Monday, November 17, 2014

Widowhood = Many Changes

The first year of widowhood holds so many changes! I don't want to dwell on them and bring you down, but what were the most significant changes for you? Please shout out your experiences in the comments today. Use the anonymous identity if you're not a blogger, and don't try to comment through your cell phone, it just doesn't seem to work.

(If this comes to you by email click the title to get to the website where you can comment).

Do you remember any of these?



  • All that horrible paperwork and estate stuff!
  • What about physical changes? Anyone lose any Sleep? Lose any weight? Gain any weight? Grief affects us physically!
  • Christmas and holidays and birthdays and anniversaries!
  • Did your church attendance change?
  • Friendships? Many widows experience huge changes in the friendship department. Some say up to 75% of friendships are lost.
  • Secondary losses? For example, the roles your husband filled, housing, financial security, your in-laws...
  • What about Trust? That was a really hard thing for me. It shook me to the core that a day can start out perfectly normal and change forever in an instant at suppertime. I live with that realization every day...and I’ve come to understand what a gift that is.
  • What about Faith?---I had those God is my portion verses I mentioned on Thursday, but I wasn’t so sure about that. Many days I realized I just really wanted Bruce back.
But hang on tight, there’s more tomorrow…
Today though, tell us about the changes you experienced, OK? Click the comment box, or if you receive this by email, click the title of the post to get to the website where you'll be able to leave a comment. Thanks! Sharing your story is important. You matter!
ferree

21 comments:

  1. Before my husband died I was his caregiver for about four and a half years. Those were difficult and challenging years. Yet they gave my life purpose and a role. After he died I struggled with finding my new purpose in life. I also struggled with fatigue. Some of that fatigue was later attributed to a thyroid issues, but who knows the connection the grief played on the physical? Now I am nearly four years out. I still miss my husband, but a measure of joy and purpose has returned. I still struggle in trusting as I should in facing life's endless issues like home maintenance issues etc. It is just more difficult without a spouse. Yet I love the concept of my Heavenly Bridegroom taking care of me. As I look back He has always been faithful.

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  2. 1) All that horrible paperwork and estate stuff! YES!!


    2) Christmas and holidays and birthdays and anniversaries!
    These are still difficult even after three years.

    3) Did your church attendance change? No.

    4) Secondary losses? For example, the roles your husband filled----Yes, the driving, taking care of the car, remembering names to put with faces, helping me with everything, just his being there......

    5) What about Faith?---I had those God is my portion ----and yes, I wanted Gary back.

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  3. It's been 19 mos. since I lost my husband. I exprienced everything you mentioned . I felt like a chain saw had sawed me right down the middle from head to toe and I was left lope sided with no identity...who am I ? I'm still searching to find my identity as I attempt to take yet another step through this valley of inmeasurable loss. Surely God has a plan,because I don't have a clue how to
    live the rest of my life .

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    Replies
    1. I feel the same way. It has been 23 months and I don't have a clue either.

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    2. Oh I am with you. I pray all the time to show me his plan for me now that I have lost the love of my life.

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  4. My life too was structured around my husband - cooking - laundry - dropping @ once when called upon - his job taking us to different locations - attending company seminars - company Christmas parties and functions - now - there is not anything to look forward to. Could someone please give me an honest answer to an honest question?
    Why does friendships change? Why the all of a sudden being ostrasized? Busyness will not fill the void of a good friend .

    I've always been under the assumption if a friend was a real friend they're available rain or shine? God's word says "a friend loveth at all times" So why do they drift away - just when you need them most?
    I'm still the same person, even though a bit more fragile - my identity has changed from married to widow - but I'm still God's child and would still like to be your friend. But I haven't the strength to continually make the effort so I guess I'll move on in God's grace and trust He will give me the kind of friendships I so desperately need, living my life one breath at a time.

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    Replies
    1. So well put. My friends didn't even show for the memorial.

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  5. Dear Anonymous,

    I'd love to put your questions on cards and pass them out to all widows' "friends" who have left them feeling so ostracized. Sometimes these friends think we don't want them around...like we want to be alone. Sometimes they don't realize how important THEY are-- they think we have other friends who are filling in those lonely gaps. But then there's the sad truth that many are too afraid.

    I found a new set of friends for me consisted of people who were survivors and I hope you'll soon find some nearby friends too, very soon.

    Thanks for your comments everyone, this is a painful journey but it helps to talk about it.

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  6. So much changed in my first year. I sold our places out in the country and bought a home in town. I sold our older model car and his truck and bought a newer used car. I began living alone for the very first time in my life. I had to begin meeting with our financial adviser and try to understand all the things Bob had been doing with our finances. I had to make out my own will and living will and make arrangements for POA should it ever be necessary. The friends and family members that I though would be there for me were not. I had to learn to grocery shop for just me. I could go on and on. There are just so many changes that happen when you lose a spouse.

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    Replies
    1. You are so right, I had all those things to do also. At times I felt so overwhelmed I didn't think I could go on but somehow I have survived 23 months alone after being married for 52 years. It is a hard, painful journey.

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  7. That was a year full of huge changes Candy! Just losing our husband is such a challenge, but the houses, cars, and so many decisions... stress was sky high I'm sure.
    You're pretty amazing, you know?

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  8. To me the worst part was the 'quiet', which was deafeningly LOUD. Coming home to an empty house, to a huge void, that was once filled by his vibrant personality. Lack of laughter. Having to handle home repair/caring issues, which we used to do together.

    It will be two years on 9 Dec. and there's not a day that I don't miss him. I can still get hit with a grief whammy, and just have to go with the flow. I do have times of joy and thanksgiving and am growing in God's grace.

    Jesus is my source of strength and I am so thankful for His love and tender mercies.

    FlowerLady Lorraine

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  9. Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: (Sorry so long)

    Disclaimer – my experiences do not reflect all widows’ experiences. Many have found the blessings through the changes, and I admire those who have been an encouragement in that way.

    Financial changes: Having to let a stranger into a most personal area and hoping they have your best interest in mind.

    Friendships/Groups: Being in a home-schooling community where family, including the Dads, is so important. My husband’s death was the first for this community and after the doing thing like meals, cards, etc. stopped, so did the relational aspect. I felt like an oddball and withdrew from many activities, especially those that my husband was majorly involved.

    The “man” things: Car maintenance, house maintenance, etc. Although, I COULD do these things, he was so good about keeping up with this stuff. We both had our roles and when he was gone, BAM, I had to start “thinking” about it, when it came naturally to him.

    Children: Sickness – we were a team when it came to illness of our children. He was so involved in helping, whether it was a stomach virus or bad colds, Doctors appts. to Dentist appts., he wanted to help. We were always in sync in caring for our children. He was also great about getting up when the children were afraid, thunderstorms, bad dreams and just lying on the floor in their rooms, until they felt safe and fell asleep. He could sleep anywhere.

    Children: Confused, poor choices, lost relationships. Although, I don’t place all “blame” for these challenges because of his death, I do believe it partially had an effect.

    Conversing: A call from him almost every day from work (unless we were having one of those “intense discussions” :? ), just to see how everything was going. That was a huge and hard change.

    Deleting: Having to take his name off of things or cancel things, e.g. utility companies, credit card companies, library, voting roster. I cried when I had to do these things.

    Family: Lost contact with his family after awhile. His father died 8 weeks to the day after my husband. My parents chose to move to my town, but that was a HUGE sacrifice and change for them and it took me awhile to not feel “guilt” about all they gave up, but what a wonderful help they were and comfort.

    Balance: Being the ONLY one for my children -- I was still their mother, but it was IMPOSSIBLE to be a father; the emptiness of that realization and the missing of his manly perspective of things

    The little things: Making sure all doors were locked, lights off, etc. before bedtime, taking garbage out, running to store late at night if there was a need, all those things that were taken for granted because it was the natural flow of our lives.

    Security, trust, faith: BIGGIE! It has ebbed and flowed over these last 11 years and the question “WHY” and anger still rears its ugly head occasionally. I went to church for a bit and then stopped. I am still trying to resolve issues in this area – the churches lack of response – and I am seeing it again for my Dad after losing his beloved wife/my mom and how ignorant “the church” is when it comes to death.

    I have adjusted to many of the “changes”, but not all. I am still learning. I am now in the really “empty nest” part of my life and that has brought some more bends, twists and turns on this journey.


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  10. I think the hardest thing for me was going from full-time caregiver so my husband could stay at home to having to take a new job outside the home. It was/is so exhausting. Most days I get up, go to my job, come home, eat, sleep, do it all over again. I am too tired to socialize....maybe someday that will change.

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  11. I am almost 4 years out. I have a lot of friends and a good church family but I seem to be more in grief again .My family is good about coming and I stay busy but I miss my precious Sammy more .I am so tried of keeping my spirit up. I feel guilty when I am down because my LORD has been so good to me.I am blessed

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  12. One week away from being one year out. Not so many changes as Mike was sick long before the cancer came-it was all he could do to just get up and go to work. I did everything else except computer upkeep and taxes and worked full time to boot. So I struggle a bit with guilt that my life in some ways is easier. But the loss of friends- that was hard. I can still feel surprise when I think about all the people who just weren't there when he was near the end and who have stayed away now that he is gone. Church attendance is the same but it is a struggle. For more than 30 years all decisions I made were because I believed my husband had an end time ministry calling and all the health issues and hard times would, I don't know-get better? because his time just had not come. But now he's gone and I find myself thinking-what was it all for? Did we goof up somewhere and missed it? I don't see where we made any great strides for the kingdom. And now what? Just the rest of my days marking time by routine? That's my big question-did I miss it? And while my HEAD knows the Word says God can redeem, my heart is still pretty numb and lukewarm. I see God's mercy all around my situation-but I find it so hard to accept His grace...

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  13. It has been 20 weeks for me, the biggest change, is after 45 years I do not have him with me.
    Other changes - I do not sleep as well, its still messed up but getting better.
    Lost 18 pounds or so, lost my appetite for about 2 months
    Have had to learn how to do the bills and finances, Ron always did that.
    Have to learn to make the decisions regarding the house on my own, Ron could do just about anything around the house, so this is uncharted territory for me. Trying to rely on Wikipedia and common sense.
    My youngest daughter has moved into the house with me, and my youngest granddaughter, so there are new routines, and learning to accommodate one another.
    His birds are now my birds...and that is taking some getting used to.
    Have to sell the boat, which was his love...and that is a tough one.
    Friends who "would be there, if you need anything, just let us know" have gotten busy with their own lives, and are not so much in evidence, if at all. But there are also a few friends who have been wonderfully faithful, and I am so grateful for them.
    My faith in God has not been shaken, it has been strengthened if anything. I know that God is good, and has treated Ron and me with grace.

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  14. I too had a hard time finding my purpose after David died having been caregiver. Basically I have been caregiver all my adult life & felt this also when my child died.

    I ended up changing churches after 30+ years.

    My sons graduated and moved hundreds of miles away.

    I am now the sole bread winner, have improved things to my home.

    The lack of having my best friend to talk to about all life's challenges & big decisions. When our son died, we had each other, but I had no one when he died.

    Loss of friendships & in the last couple of months finding out my "best friend" who doesn't understand anything about grief has basically stabbed me in the back.

    Trying to always act like everything is ok, because people see me as a very strong Christian woman.

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  15. Dear Joy, hugs to you. You're in a difficult, lonely stage of life with so many changes---and as if that's not enough compounded by the death of your husband and the previous death of your son. I'm so sorry, my heart goes out to you. Sometimes the pain cuts so deep. But please know that within those deep furrows of heartbreak, the Lord plants seeds of hope and new life. Take heart, but don't worry about being a strong Christian to live up to others expectations. Trust in the Lord, and don't be afraid to be honest. The Bible is full of broken people with strong faith so you are in good company and you're my hero no matter what.

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  16. I lost my husband in August 2012. So many changes have happened . My husband was a minister and I have a terrible time going back to church where I see him everywhere. I have had to adjust to new things and people. However, with prayer it has got better. I have learned to take small steps from my comfort zone. I have close friends who have helped me with everything. I have a loving family and have their support always. I feel lost but truly blessed. It does get easier but the holidays open up wounds. Trust in God and He will get you through this.

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  17. As with my fellow widows, so many changes occured. Initially, the most signicant change was when I shut down, lost 40 pounds, and was acutely aware that I was no longer under the umbrella of my husband's protection. These were big for me as I have always, in my adult life, been capable and independent. Ten months before his death, I'd had major colon surgery and my appetite was already compromised. Yet the shock of losing him took its toll by the unhealthy weight loss. I experienced difficulty with swallowing or sipping fluids without anything functionally or mechanically wrong.

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