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 am heartbroken to read your story.  I am so sorry you lost the love of your life and your daughter.  I don't have children myself and I can't really give you advice on how to manage the situation you face as it relates to them, but it seems that there are others here who are wise parents who can address those concerns.

I've been through this twice.  (Yeah, widowed twice.)  I have learned that there are many things that we thought were important that are not as critical as we thought.  There is no timetable for taking care of your wife's and your daughter's possessions, for example.  Should it feel like a good thing to go through some things - then do it.  If not, then don't do it.  I guarantee, her closet of clothes and her dresser drawer of underthings will still be there in 6 months or a year, or 6 years, for that matter.  Take your time.  Your time table.  Or, perhaps, your children's time table.  Do not let anyone else pressure you into anything.  Family can do this sometimes.  If they ask for something, gently but firmly let them know you will get to things when you do.

Right now, you are mourning both your wife and your daughter.  If your wife was here, you could mourn your daughter together.  Your wife was the person with whom you shared your intimate life on so many levels.  Do not berate yourself for missing that relationship, even if it seems wrong that you seem to grieve your daughter in a different way.

Home maintenance can wait.  It can also be done by all of those people in your community who want to support you.  When someone gives you either direct or indirect indications that they want to help, give them these tasks.  People want to do practical things.  Let them.  Making meals is hard for so many of us.  Pizza and cereal can sustain us for extended periods.  You don't have to be superman.

You are a grieving husband and father.  Keep the poker face on as necessary to get through work, but let your hair down and allow yourself to grieve in the way that YOU need to grieve.

Hang in there.  Read and post to your heart's content.



I can’t sleep tonight, so much going through my head of the events of the past few months, I may have managed a couple of hours sleep, and I need to go to work in a few hours, I couldn’t just lay there any longer so it thought I would get up and put my thoughts into words, perhaps this will help!

The day  of the accident was the worst of my life, I was a work and someone outside of my office made a comment that the local news had a story of an accident not far from town, I knew my wife and daughter were travelling and details of the accident sounded like it could be them (I need to be vague about the details of the accident as there was a following media circus and coverage which makes the event easy to identify if I give too many details – side note reporters and the media can be utter inconsiderate pigs).  I excused myself from work and went home and phoned several authorities trying to get details but no one would tell me anything, I then received a call from one of my wife’s close friends who told me that she had heard from her husband that it had been my wife and daughter involved (but I still had no official confirmation), a short time later the kids school rang me, the kids had heard of the accident and were concerned it was their mum and sister involved, I went to the school to pick them up (based on what I had heard and not heard I was getting a sinking feeling).  I picked up the 2 older kids and was on my way to my youngest daughter’s school to pick her up as well, the route took me past our local police station, so I decided, screw it I am going in here and I am going to find out what the heck is going on! After going to the front desk and telling them who I was and why I was there, I was escorted to an interview room (this pretty much confirmed it for me). We (the 2 kids were with me) waited 20 minutes for someone to come in to see us (the officers involved were out in the town trying to track me down).  5 detectives came into the room, the eldest with tears streaming down his face, he couldn’t talk, came over and stood behind me rubbing my shoulder muttering he was so sorry, whilst the others delivered the news, the only consoling news was that death their deaths were instant (I was later told that the senior detective had 30 years’ experience on the force and notifying us of what had happened was the hardest thing he had done during his career).  The detectives drove me to my daughters school to pick her up (at this stage I was in no state to be driving) and took me home.  When we got home I did the hardest thing I have done in my life, I broke the news to my beautiful 10yo daughter, the cry of anguish that she let out when I told her shattered me, a cry of pure pain and unimaginable loss, it will haunt me forever.

The following hours, days and weeks were filled with so many struggles, painful and sometimes confronting moments, the accident was truly horrific, photos all over the media hard to avoid.  2 days after the accident I had a visit from the major crash investigation squad, their visit was to get my statement of events leading up to the accident, they also wanted a detailed description of my wife and daughter and any scars or features to help with their identification, they also collected some of their personal effects to obtain samples of their DNA, this was very confronting, I was told it could take up to 3 months for the coroner to release their bodies. 

About 2 weeks after the accident I had a call from the coroner’s office (they had been in regular contact giving me updates) I could tell from tone and evasive start to the conversation that the poor lady on the other end of the phone did not want to be making this call.  Firstly the easy part, they had been able to obtain and use dental records for the identification of the bodies!! And then, she proceeded to go into the detail of the state of my wifes body and in particular a horrific injury to her left leg, which had resulted in a large number of small chunks of flesh (sorry for the gory details),  the coroners office needed to know if I required to have these individual pieces positively identified, if so due to their large number, using DNA testing it would take about 3 months to process them all….This conversation still regularly haunts me.

I hear my alarm in the other room…must be time for a shower and getting the kids up, and going to work, it will be a struggle today, 2 hours sleep doesn’t cut it, I am finding 4 hours is the bare minimum I need to function with any type of normality, at least I know I should sleep well tonight!

My apologies for the gory details, this is just the start of my journey, although I’m not sure I will continue to write it….it may depend on how I sleep!

It is so hard to express emotions with words, maybe it is because I’m a man, or maybe because I am very introverted or perhaps both, I don’t know!

Why is life so hard I regularly ask myself these days,  I try to tell myself that no matter how bad my life is someone else has it worse but it doesn’t help with the pain I carry inside.  This is in stark contrast to 6, or even 4 months ago when I would regularly literally think how awesome life is and how lucky we are, wonderful kids and a loving wife who I loved dearly in return, life was close to perfect.

I thought our life was pretty great.  However when I was planning the funerals I came across the letters my wife wrote to me when we first started dating 28 years ago and also her diary, beautiful letters full of emotion and first love, her diary documenting our early meetings, our first kiss and the day I asked her to be my girlfriend and her words detailing the raw love and emotion she felt during this time.  These letters reflected my emotions from that time, reading them reignited the love and passion I had felt some 28 years ago, emotion I only then realised had dulled more than I could have imagined over the years, this hurt immensely.  Firstly feeling the rekindled love and passion magnified the grief and pain I was already feeling, my loss was suddenly so much greater, secondly it made me feel as if I had failed, let my wife down, that if perhaps I had read these 10 years or 5 years earlier that perhaps our relationship in recent years would have had more spark or passion then it did, rather than settling into the everyday, it made me think of what could have been.  I have had to put the letters away, I would love to read them every day, they are like a drug, they elicit a high, reignite a love so strong, but also inflame the pain and grief I feel inside, perhaps in 6 or 12 months I will be strong enough to read them.

Reading through posts on these forums I see that people here get it, they know the pain I feel.  I never know how people expect me to respond when they ask how I am going, or how I should respond!  I am out functioning in the world, going to work, I feel as though everyone has moved on and thinks that everything is OK now.  I have this constant grief, pain and loss inside some days I really struggle with anxiety and stress and battle to function and hold back the tears.  When people ask me how things are going at work I generally just say OK and move one because I don’t think they want to hear how Shit things really are (they are only asking to be polite), and if I try to talk about what I am feeling or going through even in the slightest, my emotions start to well up close to the surface and I struggle to hold back the tears – being a man I don’t like to show tears, especially at work.  I don’t really show my emotions / talk to anyone about what I am going through, my counsellor is the only one I talk to face to face about what I am feeling and that is emotionally draining and I am not sure how much she picks up between my sobs – I really struggle talking about my emotions face to face, there are a few friends (ladies) who I communicate a lot to about my emotions to over messenger as I find it a lot easier than talking face to face and expressing it.

My family doesn’t even know how much of a struggle my life is, physically to them I am getting on and coping, when they ask how things are going I tell them that it is a struggle but I am taking it one day at a time, they can’t understand the pain I feel, I think people realise I must be hurting, but they have no comprehension of how much!

I’m rambling, so many things I could write, so many questions…My biggest stress at the moment is my 14yo daughter, before the accident (the few months before the accident were not particularly the best times for my family, for a number of reasons), she had some mental health issues, I think this week I have finally found a counsellor who she likes and is comfortable talking to which is a big relief for me.  However due to her issues before the accident I regularly (unbeknownst to her) search her room taking stock of sharp objects and anything which may indicate bingeing (which I am happy to say I have not found any evidence of in the past few weeks), but I have found some disturbing things, firstly some family photos with my Wife and deceased daughters (her mother and big sister) faces cut out of them, can this be a normal part of grieving? – I don’t really want to discuss with her as she will then know I am going through her room- if it is not unusual to do this when grieving then her counselling should help .  I have also read her diary which is not very flattering of my FIL (who is not a nice person, so I am not overly concerned about what she has written about him) – he put a memorial notice in our local rag in my wife’s maiden name on her birthday to try and hurt my feelings (which it didn’t, it just confirmed to me what a dick he is), but my daughter took grave offence to it.  But she also had a note saying that if she had taken her life the week before the accident that her sister and mother would still be alive as they wouldn’t have been travelling because they would have been at her funeral, I think this is probably normal ie trying to blame yourself for what has happened, I know my mind has tried to blame me for our loss, so I  don’t really think this is abnormal!  Don’t worry, I believe my daughters suicidal tendencies are in the past, they were largely bought on by comments made by my FIL the week before the accident….The week before the accident was not a happy one, my FIL said some things which forced my wife to make the decision to disconnect him from our lives (which was long ovedue), but a tough call for her to make.

There's so much our minds and hearts have to process with our losses, Algos, and so few in our "real" lives who get that, as you've already found.  Writing it out can be a big help when we either don't have anyone to talk to, or just can't, for whatever reason.

Your FIL sounds like a nightmare. That he could even think that, to say nothing about saying it to anybody at all, least of all your daughter!? What a sadistic, nasty excuse for a human being.

Continuing hopes and prayers for peace for you and your daughter especially.

Finding a good counselor for your daughter is huge. I hope they can get started soon and help her work out what she's feeling and dealing with.

What is it with most inlaws? I am glad he doesn't get to you but it is terrible how it affects your daughter! So sorry that man is menace! Hugs for you today!


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