I lost Donnie but the one thing that I will never lose is my memories.  Having said that, I still feel as if a bit of Donnie disappeared every time I gave something of his away.

I’ve learned since Donnie died that my memories can never be lost, and they are not tied to everything he owned.  Sure, some items are special and I kept them for their memories – but not everything.

I’ve also learned that I don’t need “a lot of things” to keep my memories because they are forever burned into my heart.

There are many ways to honour our memories:

  • Display our photographs
  • Restore old or tattered pictures
  • Donate to a worthy cause in their honour
  • Visit or revisit places they loved
  • Watch some of your favorite movies
  • Plan ways to pass on some of their possessions
  • Revisit old neighborhoods/homes
  • Save something for each grandchild
  • Write a biography of their life
  • Create a “Husband” or “Dad” calendar
  • Listen to their favorite music
  • Plant a tree or bush in their honor
  • Go out and enjoy their favourite meal
  • Create something from their t-shirts
  • Make a donation to their old school
  • Find a unique way to celebrate their birthday
  • Honour their memory by helping others

Nothing means more to us widows than our memories, so please protect your pictures.  Especially guard those on your phone and computer.

You can protect scrapbooks by placing acid-free interleaving tissue between pages before you store them away.  You can also scan in your pictures and have a memory book done.

Our children may not know half of the people in our old photos so write on the back or make notes beside them.

If we don’t organize and protect our memories, who will?

20 Responses

  1. Patti j
    | Reply

    This is exactly where I am at right now. Just hit one year marker for Nick. I have made several clothes donations to Vietnam Veterans (which he was – Marine in Vietnam),I’ve given rings & medals to the grandchildren, and now I’ve been going through (with my kids & family) boxes & boxes of photos & writing names & dates on back! Next I’m purging my attics, garage & so much in my house. It’s kind of scary (but realistic) because I’m actually preparing so my kids don’t have to do all of this when I die. It’s not easy, but I’m just doing it little by little.
    And I go to a bereavement group twice a month, where I met wonderful women to share all of this. This is what truly saves my sanity. We go to lunch after group, we can cry & laugh together. They understand as only a widow can. As always, I pray for all widows, I truly have faith that we can get through with God’s help. ❤️

  2. june483
    | Reply

    I am almost at 2 years out – thought i would be further along but still kinda stuck – at any rate – I made cookbooks with family pictures, made a kids book for the grandchildren – not all pics are of Rico but he is in a lot of them some old pics some new. I feel like it keeps him a part of the family and the memories alive. I hope to make some books of our travels. It takes a long time to put together books so it is a great hobby and keeps the memories fresh.

  3. Gracie Sanchez
    | Reply

    When is it time to stop wearing your wedding rings? I became a widow in April and I still wear my rings, I never have taken them off when we were married, 45yrs, or now. I got into his clothes to take out and it was hard cause I cried. But a friend of mine needed donations for a yard sale so she could raise $$$ for a divorce she is going through. Plus it made more room in the big closet. I left all his jeans so that I am going to make quilt type pillows for our 2 kids and 2 grandkids. Didn’t have jewelry as he didn’t wear any cause of his job. But he loved to work on cars and with welder. He collected old phones, telephone booths, old gas tanks, drive in speakers, the old ones, and other items. I still miss him so. 😢

    • mary elizabeth samuels
      | Reply

      Gracie, it has been almost two months since my Gary died. There is no right time to take off your wedding rings. I’m still wearing mine and have no plans to remove them anytime soon. I’ve worn them for 42 years. Slowly going through his clothing and donating them. He left a garage full of tools and car parts. He was a “car guy” too. Be well.

  4. Cyndi Meyer
    | Reply

    Thank you for this, it’s beautiful I lost my Ed 3 months ago today.

    • mary samuels
      | Reply

      Cyndi, the 12th will be two months since my Gary died. Everything is still so raw and painful. We heal at our own pace. At this time I don’t feel I will ever heal. Be well

      • Gracie Sanchez
        | Reply

        Ladies, I am so sorry for your loss, it’s been 7 months I lost my 46 yr companion, my David fought like heck, but cancer won. I miss him so much, I wait on decisions to make cause I wait for answer. He was the one to decide on big ones.I wish you ladies best in life cause it’s hard….

  5. Stella Ngcobo
    | Reply

    Dear Mary Francis,
    Your post about “Memories” has to be the closest to my heart and the best healing tool for me. As a Black South African, we observe a period of mourning ranging between 4 and 12 months. I opted to stagger it, peeling of a layer of my grieving self after 6 months and at 12 months I came out of the cocoon completely. At 6 months I gave away most of my husband’s clothes and shoes to his relatives and to charity. I have left a few items for our grandson. My son and daughter each chose some items and I have kept some of his cardigans and pajamas, all of which I use. It gives me such comfort. It will be 4 years this December and I find myself getting used to being on my own especially because both my children live in a different province.

    I still can’t believe how lucky I was to stumble and land upon this platform. It has been such great help. I have introduced you and your work to friends and colleagues who have recently become widows.

    God bless and keep you safe and strong 🙏🙏

    • Mary Francis
      | Reply

      I’m so glad that this community for widows has helped you.

      Take care and be safe.
      Mary Francis

  6. Tralonda
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this I have so many pictures, and videos of my husband. I never deleted his text messages either.

  7. deborahusry
    | Reply

    In some ways I was very fortunate in that my husband and I knew when he was diagnosed that the treatments he was receiving were palliative, and not curate. Why was I fortunate? We were able to talk about things he wanted to gift to others. He was quite specific. I have a list. I was not an easy set of conversations but it has been wonderful being able to say, “Durwood wanted you to have it.” These gifts are coming from him, not from me. I am hitting three months in a few days, but it’s been good. I am grateful for the opportunity to gift his things to friends and family members. In some ways it’s been quite restorative.

  8. Wcronin
    | Reply

    I applaud everyone’s courage and strength. I lost my husband 3 months ago. I haven’t been with him as long as any of you have as I’m 32 years old and married for 6 years. We have two little kids a five year old and a 19 month old. My husband’s death was a surprise and sudden; no one expected it and there were no signs. His heart just stopped and that was it, couldn’t be revived. I’m drowning in my own grief and don’t know if I can pull myself out of it, even my kids aren’t enough to keep me going at times. It’s so hard and painful, I honestly don’t know how people get over something like this

    • mary samuels
      | Reply

      Oh my gosh! The grief I feel over losing my husband of 42 years and reading about your loss makes me feel a little small. I realize we aren’t having a contest, but I cannot imagine the agony and grief you are going through. I hope you have a support system to help you and your children get through this. It’s a day by day ordeal. I’m fine one minute and sobbing the next. I have my sisters to help me through this and I pray you are not alone. Be brave, be strong, be well. That’s what I say to myself everyday. XOX

    • Zaynab
      | Reply


      I lost my Husband, Arvel, 7 weeks ago. He passed away on the due date of our 6th child. We were married 12 years and 9 months. He was only 49, and passed unexpectedly. This has been a shock to us all. The last thing my Hubs did was get the Covid Vaccine. The death is being investigated. He was very healthy and strong. I love this post because I take pictures of everything and videos. I don’t know how I could go day to day without my pictures. I am on autopilot every day trying to keep myself and the kids busy so we don’t slip into depression. Getting out of bed is hard every day now. I feel like I weigh 1000 pounds.

      • Mary Francis
        | Reply

        Dear Zaynab. I’m so very sorry for your loss. The death of our husbands is difficult but when it is unexpected it becomes even more complicated.

        Don’t be hard on yourself and let grief have it’s time.

        Mary Francis

      • Wcronin
        | Reply

        My husband was 45 years old, an athlete and personal trainer. The coroner ruled his cause of death as sudden cardiac death. It was a shock and left our lives in shambles. Grief never leaves, we just have to learn to live with it. Not only did we lose our spouse and are grieving for them, we lost our identity, our former life, our dreams and future dreams. Not only are we grieving for them, but also everything we had and were supposed to have. Everyday is a struggle. It takes great courage and strength to wake up and consciously step into a world that has been shattered into a million pieces. Everyone’s grief is different and nobody truly understands how one is grieving because everyone is in their own hell. For me, time does not heal the pain as I have been missing him more and more and it’s been getting harder; we just become stronger at dealing with it and have to learn healthy coping mechanisms.

  9. Angelia
    | Reply

    I just found this group online. My Hubby of 32yrs was killed 6 months ago in a motorcycle accident. It has been so hard on our family and friends as he was only 59 it was 2 weeks before his 60th bday He was the love of my life and my soulmate and I know things will get better but its a daily struggle still. I feel like I ran out of tears along time ago but they still tend to come when I don’t expect it.
    I keep a small urn of his ashes in my purse and take him everywhere with me. We display photos and keep putting them on social media as a reminder of who he was. His friend still post on his FB which I love and I still have his cell phone so people can call even if just to hear his voice. I have video’s on my cell too so I can hear him talking best thing we could ever have done was make videos when we were out and about or even just in the backyard.
    We(me, kids, grandkids, and everyone) talk about him all the time an that really does help too, he had such a big personality and was full of life I can’t imagine not talking about him all the time even if it makes us cry
    I am not even close to healing and I know it will take a long time but I do find time to smile in my day as I know he would want this

  10. Ramona Gordon
    | Reply

    I just lost my husband 10 days ago. He was 58 and had been sick for a long time. But he died unexpectedly after a 7 week stay in the hospital and complications from surgery. We were only married for 4 years .But he got sick after we were married for 6 months. And he never had any children. I have 3 grown children and 8 grandchildren that he considered his. He loved like a big kid. His family was awful regarding his funeral arrangements. And now here come the holidays. My children and grandchildren can’t be here this year. And now my husbands gone. We were living off his $1577.00 social security and now that’s gone. There was no insurance. And we used up all his savings and retirement because he was sick for so long. If it wasn’t for my family helping with the funeral I don’t know what I would have done. Basically I am lost right now. I can’t even think straight and I don’t know what to do with myself. Where do I start and how do I start all over again?

    • Mary Francis
      | Reply

      Dear Ramona. I’m sorry for your loss and also the extra financial stress that you are under.

      Sadly, a lot of widows find themselves in the same place you are in once their husbands die.

      Try contacting your local Seniors groups as they would know what is available in your area.

      Take care and be safe.

      Mary Francis

    • mary samuels
      | Reply

      Call Social Security. You may be eligible for survivor benefits. I am receiving a portion of my husbands Social Security benefits.

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