Living with the loss of a spouse is painful and sometimes even debilitating. It’s so difficult to move forward from such a heartache. It’s especially difficult when the death is unexpected.

The grief journey can be brutal. It can bring feelings of sadness, anger, depression, guilt, and disbelief. Letting go and saying goodbye to a spouse is something none of us want to do when we are happily married. Personally, it took a toll on me emotionally and physically at first. I couldn’t accept that he was gone or that I had become his widow.  It took almost two years and a friend helping me realize some important things before I was able to begin moving forward.

Yes, my husband is gone physically from this earth, but his memory is not. All the things I loved about him, and there were many, I continue to love. My daughters and the rest of our friends and family continue to tell stories about him and speak of him often. Although his physical body could no longer exist, his memories live on.

My two daughters are part of him, and I see his qualities in both of them. My two grandchildren were born since his passing. He never got to meet them, but they know all about him and they love him. To them, he is “Papa” and always will be. My grandson looks just like him when he was that age, and his comical personality is something else that closely matches my husband’s. My granddaughter’s kind and empathetic heart is the same as his was. To know they share those qualities make me so happy. I see him in them continuing to live on.

Is it the way I would like for it to be? Of course not. Nothing compares to having him here in the physical sense. But sometimes we can’t have exactly what we want. It’s not always easy to understand or make sense of things that happen in our lives. Some things we just can’t control. Who knows, maybe we aren’t supposed to understand it, now or ever. I’ve learned to accept that.

For now, I choose to look at things from a different perspective.  I choose to not let his memory pass just because the physical part of him has. I choose to talk about him often with the people who also loved him. No one is hesitant to mention his name in front of me for fear that I will become sad. We laugh at the silliness and the great sense of humor he had, and at the stories that only he could have experienced.

Are there still tears? Yes, sometimes of course. We miss his hugs, his laughter, his infectious smile, and his voice. We miss him not being here for those special occasions he would have loved to celebrate. How could we not? But since we can no longer have those things, we choose to each keep him near and dear to our hearts and memories. We also choose to see that his memory lives on through the generations to come.

If you find yourself struggling to live life with your spouse no longer being here physically, perhaps look at it from a different perspective. Look for all the ways he continues to live on through the people who continue to love him most.

Peggy Bell is the author of Life After Loss For Widows: Lifting the Veil of Grief eBook: Bell, Peggy: Kindle Store.

Read Peggy Bell’s Tips for Dealing with a Spouse’s Belongings – Open to Hope

Peggy Bell

Peggy Bell is a retired educator with forty years of teaching experience, as well as an author and bestselling co-author. After retirement, Peggy wanted to do more with her life, while continuing to add value to the lives of others. She became a certified personal development coach. Having been a widow herself and knowing first-hand the pain of losing a spouse, she started an online support group for widows and wrote a book called, Life After Loss for Widows: Lifting the Veil of Grief. Peggy also empowers women who are overcome with self-doubt to discover their inner truths and thrive in life according to their terms. Peggy is a firm believer that it is never too late to go after your dreams. For more information visit

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