The Grief of an Ex-Wife

It has been a little over a year since my ex-husband died. A year of shepherding my two almost adult sons through the toughest times of their young lives. A year of learning that the grieving process is not really a process, it has no rhyme nor reason; just an ebb and flow.

A year has passed and the boys are coming to an understand what it means to be fatherless. What it means to not have him in their lives. They are coming to terms with the bitter disappoint that comes with an unexpected death. Coming to terms with what was left unsaid and unanswered.

And so am I.

But as who? I am no longer a divorcee nor am I a widow. Was I allowed to be publicly sad, to mourn the loss? People just didn’t know what to do with me.  And I didn’t know what to do with myself.

To say that he and I were on good terms during the last couple of years would be an outright lie. We hadn’t spoken for months. Yet, I was profoundly affected by his death.

When people first heard about his death, they would most often express their condolences to the boys. Inquire as to their well-being, express how sad it was that he died so young. Rarely, did the conversation turn to me and how I felt about it. Awkward might describe those moments the best, especially with people who knew us as a couple, but who had chosen his side over mine or who had simply falling out of touch with us both. The talk might center around how I was handling the boys’ situation, but it rarely was about what was going on with my feelings. And to be honest, I didn’t really notice that there was no conversation about them. My guess is that I didn’t want that conversation to take place.

One day, I introduced my son to our new spiritual director. They bonded over Harry Potter’s Wizarding World, it was great to see my younger son light up a bit. Later, when I thanked him for engaging with my son, I mentioned their dad’s death. And the spiritual director asked me how I was doing with it. I gave my pat answer about how we were handling the situation well, and that the boys were getting through the grieving process.

He stopped me, looked me directly in the eyes and asked how I was doing with my ex-husband’s death. I paused and started to cry. For as much acrimony as there was between me and my ex, at one time I did love him. Not only for being the father of my children, which had been my mantra for years, but for being the man whom I chose to marry. The man who taught me how to play video games. The man who took me to all the first-run movies on date night, the man who dug up our first garden and who refinished our floors and furniture. The man who swore ’til death do us part.

I had mourned the death of my marriage long before he died. I had tried to make amends with him and had really made strides in making amends with myself.

When he died, all of those feelings arose again. But who was I to tell? It is difficult to mourn someone you are no longer supposed to love. There’s no Hallmark card for the death of one’s ex-spouse.

I miss what I had in the early years with my husband. I mourned the loss of the potential of those times. Not only did I grieve for my children’s loss, but I grieved for my own.

From what little I have found on the internet, this is not an uncommon situation. Divorce is a bitch. Life with an ex-spouse, the trying to define that non-married, yet still have-to-deal-with-the-person relationship, isn’t any better. Being the surviving ex-spouse doesn’t have to be worse.

What is the lesson here? For me, I now know that I need to be more transparent, I accept that my friends/family accept whatever feelings I have.  I now know to ask after the person, not the situation. I now know to listen, wait and listen some more. I now know that to love, means that a part of me will always love, and that I am okay with that.

His birthday is this Saturday – the boys and I are going to go to his favorite breakfast joint and celebrate the good memories of the man I once called ‘husband” and they will always call “Dad”.


About schetgenhaus

life is good and only getting better - looking for ways to see the heart of a person each and every day - if the chatter is too loud - simply turn down the volume - but don't tune out - you might miss something grand!
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128 Responses to The Grief of an Ex-Wife

  1. Erin Diffenderfer says:

    T – I have had this saved for a pocket of time where I could read it and take it in. and I had that today. So let me say you are one impressive chick – so well written and expressed. Brought a tear to my eye for you and made me smile too as I remember the couple and non couple you and now i know you via cyberspace as just you – and either way you come – to me you will always be friend. thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us readers.

    • teriost says:

      Thanks Erin — Right back at you! Most of my friends now never knew me married, much less had met/known Tom. One of my favorite married moments was when we met Kaitlin while we were all in the hospital. We were blessed to be part of your family’s experience.

  2. Dianna says:

    Thank you. It has been 3 1/2 months since my ex-husband suddenly died. We have been divorced over 5 years and I am remarried. I have been perplexed over what to do with myself, can I cry for him, for us? Can I hate him for what he “did” to our children? Why do I find myself crying when I am alone. Am I cheating on my husband? We were on good terms before he died. We had issues but nothing big, mostly the kids in school, extra expenses that were coming up, etc. We shared the kids without issue, he and my husband talked and even joked. Why have I felt lost and saddened by his death?
    Your article helped me realize that I am “normal” and acting normal. We are a rarity in this world and most people have no idea what to do with us and it is okay, we are figuring out what to do! So again, thank you.

    • teriost says:

      Dianna – Thank you for reading and commenting and I am sorry for your family’s loss. Although your ex was no longer your spouse – he did have an important place in your past – I believe we do ourselves a dis-service by not acknowledging/honoring that past. After a year, I find it easier to share “remember when” stories with my children. Or now I can say “Your dad was good at that too”. I hope you are able to do the same after some time.

  3. rj says:

    Thank you for this article. I am sitting here, two days after the unexpected death of my ex husband. I am lost in grief, for my children, for myself. Grief that I cannot express to anyone as I am trying to be strong for my children. He was my first love and the father of my children, yet I am invisible now. He had a new life and it seems to be the only one of importance, I did not exist apparently. Confused by all these feelings I look for insight and found your article, thank you I am not alone.

    • teriost says:

      RJ – I am so sorry for your loss. I am honored that you paused and expressed your grief here. Your ex-husband will always hold a place in your heart and as you work through the shock/grief of his death – I pray that you are able to find a safe soft place for those feelings. Although I can’t claim to know what you are feeling; I do know from experience that being open with your close friends about your emotions/confusion does help. I was a bit late getting to my own healing on this one, but once I took that initial step, my friends were immediately walking beside me all the way.

      Your children are fortunate to have you as their mom – they will need your strength and your tenderness in the months to come. And always remember, you are never alone.

  4. Tumi says:

    My ex-husband died 4 months ago at age 34, and I cry all the time for him. I cry for my children mostly because I feel that they lost him twice- that he left them twice. At least when he was alive- even though he didnt do much for them- he was still alive. We had been divorced for 4 years and he had remarried with a child, this after an affair he had with his wife. I’m angry most of the time because I’m left to see to the kids by myself. I know excatly how you all feel. Luckily my family and his family were very supportive for me and the kids, I received flowers, visitors, I had a supportive boss who didn’t mind me taking time off to see to the kids. We even went to te funeral and had lunch at our house after the funeral because my friends and family came to support me. My friends understand that I would never have gone back to him he was self destructive, but they understood that I grieved for him.

    My only concern is that I still feel sad about it, I don;t know if I need counselling- the kids have been through therapy and seem to be coping. My daughter is still small and she doesnt seem to understand how final this is. I”m waiting for the day she breaks down when she realises how final this is and what it really means to be without a father.

    As much as I know that I’m not alone- it still doesn”t make it easy.

    Thank you for sharing.


  5. Tumi says:

    I thinking the most confusing thing is how once refers to one self-as a divorcee or a widow?

    • Teri O . says:

      Tumi- my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your children. From your post, it seems that you have a strong and healthy support network of friends and family. The grieving process takes time for both the death of your ex-husband and that of your marriage. It is okay to be sad, but if you feel overwhelmed by it make sure that you speak to someone about it, whether it be a counselor, a pastor or a friend.

      Keep in touch and know that their are folks out in cyberspace rooting for you.

    • Jane says:

      I had the same thing after 27 years of marriage. We had twin daughters together. I think you need to refer to yourself as being divorced. I know you feel like a widow though. I refer to him as my kids dad died, if I don’t want to say divorce. It just doesn’t seem to be respectful to him or anyone else. I only say positive things about him to the girls. They were 23 when he died 3 years ago. It does their minds no good to hear anything negative, and I certainly want them to handle this in the best possible way. It’s bad enough that they saw him at his worst, we don’t need to rehash it. (I know it is different with younger kids). You will just find what works for you and the kids. You may need to say something different depending on the audience. The problem is that when you get a divorce, you are expected to hate each other and voice those feelings. My ex-husbands family will no longer speak to me. They wanted the life insurance money he put in my name for the kids and me. I spent $12,000 on a funeral and a head stone. Trust me, I am not rich. I promised him I would do it so I did. I couldn’t bear thinking that he would have no money for a funeral and memorial. I decorate his grave 3 times a year with my daughters.

      Sorry I ranted here. Just know that what you are feeling is ok. You had children together. They are part of him, whether you were divorced or not. People are cruel. It has taken me three years, but I have decided his family are not worth it. I did the right thing. No matter what you say or do, they may not accept it until the day the die. OK. I’m done. I wish you all the best.

  6. says:


    • teriost says:

      Hugs to you chioloves – it is a tough time for you and your kids. Remember to be kind to yourself and ask others for what you need – you will be surprised as to how much everyone is really there for you.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi I am Tracy and perplexed about life. Hard to get over things when u spent 31 years with someone. He is dying. No idea wt to do when that happens and my new husband always asks….r u sure it’s over. Aw hell I go crazy trying to figure it pit

  7. Robyn Hass says:

    Hi, I lost my ex-husband tragically and very unexpectedly about 18 months ago. We had only been divorced about a year at the time and had an 8 year old son together. I can’t begin to describe the emotions and trauma. What struck me most, is there is nothing really out there for women like us. I’ve gotten together with a few others and we are capturing our stories in a book. It will also include some coping ideas and resources. If it is inappropriate to post this on this site, I truly apologize and hope you will remove the post. However, I haven’t found any resources whatsoever to reach out to women in our situation, and I’m hoping this book will be a start. We are still looking for a few more voluntary submissions for the book, which will be due to the editor July 30, 2012. If any of you are interested in learning more or contributing your story, please email me at robyn at

  8. Lynn says:

    I want to thank you do much for this post…. My ex-husband commited suicide 2-27-2012 and I am so sad that he is gone!! We were not on good terms when he passed. We have 2 children 13 and 10!! My anger has passed and I seem to find myself depressed over this and very edgy with my fiancé. I can’t understand why I feel so distraught about this since we have been separated for 9 years?? I feel like maybe I could of helped him if I was a little less mean to him? He told me about 6-8 mths earlier that if e every one needs to back off or he would put a end to it all….I keep laying this conversation over and over in my mind!! I’m trying to stay strong for my kids since they haven’t began to heal from this. So you have any advice to help me cope with this?? Or referrals for me? Thank you for listening, I do appreciate it 🙂

    • teriost says:

      Lynn – My apologies for not getting to you sooner. My deepest sympathies go out to you and your children. Grief is grief and we go through the stages whether we want to or not. And at our own pace. I did the same thing with my ex’s death. He died very much alone and I felt responsible for that back then. You are strong for your kids, you don’t need to “stay strong”. Express your grief, let them know that you are sad and that at one time you loved their father and that you are grateful that he gave them to you. There isn’t a lot out there on this topic. Where I live there is a Center for Living with Dying – they are fantastic. My spiritual community has a transitions group that helps with this sort of thing as well. I would suggest that you reach out somewhere in your community. You would be amazed at the support that is out there.

  9. kewlcate says:

    Thank you for your post. My ex husband died yesterday after a very long and courageous battle. Neither he nor I had remarried and remained very open with each other right until the end about our love and our relationship – which just seemed to work better when we didn’t live together. But according to everyone else, I am not supposed to have feelings about his passing. And it makes his passing all the more difficult. Yes it’s about the children and I’m thankful for the love and support they are receiving – but even that is awkward since the children live with me and no one is coming here, it’s about me bringing the children to them, me trying to get statuses, phone calls directly to the children, with no one asking me, how are you? I realize that i’m rambling a bit, and apologize for doing so, but just trying to get my feelings out, this anger at being ignored. He’s was always the go-between, the reassurance, and we had our own private universe, but now he’s gone and the world that we tried so desperately to protect is gone and I’m left with all these aliens who don’t understand and don’t care because hey, we were divorced – whatever that means. The kids understand but I’m supposed to be there for them right, not the other way around. I am invisible and will remain this way, I guess, forever.

    • Cecilia says:

      Thank you for ‘trying to get your feelings out’…my ex died today…our 10 year old daughter had a chance to build a bridge these last 2 years and I got a chance to arrive at a place of forgiveness….I don’t have words for my feelings yet.I dread the funeral and the aliens who don’t understand and don’t care…But thanks to you, I am not invisible….and nor or you…thank you for your help.

  10. teriost says:

    Your relationship with your ex is a beautiful testament to how relationships can be. You have your feelings and you are in the depths of them right now. I learned that I kept a lot of my emotions to myself and I would have been better served to confide in one trusted friend what I was feeling. It will be a tough month ahead for you and you will survive it. You and your kids are there for each other. It is okay to be vulnerable in front of them. Make yourself visible by being transparent with your feelings. Sending strength and courage your way.

    • Jean cathrine says:

      My ex diedtwo days ago and I have come to realize by reading this blogs why I am crying for a man who was a violent alcoholic. Thank you

  11. DM says:

    I am so glad that I found this site, all of your stories are very uplifting to me. My ex-husband died a few weeks ago and I am feeling overwhelmed. I have spoke with a few friends and family and they seem to understand, but I wonder if they really do. I really feel like I am in a depression mode and I don’t want to feel like this because it is so hard. I keep asking myself, why am I taking this so hard? The best reasonable answer that I came up with is, “Even though we were divorced, I believe that we are still joined together in spirit, because the Bible says til death do you part.” I believe that’s why we are grieving so hard. I know that the healing is going to come with much prayer, and I pray daily, even for his wife and family. You would think that’ it’s easier if you don’t have kids together but it’s not. I never married again but he did. We didn’t talk much even though I had his number and we got along great, I just didn’t think it was appropriate with him being married and me being a Christian. I do have one regret. Several months ago I dreamed that he died, and now I wish that I would have given him a call and maybe his death would not have been a shock to me. You see, several months ago he were diagnosed with cancer and I will always wonder if that was the same time I had my dream.

  12. Jennifer K. says:

    I’m glad I found this site. My ex-husband died on Monday (8-27-12) and I just found out on Tuesday. He was only 45 years old. Apparently he had been battling cancer for about a year and a half. I had no idea. We hadn’t spoken in over two years. We were married for 15 years and never had any children. Well, not any that made it past miscarriage anyway. I find myself immensely relieved that we didn’t have kids. I cannot even imagine how hard it is to deal with your own grief over the loss while being strong for your kids at the same time. My hat’s off to those of you who have had to tackle this. I’ve been lucky in that everyone around me, friends, family, co-workers, has been very understanding, which has helped tremendously.

    I find myself experiencing the whole gamut of emotions: anger – mostly over the same old stuff that led me to divorce him in the first place, sadness – the fact that the person that I once loved more than anything is no longer on this planet is something I’m really having a hard time with, guilt – maybe I should have tried harder to save our marriage, even denial – maybe this is all a ruse by his friends and family who just want to mess with me. I know of course, that’s not the case, but being suspicious is just part of my nature I guess. Even now, as I type this, it all still seems unreal. He would probably laugh at that and think “she’s just as paranoid as ever”.

    In the past few weeks I kept thinking I should call him just to keep in touch and see what was going on in his life. But I never did. I always thought about him in August. His birthday, our dating and our wedding anniversary all took place in August. And now his death as well. We were absolutely not on good terms and I don’t think he would have taken my call. Maybe I should have made the effort anyway. I feel like we had a lot of unresolved issues that will never get resolved now. I’m not sure how to get the closure that I feel like I need. I guess I will just work on letting all this stuff go, as what happened in the past no longer matters.

    • kewlcate says:

      Hi Jennifer, I was very touched by your post and want to let you know that as someone who experienced the same thing just a little over 30 days ago, I experienced all of the feelings that you are currently feeling. Like you, my ex’s death brought back all the issues and pain that led to our separation. Like you, I suddenly missed someone who at one point had been my best friend and in many ways, although we were no longer living as man and wife, remained my best friend. He was the one person in my life who ‘got’ me. And now he was no more. He wasn’t even around for me to talk through how upsetting it was that he was gone (I know that doesn’t make sense, but if you think about it, it sort of does). Like you, his family was no support to me and in fact made his death even more painful because of their utter disregard for my loss. Only one sister-in-law gave me some tepid support, suggesting that the family was experiencing the loss of a brother, but I was experiencing the loss of my great love and the man I had given children to.

      This past Monday, August 27th, I woke up drowning in grief. I allowed myself to cry – loudly. I missed him. I was angry at him. I was angry at God. And then afterwards, I realized that it had been 30 days. He died July 27th. The point is that at that 30 day mark, I gave myself permission to express my grief. My responsibilities to be strong and stable for my children seemed to have lessened. I no longer had to put his family’s needs over mine. I didn’t have to see the reproach and feel cowed, guilty, invisible. So I cried. And then it was over. I finally got the point of the bible verse that says, “leave the dead to bury the dead”. Charles was gone and I needed to let go of all the ‘death’ associated with him, the death to my self esteem caused by a painful divorce, the death of losing my faith in love. the death of a broken family, the death from the loss of friends, the death of stigma as a divorced wife in a sea of ‘happy families’, the death of feeling like a loser. It’s over now. And I am still alive. I can’t fix anything that went wrong before. I still miss him and still feel very sad that he died so relatively young. But he’s gone now and all of that old stuff is gone with him. I stepped out of the shadows and decided to live life.

      It will take you some time to sort out your feelings. But I wanted to encourage you, to let you know that you are not alone. That there are other people out there who know exactly how you feel and defend your right to have those feelings. You do matter. You are important. And in time, you will be able to free yourself from the guilt, the anger, the abandonment. Because you still have life. You still have opportunities to build the best life ever. We say goodbye to our loved ones and we mourn their loss. But as we lay them to rest, we should allow ourselves to live.

      I hope and pray this provides you some comfort. As you can see, there is indeed a whole community of women in your very same circumstance. Society likes to sweep divorce under the carpet. We become invisible, tarred. But really, I think that as crass as it may seen, we can perhaps look at this death as a new beginning – where we are no longer the ‘divorced’ woman, the ‘single mother’. A chapter has closed. And new ones await.

      Best of luck to you. Please accept my deepest condolences and prayers.

  13. DawnAwty says:

    I lost my ex husband in March 2012 – it was my fault that we divorced – I left him for someone else – we had two children – now the guilt I feel since he died is imnmeasurable – he died of a brain tmour aged 48years. He remarried but his wife would not let me anywhere near him towards the end – all I wanted to do was apologise properly to him for what I did, I was never given the chance. My husand now is quite a lot older than me and I cannot break down in front of him, All I am doing at the moment is looking back in the past and thinking why did I leave him and if I stayed with him maybe I could have saved him. I am trying to be strong for my two children and it was my 25 year old daughter who gave me this website because she thinks I need to deal with it/come to terms with my ex-husband’s death. Our song came on the radio the other day and tears were streaming down my face even though I was not crying so to speak, I know I have to come to terms with my ex’s death but at this moment in time I do not know how. At his funeral I was completely ignored and pushed aside which hurt, although a friend from old read the eulogy and included me which was nice. I really do not know how to deal with this, can someone please tell me how to deal with it.

    • teriosr says:

      Dear DawnAwty – My deepest sympathy to you and your chidren. It has been awhile since I have been on my own site – I hope that the shared experiences here have at the very least, let you know that you are not alone. Maybe you have been able to open up to your husband by now and let him know how confusing your emotions are. I hope that he gave you a big hug and has accepted that you are grieving. Usually local spiritual centers have grief support groups; maybe plugging into to one for a bit of time will help you move through this tough time a bit easier.

    • Dawn Awty says:

      It is coming up to a year since my ex died – i find myself more in despair than I did when he died – i am beginning to look at things from the past and thinking more and more about what could have been it is beginning to affect my marriage now – how do In put the past behind me!!!!

    • teriost says:

      Not quite how my divorce came about, but it sounds like yours caused you a lot of pain. Which I hope you have the ability to work on and work through.

  14. Jane Schroeder says:

    Ex husband’s funeral was yesterday. I paid for everything because I promised him when we divorced. We were on very good terms since the divorce and reamined that way. His family hated me for it because he left the kids and I all of the life insurance. They mostly boycotted the funeral and didn’t even send flowers. Why am I suppose to hate the man I was married to for 27 years and have 2 beautiful children? I don’t know how to morn because of my current husband. He has been great but I don’t want him to know I’m depressed. If it were the other way around I would wonder why he was reacting that way.

  15. teriosr says:

    Dear Jane – How beautiful that you and your ex-husband were able to remain amicable. That is a true blessing for your children. Grief is grief – there is no rhyme or reason. We can’t explain when or how it will strike us. You might be surprised how understanding your husband will be. As I mentioned to Dawn, in my message above, there are great support groups out there to help anyone who grieves; maybe you could drop in on a couple of sessions to see if they will work for you.

    Give your husband a big long hug. He loves you. As for your ex-husband’s family, time may or may not help. What I found being on their side of the coin, is that it is just money. Although in all honesty, it did take me awhile to get to that acceptance.

  16. ondreya says:

    My deepest sympathy to you. Thank you for writing about your experience. I too have had to put my pen to paper and write about this experience and how surreal it can feel at times.

  17. Kathy says:

    My ex-husband just died very unexpectedly 4 days ago and he was laid to rest yesterday. We have 4 wonderful children together. We were married for 11 yrs. SInce the divorce we really had not been on good terms. We spoke when we had to regarding the kids and that was it. He had re-married and had another child and divorced again and I too re-married and have been married for 7 yrs to a wonderful man.

    I am not sure how I fit in the grand scheme of things with my ex’s death. I have been there for my kids thruough this entire ordeal and shed a few tears when they cried on my shoulders and I held them. This morning I found myself breaking down in tears in the bathroom at work and as I all of sudden had this rush of emotion that was extremely overwhelming. I am glad to see I am not alone in not knowing if what I am feeling is “normal”. Ex’s are ex’s for a reason right? I am not sure if this is anger for him leaving his kids – again, saddness, guilt, or a little of everything rolled into one. My current husband is very supportive and loves the kids as his own and has been there to help every step of the way and even asked me if I was okay. I just say yeah, I am fine, and keep going. I am confused by the emotions I have right now and don’t want him to think that I don’t love him becasue I am grieving over the death of someone I cut ties with years ago.

    • teriost says:

      Kathy – It isn’t how you fit into the grand scheme of your ex’s death, it is how you fit into the grand scheme of your family’s life moving forward that is going to count the most. Your kids are going to need your strength and your vulnerability for months to come. He was the love of your life at one time; hasn’t been for quite awhile; but it doesn’t mean that those memories don’t still live on inside your soul. I am sure that the holidays were tough and you can just check them off as the continue to charge on in. Thank you for sharing your grief – it does get easier; especially if you are willing to share it with folks who love you and release it once you are done with it.

  18. Sandra Smith says:

    I am so glad you wrote this. I can truly relate to it. My ex husband of 34 years will pass tomorrow. My children, now grown, have driven to the hospital, out of state, to give their permission to end life support after his lengthy fight with cancer.
    Kathy, you aren’t alone, You wrote my feelings. I am grieving with no one to tell. My current spouse is supportive, and is helping me, but I have to do this in my own way. My emotions are bouncing all over the place right now. This is so very hard. My ex, told me that if he didn’t make it through this that he was sorry for everything, and that he loved me. We’ve been apart over 10 years now and I knew this ending would be difficult, I just didn’t realize how difficult it would be.. Thank you for letting me vent.

    • Jane Schroeder says:

      I am truly sorry for you and your children. It has been 2 months now and I still think about his death. Pictures run through my mind like a movie camera that won’t stop showing the same film. It is getting better as time goes on but I know I still have some issues. I don’t think anyone can really understand what we are going through unless they have gone through it. Therefore, we have to grieve in silence. I do speak openly with my two daughters (age 23) and that does help. In supporting them I know they understand what I am feeling. I don’t think there is anything I can say that will help other than tell you that you are not alone. Regardless of how family and friends treat you we ex-wives know what you are going through. We shouldn’t be punished for having made the best situation we could for the sake of our children. At least you know that you did the right thing. I hope you get comfort and strength from knowing that.

      • teriost says:

        Sandra & Jane – Thanks for taking the time to post. I never thought when I posted this blog a couple of years ago, that it would take on a life of its own and be a comfort to women in similiar situations as mine. I do know that time is an amazing healer; especially if you and your children are allowed to grieve. It was a tough first year for us and due to the family dynamics with my ex’s family, my children are just now thinking about re-engaging with that side of the family. (Something I thought would never happen) I am glad that you have your children and in Jane’s case, a spouse who is supportive. Love is what you need to be receiving and giving right now; the rest can just fall by the wayside. A big virtual hug to you both.

  19. Vicki says:

    My ex-husband died 12/16/2012. Suddenly and unexpectedly. We were only divorced 4 months. We were married 24 years. He raised my 3 kids from when they were 6, 4, 3. He was their Dad. Bill and I had a love you only find once in a life time. He was my friend, my lover, my best friend, my protecter, my life. I got sober 5 years and 8 months ago. He also stopped drinking but 2 1/2 years ago our lives started taking seperate turns. I was gettting healthy. He wasn’t. He kicked me out homeless and penniless. He told me he resented me because he could’nt drink any more. He wanted me back immediately. I had a condition that he stop drinking and work a program before I came back. He said there was no reason for him to quit drinking unless I came back. We never stopped loving each other. When Bill died I’ve been dying ever since. They day after Bill died I went to the house we once shared. He was keeping all my stuff there since I had nowhere to take it yet. When I got there, his sister and her boyfriend were already in my house going through things. We had both informed the police to meet us at the house. When I got there her rage was so strong she verbally beat me up and then her boyfriend came at me physically. When I was going to push him away she came at me with a closed fist. I wasn’t trying to fight. I was crying so hard for the loss of Bill. I was told I had no rights to anything in the house since we were divorced and only his son was next of kin. I walked out defeated and almost collapsing from my grief. I stayed away as I was instructed. His son allowed us to come to the funeral home the day of the service for 30 minutes than we had to be off the property before anyone arrived for the service. Our 3 kids and 4 grandkids, and myself were not given the opportunity to even say goodbye. After the sudden death of Bill, very little support from my family and pure hatred coming from his family it’s been almost impossible to make sense of any of this. I always had hope that maybe one day he would get help and we would be back together. Now there is nothing left. Pain and memories. You’re right, people don’t understand that just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you didn’t love that person. People don’t understand it’s been two weeks and my pain just gets deeper. I’ve never felt more alone, scared and helpless in my life. Even though Bill and I didn’t live together it always brought me comfort knowing he was just a phone call away and about 30 miles away, He was my he was my husband, the love of my life and always will be.

    • teriost says:

      Vicki – I am so sorry for your family’s loss. You are so fresh into this, your grief is raw in your words. May I suggest that you and your children find an informal way to celebrate Bill’s life, just your nuclear family. Focus not on what is happening with the rest of the family, but with your own core. Allowing yourselves to gather and remember is definitely a healing step in the grieving process. From your post, I see strength in your personal convictions, this strength will help you through the days of deep grieving and inspire your family as well. I am happy that you had the opportunity to spend time with the man who was the love of your life; what a great thing! Hugs to you and your family.

      • Vicki says:

        Thank you so much teriost. I love your idea of having an informal celebration of Bill’s life. I tried on Christmas Eve but it was too soon for everyone. I have had the task of going through the entire house we once shared and packing everything and leaving so many things behind. My daughter has helped me some but the majority has been me. Every day I go back and every room I finish, it gets harder and harder. I keep thinking I’m close to being done but there is still so much. The landlord is putting pressure on me because he wants to get the place rented. He is in Mexico sailing the ocean all winter but wants to get his sister in to clean. I just need a few more days. Once I’m done and never going back do you think that will help with some closure. I seem do pretty good when I’m with someone or on the phone. But when I’m alone the tears just don’t stop. I keep telling myself, a year from now the pain won’t be as bad. For waht ever reason, the more days pass it seems like the pain is deeper. Thank you for caring Teriost. Vicki

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  20. Janet says:

    My ex-husband, who had been struggling with COPD, emphasema and lung cancer, died 12/23/12. We were married for 10 years and have been divorced for 31. He had a jeckle/hyde personality and the marriage was not a good one but we have two wonderful adult children. We had remained in cordial but reserved contact over the last 3 years as my son was the one my ex relied on for support and assistance as his health was failing.

    The celebration of life was just last night. I wrote the obituary and I helped my children round up photos to share with friends. I also attended the celebration primarily as support for my son and for my daughter who came in from out of state. The celebration was attended by over 100 people; many old friends and acquaintences.

    I too find myself experiencing waves of emotion but have no one to talk with about these feelings. Thank you for posting this. It is good to know that what I am experiencing is not unusual. I may write more later just as an emotional outlet.

    • teriost says:

      Janet – I am pleased to read that you were part of the celebration of your ex’s life. It is a bit hokey, but when you can close that circle of life; it is painful, but it makes moving forward that much easier. Thanks for posting and sharing your experience!

  21. Sheila says:

    My ex died suddenly in November 2012,. I was shocked at how his passing affected me, I was inconsol able and devsasted. I supported my three children and was there to babysit the grandchildren and help as best I could, my son and he had not spoke for 18 months and my younger daughter had just started taking to him after a 6 month gap. I found it so hard to not say ‘how about me I am hurting too’ I felt excluded and vulnerable. His family said I could attend the church but not the burial and reception afterwards. The marriage break up was not my fault and I left to shield the children and his family knew that. Everyone was suddenly talking about what a great father he was and a wonderful person, yet he had caused us all so much pain.

    • teriost says:

      Sheila – Your children appreciate your help with their kids and the fact that you are there for them. Try to find someone who cares about you outside of this circle and confide in them, cry with them, be angry in their presence. Having an outlet for grief is so very important. I am sorry that you are hurting; take good care of yourself.

    • Jane Schroeder says:

      It is what we do when with our deceased eulogy but I know exactly what you mean. It is like the deceased has become a saint which is fine, but there is no acknowledgement of all the pain and anguish he caused in your marriage. Your the ex so you have to sit through the entire funeral whith his family and friends giving you the evil eye. I am still going through this grief. I even wrote the eulogy and paid for the funeral since there wasn’t anyone in his so called loving caring family who would do it. Everything I said about him was nice, but my daughters and I still know what went on behind closed doors. They were just all pissed off because he left me all of the insurance money. Where the heck were they when he was in the nursing home parilized for 19 months? I am still so angry and hurt over this. I sit and cry and sometimes have little interest in even getting dressed in the morning.

      Sorry for dumping on you but, please know you are not alone in how you are being treated and what you are experiencing. God bless you! He is the one who really knows the entire story.

  22. Marie says:

    My ex-husband was murdered two weeks ago by the woman he married 6 weeks after we divorced. He is the father of my daughter, and we have been divorced 24 years. Like others, I wrote the eulogy and paid for the funeral, since there was no one else stepping up. I did it for my daughter and grandsons. I am amazed at the grief that I am experiencing. Anger and heart-wrenching pain has snuck up on me almost every night. I went through all our old photos and put the slide show together. I certainly identify with what Sheila posted. I was his second wife and his first wife attended the funeral also. We did get support from his friends and family. But we have a long legal process to navigate before we all have closure. I know I am reliving my not-so-happy years with him, and also thinking about what could have been, if we had been wiser as young marrieds. We were married for 15 years. He did not deserve to die.

    • teriost says:

      Marie – I have read your post a number of times and each time I attempt respond, words just fail me. My heart goes out to you and your daughter and everyone who loved your ex-husband. It sounds as if you are moving through this tragedy with as much grace and dignity that a woman can muster. Your daughter is blessed to have such a role model. Please remember to allow yourself safe passage through this tragic time. {{Hugs}}

    • Marie says:

      Thank you for this blog. I think we each seek it out in our period of shock, grief and aloneness. It has been almost two months and I have found peace. We have a long period of waiting for the legal system to find justice in this situation. I do not want to allow what the murderess did to rob me of my present joy in my life. It sure helped to know that other women go through the same experience of emotions.

    • jane says:

      Marie I am so sorry for what has happened in your life. I can relate to the pain you are experiencing. Not getting any support from his family was bad enough but they didn’t have to treat my 23 year old daughters the same way. We all had such a good relationship with his Aunt and cousins. I still was invited to the family reunions. His lady friend was one of the most supporting of the girls and I. (Go figure!) She said she never knew a man who loved his children as much as my ex did. I also paid for funeral and all expenses. The funeral was almost totally boycotted by his family and the few that were there didn’t offer condolences. It was strange how MY aunts, uncles, cousins, friends showed up. His so called loving family stayed home.
      Now I need to stop talking about myself. You will go through the anger and pain. It seems to switch back and forth for me. Guilt is also a big part of the emotions you will have. When you start going through pictures of the good days you will smile and remember fondly. You will cry and be depressed. Then you will get kind of angry because you can’t really share with anyone. Especially if you are remarried. You will get angry that he died and left you with this mess instead of making better decisions (or in my case taking care of his health.) Bud has been gone since October 3rd and it still makes me cry even writing this to you. I also know that the manner of his death is something devistating that I have not had to deal with. It will get better. I am in counseling and it is helping. I didn’t want to go because it was like “here we go again, counseling like I haven’t done enough in my lifetime.” Keep in touch and know that you are not alone.

      • jane says:

        I just realized you said he shot himself. I also had a suicide in our family but it was my brothers wife. I will write more about this later. It is a whole different cross to carry. Don’t let yourself get to the point you are so depressed you can’t function. Ask for help from friends, counselors, clergy,family, or anyone else. The funeral ends but your grief continues. Sometimes everyone else forgets that you still need them.

  23. Sadie says:

    It has been 3 days since my ex-fiancé shot himself. I struggled to get myself together and be able to tell our 12 year old daughter that he was gone. We made it through that very hard step, albeit without details. She has not been really expressing her grief yet. She’s trying to stay busy and it just hasn’t had time to sink in.

    I, on the other hand, am struggling to keep it all together. I’m angry more than anything. No matter his reasons for doing it, I’m angry! I’m angry at him for choosing to leave our daughter like this. I’m angry at his fiancé, her adult children, and her family who’ve barely acknowledged my daughter, HIS daughter, in these days. It has turned into something all about the new fiancé and his life with her (since he’d basically distanced himself from all his family in the years they’ve been together). I feel invisible and helpless. I just don’t want my daughter ignored through this process. She needs us all.

    I’m re-married and my husband is trying to be understanding of my feelings, but he’s frustrated. He says I have to get my mind off of this….I need to get out of the house….no matter where I am or what I’m doing, this is all I think about. How I will help my daughter in the days ahead. How I will one day explain what her father did. How I’ll help her on her graduation, her wedding day, the birth of her first child, etc without her father. I’m angry. I’m angry that he didn’t think about her. He didn’t think about anyone.

    I know the psychology of depression. I know he probably felt we were all better off without him. But he had to know. He knew how vulnerable his daughter was right now. We’d discussed it just a couple of weeks before. He was worried about her. So how could he just leave her like that?

    I’m going to be seeking counseling. And she will be also. I’ll be dealing with my anger and my sadness. I’ll deal with the confusion and frustration. And I’ll help my daughter do the same.

    • teriost says:

      Sadie – My situation was similar to yours, but I can only empathize with what you are going through. I am glad that counseling is on the horizon for both you and your daughter. Grief has its own time and cadence; don’t rush through anything, be kind to yourself; take guidance from those who love you and be sure to state what you need in the moment. All platitudes, I know, but there is truth in them as well. We will never know what demons haunted them that would make them choose the actions that they did; take care of yourself and your beautiful daughter.

  24. Marie says:

    Thank you for this website. I just returned from meeting with a grief counselor about the new territory many of us find ourselves lost in. My situation is endlessly complicated, though no sadder than what many of you have experienced. To make the long story short, 18 months ago my husband was diagnosed with early onset dementia, I had already spent a decade caring for him as heart and liver failure, and later Parkinson’s disease destroyed his health. He was deteriorating quickly and I was stressed out of my mind, but I thought love would carry us through it all. 8 months later,(April 2012) on the day my mother was unexpectedly diagnosed with terminal cancer, his brother helped him file for divorce. I was blindsided by both events. My mother died 3 weeks later and the divorce was final 3 months after that. He continued to call me regularly and called me honey and sweetie and occasionally told me he loved me. His mental state varied with every call, and I cried after hanging up every time. Neither I nor our friends felt he really understood what he was doing, and I never felt we were ex spouses. My husband told me he was “just doing what he was told” by his brother. After a last intense 2 wk battle for life,he died a few nights ago, and I am stunned at the depth of my pain. For the first hours I tried to pretend I wasn’t hurting like a spouse, but realized it was ok to grieve openly and allow my pain to show. My family supported me and accompanied me to the funeral and several of his family’s friends offered their condolences as though we were still married, as did the priest who conducted the service. It was immensely helpful to me for them to recognize my grief as a spouse and not an ex. I know that I have been lucky in that regard and no one in my circle of close friends or family have denied me that recognition.
    Like others who have written here, I grieve for what was and what could have been. I am forever sad about what never was. I will miss the man I loved, and am forever changed.
    I am not a practicing catholic and barely know our parish priest, but when I told him I had not felt like an ex wife to my husband, he offered some words of wisdom. Whatever you feel is right, he said. Papers and courts have no power or influence over things of the heart. It doesn’t matter what a document says the relationship should be, the heart and soul speak the truth. I hope that the growing number of ex spouses that find themselves in our position help change the way our society perceives us. I also hope that grief, as an ongoing journey, is honored and respected, and given more attention than it currently seem to garner.

    • teriost says:

      Marie – Thank you for such wisdom! My sympathy goes out to you regarding all of your experiences; it sounds as if you are surrounded by much love and light. So even when a dark day appears, you will be able to reach out to someone for support. Best of luck as you move forward through all of this…

    • Jane says:

      I can’t believe the court even allowed the divorce when he was so sick and under narcotics for pain. His brother brainwashed him. Your priest is wise and it helped me reading it. I’m sorry for all you have been through.

  25. Delia says:

    Hi all, I too am in a similar situation, my ex passed away 12 months ago and we had a 7 and 13 year old together. His family were never active in our life, In fact when I reached out for them to help him my pleas were ignored. Anyway my husband has adult children, who I am not close with and in my fact my youngest barely knew them prior to their fathers passing. I have a new partner and baby on the way, but just wondering whether I should be arranging contact? I have told my eldest that he can meet up with them and when I ask he says he’s not really interested!

    • Jane says:

      My experience is to not reach out to his family and the half siblings. I don’t know how close you are geographically. We were 400 miles away so it mad it easier and my step kids were adults before they visited. Once ex was on death bed it turned into a three ring circus. Focus on you own life as it is a wonderful time in your life . It is not your job to be the peace maker. You will probably pay the price some how. At the time of ex’s death they were in their 30’s and 40’s. They were out of his life for decades. They only came back to see if they were getting any money.
      Just my opinion from my experience. Not worth the trouble so don’t take away from your own beautiful family.

      • Delia says:

        Thanks Jane, Asked my older son if he wanted contact shortly after my post and he wasn’t at all interested. We passed through the town where the live over the weekend and again no mention of them. I have finally put myself, the kids and the soon to arrive new bub first and feel that they are almost 30 years only 8 years younger than myself and they can are adults off doing their own thing. Life is so much simple without them which is sad bu there always seems to be drama when they are around. Thanks for the post.

  26. teriost says:

    First and foremost, Delia – congratulations on your new baby, what joy! My children have chosen to remain distant from my ex’s family (they are 10 years older than yours); I occasionally bring it up and let it drop if they resist. Just recently, my youngest expressed interest in reaching out to his grandmother and I helped facilitate that contact. If your chidren want contact, let their half-siblings know. Also, let them know that this isn’t about you but about their younger siblings. It is up to them, hopefully not only are they adults, but also mature! Best of luck in all things!

  27. pinghana says:

    tonite, my ex husband is very much dying. He was diagnosed with cancer 1 month ago, reacted badly to chemo and, already, had to face a choice between surgery (to maybe get 1 more month of life) or no-surgery/pain meds (to maybe get up to 2 days more life). we had been married 8 years; divorced about 30 years. I thought I cared no more for him until these most recent events, and now I find that I’m perplexed by my own emotions. Upon hearing of his surgery tonite, from my daughter, I immediately headed over to the hospital to be with her (and numerous other friends/his family)…Because I knew many of his family were there, I kept wondering during the whole trip “what am I doing?” Thankfully, the current wife and ex-family members were exceedingly warm to me when I arrived…but I declined to see him post-operative in ICU (although I appreciated the offer). My reason: I was actually afraid of startling him by being there because we have not kept in touch (other than for grand-daughter b’day parties). I am so grateful to have found this site, now that I’m back home, as it’s helping me to believe that I’m not completely wacko. He was the only man I ever married, and the father of my only child. I also greatly respect much of what he achieved in life, although I’ve never had an opportunity to tell him that. The next few days are going to be touch and go, in many ways. Anyway, thanks to all who have shared on this site. So helpful during this surprisingly rough time.

    • Jane says:

      I’m sorry you are going through this painful time. We were married 27 years and been divorced for 5. I remarried but he didn’t. We have two girls age 23. He had a strok 2 years ago and was paralyzed on left side in the nursing home. Also diabetes, hiatal hernia, severe lower gi bleed. He finally decided to give up and go to hospice. He had not seen his kids from his 1st marriage more than 5 times in over 30 years. They showed up at the hospital and his oldest daughter pushed my kids away because SHE was the oldest and could make all the decisions since he was in coma. Fast forward….they wanted the insurance money he left the girls and I in the divorce. We were on very good terms and I know he still loved me. His other kids never came back to see him for 18 months in the nursing home. I (the wicked ex wife) paid for the funeral. Only one of his kids came to the funeral.
      I cried so hard and still do at times. I did keep it together at the funeral though. His funeral was boycotted by about all his family. Even 4 of his siblings. Supposedly I wanted to pull the plug on him to get ins. money.

      All I can tell you that many of us here are totally shocked about our emotions. I have had grief, crying spells (in private of course) anger (because he didn’t take care of his health and took out all of his frustrations on us). I am deeply hurt that my daughters go out to his grave stone to visit their dad. If he had taken care of his diabetes he would still be alive. I am angry that his family actually believes that I would take someones life for money. I am angry, sad, hurt, depressed. The good part is that it will get better. You will have good days and bad. You will have times when you are doing well and then burst out into tears. The ex-wife is not allowed to greive in many peoples eyes. We had more good memories than bad, I just couldn’t take the verbal abuse any more.

      I would suggest counseling. I resisted for 2 years but am doing it now. It is totally normal for you to be feeling this way. You just don’t know how many ex wives are in the same situation because we are suppose to hate each other. After all, we got a divorce. Take comfort that you do have other people who know what you are going through and totally understand. Your feelings are totally normal. It will get better as time goes on. I hope your peace comes sooner than mine. But it will come.

  28. LALI says:

    I am so thankfull that I found this website becuase I was able to release what was building up inside. My ex-husband died last week Thursday and I have been on an emotional roller coster since. Most of all feeling very confused about all the feelings that are bubbling inside. The worst part is that he was murdered in Colombia, South America and my daughter or I didn’t make the funeral. I visited Colombia twice but couldn’t deal with the stress of the money being spent on traveling to see him, his cheating and raising four children on my own. I started a relationship with my now current husband trying to forget about how much I loved my ex-husband becuase of his cheating I didn’t want to continue to get hurt. I filed for divorce and it was final in 2006. We had one daughter together the other kids were not his but he cared for them like they were his own. Sweet and bad memories fill my mind as he was the first man I ever lived with and I was the first woman he lived with and we shared many memories together. I also feel anger becuase he was murdered and I will never be able to ask him questions that I wanted to ask him. Then the guilty feeling for not doing things differently…. Maybe I could have done something to stop it. He always told my daughter that he loved me and missed us. I keep asking the Lord to heal quickly and give me peace becuase I don’t want to have these feelings forever.

  29. eileen says:

    I left my husband and he had wanted a divorce. He died a year later and we were still married. I felt devastated by his death and also like a fraud in mourning his death. I loved him then and now. It‘s been 4 years I was not a part of the funeral service. Now I am having a memorial service on the anniversary of his death because I need to grieve and move on too.

  30. Tabitha says:

    Thank you for this article and sharing your story. my ex husband passed away yesterday after a year long battle with cancer. We were married 5 years and have been divorced for almost 8. We have 8 year old twins. He left when they were 2 weeks old. That was the most difficult year of my life. This one might be the next. We both remarried, had a regular schedule and his wife has been amazing with my children. I was ready for their grief. I was prepared to help them mourn the loss of their father and encourage the continued relationship with their step mother. I was not prepared for the pain I’m experiencing. The uncontrolling sobbing when I look back at photographs or think that I can’t text him a silly photo of our kids again. I wasn’t ready for this. I’m also very hurt that no-one else seemed to think I’d feel this way either. Every single condolence had been for the kids. I don’t expect a casserole or anything ( although it would be nice). But when I read ” sending our thoughts and prayers to his wife and children…” its painful that 1. I think they assume my children are her children or 2. Im insignificant.
    Because my kids are only 8 I will be sitting up front with them at the funeral and going where ever they are asked to go. I hope I can keep these tears in check at the funeral. I don’t want to pull a Cher. 🙂

  31. Monique says:

    My ex-husband passed away suddenly last summer. We had two children together and had split up in 1998. He remarried a couple of years later and had two children with his wife. I also remarried a wonderful man with whom I live a blessed life. His passing has been one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through. Only someone who has been through a situation such as this one can truly understand. It is a very lonely place to be. But I am so thankful to have been included in everything after his passing. I was welcomed into my ex-husband’s home in the days after he passed, family pictures with him, my children and myself were shown at the wake, and I was asked to sit with the family at the funeral. I was also asked to attend his burial a couple of months later. My life with him was aknowledged, and for that I am so grateful to his wife. My ex-husband and I had some difficult times when we were married, and afterwards. But about four years ago, we made peace and once again found the respect we had once had for one another. Yet I still struggle so much. It’s a process that is going to take a long while. I know this. I once loved this man very much, and we shared two beautiful children. I wish I had said certain things to him. I wish we had made peace a long time before we did. I wish I could tell him that I am sorry for my part in the demise of the marriage and for my part in the animosity afterwards. I wish I could tell him I learned so much from him. I wish I could tell him that he was right about certain things. I wish I could tell him that I was happy that he found happiness again. I wish I could tell him that I always cared. I wish I could tell him how proud I am of our two beautiful children we created together. I wish I could tell him that he will be forever in my heart.

    • pinghana says:

      Hi Monique,
      You wrote such beautiful sentiments, and I thank you because I found great comfort in your words. I wrote on this board on April 2: at that time my ex had undergone the surgery that was to have bought him another month of life. Throughout the following weeks, I hear he maintained a fighting spirit…he never fully believed that the surgery was just borrowed time. The complications were horrendous, and my daughter was there with her stepmom and step–sister, almost 24/7 by his side. He finally died on 4/25 at 4:45 a.m.: she text’d me almost immediately, but I didn’t see it til ~6:30 when I got up to go to work. Perhaps needlessly to say, I didn’t go to work, but I did experience wrenching grief despite knowing it was going to happen. Like you, I wished I could have said so much to him, but I was not invited to stand alongside his current wife for even 5 minutes. (The warmth she showed in front of the family, as I’d documented previously, evaporated during the more ‘real’ private opportunities). As you can imagine, these past 4 days have been exceedingly lonely as I continue to hear about all the arrangements that include so many people that I’ve known for 40 years, yet I’m not included. However, my company sent me a huge floral arrangement, knowing full well that he was my ex, and referring lovingly to themselves as my family. If it were not for that, I would have felt completely airbrushed out.
      I have been journalling a great deal, which seems to help. I’m looking forward to returning to work tomorrow to be with the people who have reached out to my me and made a difference during this awful ordeal.
      My daughter will need me to be strong because the family dynamics are anticipated to change quite a bit, at her dad’s house, without him to ‘buffer’ the relationship between herself and the step family. There’s a lot behind this…it’s a very real concern.
      Thanks again for your lovely testimonial.

      • Monique says:

        Dear Pinhana,

        I so understand you.
        After I posted last night I thought about something I so regretted not telling him. I wish I had told him how proud I always was of him. He accomplished so much in his all too short life. And lo and behold this is something you wished you had told your ex-husband also.
        It’s strange because I’ve had this site in my favourites on my computer for a while, but something compelled me to finally write last night. I’ve wanted to put things to paper for a long time now, but I just couldn’t. It was just too much for me and I wasn’t ready. Somehow I started writing last night and was able to express some of my feelings.
        I am extremely close to my children, always have been, but for the first five months after he passed, they retreated. There were no arguments or disagreements of any kind. They just spent all of their time and energy with his wife and their little sisters. And they leaned on each other of course. Logically, psychologically and intellectually, I completely understood all of this. I understood that they felt closer to him by being with his family, in his home. That they took their role as big sister and big brother to heart, and that they wanted to support his wife in any way they could. And I was extremely proud of them for this. This is where they belonged. But it was still so difficult on my emotions. My husband would tell me this it what they needed at that time, and that they would “come back” to me when they were ready. That this was part of their grieving process. I honestly knew all this, but it tore me up nonetheless. I felt so alone with my grief, and I couldn’t express it to them. They had enough on their plates. I felt overwhelmed with worry about my kids, but had to stand back and let them be. I reached a point where I had to get away. My husband and I went away for a week at XMAS, something I had never done. It was the best decision for me. It enabled me to escape even for just a week. The kids started “coming back” to me in January, and things are back to what they always were and we’re as close as ever. They are still grieving and hurting of course, but they are not closed off at all anymore. I was able to let them know that it’s been difficult for me, and they understand. All this to say, your children may go through many emotions, so don’t be surprised or worry if or when they do. We all grieve in our own way, at our own pace.
        This has been one of the most painful experiences of my life, but I finally had somewhat of a breakthrough this past weekend. It is one that relates to what you said about hearing about the arrangements being made with people you’ve known for over forty years. I’ve written enough for tonight, but I’ll share another time if you want to hear about it. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself.

      • Monique says:

        Sorry I got your name wrong in my last post, Pinghana.

  32. Rachel says:

    This is a nice resource. I too lost my ex a couple weeks ago at the age of 47. I was not and still am not prepared for the intense emotional response I’ve had. I am grateful that I had no problems with my former in-laws or the new wife. Maybe they knew there was no stopping me from supporting my son through the loss of his father.

    I had a week lead time and was able to talk to and support my son through the decision of pulling the plug. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I called my mom and sobbed some more. I was stunned at my reaction. We hadn’t spoken in 6 years! I thought I felt nothing for him as it had been 12 years since our divorce. The things I have figured out:

    1. I left that State a single parent and returned a sole parent. That is such a heavy burden to bear. Whatever my feelings about his parenting, he was a person for my son to turn to if needed. Our child is 22 but it is still a deep scar in my heart.

    2. I mourn the loss of our future grandchildren never having the chance to know him.

    3. I deserved to sit in that front pew and cry as I did. The slide show they presented was dominated by our 17 years together. I was not a “bIip” in his life. Divorce didn’t erase those years.

    4. I have every right to feel grief. Nobody has the right to tell me differently. There are many memories, good, bad or indifferent. They are MY memories and no amount of societal pressure will rob me of those.

    5. The sudden tears that blindside me are for my healing. I refuse to wallow in anger or relive the bad. I mourned the death of our relationship long ago. I now mourn the man I married and with whom I had a child. I am allowed. I am ok. It is ok.

    That is where I am at two weeks after his death. More will come and I’ll continue through the grieving process. I will heal.

  33. Monique says:

    Dear Rachel,

    I cannot tell you what your words have meant to me. You have expressed what I have been feeling for months, exactly, but have not been able to describe or convey to anyone. Your thoughts have made a difference in my life. Thank you so very much.


    • Rachel says:

      I’m so glad my words helped. It helps to express these feelings. I choose not to spend my energy on the “things” or relationships that are strained. It is more vital to me now to experience the grief, honor my memories and help my son through the challenges of the next year.

  34. Melissa says:

    Two years ago, my ex-husband passed away suddenly, but not unexpectedly, as he had a myriad of health and substance abuse problems.
    Before I filed for divorce nine years ago, he had become quite kooky and irrational, I suspect due to the above-mentioned conditions that he suffered from and refused to treat. It was really painful to see him mentally and physically disintegrate. When I finally filed for divorce he turned vicious, and turned the divorce proceedings into a three ring circus and legal nightmare that lasted two years. He also lobbied his daughter and step daughter to take sides. This was an especially painful experience: to this day, my youngest daughter, his biological child, refuses to speak to me.
    When my ex died, he died in his bed. Our daughter found him; at the time she was almost 24 years old. To this day she blames me for his death. Even though I know that this is not true, it still really hurts. I pray that someday our relationship will heal. If it does, it will take a long, long time.
    That said, when he was younger, before his mental and physical state deteriorated, he was a very kind, generous, gentle, sweet person, and I will always remember him that way. I really loved him, and still do, despite what happened.
    I wish that I could have said goodbye to him before he passed, that is one of the hardest things that I have had to deal with. A couple of weeks ago I had a dream where he appeared to me. I ran toward him and hugged him. He started to cry; I then woke up.
    I sincerely hope that he out there in a wonderful, safe space – surrounded by friends and family, and, hopefully, there with Jerry dancing to Dead tunes – rest in peace, Bob.

  35. Sue says:

    It will be one year on August 4th since my boy’s dad was taken in a whitewater rafting accident. They are only 9 and 10 years old now, and often I think they are handling his death better then I am. We were married for 6 years and divorced for 4 years, but we raised the boys together. His family never liked me, and only tolerates me to see the boys. The funeral was very lonely for me and I can appreciate the comments of others here.

    Reflecting back on the first year of his death, I have learned not to apologize for my sadness and I have the right to grieve as much as anyone. There is no shame in loving someone you use to be married to. Love is patient, love is kind and love never ends. I am sure my ex-spouse in heaven feels the same….. and so does yours!

    • Tabitha says:

      My son is a miniature version of his father. One of my biggest struggles that even with my husband (their step-father since before age 2), their step-mother and the rest of our family I often think to myself that the one person in this world who really understood my strangely brilliant, impulsive, and overly energetic child is dead. My heart is broken for my son’s loss and mine is broken because his father won’t be there to help me through all the stages of his development with a real know-how on how “that kid’s wheels are turning” as he’d always say.

  36. colleen says:

    Your story hit real close to home and could have been me writing it too. I am still struggling with my grief over my ex-husband even though it’s been almost a year now since he passed away. I struggle with everything from guilt to grief and some days I can’t believe he is gone. To me marriage was forever even if he was abusive and doing drugs. We were just teenagers when we married. The guilt comes from the fact that during 20yrs of marriage he had left my boys and me for the third time and refused to come back home or talk to me so I filed for divorce. I then cried and cried and tried for a year and half to get him to come back to us before the divorce was final prior to our 22nd anniv. Things were real bad and we didn’t talk much at all. I happily am remarried now for 6 yrs. In 2010 his attitude and drinking causes my oldest son to cut ties with him. In 2011 we find out he is sick and I tell my son life is too short you need to fix the relationship with your dad. By early 2012 while living in a different state I get a call from my youngest son ‘Mom dad’s in the hospital he wants you to come… I said are you sure?? His dad got on the phone he was very scared and worried he said “I need you you’re the only one I can count on Please come… although he had our sons and his family there with him….he needed me. There was never a second thought what I would do and in his heart he knew I would be there. This was a scared man who now needed relationship restoration, peace and forgiveness. I wasn’t the type of person to deny this after all he was once my childhood friend, my husband and father of our 2 boys. It was important for my boys to see us come together in harmony peace and forgiveness before he passed away. I also needed this healing for me but also did it for my boys and their dad. My husband although not easy understood why I needed to go and even offered to drive me the next day.
    During the 9 months I scheduled and took him to his treatments and became his spokesperson when he lost his voice due to weakness. One day at the hosp he was too weak to sign his name so I had to..The nurse asked who I was and he replied “she’s my very best friend”..WHAT during 20 yrs of marriage he had never said that to me WHY NOW…I was dealing with so many emotions and had questions that never got answered during the divorce because he refused to talk to me..And now he’s too sick. It was not easy doing what I was doing but it was needed…Bitterness will only destroy you. Through his Illness he found renewed salvation and through his illness God brought forgiveness and peace to our family.
    I had to plan his entire funeral with little help from my boys( they tried but would just say mom can you do it please) and none from his family.. I wrote the obituary too. I made sure I followed through with what he had asked of me …It was such an emotionally hard place to be. My husband was my rock and strength at this time even though I know it was hard for him. At one time early on in my ex’s illness he left a message saying thank you for all your doing and then he also said please Thank your husband too.
    The Minister didn’t follow through with some of the things we requested he say in the service…afterward when he was confronted he told my son I went overboard it was because he felt by doing what I did in helping his Dad I had committed adultery against my husband. He basically ruined the service we had planned due to his views. This was my boys father.
    Today I am still more in love with my husband than ever he has always given what my ex never did…but with that said I still struggle with grief and painful memories of someone I had once loved and had hoped to be with forever. Those last months with him were so hard and brought out so many emotions that yes it’s like reliving some of the things you tried to forget. I don’t regret doing it and would do it again.

  37. colleen says:

    as most of you have said, Yes it was a lonely time at the funeral and a few people said some mean things to me there. my boys would get condolence cards from our friends and people would ask how they were…Yet noone asked me because I was the Ex..Yet this Ex who has no more marital connection which is why your supposedly not asking how I am is the one having to plan her Ex’s funeral. I wanted to scream this isn’t easy …

  38. DL says:

    Thank you so much for this posting and all the discussions. I thought there was something wrong with me for grieving so much!! I cry every day/night. I relive when I first met him and through the years we were together. At times, our teenage son and I will be talking and I immediately start crying…why? My son reminds me so much of him!!!

    • Tabitha says:

      sorry about posting this twice. It was meant as a reply to DL,
      My son is a miniature version of his father. One of my biggest struggles that even with my husband (their step-father since before age 2), their step-mother and the rest of our family I often think to myself that the one person in this world who really understood my strangely brilliant, impulsive, and overly energetic child is dead. My heart is broken for my son’s loss and mine is broken because his father won’t be there to help me through all the stages of his development with a real know-how on how “that kid’s wheels are turning” as he’d always say.

  39. Jess says:

    I am so glad I found this page. My ex and I were together for 9 years, married for 5 of that, we divorced 5 years ago. 4 months ago he was killed instantly in a motorcycle v car accident and I’ve only just let myself feel that pain truly in the last couple of days. Our daughter is 7 and he was such a “present” father. It would have been so easy if he was a dead beat MIA dad, but he wasn’t. He had our daughter for dinner every second night and had her every second weekend. She is at that age where she gets it, but doesn’t really get it. She has meltdowns on occasion which are so damn hard to witness. As a parent we constantly question our own actions and decisions, but in this circumstance, we fear that if we screw this up it will scar the child for life.

    I have held back most of my emotions, being strong for her and for his family who I am still very close to. I didn’t know where I fit, what I was. I’m not a widow, I’m not even a single mum, I’m the sole parent of a single parent child who adored her daddy more than anything. She is seeing a psychologist, as am I, but neither of us are very good at expressing negative emotion.

    He was one of my best mates. Sure we went through tough times, but for the sake of our daughter, we got back to having a fantastic relationship.

    I first searched and found this site as I was looking for how to explain what I am feeling to my current partner. He is very supportive but doesn’t understand what I am going through. I loved my ex, as a brother, we would talk for hours on end when we exchanged our daughter, talking about everything from dating, to health, to family and about life in general. Exchanging photos and videos of our daughter and sharing parental moments. He was the person i called when she was being difficult, and although i know i can call on others in my life for that kind if assistance, it’s just not the same. That’s not taking it away from those who are trying to help, but how the hell do you articulate something like that? My partner can’t possibly understand that as he hasn’t experienced it, and I sure as hell hope he never has to. What I’m feeling is scary, physically debilitating, confusing and it hurts like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and I hope he never has to feel the way I feel.

    I have learnt from all of your experiences that I am not morning a loss of a lover, but of everything else he was to me. To us. I couldn’t go to work these last few days, getting so anxious. I feel unsociable (very unlike me) and don’t want to face anyone. So google was my friend and led me here. Thank you to everyone for expressing your experiences. We are all normal, abnormally normal, as it may seem, but what we are feeling cannot be taken away from us and should not be questioned. Just because they are the ex, doesn’t mean they are the enemy, and won’t take away that part that hurts with every breath, as that part is the part that loved them completely at some stage and will remain to forever.

  40. Debbie says:

    I am so glad I stumbled unto this site. Exact three months ago my ex husband of passed from a battle with cancer. We were married for 13 years and divorced for 6. I knew he had come out of remission but I was led to believe he was getting better by our teenage son, whom at the time I did not know he was in denial of the state of his father’s deteriorating health. My son even rode home in the ambulance after the hospital told the family he was dying. But he never told me, I just found out from my oldest daughter via his aunt that he was asking for me until the day he died. Because I thought he was getting better I did not go to visit and no one ever told me he wanted to see me including our son. His family thought I just didn’t want to come see him on his death bed so there was no mention of me nor his step children her raised in the obituary. How do I deal with this sudden revelation. My current husband was initially supportive, but now he doesn’t want to hear anything related to the death of my ex. I grieved when he passed , but now that I know he was asking for me on his death bed and I wasn’t there it feels like an entirely different kind of pain.

  41. Monique says:

    Yesterday was the year anniversary of my ex-husband’s sudden passing at the age of 51. We were together for twenty years, and he was in my life, good, bad and indifferent, for 32 years. I wrote to him today, and I just needed to share with women who understand.

    “I miss you. You were simply family. I miss knowing you’re there for our children. You and I will never again share, as their parents, our children’s lives. And this is so difficult for me.

    I will never get used to the idea that something took you at such a young age. I will never get used to the idea that you’re not here anymore. A world without you in it is just not right.

    No one walks this earth without flaws. And you and I came to understand this of one another. We forgave, and I’m eternally grateful for this.

    Most of all, I thank you for the gift of our children. For this, there are just no words.

    I will always honour your memory, the memory of the man and the father to our children.

    You are forever in my heart.”

  42. pgurl says:

    My ex passed almost 2 mths ago June 27th. Since 2005, he had some health issues but nothing that he revealed to be fatal. I know the kids miss him terribly, esp my 16 yr old who spent the most time with him. For me its a different pain, We met in June 1986, married in Aug 1995, and divorced March 2011. He was my 1st real love. I’d dated before him but fell hopelessly in love and there hasn’t been any other since. Although we grew apart, we still had strong chemistry and the kids that kept us in constant communication, whether it was in war or in peace. The past yr had proven to be a better yr between us after the divorce. The day of the service I came to realize just how much of him was still embedded in my heart. When I saw him laying there, i lost it, Family helped me out into the lobby to help console me. I calmed down enough to go back inside with the family. As for now, I fight the constant urge to be overtaken by this overwhelming grief. Plus, i have to be strong for the kids. i know healing will come but part of me is afraid to heal and i’m not sure why…thanks for this blog and a chance to share.

    • Monique says:

      All I can say is that no one, but someone who has experienced this particular grief, can understand it. People just assume the divorce ended all ties. Which is so far from the truth, when faced with this. It truly is a process, and a difficult one at that.

      • Marie says:

        I agree with you and it has been so much comfort to see that we are all experiencing normal grief in our own ways. I wrote in early Feb that my ex had been murdered on Jan 11th by the woman that he married after we divorced. They had been married for 24 years. I had to be strong for my adult daughter and grandsons as WE planned the service and dealt with the immediate legal needs. Then I fell apart and re-lived our 15 years of marriage and all my regrets. I am over the shock and pain, but it took several months. We are now dealing with the preliminary hearing, which was yesterday, and will have another arraignment later this month. We will be on a roller coaster for months to come. I am trusting in God that justice will eventually be done. God bless all of you – your words have been a great comfort to me.

  43. pgurl says:

    Aug 26th would have been our 18yr anniversary if we hadnt divorced. I’m not crying everyday anymore but my heart is yet heavily grieved since he passed. I never imagined him gone like this. Although my kids and i are managing the days as it pass, the atmosphere is filled with unspoken heartache. We don’t talk abt it but his name will come up at times. Its hard to approach the subject with the kids not knowing if they’re ready….or if they’re ok.

  44. Deborah says:

    My ex-husband died tragically in a kayaking accident. We separated 14 years ago and had divorced seven years ago when I met and fell in love with my current husband. Despite the bumps over the years we always had love and respect for one another. We raised our son and daughter together in separate homes. It’s now been 16 months since his death. While I was devastated at the time of his death, I also was focused on helping our children find their bearings without their dad who was such a driving force in their lives. Now I find my own grief overwhelming. Like many of you, I too, have difficulty understanding it. I also don’t feel I can really open up to my husband, who really is my best friend so this leaves me nobody to process with. I find myself crying while driving alone, working out or other occasions I am alone and my emotions bubble up. I try not to suppress them. I just feel so damn bad. He never remarried, and I know he still loved me deeply. I feel tremendously guilty that I couldn’t love him the way he deserved to be loved. He was a great friend and awesome father. I could always count on him to be there for our children and to process with me when I had concerns about them. I miss him immensely. Thank you for this blog, it’s been helpful.

  45. Melissa says:

    I wasn’t invited to my ex’s funeral; it’s been very painful to process, even now, with my ex’s passing away two years ago, dealing with his death. I feel like couldn’t say goodbye. Even though I’m not his wife anymore, there is still a bond that I had with him that I can’t shake off. My daughter still won’t speak to me, because of the divorce, as well as his family.

    • pinghana says:

      Hi Melissa. I am dealing with similar situation, altho my ex passed away in april of this year. About 1 week following his death, there was a big ‘life celebration’ gathering at his house, sponsored by his current wife, for which certain people were initially invited then, shortly before the event, those people were suddenly telling people that ‘everyone was invited.’ But since I was the ex and had never been there, I did not feel comfortable about requesting an invitation nor appearing without a more direct invitation. My own daughter, whom I’d supported all through her dad’s illness (as well as through many years as a single mom) decided thereafter not to speak to me any longer, claiming (suddenly) that she was sick and tired of enduring my ‘anger and hatred for over 30 years’. So in addition to my own grief over not getting to say goodbye, etc, I now have this new grief and surprise over this announcement that came from my daughter in an email. What is extremely perplexing is that she’d been angry with him for so many years prior to his illness (due to the impact of his remarriage, etc to her own life), but then she suddenly placed him on an enormous pedestal after his death, and seemingly pushed me way out of the way. In fact, she cried bitter tears during his final week, telling me that she was afraid that he’d leave this earth feeling like she had been a bad daughter..while all the time I tried to convince her that nothing could be further from the truth.
      Right now, I can’t tell if I’m sad, angry, frustrated, or what. So I basically just keep moving on because I feel I’ve done my best and I’m at a point in life where I need to take care of myself, which includes dealing with my own grief. I’m grateful for my circle of friends and my work and many other things…so that helps a lot. This blog had helped a lot, too. And I purchased a book called “When Parents Hurt” which has also helped. Thanks for reading this. Melissa…I wish you all the best.

  46. Melissa says:

    Thank you, Pinghana for your message. I’m sorry what you are going through, it does sound like your situation is a lot similar to mine. This blog has been extremely helpful, and comforting, in a weird way, as I realize that I,m not the only person who is in this situation

  47. teriost says:

    When I wrote this blog in 2011; I never thought that it would reach and touch some many people. I am so grateful for the voices of each and every one of you. Know that you are in my thoughts and that I read every post and send you all healing. It is amazing what time does. My discussions with my boys about their dad are much easier these days. Anger has subsided, a soft gentleness is more than likely present in our remembrances. My wish for each of you is that you get to this place of tenderness that we have gotten to. It is wonderful.

    Namaste. – Teri

  48. teriost says:

    Reblogged this on Community House and commented:

    When I wrote this blog in 2011; I never thought that it would reach and touch some many people’s hearts. I am so grateful for the voices of each and every one of you. Know that you are in my thoughts and that I read every post and send you all healing. It is amazing what time does. My discussions with my boys about their dad are much easier these days. Anger has subsided, a soft gentleness is more than likely present in our remembrances. My wish for each of you is that you get to this place of tenderness that we have gotten to. It is wonderful.

    Namaste. – Teri

    • annie says:

      My ex died suddenly yesterday. I too have been roller coasting with emotions. We were married 17 years, had two girls. Nasty divorce , i couldnt take the emotinal and mental abuse anymore. Been divorced 20 years. He hated the sight of me, the last i saw him was three years ago at one of our daughter’s graduation from college. He remarried within a year of our divorce. I remarried 5 years after the divorce. I wish i could of talked with him, it was not to ever occur. The funeral is in another state, i will not be invited. I feel blessed to have found this blog. We are sisters united in shared grief and safe to share our stories. We are stronger and will survive this too!

      • Momo says:

        It is and will be a roller-coaster of emotions for a long time. I still struggle very much with my ex-husband’s sudden passing, but after a year, I am able to cope a little bit better. Nevertheless I am obviously still dealing with it. There are circumstances about his passing that have left many people with a lot of unanswered questions. Because of this there is no closure. This makes it difficult.

        Over the last year a few people have suggested I write to him. I couldn’t do this in the beginning but I have now done so a couple of times. And I can honestly say that this has helped me. I have had sudden moments of clarity about him, and I, about our years together and about the years after our divorce, which has been healing. And it is indeed something from which we have to heal. In time…

  49. Lesley says:

    I am so glad that I found this blog – it is helping me to realise that my feelings and emotions are normal – thank you all. My (ex) husband died after a battle with cancer 10 days ago. We separated 5 years ago, after being married for 28 years. He left me to go and live with another woman. We never divorced. We have a son who is 33, who loves us both very much.

    We stayed in touch from time to time, and tried to keep our relationship amicable for our son’s sake. We even went out for dinner together with our son a couple of times.

    Since my (ex) husband has been terminally ill with cancer, I have visited him a few times. My main concern throughout this period has really been concern for our son, and how he was coping, and would cope once his Dad had passed away.

    I was invited to the funeral via mutual friends, and sat with our son. I coped ok-ish at the funeral; I was upset at times, and so were lots of other people there.

    Now that I am back home, where I live on my own, I am completely devastated. I keep crying uncontrollably, and any mesage of condolence or sympathy seems to make it worse for some strange reason. t

    • Lesley says:

      I feel inconsolable, and I cannot imagine going back to being the strong capable woman I thought I was. I was very angry when my husband left me, and I dont think I grieved for the end of my marriage in the way that I should have done. All my feelings now seemed out of proportion to losing a husband that I had been separated from for 5 years – until I read all your posts. Thank you for sharing your experiences with others in similar situations.

  50. Cecilia says:

    I found this blog after my ex-husband died in May 2013. Our divorce became final just before our daughter’s 1st birthday. He was a mess with drinking and drugs and I could not have him around our tiny daughter and my 11 year old son. Fast forward 7 years without seeing him even once. About 3 years ago we went to my ex-mother-in-laws for Christmas and my daughter met him (with reservation) for the first time that she could remember. I am grateful that I left the door open for her to meet him a few times over the following 3 years, because once he was diagnosed with a lung disease, he only lived for 5 months. I have not begun to even open the window into my own grief but trying to help my daughter cope. She has told me that she doesn’t feel much because he was never there. What I say is that he was a wonderful man in the beginning and was so in love with him that we were blessed with a baby girl. Does anyone else have words to help me explain how addictions make people do things and hurt people, for an 11 year old girl? I’m often remembering him before the problems and how much I loved him….and think that it is impossible that I haven’t even dated in all those years… I’ll have a good cry when I’m alone, but I am keeping these emotions tightly corked, for now. I have to protect the soul of a child who is hurting from this loss too.

  51. Diana says:

    Thank you so much. My ex husband left our 25 yr. marriage suddenly in 2011. The divorce was final 11 months ago. Our 23 yr. old son is getting hit twice in one year. Although his dad is in his last months with pancreatic cancer, I am anticipating how we both will deal with death on top of divorce, so close together. I am in a relationship, with my high school sweetheart the past 8 months, and wonder, how he will deal with this. At one time we were next door neighbors, so they knew each other. My ex’s oldest daughter wsould not even let me leave cookies on the front porch for the grandchildren for the holidays, and now my ex is living with her . It is a mystery how this will all play out. My sweetheart is supportive , and that helps a lot. There are no guidelines for such. I appreciate the encouragement you give and the responses. Thank you so much, Keep it up.

  52. Lis says:

    Thank you for this article. I have also experienced the death of my ex-husband and father of my two little girls. It has been 5 months since he has passed away and it doesn’t get any easier. I have experienced the same feelings as you have and unfortunately, been cited as the “cause of his death” because of our past. I can’t even begin to tell you how hurtful some people have been and the terrible things that have been said to me because I’m the ex-wife….they had to pin their hurt on someone, I guess I was it. I have been going to a grief support group with my girls and it has helped. My ex-husband was an amazing dad and we had a good co-parenting relationship….that’s all gone and it hurts so much. I mourn for the loss of my children, I mourn for the loss of a good man…and although we were not good together, I remember only his best qualities now.

  53. Steve says:

    from another point of view needing help and understanding. I have been married to my wife now for over 11 years. She was married to her husband ,who passed away this past Nov, less than 2 years,so it has been a little over 2 months. They had not spoken in over 25 years except at a casual meeting at their son’s wedding which we hosted at our house. He was a substance abuser and had no part in their son’s life at all. His passing was a total shock to her system, she did go to the funeral to support her son,but she came back full of grief. Fast forward 2 months later and we have began to talk about it, how much she loved him and all the good times, ignoring the times he sent her to the ER.
    Because I feel we are one in marriage , I feel her grief affects us both and it concerns me deeply. I not sure what I feel right now and I know the advice will be give her time…..I guess past marriages carry so much more baggage than I ever dreamed of.There are other issues involved, I just pray that the death of a spouse from nearly 30 years ago doesn’t cause the death of a current marriage..

    • Momo says:

      I know this finds you in a very difficult situation.

      My ex-husband passed away suddenly in July 2012 at the age of 51. We were together for 20 years and had been divorced for 14 years. We had two children together.

      My present husband was and is to this day so incredibly understanding. He has been unbelievably patient and giving, ready to listen or give me my space when needed. I so recognize my husband’s generosity and maturity, and strength with this situation, and will be forever grateful to him for this. I love him even more for it.

      I am gradually and slowly healing from the shock of my ex-husband’s passing. Your wife will also in time. But keep in mind that loosing an ex-spouse is very complicated, and unless you’ve lived it, it’s very difficult to comprehend its grief.

      There is no time-frame for your wife’s grief. It’s one day at a time, for your wife and for you. I would say to you, be patient and kind.

  54. annonymous says:

    Thank you for this writing. I am experiencing the same kind of feelings. My ex husband passed unexpectedly last week. I was in complete shock. An overwhelming feeling of grief. Unfortunately, he was remarried. But only for a few months. He told people he married her to try to get over me. He had been in contact telling me what a mistake he had made. I was not permitted to go to the funeral even though I helped him raise 2 great kids, and spent well over a decade as his wife. I loved him with every ounce of my soul. I don’t know how to deal with the grief that I feel. Some relatives of his, have relayed their condolences and told me that he loved me, and wanted so much for us to be together. I never expected to feel the grief that I do. I really don’t know what to do with myself right now. This article helped to see, its ok to grieve. I am justified in my feeliings. I loved him in life, and I love him in death.

  55. Michelle says:

    I just found out my ex-husband died of a heart attack. I loved him though he wasn’t the best husband. Thanks for this post. I can grieve and feel normal doing so. Love to all the surviving ex-spouses out there.

  56. Momo says:

    The ex-spouse’s grief is just not recognized let alone understood. Our grief in no different, in that it just takes times. I hope everyone is coping and getting through this.

  57. pgurl says:

    It’s been almost a year and i find myself fighting the urge to collapse on my bed in tears. Not only has it been so hard dealing with his death, it doesn’t help that his family (the ex-in laws) has not came through for the kids. They had all his belongings and gave word that certain items would be given to HIS kids but there has not been any communication in months. I left it up to the kids if they want to connect with them if they want to. My 13 daughter finally decided to call the grandmother who always talks as if she really wanna connect with them. I feel a way about that but I don’t say anything out of respect. Plus it’s not like they’ve been in the kids life all the time anyway. The most time the kids spent with the family is when their dad would take them. i can tell the kids are missing him as well so I’m trying my best to cope and be here for them.

  58. Tee says:

    My estranged Wife was stabbed to death almost two months ago, by the father of her unborn child. She was 8 months pregnant, 27 years old. It’s been extremely hard dealing with the fact that the guy she ended up with after me, murdered her. I never stopped loving her, we were just in an unhealthy situation. The woman I was dating at the time the incident happened, decided to move on with her life. I guess this was too much for her to deal with. I don’t know the first step in beginning to heal from this. And it feels like I’m alone. Any advice would be great

    • Marie says:

      I posted on here about 15 months ago. My ex husband was murdered by his wife in Jan 2013. We had been divorced for 24 years and I was amazed how grief-stricken I was. There is no play book for this. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. Know that the legal system moves very slowly, and you need to accept whatever the outcome is. Our trial is scheduled for August. That is 20 months after the murder. I have one daughter from the marriage, and I am helping her deal with everything. We had to come to a point where our anger toward the murderess did not rob our joy of being In the present each day. I wish the same for you. As many have said on this blog- other people do not and can not understand why we are grieving. You are among friends here. Hugs….

      • Tee says:

        Thank you, Marie!! I really appreciate that. At this point, I don’t know what to do with myself. It’s hard to even stay afloat. I was down about us being split up, it’s only been a year. This takes me to an all-time low. I’m trying to keep it together… Why does the legal system take so long?

  59. pinghana says:

    @ debby, your message looks like spam that’s loaded with bad grammar and no useful information. I personally find it offensive, given the nature of this blog.

  60. Ardi says:

    I am so happy to stumble across this blog! Thank you!

    Yesterday evening I invited a dozen of our friends to celebrate my ex husband’s life while half way across the world his funeral service was taking place. The decision to do this came to me very suddenly 3 days after his death from cancer. Despite 17 years of divorce after 8 years together, and I am so glad I followed my emotions and did it. It was a wonderful evening! He was very dearly loved and our friends (who had not seen him all that time) cherished the opportunity to come together in grief and loss. I welcomed their warmth and support and was grateful to be allowed to be the mourning ex-wife.

    Despite having initiated the divorce (which I did not for once regret) there was a huge bond between us all these years. Our parents were friends and my ex husband and I always felt the significance of that family connection.

    I struggle with how to grieve my ex with my partner of four years by my side. He lives in another city and we spend about 10 days together each month. I am heading there tomorrow and he is happily planning our time together ringing me to ask what movies or exhibitions I want to see and what will I wear to a wedding we have been invited to. I just want to say “please stop, I am in such pain” but I know he is rejoicing to see me. Ironically he is a 10 year cancer survivor and over the last two weeks had a health scare which was thankfully all clear. Understandably he would now like to celebrate the good news with me.

    There’s a pit in my stomach and grief has cramped my throat. I am afraid whether I will be able to be fun or loving or intimate with my partner. I told him about the pain I was feeling over the last few days, how it had nothing to do with romantic feelings but a lot to do with loss of family and a hugely significant part of my youth. He listened, softly said “yes very sad” but then went on to pragmatic subjects.

    I would love to talk to him more about what I am going through but I am not encouraged by him to do that. I would be so moved if he did. Perhaps it may change when we are together in person ….

  61. Vivvie says:

    Thank you for this blog. I did not know why I was failing to cope with the loss of my ex husband at the age of 42, from cancer. I thought it was a continuum of failing to cope with the loss of my marriage (and my home, and my kids, who decided to live with my ex and his new wife). I have felt guilt that I got the best of him and his new wife had just 3 years, most of which was spent discovering and coping with his illness. I grieve for our kids, for the reconcilliation that can never happen, for his family who in their grief are unable to have any relationship with me. I worry about our son who has lost his role model, as he has to step up and perform and pass exams even as his confidence and his security crumbles around him. In his grief and anger, he does not want to see his feckless mother. I hope that my son will come back to me soon. Losing him has been very hard to bear.
    Yeaterday would have been my ex husband’s 43rd birthday. I was blindsided by new waves of loss and grief. I cannot imagine being with anyone else. I heard that time takes time to heal. Today I found this essential blog. Where there is life, there is hope. I hope that one day I am a comfort to my son. I know that I am important to my daughter. I hope that one day I will be able to cope with most things, not 60%, as it has been. I hope that I will believe myself to be loveable again in the future. It is good to feel that these experiences are normal. Thank you all.

  62. dannio says:

    I think I have another perspective on this. I have read how you ladies feel like you were cheated out of your grief because the new wife excluded you from the funeral but in reality you excluded yourselves right after you filled for divorce.

    You see, when you filled for divorce you caused him and his family great pain. If you had kids he had to pay child support and often you talk about your ex becoming your fiend and being civil. In actually that was force because he had to deal with you and we wanted to keep your drama to a minimum. He often talked about you behind your back as you talked about him with your friends. He disliked even picking up the phone when you called. He gritted his teeth every time you had your new husband spend time with his kids. He hated you for taking that part of his life away.

    Eventually, he probably remarried. This woman decided she wanted to spend the rest of her life and unlike most of you she lived him. She became his one and only and might have had a child with him.

    So, now he is dead and you feel guilt and rightly so. His family dislikes you but smiles and say they understand when actually they hope you spare them the embarrassment of having to tell you to stay away from the funeral and showing. The newer wife remembers all the stuff you pulled during the divorce and his dealing with you and she is secretly glad she doesn’t have to see you again. The only thing she wants at that moment is to be alone with her grief with the man you do not love but she will miss. His family are still hurt by your rejection and they don’t want you around.

    But, you didn’t take the hint, showed up, was treated like you were yesterdays pizza and now you feel sad, alone and rejected. HMMMMM kind of like what he felt when you filed. You new husband is scratching his head trying to figure you out. You talk about how supportive he is but really he wants to minimize your drama too.

    Moral of the story? Everything you do in life has consequences. You divorced him saying that you didn’t want to be his family anymore. He moved on, you moved on. The consequence of your decision is that you don’t get flowers or consideration. Accept it and move on.

    PS. This does not apply to the woman out there who were left by their husbands. Ladies, you are victims of their selfishness and you deserve every consideration.

    • teriost says:

      Hi Dannio – While I appreciate your perspective, you presume to know me, my family, and my circumstance, along with those of every other poster on this blog. And then, you blanket judge.

      What you posted sounded like your own experience (albeit painful, but yours alone). Everyone has a right to grieve and we have found a place to post our grief with like-minded individuals. I am sure that there is a blog for you and your situation and I truly hope you find it and receive the support that you need.

      So thank you for your perspective, but it isn’t needed here.

    • teriost says:

      I am sorry for your loss, I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a sibling. As I have said, your perspective is yours and mine is mine. Your comments came close to troller status, but there is a sadness in your words that couldn’t be denied. I felt that you should be responded to.

      I hope you find it in your heart to forgive your brother’s ex, acknowledge that love never dies, and that you find peace as you move through the grieving process.


    • Jane says:

      You sound hurt and bitter. I’m not judging you for that because I have been in the same boat, in away. Here’s my background. I was married to my husband for 27 years. His ex-wife moved out of state and made it impossible to even talk on the phone. We diligently paid child support every week. We waited until we were married 10 years to start a family. We had twin girls. I tried so many times throughout the years to keep contact with his kids. He didn’t try hard enough and she didn’t want dad to be in the kids lives. Ultimately, the step-mother (second wife) gets blamed for everything. After years of the girls and me being verbally abused, I asked him to leave. I was physically and emotionally drained. I felt like I was going crazy. I worked 2 jobs while he sat at home on disability and complained about being diabetic, (while eating pie and ice cream) He was shocked when I asked him to leave. He really thought that I’d continue to put up with the abuse. Fast forward. I met a man (divorced) and I am the second wife again. Fortunately for all of us, including our adult kids, we have healed a lot of wounds, but not all. Three years ago I got a call from one of our daughters. My ex was being air lifted to another hospital. He had a stroke and was paralyzed on the left side. We were told he would survive a few minutes. Out of consideration, we called his first kids. I wish I hadn’t done that. The drama started and it got very ugly. He actually lived 18 months in a nursing home unable to eat or drink most of that time.

      My reason for telling you this is we don’t always know the inside story. If you’ve been mistreated, I am sorry. I hope you heal as soon as possible. I know it hurts. Divorce just sucks! Fortunately the funeral went well. I promised to pay for the funeral and headstone from the life insurance. I will always be glad that I kept that promise. I suffered from his verbal abuse during the marriage and it broke my heart when he hurt the kids. When he died, his family treated me like I was a POS. They never offered to spend a dime but I was the POS. Yes, the POS ex-wife (me) spent $12,000 to bury the father of her children and is still the blame for everything. He apologized to me about how out of control he was, but he never told his family. Therefore they still believe he was the victim and I mistreated him. If they want me to suffer they have won. I suffered while married to him, and 3 years later I am still suffering since his death. Our kids suffer not having their dad in their lives. They will never have their father walk them down the aisle at their weddings. I’m sure everyone else has gotten over this, but I never will. When I die, my daughters will not have a parent at all. Enough suffering?

      I truly am sorry. I hope you find happiness. There are good people out there.

      • dannio says:


        You seem like a nice girl but I think you misunderstand so I am going to explain it this way.

        By the way you fit in the latter category. You had to do what you had to do.

        Lets use this analogy. A person gets shot in their leg. It shatters the bone and gangerine sets in. .You have to amputate or you lose your life so they amputate and you lose your leg. Now, you had to do it or die but now you nave to struggle with an artificial leg and you have phantom pains. They never go away. There is no magic medication that makes it go away. You still feel the leg and can eve wiggle your nonexistent toes. So, much like the destructive ex spouse who you had to cut off you had consequences. The consequence of getting divorce is you are no longer his family. Your kids might be but you are not. You will never find any solace from the guilt or pain. Of course they are going to treat you like POS. They think he is a saint no matter what he did because he is family. They will always take his side.

        I guess what I am trying to say is stop trying. Give it up. It is the way it is. Embrace your pain and guilt and move on. Stop trying to post, talk out it for temporary relief. Accept your pain learn to live with it. Its never going away. The world is not fair.

        Now, in my case the ex of my brother left him for another man, made his life hell and when he finally blew his head off when she won a case to move his kids out of state she showed up at the funeral home, crying, saying how much she lived him etc, etc, etc, We promptly told the Director to eject her and her “husband” which he did with the assistance of Law Enforcement. She actually posted on a similar blog and iher post sounds like some of the ones on here.

        That is what I’m trying to say.

  63. dannio says:

    I’m not trying to be a troll but I think people should realize that people’s reactions are for a reason. It seems like everyone on here demonizes the family for their reactions and I don’t think that is fair.

  64. dannio says:

    Thank you very much. You are a very nice person and I will shut up now.

    • teriost says:

      hehe…warm thoughts for you and your family.

      • Karen says:

        It was kind of weird that I received 3 emails about new posts to this OP comment today. Because my daughter reminded me today that today was the day. Not that I had really forgotten, but just that in the priority of things, especially things I don’t control, the anniversary of his death didn’t wake me up this morning. The minute she reminded me, I wish she hadn’t. Because it’s just one more negative thing in my life. I’m at peace with him. He’s almost an innocent. He’s been dead for 4 years now. Dead as in, whatever he didn’t fix before he died, I am left to manage, to endure. Ungrateful step children and despicable inlaws. Check. Teenaged daughter who’s emotional challenges came to front upon his death and have only gotten worse, given the ravages of adolescence, loss, selfish siblings, etc. financial responsibilities that again “the family” have only exacerbated with their hatefulness. And still I rise. Or at least I’m not dead yet. He is as incompetent as he has always been, although he gets a pass because of course he’s dead. But yeah, I was abandoned to deal with all this crap by myself and I wish again that I had never met him, although I love my children. Is it ok to say that? Whatever. I hate him right now. Today, not always but today, yes.

      • teriost says:

        Been a weird day all around, Karen. I am sorry for your loss, for the inability to lay to rest all he left you and your daughter with. You and your daughter still rise. I get the feeling that he remains “incompetent” even in death, I had that exact same feeling. I protected his mom from the truth of his death (drugs), death certificate said heart attack. I kept my tongue as they lashed out because of my boys. Little good it did. But it seems better now. It has been 7 years and a lot of heartache. But it is better. Hang in there!

  65. Brian says:

    Ditto what Dannio said. Come one. You divorced him now the consequence is to mourn in silence. You are not family, no connection what so ever how do you think peiple are going to treat you. They are angry and confused and just don’t want to deal with you. Go light a candle and forget it.

    • teriost says:

      Brian – I appreciate the time you took to take a poke at me, actually all of the people on this thread. Nowhere in my post do I mention who divorced whom. So you assumed that I divorced him. What I read in your comment is your own pain, and I hope that it eases as time goes on. If you continue to read the thread with Dannio, you will see a fair exchange. So, I will post what I responded to him to you:

      “What you posted sounded like your own experience (albeit painful, but yours alone). Everyone has a right to grieve and we have found a place to post our grief with like-minded individuals. I am sure that there is a blog for you and your situation and I truly hope you find it and receive the support that you need.

      So thank you for your perspective, but it isn’t needed here.”

      I hope you find peace.

      • James says:

        I am in the hospital with stage 4 pancratic cancer. It is terminal and i only have weeks left . I saw this blog and i think i would like to weigh in

        My ex divorced me after 15 years . I had to endure her family and took a lot of responsibility for them . Then she fell in love with a Lowes employee picking out paint . She divorced me, took my kids to a single meet and greet and married a different man after only being divorced for 6 months . My children were destroyed then she took them 500 miles away so i have only seen then rarely .

        Yesterday i woke up and she was hovering over me crying and holding my hand . Her husband was in the room as well . I asked her what she wanted . She wanted closure and forgivess. Closure? Are you kidding me? I called the nurse into my room and said to my ex she doesnt get that,from me. I told her she was selfish, irresponsible and evil. He tried to say something and i told him to shut up . I told her i would go to my grave hating her. I told her to leave and never return to my sight. I told her she was disrespectful and not welcomed . She begged me to forgive her tbrough her sobs but i instructed the nurse to lead her out.. i can’t tell you how much it pleased me to see her distaught after what she put me through and it still wasn’t enough.

        What the other two gentleman are correct . She chose to divorce me, the consequence is whatever grieving she doesn if she has any once of honor is to grieve in silence and not to soil my funeral with her dishonor. She has been told to not go to the funeral and if she does my family would be not gentle to her.

      • teriost says:

        James – my heart goes out to you and your family as you journey with the crappy passenger known as cancer. I can only imagine what you are going through. You get to choose who you make amends with, this is your time on this earth, not theirs.

        I honor your choices around your ex, it is your story. Just as my story belongs to me. My ex died alone in his apartment. He chose not to speak to my children for over a year before he died. What I mourned was the man I married, not the person he had become.

        I didn’t have the heart to tell his mother that he died of drug-induced heart attack. I managed his affairs for my just-turned 18 year old son, my ex’s closest next of kin. I cleaned his apt. Trashed his drugs and kept mementos for my sons, when they were ready to have them. I paid to have him cremated and his remains shipped back east, because that is what his family wanted. They didn’t even wait for my kids to fly back for the funeral.

        My point is that we all have our stories about love lost and broken hearts. I simply ask that you don’t judge mine or others, just as I won’t judge yours.

        I wish you peace and a peaceful transition to the other side. God bless.

  66. Jennifer says:

    I’m at a loss reading all these messages, I hoped by reading this I would understand why people grieve ex spouses. All I can think is, all of these people are still attached to their exes, especially if they had children together. I think the attachment is unhealthy and shows they never really moved on.
    My husband died and we were together 24:7 for 12 years; my husband was my best friend but I don’t have continuing grief about it. We spent that time traveling a lot and doing fun things together. More than most people ever do.
    He had problems that I had to live with in later years, so I had become a caretaker of his deteriorating mental health.
    I moved on to a fantastic relationship with someone who is healthy and sane. The reason I am on this thread is, his ex wife who he divorced in 1992 after 17 years, is now dying from cancer and he is very upset about it. He says, “she was his best friend besides me.” This person has major depression and wished she were dead everyday for the last 25 years, so she got her wish. They had one daughter who calls my fiancé constantly about her mother’s emotional state, as if it’s his problem. She asks him to call her mom to check on her, keeping him engaged emotionally. He has been put in the position of acting like her husband, being there for decisions, meeting with surgeons because she has never had another real relationship since they divorced.
    I think there is something wrong with being so overly attached to an ex after it’s over, it’s over, move on. This crying is about being attached to the lost love that failed, the lost past. I have fond memories of the happy times with my deceased husband but I don’t hang on to this emotionally. Instead I feel happy I have a great man who loves me. Honestly it hurts me that he has this unreasonable attachment to his ex. What does this mean? Does he still carry a torch for her? Is she still his wife to him? There is no one I feel that way about, except the one I’m with now who I feel is my real soulmate and I’ve known him for fifteen years. He claims it’s because she is his friend but to me it’s more than friendship or his sister as he calls her.
    Isn’t being in deep grief over a lost love-ex spouse a sign that you are still attached to the promise of marriage to that person and the love is still there? If that’s the case then it’s really emotional cheating and why are these grieving exspouses with someone new? What are we to you? Just someone to pass the time with because you can’t be with your true love you couldn’t live with?
    I am questioning how much my fiancé really loves me despite everything good about us and what he says about how much he loves me. Now that I’m watching this drama unfold with his ex wife dying, I feel hurt and sad. We also don’t have children, I wanted them with him but he can’t have children and he is older. I feel like I live in the shadow of his past life, he had his real family with her and it’s not ever going to be me.
    Maybe divorced spouses still stuck loving their exes should go be with them and if they are dead, then go live by yourself and be attached to your lost past rather than live a lie and a half love that satisfies your need for a relationship. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. In this case Id say there isn’t enough loving the one you’re with and plenty of loving the one you love who is your ex.

  67. CJLH says:

    I had it a little bit the other way round. I had an affair with someone after 20 years of being with my wife. We had (have) two beautiful boys 12 and 9. I don’t have an answer for it. But shortly after my wife (rightly) kicked me out she died from ovarian cancer. We stayed as close as we could and we saw each other on the day she died. I have a new partner now and we have tried for three years to push two families together. But its not working.

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