Losing your spouse is an unimaginable experience. Your spouse is the person you want to spend your entire life with and always have by your side. It’s life-altering when these plans are changed by their death, whether or not it was expected.
There are an estimated 258.5 million widows throughout the world, per the 2015 Global Widows Report by The Loomba Foundation. In the U.S., there are an estimated 11.64 million widows, per Statista 2017 statistics. And according to the 2016 U.S. Census, 24% of people age 65 and older are widowed.
With June 23 being International Widows Day, we want to share some grief resources and memorialization ideas for widows. Below, we suggest several ways to cope with their loss and honor their spouse’s memory this International Widows Day.
Mary Francis — a widow, author, grief coach, and speaker — founded this organization to help other widows through their grief journeys. Through grief resources, sharing stories, and a community of support, widows can learn healthy ways to cope with their loss.
Camp Widow is an in-person weekend program for widows to attend informative grief workshops, create mementos and traditions, and meet other widows. Currently, Camp Widows has three locations: Tampa, Florida; San Diego, California; and Toronto, Ontario. Click here to learn more about the program and how to get involved.
The Modern Widows Club currently has many chapters throughout the U.S. for widows to come together to heal and support one another. There also are events throughout the U.S. to meet other widows who can relate to your grief. If there isn’t currently a chapter in your area, you can start a chapter in your own community to help other widows near you.
Grief Blogs and Articles
The Huffington Post has a countless number of articles about widowhood. The article topics range from grieving tips to reading other people’s grief journeys.
Michelle Steinke-Baumgard — an author, speaker, fitness coach, mother, and remarried widow — shares her grief journey and how fitness helped her cope with her loss. She also wrote the book Healthy Healing that helps those who are grieving cope with their loss through exercise.
Through openly honest blogs and inspirational videos, this widow shares her story in the hopes to inspire and help other widows grieve and live a happy life again.
I Will Not Forget You: Daily Meditations for Grieving Widows and Widowers — Ellen Sue Stern
Through daily inspiration, this guide can help you mourn your loss, honor their memory, and discover your new identity as you look to the future.
Widowed Too Soon: A Young Widow’s Journey Through Grief, Healing, and Spiritual Transformation — Laura Hirsch
Those who lost their spouse at a young age can relate to this author’s grief journey and learn ways to grieve and live life again without the physical presence of their spouse.
Healing a Spouse’s Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies — Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt discusses ways to grieve the loss of a partner that relate to young widows, elderly widows, and everyone in between.
Making a memento in honor of your spouse can help keep their memory alive. Here are some ideas:
- A memory bear made with their wedding attire.
- Memorial jewelry made from their wedding ring.
- A scrapbook filled with photos and memories of your time together.
- A memorial tattoo for an everlasting tribute.
Creating a memorial tradition to honor their memory lets their life story live on forever, such as:
- Writing down memories with them to share with your loved ones.
- Inviting your loved ones to dinner on their death anniversary or your wedding anniversary.
- Visiting their gravesite to leave flowers and talk to them.
- Gathering your loved ones to do their favorite hobby.
Honor Their Memory
Finding a way to honor your loved while making a difference in the lives of others, such as:
- Donating to a charity in their memory.
- Creating a scholarship in their name.
- Volunteering your time in their honor.
- Organizing a widows support group in your community.
Share your grief and memorialization ideas in the comments!