‘Lonely’ Not Powerful Enough Word to Describe Widowhood

Loneliness is not a surprising by-product of widowhood.  I mean, even for the people who have never been through it, it’s a no-brainer.  But frankly, I think that lonely is not a strong enough word.

There is a deep silence that comes with losing your spouse.  And it doesn’t matter if you’re standing in the middle of a crowded room, you will still notice it.  It’s the quiet that comes when you don’t have that familiar voice whispering in your ear at a wedding, “Can you believe she wore that?  I mean, what was she thinking?”  It’s the missing sound of two glasses clinking together on your anniversary.  It’s the absence of someone breathing soundly next to you as you go to sleep at night.

Our friends are so good about trying to make sure that we know that we’re not alone.  And we know we’re not friendless.  We could call up any number of people if we just wanted to hang out.  But we are alone. Our marriages were amputated in the prime of our lives and, for some of us, there is no prosthesis.

A lot of us, since our loss, have found comfort in chat rooms and support websites and that has helped relieve the discomfort of the amputation a little.  It’s like taking two Motrin after extensive surgery.  It eases the throbbing a bit, but when we look down, the limb is still missing.

We’ve found anonymous support from strangers who don’t know us but are as close as we can come to confiding in people who know exactly what we’ve been through.  We tell these strangers some of the most intimate details of our lives, knowing that out of thousands of people, one person might understand us and, out of thousands of people, no one will be heartless to enough say, “You did what?  You’re crazy!”

Because, if nothing else, we all have crazy in common.

It’s an anonymous way to just let our widowed freakiness spread its wings and fly.  We get support from people who understand what REAL retail therapy is.  People who get that a sleepless night with a newborn is one thing while a sleepless night with a dead spouse is a whole other deal.  People who understand how guilt, anger, frustration, and sadness all come in a beautifully wrapped package with our names on it, signed “With Love, Widowhood.”

Finding these groups has buffered the fact that, with our spouses gone, most of us have lost the person we would have leaned on when the worst thing we could have possibly imagine happening…happened.  It’s almost like we need to roll over in bed and say in utter disbelief to our spouses, “Did you hear that you died?  And you were so young!”  This would be followed by a hug from them, a pat on the back, and the murmuring of some comforting words while we cried on their shoulders.

But when we roll over, well, our spouses already know that they died.  It spoils it a little.

I don’t think that most people who haven’t experienced loss truly understand that element of solitude.  And that’s the very foundation of what makes us so lonely.  The person who cared when something really great or really bad happened is missing.  The person who was just as excited and saddened by the milestones of our kids is someplace else (I hope). The person who was just as invested in our lives and the decisions we made is now (again, hopefully) enjoying everlasting comfort while we slug it out down here on our own.

Do you remember the moment that you truly felt the change?  I mean, the time when you realized that this was it?  When you catapulted from married to involuntarily single?

For you, it may not have been a moment.  But it was for me.  I was leaving Wal-Mart (where so many of my breakdown moments occur) when I noticed that “Wild Hogs” was about to come out on DVD  Now, my husband and I had had many failed attempts to go see that movie in the theater, so when I saw that big billboard up at the store, I automatically got excited.  I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to get home and tell him it’s finally out!”

I think there was an audible thud as reality came crashing down on me standing next to the stale cookies that were on sale.

As most of us feel, I would give anything for just one more day, one more conversation with my husband.  I’ve had dreams about it.  We’re just lying in bed and I’m telling him all about what the kids are up to.  We both know that he’s gone, but I’m filling him in anyway.

Those are the mornings I wake up and feel the most alone, the most like I’m missing that appendage.  And even though there are so many people I could call who would commiserate with me, they’re just not in my head and in my heart living my life.

And does it make sense when I say when I’m feeling this way sometimes I just want to be left alone?

Catherine Tidd

More Articles Written by Catherine

Catherine Tidd is a widow and the Founder of www.theWiddahood.com, a free social support network dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant other. She is also a writer, public speaker, and mother to three young entertaining children. She received a degree in English from Rollins College in 1998 and has since worked as a writer, editor, Marketing Manager, and Event Planner. Originally from Louisiana, Ms. Tidd currently lives in Denver, CO. To read more of Catherine's work, visit http://widowchick.blogspot.com


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  • deb sears says:

    Dear Ms. Tidd:

    Thank you soooooooooooooo much for expressing EXACTLY how I feel and at the same time affirming that only “we” know what it is really like.

    I consider myself “new” (just a little over two months), which is why I’m franctically searching for information on how to survive this. I still not know why or how, but thankfully, after reading your article, I certainly feel justified, or better yet, championed, regarding the agony (again, too mild?) I’m in.

    I hope your good days are starting to outnumber the bad.

    • Dear Deb–

      Thank you so much for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear that you are joining our club! With that said…I hope that you’re finding the support you need. There is amazing support out there. The fact that you’re actively looking for information and reading things that will make you feel more understood is a really good start.

      I know right now you are in a very “blurry” stage trying to figure out what to do next. My best advice is to just go as slow as you can. I wish I had done that! And I hope this a comfort to you, but after 3 years my good days definitely outnumber the bad. You WILL get through this. It just takes time.

      If you’re on Facebook and you feel up to it, I have a page under Widow Chick. I can’t tell you how amazingly supportive these strangers have been to one another. It’s a great place to post questions if you have them or just see what other people are doing to get through the day. Some people have VERY helpful ideas.

      Thinking of you…

  • Shelby says:

    Thank you for so beautifully voicing what I have been feeling the last couple of weeks. It will be four months tomorrow. The first two months I was still in shock enough to actually believe that I was gonna do this grief thing with no problem.



    He’s gone and he isn’t coming back.

    I begin next week with an in-person grief support group but I would not have made it through these first four months without the amazing online group of widows and widowers I have found.

    And I’m sorry for the event that brought you this wisdom of which you’ve written.

  • Dear Shelby,

    Well, I think a few months in was when I first felt that “thud.” Certainly not a fun experience. And I’m with you…I thought I could get through this, no problem. All that talk about “time will heal” was not flying with me. That was a hard lesson…to realize that that’s what it takes.

    It has amazed me the people I have heard from who are so new to the Widowhood who are already reaching out, trying to find resources that will help them. I’m telling you…you are light-years ahead of where I was at that stage. And that will make a BIG difference for you…developing a support group early on that will help you get through this.

    I hope that you find some AMAZING people when you go to your group. I know that once I found that support it helped me so much. Even if you just really connect with one person there…it will make all the difference.

    Thinking of you….

  • Julie says:

    You said it perfectly, but that thud doesnt seem to be a one off…but a rampage of thuds, when i’m trying my best and everyone is asking how i am and im trying to hold it together and just get through the day, to get up, get the kids to school, bide the morning till my youngest comes home…feed them, clothe them, deal with the beaurocracy of no money and yet that realising thud of wanting to ask him what to do continuously dawns. one month in and i dont want to deal with the realisation everyday. I just dont want to.

  • Sandra says:

    I’m new too. My husband passed away 1 month ago. I still can’t believe how my life changed in the blink of an eye. The shock has worned off and I cry daily. Normally I’m a happy person and I feel like the joy has been sucked right out of me. I don’t like the new reality.

    • Teri says:

      New as well. Interesting that I measure absolutely everything on weeks days passed since the horror of his sudden death. Just 5 weeks in, some days actually feel like u are gaining some clarity only to be slammed back into the reality of grief. In and out of the abyss. Minute by minute hour to hour awaiting the days end just to finally sleep away from the pain.

  • Mar says:

    It’s been a little over 2 years for me as a widow. I am 56 years old now. My husband died of a heart attack at age 53. I am on disability after I was run over by a car in 2007. I have a leg injury and cannot work. I search constantly for widow support groups, but there are none in my area (the Lehigh Valley in Northeast Pa). My married friends simply do not understand and think that I should have in their words”moved on by now”. I wish I knew what they mean and when I ask them they have no answer. I belong to a bereavement group where everyone is 75 to 87 years old. I attend deep water exercise classes and swim everyday to help my leg. I also do yoga everyday. I have lost 30 lbs. I never sit home and cry. What exactly do they mean by moving on? The loneliness is unbearable. I understand exactly what you mean. It hits me when I go to a grocery store. I hear married people bickering and just want to shake them and say stop it, do you realize you have someone? It hits as I ride alone in a car and think if something happens I have no one to call to help. Most people give up after a while, they don’t know what to say so I find they just don’t stay in touch leaving me feel lonelier than ever. It’s the most painful, hollow feeling. I try different groups but really need a widows group where they truly understand. Thanks for allowing me to vent.

    • Dear Mar–

      I have now declared that you have hit your limit on bad luck! What a crazy couple of years you have had. My heart goes out to you and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that your luck will turn around soon.

      Isn’t it a strange place to be? Where you’re lonely, but you’re not ready to “move on”…as they say. It’s kind of like being hungry but nothing sounds good. I really sympathize with you about being in a group of grievers who are so much older. I don’t think most people understand that there is a huge difference when you’re going through this at different ages. What I’ve experienced at my age is nothing like what you’ve experienced at your’s.

      I wish I had better words of wisdom for you. The truth is, I’m feeling my way myself. I don’t know if you belong to Facebook, but if you do, feel free to look up Widow Chick there. I know that there are some people in their late 40s and 50s and they really are an amazing support group. I just really hope you find the support you need.

      Thinking of you!

    • michele says:

      OMG I feel exactly the same way.., especially when you said if something happened who do you call for help. I was married for 25 yrs. when my husband committed suicide. It has been 2 yrs., but feels like yesterday it happened. The loneliness sometimes is almost unbearable. Pleople say to move on with you like, be happy and start new. Easy for them to say especially when they are sitting at home with their spouses. The weekends are the worst.


  • Lou says:

    July 4th i became a widow. I am 38 and have 2 pre schoolers. No medical condition, no warning I found my husband dead. how do i pick up the pieces of my life for my babies?

    • Dear Lou,

      I am sure you are in so much shock right now. And please believe me…I know what you’re going through. My husband died in an accident on his way to work in 2007 and my kids were 5,3, and 1 at the time. I never saw it coming. To be honest with you, it took me a couple of years before I would stop having those little moments of shock (they became farther apart and less intense, but they still came).

      The good (and bad) thing about having kids that young is that it forces you to get up. You have lots of bad days, but the kids keep you moving. Sometimes I thought it would be nice to be able to just sit in my bed and grieve, but my kids still had to be fed and taken to school and all the every day things that kids need.

      Forgive yourself NOW for not being perfect for awhile…your kids are too young to know the difference. Find help where you can…look for group therapy for your kids…the good thing about that is that you’ll meet other parents in your situation (you can check with local hospices…it doesn’t matter if your husband died suddenly…or with local schools and see what resources are available). Accept help when it’s offered and don’t be afraid to ask for it. You may be surprised who steps up to help support you.

      Take things one second at a time if you need to. What’s going to be hard as a mother is learning you’re going to have to take care of yourself before you can take care of the kids.

      Please know that I’m thinking about you.


  • sanet says:

    I’m 38 years old, no children (1 dog and 1 gold fish), which believe it or not keeps me going cause they must be fed also, like children do. I work fulltime which also helps, but can be very draining at the same time. You all took the words right out of my mouth. It has been nearly 7 months since I lost my husband to lung cancer. He celebrated his 40th birthday in hospital in May and died on 3 July 2010, 3 months after he was diagnosed. We were married almost 18 years. I have been through everything you have described and I am sick of people telling me to “move on”… and cruel jokes or comments people make to “chear me up” really pisses me off and hurts! (excuse the language). Nobody understands, therefore I will definitely check out your website Catherine. Thanx Sanet

  • elma says:

    My husband past away 11 months ago in a car accident. I do have a good support group af friends, but none of them realize what it really means to to go home to an empty house. Chatherine and all the others who wrote here, you put in words exactly how I feel.

  • Key West Susan says:

    With the exception of having children, I certainly have shared your thoughts and emotions! Thank you so much for sharing your journey and for stating so eloquently something that is so difficult to express. Wishing you strength and peace in the New Year.

  • cyndi says:

    It has been 8 months for me since my husband passed away in April. My youngest brother was killed 9 days later on a 4 wheeler. I am not doing well. I have no energy and am working in a town that I have no friends or support. I do not have the energy to change my location. I am so lost, confused and empty. I do not know where home is. I am lost and want to be found. Help me.

    • Betty says:

      How are you doing now, Cyndi? Please contact me if you would like to talk. I understand how consuming grief can be. I would like to be of any help.

  • Patti says:

    Hi it has been 7 months today. I am working full time and find that it is good for me otherwise i would be in the house 24 / 7 Have friends no family other than grown children that have their own lives and live away from me. I live in a rural community of about 4000 and I am 62 years old. I am trying to get past the feeling he will be coming home any day. STUCK
    Dont really have a best friend that I can speak openly with. He was my best friend. I know I will survive. Glad I found this web site. Makes me feel not so alone.

  • Bobbie says:

    I’m not sure what happened to the comment I posted about a week ago, but hopefully this one will not disappear. Reading the posts on this website has helped me to see that I’m not alone. I attend a group with other people who have had a love one taken from them too soon. It is helping. I also go to private therapy, which helps too. I took my husband to the hospital Monday evening, November 4, 2013. He was having a heart attack. He was taken from me on Thursday evening, November 7, 2013. A few days after, I was contacted by one of the doctors who informed me that he had a rare form of Leukemia that caused blood clots that attacked his heart. It feels like it just happened yesterday. I really miss my best friend and soul mate. Thank you for letting me express my feelings here.

  • Annemarie says:

    Ah the silence. Seven weeks later, I still haven’t figured out what time to go to bed because he isn’t there saying, are you ready for bed? Then there is the grocery store – He would really like this with some wine tonight? My freshly painted nails ready to be Instagrammed only to not have him to send them to. The record time in my daily runs to be shared but with whom? And the worst sting of all – His daughter’s wedding dress hanging in my closet, knowing he won’t be there to walk her down the aisle next year.

  • Oriane says:

    I lost my 32 year old partner about a month ago. He just never woke up… I found him in the morning and emergency doctors could restart the heart with adrenaline, but we had to take him off life support the day after. He was just too far gone…

    One of my ‘moments’ was at the crematorium. He would always pick up half smoked cigarettes from ashtrays in the street and say ‘can you believe someone threw it away? People are nuts!!’ with a huge child-like smile and amazed eyes, like he had found a treasure or something (in our defense, cigarettes are ridiculously expensive in France… and we had a very frugal lifestyle 🙂 )

    While his body was being cremated I went outside for a smoke, and in the ashtray there was this almost entire cigarette. Completely straight, not even crushed a little. When I saw it my heart jumped, I got so excited and thought ‘oooooh, I have to tell…’ then it hit me. I had to tell Mik, but could not because not only had Mik been dead for 5 days, he was currently in the oven.

    I froze and remained in a weird numb shock for a while.

    I found your post googling ‘widowhood loneliness’, though technically I am not even a widow. In France people tend do get married after they have kids. Or never. We had talked before about getting married for tax purposes, but first we were going to buy a house (we had chose the location), have kids… I was never able to use the word boyfriend when talking about him, it seemed like such an understatement. Sometimes I would say my husband. Now I can’t even anymore: too much difference in status both in administration and people’s mind. A widow is a widow. A surviving partner is nothing.

    Fortunately I am very good friend with his family in law: he was the older brother of my best friend’s partner. For 6 years we lived parallel lives around them, always visiting, sometimes hearing about each other, but them but never meeting. We finally met at the 4 year birthday party of their twin kids. Mik would often say ‘It’s funny cos we would have met at some point… If not that time, later… We were just meant to meet!’

    My two friends and I organized his cremation ceremony together. I cannot even imagine the pain of a partner who would have not been so close to the family in law and could not have actively participated in the organization…

    He wasn’t my boyfriend. He was my life mate who I did not get a chance to have a life with. We will never buy a house. We will never give the now 6 year old twins (who used to call me auntie years before I lived with their uncle) cousins. I’ll never be his wife officially. I’m not even a widow. I’m just single.

    It hurts beyond words. So thank you, thank you for putting words on this pain while it’s too new and raw for others to be able to do so.

    • John Doe says:

      I have never told anyone how I felt about losing my wife in a car accident. We had been together since we were kids. When she died I had six children aged 2-15. I had to call her parents from the hospital and tell them that their daughter was dead. Then I had to leave her there and hurry home so that I could tell the kids before someone else did. I remember the next morning when I woke up after a couple hours of of exhausted sleep – laying there and asking myself if it had really happened and then realizing it had. I couldn’t eat for a month. I couldn’t listen to music. It felt like someone kicked me in the stomach and I couldn’t catch my breath. I tried to talk to my parents about it but they were too grief stricken. They just offered me some of the pills they were taking. I declined. I had to “be strong” for the kids too. For seven years after that I used to sit up in my hotel room and sob whenever I was away for work. I still cry sometimes but never when anyone is around. The kids are almost all grown now and soon I will be alone. If you have never been through it you can’t know what those lonely hours are like. Of course I don’t feel sorry for myself. I know that there are lots of people who have suffered as much or more than I have. But I also know how I feel. I realize you probably won’t publish this. But just once I wanted to let it out.

  • Angela Schlaack says:

    I lost my husband 5 weeks ago. I am 44 and he was 45. We were married 21 years. I could have written this myself. I cannot tell you how emotional this made me feel to read that someone “gets” it.

    Thank you

  • Anne says:

    My “moment” was not too long after my husband died. My kids (2 and 3 months old at the time) and I were in the basement. It was early evening. I was on the couch nursing my infant son and my toddler was probably building a train track. I heard a slight noise upstairs, in retrospect, likely a cat jumping on something. Except that, to me, in that moment, it distinctly sounded like my husband, coming home from work and putting his keys down on the cabinet in the dining room. And I had that familiar feeling, “Good. He’s home.” And then the crash, “No, he’s not and he is never coming home.”
    I am 7 years post-loss and it is still so important to me to read the words and hear the stories of one who understands. Thank you.

  • Melissa Kinnear says:

    This is exactly how I am feeling at present, thanks for writing something that has really helped me feel understood today.

  • Deborah Pearson says:

    That is just how it feels! ! I lost my boyfriend of four and a half years June 2014. He was just 30 years old and I was 35 weeks pregnant. I really feel the loneliness when I hear our son giggle and think how he would have loved that. Or in the morning when I roll over and there is no longer someone there to cuddle, to hold my head and stroke my hair and call me his princess.

    I have good family and friends around me but it doesn’t fill the Scott shape hole in my life now.

  • Sandy says:

    Yes, Yes, YES!!!

  • Bonnie says:

    For me it was sobbing over my husband missing Spider Man 3. I found things he lost on his last few days on Earth, and I want to call and say, “Guess what I found!”

  • Barbara Cardwell says:

    This has touched my heart and soul. For thirteen years I have felt this but could never find the correct words. Thank you for the words and validating our loss. Time does help, the bad days aren’t as often but it is always there, one mundane word, song, thought will sink you once again into the darkness of reality. I realized after a time that this is how the new normal is and just as the young people of today say, Roll with it, the sadness. They mattered, will always matter, so have that cry, tears are cleansing.
    To each and every one of you, I am sorry for the loss. My heart aches for all of who have ben forced to have a membership in this club.

  • Fred Dickey says:

    You describe it pretty accurately. My wife passed away suddenly at age 35 on August 19 2013. She had a very rare and aggressive form of cervix cancer, Large Cell neroendocrine Carcinoma of the Cervix (LCCC).

    The thing is, she had an ultrasound three weeks earlier. They looked right at the tumor, identified it as benign, believing it to be fybrodic cysts and we were planning to see an OBGYN to plan out a hysterectomy. She had regular pap smears too.

    A week after the ultrasound she was in a lot of pain and couldn’t go to the bathroom. We went to the ER. They were going to do an MRI on her that morning, but her urine test came back positive for a pregnancy and had us on a little emotional rollercoaster ride. We knew it was pretty much impossible for her to be pregnant at that moment but I still experienced a little false excitement. They got a blood test back that tested negative for the pregnancy and got her into the MRI that afternoon. They rushed her to Vanderbilt when they saw what they saw on the MRI.

    A week and a half at Vanderbilt later and we had a game plan. Starting the next Monday we would go through agreasove radiation for two weeks followed by months of chemo.

    She died in front of me in the outpatient room before she ever got her first dose of radiation. I was in the room with her as the crash team tried for 20 minutes to bring her back but it simply wasn’t happening. They believe a blood clot originating from the tumor hut her heart or lung.

    We were all prayed up and psyched up to journey through thus great battle with cancer, but the gate at the race track never opened.

    She was survived by myself and my step son, her biological son. I now have full custody and permanent guardianship of him as I am the only dad he really knew. He is 15 now and was 4 when we married.

    I thrived on her encouraging words and her love for me and she just as equally thrived from having me in her life. She had the greatest faith of anyone I have ever known and I know she is in heaven, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am here without her…having silence and an empty place where she was on my life.

    Both me and my step son have had some counseling and we both have a very strong network of church family and friends. I couldn’t imagine taking another step in life without that support network. Its hard enough with it.

    I have also come to terms with the fact that I will always have bad moments where the grief tries to overwhelm me. That will never fully go away as long as I live. I’ve learned that from talking to other widowers who have had over a decade of healing and have remarried and yet I see the same pain in their face that I have when we discuss their late wife.

    Its a one day at a time journey for certain.

    • Vickie Sachau says:

      I feel this way. When I go the church, the same one, we had attended for years. Even though I am surround by lots of people I fell so different and so alone. I spoke with my physican and told her that I thought I needed to talk to a counselor and she told me that I just needed to grow up and get over it I am so glad to know that other people have the same feelings

      • Mike Flynn says:

        If my doctor told me that, I would be searching for a new doctor quickly,

        People just do not get it until it happens to them. The hole that is created when your companion dies is vast. We have to find our own way around or to bridge over this hole. I am convinced that we can not do this by ourselves. For me, group meetings with people who have experienced similar loss have helped by sharing experiences and providing insights.

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for this! I must confess that I am not legally a widow…..but a widow nonetheless. I lost the love of my life to a horrible accident about a year ago. You have managed to dig into my head and heart and say what I’ve been feeling. To this day, I wake up looking for him and reality hits every single day…..he IS really gone. So hard to believe! I’ve had tons of support but the Facebook pages have been a huge help in getting to where I am today. I’m not where I want to be but much further than I was. I will get there! One day at a time because each day is a new day that will bring something different. I have learned to let his love of everything live on through me. There is a reason I am still here. I will never get over this but the good days outweigh the bad days now. Again, thanks for this! You, and those just like you in widowhood, are proof that life goes on and it does get better….and even when it’s better, it’s OK to still miss them!

  • peggy Marchanti says:

    Wow, I haven’t read anything yet that describes the loneliness like this does. Cause this is what it is like! You gave words to my pain of loneliness. I had a friend who told me that I am not lonely cause I have so many people around me and that I am busiest person she knows. Thats not true and the loneliness is very present in so many moments of the day. In a crowd, with a friend or alone in bed. This was so nice to read.

  • Jeanne Darrell says:

    I am at 24 weeks and 1 day, 169 days (yes I count each day and every Wednesday is another week) since I became an unwilling member of the “Widow’s Club” My Honey was taken away from me in an instant after 28 years ( we had that unbelievable happy marriage that made our friends and family jealous of us and wishing that they could have what we had) from a blood clot, we were sitting at the kitchen table, eating Pistachio’s, laughing, making fun of a client, which we were so good at and bam….. that quickly, from laughter to indescribable agony, I still think he is going to walk in the door one day and say, Hey babe, I’m home, gotcha, as he walks by me, grabs my butt and heads to the bathroom…… Usually at 48 years old, married to a 52 year with 3 kids ( and 3 extra’s that somehow came into our lives and stayed ) 2 grand babies, you think you have tons of time to build more memories, to experiance more love and laughter, to have more great sex…… There are no words to describe it,( I have even tried to make up words ). I still cry daily and miss him so much it feels like the first day everyday. First’s are the worst and waking up in the morning and having that 2 seconds where you kinda forget, till it hits you full force yet again. I am so thankful for my kids, and friends, family and my million memories, and also thankful for Catherine Tidd, I read her book at my 8 week mark and it was like I was reading myself, with a few changes like dating….. Oh hell no. Of course her kids were younger as was she, but the parallel’s so often would make me laugh and make me cry. It helped me get thru some really rough days….so Ms. Catherine Tidd, I thank you from the bottom of my grieving heart…….

  • Robin Sauls says:

    So well written. I just remember how hard my head hurt after my husband died; the pounding didn’t stop for hours on end. I never knew how many tears one could cry in a minute, an hour, a day, a month…a year. Or how big the hole in my heart was. I missed (and still do), his kindness, his love of animals, how he could make me see things differently. His love for God. Thank you for sharing this poignant piece. There are no words to describe the loneliness…none at all. It is an all consuming feeling for which language is insufficient.

  • Barbara Wallace says:

    On a day when ‘lonely’ was hitting me like constant hammering of my heart I found your article posted on Facebook by a ‘friend’. This ‘friend’ is one of those people I met at a widows conference and we follow each other online. It has been 2 years, 3 months, 26 days since my husband died. It seems no matter how broken one’s heart is it continues to break. And the friends and family who initially stayed in touch have mostly drifted away. I I wonder is it me? Am I such a shadow of my previous self that they no longer want to be around me? Or do they just wish I would move on and stop missing my love. Not that I don’t try. I put on a big smile, try to speak of happy and positive topics, but I cannot help but mention my late husband in almost any conversation because he is still with me in my memories and life experience.
    I always remind myself I am not alone as there are many individuals just like me on this planet, feeling just like me. And you remind us all of that with your shared words. So thank you. Your words helped me today and for that I am grateful.

  • Elaine Marze says:

    In the three years since my husband died I have written a couple books, but one (Widowhood, I Didn’t Ask for This) is being used in several states in grief counseling classes. People say it is the only humorous book they’ve ever read about this terribly painful topic. Maybe that is because he and I shared so much joy over the 40 years we were together than it shined through in this book that I wrote just five months after he died. I tell people that HELLO DARLING is a “sweet” book, but the widowhood book is totally different because there is nothing sweet about the death of a spouse. Widows / widowers constantly tell me that it portrays exactly what they feel and what they want to say to friends and family. During the two and a half years of cancer I never missed a writing deadline, and several magazine articles came out of our trials. It helps to think something good comes from our tragedy, and when I speak to widow’s groups I try to lighten their loads and encourage them to help each other.

  • Bonnie says:

    Thank you for the most truthful accurate account of what I am feeling about widowhood. It’s been 7 years and the loneliness hasn’t gone away. How could it possibly go away when my husband is not here for “the what should have beens” and each of my 3 childrens’ milestones? Only members of “our club” GET IT ! Thank you for putting it in words for us.

  • Ginger Hogan says:

    My husband was a carpenter, a profession where digits were often lost to power tools. They called it the “nub club” I think we widows have our own version of the nub club.

  • Irene Covington says:

    You are a great writer. You are a true wordsmith. Thank you for sharing your story. I will pray for you.

  • Julie Kunkel says:

    Reading this was like I had written it myself. And then I thought “Oh no, someone else is going through the exact same thing. How heartbreaking for them too.” Any time I meet a new widow it is hard because I see me in her eyes and I think “oh she doesn’t know what she is going to have to go through. I wish I could keep her from going through it.” Thank you for this article. We are not alone in this but a large club. A horrible, heartbreaking club that never wants new members. This piece nails being a widow.

  • Joyce says:

    While I have read numerous articles in these eight months of widowhood that have brought comfort, I cannot adequately express my appreciation for the affirmation you have given me in describing what life has become since losing my husband. Bless you!

  • Glenda Logan says:

    I lost my husband December 4, 2013 to suicide. My heart is broken and I truly don’t think it will ever heal. I go through the motions of living everyday for my children and grandchildren. The only true enjoyment I have is my grandchildren. Not much matters to me but them. I’m not usually a negative person but I feel I am now. I don’t want to burden anyone and want everyone to enjoy their lives but don’t want them to expect it from me. I don’t like to go out, not even to food shop. I prefer to be at home and would rather family come to me to visit. I know that seems selfish but it is where I most comfortable. I work and come home, everyone thinks I’m doing fine. But I don’t think I will ever be fine. Sorry so down but it is my truth. Thank you for listening.

  • Cindy Z says:

    Wow, you nailed it….word for word, exactly how I feel!

  • Cynthia Horacek says:

    Dear Ms. Tidd –
    I lost my husband on Nov. 12, 2010. Sometimes it feels like yesterday; sometimes it feels like forever. We were married 31 years, 8 months and 12 days. He was the love of my life – really. Not my first love, but my last. I thought we’d grow old together; that we share the joy of being grandparents, that we’d take long walks when we retired and hold hands and kiss and still spoon in bed every night. He was 57 when he died. He had Crohn’s Disease, and I think I knew at some point I’d out live him, but then he got cancer, and I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You said so well what I struggle with daily, and mostly, nightly. Being alone. Loneliness. I can be as busy as ever during the day; I can be with friends, I can volunteer, I can do my art (finally – it took close to 3 years to get back to that), but at the end of the day, there’s still no one here. I have health issues, too; and my greatest fear is not being able to take care of myself and not having Don here to help me. Well, obviously, he won’t be here… but I can’t and won’t be a burden to my children, and I’m so afraid of being taken care of by strangers. So that fear is a strong one. But more than the fear, it’s being alone. Not being able to talk about what our now-grown children are doing; not having him here to talk about visiting them and when and how soon and seeing our grandchildren together. But I can tell you get all that; I think everyone who shares this same situation does.

    So thank you for saying so well what I feel.

  • Beth Maupin says:

    When people would ask me if I felt lonely, I told them, “No, I feel ALONE!” The first one to try to help me understand what I was saying told me, “Loneliness is an emotion. ALONE is spiritual.” He nailed it. I had other friends try to assure me that there was no difference, that they had been or were still alone. There were a few that got it, and that really meant the world to me. Recently, I told one of those people that I never could quite tell whether that desert wind was hot or cold, and she responded that she saw a desert when I told her about “ALONE.” I’m still not sure about the temperature (Probably other things were in play,), but it was a bitter wind. It still shows up, but it’s seldom as bitter. By the way, we were married 20 days shy of 51 years.

  • Donna Vidmar widdowed 5/22/99 says:

    Thank you… I do feel you know my soul.. I oved him so much. …. so so so much.. no kids.. he pulled me thru cancer and then drug addiction
    . Then….. he was gone.. I’ve been so very alone ever since… you have written the most poiniant and nearest words to how I feel as I have ever had the gratefullness to get to read…. thank you.. I wept.

  • Carolyn Beckwith says:

    Widow hood to me feels like I lost half of me on that day. No one could ever replace him. It will be 7 years on July 28. I know he is with Jesus and that gets me through.

  • Rae says:

    Thank you..

    Simply thank you

  • Jenny Williams says:

    Well said. I lost my partner of 12 years last year, but because we were not married people seem to think my grieving should be less. I too needed & cherished my alone time however I now realise that did not mean shunning everyone & becoming a hermit, which I have done.
    It is 17 months since he passed away & my only description of how I still feel is totally numb. I can still walk in the freezing pouring rain & be so numb I don’t feel it.

  • mary says:

    O how I wish I had found this sooner. My husband left this earth 16 months on the 20th of July. I felt like I was totally loosing my mind. Even though I knew he wasn’t going to be with our family much longer I still didn’t believe he was gone. You see, he had been in and out of a nursing home for over 5 years. I was with him the day he passed for over 12 hours. The Hospice nurse called me at 3am and told me to come and call the family. My son and I left at 3pm to meet with the funeral director. We were gone 15 minutes and our youngest son called. He was gone. We were married 40 years on Feb. 7 and he left us on Feb. 20. He hadn’t shared our bed or our home in quite some time and still the house felt empty and I would hear our black lab snore and I would wake up and think it was him. Finally after all this time I am beginning to feel normal again. So to anyone reading this please don’t let anyone tell you to move on and have fun and to date again. Grieving is a process and you do it in your time. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. I have children and an amazing grandson and friends. All they could do for me was to listen to me sob and hold my hand. My grandson would tell me “its ok grandma, I’m here while he sat on my lap. He was 5. Thankfully, I have a strong faith in God. I pray constantly to get me through another day and He did. I still get mad at God for taking him from me and I get even madder at my husband for not doing what the doc’s told him to do and leaving me way too soon and not being here to watch our grandson start kindergarten and watch the Christmas program at his school and swimming lessons. I’m sorry, I just keep rambling on and on. I just want and ladies reading this to know you aren’t alone in your grief and no, you aren’t crazy. Things will get better. Love to all!

  • Brenda McLean says:

    Widowhood sucks! Almost 2years..9 days before Christmas. God bless!

  • Kelly Combs says:

    I finished your book last week. I’ve never felt more understood. More like someone was in my head and knew my feelings. Thank you for articulating my feelings when I could not. I’ve sent this article to many of my friends and said, “This. This is how I feel.”

    Being understood is a huge gift. Even when it’s by someone who understands you’re crazy. Widow-crazy. Thank you for normalizing the crazy.

    Best wishes to you and your children!

  • Michael Nogrady says:

    I was not the hands on parent when my eife passed away. I had two children in High School. I had to learn to be a parent at 57. I kep watching the door at night, waiting for the Adult to come home.
    it has been 5 years and it does get different. I have had the wonderful opportunity to grow as a patent and a human being. I have gone through years of therapy and have wonderful, considerate friends who never told me to move on.
    Now the memories are brighter and happier. I realize that I have a lot to forgive and be forgiven. It does get better, if you work for it.
    I have found another wonderful person who understands and we are learning to live and trust another person. That had been the hardest part of opening up to another and being vulnerable again.
    God bless those of you beginning your journey.

  • Laurel Azaria says:

    Thank you for writing this, I am still waiting for my “aha ” moment. I am a widow (I hated that word or title ” in my mind I am still a wife, without a husband. He’s been gone for 3 1/2 months now, but some days it feels like forever other days like he’s just out on a errand. GOD I miss him so much, this month (on my birthday) would have been 25 years.
    Thanks to others for helping get through another day.

  • You have captured so eloquently just what I’ve been feeling; going through. I lost my best friend, the man I was married to for 43 years 2 months ago. Sometimes it doesn’t feel real and at other times there is such a heaviness in me that I become immobile. What I wouldn’t give to hear him call me “Babe” one more time. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to this single thing. Friends mean well, but I’m tired of answering the question “How are you doing?” Should I tell them the truth, that this reality just sucks. That logically I look well, but emotionally it’s been a roller coaster. That I want to turn the clock back 6 months; even 3 months back just to relive every moment with him. Thank you, thank you.

    • Marian says:

      Your article made my day. My husband of 45 years died 3 weeks ago of a massive heart attack. He died at home and I found him on the shower floor. I was his living kidney donor. I am struggling to return to some semblance of a normal life. The article expressed how I feel. My husband was my world. I wanted to say goodbye and I love you but never got the chance. I wish more people could understand how widows feel especially when death is unexpected. Thank you for putting into words my feelings.

  • Cheryl Johnston says:


  • KatR says:

    Normally, I am very calm, rational and logical. But let someone try to tell me it’s time I moved on…..then all those barely handled emotions crash to surface. My rage is visceral…..and I don’t hold it back. How dare anyone presume?

  • Marian says:

    Her comments express exactly how I feel. I loss my husband the day after our 45 wedding anniversary June 22 of 2015. He was my world.I gave him my kidney to save his life. He had a massive heart attack and died if front of me. Each day is a constant struggle to return to a normal life .Therapy is helping but I wonder if I will ever become my former self. Her article comforted me and made me realize that I am normal and have a right to feel like I do.She is truly compassionate and understanding which us what I so desperately need now.

  • Laurel says:

    Catherine, this is such a beautiful – straight from the heart and authenic piece. I, too, lost my husband in 2009 after being married for 42 years. I completely get what you wrote about. My life has evolved from that horrible word “widow” to other new titles. And yes, I have been blessed with a new marriage which was completely surprising to me.

    I have a dear friend who just passed this weekend. She made the decision to remarry (after not death but divorce) after a long reflective time. She went in for heart surgery the Monday following her wedding, and died this past Saturday. I have forwarded your beautiful piece on to her shattered husband, with the hope that he will read it when he is able.

    What is amazing to me as that the veneer which covers my loss and grief, was and is so easily ripped away during times like this. Yes, we heal – and do move forward, but underneath that newly formed skin which covers our “being”, it will always be tender and easily cracked when death shows its face once again.

    I wish for you peace and comfort. Keep on writing – you now have a purpose, which is to use your words to help others. Thank you again for the beauty of your words, Laurel

  • Sarah Alam says:

    So beautifully put. And makes me feel I am not the only one going through this, and that someone understands. Reading this was like someone telling me my own story.It’s been over a year and the pain is as deep and permanent as day one. It just becomes a little easier to assimilate. A ‘Thank you’ is all I can say through the tears. May you have the peace and contentment you need. Love and hugs!

  • Yvonne says:

    Your article touched my heart and my soul.
    You state PERFECTLY what we all feel and make it easily understood by the “unwidowed”. I sent this article to my siblings and friends to help them understand how I feel. Each one thanked me for sending the article as they now “get it”. For this alone, I am indebted to you.
    Many times i feel like I am speaking Chinese in a world where everyone speaks English! Finally i give up and begin to speak English too, but how relaxed and free I feel when i can speak to someone else who speaks Chinese. YOU speak Chinese with me!
    My dear husband died 9 months ago after a 2 month illness of mini strokes and then a full stroke, taking away his ability to speak for his last 2 months of life. Lung cancer caused his strokes. We were married 37 years and he was 61; have 3 kids- all at home.
    As i read on your blog- I still struggle with making decisions alone, no one to discuss the kids with, our past memories with or what i did that day with…..and still the empty bed is dreadful…
    THANK YOU for your beautiful clear writing- and for making me feel connected to others who speak my language.

  • Engela Fortuin says:

    Hi.My husband passed away on 8 Feb 2015 right in front of me after suffering a massive stroke.And I died inside as well.I’m so,so lost.I’ll never be at home anywhere on this planet,because he was my home.I’m angry with God for taking him and I’m even angry with my husband for dying.I’m 48 and too young to be a widow.I need my husband desperately.We were married for 12 years but were together 18 and a half years.

  • Agnes Gichogo says:

    Hi. am 18 weeks since i joined this involuntary club of window hood.
    I feel lonely with pockets of guilt, anger,sadness and frustration.
    It was on a Sunday morning 28th June 2015 when my husband suddenly collapsed and died in front of our second born son and I.
    Things have never been the same again. Sometimes feeling strong enough to keep going and other times i feel frail.
    Am reaching out for those who’ve walked the journey for support

  • Lee Pierce says:

    My wife passed from an early onset of Lewy Body Dementia, a cruel illness. She had not been diagnosed until she became catatonic one evening and was taken by ambulance to the wrong hospital. Since they had no records they did tests that the other doctors never did and came up with the diagnosis. They said it was terminal and thought she should go to hospice. She went to hospice and improved, but not to what she had been and was sent home. Exactly three months later she died literally in my arms. The was no time for good bye. In a blink of an eye she just stopped breathing. She had a DNR order making it harder since I had to just sit with her until she was picked up. We were married for 31 years, and together for 34. It has been a little less than two months since she died and I feel like I died that day as well. I quit my job and started a new one hoping that it would tie me up and help me cope. It is fine when I am at work but once I get home it is awful. I am moving out of the house because it is to hard to look at the spot where I know she drew her last breath. I sometimes just sit in that spot and try to talk to her and cry. Now that that day is coming to move I am sad because now I cannot sit in that spot but feel I have to go. Some may say “well you knew she was terminal” but with that disease it can be months or many years. I had convinced myself that she was going to be one of the ones that live long. A few days before she died she had said she kept seeing a man in the bedroom for the last couple of days. When I would walk with her around the room she would say he left. The last night she said she thought it was Death waiting to take her. There are so many things that I can never forget. The blank look on her face at the moment of her death…did she realize she was dying? did she feel comfort or pain? All I remember is the look of almost nothingness on her face with her eyes slightly open looking to the left. A look that I cannot ever get out of my mind. It haunts me. If I had known that it was going to be our last three months I would have taken more time off from work. I had a caregiver who she got along with but my wife would often say that she wished I could be her caregiver, but financially I felt like I could not do it. Now it is to late and I blame myself for not just taking the time off and not worrying about the money end of it. Every time I see something that she liked it that “moment” for me. She loved owls and recently the grocery store had big signs up for Halloween with owls and I found myself walking the aisles with tears streaming down my face. I wish I had the faith that some have so I could believe that she is indeed in a better place, as I am told so often. I am now facing Thanksgiving alone for the first time in over 34 years, and then Christmas, and then in February, her Birthday. Our anniversary was on October 26th. I had started my new job that day, so it helped out while I was working, but once home…. to painful to describe… When my Dad died it was hard but nothing like this. I now understand what my mother may have felt.
    How I will cope in this upcoming year is hard to say, but I know I will be lonely the rest of my life without Linda, the love of my life.

    • Margaret Couls says:

      The article made me cry for 5 hours. Yes I feel like both of my legs were amputated and I am being told to get over it and get up and walk with no aid. To make a loooooong story short. The only boy who gave me a love note, held my hand, kissed me,held me….. married me at 17…. served the LORD as a preacher for 36 years with me at his side…… had 4 sons with me…. laughed….loved…..forgave…. grieved…planned…..prayed….. my best friend…. after 55 1/2 years of enduring without complaint a deformed heart…. after 37 1/2 years of marriage….. after his last words of “Honey l love you .I mean I really love you.” He sweetly went to “sleep”. By faith in the LORD Jesus Christ ( which FYI only comes by reading the Bible) I believe he is in heaven awaiting me. But l am only 61 years young , very strong , very active…… but after 6 years 6 months 12 days I still have that emptiness , loneliness , not knowing what to do. I can be in a crowded room and lonely because he is not by my side. I can be taking notes in church and remember him drawing a heart on my hand. Yes my best comfort comes from the Bible which says tho LORD is the widow’s husband. But l desire a flesh and blood husband. I dated a Christian man for the month of December yet he has never been married. So I asked the LORD to get the gentleman “to back away if he was not my future Adam” . I did not want to hurt him. He backed away now the emptiness is enlarged. Most women I know are married. Yet I to get my earthly comfort from two younger than I widows.My youngest son ( whom I live with ) tells me to get over it , stop the pity party, stop using his dad’s death as an excuse. He says he lost his dad on the day I lost my husband and there is no difference !!!! WRONG !!!!! I want to yell “you will not say that if you outlive your wife”. I have made many drasticly wrong decisions in the past 6 years 6 months 12 days. My friends say “Why did you do that ?” . My only excuse is that my Better half is gone and left an emptiness . I love to read stories of people living on desert islands and how they survive and are rescued. I just cry to the LORD to rescue me. I know He has a purpose and a plan. Romans 8:28.

  • Monique Smith says:

    Thank you for the article.its been 1 year, 5 months and 10 days. I have never been so empty or lonely. I feel as if I am crazy or if I should be over the guilt, sadness and pain. How do you get over someone how I used to want to kill, someone who I loved more than myself. I love the times when I’m in my dreams and he’s there with me, oh how do I hate the mornings after.

    I’m happy to know I’m not alone. I don’t think the pain will ever fade. I too feel justified as well, I am not alone.

  • Laurel Van Horn says:

    This so perfectly describes what I have just been going through today. My wonderful, courageous husband died two weeks ago after becoming sicker and sicker over the past year. I just returned from being with our son and his family for the Thanksgiving holiday, so last evening and today were the first time I’ve been alone in our home since his death. I’ve never experienced such a crushing loneliness; it is exactly as you have described. We had been married for almost 42 years and were rarely apart for lengthy periods of time. The hole left in my life is huge. I know he is at peace and is no longer suffering, and for that I am relieved, but oh my, losing him is just so, so incredibly hard. Thank you for your words.

  • heart broken says:

    Thank you for such an insightful article. Your article expresses the depth of desolation I often felt since my wife died and articulates the hurt and pain that came with the ‘thud’ that I have not been able to find amongst other books, websites and articles on grief and bereavement

    Two years ago I lost my wife at the age of 41 suddenly to an aggressive cancer. We were together for almost 20 years and parents to 4 young children.

    I felt the ‘thud’ you felt at Wal Mart about a month after she died. I received a call from preschool to offer the last 2 places for our twin. I was immediately looking for her so ‘we can decide whether to accept the offer’. That was the first time I realised there will be no more ‘we’, just ‘me’

  • Maryann Noah says:

    My husband died in 2006. In 2008 I became reacquainted with a male friend I had known for some years who had recently been divorced. We had a 5 year relationship and created a life together even though we lived separately. Then in 2013 he didn’t come over for his morning coffee as usual. I went to his house and found him dead.
    This last spring I had a close brush with death myself, but here I am recovering well, but alone. Now I feel really alone, more than I ever have before. I can so relate to your essay. I have a lot of friends, some married couples and other widows. But there is no soul mate, no one with whom I can really share life. I find myself thinking ‘is this all there is?’ It’s kind of creepy really in a perverse sort of way. And yes, I keep busy, yadayadayada.

  • Sheree Fenwick says:

    Have been without my darling man for two years and 3mths now.Just spent my third Xmas without him.We were together for 36 years. Three kids, three grandchildren! It broke my heart yesterday to overhear my daughter tell someone that her three year old was glad she has a grandad (my daughter’s father in law, who isn’t the best of characters!And he’s in Australia, not New Zealand! )And my husband would have been such a loving, hands-on Grandpa! I am so alone with being a grandparent!

  • Mara says:

    I’m only six weeks into this awful journey and always sad … but always relieved to hear that so much of what I’m feeling isn’t necessarily normal but also not wrong. Not sure there is any right or wrong anymore. I’m very much stuck in limbo, not only between life and loss and real and surreal, but between young and old … I’m only 46, which is too young to be a widow and too old to be single, or at least to behave like either. So I’m limping along and as much as I’d like to follow the unwritten rule of not making big changes for at least a year, my financial situation will force me to move in the next six months. I’m not ready to go through his things or leave or home behind or take the next step, but I have no choice. I’ve had many “thumps” but I think the real “thuds” are still ahead, and am grateful to have your voice and the advice of others before me to follow …

    • sharon says:

      I’m eight weeks today into the loss of my husband who passed after a long battle with colon cancer. Though I’m relieved that his suffering has ended I relate to the hole in my heart that cannot be filled. Nothing prepared me for the degree of sadness and loneliness I have come to experience. I find that my tears won’t dry up and my heart won’t stop breaking but I am grateful to be able to share my hurt with those who can identify. I am so looking forward to some sort of normalcy.

      • kristen says:

        It has been 15 weeks since my husband of 25 years passed away suddenly. I am so glad I found this web site. It’s helps to know that I am not alone. I am fortunate that we have three children and they really do help keep me going. I might not otherwise get out of bed in the morning (If I didn’t need the money). I will never get over Darren, he was my soulmate and I don’t want to get over him. We did everything together and my entire life was built around this man and our family. The mornings are very hard, remembering that he’s gone. Holidays, Milestones and important events (good and bad) are hard. Our daughter just had her 10th birthday and our middle son just got accepted to college. I feel like I am forgetting to call someone (Darren) to share the news, talk about the plans and share the excitement. It’s not fair. I feel like I’ve been ripped off. We were supposed to grow old together and now I’m stuck here carrying all the weight. I miss him so much. I know that I am lucky to have had him in my life these past 30 years and that we shared so many beautiful memories and have three wonderful children together. But I’m so sad that’s it’s over, he’s gone and he won’t be there to see our kids grow up. He won’t be there to help make decisions. He won’t be there for me to lean on when bad things happen (Mom was just diagnosed with Cancer). Some days I’m OK, other days, it’s too much to bear, but I have no choice and have got to just “keep swimming”. I have a great support network of friends and family, but they all get to go home to their spouses at night and I cry alone.

  • Sman says:

    Dear God, please help me…please! Sometimes I cry out in the car going to work. Mostly it’s in my now lonely house…the house me and my love carefully customized to our exact liking over the last 8 years. She died a little over 7 month ago. She woke up complaining of a strange sort of indigestion in her upper stomach…6 hours later we were in the emergency room and she was throwing up everything inside her including blood. She was gray and looked like she was dying but the surgeons in charge of her medical care reassured me it would pass and she had a common bowel obstruction. The next morning she coded and I freaked. She died the next day in the ICU from sepsis. I had little knowledge of what sepsis was up until the love of my life somehow acquired it. Death has now become my enemy and sepsis its Lucifer. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and complicated grief since this hell on earth began. I still can’t really comprehend that she is gone forever…I miss her smell, her smile, her legs, her eyes, her hair, her breath her presence, her life essence. Please God, help me through this torture!…at times I catch glimpses of joy only to learn I will be pulled back into the black abyss where there is no colors, only darkness and despair. Please God help me…please! It’s been a little over seven months…the loneliness is as thick as peanut butter, especially in my house. My life is radically changed forever and I better start learning how to live again soon because this is hell on earth and sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in sorrow. God, please help me….where are you!

    • Hollowed says:


      I’ve read some of the posts and landed on your post and couldn’t helped wanting to write something to you. I am 31 years old man–sitting here at work trying to fill in my emptiness with reading others posts online as tears dripping down my face.
      I am so very for your loss. I am not very good at expressing my feelings through words, but I don’t think any words can express how each of us individually feel and going through. I just wanted to take the moment to write you something to show you my support and let you know that someone out there know, understand, and feel what you are feeling in hope that my respond can at least give you just a tiny bit of comfort and hope even if it’s just for a second.
      I’ve lost my wife, she was barely 23 turning 24. It has been a little less than 3 months and I don’t really know how I can go on each day without her. It’s not just loneliness that took over our lives, but senselessness as well as hopelessness. What I find comforting the most is being reading posts like yours.
      I too scream for helps silently because I am not sure if help will ever come or if there’s any help. And to be honest with you, although the pain “we” are all going through, if my pain does not go away and if I can’t make it through, I do personally wish and hope “you” and “others” on here well and have the strength to carry on. This pain is just too much for one to go through, let alone all of us here and everyone else who have loss a loved one.

      I will always be hollowed without my wife. Life can and will goes on, while I am here staring at our screens wondering to myself when will “this” life stop moving.


  • Heather Brescher says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve been a widow for 8 years now, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever stop talking to him. He was my person and always will be. Thanks again.

  • Patti says:

    Tears streamed down my face, as I read this, and thought of my niece (who posted your article on her FB), who lost her husband in Afghanistan, when her children were 6 and 8 yrs. old. As you wrote describing this incredible emptiness, I cried with her, but I cried also because I realized I couldn’t do anything for her to lessen that loss. I am so sorry for her that she has to go through this pain. I “semi-projected” what this must feel like to be absent of my husband, but I knew I couldn’t do it justice, because he is still with me. Helplessness to take away someone’s pain you love is so painful. To admit that is to feel compassionless to stand on the sidelines, knowing I can’t do anything to replace what she has lost.

  • Debbie says:

    From the bottom of my heart…thank you for this article.I feel like you got inside my heart, my head, and read my very thoughts. It’s always nice to know that I’m not crazy for what I’m thinking sometimes! It’s been 6 years since my husband died. When you have a love so deep for someone, so intimate, it’s just so hard to lose them. Last but not least, In a terrible, weird sort of way, I feel like if I hadn’t gone through it, I would not be able to help or encourage others who have gone through it. For this, I am extremely thankful.

  • Tara says:

    It’s been over 6 years since my husband died. I appreciate you sharing your experience, as it somehow manages to dissipate the loneliness. So much I want to say here, but my mind blankens and my souls feels so empty whenever I try to write about my deep loss. I remember trying to write thank you notes after his funeral without much success in achieving even a semblance of adequately expressing my gratitude for the outpouring of love and generosity toward my kids and me. I felt like a third-grader struggling to formulate a complex sentence. I find that I am unable to write about my deep pain. It’s as if my heart feels it but to actually write about it makes me hurt so badly that my brain blocks my words as a means to protect me from the heart-wrenching despair. Even after 6 years, I still cannot adequately describe how much it hurts.
    I am so grateful to fellow widows like you who open your heart and mind to share in a way that allows me to relate, and also to cry a little. I need to cry. I still miss him…every day.

    Thank you.

  • Heather says:

    I found your website today, Valentine’s Day, just a little over 7 months since I became what I hope you will consider as a member of “The Club”.

    The night before his 67th birthday, my fiance had a massive heart attack and was in a full code as I stepped off the elevator into his hospital room. He had been in the hospital for a separate issue. He was to have been released to come home to me, on his birthday – which was just 6 weeks before our wedding. He was 19 years my senior, but you wouldn’t have known that difference, he was a young, vibrant, finally-found-happiness man.

    (We had enjoyed a 15 year friendship then love affair turned into an engagement. We were set to marry in August of 2015, after my daughter turned 18 and returned from an international expedition into the Arctic Circle.)

    As I stepped off the elevator and into the full code, I was sent out into the hall, just outside his door, I called for him, begging him to not go to sleep, to fight, it wasn’t time to go yet, we were just about to start the next and best part of our life together. I prayed, I begged G_d, please don’t take my best friend, the love of my life. We are two people who were now out of two unhappy marriages and about to make a very happy marriage under the Chuppah.

    Five days later – on July 7th, his adult children disconnected his life support. He died 24 hours later on July 8th. His untimely death, was just hours before my daughter turned 18 on July 9th.

    The funeral was a nightmare. His family cut me out, wouldn’t acknowledge me in his obituary. The tension in the sanctuary of the synagogue where my beloved and I were members as a family was immense. Someone directly after the service said to me that this was now my new normal and that there was another plan for me. I wanted to fall over – how could that person say that to me at that time? I didn’t like my new normal – I loved the old one. The Rabbi who just performed the funeral was supposed to have performed our wedding in August. This wasn’t a time I could ever think about a different plan. I still can’t to this day.

    Not only did I have the loss of my best friend, I have lost my entire social community, our friends were also friends with the adult children. The social circle followed the bullying demands of the children.

    My entire world has imploded. No best friend, no fiance, no social community, no support.

    A month after my beloved passed away, I had the unfortunate opportunity to revisit the entire tragedy, as I had to notify and fill in my daughter what she had missed, the loss of this wonderful man, who she adored and her mother loved.

    The word lonely, doesn’t describe the horrible and so unexpected events of July 2015. To top off the lonely world I now am imprisoned in, I am now facing never ending legal issues brought on by the adult children of my beloved. They are taking out their anger with their father on me, I am their apparent scapegoat.

    I have to believe the love of my life is heart broken to have lost his life, but also to see all of this nasty stuff going on in the world he no longer lives in.

    On many days, I still feel it impossible to get out of bed. My grief has had a direct effect on my health. Much of the time, I want to cease to exist. I have been rocked to my knees. How could G_d take away my love, how can G_d continue to test me like this? I am exhausted, I can’t sleep, i really don’t care if I eat and my once organized life is like a hurricane hit it at best.

    My trust in the world is shattered. My heart is broken that he is gone. Faith in any actions of mankind – is non-existent.

    Thank you so much for listening and for having this website. I don’t have Facebook, so the chance of exploring more there I presume is null.


  • Kara Wharton says:

    I am interested in your articles for my 82-year old mother. We lost my father one year ago, and she is withering away, with no will to live. She has always been so strong and vibrant. I’m hoping something she reads may break through just a bit.

    • Cary Zink says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Again I wanted to thank you for this page. There is comfort in reading the other stories that follow your article. what follows is something else I had posted on FB. I had been trying to put words to feelings of sorrow and loss that are beyond anything I would have thought possible. The last part comes directly from the help I have found on this site.

      How do you describe what comes after the loss of a spouse? An experience unique to the person who finds him or herself thrust into that vast chasm. Complete understanding of the finality of such a loss is forever a moving target for the person left behind. You are unwittingly tethered to a nemesis beyond your comprehension that can pull you to depths you never imagined existed. Life continues as normal around you, and sometimes you assimilate into these familiarities for a time. All the while shadows in your mind are whispering to you things you do not want to face. Well wishers ask how you are doing, and if you’re feeling better, opening doors you struggle to keep closed. Plans you had, goals you had set are now feathers in the wind that drift away from you with no concern. Each sunrise brings with it the empty silence of the new day. Your heart and mind ride in the hollow vessel that used to be you. Drifting from place to place in a groove carved out years before, as you stare out the window of your life while thinking about the past.

      This is but a brief description, really only scratching the surface of what this life event actually is. For me, it just feels good to write it down. I am hoping that it might help someone else in that those of us who are here, are not alone. Drifting down this river of sorrow would be unbearable if not for the recognition of the other boats a drift in this same river. To you I say farewell friend, this river will eventually leave you on the shore of a brighter day.

      • Helen says:

        Cary, this was so powerful an spoke to me in a way that took my breath away. Your sentence: “Each sunrise brings with it the empty silence of the new day.” stopped me as it put into words what I also feel. I might add that each evening brings with it the dread of another night in an empty bed, and then comes the dawn.

        Thank you so much for your post!

  • Wanda Brown says:

    My husband died of cardiac arrest on 10/22/09, and I’m still having “issues”. He was 50 years old, I, 49. I’ve gained 50 lbs.since he died, I used to be a “fashionista” of sorts & now, well I work from home & am always in pajamas. I have little to no contact with humans, except in the morning when I go thru a drive-thru for breakfast. Now the only words I hear are “Can I take your order please?” I have a son & daughter in law & a 5 year old grandson who live less than 10 minutes away & rarely see them. I’ve lost friends after he died; they got tired of seeing my sad face & seeing me cry I suppose. They weren’t really friends after all. He had enough insurance that left me debt free for a short while. And well, what happened next is a whole other story. Now, I’m having to pay rent for my first ever apartment & can barely afford to feed myself. I attend church on Sunday & that’s the extent of my social life. Your article really, really hit home for me. My moment occurred at Kohl’s. He actually loved going in there & looking at the holiday do-dads & smelling all the candles. I totally lost it in there not long after he died, walking down an aisle just a squalling. Blessings to all of you. Thank you for worthy read.

  • Marie says:

    This captured EXACTLY how I feel. Even my grief counselor doesn’t get it. Thank you. For affirming the existence of this sensation, the loneliness it brings, and still the desire to be left alone.

    • Donna B says:

      It was comforting to find this article and read the comments. I am 48 years old and my husband died 3 years ago after a four-month battle with cancer. I have a 17 year old an 11 year old and I am so grateful for their presence because that loneliness that you all spoke of just creeps up on you. It’s as simple as going shopping and seeing the many couples holding hands. I think turning off the lights at night is when I feel it most. On the other hand, the thought of starting over, that is, dating, is downright scary for me. It seems like a solution for the loneliness but remember, 48 years… Yet the alternative is no less scary because my girls are getting older and an empty house is not something that I look forward to. As a Christian, I know that God is with me, but I am really trying to deal with that loss of companionship. That void is really hard to fill.

    • Betty says:

      Perfectly shared by author and posters. Loneliness can kill you. No one can take away the pain of loss. And as much as you want to seek connection to alleviate the loneliness, nothing can fill that void and you end up just wanting to be alone.

  • Paula gately says:

    I really enjoyed your article, Catherine. One of my most frequent experiences other than feeling an acute sense of loss, is the total & absolute silence. It is deafening. I am approaching the first year anniversary of my husband’s death & feel a wide range of emotions- know it’s normal. Will check out your FB link as I haven’t felt comfortable going to a support group but think it would be beneficial hearing from others. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sheila Bobo says:

    I am still trying to survive Widow hood after 22 years. With God’s help…..I make it through one day at a time.

  • Stacia Jay says:

    Hi Catherine-

    What you wrote was absolutely beautiful. It really tugged on my heart this morning as I’m sitting at my desk welcoming the office in (probably not the best time to read it since all I wanted to do was cry- trying to smile and wish everyone a Good Morning between reading deep hearted stories needs more balance 😉

    While I am not a widow, and my last almost spouse I was only with for two years, it feels I lost him in a similar way. I’ve been questioning to myself how you widowed live everyday with the pain? I grew to know my now ex-fiance very closely, we were heart to heart and very passionate about each other and our futures and we were ecstatic to see each other grow in every area of our lives. It wasn’t just a fling, or some kind of fun relationship. Boy, did we have fun! But our relationship went deeper than that. Up until exactly 10 days before our wedding was when I found he had a deep anger and turned on me, actually strangling me. It was not only hurtful, but incredibly shocking as I’ve never seen that side of him before and we were so deeply in love. Our friendship bond was incredible, we already knew each other very well.

    I have friends and family who push me back into the dating world, and oh gosh, is it a whole nother world. How do you cope when fear or emotions rise? When all you can think of is all the precious times you’ve had together and they’re gone? Would you have any recommendations to any online chats or websites or reading material?

    Lastly, I don’t by any means compare myself to the world of widowhood. As you’ll understand though I think it’s healthy to get input and a good supportive community.

    Thank you so much for your writing and all your input here, it was good for me to read. The tears will help me get through another day!


  • Kelli Ann Willis says:

    My husband of 18 years died suddenly and unexpected 123 days ago. He was 50. What you wrote is exactly, and I mean exactly how I feel. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Bonnie Heikkila says:

    Dear Mrs. Tidd, Thank you for this very accurate description of life as a widow. My moment was also in a Walmart store which I avoided for the first several months after my Loves death. When I finally did go I ran into an old neighbor who did not know of my husband’s passing. As I struggled through telling him I hurried to make it out of the checkout and my name was being called. There was another friend of my husband’s who did not know as I had to relive the life we had with cancer for a second time. The most sobering time in which after relating our past two year battle to friends and he was not there as he had always been. The emptiness and magnitude of the loss truelly sets in as reality strikes in telling others he is truelly gone- not on a road trip someplace as he had been so many years.
    It will be hard even more so with all the life events of my children such as the graduation of my daughter next year and the milestones of our grandchildrens lives. I write in a journal to tell my love those special things but also so one day my children can read my thoughts and hopefully share my faith as I leave this world one day.
    The love we shared for 33 years will not die. It will survive even death and one day our loves will be returned to us in a far better state than they left us and the emptiness we feel will be a thing of the past forever as we will only have to see them die once!
    Thank you for expressing my exact thinking and may God Bless your broken heart with peace and comfort until your love is returned! Sincerely, Bonnie

  • Jan says:

    Thank you…thank you. In my 18 months of being a widow your words have resonated so much with me. This is EXACTLY how it is!

  • Marcia Wood says:

    Widow for nearly a year. Life in the strange. Thirty three years of being married and I find myself having more difficulties now than six months ago. I was just writing and had expressed it is as though I lost an arm. As if I am a ball left with no air, surely can not roll. I still look like a ball to everyone else, they don’t get half of the air is gone,as I lay here flat. Wondering if I will ever be able to put anything together again. My smile is less everyday. I never have been a cryer, not my style. I can not get out of my own way. Missing my handsome, kind, giving, funny person that got everything about me.

  • Cary Zink says:

    Hi Ms. Tidd,

    Thank you for your writing and thoughts on the idea of loss. I lost the love of my life a little over a month ago. I am back at work now, and find it difficult to find reasons for motivation. my wife’s picture when we were on vacation is my screen saver…..stare at it most of the day, still. You are so “spot on” the grief and emptiness you wrote about….it is ridiculous! Certainly not the first time I have lost someone close, including my older brother about 2 years ago. My wife passing at 49 years old just seems like a dream, like I will eventually wake up and things will be right again. I only just signed up for Facebook a couple of weeks ago, and will look up Widow Chick. Again thank you, it does help to read similar feelings written on a page. I have cut and pasted a comment I made on my Facebook page after staring at the caption “what’s on your mind?” for about 3 hours……….

    The page reads “what’s on your mind”. The words roll around my mind in a void so vast that the silence of this place shatters even the concept. I’ve always been someone who lives fully in the moment. I could have told you at any time the beauty and importance of those moments without hesitation. Love, purpose all things big and small in an elegance that flowed naturally through me like a cool stream in summer. Then, a door closes, thrusting you forward into an empty room full of echoes and shadows. Senses dulled in a lateral drift that is cold and seemingly without end. Certainly I am not the first to lose someone loved so dearly. These words are heavy for a Friday night, but the only answer I can offer to the question “what’s on your mind”. Living in the moment and sharing those moments with the ones you love can in the end leave you here. Lost and empty. My advise is to do it. Though a loss can be a devastating and can thrust you into the void, it may be the only compass to find your way back. Love so deep and complete can only be realized when those moments are shared. So be in that moment, take hold of the ones you love and give all you have to them as if tomorrow will never come.

    Take care,


  • Sarah says:

    This describes me everyday and I can’t find anyone who understands. My husband died in a motorcycle accident in 2012. He was 35. I felt like we were just getting started and I don’t know how to move on. We had been together since we were teenagers and I don’t know how to even explain the hurt I feel daily.

  • Klbz says:

    Such a great article… It is so easy to “fill” empty time… But so difficult to “share” without trying… to not explain “why” and just “do”…I miss mental intimacy… My soul mate… It has been two years… I hate it!

  • G Shepard says:

    I lost my father whom I was extremely close to in August 6 weeks later I lost my husband of 20 years both unexpected. Two months later underwent a major neck surgery which I was scheduled to have the week after my husband passed. He was one month from retirement we had so many plans and now I feel as though I have nothing no hope no joy. The hits just keep coming in waves financial emotional physical pain you name it. I was moved by this article and while you realize there are others out there it doesn’t take away the pain. I lived for my husband he was everything to me. My happiness my joy my best friend. While I have friends no one truly understands and there lives go on mine does not. Thank you.

  • gene says:

    The most poignant description of one’s loss I have ever read. The loss of love along with the loss of companionship is, to me, like losing your mother and your dog at the same time. The vacancy in your home is as painful as that in your heart.

  • Quinn says:

    Thanks for this. People who have not gone through this don’t understand the immense loneliness, or the extreme sensitivity of the scars which remain. The slightest trigger can offset it, and bring tears. It is a solitary torture, the nature of which seems to remain private, perhaps because these feelings were previously only expressed to my husband. It feels unnatural to explain it to others who (though well-meaning) want to know why I look so sad at times.

    I don’t envy the longterm married folks who are now widowed. My life was defined enough by only five and a half years of marriage. Yet, as a youngish widow, my peers are not widowed and the only people I find who can identify are generally online – when I can drag myself to the internet to unwillingly pour out my soul to strangers.

    I appreciate your article very much, and thanks for sharing it. It is good to have the words there, to speak what is in my mind when I couldn’t express it – even to myself. When I didn’t have the energy this morning to analyze why, this time – this sunny, spring, and otherwise happy morning, I feel so desolate in spite of daffodils blooming and birds chirping wildly. Death trumps these things. Sometimes my emotions are a lot like the saran wrap around the onion in my refrigerator – potent, yet willfully concealed.

  • As a widow of three weeks, I thought YES about all you stated

    A friend and successful widow said to me that this was something I couldn’t evade
    Couldn’t get over or under it
    Go right or go left
    Just had to go through it

    Your article has helped me in my through-it

  • Sarah says:

    I am looking forward to texting someone who is going or has gone thru this feeling of being lost. I’m confused as to who or what will become of me, he passed just over a month ago and the the empty hole I feel that seems so impossible to fill except with the teardrops as I lay in our bed alone.

    • Cary Zink says:


      Stay strong. If there is anything that I have found that has helped some is playing guitar. I used to play years back, and find that playing lets me think about things, but in a somewhat controlled manner. Sitting alone in silence was a spiral ever downward for me. If you used to have a hobby that you set aside (as I did when I became so involved with my wife), pick it up again….it is something familiar from the past that you can do while sorting through memories and new realities. All the best to you, hang in there.

  • Elly says:

    Well said.! I am 3 years , 3 months, but who’s counting. I am much better every day, now…I certainly relate to being lonely and preferring to be alone at the same time.
    Thanks to my daughter who turned me on to this website.

  • Amanda says:

    Thank you so much for this. My husband died two months ago and I am freaking out. I just told someone that I feel very much alone and yet there is and army waiting to hear from me. I am so sick of crying, so sick of screaming and cursing ( I seem to have turned into a real potty mouth lately).
    Gee whiz, I need for this to stop hurting so much. I just want to remember and love my husband without all the pain. Yes I know how stupid that sounds!

  • Maxine dawson says:

    I’m a recent widow of three wks after my husband was attacked and killed. The loneliness is unbearable. I miss him more than I can put into words. I’m surrounded by people who have been great. But the one person I want I can’t have.

  • Mari says:

    Oh, my goodness, Catherine! I felt like I was reading one of my own blog posts – but better. You hit the essence of grief at its heart with such understanding, sensitivity and yes, humor. Trying to find a place where we ‘belong’ when we have totally lost our footing is difficult at best. Not feeling like odd (wo)man out with our closest friends with your own married children at times is almost impossible to explain – but there it is. I especially related, since my husband was also my business partner, not being able to turn and related something to him. And wow, the realization that yup, this is IT – my life from now on – that’s singularly the most profound of all. All blessings as you go forward each day…..

  • Mrs M Parker says:

    having been ” in this club” for almost 20 years now I can truthfully say it gets NO easier…for me, anyway its still like the day it first happened and I hate being lonely as much as I hate being alone. I miss him everyday, every night, every moment Even though I CAN get through without crying my eyes out, each thing I do reminds me of when it was all so different, so right, so wonderful. My eldest son was diagnosed with cancer and my daughter has Motor Neurone disease….and HE isn’t here to help us, support us…we have to face it all alone AGAIN. And nothing helps us through, to see the other side of this agony…………and SHE, my wonderful “baby” is dying before my eyes and I am alone, watching as she too is preparing to leave me. HOW will I manage? Will I manage? what choice do I have. I was not meant to be a widow.

  • Gilda Hamilton says:

    This has been a traumatic journey with many pains & joys too.I Need support to move safely forwsrd. ❤🙏

  • Gilda Hamilton says:

    Dear Friend
    My extreme loneliness has traumatized my soul! Many crises has been my journey since I cared for my dear spouse living at home with ALS. May he RIP.
    How do I overcome this loneliness and venture on?

    Gilda H.

  • Val says:

    Dear Catherine,
    You nailed it. My husband passed away January 4, 2015. I know that he is gone but I still walk down stairs expecting him to come home any moment so I can share something with him. This is the craziest time of my life and time does not seem to be making it easier. It’s the holidays, anniversaries and birthdays that tear me a part. My crash and burn phase begins with my husband’s birthday in March. I am paralyzed with grief on the day and can hardly get out of bed. By the time Mother’s Day rolls around I think I have recovered. Then I remember that he never failed to make the day special with roses and dinner for my daughter and me. We have changed our celebration to a brunch but it just feels wrong without him. We then move on to Father’s Day and the ache gets even deeper when I cannot celebrate him. Yes there are other men in my life who are fathers but he was the best father I have ever known. Then we rapidly move on to our Anniversary. We would have celebrated 40 years of marriage this year and planned to renew our vows but he passed away in the 38th year of our marriage. Next my Birthday rolls around and I can’t help but remember the trips we took together, The Grand Canyon, Cancun, New Orleans the list goes on and on. People encourage me to travel but I just cannot face traveling alone.

    I have children, grandchildren and friends but they have no way of knowing how deep the pain is. Yes they are grieving but it’s different. I gave my grandson a ride home this morning and almost broke down into tears because he sat next to me in the car saying only a few words to my questions and attempts at a conversation. He was texting and listening to music; he’s a kid and that’s what they do these days. It’s not my family or friends’ fault that they are living their lives. You are right sometimes I do want to be left alone. But you nailed it again when you talked about missing the comments. I miss his voice, his laugh, his commentary on current events and even the things that use to drive me crazy. I wake up some days crying and wonder if it was because I dreamed of him and can’t remember the dream. Why am I crying? Why am I in a beautiful house alone? Why am I not just thankful to be alive? It’s because he is not beside me. It’s difficult to figure out the next step when we were supposed to be taking them together. I know my blue funk is because our Anniversary is only a few days away. I was trying to figure out how I could get through the day when I stumbled across your article. It was wonderful to hear it through another voice and to know that I am not alone. Thank you for expressing the very things I feel and more.

  • Jill says:

    Yeah, you pretty much hit the nail on the head with that one. Except those ‘thud’ moments don’t stop coming. I myself have experienced 12 of them at least. My husband was in a motorcycle accident on his way home from work, 2 days after we laid his dad to rest. I’ve just passed the one-year mark and can’t say it has gotten better am still hopeful. I miss my everything about my old life and cant agree more with EVERYTHING you said. In the blink of an eye all my hopes, dreams and aspirations died. I was 34 years old had been with my husband for 16 years and still have no idea what I will do without him. Thank you for the post,I will look for more from you. Thank you for letting g us know that we are not alone.

  • Kris says:

    I lost my husband of 45 years …….to (GBM) Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage IV Brain Cancer. He died 2 years ago…… He only lived 7 months after surgery, radiation, chemo treatments and Avastin infusions. Treatments and Avastin were discontinued after 4 months. His radiologist and oncologist said all treatments were doing more harm than good.
    He was such a brilliant and talented man. There was nothing that he could not do….excellent master craftsman, carpenter, electrician, mechanic, landscaper, an awesome cook, and loved to fish….Alaska, Canada, Minnesota, Washington….and lakes/ rivers surrounding the area where we lived. He was a perfectionist….AND this man had the “gift of gab”…loved to visit/talk with everyone…..sometimes too much talking. Surgery took away his speech, and also motor skills on the right side of his body. NOTHING left for someone who was so active and could not sit still for long, because he needed to do something all the time.
    The tumor was removed, but did not guarantee any quality/quantity of life. We were told 18 months with surgery…..and 4 months without surgery…..and there were cases where some patients have survived 4-9 years. Age makes a difference. He was 66 years old, and now was helpless. GBM took away his dignity. His speech was gone……only frustration for him trying to talk and people could not understand what he was trying to say.
    After the last oncology appointment, the doctor said ” go home and if there is something that was still on his bucket list …to get it done within 2 weeks.” The tumor was back with satellite tumors and growing aggressively, and the oncologist recommended hospice care. My husband would not even consider that until after his second seizure at home. It was so horrible to watch him go through that. I was his care-giver, but could not take care of him by myself anymore. He was admitted into hospice and died 7 weeks later. I saw him slip away more with every visit. He hated it there, even with the good care he had. He was very upset with me because I put him there. He slept through most of my visits…..he gave up. He slept more and more each day…..and died at 3:00 AM when I was not there. I will forever feel guilty for that.
    I retired from a government job of 30 years…sold my house, moved to another state to be close to family…bought a new house…..and even though I am closer to my children and grandchildren, I am still “alone”. Grief Support meetings have been a disappointment. A widow does not fit in the circle of couples….or anyone with a partner. It is even difficult to find other widow friends because even at my age, they all have their ” cliques”. They feel sorry for you, but that is the extent of it.
    It is awkward to go anywhere there are ‘couples’…..it makes me sad and envious that they still have each other. It is hard to contain myself and not cry. Somedays are okay, and the the next day it seems like it was only yesterday that he died…and I re-live so many horrible days of the diagnosis and the days and months following.
    One walks around in a foggy state of mind/shock/ confusion ….legs feel so numb and heavy, you don’t know which way to turn, but muddle through day after day.. Tired and depressed. But as all smart asses tell you LIFE GOES ON… ( and I truly would like to smack them across the head)
    But ‘one’ has to be polite. So we listen to the so called advice of those who still have a partner/spouse…..but nothing changes. I don’t wish my loneliness and heartache on anyone. We laugh on the “outside” but are crying on the “inside”..
    I carry on day after day greatful for my family where I live right now, and only let them see what is on the “outside”. I will not burden them with what is on the “inside”

  • Chris G says:

    Have just read your website and have cried again.I,too,have been a sorry member of the widows league-Childhood you somehow get through-motherhood you learn-widowhood is so awful so lonely and sad-children have their own lives and have almost abandoned me now.After 42 years together he was my rock and now I have only a pebble to cling to.I have to have a major op next week and don’t want to survive it-how can the ‘higher power’ do this to us all?Hell is here on earth,coping without his wonderful presence-hope you understand -love Chrisxx

  • Helen says:

    Dear Catherine,

    This is long and I apologize. Once I started writing I found my heart had much to say.

    I found this site and your article yesterday. I’ve left this article open and keep coming back to read it. I NEED to keep reading this for it is like a onion–peeling back the layers is painful and I recoil, only to return because the fruit feeds me.

    My mother was such an inspiring, strong proud woman. I treasured her both as a person and as a friend. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and ultimately was placed in a care center 100 miles from me. Even through speech that was impossible for her except through her word board, I visited her, first picking up her favorite meal at a restaurant. In June 2012, she suddenly collapsed and was rushed to an ER, then admitted to ICU. Almost every organ was going into failure and she was septic. On June 14, 2012, my sister and I sat with her as she was removed from life support; she was gone within a few minutes.

    Meanwhile, my husband — the love of my life, and such a caring, supportive and funny man –just 4 days before my mom collapsed, we found out that his prostate cancer had reactivated very aggressively. Throughout my mom’s hospitalization, I was back and forth the 200 mile round trip, torn between which of the two I should be with. After my mother passed away, I was left with no one to help and no time to assimilate and grieve her death. Due to my multiple health issues, both of my doctors told me I could not take care of him at home. My response: Watch me! I did take care of him as his health dwindled. By mid-July his cancer had metastasized into every major bone from his thighs to his neck. We began Hospice Care the beginning of August as it was his wish to pass away at home. Eventually, we arrived at a Friday night in late September 2012. He had been restless and I was sitting with him, holding him, trying to calm him. Suddenly, he began to talk to me about what he wanted for me after he was gone. We held each other, talked and cried together.

    He slept restlessly that night and throughout the next day. The following night around midnight, I heard him calling me. Once again, he had fallen. I picked him up, sat with him, tried to feed him, but he was too restless and tried to stand up again. As soon as he stood he became panicked and yelled that he was falling. I tried to get him into bed, hoping that would help. When he lay down, he again panicked and yelled he was falling. Nothing I did could relieve what he was experiencing. I had gotten only three hours sleep in the last two days. By 5 AM I was exhausted trying to keep him safe in what I later learned was terminal psychosis. I finally called Hospice and requested that they provide a respite for a few hours while I slept. By the time he left, it was 5:30. I managed to get to sleep around 6, but suddenly woke up at 7 AM. I just sat holding my phone. A few minutes later, Hospice called to inform me that he had passed away at 7. Gene sun-downed badly whenever we were separated and I later learned he was a handful for them, calling and calling me.

    BETRAYAL. BETRAYAL was all I felt for months despite consolation from family. He had wanted to die at home and I faltered in his most final hours and took that away from him. I betrayed myself because I didn’t get to say goodbye, give him a kiss, a touch, an I love you. He died on September 30, 2012. Three months and 14 days after my mom.

    Added to that, one of my cats passed away the following May, and my dog suddenly died lying beside me in September 2013.

    Four deaths in 15 ½ months. How do you cope with that?

    I spent the next 18 months alone and praying to die. I didn’t take care of myself, losing 15 pounds in one month alone. Some family tried to stay close for the first year, but then drifted away. I think that being so locked into my grief, despair and health issues, I was too much — I mean, wasn’t I supposed to get better!? The loneliness was overwhelming. The only way to cope was to just exist, still wanting only to die, eating only when I was hungry, sleeping when I was tired. My neighbor and his wife were (and still are) a tremendous help, planning activates to help draw me out, but always without any pressure.

    Pressure? I felt the pressure inside me. Get over it! Get better! How to do that when every time I started to feel alive, the reality of what I’d lost overwhelmed me? Catherine, you talk of your moment. One night about four months out, I was sitting in the dark, crying, when a car pulled into the alley beside my house. Without thinking, I instantly ‘realized’ Gene was finally home. What a blindsiding crash that was! Many times, I’ve sat at my computer, sure that if I turned around, he will be sitting at his desk ready to say something. We happily did everything together, seldom apart, 24/7 for eleven years.

    It’s hard. In fact, it is hell. Being alone in everything is unimaginable painful. No husband by my side anymore. No mom to talk to. No husband to give me his silly hugs and kisses. No dog to curl up with and cry. No Daphne (the cat) who only ever wanted love. No husband to continue to sustain me as I still dealt with the aftermath of a 28-year abusive previous marriage. No nobody. And I kept thinking I need to get over it! But then I came across a sentence somewhere that brought things more into focus for me: Grief like this doesn’t get better, it just gets different.

    The realization that I didn’t have to get over my grief helped free me. Don’t we tend to equate our grief as the remembrance of our love for them, and who wants to let go of that? I realized that if I tried to give my grief a chance to evolve, I could still love Gene just as much, love mom just as much, love Daphne and Dancer just as much.

    It took me another eight months to even be ready to consider a life alone, then another year of trying to find my way. But this is my year: it is my year of personal goals and discovery. For Gene, I need to find out who I am and learn to live peacefully with myself. But it’s still hell sometimes.

    • Pat says:

      My heart breaks for all that you have endured …I am so proud of you for deciding to get on with life..
      I only hope soon I will be able to do as well…
      I have no idea what is Iin Store for me..mentally I know I need to move forward..but I just seem stuck..missing my husband so much ..
      We had lots of time to talk ..the 10 months he was ill..and I know what it wanted for me,,it just is too hard to go for it as yet .
      Keeping you in my thoughts..hugs

  • I’m in tears. You said it perfectly.

  • Kathryn Kulp says:

    Hello my name is Kathryn and I’ve been a widow almost 2 years and have been unable to move through it. I am going to be 45 years old next month and I don’t have children; my family of origin was dysfunctional and I have no friends here. My husband was truly all I had for social support; he was my best friend and I moved in 2010 so that he could be closer to his children from a previous relationship. I work an overnight job which I believe only adds to my social isolation, but I don’t know what to do or where to go. I am afraid of making any more changes even though it has been almost 2 years. I am no longer sure about what would be best for me and I truly lack the confidence to get back out into the world. However I don’t think I can continue on like this. Looking for support from others who have been through and are going through such a painful loss. I feel as though I am different from most because I truly lack and I don’t know how to start over at my age. Thank you

    • Helen says:

      Kathryn Kulp,
      I hear you so well. I moved here in 2002 because my future husband worked here, and he was all I needed for the 13 years we were together. I also have no children.
      Kathryn, there is NO timetable for the grief we feel with the loss of a life partner. Please let go of that pressure–there’s enough to deal with without guilting ourselves. Be gentle with yourself, and gently look at small ways to motivate yourself. Don’t expect yourself to be something you haven’t been, even in the best of times. If its important to you, you will come back to it when the time is right.
      If you are worried about “not being over it” yet, hopefully you have a family doctor which you trust and feel able to talk to. When you are in (or make an appointment to go in), ask your doctor if they could do a quicky evaluation for depression; discuss the results openly and be ready to consider the doctor’s recommendations. When I make the request, I might remind the doctor that I lost my husband (blank time ago)..
      My story is above in case you want to check.

  • Dawn Bunker says:

    My darling husband died recently at 57.I am 52 and feel cheated and very resentful.Whats the time frame to look at counselling?I ask as I was asked if I had sought this yesterday during a meeting sorting out legal stuff.I said not t the moment.Later I felt angry I guess.Cant I still grieve,it’s not even a bloody month so if I shed a few tears too bad.My emotions are all over the place and what I feel is different to our -my 3 sons in their 20s.Theres a local widowers group but nothing for widows.Do we just cope better or are expected too?Friends have been great and I’m taking each day as it comes but already I feel I have to put on a brave face.Someone at the supermarket commented that it was good I was getting out and about.Well 2 sons are still living at home,one long term as has special needs and one short term so we have to eat.The homemade baking has been lovely but sometimes one has to eat more than just cake! I know the cliches about time will help but right not I just feel so angry and …….off!

  • I read your story above and thank you I’m so lost and lonely I Lost my Christopher
    june 1st 2016 just a couple months ago I cry all the time I wish sometimes I feel like they buried half of me esp my heart I was his wife for 34 years I miss him so so badly seems every day I’m here without him is torturous I loved him with all my heart and soul I so afraid to move forward but i can’t live without somebody love I just cant Is there any hope for me please help me
    sign heartbroken

    • Pat says:

      Dear Stephanie
      It is torturous …but we have to believe that someday we will feel like moving on..
      At the moment ..I can’t imagine it..I miss my husband so much..we not only lived together we worked side by side for over thirty years until we retired…it is complete misery.
      But day by day I find I am Doing a bit more…always missing him ..but he wanted me to live..
      Wish only the best for you … And I am hoping that time heals…
      Take care of you

  • Pat says:

    You have just described exactly how I feel..
    And …guess what …it didn’t help a bit!
    I have come to the conclusion. That. Nothing ever will..
    It is almost 6 months since my husband of 45 years died..
    I have a lot of friends and support…but as you say…nothing seems to take away the solitude …
    In my area there is no support group,as such…
    I honestly don’t think it would help anyway…I know I just have to muddle through this period …This isn’t the life I thought I would be living at 63..
    Thank you for putting your thoughts and experiences out there.

  • Felice says:

    The piece I just read totally describes me and my situation. I have no family living near me except a daughter who has her own problems. I have One good friend who I rely on and can tell anything to but I am so lonely and miss getting advice from my husband, talking things over etc. I go through the motions of daily life but evenings are hard. I am in a few activities and try to keep busy but like was stated above you can be with a bunch of people and feel very alone. Most of my friends are still married and of course I am not seeing them as much anymore.

  • ROMAINE says:


  • karen franks says:

    It has been a little over a year since my husband of 43 years died after a four month illness. This second year has actually started out worse than the first year. I attribute it to my realizing the finality that he really is not coming home. Time heals nothing, it just makes it easier to control your emotions…most of the time. There is no moving on and anyone who tells you that has never been widowed. The mornings and nights are the worst times & loneliness can be very difficult. I mostly keep myself busy but you can’t run from the fact that you are not building history with anyone at this point. Siblings, family members and even your kids have no idea what you are experiencing. They mostly just don’t want to deal with it and don’t talk about it. I don’t care I still talk about him all the time. Not in a dark way but as a matter of fact. I have no idea what the future holds for me but I do know that being a widow sucks and there isn’t a thing anyone can do to change that fact. His closet sits as it did the day he died and I just can’t empty it. I suspect it will stay that way unless I move. It doesn’t make me as sad to go in there as it did in the early days but I’m not sure it gives me comfort either. I guess I will know when it is time. I just know the time is not now. When you feel like you are going crazy, and you will feel that way know that you aren’t. I wrote a journal starting on the day he died and kept it up. Sometimes I wrote to him and sometimes I just wrote what my day was like I have not gone back to read it yet but I suspect I would see that I have made progress. I just don’t want to relive some of the sadness at this time however I know I will read it one day. I wish I had some words of wisdom to the new widows but there are no short cuts nor any easy answers. Just try not to make too many changes if it isn’t necessary.

  • Raymond Ilse says:

    Thank you so much. What you wrote is exactly the life I live every single day for the past two months. I just didn’t know how to put it into words. For me it’s my wife Sharon. So thank you for saying the words I felt.

  • Sheri Bryant says:

    Wow! This so explained how I am feeling! I lost my husband in November 2015. I’ve “handled” it pretty well, but I have those “moments” when all of a sudden I just need to be alone, because I am “alone” without him. It’s weird, I should be with people because that should make me feel better, but I don’t want to break down crying, or ruin all of the fun that is going on. I’m usually better the next day.

  • C Edis says:

    A truly wonderful article.
    Only those who have lost a beloved husband will TRULY understand the meaning of loneliness.
    God Bless

  • Deb Jackson says:

    You have hit the nail on the head!!! There is no one to “really” confide in anymore. At least no one on this earth, with “skin on”, is going to understand your “wild hog” moments or grieve with you, as you pass from “family with kids” to “OLD grandmother”, not grandparents. The loneliness never goes away, but only waxes and wains. Thanks for writing this. It helps others to know what I feel.

  • Penny Zindt says:

    I am so thankful to find this forum…2 months in from death of my husband to cancer. married happily for 41 years…still in shock. I cry every day.

  • Kelly says:

    I have been trying to put my feelings into words in the 3 months since my husband of 31 years died. You have articulated it so well I just sent a link to my three sons. It is like you lost a limb. Everyone is saying they are there for you but you don’t even know what you need besides your husband back.

  • Kim says:

    Wow I am sitting on my own in a little restaurant in Italy with tears streaming down my face. Absolutely spot on – I came away with some beautiful friends who invited me to Nice and Paris and then decided on continuing to Italy on my own for three weeks. The amount of times I have thought “I must tell David this” – and then of course I am jolted back to reality. I feel so cheated that we didn’t grow old and cranky together

  • Pamela says:

    My husband passed away last month. Lonely is definitely not strong enough to describe this. I have stepped into someone else’s life and I’m trying to manage. So much to deal with on top of all i want to do is crawl onto my husband’s lap while he hholds me calling me his “sad monkey” and how he’s “got me”. Then more, our family consisted at home of him, me his two small children (my step children) who now live with their mother. I’m left alone in the home we built with all of our memories. Talking to his spirit, hoping for a sign. I miss my life, I miss my husband, my hero.

  • Annette Acker says:

    Thanks for your prose I lost my husband 3 weeks ago and still feel shocked and dazed. He took ill at the football match and the furor from social media was immense prolonging my sadness by far,
    I have lost my banker, financial adviser and my soul mate. Learning day by day what a widow is. thanks for the insight.

  • Emil van Moorsel. says:

    I have lost my wife 10 month, s ago. It feels like this morning. I never thought that she would go before me.She was the only girl I ever loved . The only person I could talk to and pour out my hart to . We were married for 33 years and were still in love asif we were just married. We never spent time apart and were living in Dubai when she passed. I had to take her remains back home and flew on the same aeroplane.
    Since her passing the loneliness is suffocating all the friends we have now seem like they were my wife, s friends and seem to be scared to invite me around. I went home to where I buried my wife to unveil a tombstone. I had invited her family but no one came.
    There is only one thing that makes me feel a bit better and that is that my wife did not have to go through what I am experiencing now.
    I lost a colleague at work last week and felt envious. I want to be with my wife.
    This might all sound very selfish but this is the way I feell.

  • Amanda says:

    Thank you for your article! My husband died almost 10 months ago. I was 27 weeks pregnant with our first child when he passed of a massive heart attack. He was only 38 years old. Everything you said is exactly how i feel.