Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies

Support, comfort, connection. These ideas for starting over when you’re over 60 won’t solve all your problems after your husband dies, but they’ll help you see you’re not alone.

Starting Over in Your 60s After Your Husband DiesIn I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One, Brook Noel and Pamela Blair offer hope and comfort, support and solace for widows who are starting over after their husband’s death. If you’re facing the challenge of being a widow, here is is a hand to hold. It’s written by two women who have experienced sudden loss, who provide survivors with a rock-steady anchor from which to weather the storm of pain and begin to rebuild their lives.

Reading books can help you cope after your husband dies, but support groups might be more effective. They offer in-person comfort and connection through the grief process after a loved one dies. I’ve been facilitating support groups through my practicum, and am awed by the power of support groups to help people cope and heal. If you haven’t visited a support group for widows, I encourage you to consider one now.

One of the most important tips for starting over in your 60s (or at any age) is to take it one moment at a time. And, hold on to the hope that it’s never to late to start over. “It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy,” says Jane Fonda.

Here are a few tips for starting over and rebuilding your life after the death of your husband.

Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies

Remember that everyone processes grief differently. Some people retreat, others reach out. Some people change everything about their lives – they move, go back to school, travel, or quit their jobs. Others want everything to stay exactly the same. If you’re starting over in your 60s, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to spend the next half of your life.

You were part of a couple for so long, and now he’s gone. How do you start over when you’re 60 years old and have depended on him for so much? If you’re struggling financially, read How to Start Over When You Need Money.

Make a list of things that make life worthwhile

After your husband dies, you may feel that nothing matters and nothing makes life worthwhile. Death has a funny way of making life inconsequential.

Starting Over After Your Husband Dies

starting over as a widow

But, if you want to start over and be a happy, fulfilled woman in your 60s, you need to figure what will make the rest of your life the best of your life.

“I had to ask myself what makes life meaningful after the death of my little boy and the impending demise of my daughter,” says writer and editor Lori Chidori Philips. “Learning, exploring my inner and outer world has been very helpful. Life is a grand and glorious experience, and I liken my life to strolling through a sunny meadow, gathering wildflowers of experiences to take back with me. Knowing that the good, the bad and the ugly all serve a purpose in expanding my awareness makes life meaningful to me, no matter what happens.”

It all serves a purpose – even the death of your husband, after years of marriage. If you’re struggling to start over, read 5 Things That Make Life Meaningful – Beyond Having Children.

Connect with other women in their 60s who are starting over

I wrote this article because a reader left this comment on Help for Widows and Widowers – A Story of Loss, Survival, and Peace:

“Since my husband died, I feel very incomplete. I was with him for 30 years and we did everything together. I feel like I lost my identity. It’s not like I haven’t tried to feel good, but it just doesn’t feel right. starting over again in my 60s. I never thought this would happen to me. I feel so alone. My husband did everything for me and now I have the responsibility of running it all. It seems impossible. I miss him a lot.”

After Your Husband Dies Starting Over in Your 60s

Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies

If you see yourself in those comments, remember that you don’t have to start over alone! Most things are worse when you’re alone, especially if you’re in your 60s and have lost a husband you loved and lived with for decades.

One of the best ways to start over when your husband dies – whether you’re 68 or 28 – is to connect with women who are going through the same thing. Don’t tackle life alone. Get support from widows who understand what you’re going through, who are starting their lives over too. And, after your husband dies, you may forget that you’re not the only one grieving. Sometimes it’s healthier to focus on your own mourning and healing, and other times it’s better to reach out and help others with their grief. What’s best for you? It depends on your personality, lifestyle, and loved ones.

Remember that your obstacles are your life

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin-real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” ~ Alfred D’Souza.

Your obstacles are your life.

Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband DiesOne of my favorite books on starting over and This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down. Four women wrote this book – they’ve dealt with starting over, husbands dying, businesses failing, children leaving, and illness threatening. They figured out how to start over and create new lives when their old ones died.

For additional support in coping with your husband’s death and starting over, visit Dr Therese Rando’s Coping With Sudden Death article. Here’s a tip that I found very helpful:

“You may feel a profound loss of security and confidence in the world [after your husband dies]. After all, you have been taught a dramatic lesson: Loved ones can be snatched away without warning. You may always await another loss to befall. Research has shown that widows whose husbands died suddenly are slower to move toward remarriage, since they are unwilling to risk future unanticipated loss again for themselves and their children. Avoidance and anxiety eventually can lead to states of anxious withdrawal since the world has become such a frightening, unpredictable place.”

Dr Rando offers a great deal of support, and has even written a book about coping with death and starting over.

One of my most popular articles is How to Let Go of Someone You Love. Read it, and you’ll see you’re not alone.

I welcome your thoughts on  being 60 and starting over after your husband dies. Please comment below; I can’t offer advice or counseling, but sharing your story can help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, which will help you heal.

May God fill you with His peace and joy.

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48 Responses

  1. Laurie says:

    You’re not alone.

    Here are two new articles on starting over after your husband dies:

    Whether you’re starting over in your 60s or your 20s, I hope these articles give you strength and courage for the journey.


  2. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Jenne,

    I’m sorry nobody has responded to your question about like-minded groups in South Africa – I hope you’ve made progress, and found what you’re looking for!

    On an unrelated note, I spent 3 weeks in South Africa. It was a Christmas trip; I was teaching in Kenya at the time (Nairobi). I loved Cape Town of course, and Swaziland. What a diverse area, so full of culture and variety! We never had any problems with crime, even though my fellow travelers didn’t like it when I went jogging by myself in Durban and Jo’burg.

    I wish you well – stay in touch!


  3. Jenne says:

    Hi Laurie, pages like this make me feel that I am not so alone – despite feeling that way. It’s weirdly comforting to read that other people are experiencing the same problems as me – all the pipes now need replacing on the house for instance! I read the price of some repairs on this blog and it was in dollars – does anyone know of any kind of like minded group based in South Africa?

  4. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for your loss, and wish I had words that could bring healing and peace.

    I can see how widows or widowers support groups might be depressing, especially if the focus is on loss and grief. It might be worth visiting different support groups…I imagine different facilitators lead in different ways, which could change the experience.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers, for healing and peace. May you find comfort in the blessings you have, and joy in small things.


  5. Lori Russell says:

    My husband of 30 years died 7 months ago. One second he had heartburn and the next he dies of a massive heartattack. He was 56. I am 56. The loss is so devastating to me and my two boys. I can barely stand it. But I have learned that I have to be grateful for everything I have in my life. Grateful for being alive and well. Grateful for my children. Grateful for the beautiful day. My life will never be the same. It is not suppose to be. I am a different person now. Although I cling to the person I was before Bill died. I know I will stop crying one day. But not today. It’s not easy losing someone you love so deeply. It’s not suppose to be.

  6. Linda says:

    In reading all the posts I can relate to what they are saying. I lost my husband of 42 yrs four months ago. My husband was was a recovering addict and had around 22 yrs clean time. He had always struggled with depression and had a hard time forgiving and letting go. About 7 yrs ago we lost our house and he had a business that that was failing. He went into a deep depression and stayed angry all the time. As i recently found out that is about the time he started smoking weed again and a few yrs later starting using some harder drugs. At the time I was not aware of the drug use. I thought it was mental illness taking him deeper into the depression. This last year he was so angry all the time it became unbearable to be with him so I moved out. Thirty days later a friend found him in the house dead. He had died of a drug overdose. He was 68 yrs old. I was devastated…I did not realize he had stated using the drugs again. Even though over the last 6 to 7 yrs it had been really rough living with him, I looked at his heart and miss him so much. Not the man the drugs made him, but the man I married with a heart of gold. I am now retired and living with my son and his wife. I am saving money to get a place of my own and have been putting in applications for apts. Honestly I am not looking forward to living by myself, I did separate from my husband a few yrs back and i was so lonely and I can imagine it will be much worse now cause he is never coming home now. I am very active in my church and have been meeting friends for some social events, but I feel so sad and broken inside I just want to go home. When I am home I worry that I spent to much time alone with no one to talk too. I tried a grieve group but it was so depressing that I stopped going. I know it is going to take a lot of time, but I pray that God would just give me some relieve from this pain and lonleness soon.

  7. linda says:

    I lost my husband from throat cancer almost 4 years this Jan 23. I have sold 2 houses now I am staying with my daughter in her basement that I hate! I feel like I am losing my mind! She doesn’t seem to caring. She just goes on with her life and her boyfriends life. I even ate to go upstairs to use the bathroom or try to fix me a little something to eat. I HATE IT SO BAD I feal like I need to be put on some kind of nerve pills because I feel like I want to scream at here! She came down here for a 1 moment to see how I felt I said Great!!! How would any one feel staying in a dark gloomy basement all day??? I have to find a way to get out of here. I have all my boxes down here from the last move when I sold my house, it would cost a small fortune to rent a place for a couple months. But I have to do something it is getting the best of me, I know that!!! My sister lost her husband a little over a year ago and she seems to be doing ok, She is still in her house that her husband died in and sees her grandkids a few times a week, she saids that helps her. She is 70 is is going on those date sites. I have not. I hate being alone but I have been so busy selling houses and now here with my daughter she seems so into herself. I miss my husband every single day he was my rock!!! I could always talk to him but now no one, Linda

  8. Jen says:

    Thanks Deb.

  9. Deborah says:

    Hi Jen, I felt the same way when I found this site. It is reassuring to know so many feel like I do, and to hear from people who have found light in their lives again . My husband died just before Christmas last year. I didn’t think it was possible to cry for almost a year (with no end in sight). I have to say, keep making yourself go to work. I do battle making myself get up and go, but if I push myself out of the house, and go to work, I do feel better. It’s like work gives me some psychic relief. Hopefully, you will find that to be true for you. At home, I just think about my sweet husband. Know that others are thinking of you and understand how you feel.

  10. Deborah says:

    Hi Shirleyjo, it sounds like you and your husband really faced some huge trials together, and got through them together, to the end. I’m sure your husband loved you very much. By his side through it all.
    I understand what you mean about being loved so dearly by your husband and how hard it is to live without that love. I tell myself the pain I feel now is the price I pay for being truly loved, and truly loving, for more than 40 years. Better this pain now than never knowing true love. Some people will never know it. As much as we are hurting, we are very lucky to have loved and been loved so deeply. This is a tough time of year for me. Last October, my husband and I celebrated our 40th anniversary without a thought that it would be our last. He died suddenly and unexpectedly a few days before Christmas. Thankfully, he did nor suffer, as your husband did. I will be thinking of you and praying for you. Know that others understand your pain and you are not alone.

  11. Jen says:

    I am so glad I found this website, it makes me feel normal. Since my husband died in April this year I have felt slightly removed from the world, found friends were not friends afterall and wander around a house full of memories. People keep telling me how well I am doing – it doesn’t feel that way at all. My job keeps me going, it’s something I HAVE to do, but can’t contemplate how I will carry on as just me.

  12. awake says:

    wow what a wake up call!!! thank you for this blog, thank you ,my husband passed 5 years ago I am still mourning my lost I soooo miss him. Married 36 years, my life ,my love ,I read some comments from you and wow it hit me I have a second chance a new beginning I had happily forever after I am so grateful the lord choose to give me that. God has my attention he is giving me life for a purpose I cannot take this wonderful gift and not use it for his glory.

  13. Shirleyjo says:

    Tonight is a bad night for me. Tomorrow would have been my husbands 66th Birthday. We were married 41 years, since I was 19 and he was 22. It was love at first site and thru anything we went thru in life during those years we never ever lost that love. He passed away 2 and a half years ago of Small Cell Lung Cancer. He had been thru so much, always a hard worker until the age of 45 he had a stroke, recovered from that then went on to have two open heart surgeries, 8 vascular surgeries and us thinking ok now he will live forever cause he is like the biontic man, has everything thing new. That wasn’t long lived tho….one day I noticed his cheeks seemed to be swelled, and I said to him what is up with the chipmunk cheeks. He said I don’t know. He then had some tiny spidery like veins pop up on his back and chest, so I said that’s it we are going to the Dr. He was diagnosed with the cancer. We could not believe that after everything he had already been thru that he was getting slammed with this. He was the bravest, strongest man I have ever known. Not once did he complain about his cancer (his words to his cancer Dr were I don’t want to know a prognosis because no one is promised tomorrow and his cancer Dr replied that’s good because I am not God). He went thru many sessions of chem and radiation. The cancer worked its way out of his lung, into the liver and then into the throat, again never a complaint, never was sick from the chemo or radiation. He put us, (we have two daughters and four grandsons) up on a pedestal trying to protect us from any pain. His kidneys shut down, and he died at home. He sat up that morning (we had Hospice at the time and we had a hospital bed in the living room, we only had that for four days before he passed) and he said to me Good morning, in such a happy voice and I said well good morning. I sat down on the love seat and he looked at me and I at him and he took two of the most beautiful peaceful breaths I have ever seen and will never forget, and I thought oh my God I don’t see him breathing. I called his name and no answer, I woke my grandson up and the rest was a mixture of shock, pain and loss. He was gone. I struggle with not knowing who I am, we were one for so long. I still have days that are so bad, I feel I can’t breath sometimes just missing him so bad. Holidays and Birthdays are so hard, everyone feels like I lose him all over again. I try to remember that what was the purpose of his life, our life if I don’t honor it the best I can. I am taking it one step at a time, learning a new life because it will never be the same again. He sends me signs, I can feel him at times. Even after 2 and a half years I still sleep with his picture. I talk to him all the time, I even told him tonight that sometimes I hate you for loving me so much because I don’t know now how to live without that kind of love, but I know he knows I don’t hate him. It is just a hurt that will probably last me my lifetime, but it’s a good hurt, because I was loved by him.

  14. Fate Dailey says:

    I am just beginning this process of starting over. Finding this site and the honest and heartfelt comments by others gives me hope. I can do this. I will do this – even if I do cry all the time. My husband is almost at the end. Hospice was a tremendous help, but emotionally I am spent and he will have to go into a care center for his final days. I do feel sad that I am not emotionally strong enough to hang in there with hospice care, but I know myself and knew it was unlikely that I would make it to the end. Thank you for making this site. Somehow I do need to find others in my area that have gone through starting over, losing ones home, and beginning to heal.

  15. Deborah says:

    Hi Sheila,
    I have tremendous sympathy for you. I lost my husband, best friend and confidante very suddenly too. The shock can be paralyzing. The grief is overwhelming.
    You mentioned that you are in deep money trouble and don’t know how your husband was handling your money. I think you must force yourself to get help to find out what your financial situation really is immediately. Knowing where you stand, even if the news is not good, is better than the stress of not having a handle on your financial situation. This will help you know what your next step should be to ensure some future stability. Only speak with a certified reliable expert. Don’t let just anyone advise you on this. It is very easy to get taken in by a fraud when your mind is clouded by grief, not to mention that you are doing your best to cope with a mental illness as well. Still, I think knowing where you stand and developing a plan for your future will help ease your anxiety. There must be an organization, grief counselor, minister that you can turn to to help you find someone trustworthy to assess your financial circumstances. I just would hate to hear that on top of losing your husband your future security was lost by not acting now. Good luck to you. Know that many understand what you are going through and empathize with you. I will be thinking of you and praying for you.

  16. sheila says:

    my husband of 40 years passed away from a massive heart attack. I suffer from a mental illness and he was the only person who cared, others rejected me leaving me alone. at the one time I needed someone any one im alone now as my son is also dead. I find myself in deep trouble money wise, which is adding to the stress, because he handle that. I had no idea what he was doing. I cant sell this house because I owe more than its worth. I loved my husband and still do, but im so lonely and scared I just want to be with him. thanks for your time

  17. Terri says:

    My husband and I divorced in 2009 after 29 years of marriage but remained friends. Though our divorce was amicable it was due to this behaviors of cheating and other issues that brought on the divorce. Though he was a terrible husband he was a good person. Though we divorced we were still very much a part of each others lives having children and grandchildren together. He died suddenly this past August, passing away while at my home. He apparently died suddenly in the morning and laid there until I came home from work in the evening. I am/was devastated and find I cannot no longer go back to my home. The anxiety I feel in the home is overwhelming. I am currently staying with my oldest son. Am I crazy to have this anxiety? I don’t think I will ever be able to live in that home again. Is that normal? I am going to seek counseling because life decisions are ahead of me, but though we divorced in 2009, I only now feel single and alone. I found this site because I find myself in my early 60’s and suddenly feeling like I need a clean slate which includes not going back to the home. I see so many people who talk about they find peace in their home and mine is just the opposite. Thanks for listening.

  18. Deborah says:

    Hi Mary. I so understand how you feel. I lost my husband of 40 years in December. He died very suddenly, and I think the shock is just starting to subside, but the painful sadness has not. I did not think it was possible to cry every day for 8 months. I will say, although I cry everyday, I no longer cry all day. I think about a month ago, I started having days where my spirit seemed lighter. The good days, or maybe I should say the better days, are often followed by dark days. I’ll think I’m doing well and just get knocked back down by the grief. I almost feel like I am trying to recover from a serious illness. It’s hard to explain, but you probably understand. I am feeling hopeful though, because the good days do peek through from time to time now. Everyone tells me time is your friend. I think that must be true, and I am looking forward to brighter days ahead. Like you, I talk to my husband all the time. It is so painful to think of all the years ahead without him. He was a wonderful husband, father, and just good person. I remind myself how lucky I was to have shared my life with such a sweet, loving man, even if I lost him too soon. So many women can’t say the same thing. I’ll be thinking of you, and praying that you have strength, and that we both get beyond the pain and smile rather than cry when we think of our beloveds. Take care.

  19. Mary says:

    My husband of 35 years passed away July 10, 2015. I have never felt such emptiness, nor have I ever cried so much. After reading the experiences of so many others I do not feel so alone. I have always treasured my solitude but now I find I am apprehensive about being so alone. i do not want to talk to others about my husband because I start crying and I’m unable to speak at times. My husband and I did so much together. I take walks during the day and find myself talking to him asking him to always stay in my heart.

  20. Donna Miller says:

    It’s been 5 years since the sudden unexpected death of my husband. My life feels empty, I still have vivid dreams of him, snd when I wake up and he’s not here the heartache is unbearable. It feels like part of me died with him. I work full time, but that’s about all I do, and only because I have to financially. If I didnt work I may nevet get out of bed. I am doing better but still not really living. I been to counseling, started on antidepressants, and believe Jesus will see me through this some how.

  21. Kathy says:

    Thank you for this site. I could so relate to all that was said, I too just do not feel I belong anywhere or have no motivation to be or do anything. Although I have had to get a job its not in my field of work and I really do not enjoy the work, but have to survive financially. Its very scary. I catch myself regretting not doing more for my husband although he passed away at home. I have a lot of guilt that I was not in the room and should of been. For a long time I have been angry with God. Before my husbands death I had to deal with one loss after another and then him. It feels to much to bear at times. My husband and I have to boys and were together for 27 years plus its hard to think of a future without him.

  22. Deborah says:

    Connie, it has been 7 months for me. I still cry every day. I do have to say I am going longer periods during the day without crying. I work full time and office from home. I am in outside sales and I am supposed to be out in the “field”, not at home every day. Until recently, I only did what I absolutely had to to get by. To tell you the truth I couldnt concentrate on anything, but I have been forcing myself to work at least a few hours a day. I am finding that it is good for me, because about the only time I am not thinking about my husband is when I am completely engrossed in a work conversation.
    Anyway, the point really is that maybe making this move will be a good distraction for you. I have been surprised at how much being forced to focus on work gives my psyche an emotional break from the sorrow. That doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the sadness and lonliness, but it does help to have something else to focus on. Like you, almost anything can trigger the tears at any time. Fortunately, people do understand. Talk it over with your sons and maybe you can move close to one of them. Honestly, I cannot imagine having to plan a move on my own. Maybe putting your energy into planning your move will be helpful Do you have a grandchild who may be able to come help you prepare for your move while school is still out? Sorry, I have rambled on and really have not offered you any good advice. Just know that there are many of us who undertand the pain you feel and are all wishing you well and hope that you find comfort. Please let us know how you are doing as you make these decisions and plan your move.

  23. susan millay says:

    I too lost my husband after 35 years and the pain is overwhelming I needed a change so After almost a year I moved to the coast in aa home that was just mine it helped alot not as many reminders and I’ve met new friends I can go to the beach I’m also crafty I have some of my crafts in a gift shop ,don’t get me wrong I still have bad days but I just go with it and let the tears fall and its okay we all grieve in our on time and ways and a true friend will never get tired of comforting you. Sue

  24. connie says:

    I lost my husband of 48 years suddenly 5 months ago and the sadness and pain is overwhelming. I have a difficult time talking to people, I suddenly burst into tears. I am sure people are tired of my sadness. I live in a very small town in Northern Wisconsin but must leave here during the winter months now, I can’t figure out what to do, where to go. My sons both live long distances from me and I am an only child no siblings so it is lonely now. How does one move on? I guess my faith has also suffered. I sure could use some reassuring words. Thanks Connie

  25. Anita says:

    Deborah, when you are deeply in love people can’t understand your pain. The love doesn’t die so missing them is agonies untold. We can no longer reach for them, our feet set on a path we never wanted. Better not to share with people who don’t know the pain only made me feel worse and there was no capacity in me for that. Be good to yourself and be kind to yourself and take one hour at a time if need be. God is right there. It makes us into one giant wound heart mind soul and body. It took me six years to stop hurting. only be with people who really love you or be by yourself is better. Don’t let guilt eat its way in either. The helplessness at not being able to stop it from happening will crush your spirit. I had to accept that it was God’s will tho I will never understand it. Memories are what I clung to but then I was stuck in the past. Life is for the living and they want us to be happy. God has a plan for us even if we don’t know what it is. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and walk Through the Valley.
    Peace and Love from a Sister In Spirit

  26. Deborah says:

    Anita and Lautie, thank you for your kind words.they do mean a lot and they do help. Anita, I am glad to hear that you have found peace and joy again. Right now, it seems impossible that I will ever feel happy again, but it sounds like you and your husband were very close and you have managed to find light again. I have a friend whose husband died suddenly just 2 months before mine. She was actually glad he was gone because he was an irate, selfish man with a huge, but very delicate ego. He did not abuse her physically, but was put downish and inconsiderate. They never did anything together, never laughed together, basically 2 ships passing in the night. She was my good friend, but cannot understand my grief, and thinks I should be over it by now. My husband was sweet, good natured and fun. He was my champion, we did everything together, my true partner in life, I tell myself the pain I feel now is the price I pay for 40 years of true love. This pain is still better than to have given my life to someone I’m just glad to see go. Thank you again for the encouragement. I hope your life just keeps getting better and brighter everyday.

  27. Anita says:

    I lost my husband suddenly in 2009. We were very much in love and looking forward to a happy future. Suddenly I was faced with a vast emptiness instead – both inside me as well as yawning in front of me. I too had many episodes of people taking advantage of me, even friends (former, now) seeming to revel in my brokenness. I finally realized I had transferred my dependency on him to the world, seeking kindness and understanding. Got a harsh lesson in human nature instead. I went thru the financial nightmare as well, being laid off 5 weeks after his death. Without the love of God I don’t know how I would have made it. The pain of missing him was so excruciating I marveled that a human being could be in that much pain and not be dying from it. We lived way out in the country and pretty much lived in our own world so had no one much to give support or comfort and grief is a horrible companion. I had never lived alone and here I was way out in the county so I had a LOT of fears to overcome. I didn’t want to live and I surely didn’t want to die either. I felt I was battling on every front – emotionally, physically, mentally, financially. Thankfully my faith in God and my personal relationship with Him is what got me thru. I went thru many changes to keep all those painful experiences from changing me – I wanted to be me again, not the broken basket-case I felt like, feeling bitter and angry. I have gotten a lot better at forgiveness. I was even angry with God, which a real friend helped me realize last year. Since re-dedicating my life to the Lord, things have gone much better. I am more at peace and paying a lot more attention to what is going on around me and not vulnerable now. He died at home and living in that house was a constant daily reminder of my loss, the agony I had to live with. My prayers have been answered and I have finally been able to move. I just want to say, I too have walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and God was with me. The sun now shines again. The wound has healed. I still have to figure out what to do but just being alive makes me happy once again, just as I was before. I am still me but there is more to me now, I am stronger and I feel it. I don’t let people waste my time. There is life after loss.

  28. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    I wish I knew what to say, words of comfort and healing that will help you feel better. But I think grief needs to be walked through and processed.

    Does it help to know you’re not alone? Not only are there other women just like you, starting over again in their 60s after their husband dies…but there is God. He loves you and his heart breaks and aches for you. The comfort of God’s love and peace surpasses anything a husband could bring to our lives.

    May you reach out to God and find His loving presence. May you feel that you aren’t alone, and may you find the right people and resources to help you through the grief and pain you feel. I pray for healing and strength, energy and power to continue your journey forward. I pray that joy will once again fill your heart and soul – even when you don’t expect it! I pray for His arms of love and grace to enfold you, and fill you with a peace that surpasses all understanding.

    In sympathy,

  29. Deborah says:

    I so identify with everyone on this site. I lost my husband of 40 years suddenly last December. He went to work that morning, just like any other day, but never came home again. I was sitting in the waiting room for a routine visit with my doctor when I got a call from a hospital nurse calling on my husband’s cell phone. He was already gone. Died in his truck about a 1/2 mile from the hospital. I assume he was trying to drive himself to the ER. His heart gave out. My doctor’s office is 30 miles away, so it was a panicked, crazy drive to get to him.
    Like Janice, I almost feel the universe is working against me. I have had one thing after the other since his death. I had to put my dog to sleep 2 weeks after his death. My sewer lines had to be replaced to the tune of $30,000. The plumbing co told me it would take 10 days to complete the job, took my money, and then didn’t finish until June 8…had a pipe burst (part of their repair) on July 1. Like Anita, although it’s been 6 months, I cry..a lot, and talk to my husband. I too think if anyone could hear me they would think I lost my mind. My David was such a precious, good natured, wonderful man. A very loving husband. Truly my best friend. I am so lost without him. I want to join him, but silly as it may sound, I need buy in from our daughter. She hurts so much from losing such a dear father, she says she would never recover if I left her too right now. I need a reason to live for me, not just for everyone else. I love my husband so much, it’s like all the joy has been sucked out of my life. I can’t imagine ever finding that joy again.

  30. Janice Cox says:

    I happened upon this site, looking for comfort myself. I lost my husband of 46 years 3 weeks ago and can relate to much of what has been posted here. I also feel lost, sad, intense yearning for him that almost takes my breath away. I also feel scared, as he was the do-it-yourself type and always could solve problems. Since he died, my boiler has a problem, my gas tank has a problem, both of which could cost a lot of money. I do wonder if something is out to get me, and the grief I feel over his loss is such an overwhelming addition. I keep functioning, but wonder how to just deal with these problems and not let them overtake me emotionally.

  31. susan millay says:

    I too !ost my husband of 35 years he had not been well for many years ,its been ayear I still miss him and am sad alot ,I’d always been wife and mother kids grown husband dead don’t know who I am how to find me I am lost

  32. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Pam,

    I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like your life has never been the same since you lost your husband, and there really is no getting over the grief. Starting over after your husband dies is never easy, no matter how old you are.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May you reach upward, and find peace and even joy in the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of your lost love.

    In sympathy,

  33. Pam graudushus says:

    I lost my husband of 42 years during xmas 2009. He took his life. Now after this much time passing, I still struggle with loneliness and feeling lost. I exercise, do my art, try to spend as much time in nature. I even have a man in my life that I occasionally see. Still, my heart feels broken. I am strong for my two daughters, and grandchildren. The hurt goes on and on I was going to a support group friends for survivors. I ant bear all the collective pain there. So here I am what next?

  34. Laurie says:

    Dear Anita,

    I am so sorry for your loss. You have spent so many years with your husband, and you lost him so suddenly! It’s almost unbearable and overwhelming, especially since it happened so quickly. One minute he’s here, the next he’s gone. So heartbreaking, and you have all the practical matters to deal with. It’s unbelievable and shocking.

    Are there any widow support groups in your community? That’s one of the best ways to cope with the death of a husband, to connect with other women who have experienced something similar. Building relationships with new friends will never take the place of your husband, but it will give you something different to focus on.

    How are you involved in your church, neighborhood, or nonprofit organizations? Staying active and social will help keep you healthy and in a more positive frame of mind. Again, volunteering and staying active won’t fill the huge gap left by your beloved husband, but it will help you focus on the life you have left.

    Don’t cave in on yourself. Don’t let grief overwhelm you. Reach out to other widows, to your friends and neighbors and acquaintances. You’re far too young to let grief and sadness darken your life. My prayer for you is that you connect with God, the only source of true fulfillment, happiness, and peace. I pray you are filled with peace that surpasses all understanding, that you find yourself inexplicably content with your life. I also pray you meet other women who know how you feel, who you truly connect with and enjoy spending time with. May you use your days and hours to spread peace, joy, and comfort to others. Amen.

    In sympathy,

  35. Anita says:

    I’m sorry, but my age should read 68 not 46 (46 is my birth year).

  36. Anita says:

    I just lost my husband of 37 years. He passed suddenly of stage 4 lung/liver cancer. We didn’t even know he was ill until the week before he passed. I am so lonely and can’t stop crying. Some days are worse than others. I have tried to go out and do things but I have panic attacks and have to get back home right away. I have a fur baby, but even she is grieving. How can I get over this immense feeling of longing to hold him, hug him, kiss him, just sit and watch TV with him? If anyone came by and heard me talk to him they would think I had lost my mind, but I talk to his pictures all the time. I even kiss my hand and touch his wooden urn when I pass it. He was only 63 years old. I am 46 and always thought we would have a lot more years together. I don’t know how to deal with this painful loss that makes me physically ill some days.

  37. Laurie says:

    Dear Donna,

    Thank you for being here – I am sorry for your loss.

    Making friends after your husband dies is difficult. It seems like adults don’t make friends as easily as kids do — it’s a skill that adults have to learn, especially when they don’t have natural connections. My husband and I don’t have kids, and I know that parents make friends because of their kids’ activities and friends. Most people have children, and they talk about their children. This sort of leaves me and Bruce with less to talk about with them.

    I really struggled with making friends, and it wasn’t until I got my cell phone last month that I really started connecting with people! Isn’t that odd? But something about having my own phone has opened me up to friendships in a way that a landline doesn’t, because I text, probably.

    Anyway, I wrote this article for you:

    I hope it helps you start over in this stage of life. I think the most important thing to remember is that making friends takes time and effort. And, we don’t connect with everyone we meet. I talk about that in the article, that I have to meet about 10 people before I find one I’d like to go for coffee or walk with.

    Come back anytime – I’ll be your friend! :-) I’m here to listen.

    Blessings and sympathies,

  38. Donna Nelson says:

    My husband died 6 months ago and I have never been single. I am 62 and I have no friends and my kids have their own lives and this is completely new to me. My husband was my life. I know one day I will have friends but I don’t know where to start. I tried a support group but I don’t like the group. I want to meet new people and get to know new people and make friends, but I don’t know how.

  39. Judy says:

    Thanks for saying the things you did. The local hospital has a group, I am thinking about checking it out. Not quite there yet though. I have heard and read a lot about grief, it just seems so weird not wanting to be around anyone. I found myself hoping no one comes to visit on Sunday. A support group would probably help me deal with that. Thanks a lot.

  40. Laurie says:

    Dear Judy,

    I’m sorry for your loss. You’re grieving not only the death of your husband, but the end of a very important and meaningful chapter of your life. You’re also grieving the transition of your own identity as wife — you’re moving from wife to widow.

    Grieving is a process that takes a long time, and is full of weird, painful, sad, heartbreaking, and scary moments. What you’re going through is normal and even healthy – your mind, soul, and body is responding to this huge loss in your life.

    Have you considered joining a grief support group? I co-facilitate support groups through the Alzheimer’s Society for caregivers, and have found the amount of support women give each other amazing. When you’re ready, I encourage you to look into a grief support group. You may find it helpful to connect with widows and widowers who are going through what you are, and who can relate to your experience.

    Many of my support group members also meet outside of the group, to connect for coffee, bridge, hikes, etc.

    I also encourage you to give yourself time to grief. Losing your husband is a huge transition in life – even if you did take care of all the bills and household responsibilities! Your feelings of numbness and shock will eventually fade, and you’ll begin to feel like yourself again.

    Please feel free to come back anytime and let me know how you are!


  41. Judy says:

    My husband died three months ago. I am trying to get out and be with people but find doing things with them to be too much. One on one conversation is ok, but joining with a group is really stressful right now. I worry about becoming a hermit. I force myself to go to church and accept invitations, but I don’t enjoy myself while I’m there and can’t wait to get back to the quiet of my own home. When I am home I worry about spending too much time alone. I muddle through the days and think about my life passing by. I don’t have the problems a lot of women have with taking care of things because I always did that. My husband’s only responsibility was to work at his job. I did everything else. I kind of checked out of life during that time though, meaning, his and the childrens’ needs were more important, and lately, he was enough company for me. Now I find myself by myself and feel weird because I really don’t care to be around others that much. Don’t care how I end up either, and that is scary too. Wish my daughter would come home to live with me, but she is talking about getting married in September. So that is out. My son is moving out soon, he’s not here much anyway. I have to get involved in something but don’t have the desire. Hope this passes and I do become more social.

  42. Laurie says:

    Dear Ellen,

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. What a terrible experience, to see someone you love go through such pain and trauma. And it’s traumatic and heartbreaking for you, to lose your husband.

    My heart goes out to you, and I hope and pray you are surrounded by people who care and understand what you’re going through. May you find comfort and solace in your loved ones…and if not, may you have the courage and strength to find people who understand what it’s like to lose a husband and have to start over again.

    Please feel free to come back anytime, and let me know how you’re doing.


  43. Ellen says:

    My husband of 27 years died suddenly on New Year’s Day, 2013. He had a genetic heart condition called Hypertropic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy. He was able to work full time but suffered from attacks of dizziness from time to time. He was on medication and was careful with his diet and drank a lot of water. We were away for the New Year’s weekend and starting having one of his dizzy spells and then chest pains which always eased with ice packs. After calling the ambulance and getting treated at the hospital, he was completely fine but they ran many tests and kept him overnight to monitor him. He was fine all through that night and into the next day, which was December 31st. After being seen by at least 3 cardiologists and all agreeing that he was okay to be released and did not meet the criteria for having a defibrillator implanted, he left the hospital with discharge instructions to follow up with a cardiologist when we got home. That same evening, after dinner, the dizziness returned as well as the chest pains. Once again, an ambulance was summoned, but this time they could not get his blood pressure back to a stable level and after many attempts for over 3 hours in the emergency room, things went downhill. His lungs were filling with liquid and his brain was not getting enough oxygen. After many attempts at CPR, he was not able to be brought back, and died of sudden cardiac arrest. He was only 64. This was a second marriage for both of us; I had been widowed at age 36 and he was divorced. I never thought he would die so young and so suddenly. It is the worst experience of my entire life and I just hope and pray that God will be with me to overcome this most painful experience that I never thought I would have to go through again.

  44. Linda Plank says:

    I only know a few people in this very rural area and they all work with families that they are raising or help raising. I used to volunter at the animal shelter but kept bringing them home so I stopped that. Most folks seem to stay so busy then don’t have time for anyone else. I am going along making decisions which is really difficult but I hope I am doing things the right way. I will start getting partial disability from his death in October but for now seem to be in a holding pattern of loniliness and tears. You can write me at my email if you would like to.

  45. Laurie says:

    Dear June,

    Thank you for sharing about your husband – he was so young! So sad, that he had to go this early.

    It sounds like you’re grieving and saying good-bye to your husband in healthy ways. I’m glad you feel good about the gravestone and ceremony – you have taken action in positive ways, and it will help you mourn your husband’s death.

    I’ll look up the chat room you mentioned, and add it to the article to help others who are starting over after their husband died. I’m sure they’ll find it as helpful as you did.

    And, I’m glad you have a dog! My husband travels for 2-3 weeks at a time on business trips, and without our dog I’d be lonely, scared, and very unhappy. Maybe that should be another tip for starting over, especially if you’re in your sixties or older…adopt a furry creature to love.


  46. Laurie says:

    Dear Linda,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s death. Suicide makes it even more complicated to start over again – especially if you’re in your 60s, and haven’t made many household or family decisions.

    Maybe you need to give yourself more time – it’s only been 3 months since your husband died. I think it’s normal and natural that you can’t make decisions! You’re grieving, and grief takes a huge toll on our emotions and psyche. I don’t think you should push yourself to heal, or to be strong enough to make even the smallest decisions.

    Be kind to yourself – pamper yourself, and let yourself mourn your loss. Give yourself time, and don’t push yourself to take steps you aren’t ready for.

    Have you connected with other widows, in person? That’s one of the best ways to start over when your husband dies – to surround yourself with people who know exactly what you’re going through.

    I invite you to come back, and tell me how you’re coping. What decisions have you made lately, and what ones are you avoiding? Have you joined a widows’ support group? Who are you spending your time with?


  47. Linda Plank says:

    My husband killed himself on April 14, 2012. I don’t know how to move on. I am so lonely. He had been severely impacted by depression and pain. He made every decision in our marriage from my age of 16 to his age of 20, we had 5 great children. I can’t seem to learn how to make decisions. Or how to keep going after his death. I have no friends and my family is not close. I don’t have any money-so many things I can’t even think about changing. How do you heal? we were married 43 years.

  48. june says:

    thanks for the tips. my husband died at age 59 of prostate cancer, and i have been trying to cope with it. it has been 5 months. i went to grievance, it only made me sader. today i am more sad than usual but happy to be doing this. i am going to his grave and decorating it with plants and a cross and there will be a ceremony that he wanted done. i called his family to come and they are meeting me there. the stone was just put up. i feel good about doing this for him and afterwards the family will have a luncheon. i think that if i just try to keep myself as busy as possible that works so much better. i still cling to the house alot its where i feel better sitting in front of the tv or talking in a chat room and being with my dog. the worst time is early in the morning and right before i go to bed. at night i like to chat and tell people about my lose and the people are so nice about it. the room is called free general chat room. i am still looking for more relief but haven’t truly found it. thanks for listening to me.

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