Mind & Soul > Emotional Health > Hope and Help for Living Alone After Your Husband’s Death

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

Adjusting to life alone after your husband dies – especially after years of marriage – is one of the most stressful transitions you’ll ever experience. I am so sorry for your loss, and wish I could tell you that you’ll wake up tomorrow feeling happy and healed! But the truth is that your life will never be the same…and neither will you.

Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse

In When Your Soul Aches: Hope and Help for Women Who Have Lost Their Husbands, Lois Rabey describes the confusion and devastation she felt after her husband’s death. This book is a thoughtful collection of inspirations and insights about the grieving process as a widow. 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 heartbreaking and sometimes emotions. Books like this can help you survive the worst of your grief and offer companionship for your journey.

How do you live alone after your husband dies? First, remember that you are not alone. The practical tips and ideas in this article might help you move forward – but even more comforting are the readers’ comments below. You’ll find more help and hope for living alone after your husband’s death in the company of other widows than any blog post or book. Please do read through their comments and stories.

The following ideas for living alone after your husband dies are inspired by a reader. “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.”

Thinking about the future is scary and overwhelming. Instead of getting too far ahead of yourself, try to stay focused on today. What do you need to take care of today? How can you be kind and gentle to yourself? That is a good place to start.

How to Live Alone After Your Husband Dies

These ideas for living alone after the death of a spouse are practical – and they won’t work for everyone. Nothing works for everyone! These are just suggestions that helped other widows cope with the loss of their husbands; they may not meet your needs, but I hope they help you feel less alone.

Take it slowly and be gentle with yourself

Many women rely on their husbands to take care of the car, yard, and even the finances. Husbands are often the “go-to guys” when the dishwasher breaks, the trees need trimming, or the car needs snow tires. I rely on my husband to pay the bills, do the taxes, and even take care of our retirement fund. I know this is a mistake, and that one day I may regret not inserting myself into our financial affairs. I trust my husband and know he’s taking good care of our financial affairs, but I really should know more than I do.

If you’re like me, you may feel hopeless and helpless when you think of certain household chores and financial responsibilities. You may even feel embarrassed because of how little you know about your portfolio, retirement fund, taxes, and so on. Learning all this is a big job – especially when you’re adjusting to life alone after your husband dies. You feel tired, lonely, and overwhelmed with grief. Go slow, and be kind to yourself. Reach out and ask for the help you need.

Consider inviting a new life into your home

Some widows say living alone after their husband’s death is easier when they have a cat or dog to take care of. A pet doesn’t just offer companionship; a dog or even a cat can become the reason to get out of bed and even get out of the house. Dogs and cats can offer life and presence in an empty house, and be companions to women who aren’t used to living alone.

Living Alone After Your Husband Dies
How to Live Alone After Your Husband Dies

Taking a dog on walks will encourage you to interact with neighbors and get fresh air and exercise. The health benefits – both emotional and physical – of walking a dog include uplifted mood, increased appetite, and reduced feelings of isolation.

If you’ve never had a dog, read Adopting a Dog – Tips for Women Over 60. I wrote it for a grieving widow who asked for help deciding if she should get a pet. She knew she needed help and hope for living alone after her husband’s death but had never owned a dog before. I encouraged her to consider fostering a dog or cat for a short time. This is a good way to learn if a pet is a good idea, and give you something different to focus on.

Talk to friends and family about getting a housemate or tenant

This wouldn’t be my first choice on how to adjust to life alone after my husband dies; I cherish my solitude and space! I’m an introverted writer and I love being alone. But, many women find their homes too empty and quiet after their husband’s death. The silence is deafening, the loneliness too much. Getting a housemate or tenant can fill the emptiness and help you adjust to living without your husband.

Were you socially active before your husband died? You may find living alone much more difficult. Maybe you’re an extrovert who needs conversation and company. Just like fostering or adopting a pet, a short-term rental situation can ease the loneliness and help you cope with living alone after the death of a spouse.

6 Tips for Living Alone After Your Husband’s Death

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

Here are a few quick tips on how to adjust to life alone when your husband dies:

  1. Declutter your home, clean out the closets, go through the attic and basement. Ask a friend to help you.
  2. Rearrange the furniture in your living room and bedroom. This can be a symbol that everything is different now, and help you adjust.
  3. Lighten up the dark corners and areas; white twinkle lights are a beautiful way to brighten a home.
  4. Avoid watching the news or other programs that distress or depress you.
  5. Pay attention to what drains your energy and brings you down. Do less of that – even if it means spending less time with friends and family members you were once close to.
  6. Find kindred spirits to talk to. You don’t necessarily need to join a grief support group for widows, but it’s important to get the help and hope you need by reaching out to others.

What do you find to be the hardest part of living alone after your husband’s death? Talk to other widows about what you’re experiencing. Maybe you want to talk about your husband more – or maybe you talk to him all the time! Maybe you sense his presence, and don’t really feel like you’re alone.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Was your husband’s death expected? What are you most surprised by? Are there any benefits to having the house to yourself?

You might also read Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies. Again, pay attention to the comments section. You are not alone.


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

  1. Would you be so kind as to help me with this? Please! Tom and I were married for 29 years. He was sick for 9. He passed in May. I miss him deeply. But, when I think of him as my soulmate, I get a pit in my stomach. Almost a feeling that I don’t love him enough for eternity. Could it be that God (or I) am putting up some sort of ‘wall’ to help me cope with his loss? Or does that pit mean he is not my soulmate? This is really bothering me. We were very close. I watched him wither and had to ‘pull the plug’. I cry for him. My soul aches for him. But, when I think of eternity, I feel dead in that love spot.

    1. Michelle,
      I am sorry for your loss.
      I too, have lost my husband; just over 2 years!!! I still feel the way you are describing, empty, sad, lonley.
      Most certainly God comforts us by keeping alot of the memories and grief at bay until He feels we can ” handle” them a little better. The early times, the first months,the first year, even the 2Nd year is a whirlwind of grief; soo overwhelming. Missing them soo much and yet trying to ” survive” each passing day.
      Do you mean when we are reunited with our loved ones or ” living” here on earth without them?
      My only solace is knowing I will be reunited with my husband and loved ones and finally meeting my God.
      Not sure if this helps.
      Take your time and grieve.
      Blessings to you.


  2. My heart breaks for all of you ladies! There is no right or wrong way to grieve, there is no magic number of days when you will suddenly feel okay, I wish there were. I will tell you that you will be able to breathe again, the ache in your hearts will lessen, you will find an inner strength you did not know existed,you will laugh again, and find joy again. We learn to live in a new normal, there will be bad days, you will cry when you think of what you’ve lost, and still get angry from time to time, and that’s okay, just don’t allow yourselves to live there, not because you think God wouldn’t want you too, He is so much bigger than that and understands our hurt, sadness and loneliness. That raw pain of grief can feel like it will destroy you, and at times you may wish that it would, but don’t allow it, you’ve lost enough, don’t lose yourselves. For about 8 months, I didn’t even recognize my own reflection in the mirror, nothing looked the same or tasted the same. One day our daughter said,”I feel like I’ve lost both parents”, she didn’t say it out of anger, but with such sadness that it shook me to my core. Those words helped me to start clawing my way back to life, for my kids and my grandchildren at first, but eventually, for me as well. I will always miss my husband, and wish he was still here, but our family can share all the memories we have of him with grateful hearts now,something I never thought we’d be able to do. There is hope, please don’t give up…….

  3. My husband of 44 years died totally unexpectedly at home sitting across the couch from me 2 months ago. He was only 64. He said he had indigestion. I looked down at my phone for a few minutes and looked up and he was gone. I have access to lots of friends and family members which I see and talk to routinely. But I am still so lonely and cry a lot. He was my rock. I miss him so much. We were high school sweethearts and each other’s best friend. I am so lost without him. I feel like half of me is missing. I am surprised to find myself scared. And I’ve never been scared in my life before. So I don’t know how to deal with being scared and alone. I work part time so I am getting out and about. But it is just those heart broken grief stricken moments that are so horrible and so difficult to go through. I am going to counseling which helps some. I have four adult children who are also struggling with the untimely death of their dad. I am so stricken with my own grief that I can’t hardly help them with theirs. Sometimes I just want to die.

  4. My beloved best friend and husband died on 10/18. He had a massive blood clot in his lungs. He was only 31. We thought he was getting a cold no other symptoms at all. We have a beautiful 10 month old but still, I keep thinking of killing myself. I try to focus in our child but still. I don’t want to live without him. I know it is very selfish because we have a child and I love our son so much!! I know I could be destroying his life but I am weak. I know I am very weak.

    1. Hi Alessandra,

      I almost never respond to these types of posts. However, I really wanted you to know that I care. I do not know what it is like to be in your shoes, but I care. I am so sorry that this has happened to you. Please respond again, I would love to know more about your son.


    2. Allesandra,

      You are not weak, you are broken, as many of us are. I want to die as well, so that I can be with my husband & my father again. They were the only 2 humans that have ever loved me for me & protected me. He was 10yrs older than your husband, but young still…Too young to be gone, but disappeared from the planet in the blink of an eye also. It has been 2 years, 1 month, 9 days since he left & it still shocks me daily that he is gone.

      But, I have vowed that I will not take my own life. I’m eager, but am allowing life to take it’s toll & run it’s course. I just hope that you can hold on to something as I am trying to do. I also have a son that is completely dependent on me. Being reliable while being broken is excruciating, but he needs me, as your son needs you. There is something about motherhood that lends an unknown strength despite a devastated soul.

      I truly hope that you can find some solace & am so sorry for your pain.

    3. Alessandra, your husband is part of your son. I AM SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS. I lost my love of my life on 9/28, I did OK in the beginning but now with the holidays and gloom of January, having a very difficult time. We have to believe they are always with us in spirit.

    4. Hello Allesandra, most be painful sorry you feeling this way. I understand how hard is to continue without them.
      I lost my husband one year ago, has been the most traumatic thin I experience so far. But i wish I have had a child of him but couldn’t get pregnant when I tried and them few months after trying, my love was gone. So I only got material things from him.
      Think of your baby he is from your beloved husband and take care of yourself you deserve to feel good, if your spiritual prayer helps and counselor therapy. Now I am adopting a dog and see how is goes for me with him.


    5. Hi Alessandra,
      I am so, so sorry for your loss. Your husband was so young with so much to live for. Life is not fair and it is a tragedy when a young person dies.

      I lost my husband one year ago. He was 30 years older than your husband and so dear to me. Soon after, my daughter gave birth to a girl, my first granddaughter who is now 8 months old. Babies are a joy and she keeps me going.

      However, children can never replace a husband so it seems natural that you are in deep grieving for your loss. I can say that it does get better with time although the loss will always be there.

      One thing that is helping me is weekly sessions with a therapist and going to a weekly support group with others who have lost their husband or wife. Since you are likely also young and busy with a baby, I wanted to mention an online support group that you may be beneficial: https://www.hotyoungwidowsclub.com
      Don’t be put off by the name. The woman who started it is amazing. Here is a link to her TED talk:https://www.ted.com/talks/nora_mcinerny_we_don_t_move_on_from_grief_we_move_forward_with_it/transcript?language=en

      All of this may be too early for you but may perhaps be useful at some time.

      Please take care of yourself. You are loved.