15 Ways to Survive Widowhood

Not my usual post, but as part of the FabandFifty Link Party, we bloggers are sharing the pluses of being in the over 50 crowd. You mean, there ARE some??? Oh yeah, bear with me as I get off my usual topics.

 

15 ways to survive widowhood

Being an over 50 blogger has its advantages. I love the fact that I now have wisdom to impart to help someone else walking the road I’ve walked. Though “15 Ways to Survive Widowhood” isn’t a “fun” topic, it’s part of life that happened to me over 20 years ago.

 

Richard and I were married in 1984, and because we didn’t have children, he was my whole world. He died of lung failure at the young age of 35, leaving me alone at 40…childless, and parent-less. I remember those devastating days of utter paralysis in grief, feeling so alone. Seeing my whole life stretching ahead of me, I doubted I would ever be happy again.

 

For those walking this road, I totally understand how you feel. And be assured that these steps can apply to anyone who has suffered a loss. In my journey of grief, I learned 15 ways to survive widowhood, and reach acceptance at the end.

 

15 Ways to Survive Widowhood

 

*Lean on God. Pour out your heart to Him. He is always there, loves us unconditionally, and is ready to listen.

Lean on God and pour out your heart to Him. He is a comfort to us when others are powerless.Click To Tweet

 

*Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Scream, cry. It’s OK to be angry at God for taking your beloved. It’s even OK to be angry at your beloved for leaving you. Going through your grief rather than avoiding it, helps you in the long run.

 

*Delve into Scripture. There are many verses that emphasize how God is a comfort to us. He comforted me when no one else could. 2 Cor. 1:4, Ps 34:18, Ps 147:3

I clearly remember one afternoon getting off work and listlessly walking around the grocery store feeling heavy-hearted. I prayed, “God, I just can’t take this anymore! You’ve got to DO something!” Immediately I felt the heavy weight lift off my shoulders. It was as if he took my burden and carried it for me. Circumstances hadn’t changed. I was still widowed. But the rest of the day, I felt lighthearted and knew I could go on.

 

*Read books on grieving, and how others have coped. This helped me know I wasn’t crazy and that many were as ultra sensitive as I was in a tough situation.

 

*Understand that grieving is hard work! You are often bone tired, sleepless, restless in waking hours, have difficulty concentrating, and don’t enjoy the things you normally do.

Understand that grieving is hard work! You are often bone tired, restless, and can't concentrate.Click To Tweet

*Listen to music or talk radio. I found a Christian radio station I listened to during all my waking hours. When the house is empty, the silence is deafening.

 

*Get an inside cat or dog. Caring for an animal is a nice distraction, gave me something else to think about and do, and they are comforting companions.

 

*Find a caring friend who will really listen. I remember trying to unload to a friend, but she cut me off with “everyone has problems.”

 

*Understand that people are going to say the wrong thing, but God never will. He is there for you always.

Understand that people are going to say the wrong thing, but God never will. He is there for you.Click To Tweet

*Join a Grief Support Group. Only someone who has been there understands. When the group ended, I went to a Christian counselor because I still needed support, and it helped me greatly.

 

*Keeping a journal was very therapeutic helping me express my feelings when there was no one to talk to.

 

*Exercise! Is there ANYTHING this isn’t good for??

 

*Don’t jump into another relationship too soon. Wait until you have reached contentment in being alone. Don’t use it as a mode of escape.

 

*Healing moments…”Get yourself some healing moments” my grief counselor used to say. It can be a weekend getaway, out to the movies, or tea with a friend.

 

One weekend, out of the blue I drove to Charleston, SC…a 6-hour trip. I went by myself with no reservations, arrived after dark, bought take-out, and checked into a motel. The next day I reserved a bus tour of Charleston sleeping most of the way through it! But this little getaway gave me a change of pace, a change of scene, and it was fun. Anything to help you escape from the constant cloud of grief for a time is a healing moment.

 

Even with these ways of coping, grief lingers. It is a process and takes time, but I found that each step helped a little. As a people, we don’t like slow healing…we want to get over it and move on, but the process of grief doesn’t work that way.

 

Three years after Richard died, God brought another man into my life, who had also been widowed. We’ve been married over 20 years. I hope my saga has helped you or perhaps someone you know.

 

And now, don’t forget to visit the other FABULOUS FIFTY bloggers below!

 

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15 ways to survive widowhood

 

53 comments on 15 Ways to Survive Widowhood

  1. Thank you for sharing. I remember when I was going through my divorce a lady who was recently widowed told me “when you get divorced it is different because when you are widowed you still love your spouse”. It had to have been so hard at that time but you grew from it and God has given you a wonderful life.

    1. Yes I did grow from it…hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I had many divorced people tell me the same thing you have. I can certainly understand it too. Those who are divorced are grieving too. It’s hard either way.

  2. I just can’t imagine. Don’t want to imagine, either. Just allowing the thought hurts too much. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. We never know what’s in our future. God’s love and time will get us through.

  3. I’m sorry for your loss, Florence. I know it must have been so difficult. My mom went through the same thing at a young age and a lot of your tips are what got her through tough times. Tough post to write, I’m sure…

    1. Kim, I remember reading from your posts about your mom, and my heart went out to her, as I so understand. When I was going through it, I envied people who had children because I felt it must have helped them cope better, but I have been told that’s not the case. Hard either way. One good result of all this, it does help me understand and be more compassionate towards others who are experiencing it.

  4. Florence thank you for sharing this with us. I understand you as I lost my mom when I was 19 and my dad was devastated. I t hink the hardest thing in the world is to watch someone you love suffer from an illness. That alone was so draining for us. And although we miss her we were consoled in the fact that she is with God and no longer suffering. Your words of wisdom are so, so on point. I know that there is nothing that can heal like time and the guidance of God. I am so happy to hear that you were able to move forward in your life and find love again.

    1. Oh yes Mary, it is SO hard to watch a loved one struggle, and you can’t do one thing about it. I wanted so badly to breathe for him, but I couldn’t. It is wonderful consolation to know he’s in a better place. I was grateful he went quickly. God was gracious in bringing another good man into my life at the right time.

    1. Thank you so much Carol! Yes I learned so much through this experience…not the way I wanted to learn it, mind you, but good just the same. Thanks for the good wishes! I am so blessed to have 2 good men in my life.

  5. Florence, What an inspiring post! I’m so sorry you had to go through that but you seem to have learned how to heal and now have something important to share. I’m glad to know you have someone else in your life and have found happiness again! Thank you for sharing… 🙂

    1. Thank you Lory! I am truly blessed to have had the first good man, and now the second. God taught me a lot through the grieving experience, and looking back now, I’m glad for it though it was extremely difficult at the time.

  6. Father allows us to go through different trials and tribulations to enable us to grow, and then to help others who face the same situations. This is often what one’s personal ministry involves. How can one identify with a woman grieving the loss of a spouse if one has never personally experienced it? The same with other trials in life. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story, and giving glory to God.

  7. Such a thoughtful and helpful post – there are so many times of loss in life and we all need to find ways to cope and heal. I’m so glad you got through it and got help where you needed it and then had the added blessing of meeting someone to share the rest of your life with x

  8. Florence, I remember when Richard passed away and I was so sorry for you and all you were going through at the time. I don’t think I’ve ever told you this but I remember telling you that I wanted to lend you my copy of the book The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot and realized I’d never read it myself. So one weekend when I was sick I read through it and it so spoke to me in my own loneliness of being single in my late 30s. God used that book and the Scripture in it to really set me free from my anger and discontentment with Him by not providing a husband at that time in my life. About 10 years later God did bring me Ed who had gone through the pain of losing his first wife with MS. God had used the loss of his wife to bring about a transformation in Ed as he struggled with how to live the Christian life in the midst of a devastating illness. If it weren’t for the MS he probably would never have understood that he couldn’t live it but God could and was just waiting for him to find that out! When she did finally pass away God had already encompassed him with such peace as he knew she was finally free of the bondage of MS and he was free of the bondage of trying so hard to live the Christian life in his own power! So God has used suffering and loss to bring about joy – not only in his life and your’s but mine too! Praise His name!!!

    1. Amen Becky! That is so uplifting and encouraging. I remember Cheryl well…she was a sweet person. Praise the Lord that she is released now from her suffering, & it certainly sounds like she had already given her blessing to the union of you & Ed before she died. I never knew your feelings about singleness, but they are certainly understandable. We are made for relationship. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Hi Florence, Wow, thank you for sharing your story! My Dad lost the love of his life a few years ago and after reading your post, I can understand better the struggles he still has. I’m so sorry for your loss and happy for you that God brought another special person into your life.

    1. Thank you so much Wendi! I’m so sorry for your dad on losing his beloved. So glad to know my story can help someone else! Thank you for the good wishes! I’m truly blessed.

  10. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I’m so sorry you loss your Richard at such a young age, but so happy that you’ve found new happiness. Beautiful words of advice!

  11. Hi Florence, I’m from Blogging Fifty also. We have so much in common. My husband past away from complications from a long battle with cancer, and my handicapped daughter and I were all alone. I went through everything that you mentioned from being bitter and then having to give it all to God. I had several scriptures that I had to hang onto. I remarried a wonderful man who had never been married, and we have been married for 17 years (he was a jeweler also). Now I can see how he had his hand on me through everything I went through.

    1. Thank you Sherry! What a small world that your hubby was a jeweler and that we have had a similar experience! So sorry to hear you had to go through the grieving process too, but it makes us grow, doesn’t it? Not the way I wanted to grow, but good nonetheless. So glad to know you found love again just like I did!

  12. Florence, I can imagine that writing this post was painful, but at the same time therapeutic in that you hope you will be helping someone else, and I’m sure you are! Many times we are stronger than we think and we have God to thank for that. This was very touching.

    1. Thank you Pam. It is my hope that someone else will be helped through it. I’m sure that’s why God takes us through these rough times, although there were times I thought I was either going crazy or would not survive! People used to say they didn’t know how I stood it. And I would say I didn’t know how I was standing it either. Somehow God gave me strength.

  13. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your wise advice is very encouraging. Guidance is beside us when we need it most. We just need to realize it and grasp it.

    I’m so happy you found Peace, strength, and comfort. And, that you have found love again. May you have many years of happiness. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing how you handled your widowhood.

  14. What a terrible thing to have to go through at such a young age! So happy that God brought another man into your life. Prayers were definitely answered. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

  15. Florence, what a lovely post. I too was widowed young. I was 25 with a 7 month old child. We were a family of four. Larry died in February and then our dog was killed a few weeks later. We were now a family of 2, big adjustment. My child then became ill and almost died. It was such a hard time. Although I was raised in the church I was so angry at God during this time. So I had to find other ways to cope. It wasn’t easy, finding the love of your life and then losing them is so hard. These tips should help others find ways that they can get through it. We all need different things, that’s what makes grief so hard, there isn’t a one sized fits all. I like that you offer so many options! Thank you for sharing these!

    1. Oh I’m so sorry Nikki! What a young age to be widowed!! I can understand why you were mad at God. That would be perfectly understandable. Yes losing your loved one IS so hard, and then your dog too. And your child getting sick. Sounds like you were really going through it. I hope things have leveled out. Have you found someone else?

  16. Wonderful advice, Florence–I think many have been and will be blessed by your story and words of encouragement. Thanks so much for linking your post up with us at Vintage Charm 🙂

  17. Florence, I am a widow but much older than you were. Your advise is spot on. I am so glad you recovered and went on to find love again. I don’t really anticipate marrying again but my life is full and I am content. Thank you for sharing your story at Snickerdoodle.

    1. Sharon, so glad to know you found contentment and happiness! Glad you can relate, but I’m sorry you had to go through it too. It’s one of those difficult life experiences.

  18. thank you for this. My husband and I just lost one third of our wee family of three, our standard poodle. I’m grieving and have the same feelings you described. It was horrible to have to be the ones who gave the go-ahead to put him to sleep after 14 years with us. I feel guilt on top of all the loss. It helps to hear how you coped. LeeAnna at not afraid of color blog

    1. Aww, LeeAnna, so sorry to hear you lost your poodle! I understand that loss too, after losing one of my favorite pets about 3 years ago. You never forget those special ones. Grieving any loss is pretty universal. Glad if my blog post helped you at all. You shouldn’t feel guilty though…you have to make that decision.
      I’ll be checking out your blog too. Thanks for stopping by!

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