Q. I’m invited to a big party and have mixed feelings about attending. Part of me wants to attend, but I’m also afraid I won’t fit in. My husband died four months ago and this is my first big social event that isn’t strictly family. I’m worried about what to say and whether to mention that I’m a widow. Any…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on February 12, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments
After your mate dies, you’re likely to be numb, in shock, and barely able to put one foot in front of the other. This state gradually begins to ease for most of us, but it isn’t a straight line. There are…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on January 21, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments
Many studies show that losing your mate affects your own health. Most recently, a 2011 study at the University of Pennsylvania Population Studies Center found that widows had a 47%…Continue
Q. On the second anniversary of my husband’s death, I received an e-mail from one of his former business associates. The message consisted of two lines: “I still miss him. Hope you are well.” This person is the only one who remembered the date and reached out to me. I heard from him at this time last year, too, and…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on November 7, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
Q. My husband died after 35 years of marriage. Although I still work, I feel nobody needs me anymore. My grown children live far away. I’ve just been invited to a family event at a cousin’s house, but hesitate to go because I haven’t been close to these relatives. What do you think?
There are so many losses when you’re widowed, including being stripped of a key part of your identity. Connecting with others is essential to finding meaning and support. A good place…
Q. My social life has changed noticeably since my husband died a year ago. I’m almost never invited to a dinner party anymore unless it’s family-oriented. Is it just me, or does this happen to other widows, too?
Actually, your experience is very common. It’s a myth in our society that friendships always stay the same – or last forever – or should. In fact, our friendships ebb and flow (and sometimes disappear) as we change, others change, or the situation…
Q. My husband died a while ago, and I’m thinking about taking my first vacation without him. Can you suggest trips or activities that might work? Are there special issues I should consider?
The answer is yes—and yes. We’re all different and have different needs, interests and preferences. But these are key questions to think about:
1) Should you go alone or with someone you know? Some of us feel comfortable vacationing alone, especially…
Q. This is the first Father’s Day since my husband died last summer, and a part of me dreads it. How can I get through it without falling apart? Is there a way to make it meaningful, not just sad?
A. Gather closely your children (and grandchildren if you have them) and others who care about you and share the day. Solicit their ideas. You never know what they’ll come up with. One possibility that springs to mind is a picnic in the park, where you’re all…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on June 11, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments
Q. My husband died a year ago and my children keep badgering me to give them an “in case” list of who they should contact if I’m seriously ill or injured and can’t manage my own affairs—or if I suddenly die. My son says, “What if you’re hurt in an accident or have a heart attack?” I guess it’s a good idea but is there an easy way to do this?
Some of us feel our eyes glazing over at the thought of compiling such a list, no matter how responsible we are and how much…
Added by Florence Isaacs on May 24, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments
Q. My husband was killed in a job-related accident, and I can’t get past the responsibility I feel for letting him go in to work that day, which was his day off. We needed the extra money, but I keeping asking why didn’t I say, “Stay home. We’ll manage.” How do I cope with the guilt?
Who doesn’t have thoughts of “would have, should have, could have” when grieving for someone we love? It’s common to beat ourselves up obsessing over “what if” and “if only,”…
Q. A couple who were very close friends did not attend my husband’s funeral because they were booked for a vacation in Hawaii. The flight left the day before the service and the package was nonrefundable. Part of me understands their choice, but another part feels angry that they didn’t change their plans regardless. What are your thoughts?
This is a complicated situation, involving a mix of expectations, practical considerations, values and priorities, and…
Added by Florence Isaacs on March 19, 2012 at 11:00am — No Comments
Q. My husband died two months ago and my family says I should join a bereavement group. They’ve already found a group in my area. I don’t want to go because I don’t want to listen to other people’s sad stories. Am I just being stubborn as my brother says?
A. The question isn’t whether you’re stubborn or not. You feel the way you feel. It’s important to resist pressure from others to do something you don’t want to do. Some people find bereavement groups helpful,…
Q. I want to set up a lasting memorial to my late husband, but my funds are limited. Can you suggest some affordable options? How do I get started?
Two possibilities are a scholarship in his name at a school he attended or a memorial award to go to a deserving member of his professional organization. The amount involved and whether it’s given annually (or less frequently) is up to you. Start by contacting the institution or group and ask to speak with the person…
Q. My first grandchild was just born – 13 months after my husband died. He desperately wanted a granddaughter, and it hurts that he can’t share my joy at her arrival. How do you cope with this aspect of loss?
Sharing any kind of good news magnifies the pleasure, especially when the other person is just as invested in the event (and feels as deeply about it) as you do. When the happy news involves a new life, continuity, and hope for the future, it’s an…
Q. This New Year’s Eve will be my first as a widow. I don’t want to spend it alone. But I suspect the two couples my husband and I used to celebrate with will either make other plans without me, or ask me to join them out of obligation. What should I do?
The entire holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving and extending through January 1, is a stressful time for most adults. Supposedly perfect families surround us, and we often have unrealistic expectations of happy…Continue