PaulaFB-1Widow. The word conjures up images of frail little old ladies in long black dresses, adjusting veiled black hats with bony crooked fingers, red-rimmed eyes imploring the heavens above. I like to think of myself as the updated version, Widow 2.0. There’s no such thing as a typical widow. We arrived at different times in our lives with unique stories to tell, but the common denominator of widowhood is strong. Although you may feel alone – you’re not. 

After you’ve had your fill of widow casseroles – So sorry your husband’s gone, here eat this – feed your soul here on my blog, and join the journey. You’ll find the best books to read, other widow sites to visit, and helpful links. You’ll get support enduring widow angst and gut-wrenching grief, surviving survivor guilt and dealing with the bullshit barometer. After experiencing tragedy, you may find yourself incapable of bullshit and diplomacy – that’s OK, we get a free pass.

75 thoughts on “WELCOME

  1. I became an alcohol widow almost two and a half years ago. He was 45. I knew that there were others like me out there somewhere. What a terrible club we belong to. But I’m glad to have finally found others who will understand.

  2. It’s been just over 3 months, since my wife died from liver cirrhosis, she was 43.
    Much of of the same story here.
    Life is on auto pilot, doing the daily things. Everything is focused on our 3 children still at home, making sure they have what they need for school and so on. Other than that I don’t know what to do, where to start. Her clothes are still on the dresser where they were waiting to be put away, her pillows are still on her side of the bed, I sleep on my side. The clothes that were for her to come home from the hospital in are still in the bag by the closet, my bag of clothes and etc from the hospital next to it.
    I think about many things, what I did to try to help, what I didn’t, could I have done more?
    I don’t have the answer

  3. My husband was found dead in his apartment when county sheriffs and the landlord arrived to serve him with eviction papers…..he drank himself to death and died alone despite having a family and friends who loved him. He never recognized himself as an alcoholic and refused treatment.
    I am a survivor…..I left him in April of 2013 years ago after I realized that I was alone in my marriage and was losing touch with my family and friends….and I was losing my sense of self. Being married to an alcoholic is extremely isolating and that isolation can lead to depression and a sense of helplessness.
    Despite his pleas to return, I could not go back….
    And then I got the call 2 years later…… And I had to tell my 3 adult children that their father, who had pushed them away for years in order to “hide” his alcoholism….was dead.
    And I identified his body at the coroner’s office.
    And I cleaned out his apartment where he existed….no longer interested in caring about his surroundings or himself.
    And we had to decide what to do…..how do you mourn someone who had replaced his love for his family and his dedication to his career and his friends with Jack Daniels???
    We held a memorial…a packed house for 2 hours…and supported all who said “I tried to help but he wouldn’t let me” , assuring them that they had done all that they could.
    But as his widow, I question every day whether I had done all that I could!
    I’m angry…..and sad…..and at other times I’m relieved that he cannot hurt others or himself any longer…and then I feel guilty.
    An alcoholic leaves emotional wreckage behind for all who loved and cared for him or her. I do the best that I can in any given moment. I allow myself to find joy in friends and family….especially in the new babies born into our family. I throw myself into my work and try to gain satisfaction from a job well done.
    And when I am sad, I allow that too. If I don’t fight it, that sadness that goes down deep and hurts so completely……if I let it happen…..then it passess and I am better able to let it go.

    So many say that I am strong……but when your love is thrown back at you and eventually destroyed, it’s not about strength. It’s about accepting love from others and finding peace in what you have left…
    I’m looking forward…one day at a time.

  4. Wednesday May 11, 2016……Will be 34 weeks @ 10:24PM……..I lost My Husband of 34 1/2 Years to the monster (Alcoholism-End-Stage-Single-MVA)…..He’d been in rehab twice ….the last being the VA. He lost his job, ended up in jail for hitting me and disconnecting me from the 911 operator (I’ll keep my bent/broken phone as a reminder)……his public defender blamed me…..Our oldest daughter won’t talk to me….she called me a selfish little girl….He was demented he thought we were going to kill him….take his money….these last months I’ve made decisions any “normal” Widow would have never had to make. You ruined Our finances, You destroyed any trust I had in humanity….We had everything….I had everything……I’m devastated….I’ve thought of suicide I’ve been violent unto myself……I’ve HATED yOU, i’VE loVED yOU and I’ve wondered what I did wrong…why I lost the battle……I had everything…..I lost my World My Everything. And I’m angry at God for everything, I’m angry at You for everything, You were just like the movie A Beautiful Mind…..and I’m suppose to get up in 5 hours and go to work….and save lives? When I can’t even save myself…I failed You. I’m lost….I did not ask for this….this loneliness this celibacy this I just want to come home and tell You about my day….No one touches me….no one hugs me….no one slaps my ass…..no one holds my hand at night…no one kisses me good night…one spoons with me in the morning before the alarm goes off…..I didn’t ask for this….I want the ed doc to give You back to me….13 units of blood…..I know everything that happened to You.We parted in anger…I drew a line in the sand…..I f****d up….I lost You.”what I would give for only one night”- Bruce Hornsby and The Range…….

  5. I lost my john 7 weeks ago. i,like you tried everything. I tried leaving, (he lived in my house), throwing him out (he wouldn’t leave, the police told me I couldn’t because he was there too long). Tried calling his only remaining family member in from the other side of the country (she got drunk with him). Finally, he died at 52. i am sooooo lost and hurt, I loved him trough it all, and still do, always will. i pray a lot, swear a lot, put my brave face on and go to work. i hate alcohol. the worst is that my son drinks also, I can only be around him in small doses. i hurt and am tired of crying.

    • It has been one year this week since I lost Roger to suicide and alcohol . It feels like a lifetime and seems like yesterday all at once. I have been to counseling weekly and now monthly and I go to a suicide survivors meeting monthly and above all Alanon has gotten me through the last year … I can’t encourage you enough to go and find a meeting that you feel comfortable with .. It will save you

      • Here we are one year later. I lost Chris a year ago and yes it seems like yesterday and forever ago. The counseling helps. So many different emotions to sift through. Some days are better than others. I never lost hope that he would be able to overcome his demons. I’m still so sad, angry, guilty….yikes the list goes on. I’ve had a year to think about all the crazy that went along with the alcoholism and depression. I try to remember the good times and the man I fell in love with. I wish he was still here, but then again…..sometimes I don’t. And that makes me feel awful.

      • I understand completely …I always wish he was here…I just didn’t want it to go back to the way it was….After one year of learning I think I could do it better and maybe things would have been different

  6. I read your story on Facebook. I’m headed down the same road as you did with your Alcoholic Husband. Mine never got the rehab for Alcohol, he refused to go and has never said the words I am an ALCOHOLIC. Wouldn’t go to an AA meeting either. The only rehab he got was from the hospital visits two times. The rehab PT and OT from two hip surgeries. My fear is one morning I’ll find him dead from drinking. I love him. But you can’t force him to get help. He’s a Functioning Alcoholic.

  7. Just read the newspaper article looking for anything to make sense, get knowledge and some advise, explanation….and I couldn’t believe it when I read your story!!!!
    I am going through …wow!!! the same exact story as yours. I was reading and thinking, this woman knows me, and it is me….with 18 years of marriage and dying from the alcoholic hepatitis. and the life before that you have described. Your thoughts and stories, from the basement, the debt, to the guilt. …I cannot put it any better, it is like a mirror looking at me, to my last feeling and experience.

    Thank you for showing me that I am not alone, or insane…and maybe there is hope for peace one day, maybe some relative happiness. For any type of future….with or without that horrific mess. But the uncertainty and chaos are so painful right now, and so maddening that only if you have been there can you understand it in its entirety. And you described me to the last feeling really, till the time of the death….as that is where I am, standing at the door right now and it is just swinging both ways, just as my sanity.

    Thank you Paula

    Believe it or not even our names are the same, not only the experience….

  8. My husband died in may from liver cancer. I would love to start a journal blog type thing. Where my loved ones can read the truth how its going. Facebook is not the place for this. You tend to hold back on things that make people uncomfortable. Any suggestions? Grief is hard work.

    • Judi,
      Thank you for such an honest question. I took care of my late husband who had diabetes and several other conditions for nine years until 2009. When you say you want others to know know you are doing, it sounds as if you think they want to know. Few people, especially Americans, are prepared to face, much less discuss death. How else might you get what you want from your relatives more directly?

  9. Thank you so much for sharing. My husband lost his life a little over a year ago to alcohol and like a lot of others left me to clean up the mess. I was never a jealous person and before this marriage I never really doubted or wanted to think that my partner would be cheating on me behind my back. I tried the ultimatums and failed with following them through. After his death I felt so released to come home and know that I wasn’t walking into a mess or a drunk. The guilt that I have now is overwhelming at times and even though I can look back and say to myself that I didn’t have a choice it still hurts. Others that know me tell me I did what I thought was best but when he got sick I did nothing but try to get him to a doctor. He refused and told me day after day he was fine. Surviving this marriage was a good thing but it doesn’t stop the guilt and questions. The hurt doesn’t go away and even with time it doesn’t stop the questions of what I did wrong or could have done differently. It was so good to stumble upon your story and see that I am not alone. Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. I’m very grateful and relieved to read your story tonight… My husband died of alcoholism almost a year ago and the pain is still so great… The guilt I feel every day, of wishing I could’ve done more still remains with me. He died in a hotel room with an empty bottle of vodka by his side, slumped over the bathtub – so shameful so sad. We did not know what caused his death until recently, as the toxicology report was pending… But I always knew. Now when people ask me I don’t know what to say I’m not even sure what to tell my children my 13-year-old son knows but how do you say that to an eight-year-old little girl? I’m hoping this is going to get easier in time. I lost him to alcohol about four or five years ago and it’s been a spiral downhill ever since it was so painful for so many years. And I did kick him out of the house. I let him hit rock bottom, with the deepest intention of him picking himself up and starting his recovery as there was nothing more I could do. What happened is he drank himself to death in a hotel room. I’m hoping the guilt will go away, and I will come to the place where I can absolve myself somehow, someway …. I know in my heart and head that it’s not my fault… It’s still at Haunts me… thank you for sharing

    • I am so glad that I tripped on this blog. This is EXACTLY my story, but it has been only 6 months since my husband died in a hotel room with a vodka bottle by his side and the toxicology report pending. I also kicked him out of the house in hopes that he would hit rock bottom and go back to treatment (he had been 4 times). I even had him sectioned by the court to treatmentment, but the treatment center saw him as very put together and someone with a job, so they let him go after only 10 days (when what he needed was long term treatment). I have older teens (16 and 18 when their dad died) and their grief is complicated, but they witnessed and understood what happened. They are able to talk about it and even joke about it at times. They have been truly amazing and are trying so hard to take care of me each in their own way. I would love to talk to you if that’s allowed (I don’t know how these blog things work). I go to a support group for family members of substance abusers that is fabulous, but no one else in the group has lost their husband and would understand the way that it sounds like you might.

  11. Anne and Allise,
    your stories are mine – the vodka, the lying, the shame. I am slowly taking baby steps to get back to some kind of normal. I am lucky to have family and friends who look after me, but the range of emotional turmoil I feel daily is sometimes so overwhelming. Even my cats are messed up. Hopefully time will help to heal us. We are members of a club we don’t want to be in. I am thinking of you…..stay strong

  12. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. it seems like we all have the same story and are left with the devastation. We are not alone and wish things could be different. keep talking and sharing your story…anne

  13. My husband took his life on June 8 and almost took mine with him. He also moved to his home office and drank in the basement. He had a job, a beautiful garden, two children, and two dogs that he loved. When confronted with a choice of us or vodka, he chose the vodka and then death. It was like living with Jekyll and Hyde. The straw that broke the camel’s back was picking him up from the police station after a DUI at 4 am. He told me the car was slightly dented. It was totaled. The cover up lying was another pathological facet.

  14. Someone from my Al Anon group forwarded me your NYT article. Thank you. My partner struggled to stay sober and 3 weeks ago he took his own life, leaving me to find him. As hard as I tried, I could not save him from himself. We were together for 7 years. I was afraid to marry him. The guilt is crushing. I’m so glad I am not alone.

    • Annie….I just read your comment from June 8th…..I feel like I wrote it….My partner struggled too and we were together for 9 years…..I never admitted it but I was afraid to marry him also…he took his life 6 weeks ago and I found him …..I have been going to Alanon for 3 weeks and find it very helpful but you are right the guilt is crushing. He left a 13yr old daughter that i helped raise for 9 years and now I see only once a week….I feel as I have lost both of them….and then there is his family……another story. We are not alone….although at times it feels that way…anne

  15. It will be a year on June 28 for me and my new title, widow. I’m 39 with a just turned six year old son, Oliver and about to turn four year old named Natalie. Thank you for your words, they hit home: big-time. Looking forward to reading your blog.

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