Color & Control:

Recently  widowed?

Tips for handling life without a partner

By Rick Lauber

“Of course, I miss him but I have a belief that we’ll be reunited in the after-world some day and in the meantime it’s my opportunity to live a life that I want.” Edmonton’s Heather Andrews Miller, a former caregiver, fondly remembers her husband Mel.

Mel was diagnosed with Diabetes at 45. He went immediately onto insulin injections … but over time, his condition worsened to include neuropathy, hypertension, weight gain, extreme fatigue, reactions to medications, frequent hyperglycemic episodes, dialysis, and severe misdiagnoses to name just a few. He eventually passed away peacefully at the age of 71.

For Miller, this was a sad and lonely time but after grieving she realized that she still had her own life to live and needed to move on. In her own words, “This realization took about three years … then suddenly I was able to concentrate on my growing number of enjoyable activities without worrying about Mel.  He was now in a safe place, no more suffering, and no more hospitalizations.

Moving on was important, for Miller who was only 68 at the time.  Here are some suggestions:

Take your time. We all deal with grief and loss differently. Its important to live through what we have lost before we can best live on. Remain patient and gentle with yourself. What you feel is important and these feelings need to be acknowledged.

Be open. By honestly sharing feelings after a partner’s death, a widow can gain better understanding from others about what they are enduring. Lingering resentments and/or regrets which remain private can also fester, grow, and worsen for surviving widows. Don’t hesitate to share emotions. Suppressing these is neither productive nor healthy.

Ask for help. Husbands and wives can often find sharing the load helpful when a loved one is alive. The same can be said for after a spouse/partner passes away. Grieving widows can, in fact, need help more with household activities, maintenance, cooking
and transportation for example.

Seek professional help. Friends and/or other family members may not be enough to lean on. Asking a psychologist/psychiatrist for help is not a sign of weakness.

Step forward. When ready, look at options to help move on, rediscover themselves, and/or explore new interests.

Miller looked back to look forward; “… following Mel’s death, I realized that I had always been helping others with their life goals, but now I could focus on my plans and ambitions. I was quite happy doing this … I have always been passionate about writing and about music, so I decided to stop treating them as work and make them instead a source of pleasure as well as some extra income.”

Her story now includes, revisiting a previous love of performing for retirement homes “I soon re-learned how rewarding it was to play my guitar and sing for the seniors and they responded so graciously that I realized I was making them happy too.”

New doors have also opened with the opportunity to travel with her daughters to England and Sweden and a new career as a manager for a local musician; with arranging bookings, she has branched out and enjoys her work. “Now I’m giving back to the community as well. But, best of all, I know Mel would be proud of me; he always enjoyed my teaching and my music and writing activities, especially with the seniors. So that is also a comforting thought.”

Rick Lauber is a published book author and an established freelance writer. He has written two books, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide.



4 Dating tips that are red flags that suggest your partner isn’t ready…

1. You’re not invited to their family’s events because their kids aren’t ready.

2. You’re asked to hide when someone drops by unexpectedly.

3. You feel more like the consolation prize than a partner.

4. Your partner can’t define what they want after a period of dating.

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