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 your mental health, look at the links on our resources page sisterhoodofwidows.com/grief-resources/ or contact your General Practitioner for a referral to a qualified mental health care professional.
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.
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.
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 https://sisterhoodofwidows.com/widowed-insurance-and-finance/
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!
Question: How do I handle the holidays in a healthy way? I’m so very lost as this is my first Christmas without my husband and I don’t want to decorate, socialize or in any way be part of this festive season.
Answer: You may wish to avoid the whole season by going away or sleeping through it! You may feel under a great deal of pressure to “get into the spirit”. You may also feel guilty if you do go out and have some fun!
During the holiday season grieving is even more difficult so here are a few tips to help you:
- Be open to exploring your creativity and look for new ways to celebrate.
- Start a gratitude journal. It requires you to find something to be thankful for.
- A lot of traditions are no longer possible when a loved one die Keep what traditions you can and be willing to start some new ones.
- Keep the lines of communication open with all the family members. Celebrating important events is difficult, but sharing past memories will help you to heal.
- Don’t get overwhelmed on the holiday Do what you are able to do and eliminate the pressure of doing what two people used to do. If you are feeling overwhelmed by a long shopping list give everyone a gift certificate.
- Include children in discussions of how Christmas is going to be celebrated. Ask them what they want and what they don’t want to do. Give the children a break from the family. If they want to spend some of their holiday time with their friends, let them.
- Make a list of things to do and rely on your notes to keep you focuse Just because everyone used to come to your house doesn’t mean that they have to this year.
- Pay attention to your own needs. Listen when your inner voice says that you’re tired. If you’re too tired to create your famous recipe than ask someone else to make it. You don’t have to go to every party that you are invited to and you don’t need to explain.
- Often there is a fear that saying the name of the deceased person will somehow cause more pain for those around you. Don’t hold back from talking about your loved one.
Be with those who understand your loss and give yourself permission to grieve. Here is a link to my Holidays and Special Occasions Guide. It is filled with tips, support and encouragement to help you through the holidays.
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.
Question: How can I feel better about myself? I went crazy after my husband’s death. I hit the bars 7 days a week (not that person) which was a quick fix. Probably dated too soon for fear of being alone, angry, faced fears of handling thing myself, finances, insecurities, emptiness, and a big void in my heart that still exists. My children haven’t understood my loss. (They think they do) I was not myself for at least the first three years. But I have come a long way since then but I’m still unsettled. N.G.
Answer: We have to heal emotionally and that takes time. In the meantime you need to look after yourself in all aspects: Physically, mentally and spiritually. Do more than “survive” – get to know yourself and come out swinging. Be a survivor in more than body – be a survivor in your heart and soul. For more on the your emotional health go to http://www.ask.com/ and ask for research on emotions.
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.
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: https://sisterhoodofwidows.com/2012/05/10/widows-and-their-wedding-rings/
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:
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.
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.
Are You A Widow Seeking Answers?
If you have a question that is not listed above please contact me and I will answer you as quickly as possible. You can send me an email at Mary@thesisterhoodofwidows.com or fill out the form below.