Glen would say is just come to the hospital as soon as I can.  So of course I went.

While driving from Grand Bay to the Regional Hospital millions of thoughts were going through my head about what could have happened to David.  Did he fall and break a leg? Maybe break an arm?  Did a heavy piece of equipment fall on top of him and crush his limbs?  Did he fall off of a petroleum tank?  OMG!  Possible brain damage even?

Not once did the thought cross my mind that he could have possibly died!!   Needless to say I barely remember the thirty minute drive in to the city that night…

I never did get the chance to say good bye to David because once I arrived at the hospital I was informed that he had already passed away.  The cause of David’s death was cardiac arrhythmias which lead to a massive heart attack.   In hindsight I understand why Glen didn’t tell me over the phone that David had passed on because I would never have made the drive to the hospital.

I am sure you have heard of the phrase “here one minute gone the next.”  I can truly relate to this saying because that is exactly what happened to me.

I know each of us grieve in our own private way and after reading your book I can see that there are also many similarities we, as widows share.  I must say your book has enlightened me.  A huge thank you to you for writing this book!

I have moved forward with my life (though it hasn’t been easy) because time can’t possibly stand still for anyone, no matter who you are or where you come from or how much money you have.  I witnessed friends and family moving on and so I must too.  I didn’t want to end up sitting in a corner feeling sorry for myself so I had to pick myself up, dust myself off and put on a brave face and let everyone think that everything is fine.

I never wanted my daughters to see me cry so I would only cry when they weren’t home or late at night when I was in bed or when I was in the shower where the water drowned me out.

Meanwhile I am still coping.  I am still learning.   I am still healing. I don’t think we ever stop healing. The pain will remain with me until the day that I take my last breath.

I sold my house three years ago and bought a condo.  I quit my previous job of 15 years and went back to school.  I graduated with honors in Office Administration at the age of 50.  I am currently working at a job that I can honestly say I love.

Mary, thank you again for writing a book full of wisdom, encouragement and hope so that widows such as myself, you and countless others can try to heal, understand, move forward, and relate to those who are going through the same thing.

Wishing you all the best. 

Lynn

Mary Spacer

Just wanted to let you know that I just read your book.  I am a widow and it was very helpful.  It's been 3 years and I am still grieving, but your book was very motivating for me, to try to get out of the house.  I had tried a grievance course the first year and only went to 2 meetings.  Now I am going again to this course and its helping me lots.  Thank you for the wonderful book.  God bless you Mary Francis.  From another widow.

Camelia

Mary Spacer

Dear Mary,

I’m anxious to order your book of “Sisterhood Widows”.  I’ve lost my father suddenly at 48 years old & 7 years later my mother at 55 years old, suddenly.  Later my husband at 48 years old and next year I will be 55.

Since than my two adult children have nothing to do with me for reasons I may never know.  I was a devoted mother & wife who loved her family unconditional.  I went crazy after my husbands 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.  I am hoping that this book will help and hopefully someone has a story like mine with a happy ending with their surviving children.

Mary Spacer

Hi Mary, My cousin thought of me the other day while reading your book “The Sisterhood of Widows”. She has lent me the book to read and so far this book has inspired me so much.

I am a widow and have been since 2007 (3 years). I was only 29 when I became a widow and never would of thought this would of happened to me. My husband and I had just given birth to beautiful twin girls in October 2006, and also had a 3 year old little girl. December of 2006 my husband was complaining of not feeling very well. I ended up taking him to the Emergency room on New Year’s Day and them telling us that nothing was wrong and to go home. He was in such pain that a week later he had taken himself to the Emergency room again, and like before they sent him home. Things were getting worse so that’s when I took things into my own hands and made him an appointment with my family doctor. He started booking him for tests of all sorts. It was not until March 22, 2007 that we finally got some answers. He had been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. On April 16 he started his first round of Chemo. He fought this awful disease until December 9, 2007 four days before our oldest daughters 4th birthday.

He was 36 years old and didn’t deserve to be taken away from his family at such a young age. It has been a rough road for me and my girls, but we are so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your book and hoping for it to help me with my loss. I will be putting it on my Christmas list this year because it will be one of those books that you will be able to read over and over and get something new out of it each time you read it. Thanks so much….

Kim

Mary Spacer

My Story

I have been a widow for more than 30 years.  My husband died at the age of 47 of a massive heart attack and failure during the night of his 48th birthday.

In the morning I did go to my lessons, finished packing the car and set off for the cottage, I arrived to find a very quiet cottage.  Usually on his birthday Pat would be out telling the world that he was here and that it was his birthday.  My nurse friend Gigi was seated on the front step.  She said there was not a sound from inside and she didn’t want to disturb Pat if he was sleeping.  Very strange to me.  So I went in.  There was a card on the kitchen table from Joan but that was all.  I looked around and there was Pat still in bed.  It was a peaceful scene as the window over him was open and a soft breeze was blowing in.  I charged in and demanded that he wake and get up as his birthday had arrived.  He did not move.  I touched him and found him very cold and very dead.  I shouted at him as I was very cross and angry at him.  How dare him do such a thing.  I pressed on his chest and blood rippled from his lips.  I began to cry and yell for someone to come quick.  My friend Gigi came in, Mary came over but couldn’t look at Pat or at me.

Everyone wanted me to leave but I wanted to stay near Pat.  I did just that and I cradled him in my arms until the ambulance men arrived.  There was no calming me.    Aunt Ryan grieved for me more than herself as she believed I was too young ( 46) to be a widow.  Little did she know that I was a widow then and have remained a widow all these years.

All of these years I have felt deep compassion and love for other women who have become widows for one reason or another.  I attended grief support groups but I could have given them better than the person who was speaking.  So I did nothing about all of the widows I knew and cared for.  Then after all these years I read about a brave young widow who knew what to do and who did something about it.  She wrote a book “The Sisterhood of Widows”.

I searched until I found this person and I immediately decided to have a “Widow’s Pot Luck Supper”.  Mary Francis was happy to hear from me and happy to collaborate on the idea and the date was set when she came to be our special guest.  I was so happy to meet her.  By 6 PM there were more than 30 anxious widows here to meet and greet her.  Those who attended and meet Mary were thrilled and so appreciated her message and her many stories.  Many of those who attended and more of those who couldn’t come have asked for another gathering to be set up.

This is a good sign and perhaps in the not too distant future we will have another “Widows Pot Luck” and talk of the support we can give each other and assist in the healing that comes from knowing that we are not alone.  

Jessica Ryan

 

Have your own story to share? PLease feel free to post your own story below.

23 Responses

  1. Vicky
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    I have been a widow for 20 months. We had been married for 42 years, together for 45.  We met on a blind date when I was a senior in high school, and he was a sophomore in college. We married and honeymooned all over Europe while he was stationed at an army base in Germany.  After his enlistment was over, we returned to the USA., where he and I attended graduate school. He was a botanist, wildlife biologist, forester. We hiked in the Smokies, Gulf Islands, and Missouri Bluffs.  He  photographed identified animal tracks and by sound and sight beautiful bird songs,  butterflies, plants, trees, seashells. Nothing could be better we thought until we had our first and only child, a son, when we were in our forties. Since he was a private consultant, he often stayed home when our son was sick.  I came home from work to find them both on the floor coloring Peter Rabbit.  Although we were so thankful to have a child and were so proud he was so smart, I look back now and realize that we did not value all the times we had together and even took it for granted that we would all be together for a lifetime. When our son was fifteen and my husband was working in another state, I received a call at work that he had been rushed to the ER with pneumonia. Only that was not all that it was: he had a biscupid heart valve. Even though he delayed his surgery, the 3 bypasses and St. Jude's valve surgery was successful. After rehab with an

    excellent nurse, he was soon back duck hunting with our son and climbing hills surveying timber.  We were so thankful for the talented surgeon, who told us he should have 15 more years . Two years later, a chronic cough returned.  We still traveled in the summer, but I was so afraid his heart valve was failing that I carried  the numbers and directions to the nearest VA hospital  on every trip we took.  The last trip, he could hardly walk 20 steps without resting.  The diagnosis was a shock, but at first we did not know that it was so deadly and quick: idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.  He had never smoked. The web said, "fatal," and quicker than cancer. He was not a candidate for a lung transplant because of his heart surgery.  His oxygen level was already too low for surgery.  He refused to use the home oxygen the VA provided.  The scientist in him knew that the cells of his lungs were destroyed and would not work better with oxygen, which he said messed up the breathing rhythm he had taught himself.  I spent hours online searching for the cause: chemicals, medicine, forest fire smoke, GENETICS (PLEASE GOD NOT OUR SON, TOO).
    He was proud that he saw our son graduate high school and community college with honors.

    [SON IS HEALTHY SO FAR; HE DOES NOT HAVE THE BICUSPID VALVE.]  My husband became housebound, sitting most of the day in a chair.  I left  his lunch in a cooler by the chair.  Then one night, he was especially tired and went to bed early.  I did not think anything was wrong until I heard a crash in the bathroom about 2:00 am. I found him on the floor; he said he was so tired he fell. Then his heart stopped. He had chosen DNR.  The surgery gave us four years we would not have had. 

    Last year, our son, who worked two part-time jobs, graduated with a 4.0 in engineering, one of 11 all A's in 3,000.  My husband would have been so proud.

    Our son is in graduate school in a nearby university.  I think his dad told him to help me, so he does online bill paying.  From never writing a check because my husband was the mathematician, I have managed most of other  bills.  We have learned to cut corners from land line to VOIP, etc.  Friends, family, fellow teachers, and students have been generous, thoughtful, and supportive. During the school year, musicals, etc., I am too busy to be sad most of the time.  A high school friend whose husband died of cancer after being in remission for 15 years, told me that the first year, she cried for little or no reason on and off for months.  I know what she means:I can't listen to our favorite songs without crying.   At first, I could not go to any of the nearby hiking trails:  part of me wanted to move away from where we lived for almost 40 years, the memories were too sad.  Now, those favorite places trigger warm and good memories. Also, I don't go alone, but with our church group.  I hope to write the best memories in a journal for our son. I have to take better care of my health, diet, etc.  As an older mom, I want to rock and help raise grandchildren.

    The oddest and funniest thing happened to me  the first month after the funeral.  The local volunteer fire chief, whose men had come to our house, came by to see me.  I intended as usual to donate money to the volunteers.  The chief asked, " Are you wanting to downsize your house?" "No," I said, "And I'm not moving into town either."  Then he said, " If you want to find a husband, you should go to the Harbor Freight auction.  There's a lot of old men there.  You can find you a husband there."  I said, "No, I'm not looking for a husband."  A few months later,  our local handyman asked, "When are you going to remarry?''  I wasn't sure if he was asking for himself or not since he had only  been a widow himself for eight months." No, after spending over half my life with my soulmate, I do not think I will ever remarry.  But do I want male friends, yes.  That is probably another chapter.

    Thank you and all of the others for your advice and stories.  Although we are all often around many people, they do not know how or what to say to widows.  It is also difficult to know what we can say to others about our spouses that won't make them feel uncomfortable.  As I often say to some of my students, TMI (too much information.)   I am also thankful for the supportive and wonderful young woman my son has been dating for years. I can say to you but not to him or her or anyone else who knows us (and might put what I say on Facebookl for everyone to see) that it is about time my son asked her to marry him.  She is a keeper.

    I began reading C. S. Lewis' A Grief Observed. The local library has ordered On My Own ( I forgotten the author's name.)  I am borrowing a book on the grief process from our female pastor and will be going to her for counseling.  I would also like to know about other books too that anyone has found helpful.  I saw one on this site and will check with our local library, where the librarians can borrow requested books from a larger library.

     

  2. Mary Francis
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    Thank you Vicky for sharing your story for the other widows on the site.  It is so hard to grieve but important because without our grieving we can not begin to heal.  People do say the most stupid things and you will learn just to let them run off your back like water to a duck 🙂   Take care of yourself and continue to read and research for all the support you need.  Mary Francis

  3. cathy
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    I've been a widow for 10 months now…My husband died from MRSA.  He had esophageal cancer.  He had just finished his chemo and radiation in Chicago and we had an appointment to get the results when he developed a fever…he was in ICU for 2 weeks.  His immune system was so compromised by treatment, his body couldn't fight the infection even though they tried everything they had with antibiotics.  He also had many complications along the way so he suffered a lot before he died.  We finally had them stop all of the things they were doing because his body was just breaking down.  A wonderful ICU nurse called hospice..we got him there at 3 in the afternoon and he died at 11 that evening.
      Right now, his sister, who is a pastor, called me one evening to tell me her daughter was getting married on his birthday…this will be my first birthday without him.  Then they later told me that not only were they getting married on his birthday but that the bride and groom were going to play a certain version of "over the Rainbow" when coming back down the aisle. Because the groom and his family want this particular song even though they knew it might make my grief harder to bear. This was his favorite song…he had a little girl from his first marriage that was hit and killed, he was pushing the stroller when  a driver ran a light and hit her…she was only 15 months old…this particular version of the song (done by a man from Hawaii) was his song for his little girl.  So it was the final song that I had played at his funeral…to honor him, pay a tribute to him and my final goodbye.  I'm so hurt by all of this.  His sister did his service.  We traveled many times with her and her husband.  She was part of my support system.  My grief support group, my grief counselor and close friends feel this is very insensitive and only adding to the grief I'm striving to get through.  My children think it's okay…that the bride should  have the wedding she wants….It's caused a huge divide between me and my sister-in-law…it's like now that he's gone, he doesn't matter anymore and I should be through my grief enough to understand this and be okay with how they're doing the wedding.
      Any thoughts on this situation would be appreciated since, unless you've lost your spouse (we were married 42 years and he was my best friend), only some one in my situation would understand…most people just don't get it.

  4. Mary Francis
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    I’m sorry Cathy that this issue has come up within the first year of his death but the truth is that it would still be hard even years later because the song has special meaning to you.  It may have been better if they had included you in their decision but in the end your children are correct in that the bride should have the wedding she wants.  It was her uncle’s song and she may want to honor his memory by having it played – it may be her way of having him be part of her wedding.  Perhaps you can take it as an honor towards him that they are playing his song at their wedding. 

    I’m sure that his sister doesn’t think that he doesn’t matter and as a Pastor she understands that your grief takes time.  Everyone is super sensitive after the death of a loved one and we need to appreciate how easy it is for grief to upset our families just when we need them the most.  Families are so important so please try to take the high road and use this as a way to honor his memory.  It’s going to happen either way and your only other choice is to not go to the wedding.  If you find it too hard you can always skip the church service and just go to celebration afterwards.   Take care, Mary Francis

  5. cathy Davis
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    I wish I could have done what you suggested and taken the high road about how the wedding was planned. However, the choices of the day for the wedding and the song were not made to honor him or pay tribute to him in any way. I was told that they knew it would probably hurt me so soon after he died but it would be done the way the bride wanted it. I think I could have accepted the date and even tried to attend to be with family on this first birthday without him, but there are thousands of songs they could have chosen but they stayed with this one in spite of the fact that they knew I was having such difficulty with it. The only thing I know is that I would never have chosen to do something at any event if I knew it was going hurt someone I love. I would have asked my daughter to please choose a different song because of the hurt it would cause.
    I have resolved the breach it caused between myself and children but no longer have or am interested in having a relationship with my sister-in-law. I’ve talked with many people about this situation, including my counselor and grief support group, and the people that thought I should just “get over it” and move on are in the minority. One person even told me that I need to get over his death, learn to handle these things by myself and that I wasn’t the only one whose had someone die. She said “what do you expect, people to circle the wagons and support you ?”

  6. Mary Francis
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    Hi Cathy We never “get over” the death of a loved one. In time our grieving moves forward to healing but that means we are “moving forward” not “getting over” them. We are super sensitive when we are hurting and because of that our emotions run high and we get hurt. That doesn’t mean that what others do is OK but we do need to recognize that the only control we do have is control over how we respond to that hurt.

    Recognize that you were hurt, understand that they could have handled things better but also that how you handle this moving forward is totally up to you and should not be based on just the opinions of others. Some family and friends are supportive and some are not. Nothing new about that 🙂

    Take care, Mary Francis

  7. Jennifer
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    I’ve been a widow since December of 2014. My husband had cortical basal degeneration, which is a Parkinson’s Plus disease. I guess that meant he had what looked like Parkinson’s, but was worse.

    I took care of him at home, particularly from January of 2012 through to June of 2013 when I had to place him in a nursing home. He had had a bad childhood, which made the nursing home seem like another way he was abandoned. At least to me it did. He couldn’t express himself any longer at the point I put him in the home. Just occasionally say things like “When can I come home.”

    When he died, he had been so badly off that his death was a relief to me in many ways. He could no longer walk, talk, go to the bathroom or enjoy anything that he used to. He was stuck in a dementia ward of the nursing home because he was suffering dementia, common to his disease.

    I froze after his death and could do nothing. Our son lives with me and he heated up our dinners and helped me the first 6 months after my husband’s death. He’s still here and still helpful, but sometimes I ask him to do things that he doesn’t have a clue how to do. Today was one of those times.

    When things that I cannot fix break, I panic and I immediately go back to the times during our 36 year marriage when my husband could fix anything. I can’t and my son can’t. It was something his father did naturally and now we’re both at sea.

    Every time I’m faced with a new trial, a new thing I have to do without him, his loss comes back to me and scares me. I go right back into frozen mode and try to figure out why being a widow is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. Not that I ever thought about how it would be at all. I guess I assumed that we would be together forever, and that I wouldn’t have to live without him.

    I will never marry again. I just need to know how to learn to do things that I’ve never done. And I need to learn how to save money because not having enough of that makes all this worse. If only I’d thought of that before all this happened. I didn’t think that I wouldn’t be able to work because he was so sick. So having extra money didn’t happen.

  8. Mary Francis
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    Dear Jennifer – It is especially hard to be a caregiver for years before their death. In many ways we have already lost the man we married and yet when death comes it is so final that it is hard to accept.

    Many widows I know go to YouTube to get instructions on how to fix things and it seems easier when you can watch it by video. Maybe there is a part time job out there that will not only help you financially but also give you some social connections. It’s so much easier to get through life when you have friends to share the journey with.

    Take care of yourself, Mary Francis

  9. Hrujuta Kapil Bhardwaj
    |

    Hi I m Hrujuta.28 yrs old . Kapil my soul ,leaved me alone when I am 5 wks pregnant on 10 Dec 2016.
    It is the worst dream for me. i lost him at the exact time when I need him the most. I don’t understand what to do,i decided to raise our baby as it is biggest dream for both of us but it’s not at all easy for alone me.
    We had 3ed wedding anniversary and within a wk he had transfer to Portsmouth in Uk from Pune India.We were so happy ,we decided to close my clinic and focus on inviting a new someone our family in these 2 yrs.But it was not destined.On Nov 2016 we were so happy because as a doctor i knew I am pregnant but we decided to test after 6 wks of completion. And he started coughing, i was really worried, because his symptoms are are not good. His family is having clotting anamoly. He himself had DVT 6 yrs back . We went to GP but dr said relax it’s a cough .
    In next 3 days he became breathless at rest so we again visited to emergency care centre , i told my suspicion to dr but they said don’t worry these symptoms are common in here.
    Kapil is just 30 yrs young healthy person,with no addiction and this is your 1st winter in Uk so it may be ok,just relax. And send us back to home
    On 26 Nov after 2days his breathless increased so we again went to emergency,then they thought of pneumonia,but again said he is young and healthy observe for 24 hrs.
    On the next morning 27th nov2016 he was feeling more breathless had a hypotension so I called ambulance . we went to emergency again then Dr decided to admit him and treat for pneumonia i again told them that I m worried what if it is embolism or like a wise but Dr assured me it’s not and around 2.10pm Kapil had a cardiac arrest in
    Front of cardiologist ,intensives and other team.
    After 90 mins of efforts hisbeat pulsated again but. But his brain was fully damage d till that. Then they ventilate him and scanned him now their diagnosis is
    massive pulmonary embolism.
    Progressed as brain damage.
    And this was the day we planed to test for pregnancy. I fell down in hell from the heaven in a seconds.,and nothing could help me. I always admire myself as a doctor . I never neglect my responses as a doctor ,kapil was the person trusted me most .He always felt if I m with him he would be the fully secured.and i could not him dying.
    We tried next 14 days but nothing changed his brain and on 10 Dec 2016 dr stopped his ventilator and I came on non visualising ventilator for my life time.
    Now I m 7 months pregnant widow, with no career no future no kapil.
    Dr suspected kapil blood clotting anamoly may inherit in baby so I stared blood thinner ,it leads to many complications. But it doesn’t matter,for me what matters is i lost kapil..The most perfect person in my life ,he is the most perfect son of his parents most perfect brother perfectly talented engineer.,great friend. For me he was everything my mother my father my baby my care taker my soul my whole life everything everything,i lost everything in one shot.
    Now I m living like a empty life who is filling a new life in self and with a confusion of what to do
    Live for coming baby or
    To leave because I can’t live without him.

  10. Mary Francis
    |

    Hi Hrujuta – You may not feel it now because of your deep grief, but you have been blessed with the life of a baby, Kapil’s baby!!
    Many woman work as mothers so that can be something to consider. Regardless you will always have Kapil with you because you have his child. Please consider what you do have. There can be no better way to honour his love for you than to bring up his child, telling him/her stories about their father. Through your child, Kapil will live and your memories will continue on. To be a mother is a blessing that Kapil left you with. Please honour him by giving all your love to his child. Take care of yourself, Mary Francis

  11. Rosa
    |

    I recently lost my husband of 21 years who passed away on April 26th 2017. He was handsome, sweet and the love of my life. He passed away at the age of 46 from colon cancer. My birthday is coming up on Wednesday and while my day is full with friends and also attending my bereavement counseling session I worry about the next day and the loneliness it will bring me. Right now everything feels so infinite with my grief, as if I’m in a prison sentence for life (the feeling of living without him). I’m happy to have come across your website as I find comfort knowing I’m not alone. I hope that I find inspiration in your blog that will see me through. I felt stronger the day he died and the month after but now the reality is hitting that he will not be here in physical form. We were always together and truly liked being together all the time. Hope was a big part of his and my vocabulary while he was alive. Hope he’d beat his cancer. Hope we would have more time together. But I feel lost with that word now. Ty for having an open dialogue so I may one day regain my hope for my future.

  12. Mary Francis
    |

    Dear Rosa. We all search for hope and peace when we start out and we do find it. It is different for everyone. Sometimes it’s a new grandchild, travelling or new friendships. Keep yourself open to the possibilities because life is full of hope!! Mary Francis

  13. anonylmous
    |

    yes it seems everyone has a normal story. mine if I tell the truth gets me slammed doors and no support friends. only a few army men far away wish me well. my husband and I were together from I was age 30 he was 24 til I was about 36 and he was still so young. he helped me raise my second child- my gift form god after I lost custdy to my violent wife beating ex who I left with my child- and cruelly I was lied to in court. I had a custody order in another state was given bad intel and lost custody by answering the custody petition in that state. I bring up my children because im still young its been 6 yrs since my husbands death its only getting worse. my children are now 12 and 10.so my husband was everything I wanted in aman. so loving sweet helpful. caring . my best friend. he was a verternan from iraqu and Afghanistan at a young age. he had to do other work I cannot go into this caused him extreme stress. it caused me stress as I had to help him do his job
    and one day something- and to this day im not sure what it was- set him off- and he decided to take his own life. I know he was suffering form ptsd. we both were. him form war me form being abusived by apyscho hillbilly. his was servre and I worked with him to try to get him treatment. he wasn’t able to or decided to self medicate or – I don’t know
    it just happened. and when I found out I got eveicted with my then 4 yr old son because I screamed bloody murder so loudly and couldn’t stop crying
    I tried semi trie dto kill mylself but knew I ha dto stay alive for my adorable child.
    I got better quickly- it wasn’t a big attempt on my life just 7 pills. nothing big but – no one knew ut me and I looked at my adorable child and said I “i can keep going for him” so we pretended that daddy didn’t die. because I tired explaining it. no support. his mother tried to be supportive but she had also tried to bereak ups up repeatedly so I got scared and confused and shut her out. so I had no one. his friends said it was my fault. that why I trie dto kill myself. I got afacebook message” its you’re fault he killed himself” form tehis gay guy who hasd a crush on hima nd I lost it
    so I went on for years fine I pretended it never happened. denial was the only way for me
    I mademy son ceneter of my universe
    hes now 10
    I became deathly ill 2 years ago when he was almost9
    I almost died
    I should be grateful to be alive but when I was dying they – the hospital called the social services to give my son to my mother
    she wont let me have him back
    im suffering extreme pain and recurrent bouts of asceptic menegitis
    im not sure if im dying form it or it s just a debilitating nightmare
    I know there rae times in which I am too sick to take care of even myself
    I can barely sit and type this as my body is so injured and my head feels like it will explode.
    they cannot control it
    its due to late stage lymes disease and no one knows how to control it nor treat me nor even cares since im on Medicaid
    I never see my children anymore
    now the pain of my husbands suicide is too real and terrifying
    I have night terrors
    I am in so smcuh paind and I cannot even see my own children all I want is to die

  14. Mary Francis
    |

    I’m so very sorry. There are so many mixed emotions when we lose a loved one by suicide. You are valuable to your children and they need you healthy both mentally and physically. Please insist on getting the counselling that you need because you are worth it. Mary Francis

  15. angieinthelou
    |

    I lost my Husband this past November from a long illness. He was 58.
    Some days I feel like I hastened his death by putting him on Hospice, as he only lived 3 weeks after… other days I feel like I did the right thing, although those days are few and far between as I still carry a heavy burden of guilt. On the other hand he was suffering and miserable.
    I saw him slipping away, and one time pulled him off of Hospice and got him to the Hospital where he barely pulled through. But just like the Energizer Bunny he kept going and going. The amazing thing about Steve was his ability to bounce back from these exacerbations and to be the most happy and grateful man in all respects. In our 20yrs of marriage there was literally never ever a day that he didn’t live, laugh, and love, even on his last night. He was a man of God who lived only for his family. He was an amazing person unlike no other I have known, besides his Dad that is…
    After his last hospital stay he started to get worse, falling a lot, in a lot of pain, and his blood O2 dropping into the 70s-60s, normal being 98-100% So I put him back on Hospice. In hindsight and while it was happening but being in major denial he was reaching his last. His hearing and eyesight began to severely diminish and he had no sense of time yet is bubbling laugh and love for us was always present.
    He asked me the day before he died how we were going to make it without him. He had asked this question a few other times in the weeks before but I just evaded it. On this day as I held back my tears, knowing he wanted to go Home I looked at him with strength and love and told him we would be okay. I knew as I said it he would be gone soon, and he was… Some days I can’t forgive myself for saying it.
    As with a lot of people he made sure nobody was around when he let go… I woke up around 5am that morning as usual. As per my usual routine I checked my phone and caught up on a few games. I noticed the light was still out in his room and decided to get my shower out of the way and take my dogs out. After I finished all of that I went in to check on him and give him his medications and such, and he was gone. Being in the Healthcare field I knew he had only been gone for maybe an hour.
    I screamed so loud I instantly lost my voice from severely straining my vocal cords! I just kept trying to wake him up. My 18yr old Daughter came running in and I can not even describe the heart wrenching agony I felt when that child wailed DADDY DADDY NO NO NO PLEASE WAKE UP WAKE UP!!! I didn’t even have a voice to comfort her, but as we calmed down just a bit we both noticed something… he had the biggest smile on his face! He was almost glowing! Praise God he was Home now! But…
    We had lots and lots of family/friend support that day and for the few weeks after, then most everyone disappeared, that is the ones that hadn’t already disappeared when he fell ill.
    Then we had to deal with the ones who knew he had little time and their guilt of not coming to see him or being supportive. ROLLERCOASTER of emotions were and are ever present with them.
    It’s been a little over 9 months since we lost him… Some days I go through every stage of grief there is, just feeling like my heart is being pulled out along with my soul.
    He was my heart, my everything… I’ve lost my identity, my best friend, the one who understood me like no other, had my back, and loved me unconditionally. Which could not have been an easy thing!
    I have 3 children, the youngest, 19, lives with me and works and goes to College.We will be moving from our house into an apartment next month. Sadly I have had some serious health issues arise and we can no longer afford to stay in our home.
    Some Days were okay others were a mess but by no choice of our own we must somehow move on and keep moving ahead without him.

  16. Mary Francis
    |

    Dear Angie, thank you for sharing your journey. You did lose the love of your life but it sounds like your blessed three well adjusted children. From experience I know that you have future grandchildren to look forward to. Take your time to grieve and accept that others can not do it for you. It is early days in your grieving so don’t be surprised by the emotional journey you will have over the next couple of years but I have a feeling you will come out all the stronger for it. Take care. Mary Francis

  17. Kristin
    |

    I lost my husband 2 months ago. He was only 35 years old and I’m 34. We have 4 children who are 14, 8, 6, and 19 months. He had his aortic valve in his heart replaced twice in 2016 and again in Feb of 2017 due to endocarditis. In May on mothers day he told me that he didn’t feel good and was running a fever. We brushed it off as a virus but when he didn’t get any better in a few days, I took him to the emergency room. They check him out and kept him over night for observations because of his recent surgeries but discharged him the next day saying it was the flu and to go home and rest. A week later he was still running fevers and he told me he was going to take a shower to cool off. When he came down after the shower I noticed his lip drooping so I called an ambulance right away. They took him to the emergency room and he had a massive stroke on the examining table. He was put in a medically induced coma and on the 9th day his heart gave out and he passed. It still doesn’t seem real. I try my hardest to hold it together for our kids but I am so lost without him. We have been together since we were teenagers, 18 and 19. We got married when we were 19 and 20 and no one thought that we would make it but we proved everyone wrong. He was and is the love of my life, my best friend and my sole mate. I don’t even feel like I’m living, just existing. Half of me died the night that he did and I will never be the same again. I can’t sleep, eat or even function. I’m trying to take care of myself because my kids need me. The hardest thing is seeing my poor babies cry every night for their dad and there isn’t anything I can do but hold them and cry with them. I don’t know how I will make it without him. Part of me is still in denial. We tried counseling but nothing is really helping. I don’t want to do anything anymore and I don’t even want to leave my house. I keep myself going only for my kids. If I didn’t have them then I would have no other reason to live. His family has completely turned their back on us. It’s like now that he’s gone we aren’t part of the family amymore. They never call to check on the kids, I haven’t seen them since the funeral. And he comes from a very big family. It just hurts even more because this is the time that we need all of our family for support. Luckily we have a great support system from our church. I don’t know where i would be without them. I just feel so lost and empty. And I get all the stupid comments from insensitive people telling me that I can move on and remarry because I’m so young. I have absolutely no interest in re marrying or even dating. Those comments do not in anyway make me feel better. Some of my friends stopped talking to me because they just assume I should be over it by now and just move on. I will never be the same again.

  18. Mary Francis
    |

    Dear Kristin. People do make stupid comments and even after ten years of being a widow I still get surprised by how thoughtless they can be. Of course your not moving on – your still grieving and will continue to do so. Talk to your church friends about your life and the memories that you cherish. You are here for a reason (we all are) so when you start to heal, you will get rebalanced. Your life is forever changed but it is still meant to be lived to the fullest so don’t give up. If people want to go out of your life, let them. You need supportive people not negative people in your life. Take care, Mary Francis

  19. bibie
    |

    I am 29 years old and I lost my husband 7 days ago. I buried him on my birthday.He left me with 2 sons, both are 3 and 1 year old. He was diagnosed with brain cancer after our eldest son 1st birthday and he is gone after our youngest 1st birthday. We had been married for exactly 3 years and 6 months. Sometimes I just think that it is not fair that things happened this way. I mean after our marriage he had been healthy for 1 year and 9 months and sick for another 1 year 9 months. I stayed with him all the while…and when he is gone it felt like I lost the battle as well…I hope that he is at better place…At least I know, I have someone who is watching over me..

  20. Mary Francis
    |

    I’m so very very sorry about not only your loss of a husband but also a partner/parent to help you bring up your two young children. You are in the early part of grieving but as your heart heals I hope you find positive friends to help you learn to enjoy life again. The best thing for your children is to have a happy mother that can share her memories so they will know their father through you. Take care of yourself. Mary Francis

  21. Pam
    |

    First, I want to offer my deepest condolences to those who have lost their much loved husbands. I hope what I am about to say will be of some comfort, because I know he is with you.
    My husband of 44 years and the love of my life, died 5 months ago. He was a Vietnam Veteran who was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma at the base of the tongue a year before his death. We were told that his cancer was not on the list of cancers caused by Agent Orange. However, I did put in a claim for him, never expecting that anything would come of it. But 4 months after his death, he was granted 100% disability, which means I will be taken care of for the rest of my life. I am sure that Lee had a hand in that.
    He suffered so badly for the entire year that he lived, so much chemo, but even more radiation that burned his throat. He was on a feeding tube for the entire time. I was able to take care of him at home, but seeing him in so much pain was unbearable. We became so close during that time, which I am happy about, but losing him was so hard. I miss him so much.
    There have been several times when I have felt his presence. Four days after he died, he came to me in a dream. I had been struggling so much about not having much intimacy for the last year. I just wanted to be able to hold him close. That night he actually made love to me, but in such a different way. I felt as if he lifted me to a different realm where we experienced absolute total love, not passionate sex, but the most beautiful experience I have ever known. I was totally filled with his love and I will never forget it. This has helped me in the grieving process.
    Last week my son and my 7 yr. old granddaughter along with her mom, went to visit Lee’s grave site. While there, a dragonfly kept following only my granddaughter, flying in circles around her. When they returned home I was told about it. That very night I was looking through some papers when I ran across a card my husband had made for our anniversary in 2003. There was a beautiful picture of a gold dragonfly on the cover. When I opened the card I found a poem he had written for me. (He was a gifted writer.) These are the beautiful words:

    Know that there will come a time when our love will whisper in the beating wings of golden dragonflies, in the warm silence of summer mornings.

    I just can’t believe it was a coincidence. And I know that he is with me always. I will have to be content with this until we meet again.
    I hope you, too, will feel your husband’s love and presence.
    And may God be with you.

  22. Lovie Jones
    |

    My beautiful husband died on August 30, 2017. He was an associate Warden at a prison near us. He was feeling ill at work and came home early. I got home about 30 minutes after he did and when I went into my room he was dead on our bed of a massive heart attack. We were together for 15 years he was the love of my life and he was only 58 years old. Our 11 year old son is his only biological child and he was an amazing father. This is the most difficult thing I have ever had to face and there are days when I don’t think I can make it. Probably the hardest part is watching my son grieve for his superhero, but I know I have to find the strength to go on.

  23. Mary Francis
    |

    I’m so very sorry Lovie that you and your son are on this journey. I wish I had some magic words of healing but there is no way around grieving. I can tell you honestly that you both will heal and memories will be honored. Take care, Mary Francis

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