Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse 33


Here are several practical tips and ideas on how to live alone after your husband dies. Living alone after the death of a spouse is one of the biggest transitions you’ll ever experience; here, you’ll find a combination of practical support and emotional comfort.

Living Alone After the Death of a SpouseIn When Your Soul Aches: Hope and Help for Women Who Have Lost Their Husbands, Lois Mowday Rabey describes her firsthand experience of confusion and devastation after her husband’s death. This book is a thoughtful collection of inspirations and insights about the grieving process after the death of a spouse. If you haven’t experienced a loved one’s death, you may be overwhelmed by the variety and surprising emotions you feel! In the weeks and months following the loss of your husband, you may be numb with shock. Or, you may feel overwhelmed by a wide range of heartrending, and at times conflicting, emotions. You can and will make it through this difficult time. No matter how you feel – even if you’re unhappy living alone – you can find companions for your journey.


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The following tips for living alone after the death of a spouse are inspired by a reader on my article for grieving widows. “I miss my husband so much,” says Jan on How to Get Through the Day When You’re a Grieving Widow. “His death is the hardest thing that I have gone through. We were married 44 years. I miss his voice, his loving ways. I feel totally alone. I have two grown sons but nothing or no one can take the place of my husband. I cry almost every day and I don’t know how to live alone. He was my soul mate, my friend and so many other things to me. I feel if my whole world has fallen upside down. I get frightened when I think of the future without my husband.”





How to Live Alone After Your Husband Dies

What advice have you already received about living alone after your husband dies? I welcome your big and little thoughts in the comments section below.

Here are five thoughts on how to live alone after the death of a spouse. They may not meet your needs, but I hope they help you feel less alone. My tips range from finding practical support to leaning on God for spiritual and emotional comfort.

Get help with your finances and home maintenance

My husband and I divide the household chores, and he is primarily responsible for our financial situation. He takes care of the mortgage, bill payments, and investments. I have my own bank accounts and I earn a full-time living from my blogs, but he’s in charge of the finances.

This is a mistake on my part, and I will regret not knowing about our finances if I have to learn how to live alone one day. I know my husband is trustworthy and responsible to take care of our financial affairs, but I should at least know what’s going on!

If money is part of your problem living alone after the death of a spouse, read 6 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances.

Invite new life into your home

I bet you didn’t expect “get a pet dog or cat” to be one of the tips for living alone after your husband dies. Dogs and cats offer life and presence in an empty house, and are beloved companions for widows who aren’t used to living alone after the death of a spouse.

A dog will get you outside. Taking him on walks will force you to interact with neighbors and learn more about your community. The health benefits – both emotional and physical – of walking a dog are numerous. You’ll feel happier, your appetite will increase, and your brain will welcome the oxygen and stimulation.

If you’ve never had a dog, read Adopting a Dog – Tips for Women Over 60. I wrote it for a reader who lost her dog, and asked for help deciding if she should get another pet. She wasn’t dealing with the problem of living alone after the death of a spouse, but she was lonely.







You might also consider fostering a dog or cat for a short time. This will show you what it’s like to have a pet, and help you decide if you’d rather live alone or with an animal companion.

Consider getting a housemate or tenant

I wasn’t sure about including this tip on how to live alone when your husband dies. Why? Because the last thing I’d want is a roommate or tenant if I was living alone again! I’m a writer, I love my solitude, and I can’t imagine sharing my home with someone other than my husband. I’m an introvert and I’d choose to live alone after the death of my spouse because I’ve always been happiest alone.

Were you socially active before your husband died? Then you’ll find living alone much more difficult. You need conversation and stimulation from other people. Consider sharing your home with a short-term roommate or tenant. Just like fostering a pet, a short-term rental situation can ease the loneliness and help you cope with living alone after the death of a spouse.

You may find How to Live Alone After Years of Marriage helpful – especially if you’re struggling spiritually and emotionally.

A List of Tips for Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse

Here are a few quick ideas on how to live alone when your husband dies…

Living Alone After Your Husband Dies

How to Live Alone After Your Husband Dies

  • Declutter your home; give yourself space to breathe
  • Rearrange the furniture in your living room and bedroom
  • Add light to the dark areas of your house; white twinkle lights are a beautiful way to lighten up a home
  • Foster a dog or adopt a cat
  • Think about sharing your home with a housemate or tenant
  • Play uplifting music that makes you feel happy
  • Avoid watching news programs that are more than 10 minutes long

What other practical tips for living alone after the death of a spouse have I missed? Please do share your experiences and ideas.

A blessing for widows living alone

May you find comfort, peace, and hope in your new life. The previous stage of your life is over, and it is time to let go of the past. I pray for strength and courage, and for the blessing of good companions and fulfilling experiences to fill your life. I pray that your grief subsides, and that the healing process begins to take root in your soul. May you turn to God for guidance, comfort, love, and joy. May peace be yours.

And may you feel His peace and faith that surpasses all understanding.

How do you feel right now?

What is one word that describes how you feel about living alone after the death of a spouse? Tell me below. You can write more than a word if you’d like. Sometimes it’s helpful to bundle all your feelings into a word and share how you feel.

To learn more about living alone, read Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies. Pay special attention to the comments section, which will show you you’re not alone.

My next article is about how to have more energy. Grief depletes our resources, doesn’t it? Make sure you sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this post to receive new articles.

While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of living alone after the death of a spouse. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings of grief and loneliness.

xo


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33 thoughts on “Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse

  • Terri J

    It’s only been 15 days! I have read about the grieving process and know it will take time. But as I read these comments I realize that this pain will never end. It won’t be a month or year. It will be forever that I will miss him. I really do not know how to live without him. I feel for every person that lost their love. And I’m scared that this terrible feeling will never go away. I want to forever think and remember but hopefully without the gut renching pain in my heart and without the tears.

  • Debbie

    Absolutely miserable. Lost! I don’t feel I belong anywhere. I lost my husband 6 months ago. First few weeks, even months I was numb, in shock. Now the tears are flowing. We were new in this small town and I didn’t work so my contacts were few. The only ones I knew were through a local church and it closed!! I now travel 30 minutes to a church a really like but will have to sell my home and relocate there. Right now that seems too monumental. I also take care of my grand baby full time. She is nine months old and I have had her since 2 months old. I cannot bear being alone all the time.

  • Danielle

    I feel completely alone. Overwhelmed by having to do everything by myself. Heartbreaking pain sorrow sadness. Crying alone hiding my pain. Sick of trying to be strong. Just want to cry till the pain goes away! Exhausted!!
    Family and friends don’t get it. Not the support I need. Miss him more than I could have ever imagined. Mad he died. Wish he could come home. Miss him just miss him everyday

    • Debbie

      Sorry you feel as badly as I do. That’s terrible. But I can’t say I’m mad, just hurt, aching. I have talked to other widows that I have a church class with and they tell me they all felt like this. They assure me that I will get beyond this and will be able to live alone contently. It doesn’t seem possible to me. To ever get over this great gut wrenching pain. Not ever. I pray God will comfort us both.

  • Kimberly Sykes

    I lost my husband on November 17, 2016. We were married 22 years. I haven’t stayed in the house since he passed. I’m afraid of being alone. I have two daughters in college; they want me to keep the house. It’s just hard to realize that he is gone. I visit the house dsily, but night time would be hard. I probably wouldn’t be able to rest at night. A pet might help quite a bit.

  • Marcia Guaman

    It’s been four years in December and as I write this the tears still stream down my face. My husband of 32 years was my Man In Full as I liked to call him.

    My daughter and 5 year old daughter have been together since his passing. We have moved from California to Arizona and my daughter and granddaughter have leased there own apartment and my new forever home is about an hour away.

    I have always been very independent but now that the closing of my home is a mere weeks away I struggle a bit with the unknown. I know the Lord will wrap me in His arms but I also know that after almost 5 years I will be alone in my own home . While it is excting to begin anew and I’m proud of my daughter wanting do what we as parents have prepared her for, I can’t help but wondering if the steps I’ve taken forward can become a setback. I imagine to some extent it will as his wife I will be able to grieve completely. I trust in the Lord.

    Thank you for your work.

  • smartypants

    This is not somewhere I chose to be. My husband died in 2013 then the following week his mother died. I returned to the workforce to survive financially and to source some human contact without success. I am lost, lonely, angry, frightened, sad (oh so very sad) and without a rudder. My husband was the one who had the friends not me. I just spent my time working and caring for those now gone. This place is soulless and painful.

  • Ken Hill

    My wife died on February 20th 2017 .We were together 37 years. She died at home from Cancer with my arms around .She fought it for Seven years but the last six months was heartbreaking to see her waste away.
    She was my truest friend and my true love. EMPTY is the way i feel and lonely.
    Every day is a battle. I wake up kiss her photo and ask how do i get through the day without her.
    I honour here memory by doing things the way she did them. Keep the house clean and Tidy .Change the bed clothes weekly.Cook the way she taught me etc.
    Remember what she did for me in our life together. Continue being the man she made me and would want me to continue to be.
    We never had Children together. But we did everything together as one.
    Finding life very difficult without her. I ask myself for who am i doing things for when life without her seems so pointless and empty

    • Laurie Post author

      I am so sorry for your loss, Ken. The emptiness and loneliness we feel after a spouse dies is heartbreaking, and nothing really eases the pain. A loving marriage is a gift from God, to be cherished when we have it and mourned when we lose it.
      May you find hope and healing, comfort and peace as you move forward in your life without your beloved wife. May you be filled with faith and peace that surpasses all understanding.
      In sympathy,
      Laurie

  • Nita

    I lost my husband a few weeks ago March 16, 2017 he had cancer and we were married 38 years. I just want to cry. I do get out and go to church and am active in alot of activities then I come home and cry. I hate this.

    • Laurie Post author

      Dear Nita, may this season of grief pass quickly. May you find new hope, life, and joy as the days pass and you heal. And may God fill you with His peace, love, and faith.
      Take care of yourself; let yourself cry for as long as you need. You’re healing the way your spirit and soul is asking you to, and the darkness will pass.
      In His love,
      Laurie

  • Katrina

    Hi. Thank you all for your stories and difficulties. I lost my husband in November 2015, 2 days after our 40th anniversary. He had Parkinson’s disease and dementia. I fought hard to keep him at home until a couple of months before he died. Like so many of you i think the years will not stop. I have 2 children and 2 grandchildren but am still so lonely and do not know how to live without my husband. I got a puppy a few months ago and although she is lovely i actually find it a chore taking her out. I have turned away from the church. I have been off work for 9 months as i could not cope and now have deep depression. There are days when i don’t even get out of bed, i just don’t know what to do or how to live by myself.

  • Debbie

    I just lost my husband on February 21st suddenly I am a widow at 56 he was 65 nine years older than me we were married 35 years my heart aches for him our two kids still live with me thank goodness without them I would really be crazy he got real sick in 2012 and I quit my job to take care of him and I am so use to doing that I don’t know what to do with myself now I am lost I am not sleeping I am not eating I have lost 14 lbs since he died all I do is cry I am just a mess please pray for me to get better thanks

    • Debbie

      Thanks for sharing that you depend on your two kids whom still live with you. I keep thinking if I just had some one here with me I could survive. But my children are in another town, with their own families. I have tried to connect with other widows. We go out to eat every week or so. But that’s just not enough intimacy with another person to help me completely. I need to talk and share with others. I took care of him and our pets too. Now they are all gone. I can’t get a job right now because I care for my grand baby full time. Thank goodness that keeps me busy but she can’t talk yet. No meaningful conversations. I pray you feel better soon. Me too.

  • bill Strait

    I lost my Beautiful wife Faith after a beautiful 65 Years of happy Marriage. I,am a Christian & so was my Beautiful Faith. She passed away Feb. 11TH at 4:15 in the Manchester Hospitai in Manchester Ct. I know she is with our Hevenly Father & Christ in (HEVEN). But its very hard for me right now for her loss
    I read my Bible every day & have all of my life. I know GOD will help & guide me through these (VERY LONELY) times. But I just had to reply to see your comments !! Thank you in advance.

  • Leslie Bostain

    I can’t find my place to be. 3 1/2 years ago my husband of 42 years passed. Given 3-6 months. He was never sick a day in his life. I’ve moved 3x since he died. His dog had to be put to sleep about a year ago. Friends were few because we did everything together, even grocery shopping. I just don’t want to get on with anything. I was always a loner. I feel him all the time. I’m frozen…yes frozen is my word.

  • Sydney A Mabie

    Thank you for this article and I pray that it reminds people that what they are feeling is real and what they have experienced is shared with many. My husband died suddenly in a kayaking accident April 16th 2017. Thankfully he knew the Lord so I never questioned “why”. I just question “What”. What does my life look like now and you gave me some practical advice on tangible goals to ponder and act on. I loved my husband and we had what I would say to be an almost perfect marriage. We both loved the Lord and served together while raising our 4 boys. I am blessed to have been able to raise them together. They are all grown, 3 are married and 1 will be getting married in December. My husband has trained up these grown men and did a mighty fine job. I am ready now to move on with my life and as I look at where I was and where I am today I can see that I am moving in the right direction. Life is different and will never be the same. But I look at life as a mystery that needs to unfold. Adventure awaits. I have never been alone and have no idea who I am but I am sure with Gods help and with people who impart their wisdom I will be able to navigate a new path. Thank you.

  • Debra

    I lost my husband a year ago. He went very fast and we did not have any children he left me in a financial mess. And I am going thought insurance fraud with a company who said insurance was cancel a month before he died but they have not given me any proof for a year this is going on I had to get a lawyer I pray things will all work out I did not know about the financial troble he got us in I try to take one day at a time I have no family where I live but do have some friends but they do not know about my situation

    • Jackie

      My husband died September 16, 2015. I was left with a financial mess too. Whether your husband had a will or not I would suggest you seek legal council. An estate lawyer can help you sort out the finances and deal with the paperwork filing. They can help you with the insurance company – procuring the documentation. Also you can contact the Better Business Bureau or your States Attorney General and log a complaint.

  • Beverly

    I lost my happiness a year ago, my husband was also my best friend. I was utterly and completely shattered by this catastrophic event. I didn’t want to get up out of bed, just couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t even function; thankfully I have two grown children who came to my aid…as my husband didn’t leave an estate; I had to take out a loan just to have him cremated. A few months later, the landlord evicted me because I couldn’t keep up the rent at what it was. Then come to find out, no one would rent to me. I had no clue why; I mean I know we lost our home when the economy bottomed out.

    You go through the motions as if you’re switching gears, simply to move. Breathing, after being rejected at every apartment complete was incredibly difficult. I had no place to go. But my daughter found an apartment, so she decided it would be best to ‘sneak’ me in. Can you imagine, ducking down in a vehicle so as not to be seen? I’ve been doing that for almost a year now; hoping and praying the office doesn’t find out.

    Now, my daughter is to be remarried soon. I figure if I can afford to file bankruptcy; then everything will be removed from my credit history. I have also found that I need to have a complete overhaul and my husbands’ truck. These necessary things I can do in 4-8 weeks.

    And then, I shall learn to live ‘alone’; well with a cat as a companion; not sure if I’m up for a dog. I am not a social butterfly, that was my husband.

    My daughter, trying to be helpful decided I needed to get back into ‘dating’. For awhile, I wasn’t ready; and then one day I decided to throw caution to the wind and I went out for ‘coffee’. One thing led to another and we began to see one another. It didn’t go well afterwards; so I told my daughter, “I’ve had my happy’ I am not interested in ‘dating’; as the rules for it have changed so much; well let’s just say I’m a prude. No one will every move me the way my husband did; or fill the void. And that’s okay. This will be the first time in my life I have ever been ‘alone’. And it scares the hell out of me; but I know you put one foot in front of the other, you move, you breathe, then you figure out for yourself what makes you happy. For myself, I just love making steam punk hats and things; and so I do.

  • geri

    Being a believer of a life after death helps me. My husband of 44 year. Father of 4 and grandfather of 6 died August 2016.we prayed and prayed and then God healed David and took him home to be perfect. There are days i cry get madand am lonely, and l check on my kids and grandkids.i sleep and I don’t sleep. I go to the doctor and have been to the hospital 3 times thinking I was having a heartattack. He died of cancer that reoccurred after 4 years. I am changing the house because there were things I always wanted and needed. I still work and will try some new things . I want to travel. Things I could not do. I have 10 to 20 years left and I want to do things he would not do with me so I need to be healthy. death has not come to me yet so i’m Choosing to live because that is what he would do.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Susan,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a husband is such a difficult experience, especially after all the years you cared for him. You gave your life to him, and now that he’s gone…it’s hard to conceive of a new life without him. I can only imagine what you’re going through. My heart goes out to you, and my deepest sympathies.

    While I don’t have experience living alone after the death of a spouse, I did recently attend a grief workshop. Here are my thoughts for you, inspired by your comment:

    How to Get Out of Bed When You’re Grieving a Difficult Loss
    http://blossomtips.com/i-cant-get-out-of-bed-stages-of-grief-cycle/

    I know you didn’t say that you’re having trouble getting out of bed because of your grief, but in my research I discovered that may widows have trouble getting up and being active.

    May you find life in new and different ways. May you experience the healing that only the peace of God can bring, and may your heart and soul be comforted by the knowledge that you are not alone. You are deeply loved, and you were created for a purpose.

    Your purpose is not yet over. Now, as you grieve the loss of your husband, you must find a new role to fill in this world. You are unique and specially gifted to make an impact on the lives of people around you….how will you do this?

    In peace and passion,
    Laurie

  • susan wallace

    I feel empty. After caring for my husband for 45 years, he was ill from the age of 34 he died when he was 68. I now in my late 60s and don’t know what makes me happy, or what to do, I think, aw well I’m not going anywhere what’s the point of getting dress, can’t be bothered and I know this is not healthy. Have no idea what to do any advice would be appreciated

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Jan,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you’re going through this – it’s terrible not to know what happened to your husband, whom you love so much! So unexpected, the shock and pain of his sudden disappearance. I can’t imagine how hard this is, the unknown is more difficult to bear than the known.

    I will keep you in my prayers, for strength and healing and comfort. May you reach out and find support and love in your friends and family. And, please do keep in touch with us at SheBlossoms.

    Here’s an article that may help you cope with the transition from marriage to living alone. I wish I could give you more than this – I wish I had a magic wand that could turn back time and erase sorrow – but all I have to offer is my writing…

    The Most Powerful Way to Deal With Your Fear of Being Alone
    http://blossomtips.com/how-to-deal-with-fear-of-being-alone/

    You might be encouraged by my free weekly newsletter, called SheBlossoms. I help women look upwards to grow healthy and strong, emotionally and spiritually. You may find it helpful.

    Take care of yourself, and stay open to God’s love, healing, power, and freedom.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Jan

    My husband went missing in the wilderness a month ago and searches are unable to find him. He was my best friend for over 35 years and am so lost without him. The unknown of what happened to him is unbearable.

  • Laurie Post author

    The older I get, the more I realize that we don’t really grieve and heal. We grieve and grieve…and the pain lightens and breathing gets a bit easier….but there is always that shadow of sadness and loneliness that our spouse has left behind.

    Today I heard Paul Kalanithi’s widow do an interview about the book he wrote while he was dying of cancer. Her name is Lucy, and it was such an uplifting and heartfelt interview…his book is called When Breath Becomes Air…I don’t know if it’d be too sad to read it, or if it would help with the healing process.

    If reading what others are going through helps, here’s an article about living alone after the death of a spouse:

    How to Adjust to Being Alone
    http://theadventurouswriter.com/blog/how-to-adjust-to-being-alone/

    But honestly, I really do think we just learn to live with feelings of loss. Maybe having faith in God and trusting His sovereignty and will helps, too.

  • lez payne

    The love of my life passed on 8 months ago after 35 years together, i loved her the moment i met her, and even more so, the day i watched her depart this physical world, to enter a new phase, what she called going home . It has been the hardest thing i have ever experienced . As time passes, i thought it would get easier , however , that is not the case, for me anyway. Anyone who says otherwise has something that i do not have.

  • ariel

    my partner died 5 years back, I miss him so much, I never looked for another man, as I know I wont find another him,i am now all alone in the world at 56 years of age, we had no children, we went everywhere together, I so wish I could get him back, he is always on my mind, always always.

    • Anne

      ariel, I lost my husband a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to reply to you, I am in my early 50s and no children either. My grief of losing this gorgeous, beautiful man is compounded by the fact that we never had children. I feel so much regret that I don’t have children that could not only comfort me but would be a part of my husband perhaps in looks or demeanor. I will never get over many things that we never got to do or say, and that everything I read says this part of your life is over and it’s a new season. That statement makes me sick. I am so sad that my husband is not coming back. I don’t even understand why he left and how someone so caring, giving and wonderful would be taken so quickly. He was perfectly healthy and young (59) and had a fatal illness with no cure. I feel so devastated and lonely without him. I am really nothing without him.