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Living life as a widow/ widower

Alone after 51 years of being a wife to a wonderful man. Years of wonderful memories and then those caregiving years at the end. It’s been 5 years since my husbands death but it seems like yesterday. I miss him. I miss the closeness, the touching, the loving looks, waking up beside him and kissing him goodnight. I miss knowing I was loved and the confidence that comes with that knowledge. I’m adrift. Oh! I look good on the outside. Getting it all done and holding it together. But I’m lonely at times. Women friends are nice but.... I miss male companionship. The fellows I know are either married, have medical problems, or looking for that 55 year old chick to make them feel young. I’d love a male companion. How about you? 

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I just read what you have written and yes it is challenging to meet new persons to just be around.  You have put into words what I am feeling right now the grief and I have learned that no matter how long my late husband Richard is not here with me any more, he was my best friend and I was his best friend also, when I was dealing with having Congested heart failure he took care of me and when I was better his blood flow in his legs dried up and he was in a lot of pain, I took care of him at home even when he could no longer walk in the 10 years of knowing him and he had the talk with me before he transition. He said lets face it I will not be here anymore and when you are ready move on to meet someone new. That for me was very important to hear Richard said that and mean it before he took his last breath a week later. I have been alone for 12 years and now I can laugh at the things he did that made me laugh. I have kept myself busy by taking classes also my granddaughter calls me Nana, last year on July 22, my 87 year old mom breath her last breath. and it just been a year since she is gone also I am missing my dad and my brothers, Aunts, uncles and others that have transition before my sister and myself like my grandparents. Right now I am just going through but I am okay. It is hard when I had to reteach myself how to downsize my dishes for one person and it is okay.

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My heart goes out to anyone in this "club."  It is a tough one, for sure. I was widowed at age 57 after being with my husband for 37 years. We met when I was age 20, so I had never really been a full adult on my own. My heart was broken to lose him.  He had been very healthy and then got hit hard with cancer and was gone in 8 months.  We have three grown children and my first grandchild was born 7 weeks after my husband died. So there was joy amidst the tears. Having children helps but it doesn't take away the primary pain...It is not a substitute.  However, it is a comfort. On the other hand, I could also feel their grief at losing their father. He was a wonderful man.  We all know that death and loss is part of life, but we also all hope loss will be delayed. I would tell people that I could have easily enjoyed another three decades with Tim. But God or destiny had other plans. 

 

I did not date, but a few months after the 5-year mark, I felt the soul of my husband bless me and tell me to be open to love and it was coming soon. I was floored because my defense mechanism was to say I had topped out with Tim and I wasn't looking. The next day a friendship with an old family friend started to blossom in a special way. We were careful to take it slowly each step of the way because we didn't want to risk losing the friendship for the sake of a romance. But now have both love and friendship.  I think of it as God's grace... 

 

So, no matter what - if you are widowed, take the time to develop your friendships and your hobbies. It can be lonely to live alone and eat alone, etc. If so, seek out some solutions...I wish you all the best. 

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I wish I could get back in another relationship after living 23 years without my beloved husband but I believed I've hardened off.  I had a neighbor who tried for those 23 years without me even having coffee with him - I just wasn't interested.  The first time I saw my husband, I was l0 years old and he called me a brat because I was crying about my dog.  Had known his oldest brother and cousin since I was 5 because they worked at the same place as my father.  I had always wanted to work since I was 12 and I started putting up my age by 21/2 years at 14.  Anyway, my uncle's girlfriend asked if I wanted to go with her to apply for a job and I did.  Didn't know you had to be 18 and I was 15, so I figured if I told them I was turning 18 in a couple of months I would get hired and I did.  I met my husband for the 2nd time when he asked if I needed a ride home and it took him 3 days to catch up with because I thought he was married even though he gave me his phone number.  We had no idea that were were the same 2 people because he thought my father had an older daughter.  He tried for 3 months to romance me but I did not want a one-night stand and I wasn't looking for a husband, so I let him into my heart.  We had the most beautiful life together for 27 years before he passed.  He even offered me a divorce when he found out saying that I was a young woman (44)  and I needed a man to take care of me and I told him no because I was in it for the long haul and I believed in my marriage vowel and he was so floored that I could see it in his face. 

We had 2 children together and I was glad they were grown when he passed because I don't think I could have handled it otherwise.  From the 2 kids, we got 6 grandsons and now 2 great granddaughters and 1 great grandson.  We ended up losing our 2nd born grandson 3 years ago a week before Christmas.  My daughter and I haven't spoken to each other for 3 years because she had this friend that turned up a few months after my husband died and before she met her husband and my intution then told me he was sneaky and I thought I would never see him again but when he and wife wasn't getting along, he shows up 23 years later and my intuition was right the first time because now they were making plans to betogether and trying to involve me but my morals don't work like that.  I couldn't believe that because my son-in-law had this beaugitful relationship of respect for each other that my child would plot with her friend (because my son-in-law treated me the same way my husband treated my mother) would come up with a scheme to make me think I was moving with them to another state simply because my son-in-law would always come get me when they house hunting and tell me what room was going to be mine.   Their scheming was actually a blessing in disguise because I moved into a beautiful facitlity.  My daughter also dislike the fact that my oldest grandson loves his grandmother and that I don't get..

At one point I was thinking did she think her father was her man and she hated me because she

says he spoiled me.

At this point in my life I wouldn't want to be cruel to a man and it's not that I feel I'm cheating on my husband, but this man would be living in my husband's shodow which my son pointed out to me.  Being along isn't bad at all for me because I've alway been a homebody and I've already told some of the family that when I can no longer take care of myself, I will leave this world my way.  I am writing a book so I sincerely hope this wasn't a lot of rattling or too much information - just sharing. 

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Thanks for this.

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Your very welcome.

 

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The pain of grief is both universal and unsharable. We can only understand out own pain, but I was surprised to see the description of the shock of facing the death of a loved one clearly described in a light weight novel. That had to come from a real experience.

 

Dating is dreadful, too much higharchy and sexism, but don't be afraid to go out with those health problems. I have lost as many healthies as sickies, and if it because they only talk about their health, they are probably bored and lonely, not self-centered. People often blossom when you get to know them - except for real egotists - red flag there.

 

Get to know more undatable people, some are truly interesting, and also social connections work via networking just like work connections.

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Nearing my goal for SSA benefits, I was downsized, nursed my husband post elective surgery, lost my husband unexpectedly (the paperwork, the lost e-photos) , got diagnosed with cancer, had to euthanize my pets and had to sell my house, all in a matter of days. Two years on, I would love to work part time, volunteer for good causes, and become active in community. My health is really too poor for any of those, but I am too healthy for assisted living - talk about your do-nut hole!

 

Re-invent is not the right word, maybe re-identify. 

 

I would love to hang out with guys, other than sports (zzz), I love guy talk. Guys are thin on the ground.

 

I would love to live near my adult child but she is overseas, and visas are complicated.

 

I am trying to be more involved with my local senior center, I am working out with a fitness coach, I am learning to travel alone (trains are better than planes, but harder to get to). Loneliness is painful, but boredom is far worse. My next effort is to try to figure out how to find and vet and join online interest groups.

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Regular Contributor

Not a good thing to have in common. How are you coping?

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Not sure how to start. I lost a wonderful woman six weeks ago. we had been married for 47 years. We have  one beautiful daughter.

I miss her so much. We worked in the community and in our chosen vocations. She truly made me a better human being. I am not sure what the days will bring. but I promised her I would not give up. I dwalk thrru days in a fog.  Will try to finish at another time.

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I'm sorry about your loss. If you want to talk, feel free to get in touch.

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Thank you for inviting reply. Not sure where this reply is going  (I am super stupid re computers - but I do not get drawn into them either, and have even done maintenance from home) because I cannot find 1, 2, 3 type steps. If you are a person, are you a member or a site manager? Just want to share one thing about support groups. I have only been in one, it was all women, and the lay leader would open wounds, but did not have the skills to go further. I liked all the ladies, but just poking the pain was destructive to me. Years ago, my daughter's college UU group tried the same amateur psychology - she defended the poor victim and thoughly scolded the group about respect and dignity and that support does not equal harm. 

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Just a quick note that is positive. After 2 1/2 days of wondering if I will always be in a mental and physical fog of fatigue, I have had 2 days of feeling like a normal person. It is like a huge suffocating weight is lifted. If it has happened with me, then it must, and will, happen to lots of people.

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I hope your day is going well. Stay strong and be positive. You'll pull through. We all have our issues in life. We fall down, get back up and soldier on.

R.

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Just a quick note that is positive. After 2 1/2 days of wondering if I will always be in a mental and physical fog of fatigue, I have had 2 days of feeling like a normal person. It is like a huge suffocating weight is lifted. If it has happened with me, then it must, and will, happen to lots of people.

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It’s a new chapter in life.  Keep talking and let it all out.  Anger is the biggest problem i have to deal with.  I lost my spouse in April no children but we has two dogs of which the Lab I had to put down in June.  I adopted two new puppies and loving my life with them.  I recommend a book “It’s ok that your not ok” by Megan Devine.  Another one is Healing after Loss, daily meditations for working thru grief author Martha Whitmore Hickman.  Be patient and know your spouse loved you very much and their with you in spirit.  

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I am widowed for 1 1/2 years now.  I think I am coping.  I feel bored as all my friends are couples...the people we always hung around with.     They take me places but it is not the same.  I would love to have a friend to go to the movies with or just be social with.  Not sure I want a relationship as I was in one for 40 years.  Can't imagine another one.   It sounds silly but I suppose it would be one step at a time.   My kids are nearby and that is nice. My 94 year old mother lilves wth me but is deaf so there is no talking.  I think I need to join something.   I retired Jan 2017 and he died the end of the month.  I am just sort of existing but not really living the way I would like to.  

 

Can anyone relate?

 

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I can relate.  I have been a widow for almost 1 year. Just stating the word widow sounds very foreign to me. I was married for 32 wonderful years.  My husband was my partner in business and my partner at home.  We were inseparable.  Like you, I also have many friends who were couples friends.  Now I stand alone and often feel like the 5th wheel when socializing with them. Some days are ok, some are not.  The lonliness can be overwhelming at times. When that happens, I try to remind myself everyday that life is fleeting and I need to focus on all the blessings I do have in my life and be forever grateful.   I currently attend a bereavement group, which I find helpful.  If you care to join, just let me know. 

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I can relate very much. Death is an experience that no one else can relate to, unless they've experienced it. It sounds like when you go out with the couples you did with you partner that its different and even boring because you are different now.  I would consider myself as more experienced in understanding a part of life that they may not know.  They still have a partner and you don't.  I feel that the older I get the more accustomed we become to death, because it's just a part of life. The way we approach it is what counts and shows who we are.  I heard all of the things people say after losing a partner:  time heals all things; take one step at a time or one day at a time; get involved in new things; join a new club, etc. It's easy to say, but more difficult to do.  I think it all comes down to change. The older we get the less we like change, even though it is inevitable. For me, I've had to see my new life as a journey, a process and recognize that if I don't like the path I'm walking, then walk a new path.  One that does make me happy.  I can't fill in my loss with another person.  It is learning a new way to live my new life without him.  I chose to move because the same house meant the same routines and I needed to let go of what I was, although I still have memories.  I can't say I'm happier, but I've learned to appreciate those moments I do have of happiness much more. The friendships I have are much deeper now.  Everyone experiences grief and loss in a very different way.  It is about allowing those moments of sadness and know that I'm going to live on with the  resilience to keep on living and experiencing life's journey.  I look at life as a totally new experience - now I can do anything I want and go anywhere.  I need to be complete in who I am first, because there is a new part of me now. There may be men who show up along the way.  I recognize that I can't be the person I was and if I want to have something or someone new, I need to change and be the new me, so there's room for someone new.  It's different for everyone, but these are my thoughts. Blessings.

Alexandria A
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Your story and mine are so similar. I especially  don’t like to eat dinner alone. I have women friends and I do my best filling my days. I’d love to have a male friend not necessarily a lover but most I know are married, have medical problems or are looking for the 50 year old to boost their ego. I think I have a lot to offer and I’m not going to be a nurse or a purse for any man. Just a good male friend is all I want. I think. 

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I understand how living with one person for so long connects us to them on so many different levels.  There will never be another husband like the one you had.  However, the emptiness that is being felt can be filled in so many other ways without requiring it to come from another person. Consider how long your relationship was and many years it took to reach the level that it did.  Those would be very difficult shoes to fill for any man.  As a woman, I suggest that you find your personal passion.  Find what make you feel fufilled and complete, in a new way.  Loving yourself always comes before we love other or others can love us.  Find that love again within yourself first and it will come.  You have everything that you need already, you need only to look inside.  Read Dr. Eric Pearl's The Reconnection.  Take up Yoga, Pilates, Waterskiing, or find or hire a work out partner. Take belly dancing classes, or travel.  List all of the things that you want to do in your life and start doing them.  Gal pals, friends are still very important. Grief Groups are also a great way to deal with the loss of someone, even after 5 years.... wishing you well. 

Alexandria A
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Oh thank you for putting my feelings into words.  It has been three years for me.  August 15, 2015.  I have few friends left, they have seen me at my best and my worst.  I stayed in the house for quite a long time It is hard at meal times, 37 years came and went with each day a new happiness or joy of just being together.  I remember after the first week of his death I woke up and thought he was still there rolled over to emptiness, knowing it was never going to be the same again.  I thought what will I do now, how can I live without that love?  It was all I knew.  No other men have been in my life.  My Father. but not a lover, or a friend so special.  He knew all of my emotions, he showed me so much we shared so much.  everydasy we left the house, and he would say well which direction today?  I would choose north east south or west and we drove.  We talked.  We laughed.  We reminesced.  talked of the joys of one Granddaughter  and 4 children.  The beauty of whatever we found to see that day.  We shared a cup of coffee at cafe's along the way.  turned around to do it again the next day.  I remember a pond we stopped at I closed my eyes and felt the sunshine and the breeze on my face I closed my eyes and told him when I go I want to feel like this , he agreed.  I hope he went back there  Life is different but I try and find some beauty everyday, just to remind me of what I had.  I wish you peace

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