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. 

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Comment by Runnergirl on May 3, 2011 at 9:54pm
My husband died suddenly of a heart attack almost 5 years. It was a shock because he had no health problems and was on no medication. For the most part, everyone was supportive. I did get tired of the comment, "Isn't wonderful that he did not suffer?" or some variation. FInally I got so tired of that I responded with, "If you think that is making me feel better, it is not. He could have suffered for 30 minutes so I could have said goodbye." I really didn't mean to be so blunt but the words just came out. I doubt that person won't say that again. It's a tough call when to speak up or not. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.There is not rule book.
Comment by Susieg on May 3, 2011 at 7:32pm
Amanda, 2 years for me and I still am not "sucking it up".  People who say that are thoughtless. My MIL and I were always close, even the 10 years before we married.  She is having dementia issues now, and she is like 85 so I don't look for much there.  But she still gives me birthday and Christmas money, so I guess they consider me part of the family.  Mike's dad died a few months after he did, he had a stroke in 2006.  Guess since you got the baby sitting thing going you have to be careful, I had to scrap the few comments I had for you....just ignore them and do it at your own pace.  You are doing great, in my opinion.  I''m alone, nothing much going on, so you have a lot going on.  Ignore their comments....
Comment by NMWidower on May 3, 2011 at 5:37pm

@ Amanda,


Sorry about your in-laws not providing support.  I have been pretty fortunate not to have many people rush me through grief but it is unfortunately a very common occurrence.  Having also lost a spouse suddenly 18 months ago and having small kids, I can say you are doing awesome from what you described, very awesome I would say.  And you are 100% correct whatever days you need to cry and be sad you honestly have to have full freedom to do that.

While I am doing better after 18 months I still have days where I feed sad and feel like sulking too.  Working and parenting and grieving can really limit one's time and sometimes cause grief to build up a bit. 


So sorry for your loss and I hope this place provides you with encouragement and hope as you continue to heal.


Pat - NMWidower

Comment by Sleepless in Chicago on May 3, 2011 at 4:51pm
Ah yes, here is my first official post into the group - hello!  Quick synopsis:  I was suddenly widowed 1.5 years ago at 35 when my husband had a heart attack right in front of me, I did cpr on him in front of the kids - I am a cpr instructor and I really thought that or the AED would have done it - but it didn't.  So, the in-law thing.  Yes, they shocked me with a few things a few weeks ago.  They told me they are getting better - so basically maybe I should too.  Um, hello, but they get to lead the SAME EXACT life.  Golf, dinners, movies, blah blah.  I'm raising 3 kids working full time.  Oh, and they told me I'm not the only one going through something like this (like there are other widows - which of course there are and I luv them all :) But my statement was:  Uh, yeah, no duh, but what is the point of saying something like THAT? What a ridiculous comment. Oh, and they said I should "suck it up."  Wow.  I go to work everyday, my kids are in a million activities, I am involved in volunteering, I take the kids to church, I keep a clean house - so I think I'm allowed to sulk and grieve now and then and think I'm sucking it up pretty darn well. But, overall they watch the kids when I need them to and are a big help for babysitting - but now I know they are not a source of emotional support!! Now I know who I can and cannot turn to for when I do need emotional support. Love it.
Comment by Momtofour on May 2, 2011 at 4:38pm
Missing Peace...I think what you are doing right now is just amazing.  My late husband was a Kosovo vet, and my FH (future husband, live in boyfriend) is currently in the Army and a 2 time Iraqi vet.  I know personally how  much that would  mean to them and I cant even begin to imagine how amazing it would be.  As for the family issues....well, I'll just say I am dealing with some of the same stuff you are and it ENRAGES me, but there is nothing I can do about it.  I just cut them out of our lives to end the drama instead.
Comment by NMWidower on May 1, 2011 at 10:28pm

@ Chris, 


I agree with you on Immersing yourself in it.  That was one of the things they encouraged us to do in griefshare classes.  They called it "leaning into the grief".  I think for me it helped me to 1) give myself permission to grieve 2) help me understand the depth of my loss and most importantly 3) to not run from my grief and pain and stuff it. 


Honestly grief is by far the most painful and dark valley I have every walked, but I know facing my grief, truly grieving each loss until I could let it go has helped me to find healing.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  I was thankful for others in my life like you who encouraged me to "lean into my grief" too.  As hard as this can be I think it really helps people to truly deal with the pain so you can one day be free from letting this loss control all of the rest of your life.  I know it certainly does for a season, but I also know life and hope can one day be found again and that as I have grieved it has helped me to be able to let go and start to rebuild life again.


@ Eowyn.  Wonderful words.  I think like you experiencing loss has also helped me to appreciate life more.  It took a while to get there, but I know as I rebuild in life I dont want to take anything for granted moving forward. 

I think similarly I was amazed at how I have become more compassionate than I ever thought I could be too.  I'm not sure when or how it happened but I can definitely see it has occurred these last 18 months.


Comment by missing.peace on May 1, 2011 at 8:19pm

I appreciate everyone who responded to my post..  while I wouldn't wish being widowed on my worst enemy it's nice to have some people to talk to and relate to on this subject.  

I do understand that my in laws are grieving in their own way, I'm aware that they may even be taking their anger at the loss of their child out in ways that may hurt me.. I'm also aware that I could be focusing the anger that I have due to this situation on them as well..  but I'm also tired of making excuses for them.  this isn't new to them, (not the loss of a child, but the sheer self centeredness) from early on in my relationship with my late husband it was apparent that his mother was a very selfish, self-centered person.  (she was an only child that never seemed to grow out of that mentality) through our wedding, announcing that we were pregnant and now this my mil has always managed to somehow make things about her.  In fact my husband had approached his father while I was pregnant and asked if they (my husband and his sister) could have a family "pow wow", to talk to their mom about her attitude and actions.. to explain how it upset them and hurt them and how if things didn't change somehow that she wouldn't see them as much..  his father told him no, that if they were to do something like that she'd "kill herself" -in my opinion a.)if she was this close to suicide that is a whole other issue to be dealt with immediately and b.) that he only said this because HE didn't want to have to deal with the aftermath of that conversation.  it is because of how my husband felt about his family that we moved to another city (we had been living in the same city as them) and three months later he was shot while parking our car in front of our house for no apparent reason other than the people behind him while he was trying to parallel park got impatient and decided to shoot him as they were finally able to pass by.  

from the moment they arrived the next morning they took over everything.  the decision to pack up the house we had been living in and moving me back to the city we had been living in.. I never had the chance to say goodbye.  even though we had only been there for a few months, it was still the last home we shared as a family.  the funeral was held one week after he was murdered..  I was completely numb and they were just throwing all this stuff at me.  they organized the funeral.. other than my decision to have him cremated and the urn that his ashes would be in.. I didn't have much say in anything.  I DID put my foot down when my mil wanted to cut some of his hair off to keep though.  she suddenly started acting as though he was a "mama's boy" when I knew the truth.. it makes me sick to my stomach.  the day after the funeral we had a last viewing of his body before cremation, just immediate family..  and all I wanted was a few moments alone with him to say good bye... but she walked up and kissed him on his lips, which I had said was something I needed to do.. to give him one last kiss, and after that.. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, not after she did.  

my brother in law now claims to be clairvoyant and says he gets messages from my husband.. I want to scream at him that if he was communicating with him he would tell them all to back the flip off and put them all in their place.. but I just have to remind myself that I know the truth.. it's just hard because I feel outnumbered by them.  If it weren't for the fact that I have their only grandchild I would have cut ties with them long ago.. I kept thinking after his death that this would change them, would put things into perspective and help them see outside the little bubble they live in, but in the long run it feels like it's only made it worse.  


I'm sorry, I know I've ranted on and on and it just sounds like all I have is this anger, I've just not had anyone to talk to this stuff about.. I do have more to me than anger.. I've tried to take from this experience and instead of playing the victim I've tried to make something in my life to help others.  at the time of my husbands death I was going to get to be a stay at home mom.. but that was no longer an option.. so the weeks following his death among all the other stuff going on in my head I was trying to figure out what in the world I was going to do to take care of us as a family (my husband was killed 23 hours before his life insurance policy went into effect, we were given nothing).  I also kept thinking about how much I wanted to go to a spa and get pampered in those months following his death, but I didn't want to be told to have a good day or explain what I was going through either..  so I started doing some research on massage and grief and long story short decided to go to school to become a massage therapist with the hopes of eventually creating some sort of retreat that is geared towards people who are grieving..  I've been in the industry for almost a year now (started school 4 months after his death) and just got an opportunity to work with "wounded warriors" -I live near a military base now- and will have the opportunity to work with people dealing with PTSD and who've been through some very traumatic stuff.. so at least I'm heading in the right direction.   I feel like I'm doing a great job helping others heal, I just need to start taking the time to work on myself.. it's just hard to do due to lack of free time and funds..  but I am truly grateful to have found this site and the potential people I will meet through this to share insight on this journey moving forward.  


Comment by Soaring Spirits on May 1, 2011 at 5:52pm
Abby, be easy on yourself. I often advise folks to be MORE selfish during these times... though I am also spending a lot of time rebuilding relationships that I neglected while *I* was taking care of things the past few years. At 5 years, I am working on compassion, openness, and some of the other things that got lost when I was just surviving... but I wouldn't be here to work on those if I hadn't survived, yanno? X to you!!!
Comment by Kerri H on May 1, 2011 at 5:47pm
Abby, it sounds to me like you are very wisely taking care of yourself in this situation.  It truly is best to insulate yourself from anyone that will hurt you or could hurt you because you have enough to deal with at the moment.  There is nothing like the devastation we suffer when we lose our spouse.
Comment by Abby on May 1, 2011 at 5:34pm

Thanks for your unique perspective Abigail. You are right that my husband's family is grieving their loss...selfishly and shockingly I never saw that until you mentioned it. I am in too much pain to deal with them at this time and I am not sure that I want to be around someone  (My sister in law) who would have the capacity to write such hurtful things to me. I forgot to mention that she lost her first husband to brain cancer 15 years ago, so you would think that she would be have a better understanding of my situation. In any event, I will need some time and perspective to decide how to move forward or not with them. Right now I am in too much pain to reach out to people who have hurt me when I am most vulnerable.

I am so sorry for your loss and truly admire your courage and perspective. I hope that I feel like you do after a few years. Right now, I am too obsessed with the loss of my husband, best everything to even begin to deal with other family members feelings.  Thank you for writing in and offering up some much needed wisdom.



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