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.

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March 28, 2017

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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”.

  4. OK……..SO NOW WHAT?? WHAT DO WE DO NOW? I AM SO LOST…..

    • Profile photo of Litsa Williams

      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.

  5. 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.

    Kate

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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 !!!!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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! ???

  14. 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.

  15. 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.)

  16. 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. http://www.niktebbe.com

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. thanks for something to help me cope

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

    • Profile photo of Litsa Williams

      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.

  23. So traumatic, so final, so cruel.

  24. 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 …

  25. 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…

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

    V

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

    • Profile photo of Litsa Williams

      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.

      • Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

        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.

        Eleanor

  33. 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….

    • Profile photo of Litsa Williams

      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.

  34. 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.

    • Profile photo of Litsa Williams

      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.

  35. 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 . . .

    • Profile photo of Litsa Williams

      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.

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

    • Profile photo of Litsa Williams

      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.

  37. 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 ?

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. Every. Word. Truth.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

      Eileen
      O

    • 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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!

  48. 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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