When people think of widows, they often think of older women, possibly with adult children and maybe even with grandchildren. Seldom do images of young women in their 30s, 40s, or even 50s come to mind. But of course, women in this age bracket find themselves widowed, too.
Widowhood is one of the most trying experiences a person will undertake, regardless of age, but as a young widow, it can be particularly challenging. These women are more likely to have young children to support and are less likely to have extensive savings accounts to fall back on. Furthermore, as widowhood is less common among young women, young widows may feel even more alienated from their peers than they would otherwise.
Here are some things to keep in mind as a young widow.
Am I doing this right?
How am I supposed to act? Am I talking about my late husband too much? Too little? Do I seem too happy or too sad? Am I doing this right?
The truth, of course, is that there is no right or wrong way to be a widow. That said, it’s still easy to get swept up in the notion that you’re somehow doing widowhood ‘wrong.’
Remember to be kind to yourself. Grief is a long and winding road, and your journey is unique to you. The only person you ultimately need to answer to is yourself.
When someone dies, people tend to remember the very best things about them. David had the sweetest disposition. Isaac was great with kids. Jonathan’s smile lit up any room he walked into. But nobody is perfect, and neither are marriages.
As a widow, your emotions are probably not as black and white as all that. You can miss your husband without having exclusively positive memories of him. Don’t feel guilty for allowing yourself to feel all the complicated emotions that come with widowhood.
Learning to date again
As a widow in your fifties or younger, the odds that you will want to date again at some point during your life are pretty high. That doesn’t mean that you have to, nor does it mean that you should. However, if you do decide to date again, it’s important to remember that there is no timeline to adhere to. The only person you should be checking in with is yourself. Do you feel ready?
If and when you choose to date again, it can be scary to put yourself out there, especially knowing that your experience is unique, and others may not be able to fully understand or relate to what you have been through. Dating websites for widows are often geared towards people over the age of 50, making the prospect of dating even more daunting. Don’t be discouraged, though. Dating sites for widows and widowers on the young side do exist.
The financial fallout brought on by the loss of a spouse is a devastating blow at any age but can be especially burdensome for young widows who likely don’t have as much of a money cushion to fall back on.
Our biggest advice? Don’t delay meeting with a financial advisor. From settling the estate and taking care of paperwork in a timely fashion, to getting your affairs organized and dealing with any time-sensitive issues that arise, your financial advisor will help keep you on track financially while your mind is in grief-mode.
One especially important point to remember is that it’s wise to refrain from making any major financial decisions such as selling your home, moving, or liquidating your investments for at least a year following your spouse’s death. Grief can cloud your judgement, while time provides clarity and perspective.
Rebuild with WH Cornerstone Investments
At WH Cornerstone, we strive to empower widows to live life from a position of knowledge and power, rather than fear and ignorance. We offer widows a comforting space for reflection, sorting out priorities and ultimately a plan to rebuild your life, both personally and financially.
After analyzing your financial situation, we help you to address urgent matters such as updating designated beneficiaries, reevaluating retirement plans, understanding Social Security and Medicare, planning your tax strategy, and amending your budget. We stand by your side to help you chart the course of the path ahead, with the ultimate goal of empowering you with a plan of action that feels true to who you are and the legacy you will continue to carry on.
Are you ready to rebuild with us? Please reach out to schedule a meeting.