To the Grieving Wife Whose Husband Died Suddenly

If your husband died suddenly, I’m so sorry for your loss. I was 43 when my husband and the father of our three children was killed in a tragic snowmobile accident.

One moment we were saying “I love you” and enjoying the day…the next he was gone. The shock was as palpable as being slammed against a wall.

I don’t pretend to know what you’re feeling or experiencing. I do, however, know that your sudden grief is different from a wife’s grief who’s lost her husband to a long-term illness. If I can be so bold, I’d like to share with you some things I experienced that you also might experience at some point. If you don’t experience these things, that’s because your grief is going to be as unique as you are.

Every morning is a reminder…for a time. 

In the first few weeks that you awaken each day, you will experience the reminder that your husband is gone over and over again. You will awaken and for a few brief moments, you will have forgotten. Then the dawning will fall on you and your heart will break anew. I spent so many mornings crumpled by the sadness of coming face to face with his death almost as if it were the first time. This “twilight grief” will go away. I don’t know how long it will be, but by God’s grace…you will not hurt as much as you do now.

The pain will subside…I promise.

While you won’t hurt as much as you do now, you may find as I did that there’s comfort in the hurting. Somehow the grief seems to draw us nearer to our husband. And the day you realize that your cloud of grief is somehow lifting may bring another kind of grief. You realize that as much as you want to stop hurting, the sadness continues to bond you to your husband. And you’re afraid to move away from your husband by getting better. But get better you must.

You’ll long for him.

No marriage is perfect, but you and your husband chose marriage continuously. Through all the ups and downs, you hung in there and bravely chose commitment Every.Single.Day. Death took that away from you. You didn’t want to stop being a wife, a lover, a best friend, a companion. It was ripped from you suddenly and you’re left longing. Longing for his smell…his touch…his voice. Aching to make love again. To feel his body against yours. You will ache for him.

You will ache to be touched. So be touched. Get your hair done often. Get manicures, pedicures, massages. Your need for human touch must be met so pay someone for appropriate touch. It’s what I did and it helped me navigate the skin hunger of losing my husband.

Loss will deliver compassion for others.

Losing my husband suddenly and the shock of grief that came with it taught me to never judge how someone grieves. After Mike’s death, I had family members who went off the deep end of alcohol abuse and negative choices after losing their spouses. And I got it. I understood that they were doing WHATEVER it took to soothe their pain. And the truth is I probably would have done the same things if I hadn’t had three children and a Christian reputation to protect that gave me boundaries. Soon after my husband’s death, I saw a post from a Christian widower who said he was having sex with women and detested himself. I got it. It’s very hard to judge another’s grief after ramming headfirst into a husband’s sudden death. It hurts so much.

Do whatever you need to do to feel better…with boundaries.

Listening to the loudest rock music soothed my angry spirit for awhile. Weeping as I watched episodes of “A Wedding Story” helped at other times. Shopping, redecorating, taking classes, reading voraciously…they all had their place in my grief journey. For a time. Support groups didn’t help me, but that’s just me. I felt propelled to move from the “camp of death” and to pursue life. My children needed that from me.

Christine Yount Jones
Christine Yount Jones
Christine Yount Jones is Content Director for Outreach Media Group. She has published several books and hundreds of articles about ministry in the last three decades. Before his death in 2003, Michael Yount and Christine had three children. Now, she and her husband, Ray Jones, together have five grown kids.

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