My First Year as a Widow – Ten Things I Learned

March 26, 2017

 

I stayed up really late last night, maybe subconsciously to avoid waking up to today. One year ago today, I lost my husband. I hate that sentence. I hate the part before the comma and I certainly hate the part after the comma. I hate today. I hate the memories of a year ago today.

As I slept,  I reached for his hand, and it wasn’t there to hold. That startled me awake. It perfectly summarizes the beginning of year two though. The start of the second year has also caused me to pause and reflect back on my first year as a widow. I needed to identify any progress I made in order to figure out how I am going to deal with my sophomore year in grief. So here it is boiled down to ten things I learned in my first year as a widow.

  1. Survival is possible.

The first days and weeks after losing my husband I wasn’t sure how I’d survive, or if I even wanted to. Losing my spouse crumbled my foundation and the pain was unbearable at times. I look back now and see that although it wasn’t pretty, it serves as proof that I can do hard things. I came, I saw, and I….got through it? This is mostly because I HAD to, not because of some phenomenal strength of character. But nevertheless, I survived.

  1. My Inner Circle has changed.

I really struggled with disappointment and hurt over the loss of what I thought I somehow deserved from friends. When they fell short, I felt abandoned. I’m looking back today with a little more “extra grace.” Instead of clinging to hurt, I’m recognizing with gratitude the new people that have emerged in my life. The people who are genuinely concerned about me…the people who are sincerely praying for me and selflessly wrapping me in their love, support and friendship have risen to the top like rich cream. So instead of dwelling in the hurt of relationships lost, I’m focusing on the new, beautiful people God has put on my path. I’m getting better at letting go of hurt, disappointment and negativity. I’m trying to be less selfish about the shake-up of my inner circle.

  1. The pain doesn’t lessen.

Although it’s true that maybe I cry softer and maybe even less frequently, the pain hasn’t really lessened. In many ways, it’s intensified. It’s not gone, just changed. There’s been a little bit of getting used to pain in this first year, although my heart is far from calloused. My wound still bleeds, but there aren’t as many new cuts.

  1. I will not ever be the same person again.

At the one-year mark, I’ve realized the old me is gone. She died with my husband. In her place there is emerging a new, changed person that begs to be discovered. She’s slightly familiar but not quite the fully recognizable me from the past. Year two is going to be about finding her and giving her what she needs.

  1. I miss him more now.

In many ways, I miss my husband more today than I did early on. Looking in the face of year two, I see more reality than year one revealed. I see a long road ahead without him. This new truth is a very lonely one. I guess year one knew I couldn’t handle all of the revelations at once so it saved plenty for year two.

  1. Memories fade.

I knew this would happen, but it’s still so difficult. I write about my husband, talk to my kids about their Dad, and yet lately it’s harder to remember certain things about him. When one of the kids asks to hear a story, my mind finds fewer stories to share. I’m sure memories will resurface at different times in life, but I want to have access to every single one at any given time. When I can’t recall something like the smell on his shirt, the sound of his voice or his laugh, it hurts. I don’t want lose those memories, and yet, they fade.

  1. Other people’s grief, loss and pain affect me greater than before.

Losing my husband has given me new lenses. I am now keener to the pain of other grievers. When I hear of someone who has lost their child, their spouse, their parent, etc. my heart isn’t just heavy, it’s shattered for them. My pre-widow self wasn’t able to sympathize in the same ways. The brand-new grievers with raw, fresh pain stay on my heart and in my prayers for months and months. Before, I would’ve paused, maybe attended a funeral and sent a card and then life would’ve swept me forward. Now, I think of them daily.

  1. Depression is a real thing and faith is still a choice.

Other widows have warned me about year two. They’ve told me it’s worse than year one. I don’t know yet if that will be true for me, but I can tell you that my depression really set in the closer I got to year two. It’s real and it’s a suppressive joy-stealing demon. I don’t like that I need help with this, but I do. I refuse to be stifled by its grip on me, so I’ll fight it every way I know how. Depression isn’t about not having enough faith. It isn’t about choosing joy over sadness. It isn’t about digging deeper. It isn’t mind over matter. It’s a real thing, no matter how much faith you have. There’s no shame in getting help for it. And speaking of faith, it has been tested this year. I haven’t lost it, but there have been many times where I’ve disengaged from God because sometimes I can’t feel Him with me anymore. Sometimes I can’t feel His comfort and I’m left with a decision to trust His promises and follow Him anyway. I’ve chosen to do that, but I want to admit it hasn’t been easy. At times I’ve been very lonely, angry and desperate for His answers. I’ve longed for a glimpse of His plan for me now, and I don’t have it yet. I continue to seek Him, but I wanted to confess this year has been a faith-tester, for sure.

  1. There are still moments that come out of nowhere and take my breath away.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds, and it doesn’t make the heart and mind any smarter. There’s evidence of this almost every day. Maybe it’s something the kids say or do that make me happy or proud, or maybe it’s something I’m afraid of and need help working through, and for a millisecond I think about calling or texting my husband to share the moment with him or to seek his help. These swift moments are the mind trickery that continues to steal my breath away. It’s cruel how at my core I still can’t always remember that he’s gone. I’m living proof that grief amnesia is a real thing.

  1. There’s no more time for BS.

When loss cracks you wide open and leaves you raw and exposed, you quickly learn what’s worth hard work and emotional energy and what’s not. Year one has revealed there’s no room for BS and drama in my life anymore. It has taught me the importance of focusing on things that really, truly matter. I really know now how fleeting our time on earth is and I am determined to make it count. I still don’t know what the future holds for me, but I am determined to make my life matter. I want to love more, laugh more, help more, stand up for the weak more, hold the hands of the hurting more and appreciate the small moments more. It’s still a long road ahead, one I can’t look down for very long periods of time. Heading into year two, it’s still a very one-day at a time scenario. It will be at my own pace. Sometimes that pace will be slow and painful and sometimes I’ll surge ahead with speed. But I’ll keep moving forward, one step at a time.

Thanks for being with me for the second half of my first year. Will you stay with me for year two? I hope you will. We’re stronger together.

Extra Grace,

Jodi

photo credit: B Rosen y2.d45 | the next chapter via photopin (license)

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167 Comments

  • Reply Jan March 26, 2017 at 11:01 am

    We’re with you for 2nd, 3rd, 4th and however long. Thank you for sharing your heart this past year. ❤️

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 27, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      We’re stuck with each other!!

    • Reply Judy April 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      On March 22 of this year it was 22 years since I lost my husband and everything you wrote still applies. I miss him more and more especially since I am now retired and disabled. When I worked (I worked in a doctor’s office) I felt I had a purpose and was needed. Had I not been disabled volunteer work with others would have helped with retirement but that didn’t happen. Hang in there, You will find a way down your road even if sometimes you don’t think it is worth the trip.

      • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:36 am

        Judy, I admire your bravery as you’ve taken what life has thrown at you with courage. Thank you for stopping by my website. I hope you’ll return.

    • Reply Marlene April 22, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Thank you for those words. I know their are many widows out there, I myself know 10 right off including myself of two months. One friend it has been 1 month. The others are 3 to 10 years. And they tell me their lives have been changed, they are different now. I will continue on holding Jesus hand and helping who ever I can. I know God didn’t leave me behind to crawl into a hole. But to be His light.

  • Reply Peggy Warden March 26, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Jodi my arms are forever wrapped around you in love. I wish they could be wrapped around you for protection, but unfortunately every step of your life since birth, there is less I can protect you from. I am so grateful that the Lord will always be beside us or carrying us down the dark roads and alleys of life. Love, Mom

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 27, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you – love you

    • Reply Debbie August 25, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      What a blessing to have the love and support of your mother.

  • Reply Jeanie Martin March 26, 2017 at 11:06 am

    You’ve certainly showed an ability to share your raw emotions and give voice to some who may not have that gift…they just experience it.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 27, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      I’m so thankful you continue to read, Jeanie. Your kind words encourage me. Thank you.

      • Reply Terri Harris April 12, 2017 at 10:52 pm

        I am so thankful I found this page. I am widowed for 5 months. I have never felt any pain like it. I feel so empty and alone. Some days I can’t get out of bed and don’t want to eat. I don’t even know how I really feel I have so many different thoughts. My husband and I was married 52 years. His passing was so unexpected. Thank you for allowing me to pos

        • Reply lydia gauthier November 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm

          Terri, I lost my husband almost 7 mos. ago. We were married 55 years and I know how you feel. I am beginning to think I did better at first than now, I guess there was more to do and think about at first. ( funeral , gravesite, bills etc) There is that terrible feeling of loneliness, no one to tell you good things and no gift from him on holidays. He use to leave a card on the kitchen counter. I have also had mixed feelings… I think its normal..you go back over your life and there is good and bad but mostly love thru it all..I lean heavily on God and he gives me strength and company at the time I need it most. I have grown children but they can’t replace the love of my life…someone under the same roof who shared your life. I said the same thing at first, ” I don’t even know how I feel”. I will pray for you and you are not alone. Lydia

  • Reply Becky Sue March 26, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I appreciate and grieve along side you with this post. Loss is loss, and it is the hardest of those left to find a way to live with a “missing piece” of ourselves, our family. You are so honest and that is why I am drawn to your posts — so many of these ten things are raw and true. Inner circle changes, no room for anything except what matters, and year two…oh, the year two. Thank you for your open, transparent, selfless sharing…this is a ministry! Praying for you going forward.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 27, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you! I’m so grateful to have you here. We draw strength from each other. I really appreciate your encouraging and kind words more than you know.

  • Reply Pam Bradshaw March 26, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    You are amazing!

  • Reply Susan Beckwith March 26, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I am Emily Hasson’s mom and i met you at the 4th of July parade. What a beautiful and honest description of your journey. Two of my dear friends are on the road with you and I am hearing similar things from them. It is hard. The Bible promises that God sinner to the broken hearted and i will pray you can believe that, even when you don’t feel it. God bless you and grant you His peace.

    • Reply Susan Beckwith March 26, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      God is near to….

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 27, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      I do remember you! Thank you so much for reading and commenting such encouraging and loving words.

  • Reply Laura March 26, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    You are an amazing person Jodi. Stay strong.

  • Reply Diane March 27, 2017 at 3:41 am

    Your sharing from your heart will help others in similar circumstances. May our Lord comfort you as only He can as you walk out the everydayness, ups and downs of life. May you feel His presence when you feel all along. You are never alone!

  • Reply widowsvoice March 27, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Thank you for sharing. You summed up my feelings perfectly. It has been 16 months for me and I get it. Prayers and hugs.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      I’m so glad you’re here – you aren’t alone. Thanks for your kind words.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this too. I hope you find encouragement here – and hopefully a laugh or two sometimes. Thinking of you now, too. Thanks for being here!

    • Reply Marianne April 5, 2017 at 12:50 am

      me too. 18 months next week.

      • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:43 pm

        I’m so sorry, Marianne! I’m glad you’re here. We’ll all walk forward together. Thinking about you.

  • Reply Lisa Bechtel March 27, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Thank you for this. You write so well and help us understand so clearly. Praying for you in this next year and beyond.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Lisa!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 30, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Thank you, Lisa!

      • Reply 2heartsbeat April 5, 2017 at 12:44 am

        Thank you for posting what you have gone through your first year of your loss being a widow. I’m starting my 4th month. My heart goes out to you. Thank you

        • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:44 pm

          Thank you for your comment. I’m so sorry you’ve had to walk through loss too. I honestly don’t remember much about month 4. I think I was just coming out of all the paperwork and trying to figure out what was next. My heart goes out to you, too. Stay with me here – we’ll figure this out!

  • Reply Rebecca March 27, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I am in month 4 and so much of what you’ve said is already happening. I am softer and more thoughtful of others grief already. I know that the road will be tough but simply knowing others are forging through this grief is helpful.

  • Reply kerrymckim March 28, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I am 7 months into widowhood (though my husband was in the ICU for 5 months before he passed so it’s been a year since my life was “normal”) and I can relate to all of this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 30, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      I’m so sorry for your pain/loss! I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you find comfort, friendship, and hopefully a few laughs here. Thinking about you!!!

  • Reply RandomlyMe March 28, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I’m not a window (i have not been lucky enough in love to find a spouse) but I lost my beloved dad four and a half years ago. I was in my thirties and it was life changing.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 30, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Loss is loss – and it comes in so many forms. I’m so sorry you lost your sweet Dad. I so wish no one understood, but so many do. I’m glad you’re here and hoe you find comfort here. Together, we can lift each other up. There’s so many of us.

  • Reply cherylwatters March 29, 2017 at 8:30 am

    I have never met you but your words rang true in my heart and mind and I am able to understand a lot of what you are feeling and have felt. I lost my husband at 42 after knowing for 23 days that he had Pancreatic Cancer. Leaving me with three boys to finish raising and a life ahead of me was not easy. I can say God has been faithful and helped me through the past 16 years (it will be 16 in May) and I am still clicking along through life – finding purpose in every day. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required March 30, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Cheryl – thank you for taking the time to leave me this sweet note! I’m so sorry for YOUR loss and also encouraged by your faith and persistence. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Erica Weeklund March 30, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    I have been wanting to get back to reading this post all week and I’m glad I took the time tonight. Been thinking of you all so often. I know that doesn’t really help with anything, but it’s true.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Thank you for reading, Erica! I appreciate it so much. And I appreciate you so much.

  • Reply Susan Kauffman March 31, 2017 at 1:41 am

    My sister sent me the link to this post. She and I had talked for over an hour today, and I know she knew I needed to see this today. On April 8th last year, I lost my husband of 43 years. I can relate to everything you wrote…in fact, it is almost as if I had written it. All the feelings and emotions you talked about are mine. My husband had basically been disabled for the past 5 years, and I was his caregiver. After he died unexpectedly, I felt such a loss. I was better for a time, but at times now as the one year anniversary of his death is a week away, all those feelings of loss are coming back full force. Some days it is hard to function, and the despair I feel is real. He was the love of my life, and when he died, I felt, and still feel, we were robbed of growing old together. Like you, I prayed for people when they suffered a loss, but never realized that the loss of a spouse is so much more intense than losing a parent, family member or friend. I think the loss of a child would be the only grief that could surpass it. I will keep you in my prayers, and say a prayer for me…I need prayers so much right now. God bless you and your family.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Susan – I can relate to your comment as well! Thanks so much for stopping here and for taking the time to leave me this comment. I hope you’ll stay with us.

  • Reply Catherine March 31, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you so much for this, I”ve been a widow for 9 months, it’s been so helpful to me for others to share their experience, it shows me I’m not alone in my journey.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Catherine – thank you for letting me know. I’m so sorry you’re walking this path as well. But you’re right – you are not alone on this journey. I’m so glad you’re here and we can all walk it together.

  • Reply Christine Dietrich March 31, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Love your story, it seems most of our stories are so similar! Being a widow is so hard to accept and it has been 4 years ! Believe me it feels like it gets worse thru the years! I just sold our business we both ran for 35 years, maybe that will help on my end to move forward, just so hard without him!!! I feel your pain and hope things get better for you as well!!😢💖

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Christine – Your bravery shines through here! I’m so glad you’re here.

  • Reply Christie Reed March 31, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I feel you’re pain as I am approaching the 1 yr mark in July. The second yr is going to harder, I feel myself falling deeper and deeper in this black hole and the one person I need to pull me out isn’t here. It hurts knowing all these new memories are being made with out him when they should be made with him. If it wasn’t for my kid’s I don’t know where I’d be.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Oh, Christie! I am so sorry that 1 yr mark is looming. It is fresh in my memory (just a week ago). I can tell you I was so glad when the day passed. I felt lighter just getting past it. I hope you’ll have the same experience. Thanks for being here!

  • Reply Sharon March 31, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Someone sent this to me because April 3rd is one year since I lost my Jim. I have been trying to sort out what I have been thinking, and you clarified it for me. Although we didn’t get the chance to get married like we planned, he was my heart and soul completely. Thank you. 🦋

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Sharon, I’m so sorry for your loss and for the feelings that come along with approaching an anniversary, especially the first one. Thank you for being here. We’ll get through this – every one of us. Stronger together.

  • Reply Michele March 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    I feel less alone after reading your words and the comments of others. I made it through the month of March without my love. I identify with your experiences of staying up late to avoid the morning to new friends to fading memories and so on. I feel that I should be doing better, so to read that you are still taking many days one day at a time was a comfort to me. Thank you for sharing your story. You have made a difference.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:51 am

      I can’t tell you how emotional your comment made me! It has been my prayer to either encourage, comfort or at least help people feel less alone. Thank you so much for your kind comment. And thank you for being here!!! I hope you’ll come back again – stay with us here.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:57 am

      Michele, thank you so much for sharing these words. I’m with you though – down with March!

  • Reply kathy March 31, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    It is almost year 6 for me….(next month). I still wear my wedding rings…I have gone out with guys as friends a couple of times(one kiss in 6 yrs) …but I felt like I was cheating on him n cried all the way home…I can tell you it hasn’t gotten much easier for me…right about the time I think I’m about to get past some of the grief …it hits me in the face like a ton of bricks…I do smile sometimes now…even laugh…but as soon as the moments gone its over…back to sad….I put on “a face” in a crowd and have learned I could be in Hollywood making movies, I’ve gotten so good at acting…I don’t want to wallow in it…I truly don’t…but I can’t make myself even move most days.. Depression six…at the middle of year 5 I thought OK I’m doing good! I am going to start over, make a New life…But it didn’t last long at all…I miss him… He will always be my husband…a “friend” told me it was time to change my status on Facebook to single not “married to Pete” but I can’t…others told me its time to take off my rings or at least change them to the other hand and I Did just that! Changed them to the other hand …for a day…but I put them back…I can’t “move on” …if anyone can tell me how…I’d welcome it…maybe…I’d try at least…how is it done?

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Glad I’m not the only one who can’t take the rings off. Not yet anyway. Everyone’s feelings are so different, and yet, we share so much in common. I hope you’ll stay around with us here!

  • Reply Re March 31, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Gosh, thank you for this. Reading this was a breath of fresh air. You summed up so perfectly so many of the things I feel. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:48 am

      Well you know how to make me blush! Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for reading and i hope you’ll stick around!

  • Reply Jacqueline March 31, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    I have been a widow now for 13 years. My husband died at the young age of 55. I feel very differently than you do as far as feeling more sympathy to others who lose a loved one. I actually feel less than I did before I lost my husband. I can’t really explain why. You are only on year two, I am going on year 14, and it still hurts. The pain really does not get any less. I still cry, and I still can’t believe he’s gone. I’m surviving because I have no other choice. We were high school sweethearts and I feel so lost and alone without him. I do agree however, that I am not the same person I was before he died and I never will be. I still have a hole in my heart, and always will have. I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t get any better. It actually gets worse. I got a job, I’ve met new people, but I’m still in a funk. And that’s my story.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:48 am

      We all have so many unique stories and feelings in our grief. Thank you for sharing yours with me. I’m really happy you’re here. I hope you’ll stay – I think we’re stronger together – knowing we may be different, yet not alone. Hugs to you, Jacqueline!!

  • Reply Gwen Besser March 31, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you for this. I’m nearing the end of my second year. Everything you said is spot on. I am so thankful for God picking me up and carrying me so often. Just today I read through a journal I started in the beginning of this journey. I was amazed to see the healing progress. I, like you, am forever changed, for the better, by his death. I also know I am incredibly grateful and blessed for having loved and been loved by him. I am trusting God for a great future in whatever His plan includes for me and one day I will be united with my hubby in heaven!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Gwen – Thanks for sharing your heart with me! I’m so glad you’re here. Won’t that reunion be amazing?! I think of it every day.

  • Reply Nancy March 31, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Thank you for this well said summary of how we feel during this never ending grief. I agree with all you said 100%–I could have written it myself. My husband died unexpectantly 2 years and 2 months ago. It was 5 months shy of our 50th wedding anniversary. I don’t think the 3rd year is any easier. I am still just as lonely, still miss my husband just as much, and still searching for a new purpose in my life. I am blessed to have the assurance of Heaven where I will be reunited with my husband someday!
    Thanks again!

  • Reply Kara meech April 1, 2017 at 12:38 am

    Thank you for yr words I lost my husband 6 months ago and what you having written here makes more sense then anything else I have been told… So simply thank you

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:44 am

      Kara, I’m so sorry for your loss. Every one of us has unique stories, and yet so much is the same for all of us too. I’m so glad you are here – I hope you’ll stay.

  • Reply Martha April 1, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Thanks for sharing my son lost his life on 2/19/16 and my dear daughter in law is starting her second year without him they loved each so deeply and to see her go through this breaks my heart he was a man of god and she is a true woman of god and I know our god walks beside her everyday it’s sad I too have my grief but I pray Vickie will be ok may god bless you and yours walk with god

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Martha, I’m heartbroken for your loss, as well as your DIL’s loss. I’m glad you’re here. I hope you find some comfort or encouragement today and all the days.

  • Reply Jane Powell April 1, 2017 at 2:38 am

    My husband died suddenly just over 5 weeks ago. I’m still very raw, but thank you for your words. They help just a little bit when nothing much seems to help right now. Good luck with your second year as I batt through my first. xx

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Oh, Jane! I’m so sorry! Your words take me back to those first weeks and months – I remember it well. It’s my prayer you find some comfort here and that you know that there are people out here in the world that not only understand, but care. Thanks for being here. You’ll be on my heart for a LONG time.

  • Reply Cathy April 1, 2017 at 7:32 am

    I”m 10 days away from starting my “2nd year” and you are so on point with ever single word. You summed up almost everything I’ve felt, thought, prayed and cried about this past year. I know year 2 will be better because I’m no longer in zombie mode but it is going to be hard today, tomorrow and forever. It wasn’t just my husband that died, he was my best friend for almost 50 years.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 1, 2017 at 7:40 am

      Cathy, I’m so glad you’re here! We’ll tackle this 2nd year and steal some joy along the way, too! Thanks for being here with me.

  • Reply Barbara April 1, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Very well said. The only difference is my husband suddenly 9 years ago and I didn’t get to say goodbye, I won’t say it gets better you just kind of keep moving. Since then I have also lost both my parents and my 39 year old son! Some days wonder why I go on and then realize it’s for my grandkids and my daughters, God has a plan I just have to be patient til I know what’s! Thank you for sharing! Lean on friends who care about you and are there for you, find someone who will listen to you.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Barbara, I can so relate to “God has a plan I just have to be patient” – I hope you’re better at the patience part than I am. it’s not my favorite and I’m not very good at it. ha! But you’re right – He definitely has a plan. I hope you’ll stay with me – we can discover His plans together. Thanks!

  • Reply Tammy White April 1, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Your words are exactly how I feel. I begin year two next week, April 8 😢

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Tammy – I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll be thinking about you as that date looms. Stay with us – we’ll trek through year 2 together. =-)

  • Reply Rhonda April 1, 2017 at 10:23 am

    I am starting year 14 and you described exactly how I felt in year 2. If you can get through year 1, you can do year 2! In some ways it is harder. I did not feel strong again until year 3, but at times during years 3-13, I still have to pick myself up and not feel sorry for me……. keep on doing one step, one breath at a time. You described beautifully the feelings and emotions of it all. Brought tears to my eyes and pricked my heart for you. You will find the new you!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Rhonda – thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I hope you’ll stick around so you can find out who the new me will be!

  • Reply Rachelkcp April 1, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Wow! This is so good for anyone struggling with grief, what ever the cause.
    #2, 4, 8 & 10 are so spot on for myself & the various types of grief I have been dealing with, especially the last 12 years.
    #7 is so TRUE too. I guess this process started @ an early age for me because the depth of grief I dealt with as a child.

    I am so grateful that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Perfect Man, the One Who loves me & deserves ALL praise is INTIMATELY familiar with SORROW, GRIEF, PAIN, REJECTION & False ACCUSATIONS. I am forever indebted to Him for the healing He does bestow upon me during this journey!

    “He was despised and forsaken of men,
    A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
    And like one from whom men hide their face
    He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

    Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
    And our sorrows He carried;
    Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
    Smitten of God, and afflicted.

    But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
    The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
    And by His scourging we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3~5

    May you find Him ever near as you go through grief, which never truly ends this side of Heaven for the losses one suffers.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Rachel – you have a gift for encouraging others. Thank you for being here – I hope you’ll stay!

  • Reply Rachelkcp April 1, 2017 at 11:52 am

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdO2cRXVHII

  • Reply runawaywidow April 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m in month 19 and I heard a lot of warnings about year 2 being harder but I don’t believe it has to be. I like your last part about making this time matter. I feel sometimes I get distracted by little stuff. Keeping those goals like helping others and focusing on things that really matter, no more BS will keep you moving forward positively.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Thanks for commenting! I hope you’ll stay with me – i’ll do my best to buck the trend and make year 2 better than the one before. =-)

  • Reply Sherri Johnson April 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Having lost my husband suddenly & very unexpectedly almost 13 years ago, I read through your 10 points with great interest. I felt I met you at each of those points & related to your journey profoundly. I remember so clearly one of my supervisors at work about 6 months after Barry died. She said I had changed & asked when I thought I would be “myself” again. I looked at her & said that I would never be that same person again. I was 48 yrs old at the time & had been married for 28 yrs. I told her that half of me had died that day along with my husband & that I would never be the same person again. So I can relate to your comments, especially in #4.
    The new me that has grown from the fractured me is still a work in progress. What throws me into a panic most these days is when I lose someone that Barry & I both knew – this means that I am losing one more connection to what was & I get really panicky about that. I shy away from thoughts about Barry having missed his son’s wedding & the birth of his son’s child. I know that will carry me to places of sorrow that I may not be able to pull out from so I dwell on the positives. Barry is at peace with our Lord Jesus & that some day I will rejoin him there.
    You are wise to realize that time does not heal. The death of your husband is your scar to bear (as Barry’s is mine) & certain things will pick at that scar & even, at times, make it bleed but the injury is done. As a patient with a wound that never fully heals, we learn to adapt so that it bleeds less & causes us less pain. May you continue to “adapt” to your scar as I have to mine. You are not alone.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Reading your story (thank you), reminds me of why I titled this website Extra Grace Required. Boy do people need it from us! And boy do I personally need it from others. I think especially during grief, EGR!! I’m so sorry for your loss of Barry. I’m sorry you understand. Will you stick around? I hope you will. I can’t help but feel like we are stronger when we hold each other up with understanding and encouragement.

  • Reply Jody D. April 1, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Thank you. Its only been a little over 7 months since I lost my husband of 39 years (knew each other for 46), but everything here is so spot on. Number 4 is esp. true for me…. I miss who I use to be when I was part of a pair, but I know that, even as the years will go by that person that I was will never be back. The foundation is there, but when you have to rebuild yourself again into some one different from that foundation. Again thank you for putting into such eloquent words what I’ve been thinking and feeling too.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:54 am

      Jody, Thank you for sharing a piece of your story with us. I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’ll stick around as we move forward. Peace and love to you!!

  • Reply Mary Logan April 1, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    I stumbled upon your post and I am ever so grateful I did. You have described all I have been going through. I am coming up to the two year mark in June. Year Two has been very brutal. I had to deal with other family-related issues which cut deep into an already bleeding soul. Thank you from the bottom of this aching heart for your article. We are not alone and we can comfort one another as you did here. Bless you for sharing this. May we find healing at some stage in the future.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:53 am

      Mary, I hope you’ll stay with us – we can walk through year 2 together. My broken heart is so sorry for your broken heart. I hope you’ll come back again.

  • Reply Jeannie April 2, 2017 at 6:49 am

    I am going through this at the moment. Just coming to the end of the first year. You are spot on with this article but I am certainly not looking toward to Year2. At the same time I also lost my closest friend of nearly 60years. In fact about a month before I lost my husband. She would have been the one who would have helped me through this difficult time. Sometimes I just didn’t know who I was grieving for. As time has moved on this grief does seem to get worse. When my husband was still here everyone wanted to help— but since he has gone the help has also gone. The biggest problems are all the man things that was my husbands jobs like putting out heavy rubbish, moving heavy pots in the garden etc.
    Once again thank you for this article .

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:52 am

      jeannie, I’m so sorry you’re going through this! And the loss of a best friend at the same time – so terrible. One thing I’ve learned since writing here is how many women are just like us. There is an army of us – and together, we’re stronger. Thanks so much for being here – I hope you’ll stay.

  • Reply Corina April 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Jodi, I have never met you and don’t know your full story. This is the first of your posts I have read because a friend shared it on Facebook. Nineteen years ago this week I could have written this same exact post as I began year 2, except my child was only a few months old. Thank you for sharing. I have a young cousin (22) that is just beginning her journey. As I have walked with her it still brings back so many memories. May God continue to bless you and care for you!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 2, 2017 at 8:51 am

      Corina, thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing a tiny bit of your story with us. I am constantly in awe, continually strengthened by the strong woman that have paved the way before me. I hope you’ll come back again.

  • Reply Madonna Halicki April 2, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    A friend and fellow widow (!) shared your post on fb…and you are most eloquent in your description of year #1. I, too, lost my husband to cancer almost 4 years ago… Although healing is slow, God is faithful. Everyone’s journey is different but there are elements we all share. I think year one was hard but also feel like I was a little anesthetized. I only know that now, looking back. Year 2 was a more of an awakening, realizing he really wasn’t coming back. I find myself unable to remember his voice and feel his presence but every once in a while the veil is lifted! I “feel” his presence and “hear” his voice. It comforts me and reassurance is mine, we will be united some day. In the meantime, reliance on our Father is difficult but necessary. I am grateful for my faith. Thank you for sharing, there is strength in sharing and lifting each other up. Many blessings.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      It overwhelms my heart to see everyone here lifting each other up. What a blessing you all are to me! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing part of your story with me. I’m so sorry you’ve had to feel loss like that. But I’m sure glad you’re here.

  • Reply Diane April 4, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am starting year 3 of losing my husband. My life was drastically changed when he died. Within the first year of my husband’s death, it was closely followed by my mother’s cancer diagnosis, my brother’s death, my own major surgery and subsequent diagnosis of celiac disease. I was told that I was so full of grief that it caused my health to go downhill quickly! I have lived everything you have written. It is so true! I miss my husband so much and have a hard time coping some days. I am especially thankful that you mentioned how your faith has been tested and sometimes not being able to feel God’s comfort, and being lonely and angry and desperate for His answers…thank you so much for sharing that because I have felt guilty about feeling that way. I am thankful that I learned to believe and trust in God when I was young, because God is so instilled in me that I just believe, no matter what…and I think these last 2 years have been a “no matter what” kind of life! May God bless you and give you strength and peace in your life!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Diane – I’m so sorry for everything you’ve gone through! There’s no perfect Christian – and God understands all our feelings. Thank you for sharing a part of your heart with me. You’ll be on my mind and I sure hope you’ll come back again.

  • Reply Nancy Waynick April 4, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I lost my Roger 6 years ago in March and I do understand all the words you wrote. Bless you and your children and you continue on this journey that none of us want to travel. May be all persist, be stronger and help others along the way! Love and hugs, Nancy

    • Reply Nancy Waynick April 4, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Boy did I ever leave you some grammatical errors, yikes! May I correct… as you continue on this journey
      May we all persist.
      Nancy

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Thank you, Nancy. I don’t mind grammatical errors at all – I’m fluent in reading them. =-) I’m so sorry for your loss and feel so blessed by your kind words of love and encouragement.

  • Reply Marlene K Moore April 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and comfort. It has been two and one half years since I lost my husband. Within a year I lost not only the love of my life of fourty nine years but my closest friend and my sister. It’s been a long and rough journey but I’m not alone. God has carried me thru! I’m so thankful to have found you and what you have spoken of is point on. Your words are as a soothing salve. Thank you and God bless you richly.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      I’m not sure about wisdom, but I’m so happy to hear you found a little comfort here. I’m so sorry for your loss. God bless you, too Marlene! Come back again, ok? I love having you here.

  • Reply Diane Harding-Newbury April 4, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Wow, married 38 years, widow for 8. He died of bone cancer, open heart, muscular dystrophy, diabetic, bladder cancer twice. Still a shock. He was 58 I have many holes in my past I do not remember. Our first son died at eight months. Our second son was to die at one year from seizures but is now 44. It has been terrible trying to do everything without my husband.we were a team. So I have lost a son, a husband, also my parents. Your words were a comfort. Thank you.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      I am so sorry for your losses, Diane. But i’m so glad you found a little comfort here. Blessings!

  • Reply Edna Summers April 4, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I totally understand you. Itoo am entering y second year. WHen he passed we lacked 6 months being married 70 years. We were such an integral part of each other I did not only loose a husband ,I lost half of my life. So many times I listen for him to call me to come see something. For the last year he lived I went to sleep on his left shoulder. He loved to tell young people that. I still sleep on his pillow. I often ask him why he left me when there was so much I needed to learn from him. I mIss him calling me over to his chair,holding my hand and saying,”thank you for making my home so beautiful.”
    Miss him? pain? how do you describe a hole in your heart as big as it is? I am learning to cope. Some days are better and then the lonely night slips in. At some point I will be better and stronger. I am trying to get back into life. I have tried too hard to be normal too quick I will never be normal again. I will soon be 90 years old ,70 years of my life was spent with him. WIth God’s help a little healing will take place each day. If you happen to be a happily married woman I encourage you to spend time with him, making memories that will help see you through should you one day find yourself alone. Thank you for posting this about your journey.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      I was so touched by your love story! It reminds me that our loss is really about love. And it sure sounds like you had lots of love in your marriage. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I hope you’ll come back and visit the website again. You inspire me.

  • Reply Angie Chesnut April 4, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I hope you don’t mind that I share this. It is my thoughts and feelings exactly. I absolutely HATE how this feels… lonely is an understatement. 🙁

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      I’m glad you’ve shared! If something resonates with you and you can use it to help someone else – share away! I’m really glad you’re here. I can’t take away that lonely feeling, but here (just read comments) you’ll see proof that there is a large community of people who understand and offer kind words of encouragement and support. Stay with us, Angie. I’m so glad you’re here!

  • Reply Beverly Maddox April 4, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    A sweet friend sent me a link to you. And, although, I’m in tears now, it was just what I needed to hear. Today is my birthday, I am 66 years old. Tomorrow I will be a widow for 19 months. I’ve had to learn to do many things, sometimes that makes me happy because I’ve done something new and for myself. Sometimes it just makes me mad and I have that pity party thinking I shouldn’t have to do this, — it was “his” job to do this. I am a strong person, I am a reasonably intelligent person, but some days, I don’t feel nearly smart enough or strong enough to deal with everything that comes with being a widow. My sister and I became widows within 11 months of each other and we also had to deal with our Momma’s death during that 11 month period. Without the abundant grace flowing from God’s heart, I wouldn’t have survived. And, to tell the truth, some days I wonder if I am surviving. I am, but I want to do more than just survive. I want to live a normal life again. One that isn’t defined as being a widow. There is just one problem with that — the normal life I want to live includes living with the one who is no longer living. I don’t want to forget and I want to forget. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it. I totally understand about the wedding rings, I just can’t take them off, don’t know if I ever will. Reading the other comments, I find encouragement and hope. I also realize that none of us wanted to join this club! So thank you for giving to all of us a place to belong, and reminding us that even when we think we have been forgotten, God is still with us.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Happy Birthday!!! I love reading your story, even though I wish you didn’t have to go through it. You’re welcome here – we all belong and we’ll keep figuring it out one day at a time. Thanks so much for your comment.

  • Reply Frances Clewein April 5, 2017 at 5:15 am

    I relate to every single one of these on your list—-and they are all still true—and I’m coming up on the 15th anniversary of my MATE’s passing—it NEVER goes completely away!!! I can’t make it without GOD!!!!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Amen to that! Thanks for being here – each and every one of you are on my heart now.

  • Reply Rosemary Biggs April 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I lost my husband almost 15 years ago, April 09. I experienced all that you wrote about. I always told people that it felt like I lost half of myself and it took a long time to feel whole again . But gradually you will become “whole”again, just not the same as you were before. Depression is prevalent, of course, I think my depression was worse around the 3rd year. I got help with both therapy and a mild anti-depressant. Didn’t need them more than a few months, but I do recommend it. I guess what I want you to know is that you will get through this. Work, friends, and family will help you through each day. One thing I did was I made quilts for my children out of his shirts. They both loved them. I am still single, have really never wanted to remarry. Being alone has made me a stronger person. Having 2 grandchildren born since his death has helped make my life fuller and sweeter. I always tell them about their Pappaw Tom so that they will know him at least a little bit.
    Your days and years to come will get better, but allow yourself the time to grieve. It will make you whole again.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you for your encouragement! It overflows my heart to see all of the people, like you, who understand. Thank you for being here!

  • Reply Vasca April 5, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    A good friend posted this on Facebook; she’s a widow. I am not a widow at this point but I want to keep this anyway. My husband has an incurable, fatal and rare disease. Thankfully it has not progressed as first prognosis implied. On top of that he now has Parkinson’s. He tells me he will die before me; who is to know but I am his caregiver and I am doing my best to keep him healthy as possible. But…I stew, fret, cry in my pillow and try to keep optimistic. I want to keep up with your blog and wish you well. Losing our mates must be heartbreaking…indeed.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear this! It takes me back. Please search for my article on Caregiving. It’s called Confessions of a Caregiver. I am thinking about you and lifting you up during this very terrible time. I hope you’ll stay with us. There are a lot of people here who really do understand.

  • Reply Liz Cook April 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    A friend sent this to me yesterday and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I had just finished crying out to God that I felt like I didn’t have the heart to go on. It has been 1 year and 5 months since my husband passed unexpectedly in his sleep. We had 40 wonderful years and did everything together as best friends. I thought I was doing better and then, the beginning of year 2 hit. I have read your list several times and each time I realize you have expressed the feelings and things I am experiencing beautifully. God has been so faithful to me and you have been part of His answer to my prayer. Thank you, my prayers for you and everyone who has shared.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Empty out the sorrow so there’s room for the joy. That’s what I tell my kids. I should probably listen to my own advice on that. Thanks for being here, Liz. i’m glad you’ve found some encouragement or comfort here. The people who have commented – simply amazing. I’m so grateful for all of you.

  • Reply Jan April 5, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Year 2 started for me on February 15, 2017. The time leading up to the anniversary was incredibly hard … the anniversary itself, not so bad. But since then there’s been an intensity of pain that sometimes makes my initial grief seem dim. What you described is exactly how I feel going into this second year. Thank you so much for sharing from your life and your heart.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:42 am

      We are right about in the same place time-wise. I hope you’ll stay with me so I can learn from you too!

  • Reply Lynn April 5, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    I lost my husband 31 years ago… he was 30 I was 29. Out baby was 2. Think about him every single day….. Hugs and prayers to you…….

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:41 am

      Lynn, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for telling me part of your story. Hugs and prayers right back at you. =-)

  • Reply Chuck Mc April 5, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    wow, I am VERY impressed with this writing…so deep and sincere

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Chuck – I’m blushing! Thank you so much for your compliments! I’m glad you’re here – it’s not just a place for widows. Widowers and all the people who love them are welcome here!

  • Reply Rose April 6, 2017 at 4:35 am

    I lost my husband 21/2 years ago he was only 56. I hurt more today than the first year. Miss him more .and I feel no one wants to here me whine so I cry alone. I do understand the loneliness with outyour soul mate is so hurtful to the heart. Keeping busy is the only key I’ve found to help me.. and keeping my faith that This isn’t over I’ll be with him again.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Rose – I always tell my kids that it’s ok to cry! We have to let sorrow out, so we have room inside for JOY! And you’re right – this isn’t it. Someday you’ll be reunited. Thanks for being here – I hope you’ll stick around.

  • Reply Jennifer April 6, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Hi Jodi, A friend forwarded me your blog and I’m so happy (maybe that isn’t the right word) to see your story and that you are reaching out through the pain to connect with others. I am starting year three after losing my husband of 19 years to a malignant brain tumor in early 2015. He was a mighty man of God, a wonderful father and best friend. No one can take his place and I doubt whether there is a second crazy person who would put up with all my quirks as gracefully or lovingly.

    I think one of the unexpected things for me these last two years was that losing someone you love doesn’t make you immune from further disaster. I thought that after going through a brain tumor with my dearest love there would be no greater challenge and that I would be up for anything. Well, who knew that what came next would make Lemony Snicket look like a ride on the teacups! I had not only my own grief to blindly go through, but my kids many challenges and emotions to help with. Mine were 11, 15 and 16 when their dad died. Each one had MAJOR problems–health problems, emotional problems, spiritual crisis, you name it. Then there is the litany of household disasters that seem to roll around each month like clockwork. I finally asked my carpet cleaner if anyone else in town had needed their services for the umpteenth basement flood and if they would consider offering a punchcard in case I get to number 10!

    So what’s a mother to do? I am not a dad, and I am not Handy Manny. You do need a friend who understands who you can laugh with, even when the situation is not laughable and you don’t see the humor at the time. Sometimes laughter will also open a door quickly to tears, both of which are healing and a sort of pressure valve to let out some of the bottled up anger/frustration/sorrow/whatever. And another experienced widow cautioned me to get family counseling sooner rather than later. She said that if kids aren’t provided with an outlet to their grief, it may come out in unexpected or unhealthy ways. This was very true in my case but again, I was trying to navigate in the dark only had enough energy to just get through the day, so finding that safe space wasn’t easy–plus everyone has to be willing to go through the process. I do try to listen to my kids, and to take time to encourage each one, especially when they feel lonely, lost, or without purpose. We pray for God’s guidance and for courage to take the next step. And we drink a lot of tea.

    Thanks for listening and may God use you in powerful and unexpected ways as He gives you manna for the journey. Hugs.

  • Reply Marie April 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I am a widow, 6 months out…..thank you for sharing. You speak truth. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for God holding me up every day! God Bless your sophomore year! I know God will Bless You!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Marie – I’m so sorry for your very recent loss! Thanks for sharing a piece of your story with me. I hope you’ll stick with me as I move forward into year 2.

  • Reply randy fox April 6, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    I was widowed at the age of 47 15 years ago. Lots of struggles the first few years especially with raising teenagers. Today life is good. I miss him and will never forget him but I have chosen to live my life to the fullest.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Randy, Thank you for sharing your story. Teenagers on top of it all?! I appreciate your bravery and you inspire me to embrace my life as well. Thank you!

  • Reply April Looney April 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    My Ma, at 59, went to dance with the angels March 26,2016.. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote..moments that take my breath away..like addressing college graduation announcements for my son today..and she wont be coming..and faith being a choice..every day…and depression is real..inner circles change and no time for BS or folks who stir it up..all right on point…i love that this yr will be the year you find you..

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Stick around while I find me, April! It could be interesting. =-) I’m so sorry about the loss of your Ma. That has to be so difficult.

  • Reply Ann Bolyard April 6, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    I lost my husband of 48 years December of 2016, so I can relate so much to this. Thank you so much,it is so hard every day just to get up.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Ann, I’m so very sorry for your recent loss. And in December. ugh. Stay strong, Ann – we are all rooting for you!!

  • Reply SweetPea April 6, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    It’s been 26 years since I lost my husband when he was only 55. A lot has changed in my life during
    these years – both good and bad – but I’ve grown much stronger as a person. The memories of our life together are still vivid : the love we shared – the family God gave us – the unfulfilled dreams we had – the grandchildren and great-grandchildren he never met. I still grieve losing him but the hurt isn’t so acute anymore. Faith in God and the assurance of eternal life gives me comfort that someday we’ll be together again in some way.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and encouraging all of us with your words!

  • Reply Linda Waters April 7, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I lost my husband of almost 42 years on January 24. Coming up on his birthday in a couple of weeks & our anniversary next month! Not sure how I’m going to handle those 2 days!

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Linda – my heart goes out to you. Your grief is so fresh! One day at a time…one hour or one minute at a time. I’ll be thinking of you. I hope you’ll come back again. There’s so much understanding from other people here. Praying for you in these coming weeks.

  • Reply Elaine Cole April 7, 2017 at 8:41 am

    So well said. I’m on year 10 and not much has changed. It’s a “new normal” but I still miss my husband and the life I had with him. Prayers for you as you walk this walk.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 7, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Thank you, Elaine! It is reassuring in some ways to know I’ll still be missing him so much in 10 years. Thank you for visiting my site. I hope you’ll come back again.

  • Reply Rose April 8, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    It is 3 years 5 months; we were married 42 years..and it hasn’t gotten easier…today would be his birthday and having a real hard time…..I’m still wondering “who am I” now?.. I’ve had to learn how to do many things myself…like learning how to run the riding lawn mower..never had to use it; he always cut grass…days aren’t bad cause I’m still working but the evenings and weekends are hard…emotional energy; never heard that before…now I know what to call it…thank you for posting;

  • Reply Rose Bee April 8, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    It is 3 years 5 months; we were married 42 years..and it hasn’t gotten easier…today would be his birthday and having a real hard time…..I’m still wondering “who am I” now?.. I’ve had to learn how to do many things myself…like learning how to run the riding lawn mower..never had to use it; he always cut grass…days aren’t bad cause I’m still working but the evenings and weekends are hard…emotional energy; never heard that before…now I know what to call it…thank you for posting;

  • Reply Deb Parsley April 8, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    thank you – it’s been 1 year and two months monday for me – and it’s just like it happened yesterday. I am not a writer so I look to you and others for words I can’t write and sometimes can’t speak. I feel selfish sometimes, but then I read what you have to say and it makes me feel like I’m not alone! Thank you Thank you Thank you – and I am with you for year 2, and beyond

  • Reply Marianne McGuckin April 10, 2017 at 11:58 am

    I too am entering year two, for the second time . . .I have lost two husbands.
    This is different than the first, which was over 20 yrs. ago, left me with 2 teenagers and really no time to dwell on anything.
    Now at age 66, I am facing what was supposed to be a happy retirement with my Tom, I am having to figure it all out again.. I am blessed in many ways, a great job and kids & grandkids, but the quite house when I come home from work, eating alone after a long day is a challenge and something I hope I can figure out.
    Thank you for putting into words so much of how I am feeling and as much as I am sorry you are going thru this, thank you for writing it down so I could hear it out loud. God bless you.

  • Reply Lois April 10, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I began year two in December. It has been harder than the first year. By now, I’ve had a year to see how my finances are doing, having to make some huge adjustments in order to keep on an even keel. I did the finances before my husband passed, but with his loss also came a loss in income. Major change for a lot of us widows. I still miss him, I figure after 52 years, I will miss him forever. He was my anchor, my helper and my Love. My family and friends, many of which I did not even know I had, have been there for me and made all the difference. You are right about depression.. it’s a fight to get through it. I still have my moments, find myself crying over pictures, stories, etc. but I keep on keeping on. That’s about the only way to get through this. God Bless you and know that you are not alone.

  • Reply Chris April 12, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    You summed up exactly how I have felt since my husband’s death. It will be 13 years in late summer since he died.

    One point I can emphasize. Grief changes but it never goes away. It just gets different. At first I cried a lot. For a while I would cry every evening at 10 o’clock, At some point I realized that 10 o’clock had come and gone without tears for several weeks. After this time, tears are infrequent yet I still miss him with every fibre of my being

  • Reply carla kirby April 13, 2017 at 9:42 am

    My Brother sent me this post this morning to read. It has only been 4 week’s today since my Husband passed away, but i can relate to some of what you are saying. <3

  • Reply Kimberly Bloch August 24, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Year 12 and I still feel these things. Some have lessened, some intensified but there is still a part of my heart that is missing.
    ,

  • Reply Tina August 25, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you. I am grieving several losses of my own, including the death of my mother. Your candid, heart-bearing words are so relatable. I wish I could take you to lunch. We could share and grieve together. Allow me to say this to you, there have been those moments where I have had to trust God because I certainly could not hear him or see him, and yes, I felt abandoned. I have learned this great truth…… Romans 8:28 is as true today as the day Paul wrote it. “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” Keep holding on to that faith. Prayers and love.

  • Reply Patricia Zukowski August 28, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Beautiful and heartfelt words, thank you. I relate to everything you shared. That alone is helpful. Reading all your comments I realize I’m not the only one. You share your feelings with such beauty and compassion. Thank you again.

    It’s too easy to become isolated inside yourself no matter how many people are near you or how you appear to others.

    I’m going into my 18th month a widow after 24 years together constantly. Mike had stage 4 lung cancer for 10 years, surviving longer than anyone in the US. I was his caretaker & never once regretted or seen realized the burden.

    Constant hospitalizations, 8 rounds of different chemotherapy traveling hours to drs.,personal care & unending vigilance was wearing me out. Mike fell backwards cracking his skull sustaining a severe head injury. For 3 months I stayed with him in the hospital and now witness to his terrible pain and suffering. The cancer attacked with a vengeance. Much of the time he couldn’t talk or make any sense. He would babble unintelligibly for hours endlessly. I would stay up foregoing sleep just for the hour or so he would almost be himself.

    When he passed away I was almost relieved. I couldn’t bear watching such a torturous end to such a strong man’s life.

    I planted a memorial garden to channel grief. I stayed active going to concerts, plays, operas 3 to 4 nights a week.I traveled to visit family and friends. I added new adventures to my experiences. I kept so busy. It allowed me to grieve in incrimental doses.

    More and more each day I miss the little things. I find myself turning to tell him something then suddenly recall he isn’t there. I have fibromyalgia and failed surgical injuries that make pain a faithful companion. Mike did so many little things for me that I miss. I long for his companionship and listening ear more than anything. If I only had man thumbs at my disposal. Snap, open, turn, loosen, he could use his strength even at his weakest.

    So many inconsequential things have disappeared from my life. Zipping up my dress & straightening the shoulder seams was a daily thing Mike did no matter how sick he was. Stretching the back of my bra elastic so it was more comfortable made it easier to deal with my physical reach limitations. After he died I actually became trapped till I was in tears in a dress that had spanks. I had no one to pull it down in the back. It was rolled up and bunched into a tight wad. I had to put on a robe and wait in the street for a neighbor to rescue me from my fashion emergency .

    I made a choice to live and love life because it’s so precious and fleeting. I do it on a day by day basis hoping it will become so routine I won’t think about it. I am told I am an inspiration and give encouragement to others. I’m told how strong I am. I don’t feel strong at all. I rely on God’s grace to get me moment to moment. My heart aches & I have to fight the overwhelming thoughts of abandonment constantly.

    My dad died then mom passed away a month later then Mike died within a year. They were my three best friends in the world who I could confide in and trust with my life. Sadly, I am estranged from my oldest son & family for reasons I have no control over. It all amounts to a gaping hole that has torn me in half. The ache has become so real it feels physical.

    More and more I find myself immobilized despite best efforts at action. I have trouble getting up and doing things. My brain is in a fog and simple tasks become hard. Some of it is from pain, lack of sleep, and fibro fog, but it is happening more often. I am beginning to feel that some of this lethargy is hidden grief that was too overwhelming to deal with.

    I schedule events that force me to get out but it requires great effort tiring me. I’m not lonely, I have friends all over the country, online & a few close to me. My son & daughter in law are wonderful & thier children a blessing to my spirit even though they live 700 miles away. The do all they can to fill in the impossible blanks. I’m not lonely, I just am alone.

    Dating on line is a farce. Men my own age of 64 are so broken & needy. I have much younger men half my age interested but I know enough to see there is no future.

    Life is moment by moment. I have to be patient with myself. It’s harm to show compassion to yourself when it feels so self indulgent. I am allowed to grieve a year later or a decade. What ever it takes I have to allow myself the luxury of processing loss. Its only hurt. It will fill eventually. It will leave a scar to remember. I made a promise to myself not to miss a second of all that is good, beautiful & miraculous on the way to that healing.

  • Reply Patricia Zukowski August 28, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    It’s HARD to show compassion, not harm. Sorry

  • Reply Bev Hawes August 29, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Jodi, reading about your first year as a widow brought back to me that I too am in year two of being a widow. Reading your words made me feel almost as though we were leading identical lives with a few exceptions. First it sounds as though you have small children, whereas mine are adults. The other major differences were that I literally ran to God and haven’t gotten angry with him or my husband for dying. And He has revealed to me my purpose/mission in life, which is to come alongside other widows and get them out and about and back into the world of the living. My soul resonated with this so I have started just such a ministry and God has blessed me with a wonderful support system with people who understands and who can relate to what we are going through. In reading your story, my heart poured out to you that you too can relate to others about what you are living with. I pray that you would consider praying for God’s ministry and how you can help others, because as you help others , you become blessed as much as you are blessing others, AND THAT IS WHAT HELPS GET YOU THROUGH THE GRIEVING PROCESS! You write from the heart and have an awesome way with words. Please keep it up. God’s richest blessings to you and I am adding you to my prayers.

  • Reply Winnie September 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    This journey is so painful and feels unreal. I’m 9 months into my journey of losing my husband. I feel like my depression sadness and loneliness are still hitting hard. I look and feel so different. I look like a zombie due to weight loss and I have worn no make up or jewelry since after his funeral except to two tributes our city did in his honor. He was a popular jazz singer. Our life was so busy going to his concerts and that has been a huge change in my life. Death is horrible for those of us left behind. Your 10 things you learned your first year of being a widow is right on. God Bless you and all the other widows who are suffering.

  • Reply Wendy adana September 9, 2017 at 8:13 am

    I felt the same way on my first year of being a widow…and now counting to my two years, yes..everday is just like the first day that i lost him..but,faith and love that sorrounds me,makes me feel better..i know my husband is always on my side..like he was when he was still alive…

  • Reply Carol Ann Murillo September 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I read through your blog this morning. There are many common threads in your writing that match those felt by someone who has been rejected for another and having that lead to divorce. Friends that were friends to both of us didn’t quite know what to say or do. New friends arrived. Survival? I didn’t think possible either, and yet with God all things are possible. I am still reminded of the pain even after 25 years of being without my spouse. It just doesn’t take me down as far. I know what to do with those sneak attacks. “Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.” I definitely miss what could have been but have paved a new pathway. I totally agree with your line that “faith is a choice” – absolutely. The Holy Spirit comes to walk alongside us when no one else is there. Praise God!

  • Reply Christine Ishmael September 13, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    Hey Jodi, your post is spot on…I’ve started writing about my experience at http://www.reclaimyourselfretreat.com I also host women’s retreats in Utah and am thinking we should talk some more since there are SO many women going through this…I just hit month 3 and it sucks.

  • Reply Katherine Friend September 19, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Dear Jodi – thanks so much for sharing. I gather that you are a young widow. That makes it much harder in some ways, easier in others. As per your 10 things, you have learned a lot in this year. And I must chime in with the others: the second year was harder for me. The first year, I was still George Friend’s wife. Only in the 13th month did I become his widow. It was helpful to me to read books on widowhood – four of them – written by widows, not therapists. That first year I lost my beloved husband of 42 years, my only brother, oldest friend and had to put down three of the four old pets. Very hard year – hardest of my life. I felt like I went through something like PTSD! But I survived, as you have. I’m writing my own book, working title ‘The Widowhood Chronicles, because I have chronicled the entire experience and have interviewed dozens of widows and widowers. I was widowed at age 71 and am now into my ninth year. It took more than 5 years to see myself as a ‘single person.’ Please contact me if I can be helpful to you in any way. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve., but I do try to help people avoid mistakes that will only deepen their grief: selling their home and moving away, getting involved in a love affair too soon, spending tons of money – all in an effort to salve the pain. My husband had his ‘Band of Brothers’, I have my ‘Band of Widows.’ Let me share a little analogy with you: I’m at the lake with my whole family. They’re on the shore playing a game, like volley ball. I decide to go out for a swim. I realize that I’ve gone out too far and cannot get back. I start frantically waving to my family members. Some of them finally see me waving. They smile……and wave back. THAT’S what widowhood is like with our family and loved ones. They just don’t get it!

  • Reply Joanne September 20, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    During my first year without my husband I heard many times how the second year seemed harder for most widows. I didn’t want to hear it and thought to myself Won’t ;etc that happen to me. Here I am 5 months into my second year and as much as I fight to keep positive it’s been very difficult. I keep asking God to help me through this journey and to show me his plan for me. People say I have changed and I know I have. I don’t have patience for self absorbed people anymore. I use to be easy going and would do everything I could do to avoid confrontations. I don’t avoid them anymore, I’m not mean I just don’t walk away anymore. For some reason the loss of my husband has been worse this second year. I have had a few people tell me I should be feeling better by now so I don’t talk about it as much with them anymore. I guess they just don’t know what it feels like to lose part of your soul and the the other part trying to compensate.

  • Reply Jennie Vidallier September 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I have had this post saved to read later for several months. Today I finally got the courage to read it all the way through. Everything in it is right in the nose.
    I lost my husband of 38 years in March of 2016. From diagnosis to his death was 7 months. The first year he was gone I found strength I never knew, or wanted to know, I had. And yes, the first half of this second year has been harder in many ways. I went to a Cursillo retreat this past July which helped me knock down a wall I didn’t even know I had put up!! I’ve never lost my faith in God…in fact I relied on it all the more. But, that doesn’t mean i haven’t yelled at God a time or two.
    Well meaning friends suggest I go on dating sites to find companionship. No amount of explaining helps them understand it will be years, if ever, that I can think about anything like that. Everything you wrote is very true & I am so glad I finally gathered up the courage to read it.
    Bless you & I pray in years to come we both (all) find that new person within us.

  • Reply Lois Cutler October 8, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Thank you so much for putting into words all the feelings I have experienced since January of this year. I am coming up on one year as a widow and I have been amazed at how it has gotten harder and depression is very real. It makes it easier to know I am not alone. It’s not a club membership that I would wish on anyone, yet we can find strength together.

  • Reply PT October 8, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    Thank you for your blog. I held my husband of 33 years for the last time, 8 weeks ago. While working full time (and losing 2 jobs) I was his caregiver for 7 years as he battled COPD and ultimately dementia. I kept him at home as long as I could. He was in a nursing facility for 3 weeks. I miss him with every breath I breathe.

  • Reply Colleen October 28, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    My husband died unexpectedly 6 months ago and I feel like my family and friends think I’m supposed to be fine by now. I hide how I really feel because I don’t want to burden them. I still cry every day. I haven’t had the courage to go through his things yet. I feel so alone all the time. Some days I don’t even want to leave the house. I know I will never be the same person I was before. I am hoping year two won’t be worse than year one because I’m devastated.

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