This site is run by widowed people, for widowed people

Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."


Suddenly Widowed

For those widowed suddenly or unexpectedly by any cause. 

Check the 'Help' tab for more guidance or send questions to [email protected]

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Comment by daringtoday on Tuesday

Shelley, Have you tried massage, yoga or energy work? Grief writes heavily on the body and I have found that body work has been one of the most helpful practices for me to work through my grief. I am still getting regular sessions, more than two years after my partner died. Hugs, Amy

Comment by dougn52 on Tuesday

It has been 4 years and two months since my wife took her own life.  I have definitely had my share of the "what ifs".  At some point I quit focusing on how she died, but I don't know why.  Maybe it was just a matter of time.  You might try  memorizing a prayer, if you are religious, or an inspirational poem and reciting it to yourself when you get those thoughts until they go away.

Two things I finally realized helped me quite a bit.  (But again I'm not really sure when it happened).   First,  I realized I will never be the same person, so I should quit trying to be.   Second I realized that I was going to improve at my own pace, not on anyone else's schedule, so I should quit pressuring myself to get better. 

It does get better over time ...

Comment by shelley on Tuesday

SweetMelissa2007, thank you.  It is exactly the shoulda, coulda, woulda guilt.  

Comment by shelley on Tuesday

Thank you all for your responses to my post.  You are always helpful.  I apologize for not being clear about what advice/suggestions I was seeking.  I was surprised to hear my therapist say that my guilty feelings are becoming obsessive but I am not questioning her judgment.  I was seeking advice on ridding myself of the guilt.  When the 'what if's' popped into my head, I would tell myself, 'But we didn't know', 'But we had no way of knowing'.  Whether or not my guilty feelings are obsessive, they are painful and unproductive.  And I know I would benefit from letting them go or at least softening their effect.  Maybe the 'But I didn't know' and the 'But I had no way of knowing' would work again.     Thank you so much for your support.  

Comment by Mike on Tuesday


I am still inclined to trust the therapist. If she feels Shelley is becoming obsessive maybe she knows better than we do. She is trying to help her work out her issues and I think it’s worth a try. It doesn’t sound like criticism to me. It sounds more like honesty. 

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on Tuesday

This is true, a therapist might be able to offer assistance, however, if all that is offered is criticism than it is of no help. Therapists sometimes use anger to direct/push people to resolve issues on their own. Its better to directly ask for her/his advice. I would not be surprised if self help books are suggested ...

No one gets over grief or simply let's go of nagging issues - working them out prevents the conscious from recycling it/them for another go round & another go round till resolved ...

Blessings ...

Comment by Mike on Tuesday


On the front page of this website it says:

” Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.“

Comment by Mike on Tuesday


Everyone here wants to help and there is some good advice. But your therapist probably knows you better than we do. At least give some consideration to what your therapist says.  Maybe he/she can offer you some ways to work through it. Yes we all move at our own pace and I’m sure your therapist knows that too. You are going there for a reason so I would recommend listening to what they say. 

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on Tuesday


In your time, you will break the glass ceiling on survivor's guilt. Its not something you can just let go off - it takes lots of work to rebuild your self confidence. The shoulda, coulda, woulda guilts are part of rebuilding - they challenge your strength,  worthiness of life & love of yourself. Therapists are textbook & work experience educated - grief w/the living is one of the least studied areas. Most all books have been written by those who have experienced it rather then based on clinical studies ...

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote in 1969 the groundbreaking 5-stages of grief in her book "On Death and Dying" based on studies of the terminally ill patients. These 5 -stages closely resemble those of the widowed. Her book might provide you w/a better understanding of what you're going through. They can also be found on the internet. Its not mentioned how any patient got through any of the stages to accept death - it was not part of the study.  How you choose to heal is up to you ...

Blessings ...

Comment by Maggie on Tuesday

Shelley...I had many guilt issues. My husband and I were happily married for most of the 30 yrs, but after his retirement things changed. I won't go into detail but he became depressed and felt no sense of purpose and it changed him. So we argued more and I will admit to escalating it at times because he said hurtful things and it made me mad. Anyway fast forward to a brain cancer diagnosis and death 11 yrs after retirement. He was in a nursing home the last 6 weeks of his life and he wanted to be home, but I was alone (no children or family) and could not do it by myself. He was bedridden and in diapers. Then to top it off, I had gone home from my daily visits and he passed away after I left. So talk about guilt!

But 5 years later I have come to terms with all this. He could be mean verbally and I had a right to speak up for myself. I couldn't handle him at home and if I had tried...well I don't know the answer to that. And I couldn't know that he would die when I had already gone home for the evening like I did everyday. It wasn't imminent. 

It takes mostly time and clearer thinking that will come. We are all only flawed humans and make mistakes in judgement. He did too I tell myself. Neither if us were perfect although I consider that I had a good marriage and I loved him, still miss him and want no other man. 

Dont try to rush the quilt away. All of this grief and guilt will go away or lessen on its own time table and it's different for everyone and people who have not gone through this cannot understand something they've never experienced. Just give yourself time and don't worry if you feel a lot of guilt. I promise you it will lessen. You will see the bigger picture in time. And most of all don't feel guilty if you're still feeling guilty. Don't worry with it...just let it happen and time will be your friend.


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