Some researchers hold that no stress is more severe than that resulting from the death of a beloved mate. Widows and widowers often feel the pain of loss for years. We should view their tears and times of sadness, not as a weakness, but as an understandable consequence of their great loss. They may need our empathy and support for a long time.

The life of a widow or widower is not a simple return to being single. After years of marriage, a husband usually knows how to comfort his wife and lift her spirits when she feels blue or frustrated. If he is gone, her source of love and comfort is gone too. Similarly, over time a wife learns how to make her husband feel secure and happy. Her gentle touch and soothing words, the attention she gives to his interests and needs are like nothing else. If she dies, he may feel an emptiness in his life. Hence, some who are bereft of their mates look to the future with uncertainty and fear.

If only our friends could understand . . .   If only we could rid them of the words, "You should be over it by now."  This idea of moving on falls so short of what, we who grieve, need. Where can relief be found?

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No one seems to understand the loss we have endured. My husband died in a boating accident 2 1/2 yrs ago but I can't seem to recover. His family and I have not spoken since the funeral and his children from his previous marriage are fighting with me in probate court. He died without a will. We found each other after failed marriages. After being together 4 yrs, we married and were only married 2 yrs when he died. It was the best 2 yrs of our lives. I wondered why after all we had been through God would take him when we finally had happiness. I was told it wasn't about me. That God knew his life was going to end at 49 yrs old and He wanted to make his last years on earth the best in his life. That made me feel better for a while but what about me? My life has been spiraling downhill since. I have made some bad decisions but how was I to know. I don't even remember the first year after he was gone. I cannot catch a break. The battle with estate is killing me. Looks like I will get all the debt while they get the majority of the assets. What am I going to do? I don't have him to help me through this and no one else seems to understand. My life is up and down. Mostly down and it's getting worse.

I hope you are consulting with an attorney on this. Sometimes, in certain states, even without a will, the surviving spouse would get the estate. In terms of debts, again your attorney would be the best source, but usually premarital debt could not be charged against the spouse. The debtor will need a certified copy of the death certificate to erase the account. Any debt accrued during the marriage can usually be settled with a repayment plan. In many cases bankruptcy does not need to be declared. Keep in touch and let us know what is going on. 

Anna May ...  What a wonderful and true post you left and you said it in a nut shell. 

I have the answer regarding grieving of our spouses .... stand up to these people!  It's time to educate the public!  I just saw on TV that there is a program related to educating society on seniors and to not think of them as useless or a lesser part of our society so I believe that would include grieving. 

It's time to tell the truth about how we feel in any way we can whether it's putting a person in their place that has hurt our feelings about 'getting over it' to lecturing students like Helen, putting an article about it in a magazine or newspaper.  We have one big thing on our side at that's the Baby Boomers coming up and they aren't going to put up with what is going on regarding getting older or losing spouses. 

I am in the middle of writing a book about seniors and losing a spouse simply because I feel they have been left out of the picture, misunderstood and the good old standby 'well, look at your age, you should be expecting to die.'  I want to change the way of he publics view of grieving be it younger folks or older.  We all can make a difference.  NEVER turn away in tears, NEVER feel that you've stepped out of line by crying or talking about the love of your life and NEVER apologize for bringing up the memories.  Stand strong and educate! 

Hugs

Marsha

Dear Tobi Young ...  If you don't mind what State do you live in?  I can research it for you and give you links to what your rights are.  Without a Will his family CANNOT just come in and take over and as Steve Cain suggested retain a lawyer. 

If you can give me your State I will send you some links just to educate you on your rights.

I am so sorry you are going through this at this time of your loss.  I am still up and down about my faith in God and especially in your case I can understand why you wonder why it had to happen to you after on 2 years of marriage.  You are in raw grief and are not expected to think straight.  We are here to help you in any way we can and you can discuss or vent any way you like without being judged and we'll be here for you hon.

Big hugs

Marsha

Once in a while, I come across an article that I would like to see printed up on a card so I could give it to people. The following is one such article:

Encourage Grieving Ones After Their Loss

For a while after a married person dies, many may come to the home of the surviving mate to offer comfort and to help in various ways. For example, a widow will likely appreciate the attention of family and friends. But her pain of loss may heal slowly, and she will need comfort and support for some time. The Bible says: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—Prov. 17:17.

How should you greet a person in mourning? The Bible offers this guideline: “All of you be like-minded, showing fellow feeling, having brotherly affection, tenderly compassionate.” (1 Pet. 3:8) For some time after the loss, the bereaved person may not feel well. So, though well intended, such words as “How are you doing?” or “Are you feeling all right?” may not be the best. The grieving one may think, ‘You have no idea how I feel’ or, ‘How can I be all right at this time?’ Thus, it may be more helpful to make a sincere, positive statement, such as “I am so happy to see you,” or “You are such an encouragement to me.”

You could invite a bereaved person to a simple meal or to go for a walk. Marcos, a widower, received comfort from friends who visited him. What did they talk about? He reports: “Not much about my problems but about anything encouraging.” A widow named Nina said: “My good friends often say the right words at the right time. Sometimes they don’t say anything—they are just with me.”

If the bereaved wants to talk about the tragedy, listen with interest and patience. Avoid asking questions out of curiosity. Do not judge. There is no need to offer counsel about how the mourner should express grief or for how long. Do not feel hurt if that one needs to be alone. You can return another time. Keep showing love.—John 13:34, 35.

Truer words have never been spoken!  It has been 4 years since Douglas died and I am still struggling with rebuilding my "new" normal.  Individuals who have never lost a loved one, especially a spouse, just do not understand the pain of grief that we go through.  They will one day, and with any luck we will be there to guide them on the path of grief, survival and rebuilding with a sense of true understanding.   In my book there is no such thing as "be over it by now" -- when I hear someone tell me that I simply respond with, "can you expand/define what you mean by 'it' because that pretty much covers a lot of situations in life" -- to which I get that glazed over look.  I am sure most don't mean to be or even realize that they or their words are insensitive.   Unfortunately though there is a small handful who are insensitive.  In my case it turned out to be my husbands family.  Never would have thought they could be so out of touch but that is on them.  I have made the decision that they are not a part of my new normal -- when Douglas died so did my relationship with his siblings.  Sad but true!!  I really like the writing and have made a copy for me to read whenever that urge to "cry" comes over me.  It is good to cry and I still do that on several occassions.  In time I will be whole again -- and in time I will be with Douglas again!

 

Peace,

Brigitte

Tobi  ...  I am so sorry to hear about your husband and sudden death is very difficult to deal with.  My husband passed away in 2011 of pancreatic cancer and I couldn't bring myself to believe this 6' 6" big man was going to die. His parents passed away in the 90's, but he has a sister living here. I know his family is grieving as well, but one would think this would bring us closer together to get through the grieving process.  I had to walk away from his sister and her family to keep my sanity and thankfully I have a small immediate family (my brother, his wife and 2 grown nephews.) 

Not having a Will is difficult, but I do believe the laws are that you will get some of your husband's assets.  Odd how families can fight over material things so soon after a death or, even with a Will involved.  I was one of the lucky ones and my husband and I had renewed our Wills a few months before his death and we had no children.

You are so right that not only your husband having the best two years of his life, but you also.  It isn't the length of time we are with a partner, but the love, quality and friendship we are so lucky to have had.  It also true that God has his reasons and even though it's difficult to understand and it's hard to reason in our minds we were still lucky to have them for the time God gave us the chance to have them.  I'd known my husband 45 years and we almost made our 40th wedding anniversary.  I feel like he took part of me with him that I'll never regain, but know I will forge ahead and hope there is happiness again in my future.  Life is a mixed mystery yet miracles happen.

You are important and yes, 'what about you.'  I feel the same as we are left behind licking our wounds and missing our beloved spouses. There is no book of instructions to lead us through grief and every grieves to the beat of a different drummer. The grieving process is complicated more by losing a spouse because it's different from grieving for parents or even friends that have passed away.

It's normal to be in a fog-like state the first year and I'm finding the 2nd year I'm facing the reality of it and like you have days I feel I'm going backwards instead of forwards.  I too have made a few mistakes along the way, but that's normal as well.  I try so hard to fit back into society and find it very difficult as I'm retired and not working so days can be long even though I try to keep myself busy.  I feel I don't have the energy and find myself saying 'why bother keeping the house up, he's gone.'  I do it in his memory.  I live in a small rancher so no need to sell and move into a condo.  For that I am blessed. 

I've tried volunteering and giving it a chance, but my mind and the joy of life seems to have gone out of me because as you said your spouse gave you all the joy you needed.  I find the harder I try the more things don't work out and it's bills or other things that need to be done that give us financial worries.  I'm going to do a little research for you and see what your rights are regarding no Will left.  There is someone you haven't thought of that can be there.  One night sit quietly and think.  There must be a loyal friend or a neighbor you know well that could help guide you.  It may also help you to seek group counseling because you can get much help from them concerning legal matters and other issues in your life. 

I know no one likes to hear this, but you are stronger than you think.  You've survived 2 1/2 years like myself and that means we're fighting with everything we have.  The intense grieving will come to an end where we can think of our loved one and move forward and catch some much needed breaks. 

I hope you keep posting Tobi and let us know how you are doing as many of the members here can offer great advice about grieving and sometimes about issues that are causing problems in your life.  They certainly have helped me.

Big hug (because you need it.)

Marsha     

Tobi ... do you mind telling me what State you live in?  I'm going to research the legalities for you re no Will.

Thanks

Marsha

Anna May ...  Your post was so well put.  The only grief one can think of that is worse than losing a spouse is losing a child to death.  I have found from reading posts on Legacy and doing research on grief that indeed grief is not a weakness and no, we shouldn't be over it in 6 months, a year or even 3 years as each person is an individual and each individual's story with their spouse is very different.

You expressed your words so well regarding a widow/widower is not a simple return to being single.  As we age and get to be 60 plus it is far more difficult to see a great future in front of us.  Some are retired, have health issues, treated as seniors and on top of that dealing with grief with the thought from friends that 'oh well, they had a long life span together.'  It's as if seniors for instance don't have feelings and the.  No matter what the age we are touched by soothing words of encouragement, a hug, kiss from our spouses or we are there for them and suddenly they are not there.  It's a shocker for sure and even if our spouse had a lengthily illness is still doesn't prepare you for their death.  We kept hanging on to hope.  I think no matter what the age grief and looking into the future is fearful, but time does heal whether we like that term or not.  Routine of living on your own or raising children alone, no family, etc., are things we can over-come and eventually we will get into a set routine of dealing with our grief.

Yes, our friends I am afraid will never understand until they themselves go through the heartache of losing their spouse.  When someone occasionally says to me 'you should be over it by now' I say back to them, 'oh, and what you makes the expert on how one feels losing a spouse?'  This stops them dead in their tracks and prevents them from bringing it up again.  I also 'clean out my closet' of so-called friends that just aren't there and may pop in and out of your life and it's all about them and not even 'how are you dealing with things' and walk away from those friendships.  It's important to start making new friends as well so we don't carry the label of 'widow/widower' with those who have known us and it gives us much more encouragement to move forward in life.

I believe relief is found in going through the process of grief and although no book of instructions came with grief we can get an idea of what to expect.  Sometimes we really don't know we are moving ahead in our future or how strong we are, but, I see it more and more on this forum ... just getting through a day makes those who are grieving heroes and strong individuals. Peaceful walks and enjoying nature, soothing music, working or volunteering, forcing yourself out into society a little at a time and having a set routine is where the relief of having a new type of life lies.

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