Moving Forward means you DON’T go backward

You hear it a lot in the widow world, I’m not moving on – I’m moving forward.  The idea of moving on appears to skip past something and aimlessly move.  When you envision yourself moving forward, it means you have acknowledged what happened and you are moving in the direction of self healing.  You don’t have to necessarily accept the tragedy, but you are no longer in the denial stage.  It happened.  Next…

So what is the next step?

That depends on you.  Steps are available.

Support groups

can be so very helpful to know that you are not alone. The internet has a wealth of information available.  You can locate a local support group for loss of a spouse, loss of a child, addiction, divorce and more.  Many churches or hospice locations offer bereavement groups.  Generally a group of 12 people in the same age group will meet and discuss questions led by a counselor for about 8 weeks.  It can be overwhelmingly sad to hear the stories from others but it also helps you to not feel so alone.  Strategies on how to cope with sadness and how to move forward are offered by the counselor as well as other grievers.  I joined a group through hospice one year after Mike died.  Most of the 12 women in the group were less than 8 months widowed and not really ready to move forward yet.

Facebook groups

are out there for everyone, including widows and widowers. People engage from all over the world and struggle with some of the same things I do. How to deal with his ashes, the rings, his closet, the house, new relationships, inlaws, and kids just to name a few,  I have been able to share my story with people I’ve never met but feel comforted by hearing how they are doing and we connect through comments and sharing our journey. I’ve also noticed that some people on these sites connect through private messaging and develop friendships, even a new relationship.

Meet Ups 

are a fun way to meet people who share similar interests and want to get out and do something.  Some people may be looking for a special someone, but it is not a dating site.  I went on one with a friend, a scavenger hunt in New York City which was a fun adventure and one time by myself to visit the Bronx Zoo just because I wanted to go.


may be helpful to get to that point where you can function in a productive way of life.  If the loss is still too tragic that you are having a difficult time making regular decisions find a good therapist who specializes in grief. A therapist can help you face the grief and go through all the feelings that you may not want to deal with.  If it was an awful or sudden death, you may be experiencing PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder.  A grief therapist can help you understand what happened and work through it.

Books and Blogs

It helps to know that you are not alone.  The first book I read really helped me know that I was not the only one to ever lose a husband.  The young woman was a pregnant teacher. Her husband died in an accident on a wake board at the beach.  Her book was basically a diary of that first year and how she handled the ups and downs of her tragedy.  She even had her baby and the support of her family, but it made me realize that I could be happy for all the love and memories I had shared with my husband and our children.

I made a post that includes my own memoir: 12 Best Books about Grief


I recently had an opportunity to join another bereavement group. A friend had had a good experience with this one. They planned some get togethers and I am always up for an adventure so I signed up

But I didn’t go.

I was quite perplexed about this but as the date got closer I realized that going to a bereavement group right now, wouldn’t really help me with my mission to move forward. It took a lot of effort to get to the place I am at now and I need to honor that.

The idea of sharing my story again with people whose pain is so raw was not in my best interests.

Part of the goal of moving forward is to find new things or people that bring us joy. I love traveling and last year I managed to get away quite a bit. I also met someone special and that is something that makes me smile on a daily basis.

Instead of heading back into the pain and struggle of past events, I need to continue this momentum of moving forward.

Maybe, just maybe I have processed my sadness and grief the way I was supposed to and I don’t need to go there anymore. Not to say I won’t still have moments of sadness or missing Mike and my old life, but I don’t need to stay there in those moments.

One person posted on the Facebook page I follow “what are you planning to do this weekend to help yourself move forward?” I replied “make a nice dinner for my sons because they are both home for the weekend and maybe plan a trip”. So I have to get busy making mashed potatoes and a lamb roast and visiting Pinterest for ideas on the next Runawaywidow widow adventure!!

What are you doing to move forward this weekend? Please share…

moving forward after loss of a spouse


At the age of 51 I unexpectedly became a widow. For the first 6 months after my husband died, I was in shock and numb. I journaled and with the help of friends, family and therapists was able to get back to living my old life, even if it is now very different. Before I was married, I had spent a semester in England and backpacked around Europe. My husband and I moved from New York to California for 8 years and started a family. Travelling took a back seat to raising a family and going to work everyday. Since the loss of my husband I have visited a lot of places with family and friends and took a solo trip to Thailand. I am enjoying sharing my stories and adventures as well as some of my insights to how I am traveling the path of being a widow. I hope to share my stories and adventures as well as some thoughts on being a middle aged widow. While I have some great experiences traveling to Thailand and cruising to Central America, some of my adventures involve a trip to see a Broadway show in nearby Manhattan and a shopping trip at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If I can inspire anyone to go out and continue to live a good life that would be my greatest accomplishment.

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9 Responses

  1. Kathy says:

    Thank you for this post. My husband died 2 1/2 years ago. Your words helped me understand where I am today. I want to move forward.
    Thank you.

  2. Where's My Other Sock? says:

    Such great advice. We honor ourselves and those we love by moving forward, while at the same time recognizing what we need in the moment. Can’t wait to hear about the next adventure!

  3. cedar51 says:

    I’m not in your position but I am dealing with stuff to do with the property I rent…the access has been radically improved but in the process discovered that the contract that the landlords made, doesn’t seem to include the mess left behind. I had a fall on some rubble which shouldn’t be there…I’ve muttered and moaned.

    Until a restless night (last night) when I realised i could turn it in an art project that will fit in nicely with my current study… having just made a temporary art project for a large hole made by the workmen in the fence palings (I know the palings are to be fixed, though) – and I loved making the art – it soothed my sole…

    so this problem with the path/edge of new concrete lay – is a doodle methinks – arty to boot…

  4. Shannon Wilson says:

    I have enjoyed reading your articles and THIS one gives me hope. I lost my husband from COVID in November 2020 at the age of 54. I am 49 years old. I am doing everything that I am supposed to to process this loss in a healthy way. I too have been traveling as much as possible.

    • runawaywidow says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss and this time during COVID has to be even more challenging! Great that you found some healthy ways to process your loss and travel. I always find having something to look forward to is so helpful.

  5. Harrietta says:

    My husband died in December 22,2021. He was 73. I am moving forward,I’m taking care of myself and tending to all the things he did. I feel close to him that way. I am not a frequent flyer and traveled with him. Right now I need to get in a place where I know what exactly I’m doing but travel is in my future. Thank you for your articles and insight

    • runawaywidow says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog. It’s a difficult adjustment so take your time. I hope to have more travel in my future too. Thanks for your comment.

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