How Being a Widow at 60 Changed My Life in 3 Significant Ways

Last Updated on November 14, 2023 by Candi Randolph

Losing your spouse is one of life’s most challenging events. It’s like an uninvited guest that barges into your life, turning everything upside down. And when you’re a surviving spouse, the first year can feel like a roller coaster ride of emotions. 

how becoming a widow at 60 changed my life

First things first being a widow at 60, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – your financial future. Losing a spouse often means adjusting to a single income, and it’s essential to figure out what social security benefits are available to you. It might feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube while juggling, but don’t worry, there’s professional help available. Financial advisors and social security officers can guide you through this maze. Remember, you’re not alone in this.

Now, onto the ‘F’ word… Family. Your family members can be your rock during these times, providing emotional and practical support. But remember, it’s okay to set boundaries. You’re the director of your own life movie, and it’s okay to say “cut” when you need a moment.

Let’s not forget about social support. In the face of adversity, humans are wired to come together, like pieces of a puzzle forming a beautiful picture. Connect with others who’ve experienced the loss of a spouse, join support groups (you’ll find some helpful resources below), or even delve into the world of young widows. Sharing your experiences can provide comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

My Personal Experience Becoming a Widow at 60

When you marry the love of your life, the last thing on your mind is that you’re going to lose them before having the opportunity to grow old together. And that’s probably a good thing. Focusing on the “what if’s” is no way to live, so most of us don’t do that. But sometimes those far off possibilities become realities.

I live by faith, knowing that my future (our future) is in God’s hands. So the experience of being a widow at 60 absolutely changed my life forever. There are many challenges of being a widow, especially at a relatively young age.

But it didn’t remove any chance of happiness and fulfillment for me, although at the time that was hard for me to see.

My husband and I knew that his health was failing, and he told me months before his diagnosis that his days on earth were numbered. He could feel it. And as it turned out, he was right.

We had many discussions about what I would do after he was gone. He told me what he wanted for me, for my future, that he didn’t want me to mourn for him too long, but get on with my life. He knew I would work too hard (of course he was spot on!) and encouraged me to grieve in ways other than working 24 hours a day.

It helped me to be able to talk to him, try to prepare myself as much as I could, for his leaving. Honestly, though, nothing prepares you for the moment when your loved one is actually gone from this earth.

The hours, days and months after that were a brand new experience as well. This is how I survived the loss of my man… my love, and started over in my 60’s.

The way I worked through my grief is unique to me, and may not be effective for others. If you have been touched by grief and the loss of a loved one, know this: you have to find a way to express your grief, feel it, and continue on with your life. It has nothing to do with forgetting the person who has passed, but everything to do with your own health and well being.

Being a Widow at 60 Changed My Life
in 3 Significant Areas

Starting over in your 60's, becoming a widow

First, I was on my own after 20 years in a relationship that was extremely close.

My husband and I worked together, played together, and spent almost all of our time in each other’s company.

If we were near each other we were touching in some way. Always. So the fact that he was not physically near me any longer was a huge black hole of emptiness at first. I was on my own in a physical sense.

Our life had taken a downturn financially several years before his health declined, so we were not in a strong financial position. Fortunately we had taken out life insurance policies years before, so I had a fresh start in that area and didn’t have an immediate burden to meet the budget obligations.

I’ve always been an independent thinker and a career risk taker to some extent, so this was something I had done before in my life. It was time once again to be the sole source of income. I was on my own in a financial sense.

Although we didn’t do a lot socially, when we did go out, even if it was just up to the pool in our community, it was the two of us. When I was able to think about heading to a restaurant for a bite to eat, or taking a break at the pool, my best friend and soul mate wasn’t there. I was on my own in a social sense.

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Second, I had only myself to care for, and about, in a relationship that was now just one person. Me.

That took some adjustment, actually a LOT of adjustment. I had been working on growing my home staging business while caring for my husband. That care slowly turned into a 24/7 responsibility. I would do it again for him in a heartbeat, but it was tough.

When I thought about the fact that my life was now simpler and I could make decisions that were best for me, I felt guilty even thinking that. How could I feel good about going somewhere, spending money, doing anything, when my man was gone?

He’s been gone for over three years as I write this post (it is going on 8 years at the time I an updating the post) and I still sometimes have those thoughts. But I know now that this is the way my life is supposed to be at this time. I can be happy and care about what is best for me, and that is okay.

One of the ways that I share my experiences, what I’ve learned from them, and how I’ve grown as a person, is to create tools and resources for others, like the Fresh Start Challenge. It’s a simple and effective way to challenge yourself to find the balance between mind, body, and spirit.

Why is that important? Well, if we’re not in a place where all 3 of those parts of us are working together, it’s going to be very difficult to move forward in life.

Whether we’re working through grief, working to achieve a goal, planning to start a new business…all of those things require our clear focus.

Third, I had to make a decision to move forward or to live in my grief and remain in that sad, lonely place.

The challenges of being a widow can stop you in your tracks. This is how I have moved forward in my life being a widow at 60:

  • Faith and confidence that the Lord knows what is best for me, just as he knew what was best for my husband. I may not understand it fully, but I know in my heart that He has a plan.
  • Trust in my family and close friends, who were all there for me. It was up to me to allow them to help when I needed it most. Asking for help is not easy for me, and I don’t often reach out. But my kids, parents, siblings and others (you know who you are :)) literally kept me going for the first few months.
  • Living one day at a time, not looking back, not worrying about tomorrow. This is so much easier to write about than it is to actually do, day after day. But that is what I have told myself every day. “Don’t look back or try to re-live the past. It’s done and over. Love what you have today and be grateful.”
  • Share my life experience with others. That is how this blog was born, and although the main focus is on lifestyle topics like natural aging and healthy living, how we face adversity affects everything else in our life.

Support Groups for those who have lost a spouse:

Being a Widow at 60: What’s Next for me?

How to cope with being a widow at 60

I can honestly say that my life is good today. Do I miss my man every single day? Absolutely. Do certain things like songs, scents and places bring tears? Yes. Not as much as in the past, but sure, I still cry sometimes.

But when you live for today and appreciate what you have now, in this moment, you don’t go back and wish for something that is not possible.

Today, I am residing once again in the Midwest with family close by. There is nothing more important to me right now than being close to them and having the opportunity to be a part of their lives. That is number one for me.

Growing my blogging business is a high priority, and I’m focusing on learning as much as I can in order to create a viable opportunity for the future. I’m putting my heart and soul into Inspire My Style!

Am I thinking about retirement? Not yet. Not ready for that.

Am I pondering relationships? Honestly, no. I made one very quick foray into the online world of meeting people a couple of years ago, and that experience quickly told me that I was not ready for it, so I let it go and didn’t look back.

When and if the time comes that I meet someone special, my life will take another turn. But I’m not looking for it at the moment. And that’s okay with me.

Conclusion: Embracing Life After 60 as a Widow

We’ve covered quite a bit of ground, haven’t we? From social security benefits to the importance of family and social support. But before we wrap up, let’s touch on something equally critical – seeking mental help.

Losing your spouse isn’t like misplacing your favorite pair of shoes. It’s a profound loss that can leave you feeling like you’re navigating an ocean without a compass. In these hard times, don’t hesitate to reach out for mental help. Therapists, counselors, support groups – they’re all there, ready to lend an ear and help you navigate this new normal. Refer to the list in the section above for some particulars.

Remember, your deceased spouse would want you to be happy, to live life to the fullest even though they’re not physically with you. Carrying their memory in your heart doesn’t mean you can’t make room for joy and new experiences.

And for our younger widows out there, age is just a number. Grief doesn’t discriminate, and neither should support. Your journey might look different from someone who’s been married for decades, but that doesn’t make it any less valid.

In the long term, remember that healing doesn’t have a finish line. It’s more like a marathon, not a sprint. Some days will be harder than others, and that’s okay. You’re stronger than you think, and with time, support, and self-care, you’ll find your stride again.

So, here’s to embracing life after 60 as a widow – with all its challenges, triumphs, and everything in between. Because let’s face it, you’re not just surviving – you’re learning to thrive once again.

Have you lost someone who was near and dear to you? It is devastating and life changing for sure, but time is a healer. It might be an overworked phrase, but the passing of time plus an unwavering faith, support from those I love and living for today have been the most significant, helpful resources for me, being a widow at 60.

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How becoming a widow at 60 changed my life

35 thoughts on “How Being a Widow at 60 Changed My Life in 3 Significant Ways”

  1. I lost my husband when I was 47 and he was 49 to cancer when my kids were 11 and 13. I’ve been living with a boyfriend for over 10 years who now has cancer so I’m going through it again. It’s nice that you were so cloase to your husband and that he cared about your welfare so you could move on. It makes a difference. It can be really hard when finances are tight but we survive and thrive.

  2. Such a beautiful post Candi and I’m not sure how I would react if I lost my soulmate. You have provided some comforting and helpful insights for others who find themselves in this situation. My husband is 9 years older than I and just turned 71. Lately I’ve been realising that life is endless and I want us to enjoy our time together after spending the last 11 years devoting our time to his parents. You have a wonderful attitude and a beautiful soul Candi and I’m sure your husband is looking on and feeling very proud of his wife and partner. xx

      1. Hi Candi, yes after 11 years of putting our life on hold I am enjoying time in our own home together. Even if we don’t talk because we are both doing our ow thing at times, we know each other is there and it is comforting. Thank you for joining us at #MLSTL and sharing your story. xx

    1. I lost my husband of 43yrs to cancer on Easter Sunday. 9 weeks ago. I am not crying every day anymore. I am getting used to staying home ALOT
      due to Covid 19.
      I have not seen our daughter yet bc she lives in CA and I live in NY. We will bury her dad and have a memorial service in Aug. I have a sister in law who calls me every day so we can talk day-to-day stuff. That helps me so much.
      I have pictures posted around of my husband when he was healthy and I sometimes wear his wedding ring.
      Tonight is the first time I have read how other widows manage emotions. Thank you!

      1. Hi Norma, thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post. Reading about other’s similar losses can be really helpful, because you can relate to their experience. We all grieve differently and learn to continue on in our own way. I still have several of my husband’s casual shirts (his favorites) and will wear one now and then over an outfit or as a bathing suit cover up. It makes me feel a little bit closer to him. Just remember one step at a time, one day at a time. xo

  3. I’ve lost two husbands to death. The first one to cancer when I was 37, and my darling James when I was 60. I’m now 69 and like you, I’ve found my way without him. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. While I have great friends, I have no family. In so many ways I think God created women to be stronger than men and surviving after the death of a spouse is one of them.

    1. You have been through some tough time, Brenda. Losing my man was the most difficult time of my life, and you’re right. It takes strength to move forward and learn to enjoy life again. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I will soon be 60 and I can’t imagine losing my husband. It must have been incredible difficult for you and of course you think of him often and will miss him always. I remember that after my Mom died, the thing my father said he missed the most was just her being next to him and touching him. It is such a simple thing, that we don’t realize how important it is.

  5. Hi Candi – I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to lose your husband. I’ve been with mine for 37 years and you’re right about the closeness. Just having a “wingman” when we go out socially means a lot to me. I admire the fact that you’ve managed to move forward and to make choices that have put you in a good place, and it was nice that you had time together to discuss things and to know that he’d be happy with how you’re going. I’m also really glad that you now have family near – that is an absolute joy isn’t it?
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    1. Yes, Leanne, being close to the family again means so much to me. I live one day at a time and don’t sweat the smalls stuff, because I understand how precious life is. Thank you for sharing!

  6. What a beautiful post Candi, and so nice to ‘meet’ you. I can’t imagine being without my man, he means the world to me and we do so much together, I fear I’d be quite lost without him. A scary thought. As you say, take every day as it comes and live your life to the full. It sounds like you have a wonderful family around you and a positive outlook to help you through. #MLSTL

    1. Hi Samantha, so glad you stopped in! Yes, it has been a difficult transition living without my man, but my faith has helped me be strong and live one day at a time. The family close by is wonderful and life is good.

  7. I just came across your blog. I lost my husband January 10, 2019. He was 59 years old, Me, 56. He is my true life, soul mate, love of my life. I miss him so much. In 2009 he had to have emergency open heart surgery and his health went down hill from there. Ten years of sickness. The Christmas before he past, he told me he was so tired. My heart was not ready but I knew it was coming.
    I know he is with his Lord and savior. It is the only thing that gives my comfort.
    With him being sick for 10 years finances were not good. So I am struggling there a little, but the Lord provides what I need. My boys are grown with families.
    My husband and I were together two years before we got married. We were married 36 wonderful years. At the end I was caring for him full time and still working. I would not change a minute of it.
    I was told at age 47 that I would be a widow but I had another 10 years with him.
    Thank you for this blog.

    1. Hi Tracey, thanks so much for taking the time to share your story. I know it’s not easy to do this, but I can tell that your faith has kept you going. Like you, I don’t know how I could put one foot in front of the other without the Lord’s help. I miss my man every day, but I know I’ll see him again some day, and you will see your husband again, too. Take care, and remember, one day at a time. xo

  8. Thank you so much Candi! I am 61 and lost my husband suddenly 10 months ago. Reading your blog now does assure me that I am not crazy for feeling this way; I am working and got grown children and yet I do feel isolation (like I am alone). You are doing a great job and thanks again

  9. Oh no! My husband of 30 years has a blood cancer. I am 58, he is 65. We have a intellectually disabled adult son who I care for every day. There are no financial worries, but I am so worried because he is an atheist and I am a Christian.

  10. I lost my husband on August 29, 2021. He had a rapid growing violent lung cancer. The doctors told me after he was diagnosed that he would be ok. They could save him. That was Memorial weekend. By the 21st of August I found out he had a week or 2 to live. I was in shock, denial and knew I was going to lose my best buddy of 40 years. When he was taking his last breaths I told him he could let go. I would be ok. But Im not. I have been through so many stages thus far and I just cant handle this. I used to be a social butterfly. Now, 1 by 1 I am tossing people out of my life. I prefer being alone these days. If I was not a strong believer in God I would have blown my brains out already but I know that in doing that I will never see my Vin again. I used to take care of myself. Now I have unibrows and just keep my hair in a pony tail or braids. I ask myself all the time what I am doing to myself but the answer inside says who cares. I quit my job when Vin got sick and now I can not motivate to even look for a job. Every single thing I do reminds me of him. Now I am in the anger phase. I lash out at everyone I come into contact with. Even my daughter no longer wants to be around me and I do not care. I pray for God to help me but my feelings just get worse. I still live in the family home and I am cleaning it out to put it up for sale. I do not even care where I go after this place is sold. I do not care about anything anymore. I hate my life and what its become. Does anyone feel like I do or am I just losing my mind or what I have left of it ?

    1. Hi Karen, thank you for being honest and sharing how you feel. I’m not a professional in any capacity, but I don’t think you’re alone with these thoughts and you’re certainly not crazy. Losing the love of your life is devastating and life-changing. I would encourage you to reach out to someone from your church or speak with a professional about how you are feeling and coping, and do it now. You may not believe this right now, but your life can be good, and even happy. It really can. The key is to move forward, not forgetting the man you loved and all of those memories, but rather keeping them in your heart and making new ones. God has a plan for you, and he is not finished with you yet.

    2. I feel the same way my husband died 4 yrs ago I lost my job of 20 yrs because they said I had changed since my husband’s death. Of course I’m not the same I lost my best friend I swear the only one that understood me lived me to the fullest Dan I miss him . No you are not alone feeling like you do .

      1. Hi Sharon, thanks so much for sharing your experience. It is always reassuring to know that others have gone through similar times. Life is very good for me today, but I will always miss my man.

  11. My name is Linda I lost my husband when he was 54yrs we were the same age. He was my everything my heart we did everything together with each other 24 seven. People told me that wasn’t good to be so close like that. What are you going to do if something happen to him ? I guess I never thought it would happen so soon. It still hard some days are butter than others. Sometime I think I should be over my sadness since it has been 14yrs Aug 15 of 08. What do you think? Linda

    1. Hi Linda, thanks for sharing with us about your experience losing the love of your life. My husband and I were also together 24/7 and it never grew old. We loved being together. It has been 6 years since he passed, and although my life is very good, I still miss him every day. For me, it’s not a matter of getting over sadness, or not being sad ever again when I think of him. It is the process of turning the sadness into memories that I store in my heart. I know that he wanted me to continue on and live a good life, so I focus on today and what I have to be grateful for. There will always be times when I feel the loss more, and that may never change, but still I feel blessed to be here, healthy, and able to enjoy every day.

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