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How old were you when your spouse died? How does your age affect your self-concept now that you're on your own?

I'm interested in hearing from widows and widowers of all ages to know what it's like to be a certain age when you have your loss. We have widows and widowers of all ages here on Widowed Village and we all must have some different viewpoints depending on our age.

 

So I was 44 when my husband died in '06. I felt surrounded by intact families with moms and dads..and I was out of place and out of sync with my friends who were no longer single but also had never experienced being widowed. I felt so different from everyone else. I felt like a lonely loser at times. I hated going to my children's school events alone or to social activities.

 

I also felt too young to want to be without a partner, so I wanted to date and to be part of a couple again. But I felt like being in my mid-40s was a terrible age to be single because there would be no one to date who wasn't either divorced after only being married briefly or a little old to still be single. Also, it was hard to talk to my friends about dating. They were mostly in mid-life marriages and didn't really want to hear about my dating...so that felt a little lonely too. No one to compare notes with. I felt like I wished I didn't have to date again, yet I think it made some of my friends a little jealous to think of me getting to do that again. Again, I felt very out of sync with my peers.

 

I also felt like it was terrible to lose my husband after we had done the hard work of raising young children and then they were just at an age where travelling and doing stuff with them would be so much easier now that they weren't really little anymore.

 

I felt like it was unlikely I would ever find someone else again.

 

 

 

 

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We can’t control what others think nor do we owe anyone an explanation. The only one you do “owe” is yourself—you owe it to yourself to try to find peace and happiness in your life. Let the busybodies raise their eyebrows, it is your life, your business. The only thing I would be cautious about is getting into a relationship and not giving yourself enough time to get to know the person before making commitments. Unclouded  judgement is important and even more so when children are involved. I would not put someone down for dating soon afterwards, like you say circumstances may be different, especially in those long term care- taking  situations. If someone has the nerve to say something to you, thank them for their concern and say not another word. Change the subject or walk away!

myranndah, thanks for this.  My situation is a bit different than yours because I'm older (lost my husband 2 years ago when I was 63) and had only a couple of months of really heavy-duty caregiving, but I agree with you on anticipatory grieving.  Over a couple of years, Ron was able to do less and less, meaning I took on more of the cooking, errands, cleaning, etc, in addition to all of the things I usually did.  And- I hope this isn't TMI- we hadn't been intimate for 3+ years.  He was a dear man, not a complainer, willing to live the fullest life he could given whatever physical limitations his health issues imposed on him, but when he died he was 6'2" and down to 117 lbs.  

I'm doing much better than I ever expected 15 months out.  It's partly a relief- I no longer need to worry about Ron and whether he'll fall on his way to the bathroom or whether he's running out of one of his prescriptions.  I don't have to look at his poor emaciated frame and remind myself we used to hike together.  He's no longer suffering.  

So, I've been spreading my ageing wings. We traveled to wonderful places together- our trip to Iceland in 2015 was our last and one of our best- but now I'm going to the warmer climates (he didn't tolerate heat well) and doing things that were too strenuous for him.  Fortunately we had plenty of time to talk and I know he was happy about my plans.

The good thing about the people here is that they realize there's no "right" way to recover from a loved one's death.   All of us had different experiences with it and we're all wired differently.  We just encourage each other no matter where we are.

Hi Athena,

    Your post sounds a little like me... ( Some of it ) Don't worry about TMI. Paul and were not able to be intimate for about a year before before he passed. He also wanted to live a normal life as long as possible. He loved his horses. But as time went by, he knew he had to sell all but one. He had Glioblastoma, ( brain cancer) but it got into hus spinal fluid. And he started losing feeling in his legs. Soon I was the driver. And it hurt him to no longer be on the go.

   I know what yo0u mean by rushing home to check on him. I did the same. Every so often I still think I need to hurry home... Then I remember that there is no need to hurry.

   If it wasn't for Widow Village, I would have no idea that the feelings I keep having are actually normal.

I hope all is well,

Susan

             Hi, Jill :)  Your post is more than 6 years old but I am new here and just saw it so I thought I'd respond and throe in my two cents.  I was just shy of my 70th birthday when my wife of 43 years went Home to be with the Lord.  She had suffered for the past three and 1/2 years of her life with progressively worsening idiopathic neuropathy and then, as her illness progressed, with atonic bladder dysfunction and neurogenic bowel disorder.   Added to that was scoliosis and then, in the last few months, aspiration pneumonia.

             We had time to do all the activities one would hope for in a good marriage....raise two boys to become fine, middle age now men.  We travelled with them when they were young to Nova Scotia and also as far south as Disneyworld and points in between.  Wealso had time as a couple, once they flew the coop, to take nearly a score of trips in groups culminating with a week in Israel. 

              So many of the forks in the road that you were not able to take because you lost your husband so early in life were granted to us.  I can't imagine what it would be like to lose one's beloved at your age and also having to cope with being a single Mom.

               My grief is great but, at my age and that of my wife  t her passing, my acceptance of where she is now as a positive result of so many incurable illnesses is also beginning to sink into my acceptance of the way things are now.  I, like you, have lost my best friend and life partner, but at my age I have less concern with what happens next than you do.

               I hope that by now...six years after your post here in WV....that you embarked on a future that has had a few sunny days in it.  I also hope that the memories have become sweeter as time has progressed and that you will find WV to be a positive resource as you go forward in life.

 

Hi Jill.  I just read your commentaries dated June 3, 2011 and wondered how you were doing now.  Hope you've survived your loss and making headway in living life again.

james. 

I am 44 years and my wife was 43 years...

We have 2 lovely and wonderful sons - 17 years and 14 years..

We lost her on 12th March 2018...

I feel terrible and heavy in the heart..

sometimes, I am unable to breath also when her thoughts comes to my mind..

I cant sleep in the night...

I was 49, no children, four doggies. I felt lost and hopeless.

I was 41 when my husband was killed. I can relate to most of your original post. Five years have passed and I still find that I am in some weird widowhood limbo. Most of my friends are married and like me with grown children. I have edged my toe into the dating pool but find it bizarre dating in midlife as a widow. I led a simple life with my husband and trying to "market" myself for online dating is tiresome.  I'm enjoying my life to the best of my ability at present.

I am 58; he was 67 when he died a few months ago. We had one son, who will be 19 in June. I think I am too old to start again. It would be nice if I could find someone to hang out with, go to sports games with, etc. Companionship is what I need.

I was 54 when he died in srael Jan 2000 it’s now more than 18 yrs still hard I do work have a dog but have conflicts with my sons especially the older married religious one and it really tears me apart can’t change him but it hurts as he influences his five children  and surely it makes me feel guilty and worthless my single son lives with me don’t really ask much of him and sometimes he has to help or be like a shadow have a three wheeled bike don’t like going alone and am somewhat afraid that I can get hurt he feel s I should go alone but he doesn’t realize maybe I don’t like going alone he too has his issues try to keep my spirits up but sometimes I am a big neglectful of myself this for listening.  Elaine

 ... I was 59, He was 62.

I was 49, he was 60.

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