Widowed Dads: A Resource Round-Up
Types of Grief and Loss : Litsa Williams/
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Losing a spouse comes with challenges no matter the circumstances, something we have talked about before . But one specific type of loss we get many emails, questions, and comments about is coping with grief as a widowed father with young or teenage children. Many widowed dads who have reached out to us describe feeling alone and struggling to find resources specific to their experiences. Here at WYG we aim to fill gaps when we can, and though we know all parenting widows struggle, we want to take some time to round up resources for all those widowed dads out there.
We always hesitate to gender stereotype around here, but we know from research that men are just a lot less likely to seek support than women. So even if this post doesn’t apply to you, we encourage you to share it with any grieving dads in your life who might benefit. For some general info on parenting while grieving, check out this link for an article and this link for a podcast, and for tons of articles on supporting grieving children click here.
We want to give the comedian Patton Oswalt a big shout-out for bringing attention to this issue by speaking out about his grief as a spouse and father after the death of his wife last year. Oswalt has shined a light on the challenges of grieving his wife and parenting his grieving daughter, all while being able to laugh at himself and get people to laugh with him.
Blogs and Books from Widowed Dads
It is well researched that knowing what you’re going through is normal and you are not alone is really helpful in grief. Especially in those moments when you think you are going crazy and feel like no one else could possibly be going through the same thing. A great place for connecting to other’s experiences is through books and blogs, but unfortunately, women are far more likely to write about their experience of life after loss than men. This can leave widowed fathers feeling even more isolated. Luckily there are some books and blogs out there that are worth a look.
- Life as a Widower. This is a blog written by a father who lost his wife in an accident. Though he blogs less regularly than he used to, there is an impressive archive posts that share his grief from the very early days up through the present.
- It’s Not Raining Daddy, It’s Happy. This is a book by Benjamin Brook-Dutton, author of the Life as a Widower blog. It is not a compilation of posts, but rather a memoir of his life in the early years following his wife’s death.
- After All, a memoir. This memoir tells the story of a widowed father raising a daughter after his wife’s death following a 9 year battle with cancer.
- Split-Second Single Father. Written by a widowed dad whose wife died when he was 29, this blog chronicles several years of his life after the death. Though it is no longer updated with new posts, the site remains up so the archives can be read.
In addition to blogs and books, there are a handful a of websites out there dedicated specifically to the experience of grieving dads.
- Single Fathers Due To Cancer. This is a page started by the University of North Carolina. If you are local that area they have an in person support group for widowed fathers. If you are not, they have information for widowed dads that may be helpful for fathers who lost a partner to cancer or other causes.
- Single Dad. Though this site isn’t exclusively for widowed dads, it provides great information and resources around the challenges of being a single father.
- The Father Factor. Put out by the National Fatherhood Initiative, this blog is not specifically for widowed dads, but provides great general information for dads on the challenges of parenting.
- A Lifeline for Widowed Fathers. A New York Times article about widowed father’s finding support and connection through a support group.
- Remembering Fathers Are Also Widowed. Great article by Dr. Phyllis Silverman on Psychology Today about the unique aspects of grief and coping for widowed fathers.
- Young Widowed Fathers Often Find It Harder To Ask For Help A Telegraph article on the differences in support system and coping of widowed moms vs widowed dads, as well as differences in how they seek and ask for support.
Adorable video of a widowed cheer-dad doing his daughter’s hair for a cheer competition. He shares that he videos this not as a tutorial, but as an inspiration to other widowed dads and cheer dads to show that they can jump in and do their daughters’ hair too.
The first part of Jon Graves’ vlog post on his story of losing his wife and becoming a single dad. This is just the first video, but he has more on youtube!
Do you have suggestions for resources for grieving dads? If so, leave a comment to let people know! As always, subscribe to get new posts right to your inbox.
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After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:
17 Comments on "Widowed Dads: A Resource Round-Up"Click here to leave a Comment
Jeremy Wells August 3, 2022 at 11:04 pm
My soulmate of 27 years left me 4 months ago by suicide. Left a small note and a notebook with directions even garden plots for what was planted.. it’s way too much to go into but we ran a pawn/gun shop for a decade together and both left when she’d told me that someone there that we’d trusted was sexually harassing her for a while.. nothing was really done by the owner and it was a great slap in the face considering all we’d done for the place.. the guy is still there as he’d had much more seniority I suppose.. K was just too embarrassed and ashamed to do or say anything..
This was only after our daughter (I started raising at 8 mos) had given up 2 children to heroin.. we’ve had them over 5 years now with no help from anyone financially or physically.. it was a burden to feel the void of her chosing drugs over kids every day and it ate her alive..
About a week after we’d left the shop, a hospital 2 hours away (where daughter lives) called K and said they had her 3rd baby “kash” with his ear torn off by a pit bull and our daughter had just dropped him off and told them to call her mother.. when they called that day I could see the last of anything leave my sweet K. No matter what I did or said, it was done..
I write the saddest songs, on a side note.. they never helped anything and sometimes even made it clearer how wrong things were.. I struggled for over 20 years trying to hide in my lyrics and she knew it.. took every word or story right to heart.. Toward the end the very voice I’d won her with, she couldn’t bear to listen to say such things.. and I understand now.. it’s our 15 year old son that I worry so much for.. he’s my only blood and our truest connection.. he is my high ground and I try so hard to let him know.. he’s been so gracious to share his parents with an 8 yr old boy and 10 year old girl..
Like I said, it’s a way deeper well than I wanna dive anymore.. I still cry every day and wonder how I’m gonna do it.. I’ve had to cancel gigs (my only income) cause I just can’t say the words..
Everything we had saved is draining faster than I can keep up with.. needless to say, we couldn’t afford to get the baby as there’s not savings for him to live properly.. I want to try and get help but I just don’t know the steps and if I can deal with such a hoop dance right now.. these kids have been forgotten and we’ve done all we could do to keep them safe and progressing.. it’s beyond me how someone can say no to them.. I have nothing.. but they have me.. my sweet K just couldn’t push anymore when our daughter wouldn’t acknowledge us or the kids. I noticed the day before K tried to video chat with our daughter and she never would answer. She still doesn’t pay a tear for my wife or her children.
They start school tomorrow.. the grands in 3rd and 5th grade.. my son a freshman in high school.. I’m terrified to be in this house alone for the first time.. I practically live in my garage because I can’t be in there.. I haven’t slept in a bed since and it keeps my exhausted..
I caught her twice the week before and even found and unloaded the gun once.. I just couldn’t catch her this time. A kook took about 20 minutes to diagnose my Kendra and give her 2 types of pills that took her from me so fast my head is still spinning.. pills notorious for what happened.. and she didn’t believe in them.. it was the last trust she’d put in man..
Please listen to my story as it’s all I have of us.. my name is Jeremy Wells if you’d like to find my music.. her name was Kendra Wells and she was a light brighter than I’ve ever known..
Tell them that you love them even when they don’t listen.. every day
Litsa August 8, 2022 at 5:45 am
That is so much to have been through, Jeremy . . . I hope that you can find some support from friends or from a support group that can help with some of the loneliness. I hope your music allows some expression of both he deep grief, but also as a way to honor Kendra.
Bim January 23, 2021 at 9:47 am
My wife died five years ago fifteen months after giving birth to premature twins at 29 weeks. She got told a week following that she had the extremely rare small bowel adenocarcinoma. Our son of five was devastated as was I.
We were the result of being best friends and I unexpectedly fell in love with someone I thought I would not. Since the day I heard her last breath, I wake up every day wishing I was dead as I am now a shell of the person I used to be.
I try so hard for my son and two daughters who are now six and ten. I have next to no parenting ability and very little money to help. I get no assistance from family or the authorities. I also have no friends. My only real friend has gone. I have people who occasionally say that they are my friend but they are acquaintances at best.
My mental health has been damaged so much I cannot remember the last time I was happy. I have asked for support but I end up either being offered to take medication or counselling on being positive. For someone like me this is useless. I am also someone diagnosed with asd (specifically aspergers). I find health professionals talk to me like I’m a child.
I do hope one day I can wake up and not simply wish I was dead.
Isabelle Siegel January 25, 2021 at 10:09 am
Bim, I’m truly so sorry for your loss and for the pain you are experiencing. I’m also sorry to hear that you feel so alone. Please know that, no matter what, you are not alone. The What’s Your Grief community is here to show you that. I know you mentioned that you have not had success with health professionals, but perhaps it would be helpful to speak with a therapist specifically trained in grief and bereavement. You can find one here: https://complicatedgrief.columbia.edu/for-the-public/find-a-therapist/. Sometimes it can take a while to find the right “fit” in a therapist: https://whatsyourgrief.com/finding-a-grief-counselor/ If you are thinking of hurting yourself, or even if you just need someone to talk with, please call the National Suicide Helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website where you can do a live online chat https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ All the best to you and your family.
Tony O July 16, 2021 at 12:55 am
Bim, your comment has made me cry my eyes out as it reminds me so much of how I felt when i lost my young wife and was left with a 4yo daughter. For so long, i eished it was me who passed so that Emily could have her mom😔.
I just want to assure you that you will find happiness again but you MUST accept help from others. I tried to cope alone and it was too much for me. If it wasn’t for the lve for my daughter i’m pretty sure i wouldnt be here now.
Sending you love❤️
Michael Thompson February 17, 2020 at 12:43 am
As i I am sure you never look at this anymore bc your post is from 2017 but man I am in the exact same boat. My wife pulled the trigger and left me with my 9 year old and 3 year old little girls. I had struggled with drug issues and had two years sober and on New Years going Into 2018 she just I guess had enough. Sometimes I feel like I am doing ok but then sometimes I know I am not and I have no clue what to do about it. I can relays so i have to everything you wrote though. Wish there was someway to talk to you. Wish anyone could ever just understand. I wish she had died in a car wreck. It’s like her dying 3 or 4 different ways bc of all the different worries and grief that come with this. And I had to tell you girls. Hell she FaceTimed them literally seconds before she did it. I have Trouble holding on more than people know. I need help but i don’t even know what the help would be. Lost on a road that won’t fork no matter what I try. God what i would do for a fork
Carolina October 23, 2021 at 12:49 pm
My husband left behind our beautiful children, some days the reality of what happened just hits me & I am in shock. Worries & grief overwhelm me & I can’t function. I can’t talk to anyone about it, one because they won’t understand & two because I just simply cannot, it hurts to my bone. I’m very sorry for your loss.
Shari February 2, 2020 at 2:40 pm
I commend all of widowers who are doing their best, trying to pick up the pieces of their own lives and those of their child or children. I come from the other end of the spectrum. I was an 11 yr old daughter of 5 children left for my father to raise after my mom died or colon cancer in 1971 when times were much simpler. Three things that I feel haven’t changed over the course of 49 yrs is LOVE, TRUST & SECURITY. A child growing up without a mom needs 2x the amount of these 3 gifts. I had a very complicated life after my mother passed. In a time when children stayed at home a lot because their weren’t the activities there are in today’s world, the only place we went was to school, church and our grandmas, I was glued to my mama’s hip, wanting to learn & be part of everything I seen her do raising a family on a dairy farm. When she passed without my sister (9) and myself (11) being told she was going to die, my world came to an end I might as well as jumped in the grave with her. I had 3 older brothers (15) (16) & (17) who had their own drivers license, buddies, jobs AND girlfriends. Now they also didn’t have time for me. WOW, talk about rejection! I became the mom of the family at 11 yrs of age. My dad was the youngest of 12 kids, mostly boys. He really had NO idea how to raise an 11 & 9 yr old daughters. That was my mom’s job. Did I mention my dad was 100% German? Hugs and affection was NOT part of his world. This is just the beginning, maybe…
Anacleto Fernandes October 11, 2019 at 11:06 am
I am a single Dad with two sons 16 and 10 years.My wife passed away with Sudden Heart Attack.I some financial help to repay my friends which I borrowed.Please Please help us.
Andrew Moore August 7, 2019 at 4:56 pm
My wife passed from a brain aneurism after my oldest son’s suicide. I have four boys 13 and younger. I can’t keep up.
Craig October 7, 2018 at 11:35 pm
I’ve found comfort and direction in many of the articles and posts on wyg, thanks. As a single father of 14 and 18 year old daughters who’s mother, and my wife of 26 years, passed in minutes from a brain hemmorage i can attest that resources aren’t easy to find for men in my place.
Elaine February 4, 2019 at 11:42 pm
I totally understand. I’m recently widowed and am in my 40s, I wanted to reach out to find widows and widowers who are walking this path.. we have a 7 yr old Daughter and I m worried about her future n mine. So many firsts as a solo. And the void to fill to find a new normal. Friends have been trying to be helpful but it’s never the same, as they don’t fully understand.
Tim Overdiek June 7, 2017 at 8:57 am
I published my diary of the first year after my wife died in a traffic accident and my two boys and I stayed behind. Feel free to check it out at http://www.diaryofawidower.com It covers pretty much every hurdle any bereaved person has to take.
Christian April 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm
Thanks for posting this –
The BBC recently aired a documentary called ‘Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum and Dad’ and it follows him on his journey after his wife passed away from cancer. You can find it in the below link:
One of the authors mentioned above (Benjamin) also has a online support group that I am in, it’s exclusively for men who have lost their partner. I have found that to be tremendously helpful for myself, it’s part of my trinity of support (the other two pieces are one on one counseling for myself and then group support for my daughter and myself). You can message Ben or Dan on FB to get an invite. No one wants to be in this terrible club, but it’s really nice to be able to talk to other guys about this.
Ashu April 11, 2017 at 12:57 am
I am a father of two sons, aged 11 & 5, bereaved by suicide of my wife. 10 years of marriage having more ups than downs, but an argument one day resulted in her taking her own life and punishing us for rest of the life. It’s 2.5 years, but still every single moment my mind continue to run a film of my married life, in foreground or background. That emptiness and void never goes away. Life becomes a burden, a weight on heart that increases every day, making me feel that hopefully today is my last day alive.
It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions that no one can understand, leaves you feel exasperated.
Michele Neff Hernandez April 10, 2017 at 5:21 pm
Another great book is Two Kisses for Maddy by widowed dad, Matt Logelin. We also provide support and resources for widowed dads at Camp Widow® hosted by Soaring Spirits International. We love WYG and share your posts regularly, thank you for the work you do!
Marty Tousley April 10, 2017 at 12:16 pm
Thanks for this piece, Litsa. I’ve added a link to it at the base of my own post on a similar topic, Resources for Young Widow(er)s, here: https://j.mp/1nQhHP0