10 Honest Truths To Being A Widow/er

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Over the years many people have asked me “what is it like being a widower?” And how do I get by raising my daughter after the unthinkable tragedy of losing my wife Cory to brain cancer.

There are many perceptions, often groundless, about what life’s like after the loss of your spouse. Today I want to talk about some honest truths I’ve realized, which I hope resonate with others in my shoes. I believe these truths also apply to those who have lost a close family member or friend.

1) We are truly never alone. Our spouses may have physically left us, but they are angels that are still among us. You may not always see them, but you can feel them. They guide us through, allow us to gain strength, and watch over us. Throughout our dreams each night, these angels send little messages to decipher. Sometimes the message may not be clear or perhaps seems meaningless, but there is communication with the other side.

2) We don't pretend to have all the answers. It's not easy to explain the sequence of events that led to the tragedy, nor do we always understand why. Sometimes not knowing answers brings comfort as some things are better off unknown.

3) Depression can be real and serious. There’s a physical void in our lives. Whether we spent years caring for a sick spouse or whether it was sudden, the initial shock of the physical void can easily spiral into a depressive state. Let us cry, let us mourn. We will be okay. Sometimes we just need a good cry and some time alone.

4) We are smarter and stronger than we look. Just because we dress a little down or happen to be in unmatched clothes, doesn't mean we’re falling apart. It's our way of finding familiar comfort within.

5) While we appreciate support by checking in, please don't start off by asking if we’re okay. No, we are not. But it doesn't mean we have to talk about it all the time. Instead let's do something fun, get out of the house, get some fresh air. Talking about it brings back memories. While the memories are special, right now, we need activities that keep our heads clear.

6) We didn't just become rich. If we’re lucky, financial planning may help us offset expenses associated with medical needs and funeral costs. Anything left over may go towards other expenses to make up for the loss of income. The thought of inheriting a financial windfall generally applies to the movies. It's not reality. If anything, we incur more expenses after all is said and done.

7) We never stop loving our spouse. There are some that quickly find new relationships, while others may struggle. We all have our own way of mourning and moving on. Please don't judge on the timing aspects of dating. When the moment is right, we'll take a step forward. In some instances, we may prefer to be alone and that is okay too.

8) We live through our children. The children are our legacies. As we continue to age, the stories shared and passed down are for the children and perhaps grandchildren to remember us all by. Children bring enjoyment, excitement, and a little chaos too. These extra moments keep us alive and laughing.

9) Memories do fade over time. Much of the memories are associated with physical aspects. When it's gone, little by little, the specific details fade until eventually we'll be left with just stilled images.

10) Life does go on and so do we. Over time, we learn to cope, stretch our wings, and fly again. And when we look back, we smile knowing how far we've come. No one said it would be easy. There are challenging days and good days. What's most important is how we've grown from the experiences.

I know that I haven’t covered everything here, so I invite you to share your own feelings and insights in the comments. And please Like our page and share this post with others who might benefit. Who knows, our message may just find someone who really needs our support right now.

To our loved ones, we "keep those feet moving."

AJ Coleman