How to Be Alone After Years of Marriage 4


You’ll never find quick or easy tips on how to be alone after years of marriage, but here you will find comfort and healing. These ideas for surviving life alone when your spouse dies are inspired by these beautiful comments from a widow named Ken:

“My wife died recently, we were married for 37 years,” says Ken on on Living Alone After the Death of a Spouse. “She died at home from cancer, with my arms around her. 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 learn how to be alone after years of marriage without her. I honor her 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. I remember what she did for me in our life together. I 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. I’m finding life very difficult alone without her. I ask myself, ‘For who am I doing things for when life without her seems so pointless and empty?’”





If this man was in a grief support group, I would attend every meeting! What a lovely soul, so kind and sensitive. His heart is tender, his sadness so touching, and his spirit searching for love, comfort, and peace. He would be so valuable if he was interacting with other widows in a support group. And, he might find helpful tips on how to be alone after years of marriage for his own comfort and healing.

Grief support groups can be helpful for widows and widowers – but I have also heard some people say that they’re too sad and depressing. When you’re grieving and looking for ways to live alone after years of being married to someone you dearly loved, you need to find what works for you.

How to Be Alone After Years of Marriage

“You will grieve your loss of the rest of your life, but healing is something different,” writes Theresa Caputo in Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again.

How to Be Alone After Years of Marriage

Being Alone After Years of Marriage

“You must find ways for your grief and healing to coexist…grief is especially hard because it’s not every day that a situation demands you walk the line between feeling your heaviest feelings so you can heal and trying to protect yourself from getting stuck in a negative place.”

These ideas for surviving life alone when your spouse dies are both practical and emotional. I welcome your thoughts in the comments section below – I can’t offer advice, but writing can help you heal.

Honor your spouse’s memory in specific ways

I love that Ken honors his wife’s memory by taking care of their house the way she would like. He tidies up, makes the bed, cooks his meals the way she taught him…it’s a bittersweet way to be alone after years of marriage, isn’t it? These daily tasks and chores keep her close to his heart and memory. They keep her spirit and soul alive.

What can you do to honor your beloved partner? You don’t have to focus on household chores; you can try painting or pottery if your husband was an artist, or even sailing or kayaking if your wife was an ocean lover! Honoring your spouse’s memory can bring you peace and comfort, and even a sprinkle of joy.

One of the most important ways to heal the pain after losing someone you love is to take time to process your loss. Give yourself as much time as you need. Your soul will heal and you will learn how to be alone after years of marriage, even though your grief may never permanently leave your heart.





Allow yourself to grieve from your soul

“Grieving from the soul means honoring your own unique timeline for healing,” writes Caputo in Good Grief. “It is not God’s plan for you to become stuck in your grief indefinitely, but there is also no typical response to loss. Grief is a process. Healing faster does not mean healing better.”

You know what? It’s okay if you never learn how to be alone after years of marriage. You will never be the same. You lost a huge part of your life, and everything is different. It’s an odd place to be; everything is different yet the same, both at once.

The grief you feel is unique to you, but it’s also the same for all of us. Being alone is difficult and painful after years of marriage, and there is no magic solution for making life easy or better. The only way out is to go through the grief by writing about your feelings and connecting with other widows and widowers who are also learning how to be alone after years of marriage.

Find new meaning and purpose in your life

Your life – and the grief you feel because of your loss – isn’t random or meaningless. The emptiness you feel existed before your spouse died, but you were distracted by your life together.

When Ken said, “Who am I doing things for when life without my wife seems so pointless and empty?” I realized that he speaks for all of us – even if we’re not searching for tips on how to be alone after years of marriage.

Why are we here? What were we created to do, see, experience, be? Life isn’t just about love, marriage, family, or even meaningful ways to change our the big and little worlds we live in. God created us for a purpose. Loving a spouse and family is part of that purpose, but not the whole thing.

How do you feel after reading these ideas on how to be alone after years of marriage? Share your thoughts below. Tell me the story of your marriage, and how you’re learning to be alone. Feel free to write about whatever is on your mind – for getting it out of your heart and mind can help you heal.

If you’re up for another “Blossom” article with ideas for being alone, read Comfort and Hope After Your Husband’s Unexpected Death.

Learning how to live alone again

How to Be Alone After Years of Marriage“Grief is not an illness like the common cold, where we can expect to recover and be as good as new in a few days,” writes Gary Roe, author of Heartbroken: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse. “Grief is more like an extended battle or a demanding marathon. We must learn to pace ourselves and appreciate that our entire system is under duress. Weathering this physically challenging storm is a long-term adventure. Taking ourselves and our bodies seriously is a key to grieving in a healing and healthy way.”

Gary is a bestselling author, hospice chaplain, and grief specialist who has walked with hundreds of spouses through this painful valley. From their stories he has composed an incredibly practical book that will touch your heart and comfort your soul as you learn how to be alone after years of marriage.

May you find hope and healing, faith and comfort in this season of grief. May you let go of the pain, and accept God’s love, peace, and hope for your future.

With compassion and love,

Laurie




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4 thoughts on “How to Be Alone After Years of Marriage

  • KLMN

    Laurie, I just found one of your sites this morning. Thank you for providing a way for hurting widows to voice their feelings, and read that they’re not alone. But, I will say, that no one knows how we feel until they feel the pain. If you’ve never been a widow and you’re still married, you can’t possibly have a clue how it feels. I know I didn’t.

    Now I know the pain of living in the shadow of death in everything I do. It’s been only 10 months since my wonderful husband of 44 years passed away. It’s not getting better. It’s getting worse. The future looms ahead of me, and I don’t have a clue how to involve myself with this new life that I never wanted. I don’t know whether to return to work to avoid the terrible loneliness. However, I don’t know if I have the physical stamina to deal with returning to work, because I’m still dealing with depressive grief, loneliness, and confusion. I know a job can’t make those go away.

    I feel like I don’t fit in ANYWHERE, anymore. As a 63 year old widow, I don’t have the same view of the rest of life as my widowed older friends who are in their 80s, 90s, or even 70s. They know they can make it a few more years till they die, I guess.

    I always thought my husband and I would grow old together, at least into our 80s. Now I don’t even know if I want to live that long. This terrible lonely life just doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. I don’t want another person. I don’t even want to make new friends. Most of the friends I had are not part of my life anymore. They just disappeared and left me. When you don’t get any communication at all for weeks, you feel forgotten and tossed aside. Nearly everything I did I was a part of our team. Couples everywhere. Now they don’t know what to do with me. And I don’t know what to do with them. It’s miserable.

    I even feel like a 5th wheel around my kids and grandkids. And they’re wonderful kids. But I’m all alone, by myself, an introvert, and I’ve built my life around taking care of their dad and them. I still try to help take care of them. But that’s only now and then when I get to be with them. I’m just not the same anymore at all.

    If only I knew what to say that would help us all. I don’t think we can let it all go. I don’t think we should be expected to forget and move on. Dated at 16, married at 18, enjoyed 44 wonderful years with my man, looking forward to our “harvest” years and retirement together. How do you let it go and move one. I don’t think you ever can move on.

    I don’t know how to face the future. It’s a moment at a time. I’m trying to count my blessings that are left on this earth. But no one really cares anymore, like he did. No one checks on me like he did. No one calls me like he did. Life is just totally different now. I paint on a smile, doing my best to look like I am doing okay. But the reality is, I’m dying inside a little bit each day. Half of me is gone and I don’t know what to do with the half of me that’s left here. The rest of the world seems to just move on, but my world is alone. Cold. Lonely. Living in the shadow of death. I miss him in everything I do and everywhere I go.

    I believe in our Sovereign God who knows what’s best for us. I can’t possibly see how this lonely life is best for me, while my husband’s body is laying cold in the ground, and his soul is in a better place. I can’t understand why God would allow this to happen to us. I don’t think I will ever understand it. I have had to accept it. I have to live each moment at a time with His help. I’m trying to trust in Him.

  • Veronica Fogelman

    I am just so sad and lonely .All I do is cry and beg God to let me just talk to him one ore time. I have been with my husband since I was 19. We were together for almost 52 years. I don’t know how to do this. He was sick since Thanksgiving but by the time we found out it was Cancer, it was too late. I got to bring him home for 3 days; he had two nights with our three children and as I was bathing him the next morning, he just was gone. He lad no pain and no long hospital stays. For that I am grateful. But, I just miss him so much: I don’t know how to go on. He was my world.

  • MaryLou

    This helps me learn and understand more about grief in other areas. I am finding a common thread. So often, we think that if someone hasn’t gone through something specific that they can’t possibly understand. But I am learning to understand grief in another loss, and I respect it in a whole new light. Grief is a gift that I am unwilling to let anyone take away from me. That is like cutting off an arm and saying it doesn’t matter, that the arm isn’t really me and I need to learn to live without it as if it never mattered. That is not possible, because you are a new person after having entered the undesirable (or unpleasant) land of grief. And if we could even wipe away the sadness (especially on the hardest days) we would be wiping away what brought that grief about as well. (“You never had that arm, really.”) That isn’t possible to wipe away a memory, and who would want to do that for a grief that represents some valuable part of our life? The hurting is a way of staying connected to what was so dear. I think that only in holding tightly to the complete experience and going through all that it entails, with the various stages and waves, will any healing be able to come that allows one to not feel so broken continually. A big part of this grief is also traveled alone in the depths of our heart. Many close friends and family are not really able to enter your own unique pain, and often I find comfort in those few who cross my path in rare moments…a blog, someone from your past, the clerk at the grocery counter: little “Godwink” moments when He speaks into your heart or sends a warm memory or connection that reaffirms what is missing really was real and still is alive, in your heart…and you get a gift from God that is like a hug, validating you exactly where you are in the moment. And in the end, who we are in God is what fills our deepest needs and longings.

    Thank you for these thoughts:
    “You will grieve your loss of the rest of your life, but healing is something different.”
    “You must find ways for your grief and healing to coexist.”
    “You know what? It’s okay if you never learn how to be alone after years of marriage. You will never be the same. You lost a huge part of your life, and everything is different. It’s an odd place to be; everything is different yet the same, both at once.”

    “The grief you feel is unique to you, but it’s also the same for all of us. Being alone is difficult and painful after years of marriage, and there is no magic solution for making life easy or better. The only way out is to go through the grief by writing about your feelings and connecting with other widows and widowers who are also learning how to be alone after years of marriage.”

    I relate to being childless. You have to become a new “you” who lives with that constant knowledge but no longer fight it. Somehow, you keep learning how to move forward even against the flow that constantly goes against you. It is a loss, one that does not go away, and I expect will never go away. So you learn to honor it, and live with it out of love and not hate. Possibly like an undesirable companion, that you learn to respect and treat with love.

    “Thank you Laurie.”

    Mary Lou

  • Carolyn

    It is so true that our emptiness is already there. Our lives we live become distractions – so until we are left alone, we often don’t learn who we truly are! When suddenly left alone, I believe it can become a great time to make God our best friend! When we wake up everyday and talk to God, we will find He is who we rely on. We also will discover ourselves. I’m new to your blog and I love it!