Emotional & Mental Health for Widows

Widow Wisdom: What Challenges Have You Faced as a Parent since Becoming a Widow?

MWC Community Conversation

We asked our widow sisters to share their wisdom by answering this question; What challenges have you faced as a parent since becoming a widow?

Here are some of their answers:

Watching my kids process their grief through the years and not being able to fix it.
– Stacey

Being a single parent is something I absolutely never planned on. I was raised by a single mom, and I did not want that for my children so when I went about finding a husband I made sure that we had very long discussions on how we would raise our kids and what would happen if we ever broke up as far as raising them. Once I confirmed that he was as serious about raising his family as I was, then we got married. Of course, no one could have predicted that at age 38, he’d be taken by ALS, and I’d be left with three kids by myself. I’m just grateful that I took the time to go to college and become a professional so that I have enough money to run our household by myself because I know so many others don’t have that.
– Victoria

Two of my girls were just 16 at the time. In that first year, when I was in zombie-land, they were heading way off track. Gratefully my older two adult kids stepped in and helped put things straight. Now my younger two are 20 and doing great, but the sadness is deep, and I know there are still days when they struggle without their dad, and all I can do is hug them. My husband died suddenly on Father’s Day, so the days leading up to it and that day are just still so painful. We don’t even turn on the radio or tv because we don’t want to hear all the Father’s Day advertisements. They’re moving forward, but there’s always that “I wish Dad was here to see…”. ????
– Wister on Instagram

It’s been ten years since my husband died. My son was 14 and I had twin daughters that were 11. It was very tough to be honest. There are so many things That were hard or sad, but for me, it was doubting myself and feeling like I wasn’t enough of a parent by myself. I often missed having my husband to discuss things with, and I often felt so inadequate, especially with a son. But as time has gone on, I am more compassionate with myself and have learned just to do my best, ask for help when you need it, and to pray. A lot.
– Linda

My heart breaks every time I catch my young son watching another father playing with his kids. Protecting his mental health and addressing behavioral problems have been the greatest challenges.
– Wister on Instagram

Meal preparation is the WORST. It never stops. I gotta say though, I learned to do a million things with a rotisserie chicken, lol.
– Wister on Instagram

My biggest challenge has been that my three kids are stubborn and don’t want to listen to me. They could team up against me, and I’d have no support or anyone to back me up. I was always the pushover, and my husband was the disciplinarian, so that has been very difficult.
– Crystal

Parenting three children suddenly alone. Two are now teens, and not having their dad for teen issues is a struggle. My now eight year old cries each night for her dad, realizing that he truly won’t been here for the rest of her life. That breaks me the most. I’ll deal with the hard extra work for income, I’ll deal with the house and finances, I’ll deal with my hell in grief, but their sadness and missing out on their wonderful dad-that is by far the hardest thing to take.
– Wister on Instagram

My son was 13, and my daughter was 11 when my husband died. It was just hard! To be sure, we had a roof over our heads food to eat clothes to where was a challenge. But even more so, trying to make sure both of my kids were okay and coping with the death in a healthy way. We did go to counseling, oh, but I wish there had been a New Hope for kids at that time.
– Rosie

Just watching my daughter make her transition from high school to college. She was always such a daddy’s girl. He was certainly missed during all those milestones.
– Wister on Instagram

I find it hard to distinguish between which behaviors/attitudes/emotions of my 17-year-old son are related to being a teenager, grief over losing his father, or things that are just his own personality.
– Elaine

I lost my husband almost 12 years ago when my son was barely seven, and my daughter was 4. I don’t have family support and have raised them alone. It’s been difficult, not going to lie. I was a stay home Mom and married my best friend. He was in process of getting life insurance when he found out he had cancer. My advice to recent widows is to take the time to go to counseling for yourself, I tried at first but could not connect with a couple of counselors and worried about cost. Don’t just exist, really enjoy life.
– Susan

Oh, where to start. First, I am both a Boy Mom and a Girl Mom. There are losses both genders feel not having a dad. This 5’1.5″ mom has had been to learn and understand the game of basketball so I could help my middle son fix his basketball shooting form because I don’t have the money to pay for expensive lessons. He’s Asian, so although athletic, he doesn’t get noticed by the right coaches who can really help him. Each of my boys has some interest I have had to learn about because they don’t have a dad who can step up and be their partner in those activities. My daughter, oh how my heart broke every time there was a Daddy-Daughter dance. She sees the relationships some of her friends have with their dads, and I can’t replicate that for her. There is no YouTube video for that like there is for proper basketball shooting form. The worst is when I know she is sad about not having a dad, but she says, “it doesn’t matter, Mom. I have spent more years of my life without a dad than with one. I don’t really remember what he was like except your stories and from pictures.”
– Wister on Instagram

After my husband’s death (18 years now), I had two kids (a daughter, and a son with intellectual disability) who didn’t have the confidence to make a decision on their own (dad thought it was funny to question their decisions) or do half the things that adults should be able to do. I spent the next two years, helping them learn to be adults. We had many times where we had to work through things, but we made it. Today, my daughter is married to a wonderful guy, and they are foster parents. My son returned home a couple of years ago, which has turned out to be a blessing in many ways. I, too, had to show them that I was capable of making decisions, grieving when I needed to grieve, and moving on with life. I took a trip with a group to France. That got their attention. Shortly after that, I traveled for work, and the two of them had to figure out how to run the house. It was good for them and great for me. They gained the confidence they lacked, and they too moved on. And yes, my daughter still talks to me like she’s the mom sometimes, but that’s okay, I just remind her that I’m the mom.
– Linda

My kids were in their 20’s when their dad died seven years ago. My two son’s never talk about it & hide their grief. They pretty much ignore me & never call. They do have families of their own & I have to invite myself over to see my grandkids. My daughter tries hard to check on me & I see her family often. But she Mother’s me judges me, and I feel disrespected a lot from the 3 of them. But I suck it up & know they need to live their lives. I feel lonely of coarse but try to fill my days with volunteering & church. One day at a time.
– Jodi

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Knowing there are women who have not only survived what I was going through, but were also thriving and moving forward in their lives.
— MSC Wister® (Widow + Sister)