The harsh realities of being widowed

I am so tired of being censored from telling the truth. I have tried to submit real, honest articles to online platforms only to be given a hotline number and a brief “I’m sorry for your loss”. 

Nobody wants to talk about the real stuff. It’s not light, it’s not fluffy, there isn’t a trace of rainbows or butterflies. The real stuff is dark, gruesome and painful. 

But. It. Is. Real. 

And if we don’t talk about it, new widows and widowers will think they are the only ones feeling these things. They will feel even more alone than the loss of a spouse already makes us. 

So, I’m going to talk about it. And if you don’t want to hear about the ugly side of loss, then please redirect your browser. 

Being widowed means pain. It means a hurt so immense and so strong that you would do anything to make it stop. 

I have seen people turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, sleep…anything to distract them from the excruciating feelings soaring through their body. 

Just last night, I was hurting so badly that I couldn’t move. I couldn’t focus on anything. I was mentally writhing around. And nothing that I did would make it stop. 

I have been in so much emotional anguish that I have caused myself physical pain just to redirect my thoughts. 

I have gone to bed wishing, hoping and praying to not wake up in the morning. 

And I know I am not alone. 

I have seen widowed mothers and fathers reach out in desperation because they just cannot take another second of their children fighting. 

I have heard stories of these parents tearing themselves apart because they lost their temper and yelled at their kids. 

I have seen widowed moms taking their sons to pick out a jock strap. And widowed dads taking their daughters to buy a new bra or homecoming dress. 

I have heard the stories of precious little children asking the world’s most impossible to answer questions about their mommy or daddy in heaven. And their living parent’s heart just shatters. Every. Single. Time. 

None of us know what we are doing. But we all still have to do it. And we are doing the best that we can. 

Being a widowed woman means taking on tasks that you may have never had to do: fixing the plumbing, killing the insects, negotiating a new car purchase. 

And the frustration of knowing people are trying to take advantage of our lack of experience with these things. 

It means being solicited on every social media platform by men looking for a woman loaded with life insurance money and a broken heart longing to be loved. 

It means trying to navigate a dating scene that has quickly transformed into hookups and ghosting while we weren’t looking. 

Being a widowed man means learning the nuances of doing a little girl’s hair. 

And decorating a house to make it look more like a comfortable home and less like a bachelor pad. 

And trying to find a new life partner who is secure enough in herself to not feel like she needs to compete with a ghost. 

Widowed life is full of challenges. And one of the worst one’s is dealing with the judgment and opinions of others. 

We are judged for moving forward too soon. We are judged for being “hung up” on our deceased love. We are judged for crying in public. We are judged for never shedding a visible tear. 

No matter what decision we make, there will be someone in our life who does not approve of it. Trying to make everybody happy is impossible. But we are rarely encouraged to forget everybody else and do what makes us happy. We are rarely told that whatever we choose to do is the exact right decision. 

Everyone else would have done it better. Nobody else who believes that has ever lost their spouse. 

Being widowed means juggling your new life, trying to come to terms with the end of your old life…all while attempting to find the time and energy for all of the paperwork and phone calls and tasks involved when someone that you are now responsible for dies. 

And this isn’t even the half of it…

Every day I encounter another person trying to navigate this life. And every day I see the posts full of anger, frustration and despair because what they are facing feels impossible to overcome. 

And all I want to do is make sure it is known: you are not alone. 

Please feel free to comment with any additional things you wish people would understand. 💜

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40 thoughts on “The harsh realities of being widowed

  1. I’m so tired of being told how strong I must be and it will get better… 2.5 yrs later & I’m still waiting for it to get better. Dating…. I’m too broken to deal with the unsolicited pics…. ghosting… one night stands. Thank you for speaking what I can’t seem to verbalize to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I finally hit the worst of it all starting on the 2nd anniversary. After the 3rd life started to come back together. Now in my 8th year, I am my new “normal”. I date but can’t get close to anyone. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A effin MEN! I have been told, I’m doing great, I’m an inspiration, I live in the past, I am not moving on, I need to move on, I’m so strong, I’m a martyr when all I want to do is be just ME, whatever the hell that is and whenever ME decides to reveal himself to ME. This sucks. I’m 27 months in. Sorry about the lingo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No apology necessary. I love when people are their authentic selves. We can sometimes get whiplash from the drastically different opinions we receive from outsiders. It’s so hard. Best of luck to you on finding your true self. We can’t wait to meet him! 💜

      Like

    1. Exactly this.

      This also helped me understand my husband’s need to abuse prescription pain medication. I gained a whole new understanding of his struggles. A blessing within a tragedy, I suppose.

      Like

      1. Don’t cut on that Space Suit! If anyone is thinking of the pain of their loved one and wants the experience, use other techniques. And if the urge to hurt yourself is more frequent… You could die by suicide causing more tidal waves in other’s lives. Call 1-800.273.8255. And talk to another human being stuck in their space suit! And listen to Logic’s songs of the same name.
        Strong hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I lost my husband, buried him, went back to strees filled job, quit said stress filled job, came on took 3 handfuls of pills, wound up in ICU fromrm overdose AND blood clot in my heart as well as heart problems and on a portable defibrillator all in less than 3 wks time. And then a trusted friend took off with the life insurance money. And when somenone asks how I am doing they become uncomfortable if I cry? Nearly 8 months later I feel stable enough to take a deep breath without tears. But live daily wondering how long the lights will be on this month, or how much more weight I will lose not having money to buy groceries?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry. And I am glad that you survived that darkness. These are all such real struggles that the widowed community faces. I hope that you are able to continue fighting your way through this. 💜

      Like

  4. Being a widow means the total loss of one life and the total devastation of the remaining spouse’s life. A giant tsunami sweeps in and wipes out your former life and leaves you with scraps of memories and you are left to rebuild on those. You are handed double the work and half the work force. It takes a very long time before you begin to feel the earth beneath your feet again, and each step you take so very cautiously because another wave can come along and wipe you out once again, and they do, over and over. Eventually your legs regain strength, so that the waves no longer knock you over, but you still feel the pressure of the tide as you wade your way to a different life. The journey is not for the weak.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t think anyone else would mention the jock strap – sounds funny but that was a tough one – could have had a male relative go with my son but I knew it was one of the many things I had to learn – pumping my own gas when I drove out of state too

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing. You’re right, one of many things to learn.

      I forget that some states people don’t pump their own gas. 😳 I don’t know how to let someone else do it! 😂

      Like

  6. I finalized probate today. It is like my life is over as I knew it 8 short months ago. It was the hardest thing I have had to do other then bury my husband of 37 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So hard. I haven’t even begun with that. Just yesterday I finally started to sort through a year’s worth of mail. It’s like every task feels insurmountable. I’m sorry you have to go through this, too.

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  7. This is all true. Most people just don’t want to deal with you anymore. I have had many quit talking to me and others keep telling me that everyone has problems. I constantly feel like a burden to people who used to be friends. But that is just it – they were our friends – it was our life – he was here. Now it is just me. I am alone in a world of couples – and it is a hard thing to feel. Words cannot really describe. thank you for speaking truth. We all need it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is very hard for people to minimize our loss and our experience by saying that “everyone has problems” – while this is true, that doesn’t make our “problems” hurt any less. It’s not fair to make that comparison at all. 💜

      Like

  8. Finally someone gets it.. I had to share on my fb and tag the little family I have that always have something to say. Next week will make 1 year that I lost my husband to suicide; that he committed in front of my face with our 3 children home. I have not turned to anything but working 2 jobs 7 days a week whatever hours I can because I have to in order to survive, so I don’t see my 3 year old much. When I do though it’s like I have no patience with her and I hate it.. This article was written as I feel and I’m so glad I’m not going crazy and this is normal… Thank you for sharing and sorry for the long post..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I absolutely love this! I will be reading through your blogs, throughout the next few days. You are as real as real can be! One thing that I tell people who will listen, is don’t try to compare. You don’t have to. You don’t need to have words. Just being there is quite enough, for me.
    I get looked at like “are you SURE you know what you’re doing?” Because I am always positive. I’ve written about how it’s a curse and a blessing. I have to see the silver lining, or I’ll collapse. I don’t want to collapse. I need to keep going. That’s what my late husband would have wanted, no matter what! So, that’s what I do.
    The realities of widowhood are harsh. That is an absolutely accurate statement, and may even be an understatement.
    Btw, I am 8 months and 1 day a widow.
    #OneFootInFrontOfTheOther

    Liked by 1 person

  10. People dont understand how or why you dont enjoy doing the same things you used to– i used to do them with my Husband!!!!! Now I have to find a whole new me and Im not sure how to do that but I will cuz I have to!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amazing! You are so right and don’t forget the women like me who have a teenager who tries to grow up too fast to help out because she knows her dads never coming home. We’ve only been at this for 3 months. I know a few others who will take comfort in your writing.
    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very honest post, quite accurate for so many people. My wife died in the spring of 2016 after a protracted battle with cancer, we were married for 35 years. I, miraculously, met a woman whose husband died within 2 weeks of my wife … we met on a grieving site. We married on September 19th of this year, totally happy and blessed beyond all words. I write a blog about our experiences, how we managed to recognize our value to each other, how we fell in love, how we overcame the negativity of so many who thought we were somehow wrong, or cold, or uncaring.

    I write to let people know that there is hope, that there is something other than abject grieving. It’s important to let widowed people know they aren’t alone, but it’s also important to let them know that life doesn’t have to stop completely.

    http://www.edgoode.com
    Jersey to Georgia

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Continue to be you. To be real and honest. People can choose to read you or not… Today marks a year that my husband went into the hospital to never come home again. He went into cardiac arrest just after 3 am…he was healthy, active, 48 years young, hard worker…had been hunting the weekend before and was gearing up to leave for elk camp later that day for a full week. We took him off of life support on November 3, 2017. I was posting on Facebook occasionally…then I started blogging again. Being real. Being raw. Being honest. It’s helping me so I will continue to write. My hope is that my words will help at least one person.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So sorry dear ones. I’m touched.
    This has greatly challenged me especially cause I work with people of all walks. Im sorry for such pain that our society is so numb to, and others adding to it. Forgive anyone who so did. I believe we called to love.uplift. live n let live. May God grant all of is joy n positive an attitude despite the challenges of so cold a life in sych times. Recieve my warm embrace. Thanks too for continued effort to stand for your families in spite of all odds.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Janney T 11th December 2017. Reply

    Thank you all for the honesty in your words and the pain in your hearts.We are all on this journey together,not one that we asked for.It has been 14 months since my Husband took his last breath but my heart still beats on. Learning to live for one after 46yrs of Marrige and a life time of “us” is still unbelievable for me that this is my life,

    The first year of my loss is a blur now,it was not about me but my adult children and grandchildren,they were heart broken and all the other people who felt entitled to be apart of our loss who have disappeared from my life.Every day has its challenges for all of us because every aspect of who we were and the life we lived ceased to exist when our loved one died.
    The night my Husband passed I walked into the Hospital as his Wife and left as his Widow.

    But there is a new “us” being birthed through this Grief,we are being rendered down to our Authentic Selves, we don’t do the Bull Dust anymore,we are becoming stronger within,most days it does not feel like that but we have loved,been loved,we have walked beside the One we loved with Soul and Heart during the lives we shared,

    We Honoured their Passing and bore Wittness to their lives,laid them to Rest,all which demands courage and strength,In that Gift of a life shared ,we will do the best we can each day and in the future somewhere ,I hope we will begin to live the life they wished for us and we will open our hearts to a new life and a new way of living,
    Blessings to All
    Janney

    Liked by 1 person

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