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Suddenly the sole parent - is anyone else out there in this situation ?

I am searching for people (men or women) in similar situations as what I am experiencing.  My wonderful wife of 23 years passed away 10 weeks ago after a 5 month illness. I am faced to deal with everything - is anyone else like this and feeling overwhelmed or who I can converse with about picking up the pieces  ?  I have two wonderful sons, not little but not on their own yet, two dogs and work a full time job (more than 40 hours/week of responsibility).  Time to grieve and dwell on the past ?  No !  Time to get up, get ready for work during the week ?  Yes, a must ! Time to feed/walk the dogs/take to the vet, or give attention to ?  Yes.  Time to spend with the children ?  Yes,  want to.  Something that 'has to be done' - always.   I was always an attentive, involved and selfless devoted father and husband, but there was always someone there to help with things, or discuss decisions with at the 'adult' there's no one, not to mention missing the physical attraction.   I love my children unconditionally, but need more.  I have no support group....parents - gone; sister - gone; brother-in-law - gone; niece - gone; wife's family - somewhat there with good intentions, but not able to provide what is needed.  What happens you become suddenly the sole parent without a support group?  Not a divorced parent, the only parent.  The only working parent, the only decision making parent.   I want to go on and be happy, I don't want to forget about the good years we had together, but I want to move forward, be more happy than miserable, love someone again and be loved by someone other than my sons. I miss my wife terribly but I have the time to think of the past, because it's time for the next have to do task or chore.  It's exhausting mentally and physically, day after day, with social distancing and people being afraid to interact is this it for the indefinite future ?  Not looking for a fairy tale ending, just someone or more than 1 person to give each other support and confidence that it can be better.

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Comment by Si on June 21, 2020 at 4:14pm

I'm very sorry.

I lost my husband 18 month ago after 3 years of illness. I don't have kids,  so I can't imagine what you are going through.

I hope you found the support you need in this difficult times.

Comment by MissLC on June 16, 2020 at 2:37pm

I lost my husband four years ago and my kids were 9 and 12 at the time.  I had support from his family but it wasn't the support I needed at that time.  I moved to be closer to my side of the family and although they were there for me, they had their own lives.  I  found that I needed to a figure out how to get this "new" norm to work for me.  I get it - you are the "everything" to your kids...breadwinner, doctors, chauffer, counselor, financial person and so on.  If you're kids are old enough, I found it was important to know when I was tired and needed help.  Let them know you need help or a time out and why.  I felt it was important for my kids to know I'm always there for them but I can get tired and that I miss my husband and their dad also.  I have also found, that you need to be the one to ask for help.  With COVID, who knows how long until we socialize, but I'd have to say any church groups, parent groups, meetup groups for single parents or joining a hobby that you like where you can meet people helps.  You're not alone and things will start to balance out for the better.  

Comment by Andi on June 15, 2020 at 4:05pm

The walk is difficult-no one should sugar coat it.One day at a time becomes REAL in loss...sometimes it is one hour at a time. I lost my husband just over 3 years ago and took care of all of the details ,,,personal as a sole individual. There is a very good cirriculum called Griefshare that has classes as well. It was very helpful to be around others who had a loss and understood somewhat. I also heard similar things we were all going through-I was not crazy. I ended up facilitating a couple of classes ...and still have a support group from this group, It was hard and took couragebut you are not alone!


Comment by ScarletPlumes on June 14, 2020 at 1:28pm

It seems like what I hear you saying more than anything is that you need support. An adult someone to listen to all of the "must dos" and "holy crap what do I do nows?" and provide supportive feedback. Your feelings of grief and responsibility aren't something you can share with your children. My kids are grown and there are still thoughts, feelings and responsibilities that I won't share with them because I don't want them to worry. They're my kids. No matter how old they are I will always try to protect them and just be the mom. Right now you probably feel like you're trying to juggle one ball too many and you just want someone there to help catch the balls when they start to drop, if they do. 

I highly recommend what Estragon said about making the lists. It makes the tasks much easier. Don't be afraid to delegate some of the household things to your boys where age appropriate. Again, I have to echo what Estragon said about support groups. Widowed is different from divorced, but single parents regardless of how they became single share the same issues and solutions. I know things are difficult with the pandemic and social distancing. It's highly possible you could find a support group on line right now. If I'm not mistaken, there is a widowed with children group here. You might be able to find the support and feedback you're looking for there. 

Please allow yourself and your boys time to grieve and heal before embarking on a new relationship. No one should have to settle for less than the fairy tale. 

Comment by laurajay on June 9, 2020 at 11:49am

Advice  to make  yourself  whole  and  functioning  before  you  venture  out  is  wise  advice  from  Barbee!  She  lived  it.  Also  get  your  boys  healing too  before  you  add  anyone  new into  your  life.  I  want you  to  be  aware  that  because  you  are  not  yet  an old  senior  like  many  of us  lonely  elders  are--you  might  eventually meet  someone---be  open and  honest  about  yourself  if and when  you do  and  be sure  you  remember  you  do  not  change  people  so  if  the women/woman  you  meet don't  seem  quite  right...they  are  probably  not  right  for  you.  Don't  let  want  or  need to  be loved again rule  your  common  sense .   Wastes  time  and  hurts  feelings.  I've  read  plenty  of  accounts  here  of people  who  hurried  into  a  new  relationship  and  it  did  not pan out.   But  for  now-  you  get  happy  and  whole...your kids  too...then  see  where  it  leads  you.

Comment by Estragon on June 9, 2020 at 11:15am

My kids are grown, so I'm not really walking in your footsteps.  I can only imagine what this would be like if they were younger.  You don't say how old the kids are.  In your shoes, I'd start by thinking about how I can fill the emotional role their mother played in an age appropriate way.  You may be different, but my wife and I each filled different roles.  I'd probably see that as one of  the more important (and difficult) problems.

As far as the logistical stuff, I'd start by making "must", "probably should, but it will keep", and "could if there's time, but probably won't be" lists of stuff to do.  Try to be brutally honest and recognize everything can't go on the first list.  Things are different now, and some things that might have gone on that list will have to be dropped, altered to be easier, or, if age appropriate, handled by the boys themselves.  Maybe a neighbour would like to walk the dogs sometimes.  I like dogs, but I don't think adopting one is viable for me for a number of reasons.  I'd be happy to walk someone else's though.  Can one of the boys take over feeding?  I think caring for an animal is really good for kids.

As for looking for someone to share the load in this new life, I'd really advise against it.  "Not looking for a fairy tale ending" is a HUGE red flag to me.  If you're looking for housekeeping, hire someone or just accept things might not get cleaned as well or as often as they might have done before.  For support and confidence, there are people here who may be of some help.  I know widowed is different than divorced, but single parents do tend to have common issues and solutions.  Maybe there are local single-parent supports?

I really miss the companionship of my late wife, but I think it would be a mistake to pursue a new relationship for any reason other than a "fairy tale ending".  It just wouldn't be good for me over the long term, or fair to the new her, to do otherwise.  For me, the fairy tale probably isn't a new marriage, just two adults really enjoying doing things together.  Whatever the fairy tale is for you, it's almost certainly going to take work, and need you to be available to invest in it.  

All just FWIW, and IMHO.

Comment by barbee on June 9, 2020 at 6:23am

Oskar, I'm sorry for your loss yet glad you found this site. Your grief is fresh and raw. Like any wound, it needs time to heal. Finding another woman to fill the hole is not the answer until you are whole and ready to give your whole self to her. I say this as someone whose husband died after almost fifty years of marriage. It took me two years before I started dating (really scary!). I wasn't sure because who would want an old, overweight woman with a lot of baggage? Well, when the time is right, it is right! I met an older man, also widowed after almost fifty years who was lonely too. We became friends, then traveled together, and have been together for five years now.

That's my story; yours will be different. Each person travels this grief road differently. There are other men here (now or in the past) who have become suddenly single dads. There are others who married within weeks of losing their spouse; others, never. You need to do what is best for you and I suggest you work through your grief, healing yourself and helping your children heal before you add someone new to the mix. That special person is out there and will be there when the time is right. Be patient and forgiving to yourself and become your own best friend. 

Comment by Helen on June 8, 2020 at 9:57pm

Hi Oskar - my husband passed away 1 year ago and like you I just needed to figure out what I needed to do and get it done.  My first step was to go on line and search on check list when someone passes as a starting point.  Widowed Village send out packets to new members and they have a check list in the packet.  It's a great start to a long list of things to do. Just remember it is not a hurry up and get everything done at once you have time to get through all this.  Take a deep your not alone I am very task driven as well and have accomplished a lot in 1 years time.  I have been told by focusing on tasks your skirting away from your need to grieve so keep that in mind.  


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