The Word ‘Lonely’ Not Strong Enough
Loneliness in widowhood is not surprising. I mean, even for the people who have never been through it, the loneliness of widows is 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?” The missing sound of two glasses clinking together on your anniversary. 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.
Support Groups Can Help
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 in our grief groups. 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. 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. 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.
Loneliness of Widows vs. Solitude
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 the loneliness of widowhood. The person who cared when something really great or really bad happened is missing. Who was just as excited and saddened by the milestones of our kids is someplace else. 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, when you felt the loneliness of widows?
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!”
Waking Up to the Loneliness of Widows
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 is the author of Amazon.com: Confessions of a Mediocre Widow: Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Sanity (0760789242694): Tidd, Catherine: Books
Read another piece by Catherine Tidd: The Widow Time Zone – Open to Hope
Tags: Depression, grief, hope, loneliness, widow
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.
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…
Catherine I’m on FB and I would like to check out Widow Chick, where do I find it???? I looked and couldn’t find anything.
AAACCK! I need to be found! I have enough issues! :>)
Try this link and see if it works:
Or if you hit the Facebook badge on my blog (http://widowchick.blogspot.com) it should take you there.
If it doesn’t work, let me know!
Catherine, I can so relate to what you have written. I lost my husband 9 years ago, when i was 30. I can relate to how it feels like the loss of a limb, and the fading pain like the effect of a painkiller. Only someone who has gone through this can understand this feeling, it is hard for others to even comprehend the different emotions and the way in which it effects us.
Thanks for sharing
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OMG, me too – to all the comments! It’s been 7 years and it still hurts sooooo bad. Love and peace to all of you.
It’s been 6 years and this is exactly how I feel.
Gad! I’m so glad I found this post.
I’m almost at six years too. I think I’ve finally adjusted to finishing out life as a solo act–much to the chagrin/consternation/etc. of family and “friends”–but I still have my moments. Thanks for posting, Everyone. I feel less “alone” now.
I’m 55 my girls are 25 and 26 and have their own apartments. its been 24 days…. i cant even unpack the bags from the hospital. i keep busy during the day but at night… will i ever sleep again. looks like ill have to find that journal i stopped writing in last year. for now when people ask hey you wanna go… i just say yes. hopefully it will put time between this.
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.
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.
This is exactly how I am feeling at present, thanks for writing something that has really helped me feel understood today.
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.
Yes, Yes, YES!!!
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!”
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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…….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You are a great writer. You are a true wordsmith. Thank you for sharing your story. I will pray for you.
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.
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!
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.
Not a good time time in life My husband left me by suicide 4 months ago after 20 years together
Wow, you nailed it….word for word, exactly how I feel!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Simply thank you
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.
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!
Widowhood sucks! Almost 2years..9 days before Christmas. God bless!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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!
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 …
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am still trying to survive Widow hood after 22 years. With God’s help…..I make it through one day at a time.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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…..
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.
This has been a traumatic journey with many pains & joys too.I Need support to move safely forwsrd. ❤🙏
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?
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.
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.
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”
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
I KNOW JUST HOW YOU FEEL RIGHT DOWN TO THE T. I JUST DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO. MY WIFE PASSED 4-12-16 AND IT REALLY HURTS
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.
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.
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.
A truly wonderful article.
Only those who have lost a beloved husband will TRULY understand the meaning of loneliness.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
I have said the same thing may times in the 7 weeks and 1 day since my soulmate was killed in a car accident. “He will never have to feel this pain”. That truly is the only comfort I have found.
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.
Wow Catherine, For me you have hit the nail on the head with how I feel and the way you described my loss, I sent it to my son to read since my words just could not explain how I felt or I just could not put those feelings into words. I will be 5 years this upcoming February that I lost my Love “Jan” We were married for 25 years. We did everything together, all the time including work. I lost her to GBM brain cancer. I am now dealing with these feelings that you described all the time , so I try to keep busy, but when I get home or at nights ( I try to stay calm, but there overwhelming and even more so at night ) feel that the lose is to great, I wonder how am I going to be able to deal with this for the rest of my life. It almost unbearable, unreplaceable ! I am 59 now, Don’t want to be alone , I would like to find a someone. Don’t know how to date, what to do, how to start? Ya I can make it a great time, but it is only a date and everything is the same, Gee, so what Next, How do I move on ? I have excepted that I am scared for life but it seems to be so much more than that. I feel so alone.
2 months ago Johanne my wife of 33 yrs mother of our 4 children passed away, I am lost can’t seem to coupe and feel over whelmed
And how do you explain to your grown kids that are scattered across the country that you have no hope…and they say “but you have us”… but they have there own lives now and so staying alive for them, well it just doesn’t work. But you can’t kill yourself because it will hurt them.
I came into this silent world of widowhood on January 17 2014. My husband died suddenly of a dislodged blood clot after heart surgery.
I met him when I was 17, he was 20. That was 1972. So you can do the math. We were together pretty much a whole lifetime.
How do I survive this amputation of half of myself without bleeding out?
2 years and 10 months and I’m not sure if I will be whole again ever.
It’s been 2 and a half months. The loneliness is difficult, and not understood by others. Your words are right on target with my feelings. Thanks for putting them down, even though it was a while ago for you. It was just me and my husband, plans for travel, being retired together, and then cancer came and changed everything. We were a team, and I was his cheerleader for three years. I retired at 50 to be with him as much as I could. Right after he died– it was a horrible last 6 weeks, wrenching final days– there was a lot to do. Memorial service, people in town, family coming over, calling. Then it all stopped, and their lives got back in gear. I felt like I was on a pier, left behind on an island all alone while everyone else was off to new adventures. I still don’t want to move any of his stuff, because he’ll be back, and this “test” will be over and he’ll tell me I did a good job while he was gone. And I could breath again. His side of the bed is still not slept on; it’s pristine as I keep to my side.
But no, he’s not coming back, and I can just try to do things right. Days go by quickly, and drag on once the sun goes down. I just hope the holidays come and go so I can look forward to spring.
I have been widowed for over 8 years and while you do get through it IMO you never get over it. I am having another very bad and lonely day and just wish I could tell him about it. You expressed it very well, Catherine. Anyone who has not been here has no idea of just how awful this place is. In the last 8 years I have had and continue to have those “thud” moments. I wish I had better news for the newbies on this sight and could say it stops happening but, unfortunately that hasn’t been my experience.
The worst part is that after all this time people presume I’m over it…NEVER!
My prayers are with you all.
My husband passed in an accident halfway across the country almost two weeks ago. He was a truck driver and he was training a new driver, my husband was asleep in the sleeper when it happened apparently. I talked to him about a half an hour or so before he died. We had his memorial yesterday, it was so surreal. I feel numb and weird he was 37 I am 30 and 33 weeks pregnant with our 3rd child. How does life go on? I’m on social media and everyone else has moved forward with life. I feel completely stuck, overwhelmed and truly in denial.
it’s now over 5 years since my loving and beloved Wife, Tracey, passed away Suddenly, Without any Warning but Peacefully in Her Sleep. 5th July 2011 the last day we exchanged the regular (but never the less for it, over the 16 blissfully happy years We had shared Together) affirmation of “I Love You”.
That evening, when I came home to find Her (I thought) asleep but then to find She’d been called away is something I’ll carry with Me for the rest of my days. Not because I want to but because of every “normal” reaction a Widowed person has thrust on them at that moment of amputation….Guilt, Anger, Sadness, Disbelief and all.
Your open letter is exactly the kind of article I have been looking for ever since as it pinpointed the precise feelings that have left me bewildered, hurt and so painfully alone since the last time I held Tracey in my arms, feeling Her vitality and body warmth, Her breath on my neck, the sincerity of Her Kiss with that last (in this Life anyway) “I Love You”.
Tracey was 44 when She died, we were both born in 1966. I turned 50 in October, 10 weeks before She would have done the same on 21st December. Not looking forward to that but will continue to honour it as I still do with every previous and still precious Anniversary.
We both saw and enjoyed “Wild Hogs”, We both Loved a good film whether it were a Comedy, RomCom, Action, Sci-Fi or Horror.
The first film we saw, the first night we went out together was “The Shawshank Redemption” and that will Forever hold a Special place in my Heart (Hope) as it did every year on the Anniversary of that first night which lead to Our First Kiss.
There’s so much more I’d like to tell You and everyone who “knows” the feeling of being separated from the one person in Life that made things better just the way they are/were/always will be….but I don’t want to outstretch this blessed therapeutic opportunity.
These days, although the pain is as constant as ever, I never tire of reminiscing over Our Glory Days and the constant daily feeling of what it was really like to have and have returned such Unconditional Love.
Thank You for listening to Us, I know in My Heart that a Love as strong as I still feel for Tracey is Timeless, I believe without question that We will be Together again in some form or another (Our Lifelong Faith has taught Me that and I’m Thankfull). Moreso, there’s an indescribable feeling of anticipation (maybe, hopefully not, indescribable to the initiated). A feeling that spurs me on through good days and bad that I Am, Always have and Always will be Loved.
Oh these postings I cry because I understand my spouse being gone just a month ago .I look at couples and ask why. I have never heard so much silence . I fear life like claustrophobia but it follows leaving me sad broken and scared. Friends have cheared me up talking about my
Girl . Although the darkness of missing her follows
We don’t think this happenedand i ask my self
And feel this biggest emotion of emptieness so I sit and feel how the rest of my life is going to feel emptiness darkness loneliness and fear
This Sunday will be four weeks since I lost my husband. Married 22 years, together 35 since our late teen years, like someone else noted, more than half our lifetime. He was gone in a minute and the sadness is sometimes unbearable. I keep saying to myself, okay, I got thru another day, or I got thru another week…..do I get a reward…..do I get to have you back again. No, just that I have to do it all over again tomorrow.
This was written nearly exactly a year before my husband died of pancreatic cancer. I feel that
profound, indescribable silence. The wanting to tell but wanting to be alone when you’re lonely. I want to just run up to a perfect stranger and kiss his lips, hug him real tight and walk away. The hundred times a day I want to text him hi. I love u. I had to erase his texts and voicemails because I was playing them over and over and over and.. Thank you, Catherine
Thank you for sharing your story. On November 19th it will be 1 year that my husband passed away. The last few weeks have been extremely difficult. As time passes and people move on with their lives, I on the other hand continue to struggle with the harsh reality of losing my best friend, my soul mate, the one who loved me unconditionally with my quirkiness. If I could just press the rewind button. It just feels like a really bad dream.
OMG. I love you for this piece. Thank you, thank you so much.
I have great pleasure in reading your blog I lost my husband 2 1/2 years ago I was pregnant with my second child when my husband become terminally ill with brian cancer a very sudden death. I totally feel exactly how you explained empty lost lonely the most a lone I have ever been in my life . A big empty void to fill trying to learn to live life again after my lost love . We had been together for 17 years and did not make it our 15th wedding anniversary . I lost my soul partner in life and now raising my two children on my own. Is it going to get easier or better as time goes on. No one really gets me . I am lucky I have my children but really miss the company of my husband but life must go on
That’s exactly the way it feels. Almost 16 months after the fact and still that sadistic part of my head finds moments to blow it all up again. Like when I had to sit at the hospital with my sister, who had the same nurse in the same CCU room that my husband was in for 18 days on a ventilator. I saw this man who looked like him from the back and my heart leaped, I practically jumped out of the car and was several steps in his direction before my brain kicked in and I realized Jim was dead…again. That THUD you speak of…its hideously real.
Days like today, I accomplish small things around the house and solve problems that he used to, and I find myself damn near suicidal wishing I could die and join him. I miss him SO much. It just doesn’t seem to end.
Widowhood …I found myself thinking today, the problem is…I don’t feel like a widow. I’m still a wife. I just have no access to my husband, no comfort, no financial help, no counsel…nothing but debt and an empty bed.
Sorry for your sadness. Your in my mind, yes yes am normal . It’s one year and 2 mths my husband pass am so so lost each days am acting . Come night time it’s a real mess and I don’t know who I am . Do I spend Christmas with my parents or go away or run away it’s just so hard. As you say ” I just want to be alone” .
Thank you for knowing just what it is like to be without the love of my life, the father of my children and my very best friend. Your description of the “the absence of someone breathing soundly next to you as you go to sleep at night.” made me laugh at cry all at once. Thank you! I know I was lucky, but I’m still so sad.
It makes perfect sense…I feel that way this morning. It’s been a year and a half since my husband died, and some days it’s harder than it was months ago. I don’t want to see any humans today, but will go to my friend’s house this afternoon at her bequest, so she can “love on me.” I’m sure it will help, she’s a long time dear friend, but this loneliness thing is a bitch. I’ve never been lonely like this before.
You put the pain of widowhood in such a crisp yet beautiful way, it felt as though you stole the words from my heart… it has been 1year and 10 months and counting… the pain doesn’t dull. The solitude and loneliness don’t dull either…
Dear Catherine, thank you so much for your article. I typed in my search browser how lonely I was since the passing (still cant say DEATH) of my husband, best friend and my heart and soul in January this year. I took his last breath when I kissed him goodbye after 46 years of marriage, I am so lost without him. My family think I am getting better but I am getting better at hiding my grief. Life will never be the same, I feel so disassociated from everything. I keep getting told to join some group or other but I was never into groups, my husband and I were each others best friend and even though we had friends we preferred to just be with each other. I have moved closer to my family but I still feel so alone. Your article says it all and I thank you.
Ran into your site just now looking for places for a lonely widow to live. And believe me, I have tried them all to pretty much no avail….even my car from Washington state where my spouse died to Idaho, back to Washington, to Mexico, to Canada, back to Mexico……staying with friends, staying in a time share, spending tens of thousands of miles on the road.
And I am still unable to stay in one place for long….even after buying a house in trying to take my friends’ and family’s advice to travel from a “set” place. Sold the house in April, moved back to Idaho, and now just want to get out of here. It never stops.
Because I keep thinking it will be better somehow in a new place. Wrong. Just as you said– Lonely is not a powerful enough word–I read somewhere once that a widow feels she is the only person living on an uninhabited planet. Amen. THAT is how bad it can be.
Am about to head to Mexico again via plane for six weeks. Knowing it is only a band-aid against what I truly need—-a peace that all will once again be right with the world, because Sisters, right now and for the past seven and a half years, NOTHING has changed from the time I sold and walked out of the house in which my husband and I had been living and began my restless vagabond lifestyle……
Thanks for this site.
Waking up is such a disappointment, especially after a dream of us.
I reach over and realize it’s another day without him.
This sadness seems so overwhelming.
Sometimes something will make me laugh, out loud. And then I feel really bad. Because he’s not here to share the moment.
Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel and yes, “lonely” isn’t enough…
Losing my boyfriend was my worst moment. It is difficult to tell your family because of ia our culture. There is no leave that you can take except for annual leave which is, unfortunately, dependant on operational needs. At a tender age you have nothing to qualify him as a long term partner, eg, beneficiary in a will, dependant in his medical aid as case law would give guidance. The comments are worse : you will find another one! You are literally on your own. Then you get labelled as unfortunate. Am I fortunate, you would think. Am I the cause of his passing on; if not, why am I said to be unfortunate. May i am, how can my lover leave me at such a tender age; what about the promises and all these whatabouts! At the end if the day life has to go on. The mind still asks what if… . I guess it is a never ending quest.
Thank you. This is spot on. It’s what I have been feeling this past 4 years.
I truly understand what you are saying. I said goodbye to my husband in the morning, six o clock that evening he was in a coma, three weeks later he died in my arms and a week after that I gave birth to our little girl also trying to be there for our five year old son. SIx years later I still have a broken, dissapointed heart and I withdraw into isolation. People who have not experienced it do not know, they try I know, nobody close to me really knows as they have not been there. I feel its time to find my way but i do not know how. On the surface my life seems together and organised, my children are happy, but I know.
I am so glad to have found this article. It is exactly how I feel. I just lost my husband to Pancreatic cancer, and it was so hard. I still want to “make a deal” for him to be back with me, but I know that’s not possible. Everything around me reminds me of him, and I want to talk to him about my day, but I do in my head at least. i know it is a process, but as stated, if you have never gone through it, you cannot realize the unfathomable pain you feel.
One day at a time.
I recently lost my husband. He was my best friend, teacher,lover ,father and I really feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean in a dinghy with no paddles. I wrote on my profile that he told me every day that I am beautiful. People see the words but not the context! It isn’t vanity what I meant was that he looked at me and saw me good,bad and ugly and said you matter, I see YOU! We have three children my oldest two are adults from my first marriage and an 11 year old. My oldest daughter asked him to walk her down the aisle when she recently got engaged. And I had to turn off life support..I feel invisible. I have to ask if anyone other than me has gotten pissed off when other family members post pictures of the most precious intimate moments of our combined life? I am just trying to keep my head above water and I feel like when I see these things I’m being pulled under. I loved him with everything that I am. I’m glad for the anonymity because I feel like an ass for writing that. We would have had our anniversary on the 2nd his birthday was the 11th and our baby girl turns 12 on the 29th. Does anyone else feel like hugging and slapping the crap out of people when they talk about him?
Thank you for sharing!! I also have lost my soul mate of 46 yrs. Left me empty inside. Losing him took most of my heart. I miss him so much.
It’s almost been three years for me, but as I sat reading this post I felt so many connections with these words, well except for the having people I could call part. Thank you. I especially felt the Wild Hogs moment.
Lost my wife February this year. Another night no sleep came across ur article which resonated with me and given me hope. Thank you.
Wow! It seems like I wrote this myself. These are feelings that I have. It’s so great to know that I’m not alone in this. Before I joined the support group, I felt no one understood. But seeing post that sound like my life has really helped me. I love the fact you stated ‘involuntarily single’. We didn’t want to be a part from each other not one second. He would hate the fact that I’m alone and he is not here to comfort me any longer. He never wanted me alone. But like you stated lonely is not even the word when it comes to widowhood. It’s more than that. Thank you so much for this article. It brought me to tears because I know someone understands me.
Seriously the most precise description of my life I have come across. Thank you for putting into words what I could not, and so beautifully
Tender moments have given way to grief when my wife died. Ours were love at the first time we looked at each other. It was like a wave of the most soothing kind that washed over us. We were mad about each other. 55 years of joy and happiness has given way to devastating grief when Stella died. How I go on…unfocused, uninterested, unloved.The best part of my day is when I look at her beautiful face on some pictures, and imagine how happy we were. I can live with that. I am still too raw to consider a new friendship…perhaps later.
Even though my husband was not “young”…..these words complete my thoughts of how I feel. Sometimes, I wonder if it was all a dream of his being here—so many mixed emotions. I never know when the tsunami will hit. It’s coming up to one year–it was Father’s Day last year which I thought was so appropriate. Some days I find it hard to function. He was so sick….so many appointments….then….nothing!! No dates on a calendar…no caring for him….he left and now I’m waiting.
It’s just about 7 months since I lost my amazing husband suddenly. I replay that day in my head over and over again thinking if onlyI had done something different he would still be here. People tell me that the outcome would still be the same. In my head, I know that, but my heart tells me differently! Fortunately have wonderful friends and a grown son, daughter in law and a beautiful granddaughter who gives me a reason to go on. And to top it off, my sister passed away almost 4 months ago. We weren’t very close growing up, but as we got older we became very close! She would’ve done anything for me, and likewise for her. She took my husband’s passing very hard. She had many medical issues and even said she wished it would’ve been her instead of him, which reprimanded her for. Now they are together and there are times wish could join them. Sometimes the loneliness is just too much to bear. Mornings and evenings are the absolute worst. And coming home to any empty house. Thank you for letting me share my feelings. God bless you!
I lost my wife (56 yrs old) last august. The emptiness I feel each day without her is unbearable. I always feel so alone. We were together as a couple since she was 18 and I 19.
My husband passed away 2 months ago. He bacame ill in October of 2016. He was a loving wonderful, caring and giving husband father and Poppy, as his grandchildren called him. Ron was only 62 years old. God blessed us with 39 years of marriage, 2 beautiful children and 3 awesome grandchildren.
Being here left alone without him is the worst feeling I have experienced in my life. There are many family and friends who say the usual “call us if you need anything”. What they do know is that I am thankful and grateful for their care and concern. What they do not know is that I feel like I have been left here to survive only to be alone, if that makes sense. My hope is that in time it will be easier but I know I will always feel a part of me is with Ron and my life will never be the same without him.
I am glad I found this club. I know I am not alone and it helps very much to talk to people who can relate to my thoughts and feelings.
It has been 7 years now. i cry every night. It still does not seem real. Everything you said is so true.
It’s been 10 years my little girl has grown up. My boys are young men. I feel so sad and weary of TRYING…
Married 55 years, 4 years of 24/7 caregiving. Everyone has gone home or on with their lives and I have nothing to fill my day. Son lives 2,000 miles away and daughter 2 miles away but they are both so busy with their lives and families that I am just an obligation. They love me but there just isn’t time. My sister who was 14 months older than I died 2 months before my spouse. She lived 1 mile away and was supposed to be here to go through the late years with me.
I have faith and belong to a church and attend a seniors program every Friday, but what do I do with the other 164 hours a week? I am so lost and so lonely.
I think you nailed it…..
That is my life in a nutshell. Stress “nut”. I feel so alone and isolated. All peole my age mingle as couples. I got pushed away and uninvited after losing my husbsnd. Back to full time work, my children got robbed of their mother and at this point we all feel so isolated. I am worried about my 16 yr old son.
Your article touch me so much that you have expressed exactly what I am feeling right now.
I lost my Comanche, June 19th, 2012 and I still feel like it was yesterday and the loneliness just keep closing in on me
I lost my husband in a car accident on 6-16-2017 on his way to work. He was 55, and I just turned 45. I cry each day, I cry because I have no support. We had no children and that makes it only lonlier. We had each other and we moved to a small town so I could take care of my parents. I have moved in with my parents temporary but it is hard. Hard because they want me to be over this. They have yelled at me and cussed at me and I feel like I am a little girl. I am so sad that my life will never be the same and I feel punished. I pray and I try to believe that God had his reason but it is hard to accept. I wish I lived where people understood that this is not easy.
That article reflects almost exactly how I feel. But if possible I think I feel worse. I think of my husband constantly. Part of me went away w him. I know I will never be whole again. No lonely is not a sufficient word. Is is like I have also died but the pain will not leave.
My husband passed unexpectedly almost 2 months ago. He was 33, I am 31 and we have a three year old. I needed to read this today.
I lost my husband June 19. He was diagnosed with cancer April 2016. We married May 2016 so I could be by his side to help him thru this cruel disease. We celebrated our 1 year anniv May 9th, and he died June 19th. I thought I prepared myself for this…..I was SO WRONG. I went to every appointment he had, took FMLA the last 6 weeks and now….I’m so lost. His family has made my life miserable……their guilt of not being around is now focused as anger at me. I just want him back. I don’t have the years that many have had….I had 2 years with him before we married and then our 1 year being married….but the moment we met, I saw forever in his eyes. How do I keep going?
Thank you for writing such an accurate account of how I & many others are feeling having joined the most unwanted club of all, ‘widowhood’. I read this with tears running down my face, hurting knowing that this is the loneliest club of all & wishing I could revoke my membership every minute of the day. 6 months tomorrow since I lost the love of my life, husband & father to our equally fantastic son & the pain still rips me apart everyday. Each day I tell myself I should be starting to feel better, not breaking down several times a day. I worry my friends will become sick of my sadness. I truthfully don’t believe I ever will feel whole again. I cope simply for the sake of our son. Lonely, lost & empty inside Nicola
Another website page but this one so right …another night I lay in bed next to my fiamces pillow that hasn’t beem changed in 5
months since he was whipped away from me ( a brain tumour 32 days from diagnoisis to his death ) the pillow that I lay long ways against my back after i’ve sprayed it with his lynx deoderant iromically called peace ..I’ve found if I keep myself busy it helps during day but your right it’s now at night or after I’ve something ,I just want tell him …we worked together ..we where each others best friend each others confidantes and he was the only person who accepted me for me and it’s so flipping lonely without him … I’m sick of people saying i’m brave ..I’m so strong times a good healer because to be fair they haven’t a clue what to say …and for them to understand means they’ve gone through this and this i wouldn’t wish on anyone .and you don’t want explain because you don’y want to upset them and those that have walked this path you don’t want them to get upset for there loss …… went to see Celine Dion with my sister in London she was awrsome but next day all I did was howled and cried and stayed in bed all day because I wanted to tell Stu all about it and I was and am so lonely … my friend said you should’ve called me but lts not the same ….. your so right what you wrote Lonely is not a big enough word to explain this some days I think somedays I’m just going mad well done for putting it into words
My husband was cheating with my friend, he moved in with another woman. My husband that could not do without me now does not want to see me. i am so happy that I got my lovely husband back after i was scammed twice by fake spell caster but i thank God that Dr Mack helped bring back my husband without delay without any form of scam activities. contact this God sent spell caster on his email:DR_MACk@YAHOO. COM i promise he will help you SOLVE your relationship problem, his words are SURE!!!.
Awesome, she put into words my thoughts that I could not put into words. It helps me know that I’m not the only one that feels this way
you captured it… I feel alone at church, my husband used to reach for my hand when we prayed… his arm was around me at some point during the sermon… I miss having a travel partner… I don’t like being in the “singles club”… for a while I thought about how badly I wanted to remarry, but then I realized it was really my husband I was looking for… he has been gone for 8 months and I feel as if my grief is deepening… I hope there will be light at the end of this tunnel at some point.
Widowhood…the worst place to be in the world. Your life is over.
It has been 5 months since I lost my wife to cancer. I am in the early 60’s we have no children.
There is no remedy for this. There is no one (in this world) that can fix this. I get disgusted with my bouts of self pity. It is finally beginning to dawn on me that my life has been completely altered and will never be the same. I have also come to the conclusion that the only people that could possibly understand what this is like, are the ones that are experiencing it for themselves. Thus, I have decided I will cease trying to explain how I am doing when asked by the well meaning. What is the purpose? It can only alienate you / them further.
It kinda of does feel like my life is over however I do have the promise of hope, faith and love. that I hold on to. I will try to live in the present and see what happens. I will pray for all of the widows and widowers each and every day.
It’s been 5 months since I lost my wife to cancer. We were married for 31 years and I miss her so much. It truly is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. nothing I have been through in my 59 years of living even comes close. Absolutely devastating. I refuse to wallow in self pity. When people ask me how I’m doing I tell them I am doing ok and leave it at that. I WILL get through this and be happy again. That’s how my lovely and gracious wife would want it so that is how it’s going to be.
I almost feel guilty about writing here — so many poignant, heart-rending stories of love and loss. I lost my husband to suicide on May 4 — after we had a horrid argument. We were having marital problems but if you can believe this, we had an exceptionally happy marriage. We both struggled with mental health issues and were the primary caregivers for a dear son but very challenging — sometimes violent — large, 40-year-old man who lived at home. My husband had been laid off for years and had several health issues — two of which weren’t discovered until after he dies. He shot himself and I found him as he was dying. I feel responsible. Suicide has stigma and I see that people avoid — or worse, judge harshly, assuming I did much wrong and caused his death. This doesn’t help that I feel the same. Does anyone else experience with losing a spouse to suicide? My husband was also a person who was medication compliant, a devout Christian and just generally one of the finest people one could ever meet. Thank God, I often told him that.
My husband died just over five months ago. Thought I was doing okay but the interment of his ashes last weekend really has hit me hard. Feeling so lonely, feel like I’m going crazy. Usually am a resilient and strong woman but not feeling that way now. It helps to just write this. Can’t believe how many people have suggested that the interment will bring closure. What closure? Don’t feel I can talk to my friends, they seem to think they know what I’m feeling or think I should be feeling a certain way. Wanting to just let my feelings out without any judgement.
I feel so alone and lost all the time. It’s been 8 months and it’s not getting easier. Every day is another day that I act like a fraud. Everyone says I am so strong. I hate that.
I feel the same, as if I am just existing and I don’t feel like this is my life. My husband was killed at work by an inexperienced co-worker almost 5 months ago. It hurts that the employer is not responsible at all because of worker’s compensation laws. I feel like my life with my husband never existed….or like it is disappearing. I hate when people tell me to be strong. I don’t want this life without him. We were married 34 years. I have been with my husband since I was 18 years old. My life ended when he died. My whole life has vanished. I feel like each day is just a filler. Nothing seems important any more.
This article is real and spoke of honest feelings. I have gone to support groups, but no one had a spouse die suddenly. All members are elderly. They are interested in what happened, but I need their help and so I don’t go any more.
I don’t know who I am now and each day is a struggle. My husband did all of the cooking and food shopping. I miss him more each day. I am tired of the fake fillers.
I will continue to read more….thank you to all who have shared.
How did I happen to find this well put . Into feelings. Im so broken, in tears, lost, lonely. Its unbelievable to explain. Meeting the love I didnt exist. After 9 months we married In out 50’s. He passed Dec. 20915. Its almost 2 years now and I’m still empty. Im gonna stop here m. I thank you. Its a reminder I am lonley but not the only lonley one.
2 years since my husband died. Still grieving. I’ve been to grief counseling, psychologist, volunteered and tried to keep busy. Could care less about meeting someone else. I’ve had the best and no one can take his place. He died suddenly. We were retired for 12 years and did everything together. One day we’re shopping, and the next morning he had died during the night of a pulmonary embolism. Very hard finding the love of your life dead the next morning after kissing him goodnight. I go on from day to day, but I know that I will never have the true happiness that I had just being with him every day.
So my wife passed away this past January. Out of the middle of nowhere I am left alone with a 11 year old little girl and it is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life now we’re moving out of the house that she passed away and I find myself wondering if she’s still with me or she is not or she’s gonna be in that house I feel lost half the time in I cry a lot and it’s funny because I’ve been a cop and a soldier in the US army for this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had To Go through
Know what you mean Jordan… my husband passed away in February. I just purchased a home for my 8 year old daughter and I and the day of closing (when most people are happy) I just wept and wept. I had this overwhelming feeling, “I shouldn’t be buying a home by myself, that’s not how the story was supposed to go. We only buy things together.”
It was the realization that there’s no “together” anymore.
I don’ know if he knew he was dying. At the ER they started treating him for blood clots and pain and he was gone within a day. He never opened his eyes and never spoke to me again. The day before was fine. We did errands, came home. He went to bed early , but no problem. He declined into renal failure and the option was dialysis and no pain meds and the possibility of losing both legs. We said no because of the pain but nobody asked him and to this day it is what bothers me the most. His death certificate saud he died of blood clots to the heart, lungs but I am not sure the heprin was working. My older sister died 10 days before him from pneumonia. I miss him every minute. It has been 6 months.
Wow, reading this was almost like reflecting the last 10 months of my life but also helped me as it is a realization that I am indeed not alone in my feelings. I lost my husband of 10 years to cancer in December of 2016 and my whole life crumbled. It is almost a year now and the pain of the missing link is still there. I keep telling myself that time heals all wounds but ironically… only time will tell. The holidays were a really big part of our household and now, I find myself ready to avoid them at all cost this year. I kept being told so many different things… the firsts are the worst or the second year is the worst but honestly, I believe that the experience may be different for each individual. I have met widows that have the same time frame that I have that are in way worse of a position then I am… On one hand, I felt grateful for it and the other hand had me questioning why I wasn’t there with them. For me, what helps me is knowing he would not want me to push myself down the tubes and let go of everything that made me happy because it hurts to do it alone. I moved out of our house, which was too big for me to maintain by myself and downsized into something that was brand new to me. I could have stayed but every corner and every room made me feel lonelier then ever. Every part of our home was smothered in memories that made it harder for me to move forward. I felt a huge relief when I bought my new house, of course there was indeed sadness and guilt that went into the decision but I had to do what was best for me. That alone is hard within itself… learning the term “I” and dropping the “we”. This year has been a journey of self discovery and honestly all I have truly discovered is that I don’t know how to cook for one person. In all fairness, I discovered that I can make it alone but the enjoyment of life is no longer there during this time. I remember when weekends were exciting because we had plans. I remember when a movie came out and I had THAT person to go and see it with and I especially remember just knowing I had someone that provided me the comfort of feeling safe. I know things will get better….at least I hope so but this first year has been an ongoing field of bombs being set off underneath my heart and reality.
Thank you for your article.
Thank you for describing so well how I feel. My husband, soul mate and best friend died unexpectedly a month before our 30th wedding anniversary. He was a brittle diabetic for over 40 years. He’d been hospitalized for two months with liver and kidney failure, but was starting his long recovery at home; all his liver and kidney numbers were good, almost normal. I went out to water plants, came in 10 minutes later and he was gone from a cardiac arrest.
We did everything together, we enjoyed spending time together, we always talked and shared our day with one another — I’ve tried to “talk” to him and write to him in my journal, but I still feel empty and alone, even when surrounded by people. I have wonderful family and friends close by, have a great relationship with my stepkids (live in another state), and work helps somewhat, but sometimes I feel so much anguish that I just want to crawl into a dark hole and weep for the rest of my days.
They say time will lessen the intensity of the pain, but I don’t see how that’s possible. How do you get over the loss of the great love of your life who was so intertwined with yourself that together you were one entity? And how can I heal when time itself has stopped — it’s been 6 weeks, but it feels like 6 years.
I am just starting my journey as a widow, and none of the “normal” support routes fit for me, but this site and all of your posts help me feel like I am among people who truly understand my struggle. Thank you all for that.
My husband died last year in March. I have 3 children. My oldest son and his family moved across the world to United Arab Emirates in August of last year. My daughter got married and moved to North Carolina last year. My youngest son lives with me but he wants to move out. I am home alone most evenings. I feel that I have no one who really cares about me. I am second, third or fourth place in everyone’s life. I am no longer number one in anyone’s life.
I lost my husband on 9/22/2017 he had a fight with liver cancer and I miss him so much my family don’t call me and all my friends are married or have someone or they are dating. I try to make new friends but it’s hard. , and I even try to meet new people but I don’t let it happen I find myself not wanting too ., I try to find my husband in other man but there’s only one husband I love. No one can replace him I feel. Am trying so hard., but I giving up I’ll just feel my pain.
Hi I’m maggie I very suddenly became a widow in june this year, i am broken i just don’t know what to do any more we did every thing to gether, this is the only thing i have read so far that rearly gets how i feel
Thank you, what you are saying is exactly how I feel, I lost my husband of 54 years five weeks ago. It has been really hard for me. I am blessed with having 3 grown children and 12 grandchildren to comfort me. My older son has stayed with me for awhile. This week I am all alone, and I just feel empty without the love of my life here with me.I have never lived alone, I lived with my Mom, then got married young.
I know in time it will get easier, I know he is at peace now, thank you again
I loved this article. I joined the Widows club earlier than most. I was 35 and my husband was one month shy of his 45th birthday, he died of a pulmonary embolism. Nov 6th made 10 years since his passing. I have attempted to move in twice. The last relationship recently ended after 4 years. I thought he was the one the replacement but the joke was on me. It’s been 3 months since the breakup. Tonight it hit me that I was fighting the loneliness by getting involved in relationships but now as I am getting older I’m thinking acceptance would be best. What a bitter pill to swallow but necessary. You described the feelings do well. Thank you
OH, MY GOD! I feel like you are inside of my head right now! I have felt so utterly alone today as if no one in the world could ever understand! I just want to Thank You SO much for bringing me my first bit of comfort on this lonely day and doing so with wisdom and humor! You are a wonderful writer! Sincerely, Julia
After seven years, my biggest problem is keeping the demons away. When my wife of 38 years passed away, I was left with a son and two grown up daughters , all of whom have some sort of development problems.Thus although I have a grandchild in Pa, my son rarely allows me to see her, let alone talk to him on the phone. My wife’s family is from the south and they do not include us in CT in their celebrations and so we spend Thanksgiving and CHristmas alone and my two daughters, one 26 the other 33, live fairly close but have no jobs and/or children. My own family live in England and both brother and sister have loads of grandchildren.I’m lucky that I can afford to got there sometimes and see them but So, I feel so lonely. Think for the day, they say. I try . I
have involved myself in the church, local men’s groups (I’m 78)
and have various female friends but the pain lurks in my body-how can I get better and see how lucky I am compared with many less fortunate people. I am currently trying various types of meditation but I cry too easily. I know I’m just rambling but what to do? I’m 78, reasonably fit , with a few issues being checked out. Who will listen to me. My wife was so good at it
Yep, lonely is a mild term for such an excruciating feeling. My husband died unexpectedly on 11/15/17, He was 51. I’m a 42 year old woman walking the slow path of widowhood.
I would like to think of myself as somewhat of a good person. So why is this happening to me, do I deserve this? What did I do so bad in this world, to have this be the way it ends for me…us? I’ve hung on to this marriage & man because I knew it was good. This is my “happy ending” or “happily ever after”? It’s very hard to believe that it gets better at this point but it is better than where I was 3 weeks ago.
Thank you for writing this article, Megan
The loneliness, anxiety, and sadness is overwhelming. My husband passed away of cancer 2 weeks ago and I feel I am in a horrible dream. I stayed home taking care of our children and him, and now I feel lost. My chest literally hurts and I feel there is so much I have to do, and can’t bring myself the motivation to do it. I have not had any dreams about him and want so badly to feel him around me, but I don’t feel him. At nights I sleep with his blanket that he used before he died. I have a lot of people reach out to me, but they are not him. We were married for 20 years, right after high school. He is my best friend and now I am with out him. Three days after he passed, I prayed for a sign that he is ok. That night our son found a poem in a book that my husband wrote telling me he will continue to love me years and years after he is gone. I was extremely lucky to have him for 20 years and doubt I will ever have anyone love me like he did.
Debbie, I am sorry for your heartache. I, too, can relate to the overwhelming loneliness, anxiety and sadness, and especially with trying to wake up from a bad dream. My husband, Jimmy, went home into the arms of Jesus on Nov 22nd. We were best friends and did everything together. He was my heart and now I am an empty shell of a person, lost in a wilderness. When I read your post I just felt led to say, not only I but many here can relate to what you are feeling. It was a special blessing that your son found the poem your husband wrote for you; a message from his heart to you. May peace and comfort surround you.
I recently lost my husband of 37 years he died August 26th 2017 he was the love of my life I met him when I was 15 years old . The pain is so deep.
My 55 year old husband died from heart attack. We were recovering from his infidelity after 30 years of marriage. I loved and was trusting in him again only to learn from his mistress that they were still involved and that per her he was leaving me after first of year. I’m truly hurt and angry at the 5 week mark. Trying to not be angry but grieving too. His behaviour didnt indicate he was leaving, he even made travel plans for us and bought additional land to add to our small farm. So I’m dealing with loss and missing my partner my best friend and dealing with my identity and place in his life issues. She has really poured it on heavy. He lived a double life for three years. Worst thing i cant separate lonliness of his death from potential he was leaving me. Either way my heart is broken
I was with my partner Carol for 47 years and married for 3 of them as a same sex couple. She passed away in 2014 at the age of 66….and you are ever so right..no one can understand or even comfort you unless they have felt that widow pain…it is like loosing an appendage…..Thank you for your posting….
I lost my wife to cancer three years ago. We were married 53 years. Grief is a word hardly describe how I feel. It is more like a torrent of rain that never stops. The sun never shines as bright, the warm wind feels cool, kind words sounds hollow. She was the star in my life that sprinkled joy to all who knew her. Her passing is not an end of a magical life. It is the beginning of my painful journey till we meet again. To those who think life goes on…they sadly mistaken. It is the end that goes on. I miss her every moment of every day. When I will meet her in heaven, my life will be complete.
I have been through this twice with partners. I still reach out for the first one after 14 years and the 2nd after 2 years. It doesn’t get any easier when the truth hits you. You just learn to slug through it and carry on as best you can. I will always love them and will continue to talk to them.
Your words have given me a profound insight.
I Lost my husband of 21 years January 1,2015.
A friend of mine sent me this and I can’t believe everything you wrote is how I feel. Thank you for sharing these feeling. I still to this day experience the ” Oh I can’t wait to go home and tell him” I wonder if that ever goes away.
God bless all the people out there that have lost there loved one
The article sums up my feelings exactly.I never thought I would outlive my healthy active spouse of 50 years.Sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming even though I’m very active and have great kids and supportive friends.My husband was my one and only and looking ahead seems endless
Thank you so much. My wife died suddenly on November 21, 2017 , she was only 42, married for 25 years and knew each other for 27. Even though we have adult children and I have friends that want to help, I have never felt lonelier. Your article and the beautiful responses at least helps me to understand that I am not alone in these feelings. It really hits hard when I’m in bed and look over to that empty spot next to me. I catch myself still talking to her, and look over to feel that pain. I just wanted to say thank you because I have in the past month and a half been looking for something, some understanding, and your article is the first that truly says how I feel.
I am sitting and reading everyones comments and realise i am not alone.But i really feel that i am. Everyday i push on for the last 2 years and still feel like ive been cheated of my life plans,plans to have more kids yes i have a 9 year old who absolutely adored his dad and i feel so bad for him he is so fearful of me dying and being alone that it breaks my heart. I often feel that God is punishing me and lie awake at night and watch my boy sleeping then i realise that God is good and wud not want to punish him.Everyone says G od has bigger plans for us … but I still dont know what.
Thank you for all the thoughtful comments. The deepest faith and the greatest discipline cannot prepare one for the loss of a life partner. Mine departed a year ago, at 44, after spending 18 wonderful years together. A case of “unexpected sudden cardiac death”. I woke up one sunny Tuesday morning after Christmas, and there he was; face down on the bathroom floor; gone.
We all know the feeling. Of “my world fell apart”. Of “when he died, I died”. Miles out of your comfort zone, day in and day out, you just want to tell him about everything you’re going through; and you can’t.
How to keep going, at a time when you don’t want to? I have found so many clichés to be true over the past year. Among them, that “something good has to come out of this tragedy”. I pray for him every day, and plant flowers at his grave. I give away his clothes to charities. I try to find loving homes for his plants, art pieces and other objects, with people who knew and loved him. I pay visits to his mother and his nephews, just like he would have. I feed the neighbourhood cats, like he used to. Whenever I can afford it, I make donations to his church.
I find that all of this helps keep a person’s legacy, goodness and talent alive. It keeps me active. Hopefully it also gives him blessings in the next life.
Because… What alternative is there?… It is bad enough that in the blink of an eye, a house once filled with love, warmth, cooking, painting, movies and gardening has turned into a dark and silent crypt, where at sunset the tears come out as if on cue. The pain is not going away; we just have to learn to channel some of it in useful and productive directions.
There are new mental habits I have painfully learned. It’s okay “not to go there” any more, to the moments from that black day. He died only once; but in my mind he died a thousand times; this has to stop. Someone on this page mentioned the “guilt”. Why; whatever for, your married friends will ask. And yet I lived with it for months, waking up every morning with an invisible knife plunged into my stomach. It made me realize, I could never imagine what real, actual guilt – of hurting, let alone killing someone – must feel like; the irrational kind was overpowering enough.
Please be kind to yourselves, my friends. Force yourself to cook, to eat, to do the dishes. Be a positive, generous, nurturing presence in other people’s lives. Show compassion for animals. Learn more about prayer, charity and volunteering. Find an outlet – a DVD, a TV show (sad, funny, real crime – whatever works), a home project, a new household ritual – anything that will calm the mind, if only for 30 minutes every day. One day, looking back, you may find it in your heart to thank God for everything that happened in your life, exactly the way it happened.
Thank you for describing the solitude so perfectly. My husband and best friend of 40 years died three and a half months ago. The loneliness I feel is sometimes unbearable. I am not good at expressing myself with words, but you have done it for me. I have an autistic son, and I remember the pain of realizing exactly what that meant for him and for me. I cried for hours every day….for months. But the pain of losing my husband seems worse. I don’t cry like I did back when my son was 3 years old, but I feel like I have had open heart surgery and my heart is still open. It hurts. I miss his arms around me, his laugh, his twinkling blue eyes, and how we told each other everything.
Thank you for sharing your pain with us, and articulating it so beautifully. God bless you.
My husband died almost 2 months ago.. Everything that was written about lonely is exactly how I feel. How ironic that I started going to Walmart for my groceries instead of Target where we went together to get groceries. It does seem also that every time I leave Walmart I cry in the car. My husband and I were married for 33 years and I found him dead on the bathroom floor. No illness, no sickness, I don’t know what it was. I am so alone and so afraid. I have started shopping on Amazon. It brings me some comfort and enjoyment. I rationalize by telling myself, that I have extra money from the life insurance so why not buy that extra dress. Thank you for telling it like it is. I am alone and I am so alone. I have people that love me and care about me but I am alone. The weekends are the worst because everyone is spending their time with their families, their spouses, their lives. I have no life. I have a dog and a cat and they are my solace. I am alone. Thank you for telling it like it is as I just said because what you said is exactly what my life is like now. I hate it. I want my life back I want my husband back. I want that appendage to grow back and always be there hanging off my side.
<3. My husband died December 21sr of the flu. I so get you
Catherine, thank you so much for your article. My husband has been gone for a little over a year, but I am still experiencing the loneliness you described. At first I thought my adult children would be able to fill some of the void. But, I was mistaken. I realize now that I need to figure out a new way of life that will heal my aching heart.
Thank you and I wish you all the best in your journey to find peace.
You’ve verbalized so many of the feelings I’ve had. Thank you for sharing.
My husband passed 9 years ago from cancer. I was 61 at that time. We were married for 43 years, My life has been very lonely. To make matters worse I got sick just before he died and I have auto immune illness which limits me going out and enjoying life. I have to manage on my own. I lost 2 friends since then and have found it hard to find new close friends. I am so lonely.
Or a sleepless night with a newborn and a dead husband…I’m pretty sure I never sleep at this point. Even when he finally sleeps I can’t because my husband is gone, the house is too quiet and empty.
Thanks for this article, the intense loneliness has really hit especially late at night for me now and it’s nice to read that I’m not alone in this to some extent.
Its been almost 2 and a half years since I lost my husband. Today is Easter and I don’t want to be sad. Its not working. I have a nice life with supportive family and friends. Why can’t I feel better?
I wasn’t going to breakdown after reading this for the 3 or 4th time, but i failed. I was always the opposite person i now became. i guess if i had to some it up,,, NOTHING IN LIFE MATTERS TO ME, NOTHING, I can’t wait, and long for my turn. it has been 1.1/2 years now, and have nothing to fill the void. I just turned 59. and Know Christ as my savior, but i just can’t shake this funk. I do eat organic and try, but at the end of the day,,, what does it all matter?
Well stated. My husband died 3 years ago and every word you wrote rings like a bell in my heart. I just commented to a friend the other day (the day after the anniversary of his death) that I don’t know how much longer I can go on without hearing “I love you”. I’m finally thinking about dating again, but at 47 with my heart still so attached to him, not sure how that would work out.
MY WIFE AND I WERE MARRIED 55 YEARS AND VERY MUCH IN LOVE. WILL WE KNOW EACH OTHER AS WE DID ON EARTH HUSBAND AND WIFE?
This has helped so much. \it’s been 3 yrs since he passed, and I just can’t seem to get interested in things. I miss him so much, we used to race each other to be the first to say good morning every day. Reading comments has assured me that it’s okay, it’s normal. I tend to be harder on myself and I read that in other comments. So I’m not going crazy. I’m just going along….
Absolutely. Thank you for articulating what I feel. My husband has GBM, and the anticipatory fear and grief can be overwhelming. And while I appreciate everyone’s love and support, I just want to stop being told how strong and brave I am and that God will get us through this. Of course He will, but I just want to be left alone sometimes in order to breath.
It’s been almost four years since my husband died. I was 32 and our son was only three.
I can relate with all of this and in addition it is shocking to me that I still wake up in the middle of the night in what I can only describe as a fog. I was so calm and stable and clear headed at first.
Much of the initial blur that some people describe was not part of my experience.
When I wake, I am not still sleeping or in that place between sleep and wakefulness but rather wide awake and super aware yet just baffled and lost and confused about what I am doing here and feeling absolutely incapable of making any life decisions that could move me forward. Like standing in cement that is solidifying around my feet but I wasn’t supposed to be there to begin with. I wish there was a way to describe it.
Then I carry those foggy feelings of uncertainty and confusion into my day with me and into my relationships and just nothing feels right anymore.
I wish I knew how to describe what I’m experiencing and I hope that part of my grieving will pass sometime soon. Thanks for sharing your experience and for listening to mine.
Of all things I’ve read and seen, yours is the most understanding I’ve read. I am a widower and lost my wife of 44 years five months ago. I am just so lonely and sad, I feel I should have done more for her, although she was 88 years old but was her carer for the last four years.
It was so cruel, she was terminally ill,but in the last few days had a stroke and couldn’t commicate. I knew she was in palliative care but didn’t want to accept it. The last words she said, slowly and with difficulty,were “I love you”.
I just don’t want to carry on.
Thank you so much for your words, they help a lot.
My wife of 42 years was diagnosed with lung cancer late in 2013. Over the following years she underwent numerous rounds of radio and chemo therapy as well as a part lung removal.
There was a time we thought she would get through this, but alas it was not to be. She died on the 26th of April, just over five weeks ago.
But there was always hope up until five days before her passing. She had been admitted to hospital for the fifth time to get the severe pain she was experiencing under control, but the tide turned on the Saturday and she lost consciousness. The doctors said the cancer had affected her brain and there was no longer any hope for her. My two grown children and I stayed with her 24 hours a day in the hospital until she died the following Thursday evening, We just couldn’t let her go through this alone.
She had been suffering for years, not just from the cancer but from the treatment as well. She was my hero, she endured all this suffering with not one word of complaint. For the last six months most of my time was devoted to caring for her.
So the hard bit for me, she told me she wanted to die, she told me she didn’t fear death and wanted to be free of her suffering. Having watched her endure all she had gone through I could’t disagree with her.
Her passing was expected and welcomed. I thought I would be OK, it was what she wanted, she’s now in a better place, she is pain free at last, she just couldn’t go on as she was, it wasn’t fair for her to suffer like this.
But I’m not OK, her going leaves me with feelings that are unimaginably sad and stressful, and so many other emotions mixed in. I knew long ago that one day I would walk into our home and she would’t be there, and would never be there again, I thought I would be prepared for that, but no, it hurts like hell, and seems to be getting worse.
I have great friends and family, they do all they can for me, but the tears, and the dull pain are always there.
Thanks again Catherine for your words, they sum up exactly how I’m feeling right now.
Your blog really spoke to me. I was widowed at in my early 50s. December 2015. My
David, was diagnosed with cancer, a year earlier. He was so healthy and athletic. We
were so happy. Even after 30 years, we were still on our honeymoon. Our 21 year old
son, basically went prodigal after his dad passed away. Thank God, not drugs but with
a rough crowds of people, so opposite, from our lifestyle. It has been like losing not only
my husband, but our child as well. David died in my arms, holding our sons hand. He
was buried two days before Christmas that year. I am blessed with friends, but they are
all for the most part married with families. Even though I still feel I am young, between
working to hold on to everything David, and I built together, using tough love with our
son, I feel so much older, and really ready to go be with David. I have no other family.
The crowds that my son, is choosing to be with, would very likely rob me, if I let any of
them close. I may see my son, once a month, if that. He is so angry. Probably his way of
grieving. Also not being able to get his way and run roughshod over me. I thank God for
my friends. They have their own lives, and families. Reading your blog, I can see you get
it. I have learned to try not to think about the future too much. It just seems too bleak right
now. So I take one day at the time, and do the next right thing. I have to believe God has
a plan, in all of this. Also that my David, is with HIm, and thank God, no longer hurting.
It’s after 1 am, Friday night. Weekends are the worst for me. Thanks for listening. Gail
My story is very complicated, my boys sold the house from underneath me ,sending me to the middle of the country, with my elderly mom of 96. I had to put her in a nursing home with hardly any personal support. She is now going to be a 100 years old and I am still stick here, until she passes. Atfer that have no idea were to go. I know my sons have their own lives, but I am scared to death, I have never been alone.
The day after my husband of 33 years past away I was finally able to sleep soundly. I had a dream I will NEVER forget. The dream was that I was asleep with my husband and it was so real and I was so happy because I thought Ernie your right here next to me. You died and it was all a dream. I felt him and I truly believe it was in some way him. I felt his love for me and it was so wonderful. Just holding each other. Then sadly I woke and the realization set in my heart. Felt like it was ripped out of me. Almost three years since his death and it doesn’t get better. You just adjust to it. However I have never had a dream like that before in my life. I truly believe it was his goodbye to me. He never spoke. All I felt was his love that I can not explain.
People say they understand how I feel, how strong I am and that I can move forward, I’m young enough to meet somebody new. They don’t realise that I could not put myself through such grief again so will not meet anybody else. I know that we had an amazing 12 years before I lost him & how privileged I was to have such an amazing life with him before he died so suddenly without warning. I will treasure our time together & hold in my heart for ever.
My mother always taught me before she passed away when I was 32 that there is always someone worse off than you & treasure what you have,never take life for granted, treat life as a privilege and you find a path to help you through the bad times
Today I was searching for information on how to deal with loneliness after losing a spouse and I
found your article. When I read “lonely is not a powerful enough word to describe widowhood”
I knew to keep reading. I’ve been a widow for just over 6 months after 49 years of marriage.
When you compared widowhood to amputation, that really hit the nail on the head! You are
It is very comforting and encouraging to read comments from others who have experienced this
nightmare. Friends are wonderful but simply cannot imagine how deeply it can affect a person
left without their other half. We can’t expect them to understand.
Thank you for sharing and for saying it like it is……a very difficult, sad and lonely time of life.
But we CAN get through it and we need to help each other along the way.
Thank you so much for writing this amazing article. In 14 days my husband will be gone for 3 years. I was 55 when he passed away from leukemia three weeks before he turned 62. I still miss him so much. Time does help heal but I still think of him daily. There are so many things I want to tell him every day. Stories I want to tell him again or hear from him where you say the first three words and the other person starts to laugh because they know exactly what you’re going to say, and even though they’v heard it a 100 times it’s still funny. So very many times where I want one more day for another hear to heart talk and to tell him how very much I love him and that he will always be my true soulmate. Even after 3 years the pain and loneliness are still there. (My thud moment was at that first Christmas buying new Christmas ornaments when I had a total meltdown in Hobby Lobby and people just walked around me “not seeing me” and I needed him so badly to help me try to pull myself together…).
I’m lonely I miss sleeping with someone next to me I miss coming home from work and having a conversation about my day I miss all the stupid conversation I hate the idea that I’m left here and I have to sell my house packing it up cuz I can’t afford it on my own and I have to get a condo. I’m not depressed I’m just so sad seems to be the only emotion I’ve been having. I’m 56 years old and now I have to start over.
Thank you Catherine. You’ve managed to sum it up pretty well. I’m 48 and lost my wife over 3 months ago to brain cancer. The emotions are still all over the place. The comment about the wedding and whispering in your spouses ear is so relatable, I feel this at a point most every day. This and just feeling so lonely, missing the touch of my spouse. She was sick for so long that it has been way too long since I’ve been able to just hold someone, that intimate squeeze that only your spouse was able to duplicate. I thought I was going to be remotely excited about jumping back into the dating scene, but in reality it just sucks….
I was searching the
Internet for lonelines advice
My husband died 9 years ago and I have been seeing someone new for a couple of years the problem is that my new partner is so independent that I often feel so lonely and sad.he is not like my husband we were always together and I feel peripheral to his life
I can’t believe that someone actually understands. I go to therapy for depression/anxiety and I try to explain this feeling of total emptiness, and how it makes my other issues worse. I guess you don’t really understand unless you have been there. I lost my husband of 31 years 4 years ago suddenly. Right before my eyes he was there then gone. I am thankful it was painless and quick for him, but it has been agony for me. We have no children and I don’t have any friends, just co-workers, very little family. My husband told me to keep going on with my life, maybe find someone, I told him I don’t want someone else, I will get a dog. So I did. She is wonderful, but isn’t much on conversation. Sorry I guess I am babbling here, thank you for getting it so right.
Your words ring so true. I lost my husband of 3 years – will be three weeks ago this coming Thursday. I am so very lost. I had known him all my life. I am completely broken, trying to be strong for our two grown children and seven grandchildren. I pray, I read the Bible, I’ll be going to a grief support meeting on September 5th. I try not to cry in front of anyone and I’m afraid I’m going to lose my mind sometimes. I could be in a room with 100 other people and still feel alone. I miss his hugs, our conversations, our Sunday afternoon rides to the mountains when we may not say ten words, but we were content just to be with one another. I wish God would take me now, but according to the Bible, He has already chosen my date of death and nothing short of suicide can change that. I couldn’t commit suicide, so I just pray that God will change His mind and take me sooner rather than later. Your words are the most descriptive of any I have read about how it feels. Thank you so much.
Yeah it was a movie that solidified it for me as well, we were both looking forward to it’s release and it finally came out. My daughter asked if i wanted to see it and I agreed to go, once we were there and watching it and a funny scene came up I did have anyone to whisper a silly remark to. We always got a kick out of trying to get each other to laugh in that setting. I don’t go to movies anymore, I can’t bring myself to ask anyone either. Frankly I’ve pretty much given up, I thought maybe taking care of her cat and dog would help fill the gap but it just further emphasizes her absence. I wake up get ready for work and go but there’s no flavor in it anymore, I choose my job based on wanting to make a difference and have her be proud of the contribution I made but without her it’s just empty. Some days I just want to load the camper up on the truck and just drive away, or something else. It’s only been five months since she passed away, i can’t imagine this until it’s my turn.
Benn married 56 yrs and dated my husband since Jr hi before that I can’t seem to find a happy medium and comfort on a daily basis. I miss him so.
i was 19 when we met and 43 when he died, sudden cardiac death. I feel haunted by lonliness everyday. It’s been three years and the pain is as raw as day one. i cry myself to sleep most nights because i am in love with a ghost….what i miss most are the quiet moments, a walk in the woods when we could just be quiet together and know everything the other was thinking, i miss that connection to another person, i miss the way he looked at me and made me feel beautiful. i feel like the emptiness he absence leaves is consuming me and soon there will be nothing left. how do you go on without the person your heart beat for, some days i don’t think i’ll make it…
Everything you have said about widowhood is exactly how I feel, have felt. My husband died
3 years ago 11/6/15. Then my brother died 11 months later. And then my sister 5 months later.
All 3 were were my best friends. I still cry. I will go weeks without feeling too horrible (especially
when I’m with people). Other times, driving, gray days, the special loneliness (deep silence) overcomes me.
Thank you. I have been a widow for 13 years and you nailed it. Sitting here in my kitchen on a Saturday night alone, made way too many noodles, it was our running joke, I always make too many noodles, macaroni, spaghetti. Pasta serving impaired. I still wonder sometimes how the heck I am going to make it through this. Thank you.
She actually was my dream come true.
She was my answer to a prayer.
She was my personal angel.
She was perfect in every way.
Together we were perfection for twenty three years.
Everyone wanted what we had it seemed.
We were often asked what our secret was.
What we had was something that just was.
We didn’t have to work at it.
When we looked at each other the first time it was just there.
It……was true love!
Sept. 6th 2018 that suddenly and inexplicably ended.
Why can I not stop my eyes from giving me away?
Why does my voice give me away?
Why can I not get this lump out of my throat?
Why can I not get this deep dull ache out of my chest?
Will I sleep again?
You are so right, lonely does not begin to cover it. It will be one year December 8th since I joined this club I never wanted to he a part of, and although I am once again able to function, and experience joy again, the void is and forever will be there. There are things I will never be able to share in again, and that is something that even those closest to you will never understand. Thank you for putting into words what all of us in this club are feeling, or have felt at some point in this journey.
I just turned 78, and my wife of 43 years passed away seven months ago.
I just can’t stop thinking about her. Not even for an hour.
We had a big house and now it’s like living in a barn. We lived in this house for 36 years. Too many memories to sell it. Lonely is not a strong enough word.
I am in fairly good health myself, but looking forward to being back with her. The sooner the better.
For me it’s been 3 yrs. since my husband passed away, we were married fifty three yrs. I actually miss him more now than I did the first year that he passed away! Yes, I do keep thinking if I could just have one more hug or one more hot dog at Costco!! All of those things are in my mind. Unless you have lost a husband you cannot understand the pain that one goes through. I have been ill ever since he passed away. So, it doesn’t make things any easier. It seems like my anchor is gone!!
You have expressed it perfectly. I question so many things. Why me, why him, why go on, etc. Then I remember all the blessings I have had through the years. I can always look around me and find someone who is much worse off than me. But being human, I can’t help but feel lonely and sorry for myself. The first time it hit me was at a restaurant with friends and the waitress asked how many are on the ticket? I couldn’t even think for a minute then mumbled just me. It’s been 9 months but I still hurt, I still cry. I know time helps, but how long will it take? I am trying to find a way to feel useful, to volunteer, to participate in something that fits me as I find my way in this new life I am in. Thank you for your article. It helps to know I am not crazy. It is a process we go through. Look to God for comfort..
Solitude, yes. Treading water, going through the motions of living. And at the end of the day, solitude. It’s been eleven months now.
I could not of said it better. It’s as if you were reading my mind. I’m recently widowed (hate the term). We were married 40 years. I am lost. Nights are the very worst for me and I miss his big bear hugs. I’ll miss my sweetheart forever.
I survived breast cancer this past year and I thought I would be going first but God had other plans. A lawyer friend who was advising me the other day and when I told him about the fact of me thinking I would go first and that I hated the term widow he said your just a two time survivor. Widow or survivor…..I’m still alone…even in a room full of people.
As so many before me have expressed, those who have walked in these shoes truly “get it”. The shock, the numbness, the silence deep inside your soul, the empty longing for just one more moment…
It has been just over 5 months since my husband’s sudden death. I had just retired 8 months prior, he had retired 2 months prior. He had no health issues, on no meds, no high blood pressure, he walked daily. Life with him was a joy and we were excited to finally begin a new stage of life with no schedules, traveling, being outdoors and spending time with grandkids. We went to bed at 11 pm. I woke at 4:30 am and he wasn’t in bed. Thought he was probably up reading but got up to check. Found him sitting on couch….totally cold. Massive “widow maker” heart attack.
That “thud” continues in unexpected places. Like the home improvement store, after I realize the last time I was here was when we were together….and I find myself hiding out in the lighting section while I try to stop the tears from streaming down my face.
I still imagine conversations with him where I tell him how I found him on the couch and about the youngest grandbaby’s heart surgery after his death. As if he needs to know what is happening on this side of life.
So much written here validates everything I have felt. We are on a journey that we did not choose and do not want. But we will travel it as best each of us can…because we must. I wish you all peace and eventual joy…
It’s been 5 and a half years since my husband died and I am having a meltdown. This is actually the first time I have sought out any kind of support really. Which is kind of funny (or maybe not) since I have been a professional counselor for 25 years. I watched him die of a heart attack sitting at my kitchen table 3 days after his 50th birthday. I was 53 at the time. I have 3 grown daughters and 3 grandkids that live 10 minutes away but they may as well be 10,000 miles away. We were living in Texas when he passed but I am from NH. I ran away for awhile when I decided to leave Texas and start over (I actually traveled in Mexico for 18 months). When it was time to come back to family they were all so excited for me to be “here” again but I really don’t know why. They don’t include me in anything. I’m not a forethought or an afterthought. I understand they have their own lives but I have no life. I live in a rural area and I go to work and come home and spend 90% of my time alone. Winters are the worst and hence my meltdown today. You’re right. No one can possibly understand the loneliness. I went from having kids, dogs, a husband, a home to nothing and no one. In the blink of an eye my whole life lost meaning. I’m still waiting for something to shift and give me direction. I hate living here. I hate the climate but family is here. Moving to somewhere that I like better weather-wise alone with no connections doesn’t make sense to me either. After 5 years I feel more lost than I did in the beginning. I don’t know what the answer is. I really don’t. All I know is that if this is the rest of my life then I’m okay with it being over. I like to travel but my job doesn’t give me enough time to even do that to my satisfaction. Winter sickness and snow days pretty much eat that up. I’m trying to see hope around the corner. I want to get excited about something. Anything. But I can’t. I feel like I’m on a rinse/repeat cycle. I have always been a cup half full kind of person but it’s getting harder and harder. I want the next chapter of life to begin but this one doesn’t want to close. Heavy sigh… Thanks for letting me vent. Not sure if I feel better not. God bless us all.
It’s been 18 months since my Husband died. We were married 34 years and dated for 3 years. I was his caregiver, he had lung cancer and it matastised to the brain. He had surgery in March2017 but died in August 2017. I feel so lost without him and feel so guilty that I couldn’t get him better. He told me I dont think I am going to make it and I told him “You are a tough old bird, you are going to pull through this! If I would just have listened and held him tight!
He died at home 5 days later! It’s the nights that are lonely. I have friends but am lost without him.
I lost my husband in May 2018 so not even a year ago and lonely is definetly not a strong enough word for how I feel. We were together 30 years married 26 and would be 27 this March. He was one month 4 days shy of his 50th Birthday when he passed away. Everyday feels like a nightmare that I can not wake up from. So any advise on how to releive some of this heartache would be appreciated.
I miss..the everything. I can’t stand the no mores. I ache to feel his physical touch. There is an emptiness in my heart, my soul. I miss holding his hand, feeling his arms around me. I miss the morning kiss and the afternoon kiss and the goodnight kiss..and the kiss just for the hell of it. I miss the little notes left by the coffee pot. I hate being a widow.
My husband of 38 years it would have been in June this year died on my birthday in February. He was larger than life. He died from advanced stage congestive heart failure. I am in remission 3 years now from stage 4 pancreatic cancer . We were finally at a place in our lives to travel and fill the bucket list. I do not know how people survive the despair without a faith and belief in God. I have seen the power of prayer in my own life. God has a heart for children and widows. I was handling some business today with the cemetery and was told I could not have the memorial bench I wanted even though my choice complied with their regulations. It was not a choice from their own locked in company. For some reason this ignited a fury in me I don’t normally possess and I came home after work walked the dogs, settled into my numb routine going through the same machinations like every other night and the grief overtook me in a way I have not experienced until now. My husband left me to be the sole owner of a busy company and the body of our business family are all feeling his loss. I have had to be strong and until now I haven’t broken down to this extent. This is a good place to vent and you can just feel how much suffering is out there. When I got cancer I didn’t Identify as a sick person with all of the other cancer patients. I sought treatment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake CITY UT. I found myself really unwittingly being drawn into other cancer patients lives and talking to them about my own experience with treatment and the journey. They needed to hear a message of hope. I realized God puts us together to nurture and care for each other. We need each other. In a similar way I didn’t want to be associated with other widows to be pitied but I needed to read this here tonight. Your site is a gift to all of us in this same drifting boat of loneliness trying to find its anchor. Thank you and to everyone for sharing your stories, may you find your purpose and resolve and May God bless you all.
I just sat and cried when I read this, it’s me, but I’m 3 years into my widowhood (I HATE that word) and I feel as bad as the day my husband passed away. It was sudden and so unexpected, I was still grieving for my younger brother & my husband was so supportive and caring, & then he was gone too. I feel like I don’t fit in anymore, I don’t have friends, my family was my life, my grown up children have moved on & are enjoying their lives, but I’m stuck in my grief and loneliness which seems endless.
Just came across this article of your’s while searching ‘how long one survives after death of spouse’.
My husband died 6 months back. He was just 31.
I just don’t know how to cope up still. Life has become so meaningless. Each day is a struggle and I really don’t know for how long I will be able to go like this. But thank you.
Your article so very well explained my state of mind that I just felt like thanking you.
I can relate to this 100%. I lost my husband the week before Christmas this past winter. I look at pictures of ourselves on vacation just last spring and it feels like we are both gone. I not only mourn my husband, but I also mourn who I was in that married, and secure life. Now as I pick the pieces up, I am trying to remember who I was before I was married.
Thank you for writing this. It hit me right where I needed it, in my breaking heart. My husband of 39 years died suddenly in November of 2018, and I still want to lean over and confide in him, “Hey, did you hear who dropped dead suddenly? You!”
God Bless you, and keep on writing! You are doing a wonderful service to us all!
I am fortunate at age 63 to have found a man who lost his wife just a few months before I lost my husband. Both spouse’s died well over a year ago.
As we continue in our relationship, we’ve realized how much we have in common and how we can comfort each other in ways no one else or no other thing can – not family, not friends, not keeping “busy”.
We realized the other day we are no longer painfully lonely in the ways we used to be. We know that we are not “replacements” to each other for a lost spouse. In fact, he talks a lot about his late wife and I talk about my late husband. We understand they will always be a part of our lives and will always be a part of who we are. I have seen my now “boyfriend” become happier and more relaxed because I encourage him to talk about his late wife. I want to know about her because it helps me to understand what kind of man he is. The same, in return, goes for me.
The only thing that may stand in the way is other people, including family, friends and society in general. They’ve been taught that seniors don’t have sex, don’t want sex, and if they do they are a “dirty” old man or lady. News flash – that part of me did not die when my husband died. It cannot be replaced by “volunteering” or attending church or taking college classes, no matter how much I might try to fool myself. Besides, I’m already doing those things or have already been there, done that. If anything, because I’m in this loving relationship I now feel MORE energy to volunteer, attend church, etc.
There are those who say “If you’re going to get physical, you should marry.” We are married in the eyes of God. Getting married by the state will only create a tangle of legal and financial entanglements that we frankly find unjust. I believe there’s a lot of corruption in government these days anyway, so I don’t need that institution’s “blessing” when God’s is enough.
Now don’t get me wrong – two young people who are truly in love should get married. The biggest reason is for the children they will or might have. But my boyfriend and I are seniors long past that stage, and everything is different at this end of life.
In reading the Bible, nearly everything I’ve read regarding marriage is addressed to YOUNG people. For example, the passage that says the young man and woman shall leave their parents and the two shall become one. Well – we did that a long time ago when we were young. There’s no parents to leave anymore.
I find but one sentence that says a widow ( with widower reference strangely absent) who cannot keep her “desires” in check should marry. “Should” – not must. Back in Biblical days this was sound advice. A widow had no choice but to rely on her family or a man to take care of her. Many of us don’t have that problem today.
My happiness and my life and my choices belong to me. I will not end up the lonely widow in the church Pew that nobody pays attention to, nor the obligatory invite each year to the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners put on by family who are too busy any other time to visit me.
The only time widows/widowers seem to be paid attention to is when we cause other people to feel uncomfortable because they don’t like the picture in their minds of two old people having sex. They’ve tried to make that as illicit as possible. Guess what? That’s their problem – not mine. Tell me again about it when you get old and lose a spouse.
Thanks, your comments echo what I`m feeling.
Thank you so much for this article. So well written and right on the mark! I swear I am going to use your “involuntarily single” phrasing in conversations this week and see who gets it. Brilliant! And thank you for helping me to understand why I feel so lonely some days. My husband’s been gone since May 2018, and year 2 without him is much worse than year 1. I didn’t expect that. No one to cheer me on or console me when I need it. Makes total sense!
My husband passed December 31st. That was the day he was suppose to come home from hospital with flu. After 26 years we were basically living the empty nest life – LOVING it! We really did everything together, that country couple that canned, fished & that stuff. We would get frustrated with each other every now and then but just really enjoyed each other. I can’t find the light or even know who I am. Just can’t find balance and the loneliness is so very scary!
I completely understand that last line. So many times I feel so alone because I know there’s nobody I can talk to that will know me the way he knew me. Or care about the things we cared about. It’s been almost 4 years and today the pain is horrendous. This year (2020) has been such a crazy roller coaster ride that I hardly know which way is up. It’s made me really miss just being able to talk with him about every day life. Plus my second daughter is getting married in January which means another “loss” as she will be moving away (4 hours away at least) and my youngest, my only son, will be turning 16, which means more independence and more alone time for me. In addition, the anniversary of the day we met is 4 days away and our (should have been) 30th wedding Anniversary is 2 days after that. And Father’s Day is this Sunday. It’s the perfect storm.
I feel I should be passed it – I usually am. COVID seems to set me back every now and again.
Your words expressed what I feel. Exactly. Thank you for sharing.
READ THE REMARKS,IT WILL BE 5 YRS DEC17 AND BURRIED DEC 23 ,I GO THROUGH SO MUCH LONELINESS,FROM DY ONE I CAME HOME ALONE AND BEEN ALONE NITE S ARE THE HARDEST,HE HAD SEVERAL STROKES BRAIN HEMPHRAGES ,HE WAS 47 I WAS 45 ,I HAD BEEN WITH HIM FROM AGE 11,HE PASSED AT 72 AND I WAS 71,I CRY A LOT ,I KEEP HIS GRAVE DECORATED TRY TO GOO EVERY DAY TO JUST TALK TO HIM ,AN BIG CEMENT PRAYER BOOK UP THEIR I WALK TO IT AND PRAY ,BUT THE EMPTY FEELING IS WITH ME ALL THE TIME ,I HAVE DREAMED DREAMS ,STILL DO WHEN MY HEART IS HEAVY GOD PUTS HIM IN MY DREAMS .MY SON LIVES IN CAMPER WITH PRIVACY FENSE ,HE WATCHES OVER ME ,MY OTHER 3 I HARDLY EVER SEE ,OLDEST BOY COMES EVERY 2 WEEKS TO MOW LAWN ,AND THATS IT,AS XMAS COMES I WILL STAY ALONE AS I DO EVERY YR .YES GRIEF IS HORIBLE AND NEVER STOPS FOR ME ,GOD BLESS ALLM U LADIES AND I PRAY FOR ALL THAT GRIEVE IT IS SO PAINFUL I WONT EVER GET OVER HIM TILL I GO HOME TO BE WITH HIM,I PRAY SOON SO LOOKING FORWARD TO IT ,GOD BLESS LOVE AND PRAYERS TO ALL
hi everyone im a window im lonely and very sad
hi everyone im a window im lonely and very sad
im feelings so empty its going to be 9month but i don’t feel it its like its yesterday
Oh my god this is how I fell I’m praying as I type this so damm lonely after 35yrs with my man
my wife passed away March 10, 2020, from ALS she suffered for 5 years a long time for ALS which is a horrible disease. It’s been 8 1/2 months and with Covid I am very lonely.
You hit it on the head. You experience that loneliness every single day since their passing. The need to share &
that person is no longer there. Friends offer words of what they think is comfort. But unless you’re walking in my shoes those words mean nothing. We were married for 31 years and I watched my 58 year old husband, die within 1 year of his “treatable”Lung Cancer diagnosis. I watched him suffer & fade before my eyes and could not help him.
I don’t think I’m being dramatic as my daughter says when I say my life has been decimated.
Imagine a daughter telling her grieving Mother she’s being dramatic and in the next breath says she chooses not to be sad about her Fathers death… My DAD died @ 55 of a massive heart attack in our kitchen. I was 28 years old the same age as my daughter and I grieved with my MOM. I can’t imagine not supporting her at the worst time of her life and mine. It seems the more you speak with people of our generation you find that today’s generation (our children) are unfeeling, insensitive and cold to anyone old, which includes their parents!! I wish every day that GOD had taken me with my husband, so I could be with the ONLY person that knew and loved me without reservation…
A very accurate description of the void, desolate, absence cause by losing one’s spouse. I especially liked the reference to amputation. That hit the nail right between the eyes!
My husband passed away 4 yrs ago. We were married just short of 54 yrs. Had been retired for for 24 yrs, Were both working part time jobs when we lost our only daughter and found ourselves raising a 2yr old and 8 week old twins. It sounds tough but it was our salvation. We never would have gotten through that terrible tragedy if it weren’t for those kids that needed us. Five yrs later our son in law married again and the kids were all in school. It was time for us to begin traveling and enjoying retirement. We celebrated our 50 th anniversary in 2012. Our son gave us a big party life was good. Then we made our 3 rd trip to Italy and had a river cruise planned for the following year. Then the shoe dropped. My husband was diagnosed with Lewy Body disease and died four years later. We never did take that cruise and those last four years were down hill. After a week in the hospital he was released to rehab to try to strengthen his legs to keep him from falling so much. This was his second time in rehab.nThe first time was successful but this time there was no Improvement. He. Was going down hill fast. I took him home and got home health aids. Two weeks later he was gone. It was much faster than I expected and even though I new it was coming I was not prepared. It has been 4 yrs and I am still missing my other half. After 54 yrs we had become one. I can still hear him breathing in bed at night. Then I turn over and he Is not there. In the early morning hours a I can hear him getting up, he was a very early riser. Every morning he would come in and say,” it’s time to get up the day is half over,( he had already been up since 4AM) . Then he would give me the news report for the day. We would start the day with a morning walk and then usually each do our own thing. Well since he passed I can not get out of bed before 10 or 11 and sometimes 12 or 1. There is no one to give me reason to. To talk to me and get my day started. The evenings are also lonely. No one to cook dinner for, or share that glass of wine over a conversation. Life is basically over for me at 79.
I m glued to all the comments on your website and your thorough description of that crushing feeling. I lost my soulmate of 11 years. A man like him is one in a million. We truly believe that our souls will meet again and I keep him very much alive in my daily life. But the loneliness particularly in these times of Covid where it is impossible to meet with other widows. Only one who has loved as much as we did and have lost can understand. Thank you
I know this is old and might not be seen, it doesn’t matter because no one is going to have the answer, there isn’t supposed to be one. I just want to be given a voice somewhere I guess.
I lost my wife 6 years ago this coming August. She was also my best friend and my childhood friend. Her grandfather raised us. She went through so much with me after a violent experience lead to me being in a hospital for six months. I had little memory of who I was but I remembered her and amongst a few others and she was there every single day.
Skipping ahead we ended up married, we were happy we worked together, she was my boss technically. She ended up sick and when we found out she wasn’t going live even after the fight we went through she ended her own life one day when I wasn’t around to stop her. I was dealing with an issue with my father.
It’s been six years yet I still feel that horrible undescribable feeling of loneliness. I have tried to date but only three have I been able to really care at all about someone. The first time the person lied to me about certain things and I left her. The second time is confusing because we mutually broke up because we both had things we were going through and decided it was better. The third was meant to be just a fling but she ended up with feelings for me and unfortunately my feelings were more because she looked like my wife so much and I knew that was wrong so I put a stop to it.
The other issue is sex. I can’t seem to have it anymore unless there are feelings behind it at least somewhat like with my wife, like the first or second or with the one that looked like her. Don’t get me wrong the want is there but as soon as I get to that point I can’t, it’s mildly embarrassing.
Finally I usually have kept myself busy mostly to avoid the loneliness, work all the time until I’m worn out. I broke my leg six months ago and needed multiple surgeries and that horrible loneliness came back. It destroys me everyday almost. Watching movies or shows reminds me of her, reading reminds me of her, even eating reminds me of her. Are these things normal after all these years. I’ve gone through counseling and so on yet nothing helps. I know everyone deals with grief in there own ways and I am doing better than when she first died but it still seems like barely enough. Yeah I’m not suicidal anymore but all those other things are stil there. I know no one has the answers for me but I just want my voice heard even if I’m screaming in the darkness.
A lot of my breakdowns are at Walmart also
Your post truly resonated with exactly how I feel. Especially since my husband was my bestfriend and confidant and a very much involved father. It brought me to tears to read your words but I felt a sense of catharsis knowing I am not going crazy with the feelings I am experiencing. I also feel that it is strange that there is this brokenheart that can call up numerous friends to chat, hangout but there is this sense of wanting to be left alone. For me I think it is because no matter who I talk to, it just does not bring me that joy I experienced with my spouse. It is such a tight of war of emotions. Sadness, anger, bitterness and so forth…and yes why did this have to happen to me at the prime of my life and with kids and more importantly why did he have to get cancer at such a young age…a healthy, fit and amazingly beautiful soul.
Thank you for this post, it expresses widowhood so well.
Take good care,
Wow! I am in third year of loss. My husband died in a freak accident November 6, 2018, I found him at 4:15 in the afternoon the car had come off the jacks and crushed him. I ran from God for over a year. The first year is a black hole. Now I fill like I may not survive at times.
I’m one week away from the anniversary of my fiance’s death. He was killed in a cycling accident.
Compounded by his daughters turning on me like cornered rats, it’s been a year of deep confusion, loneliness and, well, there aren’t words to describe it.
David was my best friend and love of my life. We were together 18 years and we laughed every day.
I loved him more each day and he loved me unconditionally.
I don’t know how I’ve got through a year. To the outside world it looks like I’m coping. I cry every day, my world is colourless without him. I find no pleasure in anything.
On top of this, I have to support myself. I started a copywriting business in December. And I’m doing OK. Mostly because I work from home so can fall apart privately when the grief hits.
I lose time every day, huge chunks of time. Thankfully I can work part time hours to generate enough income to support myself.
Nobody understands. I have great friends but how could they possibly know what this is like? I look at his photograph and still can’t believe he’s gone.
It’s brutal. I’d love not to be feeling like this. I’ve always been a glass half full person, but the glass got smashed.
The article was great. You get it. The grief is so random.
This week I’m crying when I’m walking my dogs, which is new 🙄 and I’m battling with suppressed rage. I see other couples and it’s like being stabbed in the heart. We were such a team. He’d model my body language even if he couldn’t see me.
Oh, and the people who caused his death got away with it. He didn’t hit their van. He took evasive action in our country lane & broke his neck.
They all lied and said they found him on the side of the road. The accident collision expert didn’t believe them, but three of them in the van, with no witnesses, the coroner had no choice but to rule accidental death.
He was 2 minutes from home…
“And does it make sense when I say when I’m feeling this way sometimes I just want to be left alone?”
Yep, it makes total sense to me. 12 years and still feeling the loneliness. In fact, I googled widowhood loneliness just so that I could find an article like this that would make me feel not so alone. Thanks for writing this.
My husband died 3 yrs ago. I did fine but rhis
I am missing my husband after 4 yrs. Seems like everyone forgot about me. I did much better after he first died. I am trying to stop feeling sorry for myself.h as rf
My husband died 2-1/2 years ago in a freak accident. He was 77 but youthful, active and healthy. I had taken a sabbatical from my career counseling practice so that we could do some wonderful things together. And then, suddenly, snap, it was over. I have felt like such a misfit for feeling so overwhelmed by grief and loneliness after all this time. My counseling skills seemed useless when applied to myself. So I was amazed to find, through the comments on this site, that I am not alone in experiencing extended grieving. I have kept very busy ever since his death: getting financial and practical things together, volunteering, writing, extension classes, even a bit of travel before Covid hit. But none of it alleviates the sadness that I carry with me all the time. After much encouragement from friends, I will be getting a dog soon. I don’t expect this to be a cure all, but it will give me someone to care for and love. My heart goes out to each of you who have posted on this site.
My husband passed almost year ago, although it seems like 5 years have gone by. I sold my house and moved in with my son, and moved into a different city altogether. I have coping and adjusting to my new normal life now. My husband had a dormant type of vascular dementia, that the doctors don’t see that often. He was diagnosed Aug.26 and passed away Sept 28, something just accelerated it. I feel at times like a half of a person , after almost 50 years together. Thank you for sharing your feelings, it helps me stay positive
I lost my husband November 21, 2019 after a long illness and stroke. He had a stroke in 2016 and I went from being a wife to a caregiver overnight. I am still trying to find who I am in this new chapter of my life. When I tell someone I’m “widowed” it’s as if I have a disease. I don’t belong anywhere, if I go out with friends everyone is with someone and I’m a third wheel. My kids live close by and I see them off and on but they have their own lives and schedules. I’m 65, still working thank goodness. If it weren’t for my job I would go days without conversation with anyone. Weekends are the worst. I’ve dated a few times, even joined a couple of dating sites which turned out to be the biggest joke … what an education!!!! I learned very quickly you can’t trust or believe ANYONE on those sites. Loneliness is eating me alive. I was married for 46 years. We were so active and involved and had so much in common. Sometimes I think if this is all I have left …. why?
The range of grief won’t swallow all the ifs, whens, whys. There is no breath to be found. People tell me how strong I am. That I’m pulling myself through this with grace. But they don’t see me when I break down. When life just seems so cruel. I can’t do things I used to look forward to doing, because I felt loved & supported from him. He always told me that whatever makes me happy, makes him happy. He died of a blood infection that made it’s way to his brain. I tried for weeks to take him to the hospital. He wouldn’t go. Tried to get him to eat. After he went through a horrible night, he finally let me call 911. He was slurring his words for days. I couldn’t get him to go sooner. By the third day at the hospital, he had horrible hallucinations. And I couldn’t help him. He passed away the next day from cardiac arrest. “There was something I didn’t do to save his life!” Thus the survivors guilt. This will be my 1st Thanksgiving without him. The 1st Christmas without him. Now they are just like any other day.
Its been 3 months since my wife passed away we where married 11 years. We never had a cross word between us.she was my best friend .we played together and worked together.its like 3/4 of me died with her it’s hard to find your way with just a 1/4 left to work with. I have always believed in heaven and hell but I never knew there is a hell on earth that’s where I am and there’s no way out I know I will miss her forever
Thanks for sharing Catherine. i lost my husband after 5 years of our marriage. its 28 months that his soul departed and i miss him terribly. he was my love, my friend and sometimes a child in his ways, so i did not need anything or anybody as long as he was there. He understood me, made me laugh, dance and fulfilled my every desire the best he could now that he is gone i feel bereft.
I went on a swimming outing with a woman friend, which was supposed to, and did while it was happening, make me feel better.
But when I left the friend, came home and walked in the door to the empty house, THUD, as you say, … I WOULD HAVE discussed it with my precious, understanding and supportive and protective husband. And he’s … not there.
A gaping echoing emptiness. Another crying jag.
I am going to get over this. I’m starting to feel pretty strong determination. Of course, it gets interspersed with grief. … I just bought a 36-lb. kayak. I can lift that.
Sometimes though, it’s better to be alone than with other people. You need a really dretful “friend” to make you appreciate SOLITUDE.
Could that be one solution? Find some really awful person to spend a few hours with, … then come home to the quiet and APPRECIATE.
When you need another lift, call that person on the telephone and really listen, then get away and APPRECIATE again.
and there’s always memory, the memory of being loved, the memory of real real love that will always be there.
Well that’s one thought for the day, anyway.
I find myself reading more substantial books, just started Will Durant’s Age of Faith. Wondering is heaven real? is hell real? where did these beliefs come from? Sheesh, the fall of Rome, the rise of the church, the huge conflicts about belief that we never hear about any more, but that happened about the year 400 AD. Well I have a LOT of time to think about it. Now.