Help and Hope When You’re Living Alone After He Dies

These practical tips and ideas will help you figure out how to live alone after your husband dies. The solo life after a spouse’s death is one of the biggest 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.

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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. 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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73 thoughts on “Help and Hope When You’re Living Alone After He Dies

  • Carolyn

    My husband died 14 years ago and being disabled for 12 years. I worked 2 jobs so he wouldn’t worry about bills. He wasn’t always easy to live with and wanted to blame the world because he lost both legs 6 months apart. He lived 12 years after that. My life centered around him.
    I was lost after he died but I moved on because I had a job and my church. I don’t date, my choice.
    Sometimes I can’t talk about it without getting upset. I wish now that I had got out and dated some. Not looking for a husband I am 75.

    • Lois Keil

      For everyone, I am sorry for your loss…my husband past away four months ago…I recently sold my house and moved back to New York (where I am originally from) to be closer to my children and grandchildren.,,too much sadness in the NC house…I consider myself in a transitional limbo and hope that I can eventually figure out just who I am in this new chapter of my life…anyone I put appreciated…Lois

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear anonymous,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing your difficult and sad question. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this grief. Not only did you lose your husband, you lost what the life you thought you had with him.

    I wrote this article, with you in mind:
    How to Forgive Your Husband for Cheating While He Was Alive

    May you find healing and forgiveness. I can’t imagine how you feel, and my heart is broken for the pain you’re feeling. I pray for strength and comfort, and that you find people and places that will help you move from pain to peace and joy in your life.

    In sympathy,

  • Nadine

    I can’t believe I found your blog. My husband of 38 years died earlier this month from pancreatic cancer. He was 64 and a beloved physician who spent much too much time at the office and his retirement was upcoming which was supposed to be ME time….
    It was 8 months of almost constant pain, nausea and fatigue. About a week before he died I hugged him crying and asked, “What am I going to do without you?” He lifted his head, closed his eyes with tears and said in his uplifting, goofy voice, “You’re going to blossom!” It was tender and silly and we both hoped true….Not quite blossoming yet but hopeful. Thanks for the support.

    • Laurie Post author

      I’m sorry you lost your husband, Nadine. I can’t imagine what it was like, or how you feel now. He was a wonderful man, encouraging you to blossom even after his death! Wow.

      Please, join our group. We’re not focused on bereavement or grieve….we’re all about Blossoming after loss, in all seasons of life!

      And, take good care of yourself. Give yourself lots and lots of time….for after great love and loss comes a great period of healing.

      With sympathy and love,

      • anonymous

        Nobody has addressed being married to a husband and finding out after he died that he cheated with a coworker the entire marriage or most of it…and then you are left to grieve the death and the ‘loss of your life’ from being cheated on but not finding out until after he died. This is even more unbearable than the death itself. How do you cope or deal with that?

  • Donna

    I lost my husband in 2013 and the only thing that helped me survive was our fur baby Mesa.
    Now, I am lost again.
    I had to say goodbye to Mesa 2 weeks ago and I’m grieving once again.
    She was my world. We were a team.
    A chapter of my life has closed.
    Mesa was my link to my husband.
    I know I will get thru this, and the heartache will ease
    over time, but trying to figure out where to go from here
    is overwhelming.
    I feel I need to change my environment and start fresh somewhere new… far away from the constant reminder of my losses.

    • Valerie Sims

      Hi Donna. I went through the exact same and really don’t know what to do with my life or how to move on. I’m isolating myself and only leave the house for work and food. I feel like my so called friends and family are avoiding me because they can’t deal. I’m a mess.

  • Tammy

    I thankfully still have my husband. But tonight…after talking on the phone to a very sick acquaintance of ours…I went into a SEVERE panic attack. My blood pressure (normally good)..went to 189/103….I was Sobbing Uncontollably thinking of how ALONE I was going to be when if I lose my husband. No children…no close fiends to even call…I FLIPPED OUT….I just realized how alone I will be…It petrified me….please help…if and when…I do lose him (he is older)…I’m going to lose my mind…(seriously)…I felt like I was losing my mind….please…please…help me

  • Lois Keil

    My husband of 49 years died two weeks ago…as of this writing I am still numb and cannot totally wrap my mind around it..neither can our four adult children… I do cry and seem to operate on auto pilot..when will this change..I feel I should be doing something different regarding grief..

    • Laraine

      Hello Lois,

      I’m so sorry for your loss of your dear husband. I lost my husband on July 22, 2017. I am still very very sad and trying to find peace and acceptance every day. Right now you are most likely in a numb state where the depth of your grief may not be fully realized. I have received so much support from grief counseling through my local Hospice Center. Maybe you can seek their help and support in your area. I learned something so important about grief that does help.. Your coping and traveling through the stages of your grief and sadness isn’t linear. It seems to go in a circle. I have days where I feel somewhat “normal” and able to get through a day without crying uncontrollably and then the next day I’m down so low I don’t know how I can climb out of the dark place of pain and sadness. Having been through many of these cycles now I can find some small comfort knowing that I can get through the severe down days because the sky will open again soon and I’ll be Less sad and closer to acceptance and a healing heart. I pray you find a path through your grief that is not difficult and will help your smile return.

  • Eileen Agnew

    Thank you for making me feel a little better, I’m so devastated after a life of 52yrs of joy with my Husband , we did everything together we truly were joined at the HIP , I can’t imagine doing anything without him .my word for all of this would be Diabolical ❤️

  • rita lazzari-willan

    I lost my partner of 10 yrs on August 17th 2017 it’s been 6 weeks now, I can’t stop crying I miss him so much, he left behind a 6 yr old son and a 8 yr old daughter, my son is special needs and keeps see in men that look like his dad, he shouts for him but of course they don’t answer to which he says “why he not talk to me” I feel my heart cracking every time, I have family of sorts, my mum knew he was dying but I haven’t heard or seen from her for over a yr, she’s even changed her mobile number so I can’t ring her, that makes me sad as she can’t even be here for her little grandchildren. lonely is a word I’d use angry and sad. I have to sprinkle his ashes tomorrow and am not looking forward to it.x

  • Laurie Post author

    I know that it’s difficult adjusting to live when you’re living alone after the death of a spouse, and nothing can really alleviate the pain…and I am sorry for your loss.

    Here’s an article I just wrote, about getting through long nights when you feel alone and sad. I don’t know if it’ll help, but maybe if you know you’re not alone, you’ll feel better…

    How to Get Through the Night When You Feel Sad and Lonely

    Take care, and feel free to come back anytime and let me know how you are.


  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Brandi,

    I’m sorry you lost your husband…I wish I had the right words of comfort, help and hope…you’re in my thoughts and prayers as you move forward in your life, even though the pain is so bad. You will get through the worst of this, and the grief will ease up. Stay connected to people who love you. Your husband’s spirit and soul will always be with you, and he is resting in peace. He loved you so much.

    Take care of yourself, and please come back anytime.

    In sympathy, with warmth,

  • Laurie Post author

    Sarah, thank you for being here. A widow at 44…I can only imagine how tough it is to raise three kids without a husband or their father around. In addition to the grief and loneliness of living alone, you have your hands full of kids, responsibilities, and serious commitments.

    What sort of support do you have? It is a scary world, and the more reinforcements you have, the better! Surround yourself with family, friends, grief support groups — all the help you can get. Rely on people now, and they’ll be able to rely on you later, when you’re back on your feet.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers…is there anything specifically I can pray for, for you?


  • Sarah

    How about being a widow at age 44 with 3 kids still at home. Its super tough being a “single” parent. I have thought about trying to date and to meet someone but I am scared because I don’t want to meet some whack job that hurts my kids or myself. its a scary world! I can’t imagine even being intimate with anyone else. I just need that companionship to fill the void in my life.

  • Laurie Post author

    Rena, you sound like such a strong and centered woman! You let your husband go because you know it’s better for him to be with the Lord instead of suffering here in this world…and now you’re alone.

    You know you need to get out and start living, but where do you go? How do you find your place in this world?

    I think being lonely is better than shallow, meaningless friendships that don’t offer comfort or joy. The trick is finding the friends who offer fulfilling connections and good, deep, interesting conversations. And the only way to do that is to get out there and meet people.

    So…how do you feel about getting out, and meeting people who you might eatablish really good friendships with? I know it takes energy and time, and you may feel more comfortable and safe being alone….but do you want to spend the rest of your life alone at home?

    • suzanne

      Like Laurie i also fear of meeting new people. i lost my husband of 34yrs recently. Most of my dearest friends have also passed prior.
      I feel like i lost my whole world. My children are all grown and have a life of their own. their lives are miles away so their visit are very much appreciated. i dont know where to go to meet new people as i dont go out to bars etc…. i have acquintances in town but fear inviting stranger in my home as i live alone and have trust issues…
      thanks for reading me.

  • Rena

    I am not grieving because my husband died, as he was so very sick, and I kept him at home and cared for him. He went to be with the Lord in November, and I have not been able to regain my strength yet. Decisions as to stay here,or move north where my family is weighs much on my mind. I hate the cold, and I really like my home and the mild winters here,but the loneliness is sometimes overwhelming. Perhaps I would be just as alone back home as I am here. I know that I need to get out,but at this time it seems that lonely seems better than seeking friendships. Sometimes I feel like I have gone around the bend.

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you for being so honest about your painful feelings. I am so sorry for your loss; I wish I had words that could help ease your grief and make you feel better.

    Do you ever visit Facebook? If so, please join our She Blossoms group. I post a flower and a word of encouragement every day. Maybe you’ll find it encouraging and uplifting.

    Take good care of yourself, for you are worth taking good care of.


  • Rose

    My husband died six weeks ago today. I feel lost and alone, and so afraid. I have never lived alone in my life. Nights are the worst, I am afraid, I listen for noises. If not for my dog I would never sleep. I can’t explain how devastated I am, I now have to see to everything. My husband took care of everything all I did was pay bills clean do laundry and cook he did everything else. I know nothing about finances, and I’m having difficulty collecting his pensions my kids help but it’s not the same. I can’t find joy in anything.

    • Audrey Ramsden-Green

      Hi Rose,
      My husband also died 6 weeks ago. Like you I feel so lost and alone. I find it difficult to sleep especially now we have warmer weather. I live in a bungalow and I am too nervous to leave the windows open. We have a golf driving range behind our garden so it is very open. My husband paid all of the bills but did everything on the computer so we were completely paperless. This would have been fine but I didn’t know who our utilities were and who we were insured with etc. etc.
      I find it easier to be out of the house. I have had coffee in practically every café and supermarket in our town. We were due to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We were both retired so we spent all our time together. He used to give me pedicures and we both loved dancing. I was married before but my husband of 39 years also died. It was difficult then but so much worse now. I am devastated life can never be the same. I think of him every waking moment. We travelled a lot and were due to go on a Baltic cruise to celebrate our anniversary. My children suggested getting a dog but I don’t think I could do that at the moment

      • Rose

        Dear Audrey, we are in the same frame of mind. I hate coming home to a house I used to love. It is so empty now. Today is Fathers Day and I’m sitting alone on the porch we both loved. My kids don’t come as often, I think they want me to get accustomed to being alone. Right now it doesn’t feel like I ever will. My husband of 461/2 years died of a heart attack while helping a neighbor with a fallen tree. I was with him and will never forget his face. They took him to the hospital, but he was as good as gone. He had agonal breathing so awful to have seen him struggle for air. I feel dead inside.

    • Audrey Ramsden-Green

      Hi Rose,

      It must have been awful for you to see your husband die like that.
      I wish I had been with my husband but it wasn’t to be. Nobody really knows how you feel and when asked it is hard not to break down and cry. I have had to get a fan for my bedroom as I am too nervous to leave the windows open in our bungalow. I don’t see my children very often. They just think I can cope. There are many things to fix that my husband would have done but I find it hard to ask for help.
      Well I will think of you Rose and hope things get better for you in time. x

      • Rose

        Dear Audrey, I hope things get easier for you as well. Right now that doesn’t feel possible to me. I had a meltdown today, and couldn’t stop crying. Another night alone, there is just no joy in my life anymore.. I wasn’t feeling well today, and had no one to tell. My husband was always concerned and could make me feel better. You are in my thoughts.

      • Sarah

        My husband has been gone for 9 1/2 weeks. We were at church and we were leaving to go home and he grabbed for the wall and gave me one last look before he collapsed. Myself and our 11 & 15 year old watched him collapsed. He had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in his lung that travelled to his heart). He died instantly. I feel so lost without him. He was only 47. All my friends and family have their busy lives with their husbands and children. I have my kids, but its not the same. Its so hard. Everyone says, day by day, minute by minute. I look at it as another day closer to being reunited with him. The widow support groups are all older women. I am only 44. Its a scary world out there.

      • Brandi

        My heart hurts beyond measure. It’s the kind of pain you don’t want anyone to feel. I also hate night time because my pain increases then. I cry as I type this post because I miss my husband so bad. He was truly my best friend. If I needed to go to Target and pick out lipstick he was right there with me to hold my purse if need be :-). My buddy is gone and now I’m left to raise our 4 and 11 year old alone. I’m 38 with great family and friend support but it’s not the same…I’ve never been without a companion. I was born into this world with a friend because I’m an identical twin so I’ve truly never been alone. My husband was only 41. He had a heart defect we found out about 5 years ago. I’ve been his care giver for 5 years through good and bad. I’m at peace knowing he’s asleep in death because I didn’t want to see him in pain and suffering anymore, but the pain from not kissing, smelling, hugging, and talking to him is so painful my body aches.

    • Audrey Ramsden-Green

      Thank you Rose for your last message. I have been feeling particularly bad since sunday.
      I really don’t like being in my bungalow anymore. We were married 10 years ago and bought our bungalow soon after Everything in it we chose together and as I said before I am nervous at night so don’t sleep. I always said to my husband I would not want to be left on my own here. I have just been out to a Tai Chi class and then went off for coffee afterwards. We ended up staying for a couple of hours and having a meal together. They both lost their husbands last year and feel the same as me. I need to be out most of the time. It makes the evenings more bearable. Have your thought of counselling. I go to a meeting but I’m thinking of going one to one which might help more.
      Anyway I do hope you start to feel better soon. Life will never be the same again for either of us.. .

  • Audrey Ramsden-Green

    I have just lost my second husband. I was married for 39 years the first time. I have 4 children.My husband died of an aneurism
    I was so lucky to meet my second husband and we were married for 10 wonderful years. I was 63 when we met and he was 5 years older. He died of the same thing as my first husband and I am numb with grief and shock. We moved home when we married to a location that was new for both of us. we spent all our time together , had wonderful holidays and we both loved to dance. He was such a lovely man and very talented. I go out most days because I cant bear to be at home without him. I don’t tell my children how I feel and they don’t live close to hand anyway. I believe they think I got through the death of their Dad so I will be ok. It is so much harder this time around. I didn’t cry until after the funeral which was 2 weeks ago. Now I cry when I’m shopping etc. When people ask how I am it makes it worse.
    I just ache for him. Just want to hold his hand and laugh together like we did before.

  • Richard

    15 months ago I lost my wife of over 50 years. We were incredibly close. Ran a business together. Did everything together. Never knew anyone to be as close as we were. Now well it just seems to get harder and harder to go on without her. I know I was blessed , we both did. But looking forward I see nothing to look forward to. I’m loosing my hearing (product of the 60’s) so I’m not comfortable joining groups, etc

    • Angela Austin

      Richard, I also worked with my husband We did everything together his sudden death literally knocked the air out of me.Its been 2 years and I still call out for him I know how you feel I feel left behind He was the person that “got me”I don’t think I’m making u feel any better bit at least u know that another person feels like u do

  • Patty

    My husband of almost 34 years passed away on February 19, 2017. As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a wife and mother. We were blessed with four children within 7 years. We lost our son tragically in 2008 which put a huge strain on our marriage because of our grief. With God’s soverinty we found a way (although never the same) to embrace our loss.
    I miss him and his special way of making me feel secure and cared for.

  • Veronica Fogelman

    heartbroken,sad,lost,broken,numb. I don’t think we have a word that describes the anguish I feel . It is so deep and painful that I cant even tell my fiends. My husband died last month. We would have been married 51 years next month.. We were inseparable and were rarely apart even overnight. I try to work at my small company, I have two dogs, three wonderful children and amazing friends. None of it helps. I just stand in the living room and pray, “If I close my eyes,please be there when I open them” Just let me hear your voice,your laugh, please God give him back. The house is quiet, the deck where we had coffee every morning is so, so sad.I just miss the love of my life.

    • Terri J

      I so feel for you…….and I pray for your peace daily also. Its only been a couple weeks and I do not know how to scope. Your words were exact!

  • 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.