About Me

My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Write a Letter to Your Dead Spouse

It's an obvious exercise, but it's a good one. If you want to know what you're thinking and what you're feeling, writing is one great way to figure it out, and writing a letter to your dead husband or wife can be an excellent way to put it all out there. After all, who was once your most trusted friend? Who did you talk to about your most important thoughts and feelings? Well, you can still do it (although, sadly, it will be entirely one-sided.) Never mind about that.

Here goes:

Dear Ken,

It has been 5 years and 8 months since you died. Such a long time ago. It feels different today than it did a couple of years ago. I'm not sure how I feel about the distance that has grown between us -- the distance of years, and time, and experience -- my years of living while you have been dead.

I used to spend so much time wishing you were still living on this earth, still my husband, still a father for Natalie and Alec, still here to share a certain life we had made together. I wished that what had happened to you and to us had not happened. I was really very afraid.

I am still afraid sometimes, but not nearly as much. I also know that I can't live in a wishful state, wishing for something that will never be. I've worked from the very beginning on acceptance. Acceptance has been my mantra so that I could go on living without you.

You feel so far away from me. I've had to make too many decisions without you. I've had to go it alone even though you were once my most trusted, most loved partner and friend. I've had to go it alone.

Sometimes I feel sorry for people who are lost and asleep, who don't realize that they need to live without imagining that there is a better, different, more interesting place to be than right here and right now.

Sometimes I am afraid that I can't keep you alive enough Ken. Whatever I can do, it's not enough. You deserve so much more but you got exactly what you didn't deserve. You got to die.

I'm lying. I do wish you were still here. But there is nowhere to go with that wish. Nowhere to go. It's like wishing for my own immortality.

I'm sorry that you aren't with me or your children anymore. I'm sorry that your story had to be a tragic one. I'm glad we chose one another from the moment we met. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for giving me your wonderful family and for making two amazing children with me.

We didn't finish our story with a satisfactory ending. I hated the ending of our story but the beginning was wonderful.

Goodbye for now Ken. I am so sorry to leave you.

Love, Jill



Anonymous said...

I really like your part in this letter about living without imagining that there is always something better or more interesting than the here and now for what it is. I believe and have for a long time that we should live each day as full as we like, or perhaps take a break and just relax a little. Enjoy a little less full day, sometimes.

I really appreciate your blog. Like many I am sure, I have been unable to discuss the loss of my husband with even the closest of friends in any kind of therapeutic manner and your blog has at least given me insight, and a feeling of not being alone, not to mention the inspiration that you lend to others. Thank you!

Jill Schacter said...

Thanks for your kind words. Very few people understand what's it's like to lose your husband when you're young. Just today, someone was trying to explain to me how it was so much like being divorced. I know that there are similarities in the loss of a dream, but death puts a whole other existential spin on the whole thing. Your comment makes me feel less alone as well.

MrsJrack said...

I love all your posts.
Tonight I would even call them a life saver. I am a newly widowed 40 year old and I feel so alone raising my two young boys solo.
So hard, thank you for putting everything I am feeling into words. It helps me not feel so numb and alone. Bless you

Jill Schacter said...

Dear Mrs. Jack,

Thank you for kind words. I am so sorry for your loss. It is a terrible thing to lose your husband at a young age with young children. I am really happy you let me know that my words help you. I hope you'll write again and let me know how you're doing. Hugs to you. /Jill

Teemo said...

Thank you. I lost my 44 year old wife, four weeks ago. I can't imagine a life with my Kelly

Jill Schacter said...

So sorry for your loss. I wish you strength, hope and good friends to help you grieve.

Berta Sanders said...

Thank you for your post, I lost my 49 years old husband 2 months ago, it is so hard to imagine my life without him by my side