best online support if you're widowed

Although there are several forms of online support for those who have been widowed (chat rooms, bulletin boards, etc.), our favorite is GriefNet.org. This non-profit site offers almost 50 specialized email support groups as well as two web sites.

According to the GriefNet site:

"Our groups operate 24-hours/day, 365 days/year. Members participate when they wish and are able to, not at a set time. When one member of a group sends an email message to the group, everyone in the group receives a copy. This allows many people to respond with love and caring to the thoughts and feelings of an individual, day and night, year-round. Since 1994 these groups have helped thousands of people around the world deal safely with their grief."

We also like the fact that there is a mental health professional in charge:

"All groups are monitored by trained volunteers who make sure that the groups are running smoothly. Overall supervision is provided by Cendra Lynn, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and traumatologist."

A sampling of GriefNet’s email groups includes:

Grief-Widowed is a support group for anyone who has lost a partner or a spouse at any age, at any time, of any sexual orientation. If/when subscribers find a need for a more focused list, that can be created.

Widowed-with-Kids is a group for those who have lost a partner or spouse who still have children living at home. This is a place where the unique problems of parenting when widowed can be discussed.

Grief-Widowed Moving On is a support group for anyone who has lost a partner or a spouse at any age, at any time, of any sexual orientation, and who has moved on beyond the first raw stages of dealing with that loss. This list was formed at the request of people in grief-widowed group whose issues have become different from those who are newly bereaved. Some persons subscribe to both lists.

Grief-Men is a support group for bereaved men who especially want to talk to other men about their loss.

Young Widowed is a support group for those aged 40 or under who have lost a spouse or partner. Please note: the age cut-off is only suggested; those who feel themselves to fit into this category are welcome.

Widowed Gay is for gays who have lost a partner to death or whose partner is currently dying. Gays are also welcome in our other widowed groups and while we have never had a homophobic incident, this group was created in response to a special request from some gay widowed members.

There are also support groups for children and teens:

Kids-to-kids, a support group for children ages 12 and under.

K2K-Teens, support for ages 13 through 18.

Learn more about these and other groups offered by GriefNet.


kim said...

Hi, I'm new to this site. I lost my husband of 31 yrs suddenly in April. I'm not sure about anything at this point. How I'm supposed to feel or what I'm supposed to do. Of course I'm sad but confused also. It's hard to explain. Just wanted to know if anyone else felt like this. Thanks

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Kim,

Yes, many people feel a mix of feelings and reactions to the loss of a partner.

Please check out some of our other posts, especially those under the categories of "Loss of Spouse" and "Symptoms of Grief".

At some point, you may also find that a widowed support group offers you a chance to share your experiences and reactions with others in similar situations.

Take care and thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I lost my fiance Monday. Her funeral was yesterday. I do have family support, I do have faith,
yet I feel so lost. My heart is in a million pieces.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Your feelings are completely understandable.

Please give yourself as much time as you need to process everything, and keep in mind that every tear counts.

Please let us know how you're doing.

Shoni Nease said...

I lost my Husband of 17 1/2 yrs 3 weeks ago I have to wonderful boys 16, and 14 they have been my rock but I feel so lost and I can't sleep, I wish the night time would never come , I pray the Lord comes and gets me too I just have such a void and ill I can do is pray and cry ..

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Shoni,

While the shock and pain of your loss are still so raw, it's understandable that you're feeling these things.

Just the loss of sleep alone really adds to the physical and emotional strain of grief.

Many many people fantasize about being reunited with their spouse, and feel hopelessness and despair at the thought of getting through the days ahead. Try to keep in mind that every tear DOES help and that over time, the pain WILL soften.

You mention that you have 2 sons. While you're grieving, are there other trusted adults in their lives who can provide emotional support right now? There are some online teen grief support groups through Griefnet.org and Kidsaid.com (an offshoot of the adult site).

Please check out some of our posts about coping with symptoms such as getting through the night and dealing with feelings of despair, etc.

Please stay in touch and let us know if we can offer more support.

Anonymous said...

Hi,I lost my husband 5/4/14.I feel so lost and alone.I spent the last two years caring for him and now I dont know what to do with myself.

Anonymous said...

Lost my spouse In August from suicide. I didn't recognize the signs. I am angry and irritable most days.

Anonymous said...

Hi my uncle lost his partner 3 years ago and he is so lost. I don't know how to help him. He talks to me and I listen but I can't give advice or answers. I suggested he might like to go to a group talk but he said he is shy and feels uncomfortable talking to strangers. How can I help him?

Laurie and Ruth said...

If your uncle was unable to openly grieve or get the usual support for his loss from family and or friends, it's understandable that his grieving process will be prolonged.

You don't mention how long he and his partner were together or how his partner died.

Please suggest he read our posts about "Not the Usual Partner". If he's uneasy being in a grief group, perhaps an online specialized group such as GriefNet.org will help.

Another option would be to contact appropriate community support groups and/or local hospital medical social workers for referrals to a private grief counselor who can best help your uncle.

Let us know if we can offer any other suggestions.

Please stay in touch.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband in March so it hasn't been a year yet. We've had been married 28 years and two months so I think we are around the same length of time in terms of our losses.

I understand how you feel because I don't know exactly where I am at this stage in terms of the process of living alone. My children are adults and on their own. Indendent and living in other states.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment.

Take care.

Linda said...

Hi i loss my husband two weeks ago we had 12 wonderful years together we have a mixed family two boys two girls. But my two girls were his life and then came our grandbaby poppys pride and joy he loved her so much.... Everyday is so hard he was told the first week of november he had pancreas cancer and with out sergury he had 3weeks he did the sergury but couldn't get it so we were going for cemo when he recovery from sergury but his kidneys failed and the liver to.. He was gone in 3weeks...He passed on december 1,14 So fast i just can't wrap my head around it all i do is cry.I'm so lossed he was my everything.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Linda,

Your loss is not only very recent but pretty sudden and in a way, unexpected. While someone is undergoing treatment, there's always the hope that they'll recover and/or have more time.

Please be gentle with yourself and take as much time as you need to deal with the responsibilities and decisions that you're faced with.

Remember, every tear counts. Eventually, the pain does soften. But for now, give yourself permission to not be your old self.

Please stay in touch and let us know how it's going.

Kbw@gmail.com said...

Hi, was just wondering if there are any pointers on how to get through another Holiday without wanting ta throw myself off a cliff..My husband died in May 2010, my only child is in Nevada, and its not getting easier with time. Plus his birthday was Dec. 31...I'd really appreciate ANY ideas..

PB4ever said...

Hi, I lost my mother on November 1st 2014, and then my husband, my dear Friend of 27 yrs on December 5th 2014. This was the worst Christmas and New Year of my life. I just feel broken.

claire said...

Hi my name is claire i also lost my husband in august from sucide i totally understand your anger and grief x

claire said...

I too lost my husband to suicide in august i totally understand your anger and loss

Flo said...

Hi Kim,

I lost my husband 7 years ago to a heart attack. It is immense pain and agony especially the first few months. We all grieve differently so tak your time and speak what your heart is feeling.

I promise it will get better even though it does not feel like it now. We never get over the love of a lost love we learn to get through it.


Flo said...


I lost my husband of 14 years 7 years ago. I understand that the pain in unbearable especially in the earliest stages. The shock and numbness overwhelm your entire existence. I know you feel like your alone at this time but there are many places to help you along the way. I visited a website online for grief and it helped me to know I was not alone.

My prayers are with you.! I know you don't believe it but it does get better with time!

We never get over the loss of a love one, we just get through it.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband 12/2005. I was 7 months pregnant and we had 2 boys, 5&4. I know it has been a while and I am currently in a relationship but i think I my relationship is being affected by everything I have gone through. I have no compassion for my partner. I don't want to cuddle, snuggle, or even be sexually active. Maybe it's my age, I am 37 but then I think, I am to young. I don't know what is going on. Can someone please help me.

Anonymous said...

I just lost my husband.an very confused an lost.

Laura Masters said...

I lost my husband of 19 years on February 4, 2015 from severe strokes, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and cirrhosis of the liver plus we have four grown daughters and one grandson. He was 52 when he passed away me his wife is 46 years old. It really hurts and painful to lose him.

Leah said...

I lost my husband suddenly in March. We were to celebrate our 35 anniversary this year. We met when we were just 6 yrs old, and have been involved in each other's lives ever since. We were friends all through school, and started dating in our senior year. i thought I was coping fairly well, but this last few days, I feel so hopeless. my heart is so broken. I feel like I don't know how to do life without him. I find myself dwelling on the days prior to his death, trying to find a symptom, a sign that he wasn't well. Also, he passed away at our home, so the picture I have in my head of him is that day. I try to look at pictures of him, as he was so handsome. he had the most beautiful eyes, but his eyes were closed when he passed so I didn't see them that day. I miss him terribly. it's not about being alone. it's his voice his smile his touch that I miss. How do you fix a broken heart? I don't think it's possible.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Leah,

All your reactions are completely understandable. It sounds like your loss was sudden and unexpected and it's not uncommon in such situations for there to be many unanswered questions.

It's common to wrestle with feelings of helplessness, guilt and sometimes remorse with a sudden death, and this might explain why you find yourself dwelling on the final moments.

Please try to be gentle with yourself, take as much time as you need to grieve and keep your expectations realistic.

Please let us know how it goes.


I lost my husband on 5/26/15. We were together for 10 yrs but married for 7. It would have been our anniversary on June 14. Everyday i think that there is something that could've been done because it was so sudden. He was 36 yrs old and that is just to young. I talked to him twice the day he passed away and he never relayed to me anything was wrong. My family is the most important thing to me and now the key piece is gone. I would give anything to have him here giving me all of his hugs and kisses. How does one go on when your best friend suddenly leaves? Will the pain ever go away? Does he know how much i love him? I have so many questions and day by day my heart breaks more and more.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Pralez,

Unexpected death leaves us with many questions and emotional unfinished business.

Your reactions are understandable and very normal. While your loss is still very recent, keep in mind that over time, the pain does soften.

For now, however, try to seek as much support as possible. Being young and widowed can be very isolating and most people your own age won't be able to understand the struggles and challenges you're facing.
Please read our posts about sudden death as well as our posts about being widowed young. GriefNet.org has specialized online support groups for younger surviving spouses, so consider checking this site out.

Please let us know how you're doing.

Anonymous said...

I lost my boyfriend of 6 years 3 months ago in a tragic car accident I feel so guilty living life that was denied to him I'm so lost and confused half the time I can't think straight I hide myself from the outside world because i can't face reality yet this numb and heart breaking feeling won't go away and don't know how can I can ever be happy again

Anonymous said...

I lost my wife of twenty nine years four months ago I feel there is no one to speak to to express how I feel her fifty birthday is coming soon all I think about is my wife and I am lost and do not know what to do

Laurie and Ruth said...

Special occasions are especially difficult during the first year following a death. How you choose to acknowledge that day is up to you. We've found however, that trying to pretend it's just another day usually backfires, often resulting in a "sneak attack" of pain and grief at an unexpected moment.

Many people find that setting aside a few moments to think about his or her spouse and shed a few tears does help.

It also sounds like you feel isolated from others who you can share your loss with. It's not clear from your comment why this is happening but often men feel uncomfortable sharing their more vulnerable feelings (there's cultural pressure to be "strong").

Please consider one of the online support groups such as GriefNet.org
which offers several options. Or you might, at some point, contact the social workers at your local hospital for referrals to bereavement groups in your area.

In the meantime, 4 months following a death is still a very short time to expect yourself to feel like your usual self. Please give yourself as much time to grieve as possible (although others may pressure you to hurry). Once the initial shock of a death is over, (after the 1st few months), the painful reality of what's happened can hits like a ton of bricks.

Try not to make any important decisions during the first year. This first year will the most difficult. With time, the pain will soften.

Let us know how if we can offer more support.