Suddenly Single


Feb. 10th my life took a drastic turn. My husband of 30 years died quit suddenly (he had a heart attack at age 56).

I now find myself a 50 year old single person trying to figure out how to do this. I was married before my 20th birthday.

I am looking for resources for living a faithful life as a single catholic. Most of what I’ve seen (after a brief search) seems to be aimed at singles seeking marriage. I am not ready to even think of that (if ever).

When I was first married it followed a courtship and engagement. As one moves toward marriage and one learns about it. You have time to prepare your mind and heart for life lived with another, working on becoming one.

How do you learn to be single after 30 years of marriage? I lived on my own for about 6 months before my marriage. That was a long time ago and I knew I was headed toward marriage.

This is so different. Grief aside (I am not ignoring the impact of that) How do I begin to understand how to live as a single person?

Any help here?:confused:



I am so sorry for your loss! Do you have grown children? How about women friends at your church or neighborhood? When my dad died rather suddenly, we were shocked at the men that had been friends of the family that now were asking mom out on dates… some of them actually waited 2 weeks after the funeral! It was horrid! Us kids played interference for mom as much as we could, but ultimately mom renewed her friendships with the neighborhood women, most of whom were divorced and alone. It was good for her, but the biggest changes occurred when she went back to work. She didn’t need the money, but rather since my youngest brother was in HS when dad died, she needed health insurance for him. She got a job working in a convalescent home for retired nuns. They watch out for her quite a bit. Now mom goes out to movies and dinner with women friends and even takes trips with them to Cape Cod and Washington DC and places like that. Men still try to “date” mom, but she knows she doesn’t need to be in a relationship.


My condolensces on your loss. I will pray for you.

I just want to point out that you are not single, but a widow. The right to call yourself single ended on your wedding day. Our PC world tries to shield unwed mothers by using single to describe them but that is wrong.

A widowed mother, a divorced mother and an unwed mother are not equal. They each made different choices to get in the position they currently find themselves.

I am male and married but I would be indignant to be called a single person if I was widowed. Singleness is like virginity, once you cross the road there is no return. This would be especially helpful for Catholic trying to find a spouse. Widows are free to remarry divorcees are not. Saying they are single leads one to believe they are a potential mate when they are not.


I am sorry if I offended by using the term single to describe my current state. :o

Yes, I am a widow, but I am having to learn to live as a single person, in terms of relationships. There is no body here at the end of the day. There is no body to discuss the little things that one talks of to ones spouse but wouldn’t call a friend about.

I was hoping that somebody who has been through this (even if they are divorced) will offer some insight to help me find my way.

My neighborhood is very mixed, mostly young families, a few middle age couples (like we were) and some mixed households. We have only lived here two years. We were moved by the highway dept, due to a road construction project and so we lost our woods and lake and a very small (three houses) neighborhood.

I have friends at church most are couples, a few are widows in their 70s. One lady was widowed at a young age also, but she had two children at home and that was 25 years ago. She doesn’t really have too much to say about the transition except she still feels sad when she sees older couples celebrating their 50th anniversary. She wonders why she didn’t get to do that.

I do have to work and will continue to drive my school bus. I have pursuits outside of my work and many interests and volunteer options. Some I did with my husband and some I did on my own.

Being married permeates everything. Now I am alone, so call it widowhood or single, I am not part of a couple and I don’t have much experience at doing that.

I don’t mean to sound harsh. I just need a little help.



I am so sorry for your loss and will offer my thoughts and prayers for you, unfotunatley I do not know of any links and as a newly reformed catholic have little advice to give except to put your fath in god. I also think it is irrelevant whether you call yourself single or widowed the only important thing is that you get through this painful time and that god is in your heart. I am sure that the many veterans of this site will have a wealth of information for you and be able to offer far better advice than I.

God Bless



My deepest sympathy is extended to you. My wife and I have been married almost forty years. I have said for years that if God were to take here first I would seek entrance in a monestary. I cannot imagine living alone but I can easily imagine a life as a religious. Have you looked into that possibility for yourself?



I am very sorry about your loss. I can’t give any advice, I just want to say I admire you very much that you married before you were 20, and were married for so long. That is really wonderful. .


This group meets at Resurrection parish…maybe it would benefit you?

**Grief Support Coffee Gatherings
**These coffees are for anyone who has lost a loved one.
Come join others who have had the same experience and make new connections. When: the first Wednesday of every month at 9 am and the second Thursday of every month at 7 pm. Hopefully you will get some new skills to help you cope. If you have questions, you can call Bev at 288-5528 during normal business hours.


I, too, have thought of that. My prayers are with you…:gopray:



My deepest sympathies as well. I can not imagine what it would be like. My husband and I are about the same age as you and your husband were - we have been married 28 years and I will turn 49 tomorrow, he will be 52 in June.

I do have to say that you are right about being “suddenly single”, the bonds of Marriage are “until death do us part”. That of course does not mean anything about the memories you have of your husband or your missing him.

My prayers are with you as you transition into widowhood and being single again and for the repose of the soul of your husband.

Brenda V.


My mom was only 33 when my dad died in an airplane accident. It of course did come as a complete shock. Luckily for her she was already enrolled in college at the time, and she really appreciated being able to immerse herself in her studies. She received her best grades ever the semester in which my dad died.

She did miss being married though, and didn’t wait too long to start dating and get married. Sometimes, you fall in love when you just don’t expect it. My stepfather is 8 years younger than my mom, and they have been happily married for almost 27 years now.

You might want to look into taking some classes at the local community college. I think it is nice to keep learning new things, helps keep you young. You are probably going to find that being on your own that you are just going to need to learn new things weekly. I have recently gone through a divorce from my highschool boy friend after 17 years of marriage. I find that I am not only learning new things, but that I am constantly surprised that I can actually do things that I never thought I about doing myself. It’s probably really good for me. I am planning on going back to school though and starting a new career.

Grieve now, but don’t forget, that there are always opportunities to learn and grow stronger as a result of adversity.

I’m going to also post a poem that I find inspirational, and which hopefully you will too. The author, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote it when he was a grieving widower. It’s entitled A Psalm of Life.


Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.


My deepest sympathies on the loss of your husband.

I don’t pretend that my advice will be especially good. The one thing I would say is to be prepared to be lonely. However, make up your mind that feeling lonely is not necessarily a signal that you need companionship.

I don’t know if you have children. But if you do, you have probably had to deal with children complaining about boredom because they didn’t know what to do with themselves. You now face a similar experience of not knowing what to do with yourself.

I’m just remembering my single years prior to getting married. Most of my friends from high school married before I did. As a result, I often found that the days and times that I was looking for companionship were the times that my friends were not available. Being in my early 20’s was often a lonely time. It took a while, but I eventually learned to adjust when, where, and how I sought time with others and when I would be alone.

You are still grieving and no doubt will be for quite some time. But during this time and probably longer, you will find that you draw closer to people who didn’t fit quite as well with your married life and you’ll find that some friendships are less of a fit. Eventually you will find you have extra time and energy to pursue interests that didn’t fit with married life.

I wish you well, and God bless.


Please see if there is a program in your area called Beginning Experience. It is a nation-wide program put together by the Catholic church. But, it serves all denominations. It is a program for healing widowed and divorced people. I lost my first husband when I was 35. The program did a lot to help put me back together emotionally.

And, as others have said, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that numbness of suddenly losing a spouse.

God Bless.


I am a widow. I am a faithful Catholic. It has been a long time for me but the begining was very difficult. I thought I would never fit in at Church anymore because I am a widow…oh, and I do not have any live children (but I have five waiting for me in heaven).

I went through a time of immense pain - so I congratulate you for having the grace and wherewithall to look for help now. What I have learned has been gradual…and it started with deepening my prayer life and devotions.

If you want to PM me, please feel free to do so.

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