Throughout the past few months since my blog has been up and running, I have received many emails and phone calls from widows both young and old.
The common theme, being how harsh life is now without their husbands and how surprised and hurt they are by family and friends’ cold indifference to their grief.

Whilst I am sure there are many widows who have wonderful supportive friends and family, there are others who are not so fortunate and this is what I want to talk about, as it appears to be a taboo subject.
Many widows feel very alone and are unaware that others are being treated just as harshly as they.

One woman described how she had more sympathy offered when her dog died.
Another told of how she and her husband had for many years holidayed overseas each year with friends and after he died; the thought of the holiday in seven months time gave her something to look forward to.

Then out of the blue her closest friend told her that she was no longer welcome as it was for couples only.

An elderly widow told of how she is not allowed to mention her late husband anymore as her family is ‘sick of hearing of him.’

The most vocal of the bunch was her son.
He then lost his wife and finally understood her pain; now the other siblings are picking on him as well!

One woman received ‘attention’ from her best friend’s husband and when she rejected his advances he went home and told his wife that she had come on to him.
Her friend believed her rat bag husband and severed their sixteen-year friendship.

Another was told that she was no longer welcome at the monthly dinner parties as it was for couples only.
She had hosted and attended them for fifteen years.


A young widow came home after the Funeral to find her house stripped of all the furniture and her husband’s belongings.  
Her mother in law had organized a removal firm to attend to it whilst they were at the Funeral.
The mother in law insisted that she had furnished the house for her son not for her so everything belonged to her. 
The widow was too devastated to fight as she had two young children to care for her so she went home to Australia within days.


One son asked his mother the day after her husband’s Funeral to move into a “Home” as he wanted her house signed over to him now rather than when she is dead.  She is only in her late 60’s!!

A widow arrived home after burying her husband to find her family had already started dividing up her furniture as they had decided she wouldn’t be needed it all now that she was on her own.

Another widow wrote to say how her brother in law turned up the day after her husbands funeral and told her he would look after her late husband’s restored Valiant and when she asked about it a few months later, she found he had transferred ownership into his name and it had been sold.
He insisted she had given it to him!

There are many more stories to tell but I think you get the picture.
Where is the empathy these days?
Are we becoming more and more a materialistic selfish society where possessions are more important than people?


Things to say and things not to say to a Widow


‘I am so sorry’ is all that is required if you truly don’t know what to say.

Don’t gossip about a widow as this is cruel and unnecessary and when she comes out of the horrendous black hole of grief, watch out!!

‘When are you going to smile again?’ is a really stupid thing to say.
Try being a widow and see if you can smile!!!!!!

Chatting about how you and your husband are going on holiday to Sydney for a week or moaning about your husband’s shortcomings isn’t really appropriate.

My personal favourite:
‘Sometimes I think I’d like to be on my own too Sandra.’

‘I am so sick of my husband.  Sometimes I wish he would die.”
(“I am sure he feels the same about you my dear,” is what I wanted to say but of course as I am a lady I bit my tongue.  Silly me…)

“You will find somebody else”  Oh really, will I?  Maybe I don’t want anybody else. Do I get a say in it?

‘Life will get easier after a few weeks.’  And you know this how?

“I wish I had only me to cook for.”  Gosh it’s great to know that you thought I starved Mum, Aunty Belle, Sam and Ruby!!!!


On a personal note since my husband died, I have seen the best of people and sadly the worst.

Rather a sweeping statement you may say but it is the simple truth.

97% of folk were and are still brilliant. 
No problems with this bunch. 
It’s the 3% who did the damage and sadly some are still doing so.
They will eventually find another dog to kick so my family and I must endure it a while longer.

Within hours of Alex’s death we were inundated with food, which was gratefully received, as the thought of eating or shopping didn’t enter our heads.

I focused on keeping the same showering, watering and feeding routine going with Mum and Aunty Belle as neither could comprehend where he was and their devastation was huge.


As there was no warning of my husband’s death, the shock was tremendous.

Being self-employed we were unable to take the time to fully comprehend our grief.

The fruit wasn’t going to stop ripening and we needed our income.

Money wasn’t going to fall from the sky; we had to work.

The very day Alex died, Ruby and I were sorting cherries in the Fruit Stall whilst Sam picked.

Our customers, town folk and friends inundated us with either food, kindness or both during those first horrific weeks.

A busy Orchardist taught Sam how to spray; a job Alex had always insisted was his domain; a retired accountant spent a day ensuring our books were up to date; offers of assistance came from all quarters…we were so humbled by the caring.

A huge bird dropped off on Xmas day fed us for two days.
Xmas meant nothing as our minds were preoccupied with the Funeral for Alex, which was organized for a couple of days later.


A few weeks after Alex died, our Haven peach trees were stripped under the cover of darkness.
Robbing from a widow is a bit low I thought.
The odd apricot tree close to the road was stripped every now and then as well.
One car pulled up one night at 10pm just when Sam was coming up from the river block.
The poor man scrambled back into the car whilst the driver gunned the motor and took off at high speed.
It was a bit of light relief that Sam needed at that point in time.

There were other areas of thieving that affected the running of the Orchard but the ”what goes around comes around’ philosophy paid off in the end.
It was a long wait but eventually they were exposed, much to their horror as they thought they’d gotten away with it.
Pathetic revenge tactics seem to be their new strategy so yes I know what it’s like to be taken advantage of when you are a widow and I know they wouldn’t have dared do this if Alex had been alive.

Dreadful things have happened to me and are still happening but not to the scale that some poor women have to cope with.
We are all in the widows club; a club we never signed up for, membership was thrust upon us by the death of our husbands.

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7 Responses to Widowhood

  • P.T.:

    I lost my husband three years ago and this has helped me.
    Thank you.

  • S.M.:

    Thanks for your raw account of what you went through.
    I now know I am not alone as it is similar to my situation.

  • Dave O:

    Sandra this is very informative.
    My sister was widowed recently and there is more I should be doing for her.

  • Dan A.:

    I have just finished reading this and the Apnea letter.
    Your description could have been my daughter as she was widowed two years ago like you. She has changed so much and I couldn’t understand but now I do. I feel sick with guilt as I should have been kinder.
    My sister has a husband with sleep apnea and I thought I was reading about her as she is in a nearly identical situation to the writer but his dementia was diagnosed because his paranoia made him act out violent to a relative so I suppose she is luckier.
    Canada is our home but my nephew is in Auckland New Zealand at present so I have given him your details as he may end up in the South island
    early next year.
    He has been told to have photos taken with you.

    Keep writing from the soul Sandra.

  • Tessa:

    My neighbour is a shallow woman who has been cruel since my husband passed away. She makes up rumors and said I was having an affair with a married man when the man was actually my brother.
    My husband had her tongue under control as she was quite charmed by him so she was never cruel back then.
    I have one thing to be thankful for and that is there is very few that believe her but it still hurts.

  • R.S:

    My life was turned upside down when my husband died as I too had a business to manage. I wasn’t as fortunate as you as none of my family wanted to become involved so I had to sell up. The man who purchased it swindled me, which left me out of a lot of money.
    I never once suffered cruelty from anyone when my husband was alive and I am still shocked at the treatment I have received since his death.
    The Bank, accountant, family members have all played a part in this.
    I have now bought a small house in a coastal village where everyone appears friendly so after two years I feel I can live again. My finances are ruined and there will be no inheritance for the family but I am putting myself first now.
    I enjoy reading your blog.

  • R.T.:

    When I was widowed five years ago my brother stole my husband’s car and tools.
    As I had to move a few months after his death to a neighbouring State he volunteered to store them for me and said he would freight them when I was settled.
    When I asked for them back he told me everything had been sold and that I had given it all to him anyway. He said I was confused. Our family have sided with him so I am quite alone now.