Surviving Widowhood

I’m a widow and I understand that you may feel like your life is over, that the tears will never end, that your heart will never feel again, and that surviving widowhood would take a miracle.

I learned thirteen years ago what reaching the bottom felt like, and I also learned that for me to get back on my feet I had to trust God.  I was a young widow at fifty and no one understood the tremendous pain, grief and devastation I felt.  No one understood my feelings of anger and depression – least of all me!

Perhaps you have already made progress in this journey, coming to the realization that widowhood sucks, but that it is survivable.  Or perhaps you are still caught under the weight of your grief.  You are empty inside… feel terminally ill and hopeless.

No matter how long you have been married, their death feels like the end of your dreams, your family and maybe even the end of your whole life.

The trick is to turn your focus outward.  Keep a schedule and routine so that your shock and grief doesn’t make your life so isolating and depressing.  No one can feel your pain for you, so don’t hold back from experiencing it.  If you hide from it, it’s going to still come out at some point.  It’s okay if you are angry, just don’t get stuck there.

Remember to do all you can to take care of yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Try to keep comfortably busy, and stick to some kind of routine, because “widow fog” really does exist.  Note: Comfortably busy, means learning not to volunteer for everything that is asked of you.  Do what you want to do – it is your time.

Surround yourself with family and friends who can lovingly remind you of your self-worth.  You must take control of your life, because if you don’t, who will??

You will hear the birds sing again, and the sun will shine again.  I know that you’re in the thick of the grief storm right now, but remember you matter.

Widowhood is like being on a double highway with someone to share the journey with, and then all of a sudden you’re in the ditch and by yourself.  Sure you can get out of the ditch, but now you’re on a single lane highway, without a map, by yourself and with no idea what to do.  If you don’t want to be wandering aimlessly, you will have to reframe your life and create a new map.

Writing in your journal can be a powerful way to release difficult and painful emotions.  Bottling up all of your pain can keep it hidden from the outside world, but you wouldn’t be able to escape its impact on your life.

Consider yourself the story teller of your life, talk about your heroes, the dragons you struggle with and how you’re facing the loneliness of being single.  Write out your story on how you faced your despair and turned it into new found strengths.

Even on your “widowhood” journey I believe that written thoughts have the capacity to create and reframe your life.  True, our lives don’t look like what we had planned, but perhaps some new thoughts can help reduce our stress and gain a broader understanding of what we still have to be thankful for.

As always, let yourself grieve first and then you can start healing your broken heart.

#thesisterhoodofwidows

15 Responses

  1. Ann
    | Reply

    Thank You so much this is very helpful it will help me

  2. shirley
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    Thank you! I’m glad you were my first read of the morning. Knowing you have walked in my shoes and not only survived but are thriving and giving back gives me such hope.

  3. Carolyn Crisher
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    Mary Francis, I’m a widow of 1 year after 50 years of marriage. Living with daughter, son in law and 2 boys in virtual school. Haven’t been in a store in over a year cause of covid. So sad and depressed. Want any kind of life back. Can you address Covid loneliness?

    • Mary Francis
      | Reply

      I did a video to COVID widows on my YouTube channel that may be what you are looking for.

      I also did three blog posting for widows of covid-19 ( May 23, 2020 – April 21, 2020 – Jan 28, 2021 )

      Take care, Mary Francis

    • Suzanne
      | Reply

      CArolyn I also was married 50 years when my husband died last June, so coming up a year. I also live with my daughter and son in law with one of three grandchildren at home. I don’t go out very often but live in Georgia where most restrictions are lifted.

  4. Denise Ramirez
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    Mary,
    This paragraph sums up my life since my husband was killed on a motorcycle in late July. Going to family wedding in Maui. I feel so alone, even though I will be with family. Just missing him.

    Widowhood is like being on a double highway with someone to share the journey with, and then all of a sudden you’re in the ditch and by yourself. Sure you can get out of the ditch, but now you’re on a single lane highway, without a map, by yourself and with no idea what to do. If you don’t want to be wandering aimlessly, you will have to reframe your life and create a new map.

  5. Julia Allen
    | Reply

    THANK YOU. I am a long, dark 6 years into widowhood. Trying to guide our 6 adult “children” through it, also… Not a smooth ride, to say the least.

  6. Dionne Smith
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    This testimony is alot like mine….I find it so difficult to be around some friends gatherings where is people are so happy and I’m so broken..its going on 3 months and everything and every day is filled with tears,pain and heartache.. I’m fighting to be strong but I have children that need me and i feel like I’m letting them down..I try not to break down in front of them i cry in the shower scream when they are gone bit sometimes the waves get the best of me and the tears begin to flow..Im struggling dealing with my husband’s passing because he has been through so much with so many surgeries dialysis,double kidney removal, kidney transplant and to end up with covid-19 that took his life on 2/7/21
    My families world was turned upsidedown forever..
    Married 25 years and our anniversary is in April and I know that this is one of many special days that are going to be so rough ..I continue to praise God though my storm trusting and believing in him to continue to be with me minute by minute hour by hour day by day…
    I feel as if death do us part just wasn’t lobg enough

    • Linda
      | Reply

      Dionne,

      I too lost my husband in February 2021 due to Covid, and our 29th anniversary would have been in April. My children are grown, and I am alone in this house. It is so hard, and I have bouts of crying that just leads to anger and depression. I try to put on a brave face for everyone, but no one knows this pain and hurt that I feel everyday. Some days are better than others, and I continue to think that my husband is in a better place, and that he is not suffering anymore. Stay strong and keep your faith.

      • Shirley
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        I am 15 months out now. Looking back at 3 months I was still in such a state of shock and in a fog. I was still waking up thinking he should be lying next to me. I have lost people I love and I have experienced pain but nothing compares to the pain of losing my husband. All I can say is I feel the loss is always going to be with me, however I’m trying my best to accept that but to also learn to be thankful for what I do have and to try to enjoy life again. It’s not going to happen over night and it’s going to take work. With all my heart I know he wants me to be happy again. Give yourself time. Grieve, cry, whatever you feel like doing to cope right now just do it. Each one of us grieves differently. There is not a right or a wrong way. It’s whatever works for you. Please give yourself a break. No one sees me when I still cry but I do promise you I’m doing so much better. Guess what? You will too.

  7. Marie peters
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    Thank you for your text Marie Francis, il lost my husband 3 months ago, he as i were just 55 years old married for 35 years. Your words express of my émotions. I’m Still trying to get out that widow fog. Non it’s a rollercoaster of émotions. I dont feel née des anémone.

  8. Marie peters
    | Reply

    Sorry for the spelling mistakes living in France my tablette is sometimes stuburn

  9. Darla
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    I am a year and a half into this. At first it was unbelievable he was sick and then unbelievable he could die and now I find myself wondering how in the world has it been a year and a half. I like others felt like my life was over and sometimes it still feels that way but somehow I am living the life I didn’t think I could live. Just one day at a time. Anyone that has never lost a spouse has no idea of the pain, sadness and loneliness that awaits them. I didn’t , until I experienced it. Yes, others lost someone when your spouse died, a father, a brother, an uncle, friend but this pain is almost insurmountable, to lose the person you woke up next to, in my case, for 35 years. I’ve lost a mother, a father, a brother but this is like Losing a part of my own body. I’m not whole person anymore. Its like half of my life just went away when he died. My morning, noon and nights were with him, about him and for him. He was my life. That was the vow we made when we were married and now, Its like starting over.

    • Katherine Anne Thomas
      | Reply

      Kat
      Your words are exactly how I feel. It has only been 1 month since I too lost my husband of 35 years, and when I see things going back to normal I want to yell at them that this is not normal. Everyone should still be in a state of shock and surrealism. I know the one day at a time thing is always said to help ease the pain, but I don’t think I will ever feel pain free again. But I thank you again for expressing exactly how I am feeling now.

  10. Sue Eastland
    | Reply

    Yes I just lost my husband 3 weeks ago and I am devastated. I’m lost and alone. I also have no parents, or siblings and my husband was my world. I was never so happy and loved. He was sick and I had time to prepare but the grief that I am feeling and decisions I need to make are so confusing and don’t know how or what to do. I am beside myself. I was taking care of him and i am such a sensitive person that all I do is cry. My chest is tight and trouble eating and headaches and exhausted and don’t want to talk to anyone that knows me as they don’t really understand. I’ve been doing counseling over a year as they said I have precipitated grief but i am having a very hard time trying to go forward. I don’t know what to do with financial matters etc.,

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