My Husband Died When I Was 27 — And I'm Still Not Over It

How is moving on possible when you loved someone that much?

Widowed woman, sleeping one the couch in the home she shared with her husband Stock Unit | Shutterstock

They say nights are the hardest to get through, so instead of sleeping in the bed my husband and I used to share, I decided to sleep on the couch. With fresh sheets in hand, I flipped over the end cushion and heard the crinkle of a candy bar wrapper. If he'd been in the living room with me, I would've reprimanded him (as I had so many times) and led him into the kitchen to show him where the garbage can was. Now, as I picked up the wrapper, the last thing I wanted to do was throw it away. I held it in my hand while I tucked it in the corners. I held it while I fluffed my pillow and straightened my blanket. I held it until I fell asleep and was still holding it when I woke up (about an hour later). Turns out, "they" were right; nights were the hardest to get through.


I also heard people say that you shouldn't suppress your tears and let them come and go at will. So I did, relentlessly. I cried in the shower. I cried in the car. I cried while walking and talking. I even cried in my sleep. I had never felt an actual lump in my throat until then. People didn't know how to deal with my emotions, and I can't say I blame them. I didn't either; I just couldn't do anything else.

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The fact that my husband died at 27 is unimportant. I could've been 87 and the pain would have been the same. Soon, my tears were replaced with solemnity. 


Unbeknownst to me, over a month had passed and, for the first time, I opened the front door. My mailbox was crammed with overdue statements and pre-approved credit card offers. According to my mail, he wasn't dead. I stood there with the envelopes in my hands. If he had been on the porch with me, I would've handed him the bills. Now, I just held them (like I'd held the candy wrapper). I realized then that I had to find the strength to live without my husband. That was the day I realized that there was life outside of my house and inside of it, too. I turned the porch light on in memory of my husband that day. It was exactly noon.

@emilypbingham Since the lessons often come in hindsight … 😔 Here’s what I wish I knew when I found myself having to grieve & rebuild my entire life after losing my husband to Uveal Melanoma in 2019. 🖤 It’s not grief that’s the problem. It’s your relationship with it. Grief is LOVE! So learn to embrace it by finding ways to cope and not making your emotions “bad” or “wrong”. 💀 Death kills a person. Not a relationship. You can maintain your relationship with your deceased far beyond the physical. If you’re closed off to the idea of connecting in spirit – start with maintaining a connection through eternal love! 😳 You’ve been victimized. But, victimhood is a choice. A tragic thing happened to you. Yet there’s still choice in your response. You can become trapped by life circumstances, or you can transcend them. 🦋 Your person’s death isn’t just the end. It’s also a new beginning. It’s hard to see beyond the devastation and imagine what life could look like without your person in the beginning! But there are new possibilities presenting themselves to you. Start looking. 🌿 As much as you are grieving. You are also growing. The two go hand in hand! As you grieve WHAT WAS you adapt to WHAT IS. The process invites you to stretch and expand in ways you never imagined yourself to be capable. 👯‍ You will lose friends. AND … you will gain new ones. Old friends might not know how to show up for you in grief or align with the fireproof, post-lost version of you. While painful to say the least, think of this as a clearing to make space for new ones. ✨ DEATH makes you appreciate LIFE Losing someone you love crystallizes the impermanence and finiteness of life. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed! So let’s make the most of today. 🗣️ What point resonates most with you? If you want more lessons from my journey through grief and rebuilding my life after loss, I compiled ALL of them into my book LOVE & GRIEF. These lessons, tools and insights have helped hundreds of clients and I’m thrilled to be sharing them with all of you. 👉 Head to the LIB … For the link! 💌Share with someone who this could support 📥 Save for later #widow #youngwidow #widowsoftiktok #grief #griefjourney #loss #spouseloss #grieftips #grieving ♬ Home - Matthew Hall

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Shortly after that day, I returned to work. The same people I'd left there were still there. "None of them died," I remember thinking on my first day back. I replaced my somberness with bitterness; I just wanted to do my job and go home. My lively co-workers had other agendas, however. They were all around my age, late twenties, all single, and all encouraging. They invited me to join them for drinks after work, and they pushed me to dance when we got there.


My Husband Died When I Was 27 — And I'm Still Not Over It Pexels / MART PRODUCTION

I know they did so with the best of intentions, but at the time I hated them. I hated them for smiling, for laughing, and for dancing. I hated the fact that they had happiness and worse than that, I hated the pity they felt for me for losing mine. 

I hated all of them and I went home. It went on for a while this way: home, work, home. One day, my car broke down and I had to take the bus to work. What started as a bad day turned into a wonderful life. The man who sat down next to me became my second husband; we've been married for 15 years.


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I haven't turned the porch light off since that day so many years ago, not even to change the bulb (I wrap my hand up in one of his old socks that I saved and change it with the power still on). My current husband doesn't mind that the light stays lit, and he doesn't mind that my tears still flow for my first husband, on occasion. Though they've diminished, they'll never stop completely. What were tears of sorrow for having lost are now tears of joy, for having had

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.


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Alex Alexander is a pseudonym. The author of this article is known to YourTango but is choosing to remain anonymous.