The days are long and lonely after you lose your husband – and the weekends and nights are longer and lonelier. These three ways to cope with loneliness after the loss of your husband won’t erase your grief, but they may ease the pain.
I’m writing this article for women who lost their husbands, but I was inspired by men who lost their wives. My She Blossoms readers are primarily women who are walking into an unexpected, often unwanted new season of life. But, I also have many male readers who are coping with loneliness and grief after the loss of their wives — as you’ll see in the husband’s comment below.
“I’m not only grieving the loss of the love of my life — my wife, such a beautiful, warm, happy, loving, fun, spirited woman,” writes James in How to Recover From Loss and Survive Grief. “I’m also grieving the loss of our happy union, daily interactions, lifestyle, living arrangement and conditions. My daily life went from happy, laughing, and enjoyment to missing my wife terribly. I’m trying to cope with loneliness as well as her terrible suffering and death.”
There are no easy answers or quick tips for coping with loneliness after you lose your wife, husband, or life partner. I don’t have the power to erase your grief and make you feel less lonely. And, I certainly don’t know why we have to suffer through the loss of someone we love! But I do know one thing: we are not alone in our pain.
We’re walking each other home, towards our eternal resting place. Your lost husband or wife is already there, but it’s not your time yet.
“I know to give it to God and I have been since before my wife died,” says James. “I know to let Jesus carry my burden and to let Him ‘bind up my wounds and heal the broken-hearted’ as Scripture says. But I just can’t seem to get there – or it’s taking too long, or it’s not effective or thorough enough.”
How to Cope With Loneliness After You Lose Your Husband
This article is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project, and is inspired by Genesis 23. In this chapter Abraham’s wife Sarah dies. Not only does Abraham mourn, he wept and sat beside his dead wife (verses 1-3). I don’t know how long Abraham grieved the loss of his wife Sarah, but I suspect it didn’t happen overnight. I don’t know how lonely and alone Abraham felt after losing his wife, but I believe he felt the ache of loneliness just as much as we do today.
You don’t have to believe in God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit to benefit from my thoughts on coping with loneliness after losing your husband. Just keep an open mind, and allow yourself to grow in a different direction. Listen to the still small voice that brought you here. Remember that new beginnings blossom from tiny seeds of life. This article is one of those seeds.
1. Expect grief to cost you
What is your grief costing you? Maybe you’re spending a great deal of time and energy mourning and weeping over your husband’s death. Maybe you’re facing financial problems, unmanageable or surprising household responsibilities, family difficulties or social isolation. Maybe you’re having trouble coping with loneliness after losing your husband because all your energy is spent on practical life matters. Part of surviving an empty house and lonely heart is paying the price of grief…and this means paying the price of love.
2. Re-establish your identity
While reading Genesis 23, I realized that Abraham was much more than a grieving widower. Yes, he lost his wife and was coping with loneliness in his heart and home. But he was also described as a foreign resident, mighty prince, lord, fair and just purchaser of burial land, man of honor, and most importantly God’s chosen. Abraham wasn’t “just” a husband who lost his wife. He was multi-faceted, like a rough diamond. His life wasn’t wrapped up in his identity as a lonely man who lost his wife. I don’t know how he saw himself — or how his self-identity changed after Sarah died — but I do know that death changes us.
Who are you now, after the loss of your husband? You are more than a grieving widow, a sad woman forced into a new season of life. You are more than a woman living alone in a lonely land of mourning and loss. You are more than who your husband was and what he left behind. You have an identity and purpose, and it’s not all wrapped up in being the wife who lost her partner. A practical tip on how to cope with loneliness after you lose your husband is to re-establish your identity. Start letting go of who you were as a wife and who you are as a widow. Can you start coping with your lonely feelings by recreating yourself? Perhaps it’s time to become a child of God in a deeper, more meaningful way.
3. Honor your husband’s life and look ahead
After mourning and weeping over his dead wife’s body, Abraham rose. He took care of the details of funeral planning, honoring Sarah’s life, and laying her body to rest. Abraham found and paid fair market price for a burial site for Sarah. When he died years later, his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him at the same place. Abraham honored his late wife and prepared a place for his own future burial.
How are you honoring your lost husband and looking ahead? I’m not talking specifically about funeral arrangements, cemetery plots, or cremation urns. I’m asking you how you are mourning and weeping over the husband you loved and lost. What are you doing to honor his memory, life and times? Maybe you need to change your home or job, routine or even the food you eat. Maybe you need to set specific times to honor and even talk to your husband. Tell him how you’re coping with loneliness and what you’re doing to remember him. Maybe you need to explore different tips on how to cope with being lonely and rethink what it really means to be happy alone when your relationship ends.
My prayer is that you allow your loneliness to move you into a healthier, more fruitful season of life. I pray for healing from the grief of losing your husband, for respite from the pain and sorrow of living alone after loss. I pray for the dark night of the soul to end, and for joy to come now! Not just in the morning, but in the endless depths of loneliness. I pray that your heart and spirit be revived even as you work through the loss of your husband, that you feel the presence of Jesus because you choose to turn to Him for strength and healing.
Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below!
P.S. Are you struggling to make a decision or find the right path in your life? Read an Easy Way to Stop Overthinking God’s Will for Your Life.