Grieving the Death of a Spouse or Significant Other

Death, regardless of the details, is capable of devastating those it leaves behind.  Brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, or father – all losses are significant.  Although commonalities exist amongst people who have experienced a certain type of loss, individual grief is as unique as the person experiencing it and their relationship with the person who died.

While we are hesitant to categorize and careful not to compare, we do acknowledge that there’s merit in recognizing commonalities.  Shared experiences tell us, if nothing else, that we are not the only ones. And if other people have had struggles similar to our own, then maybe our grief isn’t as crazy as it sometimes seems.

Today we want to discuss some of the reasons why grieving the death of a spouse, fiancé, girlfriend, boyfriend, or significant other can be difficult.  We aren’t going to tell you how to grieve these losses, because we don’t really believe ‘type’ of loss dictates a certain way of coping. However, we do know that these types of losses can present very specific barriers, stumbling blocks, and secondary losses.

Of note for people who don’t regularly read WYG: we have linked some of these to past posts which go much further in depth on the topic.  Also, we are going to use the term ‘partner’ and ‘significant other’ for the purposes of this article because they apply broadly, that’s our thought process and we’re sticking to it.  Thanks to our readers whose input went into writing this article.

 1. They were your best friend

We recently wrote a post about grieving the death of a best friend.  Afterwards many people commented that their partner was their best friend, which made their loss feel two fold.

2. They were your go-to support person

Who was the first person you’d call when something happened?  It didn’t have to be a big something, like an emergency, it could have been a small something, like someone annoying you at work. For many of you, your significant other was the one person who knew how long to let you vent and how to calm you down.  In fact, there are times when you still pick up the phone to call them after a terrible day, only to be reminded that they are gone.

3. They provided you with unconditional love

Love may not be blind, but it is often very accepting.  Your partner may have been the one person knew how deeply flawed and crazy you were, but chose to love you anyway.  The world can feel dark when it seems like there is no one in it who will accept and love you for who you truly are.

4. They were the only person who really truly knew you

Perhaps your partner knew how you took your coffee and how you liked your eggs.  Maybe they knew your weaknesses and fears; where you came from; and what you’ve been through. It can be comforting to be ‘known’, but this kind of ‘knowing’ is not easy to come by and takes a long time to build.

5. They looked out for your needs and your well-being

Although they may have been selfish from time to time (who isn’t?), overall they probably thought of your needs and wanted you to be healthy and happy.  After having someone like this in your life, not having it can feel very scary and isolating.

6.  They were your source for physical intimacy and comfort

I’m not sure much needs to be said on this matter.  As a human you most likely crave some level of physical comfort.  It may be that you’re open to intimacy with someone new, but haven’t found anyone.  Or perhaps you long for intimacy, but can’t imagine that kind of closeness with anyone but your deceased loved one.

7. Your living space feels empty

You miss their mess, their snoring, their talking, their singing, and their TV blaring.  Your bed is half-empty when you go to bed at night, and again when you wake up in the morning.  Your home is incredibly lonely and way too quiet.

8. Logistics and secondary losses

After the death of a partner, there are endless logistical considerations like household chores, the loss of primary or secondary income, childcare, paying bills, paperwork, estates, dealing with their belongings, the loss of identity, and so on.  You can check out our post on secondary loss here.  Regardless of what you’re dealing with, trying to balance life after the death of a partner can come with a lot of responsibility and pressure.

9.  You feel pressure to do right by them

If you were your partner’s next-of-kin, the responsibility fell (falls) on you to make decisions on their behalf. Perhaps you knew what they wanted in terms of end-of-life care, funeral arrangements, estates, and belongings, but if not, you are left to guess. Hopefully, you have the support of your extended family, but in some instances it can feel like you’re fighting against everyone to do what’s right.  Sadly, guilt and regret over decisions made at the end of a person’s life can have an ongoing negative impact on your grief.

10.  You’re single again

A return to single status is hard for a hundred reasons.  To name a few, #’s 11, 12, 13 & 14.

11. You sometimes feel like a third wheel

Many people say they feel like a third wheel after the death of their partner, which can be awkward and alienating.

12. Pressure to start dating

People often push you to move on well before you’re ready

13.  Dating

How long have you been out of the dating pool?  Long enough to fear jumping back in?  Some people love dating…many do not. Although you may feel ready for a new relationship, you may simultaneously dread the thought of dating (we don’t blame you).

14. Your next relationship might not “get it”

We receive a lot of email from people who are dating while grieving and who are dating someone who is grieving.  Our anecdotal impression – it takes a special girlfriend/boyfriend to (1) understand death does not end a relationship, (2) allow the deceased’s memory into their life, and (3) understand that you can love a person in the present, while continuing to cherish a significant other who has died.

death of a spouse

15.  They were your co-parent

Parenting is hard; being a single parent is harder; being the single parent of grieving children is one of the hardest.  When your co-parent has died, all responsibility falls on you to keep your children safe, clothed, and loved.  Parenting is difficult after a death for a hundred reasons, including #’s 16, 17,& 18.

16.  You have to watch your kids miss out

Every time a milestone happens – father/daughter dances; mother/daughter sleepovers; proms; weddings; drivers licenses – you have to live with the knowledge that your child’s excitement may be somewhat temperes by grief over the absence of one of their parents.

17.  You are the keeper of your loved one’s memory and family history

You may feel as though it’s your responsibility to keep your significant other’s memory alive in this world, especially for the sake of your children.  You are the link between your children and their deceased parent and so it is your job to help them stay connected.  This may feel like a lot of pressure, but it’s also a wonderful way to continue your bond with your loved one.

18.  You mourn all the things your significant other will miss out

You may grieve for everything your partner will miss (has missed) out on.  Special moments, having children, having grandbabies, retirement – these are things your significant other would have loved to experience.

19.  You mourn all the things you will miss out on now that your significant other is gone

After someone dies, it is normal to grieve the past as well as your hopes and dreams for the future.  Since your loved one has died, you will mourn for all the things you had dreamed of sharing with them.

20. Death is a threat to your identity

Are you a husband?  A wife?  A widow? A widower?  For so long your identity, in some way, reflected your relationship with your significant other.  Now that you have to live on your own, without your partner, your identity may need to shift and change.

21.  You live with unresolved guilt and regret

It is common for people to feel guilt and regret about things that happened in their relationship with the deceased, even if these thing occurred years before the person died.  Perhaps you wish you had treated your partner better, perhaps they never forgave you for something, maybe you regret something you said, maybe you regret not saying enough, or maybe you feel guilty for the fact that you survived and they died.  The battlefield of love is fertile ground for the coulda’s, woulda’s, and shoulda’s that are typically seen in grief.

22.  Your relationship with their family and friends is changing

Sometimes, despite the best of intentions, people grow distant and they lose touch. There are a lot of caveats as to why this happens, but for the purposes of this post it’s most important to acknowledge that in losing a significant other, sometimes your overall support system is cut in half.

23.  Special Days

You not only miss being able to spend special days with your significant other, but now these days have become a minefield of reminders and grief triggers.

24.  You miss the thoughtful little things they used to do

Notes, oil changes, special dinners, birthday cakes, surprise lattes, gifts for no reason, compliments, inside jokes, letting you rest – whatever it was, it was unique to you and your loved one. Nothing can replace the joy they brought you.

25.  You miss the things that drove you crazy

To be honest, you also miss the things they did that drove you up a wall.

26.  Being on your own is hard

It’s hard to go from having a partner in life, to doing everything on your own.  It’s not that you can’t cope with life on your own, but you got used to the security and comfort of having someone at your side.

27.  You worry about being truly alone

You were supposed to grow old with your partner, and perhaps you worry that you will spend the rest of your life alone or lonely now that they have died.

28. You have to live the rest of your life with out them

And without them, this feels like a really really long time.


Listen to the WYG Podcast

March 28, 2017

122 responses on "Grieving the Death of a Spouse or Significant Other"

  1. I completely relate to this article. I lost my boyfriend of 2 and a half years to addiction unexpectedly almost exactly 7 months ago. He was 23 and i was 20 at the time. Although we are young we knew in our hearts that we would end up spending the rest of our lives together and talked about marrying young. I got that feeling in my soul that our hearts just knew it was meant to be. I have tons of love letters and messages from him. I’m am very lucky to be so close with his family and visit often. It’s hard to explain and most people my age haven’t dealt with this great of a loss. I feel alone a lot. He was my rock and loved me unconditionally. I was lucky to have experienced such a love that is so rare these days. My heart aches everyday but i carry on for him. I have no choice but to be strong and i also have voicemails from him reminding me i am beautiful and loved. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that life goes on and that we all grieve at our own pace. Many have tried to force me to let go but i can’t. At least not yet because i know he would have never let go of me

  2. hi i lost my husband of 34 years 31st may this year im so sad .he was 56 .had kidney cancer 12 and half years .terminal for 7 and a half.people say but you fought a long time and yoh have had time to get use to it.But no you fight all that time to survive him dieing never came into the equation .Its not being in denial its fighti g to survive.But we are so in love and ive just found this post and everything that you guys have said is so very true .Im trying to get through this for my sake for our kids and our Grandies and also as i promised my husband .but its such a hard deep process. I lost my brother at 25 to cancer in 1988 .and also we lost our wee Grandson in March this year .so at least i know He and My Husband are together ..

  3. I lost my partner/boyfriend this year 12 April 2017, it’s funny when we met he quoted that he had admired me for 20years and always wanted to go out with me, however, I had been busy raising children and being married thought this is what I was meant to do. Meeting my partner of 3 and a half years was the best thing I ever did because I have never had a man protect and stand by me through thick and thin, however he kept his sickness a secret and when he found out in Feb 2017 it was aggressive, I felt so confused, cheated, lied to, but this never stopped me from loving him until the end, however he pushed me away when I found out about his cancer and called upon his ex-girlfriend to be by his side until he left this world. His whole family turned on me including our friends, to this day I don’t associate with them. But there was one thing he said when I visited him for the last time on my own, he was so confused and didn’t know what to do. I already knew what he was going through as I research all that was happening. These months have been so hard including returning to work, still running our family and paying bills, I miss him so much that somedays I don’t feel like moving on but I have to for the sake of the kids and grandchildren, people tell me to move on including some of our friends, I tell them to first experience how it feels and then tell me how to move on!

  4. Hello. I just lost my wife this past Friday, Nov. 3. We were married for 3 1/2 years, but were best friends for 20 years. She was my rock…my best friend…my soulmate…my cheerleader…my everything. I am so lost without her. All I want is to still be with her. The thought of spending my life without her is unbearable.
    I’m not a religious person, but all I can think of is whether or not we’ll be together forever in heaven. I have to think that we will…thinking we won’t is not an option and something I can’t even fathom.
    I just don’t know what to do…I am so lost without my love.

    • Michael,

      I do not know who you are, where you live and or anything about you, but I understand your pain, I just lost my husband and we were together 34 years. I am lost, I have been thrown into an emotional place I don’t know I can survive, He died October 24 of a massive heart attack, suddenly. I feel numb, sometimes crazy, it hurts to breathe, and I have no path. My life is not the same, and I know it will never be. I have lost my soulmate, the person who was my other half, this is the most traumatizing experience and I am sad 24/7. I am writing this with tears. I wish you luck on your journey, may you find a place of light and warmth and peace that is all we can hope for. All of my best.

  5. My husband died May, 24,2017. He had a stroke 3 yrs. ago. Then, 9 months ago, he started falling all the time. He’d been in & out of assisted living & nursing homes; from using a walker to using a wheelchair. It was so hard to see him going downhill all these months. He was diagnosed 6 months ago with having congestive heart & kidney failure. This last April, We were told he needed to go into hospice. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After he went to the hospital may 21, I watched him dying till he took his last breath. We were married 43 years and I’d known him for 52 years ever since we were Jr’s in high school. I miss him so very much and feel so lonely ; I can’t believe he’s really gone I’m crying all the time and wish I was with him in heaven

  6. I lost my boyfriend very suddenly at the end of March, we hadn’t been together long only 6 months, we hadn’t got to spend all the precious years together but we had it all planned. We saw each other every day from the night we met. The night before Dan was taken ill was just like any normal night we had tea, and went for a walk together before bed, there were no signs other than he said he had some pain in his arm. I said we should go to the hospital and he laughed it off as growning pains…at the age of 28! The next day he got up and left for work as normal, on his way to work he Messaged me to say he wasn’t feeling well and would I pick him up, however I was too late on my way to pick him up he had a massive heart attack and was down for 50minutes with no heart beat. The ambulance passed me while I was sitting in traffic. He was taken to ICU for 2 days before being declared brain dead, the following day he donated what organs he could. I look back at those 3 days and can’t really remember it’s all a blur other than just sitting holding his hand praying for him to wake up.

    I wish I could have forced him to go to the drs or hospital the night before, it might have all been ok and still here with me if I did. The guilt consumes me, it’s like a contact weight on my shoulders that I could have saved him, could have prevented this from happening.

    Everyday I force myself out of bed and to work with my best fake smile, but underneath I’m a complete broken mess, with no sign of the light

    • I know how you feel, me and my fiance have been together for 10 months and on thursday oct. 26 2017 we got into a car accident. On the 29th he passed. The guilt still overwhelms me. I miss him and i love him every single day.

      • I’ve been told the guilt never leaves you; just gets easier to live with. I still cry for him Daily, miss him more than I thought it was posible to miss someone. I’m very sorry for your loss and must still be very Raw, i hope you are doing as well as you can be at this time, i think the hardest thing for me is that people think because we weren’t together very long that is be ‘over it’s by now, or that I don’t have a right to be as upset/heart broken as i am x

  7. We were together for 6.5 yrs. We were married April fool’s day 2017. She suddenly fell I’ll with a breathing issue. Visited the ER 5x in 20 days. Always treated for asthma
    She turned 27 on Valentine’s day.
    She collapsed on April 28 th of cardiac arrest. Was on life support until May the 3rd. Had to remove life support sue to quality of life issues.
    Our baby girl turned 3, two weeks later.
    It’s been almost 6 months and I’m still a wreck. Our daughter seems to be doing fine.
    I’m so lost.

    • So terrible sorry for your loss.
      I’m too having trouble with my fiancé’s passing, just want someone to understand, I would appreciate it so much xx

  8. I just lost my beautiful wife on my birthday, 9/12/65 unexpectedly. We were married 3 years and were together 6. I found her laying on our bed in the morning – she passed away from an aortic dissection that burst (aneurism). My 6 years with her with the best of my life, hands down and will miss her terribly. She was the love of my life, best friend, partner, lover and a huge giver to humanity. The world lost an Angel. The grieving process sucks but you have to deal with it and move on. It’s hard to understand why the Great Spirit would take someone who was so good to everyone away. This article is spot on. Thank you.

    • Peter, I’m so sorry! The loss of a loved one is truly indescribable. I hope you are doing okay?
      I lost my fiancé of 7 years (he was 32) but he was
      My bestest friend, my true soul mate. We don’t have to talk about it, but if you want someone who at least understands, feel free to message back xx

  9. I recently lost my wife roughly 2 weeks ago. We had been together for 10 years married for 4, both of us 27 years old. The day it happened I had come home from a 13 hour shift to find her already gone on the floor of our apartment, I had spoken to her maybe 2-3 hours before it happened around 12 pm. She passed due to a pulmonary embolism and I know that even if I had been home nothing could have been done, the coroner and everyone I know with medical backgrounds have all said the same thing that she was likely gone before she even fell down. There was so much I wanted to give for her still, I lived my life for her so I could be someone she was proud to be with and give her the happiest life I could. I feel guilty that I wasn’t home to be with her up until the end, and it hurts looking back that this was all the time we were to be given from the start.

    • I lost my common law husband around same time… Sept 8th, 2017….
      Even though we weren’t married. We never spent a day/night apart.
      I was right next to him when his death occurred due to a horse accident. I was supposed to save him… I know you wish you were next to your wife to say goodbye… It’s still not easy being in that situation….
      I am now a widow at 26…. he did everything for me. He was my teacher, shoulder to cry on, my strength, my best friend, etc etc… He was my WORLD.
      Anyways, Thanks for sharing your story being young.
      Find strength in the love you both shared.

      • Aimee, I’m so so sorry for your unexpected loss, horrific news.
        I wasnt married but my fiancé’s of 7’years passed suddenly in the early hours of the morning, I too woke up, failed at reviving him
        Which has been an ongoing battle for me 5 years later. Would you care to connect?

    • I am so sorry Justin i am going through the same my fiance died4weeks ago from a brain aneurysm i found him at home on the floor Drs said he wouldn’t have known anything and nothing that i or anyone could have done he was 47 and we had been together for8yrs i can’t accept im not going to see him again he was my best friend we did everything together now i can just about manage to get out of bed but then just sit on my sofa lost and empty i don’t know how to continue life without him! Wish we could all meet up to talk and help each other! Great article very true!

    • Hi there,

      I lost my Fiance suddenly on October 20th 2017. We live in Florida, but my Fiance was in Ohio for a business trip. The night before he told me that he was going to workout at 5 AM as he always did and then leave for his meeting at 7:30. I woke up out of my sleep at about 6 because my heart just knew something was wrong. I contacted his coworkers to get into his room to check on him and when they found him he was already gone. We still don’t know the exact cause of death because it will take 12 weeks for us to receive the toxicology report, but they do believe that his heart gave out after his workout.

      My Fiance, Logan, and I have been together for 3 years, but it feels like we’ve been together for an entire life time. We just bought a new home in August and we planned to be married in April 2018. There isn’t a second that goes by where I don’t think of him. I find myself questioning why? Why would God take a 28 year old man that had so much life and love left to give? Although, through all of this pain I’ve tried to find a positive light at the end of the tunnel. I have to believe that God put us together for a reason because that man really helped shape me into the woman I am today. During our relationship I learned that I love to travel, make people laugh, cook, be outdoors and cherish every moment in life. Together Logan and I were able to experience true, unconditional love ( a love that people search their entire lives for). I whole heartedly believe that my fiance lived out his purpose in life, but I recognize that there are more plans for me. Right now it feels like moving on with life is impossible because our partner isn’t physically with us, but they will always be with us in spirit. Continue to do what makes you happy and live every day for your loved one because one day you will see them again.

  10. Man…… the grief and pain are ….no words… Feb 7 2017 ….I lost my soulmate… BESTFRIEND…… We were to get married in March…now I am a single mother….this hurts…..

    • I to lost my fiance ‘ hardest thing next to seeing my children in the hospital following a car accident.
      We were to be married June of 2017. First date picked that didn’t work for our families was June 10th… second pick June 30. Had everything all set and ready, then a sudden shift in plans. A car accident 3 days after putting flowers on my grandma’s grave for memorial day, May 26th. Left him in a coma, his kidneys and liver began to shut down, that weekend while on life support. Upon releasing toxins into his brain the doctors told his parents they needed to make a decision. They took him off the ventilator and he was gone before 8 am June 9th. Worst pain I’ve ever felt, not being able to make that call, not being able to be his wife, and losing his family as in-laws before it even began.

    • Renjy I’d be happy to connect? There is a light I promise

  11. I loss my Everything! After 23 blessed years together, the love of my life passed away about 5 months ago. We were best friends and he was the best man I have ever met! My family is of no support and I have no friends… He truly was everything to me! I loss my Dad, son, brother and children’s father all year after year and he was there for me. He did everything for me and I mean everything… Shopping, cooking, cleaning and went everywhere with me! We were inseparable and now he’s gone! I wake up to find, at only 63 yrs. old, that he’s gone! What a shock and oh what pain! My family has been of no support and his family now does not speak to me for they will not even let me have his ashes, which I became upset. I could not even go to his “Celebration of Life! He was my only friend! I am completely and utterly alone! My son, 30 yrs. old, committed suicide Sept. 2, 2014 and the following year my brother, 53 yrs. old, died in his sleep of possible heart attack. Now March 16, 2017 the man I loved died too! What am I to do? I had a heart attack, Dr. says due to his loss. Then I had to have major heart surgery. Now I am trying to find why I am I left alone with no one to care if I am even alive?? He helped me with all the others death’s, especially my son’s but no one is here to help me with his! I mean I physically have family but they are of no help for they have their own lives and live in another state. No one knows what it is like until they are completely alone, which I now am. I have begged my family to help me but al for nothing!. I am just more alone then I have ever been in my life and don’t know where to go or what to do…

    • Look up Griefshare or some other group that helps people deal with the loss of loved ones. The group has a workbook and meets for several weeks. I went for my first time after the loss of my husband and met others who are suffering too. You might meet some new friends.

    • I am so sorry for your lost . I also lost the love of my life.i know how you feel and I am 61 and lost my wife in July. I don’t know what to do,or how to go on without her.she was my everything and now I am doing the same thing you are. I am going through this alone. I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know your name but mine is mark.if you need to talk I will listen.

  12. Four months ago I lost my husband of 41 years. We had known each other for 51 years, since I was 15 and he was 17……basically all our lives. He had been ill for a year, but he was on a transplant list, and we had every reason to believe he would once again be well. His health worsened quickly, but his death was still unexpected. I had left the hospital to run home, take a shower, and feed his beloved dog. He went into cardiac arrest while I was gone, and he was revived once again after I got there. The doctors still thought he might make it. It was not to be.
    Every single point on your list is absolutely true. Reading all the comments is somewhat comforting because I see that I am not alone in how I feel. I don’t expect to ever “get over” the loss of my best friend and the love of my life. I’ve barely started to accept his death. I feel lost, empty, devoid of hope for any joy to come. I am thankful for my faith, my children, and for our little dog. Thank you all for bearing your hearts and souls here. It helps. God Bless.

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  14. I, too, lost my significant other ‘Fiancé’. Unfortunately, we didn’t share years together like the rest of you, but we had planned for it. He died 2 weeks ago, and I’ve never cried daily so much in my ENTIRE life. He was 29 and I’m 27. I know there’s people encouraging me to take my time, but eventually move on and everyone is saying “He would want that!” Assuming what he’d want, but yes, he’s the type of guy that always wanted to see me happy. Moving on is the least of my worries, it won’t happen anytime soon whatsoever. I waited my whole dating life to find a man who is compatible with me and most of all a CHRISTIAN. He was everything that I prayed for and more. He had a sudden death, but I’m very aware that he did have health problems such as a blood clot and a seizure. He was also under a lot of stress and that complicated his health more, but then again this was apart of God’s plan and I have to accept that. My life feels upside down, cause we wanted everything together in life and in the blink of an eye it’s gone. I felt regretful, because days before his death I noticed he started breathing heavy. I inquired and he kept saying “Probably, just need to lose a little weight” which I disagree with. He was muscular but not overweight. Anyway, I still supported him on that as I just wanted him to do his best to be healthy. There were so many things he wasn’t able to do because of his health, he wasn’t even supposed to be taking hour walks but he did. I still believe God wanted him back and I am hurting but I can’t be mad. By the way, all that’s grieving please just pray to God for healing. I know there’s a lot of people claiming to be Mediums and Psychic. We all want to hear from our loved ones, especially significant others cause if you’re like me you feel like you serve no purpose, thats the devil that wants you to feel useless. God still needs you to do his will, before you can leave this Earth. Do not contact those Mediums and Psychics they are not your loved ones, those are dark spirits and right now you all will be an easy target in a vulnerable moment. God Bless!

  15. Last week I lost my husband of 31 years. His death was sudden and unexpected. My heart goes out to each of you who have lost your spouse. I cry for myself, for my children who lost their father, and for those who never had the chance to know him. He was my world, the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend, my mentor, and an unending source of joy in my life. I don’t know how I will cope without him. I want to be with him so badly. I miss him so much.

    • Hello Christina
      Your so not alone, I lost my lovely partner and mum of our 4 year old boy in October 2016, I’m going through a very torturous time at the mo, constantly thinking about her and all the happy times we had as a family, now it’s just me and my boy, trying to bring him up as she would have wanted, and it hurts so much to see him playing happily and not really knowing where she is, especially as he going to start Primary school this year, a date I know my partner was so looking forward to seeing.
      Still so very painful, and I can’t really accept she’s gone even though I know she has.
      It would be nice if all who have posted could get together for one big comforting group hug !

  16. Last week I lost my husband of 31 years. His death was sudden and unexpected. My heart goes out to each of you who have lost your spouse. I cry for myself, for my children who lost their father, and for those who never had the chance to know him. He was my world, the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend, my mentor, and an unending source of joy in my life. I don’t know how I will cope without him. I want to be with him so badly. I miss him so much.

    • Cristina,
      The love of my life and my best friend was gone a years down a hard ago and I am still missing her everyday. We started as high school sweet hearts and we were together for 42 years. I am still struggling relaunching my life but that is what she wanted me to do, living and maybe finding happiness again. Good luck, breath deep and a step and a day at a time.

  17. I lost my husband unexpectedly 15 days ago. I waited 46 years to find my soul mate, my first marriage, and now my life is completely upside down. I know I will miss him for the rest of my days and will always love him, but does it ever get easier? I’m 50 and I feel like my life is now over. I have read so many blogs and websites about losing a spouse or soul mate, and hardly any seem to give me hope that I will ever love again or have any meaningful relationships. They are all doom-and-gloom. I know we are all different, but is there anyone out there who has gone through this and has had any sort of positive outcome in their life? PS: I don’t have children ( 2 older step sons who pretty much have their own lives), and don’t have a close-knit family for support. I just feel lost and hopeless about the future. My husband was my world.

  18. I recently lost my wife suddenly on June 21, 2017. She had a small stroke on June 17 that was successfully treated in the emergency room with a clot buster medication. We were told she would spend a few days in the ICU step down unit and then come home. On June 19, she had another stroke that was massive. She was put on life support. I was shocked. Three years ago, we completed healthcare directive forms were we made clear our wishes in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury. if there was to be no quality of life then we did not want any advanced life support procedures performed. On June 21, after reviewing the CT and MRI scans with the doctors, I asked them to shut off the ventilator. She passed away two hours later. We were married 20 years. I feel as if my heart has been ripped apart. I have worked as a fire department paramedic all my life, so death is no stranger to me. The grief I am experiencing right now is being belief and comprehension. I feel as if I cannot go on.

  19. I lost my husband 8 months ago and am still trying to come to grips with the reality of losing him. He spent the last few years in hospital, and I was with him every day after work, as well as the weekends. I am lost without him and one of the most agonizing things for me, at the moment, is the feeling that I can’t “protect” him anymore, or make sure that he is comfortable, as I was constantly advocating for him while he was hospitalized. I wanted him to experience beauty, the excitement of life, and be surrounded by love and support always. I can’t help him anymore, and it’s killing me. I want him to know that he is loved, and missed terribly, so I talk to him constantly, in the hopes that he can hear me. I want to believe that he can, so that gives me some sense of peace. I was honored to be his wife, and we so fully appreciated each other. I was lucky to have him for as long as I did (22 years). I am relating 100% to all the comments that I’m reading from everyone who has and is suffering through their loss. It is truly enormous and I feel for you all.

  20. My husband died at home on hospice exactly 1 month ago yesterday. I can’t cry. We loved each other so much and were all each other had but I just can’t cry. I feel like if I start, I won’t stop. There is so much to do and everyone I know thinks I am doing fine because I didn’t cry. They tell me I am so strong and inside I just want to scream. They tell me this is my new normal and I just have to get used to it. He was funny and strong and never let life get him down. Everyone who knew hiim, loved him. The house is too quiet and the bed too empty. I just miss him!

    • Dear No-crying,
      As I had to be the strong one during my loved wife fight with cancer, I promised her not to cry until she had gone. A year and a half later I moved to the other side of the world and I finally have started crying. I read that crying is not because we are weak, it is because we have been stronger for way too long.
      I might tell you that crying have left me relieved, and still missing her a lot, but relieved, and extremely sensitive. When will it stop, I do not have a clue, but at least the words that I wanted to tell her as goodbye were finally said. Good luck for you. Hope you find your tears someday soon.

  21. My husband died 1 year and a half ago. WE were married for 13 years and in love for 24. All of these points are exactly right. He was just as perfect for me as he could ever get. I wish so much …him.
    How in the world am I supposed to get over being Queen and being adored? He always said, “Happy wife is happy life”. Well wife ain’t happy.

  22. Hello Paul,
    I feel your pain by how you have expressed loving and missing your wife. Not many people (men) are brave enough to put that raw emotion out there. But guess what, that is part of the healing process. Maybe not so much “healing” but it is a process.
    I am sorry for your loss. Sounds like you and your Beagle need to take some long walks together. Look around at Gods beauty, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy beautiful sunsets and know that you are still here for a reason. Take care my friend…

    • Thank you, Sylvie. We have taken many, many walks together but she is a “senior” dog now so I need to prepare myself for yet another loss within a year or two.
      While the walks help I cannot let go of my grief–I feel that familiar pain every day and instead of diminishing, the loss is more pronounced now than it had ever been in the past. I truly feel that I will never be able to move on from this loss.

      • Just reading the posts as it will be a month since my husband of 28 years passed away unexpectedly. I’ve been very weepy today but was so worried about you when I read your posts. Please let us know that you are ok and still progressing through this torture that we are all trying desperately to navigate through. I hope that things have got better for you.
        I miss my husband terribly. I feel that I also died that day as I am a totally different person now, so lonely and fearful and lost.

  23. I would like to clarify one thing about my post. I re-read it and some may get the wrong impression. In no way was I advocating or condoning taking your own life. I was simply trying to say that it is normal to think about it but it is NOT normal or ok to act on such thoughts. The first time I thought about it I thought there was something wrong with me but my therapist explained that it is normal to have such thoughts, but it is not ok to do anything. As hard as the last 2 years have been I would never seriously consider such a thing because I know my wife would never want me to do it. So as hard as it is I take one day at a time and have the belief that there is a reason for everything, no matter how wrong it seems nor how painful it is.
    Apologies for any misunderstanding.

  24. First, this truly is an amazing site. When I read many of these posts I realize that there are others who understand just how devastating it is to lose a spouse. I just wish there were more posts by widowers because I think there is this misconception that husbands somehow are able to suck up better than wives and nothing could be further from the truth.
    My wife passed away from a chronic illness on 12/2/14, almost 6 months to the day after my mother passed away in our home after 2 years of caring for her even though she had no idea who I was due to her Alzheimer’s.
    My wife and I were married for 23 years and there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t thank God I was married to her. She was the funniest, kindest and most wonderful person I ever met.
    It’s been over 2 years and I still cannot get through a day without crying. That hole in my soul will never be filled and that pain can be so searing at times that you would do ANYTHING to have them back–even joining her in death. If anyone here says they never thought about it I don’t believe them. C’mon, we all have thought about it, but thinking and doing are 2 very different things. And yet to even consider it tells you just how devastating of a loss it is. A loss which, at times, is unbearable.
    There are times when I miss her so much that I don’t know how I will make it through the day–but I do. Then night comes and it starts all over again when I crawl into bed and have no one to spoon with–no one to share what we used to call the “best part of the day”. My heart breaks every night when I go to bed alone; when I reach for her and there is nothing to hold; no neck to kiss and no drifting off to sleep knowing that I am the luckiest man in the world.
    There are so many days when I feel like I am just going through the motions as time passes. This isn’t living–it is merely existing. Unfortunately I have no support system with the sole exception of the only other one who has been with me through all of this and without whom I surely would have shuffled off thus mortal coil: my Beagle. I truly believe that dogs are God’s perfect creature: they give unconditional love and ask for so little in return. I would not have made it this far without her.
    Please, for those of you who don’t have a pet please consider getting one. I am one of you and can tell you that having a dog is the one thing which makes all this bearable. Thanks for “listening”.

    • Hey Paul, my wife just past may 18th and buried her on June 1st from brain cancer at 51. We dealt with since November 4 th 2016! You have described me to the T!!! Everything you feel and go thru is exactly the Same. Only instead of a dog I have a 6 yr old grandson & a 7 year old granddaughter we been raising for the last 4 years that I put on a fake smile for everyday! I think everyday of joining my wife, I can’t and won’t take my own life, but I do welcome the thought of someone else doing it,, like a truck crossing over into my lane, but I have the children!!! I often think what my beautiful wife would want me to do, but I’m just so lost without her!!! We had the Love I think only a few of us ever have! I would like to connect with you sometime I think talking with someone with so much in common might help us both! It’s my first time on this site. You can email thanks for sharing your personal feeling and pain, your definitely not alone brother!


    • Hi Natalie- Our site is dedicated to coping so there are many posts on how to being the long process of coping. If there is something specifically you want some support with please let us know and we can point you in the direction of some articles that may help.

      • Ok, agree with Natalie, all 28 points are completely true but like she says, ‘now what’? I guess read about coping……Thanks for calling out my grief.

  26. WYG is one of the only places I can visit where I feel people truely understand the depths of pain we all endure losing loved ones. My heart goes out to you Rebecca, such as loss is life changing and excruciating. My tears are flowing as I write because I share your pain of a lost sweetheart, my husband left me with my two young boys, in death last year. It hurts everyday.

    Please look after yourself, it’s so important.


  27. Wow – I can’t believe I just found this site. What an amazing article and so spot on. My husband died 15 years ago – I was 32 years old, he was 36. Our oldest son was just shy of 3 years and our second son was only 6 days old. I didn’t even get to grieve properly – just went right into taking care of the children. I found healing and comfort through my support group and we are all still so close – “sistahs”. In fact, we started a local grief resource center with the sole purpose of being there for others who are grieving – there are so many of us out there – no one has to be alone on this new journey – it’s Life A and Life B and so many times, Life B sucks. Prayer and exercise helped a lot too. I used to say this to myself over and over “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” There is also an amazing book by Tom Zuba “Permission to Mourn” – it’s like having a conversation with someone who truly gets it. I wish for healing for everyone on this site – death is never easy and most especially when it happens suddenly, violently and way too soon. Sending hugs to you all…

    • I want to thank everyone for this site, it has been truly comforting(which isn’t easy to do these days) It will be 2 weeks tomorrow without “The love of my life”, passed suddenly in a motorcycle accident. What makes it more heartbreaking; not only do I mourn the loss of him at home we also worked together, so I have the loss of him there too. I haven’t been back to work yet , I just can’t grasp the thought that I wont see him walking into my office , Or him giving me a kiss before leaving my office. I just feel like I can’t go on without him!!! My heart is filled with so much emptiness and sadness. It’s my hope with everyone’s post I will receive comfort in my days to come.

  28. Sorry I noticed my email was incorrect it’s only one t and I corrected it below

  29. This was a wonderful article to read and my son at age 33 passed away on 8/17/2016 and his birthday is on Halloween and I’m just learning to get through a day at a time with God seeing me through

  30. I agree with everyone, very specific and spot on with this. I too had trouble reading all the way through. It was one of those quick and powerful cry’s. It’s #28 that I found to be the one that bugs me a lot. Unlike a lot of others I have no desire or intention to find a new mate. Paul was it for me and I have trouble wrapping my head around being alone the rest of my life. I say out loud those words, “I can’t believe I’m solo now”. It’s lonely.

  31. My husband passed away 5/8/16 at age 77. We had 61 years together, married 57 yrs. I know I should feel blessed to have had a lifetime with my best friend, first and only love and soulmate. Our lives were so deeply entwined. But, unfortunately, the longer and deeper the relationship the greater the heartbreak. He was my rock, and my very strength was derived from him and his constant love and protection. I am now 79 and have accepted the fact that I will never get over the loss. He was my entire live and my reason for living so I must live out the rest of my days grieving for him and praying that God will eventually reunite us for eternity !!!!

  32. I loved the article, so spot on. I lost my husband three years, six months ago today. We were married 38 years. In my quest to understand grief, I discovered that we grieve because we love. The more we love, the greater our grief. We all have our story to tell. I recommend a book, I have read that has altered my life and my faith in God. “Beyond The Broken Heart”. Julie Yarbrough. I take my journey day by day.

  33. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and also your financial worries.
    I hope all goes well with your disability application. My husband has been gone for a year and a half and I miss him terribly…I sold the house in order to have less bills to pay and simplify my life. Also when you live in an apartment you have security and many people around you to talk with. But you have to make that first step, so be strong.
    I am sending you Birthday Wishes and a hug. :o)
    You aren’t alone in the world, but you will feel that way if you don’t venture out even if its just for a walk or a coffee. Don’t segregate yourself from people, talk to them, they may know other people to give you ideas and help.

  34. This described me perfectly! My husband of 23 years passed away 2 years ago and today is my birthday- October 25th and I’m really wishing he were here with me! Everything has gotten harder since he’s been gone! He was my best friend, my only friend. I’m so lonely without him, but I don’t want to have to start dating again at 48 years old. I’m worried about finances because I never worked. Now if I don’t get approved for disability, I will have to find a job. I’m scared of this new life and being alone and depressed the rest of my life! ???

  35. Every single thing that was listed is so very true. I could see myself in all 28. I lost my best friend, my lover, my confidante, my precious husband, over a year ago and my grief is more today than it was the day that he died.

  36. You left out financial partner. When my husband died, I lost 2/3 of the income that had been coming in. Because of that, I was unable to pay his hospital bills (he had no insurance) and had to file for bankruptcy. He would never have wanted that for me, but he had always said he would never go to a hospital so he didn’t think it was important. Thus, I had that additional stress on top of my loss. Somehow I made it through, but it was so hard. (BTW, I love this blog but the grey type is really hard to read. It would be so helpful if you could bump it up to be darker.)

  37. This is an AMAZING list. SPOT ON. I lost my husband of 9 years to suicide September 2015. Thank you for this list. I will be sharing it on my FB page. Thank you, Nik Tebbe.

  38. We’d been together 8 years and last Christmas was our first together (lived 3 hours apart). The celebration was never to come, as he died from a massive heart attack in the wee hours of Christmas morning. Being ‘just the girlfriend’ somehow feels like people expect my pain to be less. I find myself feeding in to that, pretending that I’m ok-er than I truly am. I find that reading this list was validating. To see so many of my feelings in black and white, assures me that I’m not alone, and not crazy.

  39. Hello Jackie, my heart goes out to you.
    I understand where you are coming from and I also understand when you say your family is disengaged. I have two children who are both married. One lives far away with children of her own and I understand she is busy with her own life. She does call me, but its not the same as being here.
    The one here doesn’t have time to hear how I feel, as he keeps himself busy, so he doesn’t have to deal with the loss of his father.
    That’s unfortunate, as at one time we were very close, so now for me, I feel I have lost twice.
    Sending you hugs as I know how it feels to be alone in the world after having a loving mate who I was sure would be with me for many more years yet.

  40. This is an amazing site. I lost my husband of 48 years 2 yrs ago and I cannot move on. Our family is “disengaged” to say the least so I’m on my own. My husband & I were a life long team and conquered all our family obstacles….without him I’m lost and not motivated. However this site shows me that I am not alone in grieving and we all are working thru the pain that encompasses our lives. I will be back & thank you……I need this.

  41. thanks for something to help me cope

  42. My heart breaks for you, the loss of your loved one and the terrible way he died. My husband has been gone for over a year and I still break down. Life is strange as to why these things happen. But you will continue to find strength and be surprised to see where it comes from. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. Sending hugs and a shoulder to lean on.

  43. My husband was killed in front of me on 5/10/16. We saved a woman from being stabbed to death in a restaurant. We went out to enjoy a dinner and a movie and never made it there. The reality that he is never going to walk in my door again, walk down the hall, bring me a cup of coffee in bed hurts me so much, I can barely breathe. The pain is overwhelming. My throat hurts, my chest tightens, I cry uncontrollably, my head swirls and my heart and gut break into a million pieces – this happens daily now. I thought I was doing so good with it all. I was busy building his legacy with his beloved students so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed and sad that I guess I didn’t want to grieve. So now, it’s all hitting me. I went to dinner at a restaurant the other day, (I still can’t bring myself to cook in my house – I did that for HIM – EVERYDAY!) there were 6 older couples there – I broke down and had to leave for a “breather” I wanted to grow old with my husband! I sucked it up and went back in, and laughed all night with one hot ticket of a woman! Bottom line is, my husband is gone. I miss him dearly! I can’t bring myself to think of what’s going to come so I deal with today and today only.

    • Oh Rosemary, I am so sorry. What a devastating and traumatic event to have gone through. It is very common immediately after a loss to be in a state of shock or numbness. It can then be shocking, confusing and overwhelming when this begins to shift and other intense emotions flood in. Your comment brought to mind a number of other posts we have that may be of support. I have linked them below – I hope they are of some help.

      Grief After A Traumatic Loss
      The Myth of Keeping Busy
      Crying In Public

      I hope you find our site to be of some support in the weeks and months to come. Take care.

  44. So traumatic, so final, so cruel.

  45. Wow, that’s my life exactly , tomorrow is the first anniversary of my husband’s death . He was the most unique loved by all kind of man , we spent 25 years together as he was 28 yrs my senior , being the soul mate to him gave my life so much meaning , the life he had had before me he said was very incomplete . When we met we never parted.. pancreatic cancer ravaged his body in 74 days … he was the oldest of 8 siblings he had 7 children I had 2 we had one … as you can tell a very large family …. the tacky , unkind behavior took place as soon as his body left our house , and there I was surrounded by a large number of folks who quickly let evil or ugly rear it’s head … what I am trying to say is the only way I’ve gotten thru has been the deep strong relationship with Jesus .. I sat back in hopes they would come back to the people I had called my family as well for 25 years … WRONG , so I will be removing each and everyone if the change didn’t come after one year it’s never going too is it?? Broken and confused. The gap in our ages never meant a thing to me but he was 78 and I just turned 51 … help me move on… I don’t know where to start. Thank you and thank you all for allowing me to share my heart …

  46. After 5 1/2 years my life still feels so surreal at times….Sometimes I still feel shocked that the universe saw fit to separate us after only 16 years…I waited so long for my true soul mate …he was my everything …if we have a thousand lives, I want to be with him in every one of them. I’m functional…i work at a nursing home…I laugh and goof off with my co workers and boss and I love the residents and focus on making their days a little better if I can ….working there has been good for my soul…but once I get in my car to head home my mind starts to wander…the littlest thing can trigger memories of moments in time when he was alive and my world was right regardless of life’s ups and downs…I can feel the way I felt back then…I’m there for a moment and it’s so lovely…and then it’s gone and my reality smacks me in face….again. I have a male friend that I see occasionally…he’s very nice…very understanding…a good ear…but as much as I appreciate his friendship he is still just a band aid over a bullet hole that never really stopped bleeding and we both know we’ll never be a real couple…So…Ive learned to coexist with my grief and mask the fact that I still cry almost every night…five years has done nothing to diminish my love or yearning to just be with him..or question why this happened to us…I feel cheated and defeated knowing I’ve already lived the best years of my life….that I will never feel that care free happy love I experienced when we’d steal a catnap together…

    I appreciate that I can articulate my crazy here without being told time heals all wounds ( because it’s a lie ) or he would want me to be happy ( I know that ) I gave up trying to find a site that doesn’t try to sugarcoat the bitterness of being stranded on the planet without my soul mate or make me feel like I’m mentally ill because I’m heartbroken..and there’s nothing I can do about it. So thank you for providing a place to vent and caring about others who are grieving in spite of your own. I know it’s not encouraging to hear that sometimes there’s just not much light at the end of the tunnel…I am sorry any of us have cause to be here…it’s a rough ride….

    • I understand your pain. Most the Lewis ‘ve of my last few after only 7 years together. Most days are ok but then other times the wave of emotions just overwhelm me. I am blessed to live in a active retirement community and I attend a great bereavement group. Don’t know how I would get through this without them. As many changes as I miss Ben I am so grateful for the years we had together. He was my soulmate and I know he is still with me.

    • The love of my life ended his life on May 3rd. we were actually divorced (his decision) and it was ‘officially’ 1 year apart at the end of April. He was still my best friend, and despite the divorce, we remained close – talking or texting every day – all I ever wanted was for his happiness, and he thought he could have that without the marriage…..My emotions are all over the place. People I talk to tell me how much he loved me. I know he is at peace, and finally free from anxieties and all, but frankly, life without him sucks – he was the person that I would talk to about everything – he understood me, and I him. I don’t know why things happen in our lives, but believe there is a bigger plan, and pain is part of it, so we can appreciate the joy when we have it – I just feel so alone, even though I have friends and his family is being wonderful. We are preparing for two services – one coming up and another will be in Florida, where we lived. I live in NC now. I just want to know that he is ok – I do believe that the soul and spirit are still around, and he had the most beautiful spirit. I read so many of the posts here and feel so sad that there are so many of us with this huge hole in our hearts. I too cry daily and have accepted that too – if people think I should just ‘get over it’, well, that’s their issue and I really don’t care – I want to live a good life, I know he would want that, but I ask myself if I will ever be as happy as I was in our good years, and I know that was a special gift and we went through a lot to get there….so grateful I had that, not many people do. I’m 54, I also have MS, so what a package I am – although, I am one of the lucky ones there too, as I work full-time and am mostly ‘normal’!! I know that grief is a ‘process’, but I don’t agree with the ‘time heals’ – I fear that this ache will be with me and I will just need to make room for it and accept it as part of my normal….thanks for this site and for having an outlet…

  47. I would like to say “Thank you” to everyone who has opened their heart in the above messages. They are such a comfort to me in my grief, just knowing that others feel my pain and fears. I often feel almost crazy with longing for my Pete and the pain is really physical but it helps me to read that what I am feeling is not unusual. God bless us all

  48. I can relate to all of the above.

    8 days ago I returned from a night shift, climbed into bed and kissed my partner then went to sleep.

    1 hour later my daughter found her collapsed in the bathroom.

    4 days ago my family and I gathered around after her ventilator was turned off and watched her slip away.

    I am new to grieving and I don’t like it.

    • Oh my gosh, my sympathies to you and your daughter. There are no words to express the loss you both are feeling right now. Whatever you do, don’t shut down.
      Reach out to your daughter, as I am sure she feels so lost right now as well. Spend time with friends and family and they will give you the strength you need to get through one day at a time. Take care and God Bless.

  49. Thank you for this real post. I’ve read no other piecde that has hit the nail on the head more than this one. There is quite a bit of grief material that one can find, and I’ve found a fair amount, and this article is at the top. Though I’m fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive family, support network and community, the grief is overwhelming. My husband passed six years ago and it is still like yesterday. After just selling our family home and moving into a home where my husband will not physically live, he is still with me every moment. I’ve learned to keep his love with me while opening my heart to new emotional attachments. His love will never leave me but after some time, I’m comfortable accepting the affection and connection with new romantic partners. In an odd way (with no guilt), it’s interesting to date in my 50s. My kids – 20 and 23 – are still my focus and I try hard to carry on the memory of their dad. As they mature, they are still processing the loss of their dad.

    Thank you for posting grief articles that keep us thinking, sharing, healing, hurting but still thinking. The grief process is endless and ever evolving.


  50. My beloved husband died 17 days after suffering a stroke in Florida. After coping alone for the time he was ill and also the cremation abroad,I fell apart mentally and physically and two years later I have not regained any will to live. Also,my friends,initially supportive, seem to think that I should be OK after two years and their sympathy is definitely waning. I sometimes think bad thoughts such as ‘I wonder how they will feel when it happens to them’. People tell me to focus on the good memories but they make me sad too as we had a really close good marriage. Sometimes I think it would have been easier if our marrIage had not been good

    • Hello Isabelle, I am so sorry for your loss. My husband has been gone for almost a year and some family members think I should be over it already. What they don’t realize is a part of us has been torn away. We will never be the same and no one should expect us to just pick up and move on. Not going to happen. We all grieve differently. I may seem happy at times when I am around other people, but when I go home alone, they do not see my sorrow. It’s mine and I own it. I too loved my husband very much, but for you to have lost him and have had him cremated abroad has definitely not given you the right amount of time to grieve properly. Everything sounds like it was rushed. Of course you are hurting. Please know that there are others who feel just the way you do. I have asked myself so many times, why would I have been given such a great love only to have him torn from me. I always thought we would die together, but God had other plans. Please try and get into a coffee group or whatever where you will be allowed to express your hurt, anger, sadness, loneliness and loss. Where people listen and are not judgemental. I feel your pain. Scream into a pillow if you must. But get it out. Very important for your health and sanity.Sending hugs to let you know you really aren’t alone even though it feels like you are and you think no one understands you. Believe me Isabelle, many of us are in the same place you are. We just have to find something that helps us get out of bed every morning even if it’s just for a cup of coffee to give you that kick start.

  51. There are no words to accurately describe the misery of losing my dear husband.

    The utter inner devastation and soul-sickness is overwhelming.

    Can`t believe I`ll ever recover from this.

  52. Thank you for helping us who have lost loved ones, feel that we are in this together.
    Your understanding of what we go through is a God send. Please continue on your quest to help those of us in need of sympathy, understanding and compassion.

  53. Thank you, my husband died very suddenly on 19th Jan. He was 62 and we’d been together for 33 years. We don’t have children but everything else in your article rings so true for me. I have no idea how I’m meant to go forward without him. I ache with the loss and alternate between feeling shattered for myself and overwhelmingly sad for him.

    • I am so sorry Lynn…hope our site is of some small support.

    • My husband also died suddenly…we were together for over 30 years, just him and I.
      I`m feeling those emotions of sadness for him ….and also feeling so shattered that no amount of time or effort is ever going to fix me.

      • J.

        I can imagine you’re feeling many emotions right now. No, I don’t think any amount of time can ‘fix’ you or put you back together. Life will never be the same and you will always grieve this loss. I know it’s hard to believe that you will ever feel okay again. I have hope that you will feel okay again someday…and that you will find meaning and reason for getting out of bed in the morning….but it’s absolutely okay for you not to believe in it. We’ll be here….keep checking in…let us know how your doing.


  54. As always, a spot on post. As I was slowly coming to some kind of terms with losing my husband of 31 years, 11 years ago (12/2/04), my 28 year old daughter, my best friend, roommate, companion, my significant other, was taken from me suddenly this summer. I envy those whose faith gives them peace. I am not there. I go to a grief group, therapy, journal, read WYG, but at the end of the day, she is not here, my heart is forever broken, again, and I am alone. Yes, I am blessed to have 3 other children and grandchildren, and lots of people who love me, but again, I am here alone, too tired to start all over again. I know, one day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time. God give me the strength….

    • Oh Gloria, I am so sorry…sending good thoughts, knowing it can all feel so impossible. Sounds like you are doing so many of the ‘right’ things, but that doesn’t change the immense pain and yearning.

  55. This was on point and stated in clear, focused terms. My husband died a year ago and, despite the comfort of family and friends, I am so terribly lonely without him, for all of the many reasons you listed. I find it hard to believe that I could find someone like him to love me, know me, and care for me as he did. Or that I could find someone as wonderful as him. It took a lifetime (nearly 35 years) to build up that knowledge of each other. It is at least good to have this outlet (and a local grief support group) that understand this sadness. I keep wondering when it will get better but it only seems to ebb and flow.

    • Mel- I think those ebbs and flows are something that we all have to get used to in grief. Sometimes, for me, better doesn’t feel like the best word. Maybe different, maybe more manageable. But the good days and bad days are always there.

  56. Thank you for this post. We didn’t have children together, but every other point is what I experience every day. It’s very difficult, especially the realization that I’m totally, utterly alone and will live the rest of my life without my husband, best friend, constant companion, lover, my confidant, my cheerleader . . .

    • I am so sorry Bea…take care

    • Bea,
      I know exactly what you feel. My husband and I married later in life, in our 40’s and had no children. But he was my everything. Neither of us had been married before; both waited for that true love of our lives. We made it to 5 anniversaries, he died December 4, 2014 and we were married on February 14. He, too, was my biggest encouragement. He loved me completely unconditionally. He helped to bring out so much I had kept hidden most of my life. It is just over 14 months and it hurts more now. My life is just muddled and when the few rays of light do get in, it hurts because I can’t share it with him. I still am at the selfish point, where having his “spirit” with me is NOT enough.

      • I know exactly how you feel, Maryanne. Illinois st my Ben last August. We were together seven years and married four. He was my second husband and the love of my life. I am blessed that I had him in my life and though I miss him physically, I feel his presence so strongly. I am also grateful for a strong support system here in my community. Thanks for your sharing.

  57. this is so comforting to know that im still sane when I feel all that listed in this article. thank you and God bless

    • So glad you found this helpful Rabecca…

      • This April 19, 2016 my husband Steven of 31 years, died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. He was 66. I was in the other room when he did it. I can’t get the vision of his body twitching out of my head. I knew he was depressed but had no idea he was in such a dark place. We loved each other. We expressed this to each other everyday. As I look back these last few months I still can’t believe he is gone from my life. He was such a sweetheart to me. I miss his good night kisses and hugs. He was my best friend and I miss him. I have to fight myself everyday to stand up wipe myself off and go forward. I just wanted to tell somebody and you wonderful people have helped me to see there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Thank you for listening.

  58. I think all of these things can relate to deserted wives and children your husband doesn’t have to die ! for you to experience all these emotions he just has to walk out the door and leave you alone with your broken hearted children who never talk about it just hold it all inside ? I know lots of women that deteriorated when their husbands left either by drinking themselves to death or giving up on life : thankfully I’m not one of them I stayed with my children and did the best that I could as I’m sure a lot of other single mothers have done : there was no compulsory child support in my day I probably could have gone to court and fought for it but I would rather have my kids than money any day ?

  59. I should have been an editor.

    This was a powerful and insightful read. But #22 should read your, not you’re.

    #18 should read even THOUGH, not even those.

  60. So many aspects of this feature rang true, that I found it hard to continue reading. It served as a harsh reminder of how much. I miss my wife and how much I took for granted during our forty years together.

  61. Thanks Eleanor. The post touched on so many points that I find difficult to explain and go a long way to explaining the complexity a loved one feels. My husband has been gone for 6 months and we have two sons aged 3 and 5. Most of the time during the day I try to get through the best at I can but the grief for our boys and their loss is so raw. Their questions are so innocent but break my strength every time. I’m trying so hard to keep affoat some days it’s just so hard to think of better days ahead.

    • Kate…I feel your pain. My husband died of a heart attack on June 30, 2015 while jet skiing on vacation. The most painful piece of this journey is watching my 7 year old daughter grieve as I do too. I try to remind myself that life is still beautiful and I have to show up for her. Sending lots of ? to you and your children. You are an amazing Mom…don’t forget that xo

  62. Everything listed here is a very good summary of how I feel at different times. My husband died suddenly and we were true partners in every way. He was all in, he kept my crazy intact, we balanced each other so well and now I am completely out of balance.

    • Bridget, I so relate to what you said. I lost my Ben in August last year. We had both lost spouses when we met. He understood my craziness too and we also balanced each other. We only had seven years together. I miss him so.

  63. i get the list- but its all about “I” and “me”, my grief stems from “his” bodily end in to this life. My precious son. Was he scared? Did he just fall asleep, how much pain was he in? He didn’t want to die, I had no idea he was going to, I kept telling him the heart surgeon said his heart was perfect, he wanted to go to Orcas Island again, his family wasn’t around him….. its horrible. My only comfort these last two years, is that Jesus was always with him and he is with Jesus now. Otherwise, I would die of grief. Today at midnight will be 2 years.

    • Lorna, I see your hope is in Christ! By knowing my husband of 49 years leaving me 8/23/15 was in Christ has been the only thing that has helped me through grieving! And knowing too He is in the arms of His Savior! My husband lost his leg 2/2007 and began using a prosthesis and did very well! In 2009 he had a heartattack and it disabled him more! In 2011 he had a stroke and at that time it was the beginning of a period of grief as I lost part of him, some of his personality, our communication, his ability to love me as he once did! It was a very hard time for us but we continued to lean on the Lord! I miss caring for him and having him here! But God has reasons for every event under Heaven! I want you to know that your post helped me today to express and face the reality Gene is no longer here! We just have to be thankful we know where they are and can reflect on all the wonderful memories! God’s blessings to you today! May God comfort you in your time of need!

  64. Every. Word. Truth.

  65. Great summary of many of the issues facing widows and widowers. Many widowed people don’t realized all they have lost for several years. I was widowed almost 29 years ago and have been working with widows and widowers in groups and privately for 24 years and these issues always come up.

    • Deborah, you’re amazing. My fiance(partner of 7 years) passed suddenly 5 years ago. There was no one external to my family to understand and support me. I want the same legacy as you! Happy to

  66. Valentine’s Day is our anniversary. How will I get through the first without my love. 38 years is a long time to love someone. I miss him every minute of everyday. It’s been almost a year and sometimes it feels like it’s been forever, and sometimes it feels like he was taken from us yesterday. My heart is shattered.

    • Dear Sara
      I fell just like you. My lovely Pete died 28th October 2015. It feels such a long time since I last saw him and then it seems just like yesterday. I miss him, oh I miss him and life seems not worth living without him. Each day is an obstacle to get over and I just don’t know how to live with a broken heart.


    • Our anniversary was also on Valentine’s day were married 41 yrs he was my everthing I miss him so he died Feb 17 2016 grieve has left me paralyzed my 4 sons have been wonderful but not sure they realize how much I have lost everday is so hard, does this get any easier

    • My husband and i were married on Valentines day also, it would have been 43 years this coming Valentines. He passed this August the 26.

    • Ladies, having trouble with my fiancé’s passing too, just want someone to understand, I would appreciate it so much xx

  67. This particular submission hit the nail on the head insofar as reactions to the loss of my beloved husband / partner. Each and every one resonates with me and they are all very accurate! We were a same gendered couple, deeply in love and married. It’s tough enough to surmount all the obstacles to get to that point but to then suddenly lose him after six years was devastating!

  68. I lost my husband of 21 years and 22 days suddenly and without warning on November 1, 2014. He died at home sitting at the dinner table in front of me and my two teenage sons. There are no words to adequately describe the trauma and pain of his loss, but after reading a multitude of articles and books on grief hoping for a magic recipe to help heal us I have to say that this is the most thorough compilation of the ways my life has been impacted. Of particular note is the section on parenting your children through this experience while grieving yourself; it is like tending to their wounds while your outer self has been ripped away and left you raw after your entire world collapsed around you without even knowing where to begin.

    Thank you.

    • I can relate to what you say. My kids were 9 and 12 when they lost their dad. It’s a tough road, and very lonely, but you do heal. For me, I can finally say I look to be alive again…it took 7 years!

  69. You have summed that up so well.
    My husband was also my business partner, so I’ve had to restructured our business and attend to its ongoing needs as well as ensuring our 3 young children are my priority.
    I lost my best friend, my children’s father, my lover & business partner with no warning.
    It’s tough.

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