Monday, September 28, 2009

Secondary Grief Losses

Part of my hope and intention in creating this blog was to reach and interact with widows facing financial issues. And to deal with the longer-term consequences of widowhood which I refer to as secondary grief losses. The loss of social and economic status; the need to go back to work full-time; complications resulting from being an only parent; the lack of much support or understanding within our communities; dating and remarriage as a widow when there isn't another parent there to take the kids on alternating weekends giving you some greatly needed free time; being forced to have to move to more affordable housing; needing to provide health insurance for your family but living in a country that does not have suitable options for women in my situation.

If any readers out there know how I might be able to connect to a broader audience, I'd sure appreciate your input. Maybe my posts and situation are too depressing for some; maybe a widow past the first year or two of grieving does not compose posts that generate enough interest. I started to call myself Widow in the Middle shortly after my husband's death because it seemed where I fit. I was not an elderly widow, nor one with little children. Mine were school-aged and I was middle-aged. But it also seems as though this age group is just kind of overlooked and not considered as important as others.

We were also not blessed with kind, attentive family members reaching out to offer support; nor were we in a financial situation that enabled us to pay off the mortgage. Consequently we were pretty bombarded with these secondary grief losses. Maybe other widows with enough life insurance to make it don't have these issues and are not interested in mine. They are lucky to have the time and luxury to fully grieve their losses. When you are struggling with the other ones, being able to even grieve for your deceased husband takes a back seat to whatever crisis you are having to face.


  1. i wish i could help but i am one person. my children are grown, obviously. my husband has been dead less than 8 months, but i do know financial destitution. hand to mouth. no snacks. two meals a day. working 16 - 18 hours a day. i'm fortunate that i have created a job with my sewing so i work from home but it isolates me to the point of being a hermit. i may actually see another person, my duaghter, for as little as 5 hours a week. beyond that, i am utterly alone in my apartment with no car to even drive to the grocery store to not buy much.

    but on the other hand, i do get to stay home and not have to put on a fake mile, deal with the retail crowd of casual shoppers, or have to spend money on clothes to be seen in. the quilts i make have so much work put into them that i average about 48 cents an hour. if i raise my price, no one thinks i'm worth it. i can't do them for any less. my days are regimented so that i don't fall apart but with that self-imposed slave labor schedule, i am tired and feel hollow. so this is my life from now on? i too, feel i'm falling apart and there is nothing i can do but struggle on.

    i don't know how to find the people you are looking for, how to get your blog out there. it seems a crap shoot. some people have huge followers and seem to shine. others, like me, and you as you seem to feel, wallow in obscurity. i do have a couple of widows who keep up with me and i am so grateful that i sometimes wonder how i deserve them.

    well, i can see i've been a big load of help. sorry. having a bad day. trying to avoid the mirror so that i don't see my life or my future without my Dragon.

  2. Here are a few ways to broaden your audience. They may feel a little bit calculated and self-promotional, but marketing is like that.

    - Post on relevant message boards (financial, single parent, etc.) and have a link to your blog in your signature.

    - Comment on other related blogs, preferably ones with a lot of followers - people will come to check you out if what you say resonates with them

    - Make sure your blog settings allow you to be indexed by search engines, and use keywords in your posts that people are likely to search for

    - Post your own thoughts on a topic that another blogger (preferably a high-profile one) has recently covered and link back to their post in yours - if they use site stats, they'll be able to see that you've linked to them, and they may link back to you, driving traffic to your blog.

    I landed somewhere in the middle on financial issues. My husband was turned down for life insurance because of his health issues, so there was no money to pay off our debts or put aside for the future. On the other hand, I had always been the one who worked full-time and supported the family, so I didn't suffer a loss of income or have to deal with the stress of finding a job after being out of the workforce for a while. Both of those things helped with stability, although they also gave me a sense of being in the Twilight Zone - everything at work was the same, but everything at home was upside down. Every once in a while I still have a moment where it seems as if I could just reach for my office phone - the same phone I used to talk to him on - and ring him up to say I'm leaving in ten minutes.

  3. Hi, my husband died a few months ago and since then I've been trying to find anything about widow's grief online. I found your blog and since then I always check your blog first before I read the others. I am a middle-age mother of 3 children and I am having a hard time with this widowhood. It is like an everyday torture. Our car got hit and my husband died instantly. Two of my kids were in the car with us and one of them is badly hurt. I know it is selfish for me to wish sometimes that I did not make it too. I feel so weak but I know I need to be strong for my kids. I am really impressed how strong you are. Like you, I also get jealous when I see families that are intact. They don't know how lucky they are. I really feel sorry for my kids, they'll grow up without their dad. I have a lot of friends but I still feel alone even when I am with them. I cry several times each day missing him and I don't know how I could go on with life like this. Reading your blog makes me feel that I am not alone in these emotional hardships. rk

  4. womanNshadows - You do a great deal for me just by being there. I know our widowhood and life situations are different in certain aspects but I do feel a strong connection to you because of your creativity, our similar ages and shared financial strains.

    Vanessa - Thank you for all of your suggestions - I will try to put them to good use in the future. I appreciate the time you took to relate them to me. There are days when I almost feel as though I will wake up and the past few years of widowhood and loss will just be some horrific nightmare and my sane world will be restored to me! I'm not sure where you are in terms of your life having changed (how long it has been) but I wish you well as you navigate this path.

    rk - Any words of solace I write will be an injustice to the tragic amount of pain and hurt you are currently feeling. I cannot imagine what you and your children have gone through. I have been thinking of you since you replied and have great admiration for your ability to get up and face these days. I hope that you will make some strong connections online and that these relationships will help ease the way for you in the future.

  5. You're welcome, anytime. I hope at least a few of them are helpful!

    It was three years in July for us, so a lot has changed. It will always be a part of our lives, though, as I know you understand. Thank you for the good wishes -- the same go back to you.

  6. You should DEFINITELY participate in my "blog carnival" about health care costs. Just tell your story and the impact that our system has had on your finances, or if you had particular issues when your husband was ill. You just post it on your own blog and we all link together. I'm hoping this gets a bunch of attention!

    The instructions are on my 10/6 post... go take a look! It would be great to work together on this. (Likewise to anyone else reading this...).

    My finances were similar to yours & Vanessa's. Will post about them soon... ppl need to know we're not all rolling in dough.

    Thanks for all you do -- things WILL get better. You are learning a lot right now and that always hurts!



  7. I just found your blog, thank you!
    I am a widow of 3 years , I belong to one group online called for widows only.

    My story is about secondary losses, and what helps with things is knowing your background, story and reading your blog
    thank you so much, it reasured that I am not alone.

    I was married 33 years to a former marine,
    became postal worker, in 2005 postal mangement changed, and he had originally when hired 17 years before actually told he
    could not get hours, almost went on suppport thru military but had 2 workers , one fired, one get medical, and moved up to be main postal guy , in may of 2005 we lost his dad to cancer, he could not get day off, and worked mostly with only funeral day off,
    had high blood pressure in his family, I had a 2nd cancer check , oky, but found his blood prssure to high, and got him on pills.
    In 2006, he became only carrier for town,
    3 routes instead of one, and no hire due
    to 2 retirments and one injured, postal insanity reigned with cut backs, plus big overhead union battle of trying not to hire
    regular carriers and just casuals to pay less
    we ended up in union battle to get hire,
    meanwhile his boss was micromanaging him,
    and had problems at office as well..
    family dynamics, also, oldest daughters inlaw owned store, vandals came to town
    burned it down inside, $700,oooo loss to my other daughters fiance, they planned wedding,
    last time family event, my older daughter
    was pregnant for first time, had baby in may of 2007, baptism week after, husband had fight over removal of casual illegally at work and no longer keeping anger at cool
    down, brought it home, 3 weeks before baptism and after removal of casual, 2nd summer of no time off, for him plus he worked for our part time business, 100 hrs a week aprox,..he passed of massive heart attack on day of baptism, and since then lack of support from oldest daughter ,
    Pastor husband , and sister in law who wanted to know what I did to him...
    insanity reigns...
    finacially had to get business up and running without him, not to well off even with insurance trying to make it to ss,
    have to sell business , house ..soon.
    3rd try for business, havent started with house yet...not enough energy, should be working another job, but business keeps me worn out...anyway thank you for your blog...helped a lot.