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A Reflection on the Journey of Older Widows/Widowers

Let's take a moment to sit down together and delve into a topic that often lingers just out of view. Lets talk about the experience of older widows/widowers who find themselves wandering alone after sharing their lives intimately with their forever person. The person they shared most of their lives with.

Now they are left to discover life on their own.

Can you imagine a home filled with a lifetime of shared memories, that now is engulfed in an ear drum breaking silence. In the midst of the deafening quiet are the little echoes of the life they shared, a life filled with laughter, the warmth of love, the rumbles of disagreements and the closeness of constant companionship—now home is flooded in a deep silence. A silence they feel they are drowning in. This is reality for countless older widows/widowers, whose hearts ache from the death of their life partner.

Death here is your sting.

Many may have children, grandchildren, and a loving extended family, but some are all alone. Regardless, there remains a void that cannot be filled by anyone else. It's the absence of their confidant, their soulmate, their unwavering source of support. The one who knew them in a way that no one else ever could. After a lifetime of knowing someone their isn't anything to hide. It was easy, comfortable and warm, now its hard, uncomfortable, cold and most of all lonely.

In the quiet they sit in the empty spaces of their lives, where the longing for their partner is a constant presence—a reminder of the depth of their love and the magnitude of their loss. In the middle of this solitude, they often find themselves feeling invisible, their grief overlooked by a world that sees their shared years as a consolation prize. When all they feel is the ache.

Here's the truth: grief knows no timeline, no expiration date. Whether you are together for five years or fifty, the pain of loss is profound, unforgiving, and deeply personal. It's not about the quantity of time spent together; it's about the quality of the connection, the depth of the bond that was shared. Its about your relationship. Its about the memories and a life built over the years.

Yet, even within the grieving community, there can be an unspoken expectation that because we had a lifetime together, the grieving process should somehow be easier. But grief doesn't adhere to societal norms or expectations—it's a journey that unfolds at its own pace, in its own way.

What's hard is there can be a subtle judgment from others—a well-meaning but misguided sentiment that because they had a long life together, their grief should be tempered by gratitude. Let's remember: grief and gratitude can coexist. One does not cancel out the other; they simply occupy different spaces in the heart.

Let's not compare our grief but allow each other to share our grief stories by extending a hand of empathy, of understanding, of unwavering support to the widows/widowers among us, no matter the age or stage. Let's create a community where our pain of loss is acknowledged, where all stories are heard, and where we feel seen in our grief.

To all the older widows who feel the weight of their loss, know this: you are not alone. Your grief is valid, your pain is recognized, and your journey honored. May you find comfort in the knowledge that there are others who walk alongside you, holding space for your sorrow and embracing you with love and compassion without judgement.

In the quiet corners of our communities, let's cultivate a culture of empathy and kindness—a place where no one feels invisible in their grief, and where every heartache is met with understanding and love. Together, let's create a world where no one feels alone in their life, in their pain and in their grief.



Photo by Lauren Dary

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