Time Frame > Newly Widowed (1 day to 6 months)

A world full of light and love, suddenly full of sorrow and darkness

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I’m 47, I’m not sure if that makes me a young widower or a middle aged one!

 My wife and I started dating in our teens, she was 15 and I was 18, 8 years later we were married, in January of this year we celebrated our 20th Wedding anniversary still very much in love and with 4 children.

And then 3 months ago, there was a tragic accident, the accident destroyed my life, it took away my soul mate, my wife and my eldest daughter (16), one minute they were here and then they were gone! Leaving me a single parent with 3 children 16, 14, and 10.

3 months on and my life is still an emotional struggle, people tell me how well we are all coping, they see me and the kids functioning out in the world, some days they do see me struggling, days nothing can make me smile, others I seem largely ok to them, they don’t see the constant pain, loss and struggle within, grief is my constant companion.

I have to carry on I have my children to take care of, without them I would have no reason to get up in mornings and I probably wouldn’t, my life would no longer have meaning, they give me the strength and reason to go on.  They are largely coping ok, I often think they are coping better than me, the loss of their mother and sister (and in the case of my eldest, their twin sister) at their age would be truly devastating, their resilience and strength amazes me, although they too of course have their highs and lows.

I was back at work after a month and the kids were back at school, my wife was a stay at home mum, she used to take care of the housework cooking, cleaning etc which I now do, although I do struggle with the cooking, 😊 its not so great, meal planning is not my strong point at this stage and my repertoire of recipes fairly limited but we won’t starve.  Working full time, taking care of 3 kids and supporting them through their loss doing all of the housework, and the dreaded cooking makes life very busy, until late in the evenings after the kids are in bed and I can sit down and relax, and then the grief comes to the surface and the real battle begins.

 I thought was coping Ok but a couple of weeks ago I am watching a wedding scene in a movie and they said the traditional words ‘until death do us part’, words my wife and I spoke at our wedding, words which immediately broke me, at that point I thought perhaps it might be good to speak to someone, to seek some counselling.  When you sit down in front of someone and deliberately talk face to face about what you are going through and feeling, then you find out how you are really coping.  The struggle of verbalising what I was feeling, telling someone of the guilt I felt, that I always thought as a parent the most painful thing you could experience was the loss of a child, but finding that I am overwhelmed by the loss of my wife almost to the exclusion of my daughter and I feel guilty about not mourning her enough,  I am sure counselling is beneficial, but from my experience so far it is very emotional and draining, I am sure it will get easier with future sessions….

Its hard not knowing from one day to the next what my emotional state will be, or what will trigger an emotional response, everyday is different.  At times I have felt it is time to take off my wedding band but it remains on my finger where it has been for 20 years, because I know that the following day I will want it back, right now I can’t face removing it.  My head mush, I constantly forget or overlook things, I ask myself will I ever be normal again?

Algos- I am sorry you have to join us here. It is hard being a single parent and to teens but one has to look for the bright side of our situation to help cope and try to progress. When we go to family grief counseling and we see a family with children much smaller, my girls feel for them because those kids won't be able to have even half the memories they have of their their father. It makes them grateful and they cherish them all the more.

I hear you on just functioning for the kids. I am guiltily the same. I met my husband when we were 13. We were friends all through school and dated when we were 18 and been together since. I feel loss without my soulmate and it can be crushing. Those night silences are tough and there are triggers at every random moment. Be kind to yourself and be patient. Let yourself grieve rather than bottle it up. Vent here if you are not ready for counseling. Many of us are up at random times and check in often and I found reading here gave me a sense of understanding what I was feeling and some peace as to what may lie ahead.

Hugs for you today.

Algos, I am so sorry you find yourself here in your circumstances, as all of us here do. Even more heartbroken for you and your children that your wife/their mom died alongside your daughter/their sister/twin! 

This grief that we go through, as you're finding, is a slippery beast. The emotions may constantly shift. It's simply not generally linear, and at times when you think it's easing up, something can trigger you back to Day 1. This is the way of Grief.

You truly are in the early days. Be kind to yourselves, and ease your expectations of what you might think you ought to be doing, or what people who have never been in your shoes think they have a place to expect of you.  I'm just over 3 years out (wow, can that be true?). The passage of time does allow for the intensity of grief to soften (even though at times it can come back to me like it happened this morning). But most often first there's the numbness of shock, followed by the gut punch of the brutal reality. It sounds like maybe the transition out of the numbness is what's now happening, and it hurts.

Allow yourself your feelings. It truly is a crazy rollercoaster of emotions that you and your remaining family are on. This is sorrow beyond what words can truly describe. I'm so sorry you find yourself here. Welcome to the club none of us wanted to join, and may you find some camaraderie here. Hopes and prayers for peace for you and your children.

Thankyou for the kind responses,

sojourner you hit home with your comment:

--- Quote from: sojourner on September 29, 2017, 10:42:30 PM ---You truly are in the early days. Be kind to yourselves, and ease your expectations of what you might think you ought to be doing, or what people who have never been in your shoes think they have a place to expect of you.

--- End quote ---

I really don't know what my expectations should be, I feel bad when I know there are things (maintenance) around the house I should be doing, but i just dont have the time or energy to do them, I should be going through some of my wifes and daugthers things but I just dont have the motivation to do it.  This is foreign to me, at times I just don't want to do anything and find myself staring into thin air, or talking to my wifes and daughters ashes asking if i am doing an oK job, I am at a loss.  I do give myself some leway, but how much should I give, i just dont know!

and Julester, you are probably right

--- Quote from: Julester3 on September 29, 2017, 10:40:08 PM ---Let yourself grieve rather than bottle it up.

--- End quote ---

But being a man I do bottle things up and I don't know that I could function if I didn't, getting the kids to school in the morning, going to work, coming home cooking dinner, doing the washing, shopping etc.  However I do let myself grieve when I am alone, when the kids are in bed, or if I am alone in the car, or any brief moment I get to myself I often find tears running down my cheeks.

It is certainly a rollecoaster ride and a slippery beast, from your words, i can tell you know my pain, it is somewhat of a relief to find somewhere, with people who know what I am experiancing who i can talk to.  I have had a huge, overwehlming outpouring of support from our local community for our loss, we come from a relatively small community and the event which took my wife and daughter has rocked the whole community, I hugely appreciate their support, however people often comment when I speak to them that they can't imagine what we are going through and pain we must be enduring, which honestly they can't, but I feel you do.  Thankyou

Take that moment in the car or late at night is okay but remember for your kids' well being, it's okay for them to see it and for you to discuss it with them. I don't particularly like crying generally because it messes with allergies and such - it's a miserable feeling. Your kids need to grieve too  and understand every bit as you do how their works just won't ever be the same. We spent the first year doing what we needed to do - tradition was hard because their dad was a strong part of them so we broke every one and did things as we needed to do we can see for ourselves we'd be okay and we could do things our own way - learn a new sense of normal as twisted as it seems.

On expectations that was mentioned - take joy on the tiny things: you got up today, you managed a shower, though you aren't big on cooking you made something - those are good things, they are tiny victories. When my husband died of a sudden heart attack, I just wanted to sit there and never leave the house. I needed to go back to work and change to full time so I could afford to carry the health insurance for the kids. Going back sucked - there were just days I couldn't stop crying but I powered through it. Many people rallied but in the end, I am a crazy independent person who needs to grieve and do everything my own way. I'm at the point where I have to remind people, thanks but we are fine. I'll be sure to let you know when I need help:


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