Things I Learned About Widowhood

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Reflecting on my time as a widower, I’d like to offer some observations from my experiences and also refer you to some of the many blogs such as (Her 40-year-old husband passed away in 2008, leaving her with six kids.)

#1 = You need to know you are not alone, although it may seem that way.

Among women 65 years and over, the proportion who were widowed was 44.9 percent, while 41.8 percent were married and living with their spouse. By contrast, only 14.0 percent of men in this age group were widowed, while 73.6 percent were married and living with their spouses. Women in the United States: A Profile – So not quite half of the women over 65 and about 14% of men over 65 know exactly how you feel.                              

#2 = Contact your local Social Security office and similar resources when you both were drawing SS and you became widowed. Find out what records and forms you will need to bring and schedule an appointment ASAP.

#3 = You will need a non-beneficiary third party to help you with financial advice. Likely an attorney, banker, or financial advisor. The laborer is worthy of his hire (Luke 10:7), so expect to pay a fee.

#4 = Your friends and family may “back off” when you become widowed. Their withdrawal says more about their life than anything going on in yours. Hopefully, they will learn how to handle this new normal and show back up.

#5 = Get professional counseling. A grief group (e.g. = and family counselor may become your best resources for recovery. It was a mistake on my part not to offer counseling to my adult children when my wife died in 2006. 

#6 = Take care of yourself. You probably lost the one that would take care of you, so now it is your job to be kind to yourself. Eat right. Sleep. Exercise. Fill your mind with positive things and your life with positive people.

#7 = Make a list of what things you need to do and check it multiple times per day in the early days. It gives a special joy to be able to cross another item off the list.

#8 = Beware the “widow’s fog” or “brain fog” that often prevails the first few weeks, months, or years. When cool, calm heads prevail, then cool, calm heads will prevail. Remember that person that’s supposed to be looking over your shoulder?

#9 = Marcie Lyons made a sign to be posted in her house that said, “I can do hard things.” You may need it, to get over the day’s opportunity brilliantly disguised as a problem. 

#10 = You will learn to be happy again. It’s not a race to do so, thus compete with nobody but yourself, in your happiness factor.

Take care and seize the day! 

But if you are not IN a crisis or just OVER a crisis, I guarantee that one is AROUND THE CORNER!

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Doug Greenway

These blog articles are written by the retired minister and former educator and counselor, Doug Greenway. He'd love to hear from you with your comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You may reach Doug at

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