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Help and Hope for Living Alone After Your Husband’s Death

These practical tips and ideas will help you figure out how to live alone after your husband dies. Adjusting to life after years of marriage is one of the biggest transitions, most stressful transitions you’ll ever experience. That’s the bad news. The good news? You’re not alone. 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.

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 What to Do When Grief Overwhelms You. “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 prayer for widows living alone

May you find comfort, peace, and hope in your new life. 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.

The previous season of your life is over, and it’s so difficult to let go of the past. May you feel His peace, and the comfort of 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.

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236 thoughts on “Help and Hope for Living Alone After Your Husband’s Death”

  1. Dear Susan,
    I am so sorry for both of your losses, the pain you’re experiencing & for the decision you had to make to cease your fiance’s life support. I lost my father & my husband in rapid succession & they were the only somebodies that ever loved me for me, so when I read your post, it resonated with me & made my heart ache for you.

    I too had to make that horrendous decision & wish it on absolutely no one. On 10/27/2017, my sweet husband went to work, fell off of scaffolding & I had to remove him from life support 6 days later. He was 41…I continue to miss him every second of every day & still have no idea how to live without him.

    I wish that I could tell you that the pain/guilt had subsided more & that the mental pictures of that moment were gone, but I would be dishonest to say that. I know, logically, that he was braindead & he was never going to wake up, but my heart still questions the decision…’woulda, coulda, shoulda’. The initial ‘take your breath away’ intensity has diminished a bit, but it seems as though the intense sorrow will never disappear.

    I have depended on God more than I probably should, but I know not everyone believes. I also started meditation 3mo after he died & continue to this day. Not sure it’s for everyone either, but it is all I have to share. I pray you find peace & healing for your heart, mind & soul. {{{prayers & hugs}}} Haily

  2. I have lost the only two men I have ever loved. My husband died in 2005 and my fiance’ on 7/1/19. I am 53 and do not have children. Both my parents are gone and I feel totally alone. My cats and job are the only things that keep me going. I began to see the writing on the wall that my fiance’ and I were not going to grow old together but did not expect him to die at 55. I was the one who had to make the decision to have him removed from the ventilator and cannot forget what I saw or seeing him at the funeral home before cremation.

  3. Vicky,
    If it’s any consolation, you are not alone! There are many of us left behind that now have to go on with our lives feeling just like you do! I am 2 years alone and am still taking baby steps. The first year with all the milestones was the hardest. Hang in there and good luck.

  4. 11 months have gone by after losing my mate of 41 years and I can’t believe he’s been gone that long. I had no idea how one gets through this yet here I am 11 months later. It feels like I’ve been living in a bubble but as the 12 month mark approaches, I’m awakened to the pain of reality. He’s gone, I’m alone and I will never see him again. The pain and truth that I am without him seems unbearable while life seems meaningless, lonely and empty. He was my world my rock and my everything. He was my soulmate and we did everything together. I miss him so much and now I need to find who I am in this world without him.

  5. My Husband died over 7 years ago and I still am not over his death. Life just means nothing without him. He was my soul mate.

  6. My husband died after 5 weeks with pancreatic cancer. That was 9 months ago. We were on our own and although people came and went away; I was the only one there when he took his last breath and looked at me. The curtain shook and the light shown on his dead body for about a minute. Then poof; gone forever. Nobody will be able to help you through the “til death to us part bit” if you are the living and he is the dead.

    It takes a long time to learn to love your partner; his music, his food, his art, his favourite people. I loved him but the rest took time. The worst part is knowing he won’t be there to share the life, the irony, the sarcasm, the future of just watching the world go by.

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