Being A Widow

10 Things Every Widowed Single Mom Wants You To Know

Dear reader,

The following blog post was written in June of 2017. In light of recent events I decided it was time to press publish.


It’s after 2:30am and I am sitting up in bed jotting down notes in an attempt to recall the last time I felt like myself. The answer came to me pretty quickly, it was when my husband was alive.

Over the last couple of weeks I have begun to evaluate life and assess what’s a benefit or detriment to it. As I am thinking about changes that need to be made it all revolves around the fact that I am parenting alone.

A lot of people parent alone and have the misfortune of never having the other parent present in the child’s life. I can’t speak to that experience and I won’t attempt to.

I am addressing life as a widowed single mom after having the “husband, child, house, dog and white picket fence”. Life as we knew it was set because we (widowed single moms) said our vows till death do us part. We established our families without expecting anything to change until it did.
So in an attempt to resonate with my widowed single mothers and educate everyone else I created this list of 10 things every widowed single mother would want you to know.

10. You abandoned her

She’s no longer your married friend you can chat with about your husband drama. She isn’t that friend you can call for couples game night. She’s not your all American career woman or soccer mom you want to partner with or head up the PTA. What she was to you can’t possibly still exist so you have no use for her presence and your calls and invitations cease to exist.

In my own life from friendships I had to brands I used to blog for there has been a shift. Why invite me out to be social when all you talk about or represent is the perfect nuclear family. I can’t possibly be relatable anymore so there is an unbearable silence, and we are cut out of your lives.

Well first our husbands died and now our friendships and careers died along with it.

9. She is lonely

Let me be clear, lonely is NOT desperate so just because a widow has lost a husband it doesn’t mean she is going to go flocking to any person for affection or attention. Widowed single moms are lonely because they lost their companion and their best friend they spoke to each day.

There is a reason she was married to that man and it’s more than likely because they could brave the world better together. They were able to come home from work and talk about their days and their worries like they could with no other.

Now she is in a house with a child who she wouldn’t dream dumping any woes of the day onto over dinner. She is forced to internalize everything and absorb all that went wrong in her child’s day. Since she has been abandoned now she has no one to talk to.

8. She is always hurting even though the smiles.

When you lose not only a soulmate but a life partner you raised your child with it’s an unbearable pain.

Personally I would rather go into labor all over every year than to deal with this hurt. It’s an emotion that smacks you in the face at the oddest and most inconvenient times. To make matters worse it never goes away.

The pain is permanent and it feels like someone took some of your heart away including your capability to love and heal. The hurt never stops.

7. Unless you are a single widowed mom, you can’t relate to her.

Dealing with loss

Loss is inevitable and at some point every creature on earth loses someone they love. That love can send you into a debilitating grief after a loss. When you witness a family member or friend who experiences any loss some feel they can relate. People who have lost a parent may tell others they relate when that person loses a child. Others may have lost a sibling and proclaim to relate to someone who lost a spouse. None of these losses are the same. Let me say that again, NONE OF THESE LOSSES ARE THE SAME and I can probably write a book on all the reasons why they are not. It is due to there differences that specific grief counseling groups, retreats and books even exist.

What’s more even if you did share the same type of loss you still may not fully understand a person’s pain. I personally lost my biological father who was somewhat absentee at the age of 5 years old. My son lost his father (my husband) when he was 5. His father was very present and active with him. My son went through and continues to go through stages of grief I don’t recognize or relate. The relationship I had with my father was different and I am not a boy who lost his father and mentor. I didn’t have fears that I suddenly needed to “protect my mom” when my father died and so on.

So back to the point unless you are a single widowed mom, you can’t relate to her so you need to consider that you have no understanding of what she has been through and will continue to go through.


6. Unless you are a single widowed mom, you can’t relate to her.

Dealing with working husbands and partners

You may be married or partnered raising your child(dren) with the help of your husband or partner. Perhaps they are workaholics or lazy bums.You end up taking on a lot of the household duties; bringing home the bacon, keeping house and raising the kids. No matter how absentee your partner is at some point that partner does support you even if you feel those efforts are lackluster. In your moments of frustration you exclaim “I feel like a single mom”. How sway? Your husband or partner is actually there, alive. Just stop for a second and make a comparison list with two columns. On the left put all the things (insert name) does to help. On the right put all the things a widowed single moms husband/partner does to help and make sure to leave the entire list blank. I think you get my point now.

If you still don’t understand what I am saying about any of this go watch Collateral Beauty or something. It’s a movie about someone dealing with loss.

Want to read more? Check out

10 Things Every Widowed Single Mom Wants You To Know Part Two

I am Shaniqua Garvin and I became a widow in January of 2015. I am raising my young son. It’s been quite a journey I will be on the rest of my life. If you have recently become a widowed single mother or father you are not alone. There are support groups on, facebook and in your local community. There are fully funded playgroups and camps for those like me with young children. For those simply seeking to support a widow, there are groups for you as well. Wishing all the best to you.


  • Kira Williams

    Thank you for this. It’s so hard to explain to people that it’s a hurt beyond any other comparison. I am 26 and was widowed in March of 2017 after finding out I was pregnant with the baby my husband and I had been working very hard for. After being told it might be impossible. Going through that kind of grief and being alone through pregnancy was life changing to say the least. But I now have an amazing and handsome son who reminds me so much of his father <3 Everyone always says it gets better with time….which is false but they wouldn't know that. You just learn how to deal with your feelings and live with the person your experience made you because you will never be the same again.

  • O

    Thank you for sharing your stories it helps me see my life a little clearer I am 39 years old I’m widowed have 4 boys running between the ages of 25 and 18 I lost my husband two and a half years ago and it seems like I lost him yesterday I’ve been feeling lost confused and list, losing my mind. I’ve been married for 25 years he is the love of my life. I lost him in a motorcycle accident and I haven’t delt with the loss so hopefully reading your comments and your books will help me and how to make my life a little easier.

    • Shaniqua Garvin

      I am really sorry for all your going through. I hear from others widowed longer than me it’s a pain that never goes away, it just gets “easier” to deal with. I might imagine losing your husband suddenly and tragically makes you think about him so much more. Definitely find support groups if you can. Blessings to you.

  • Nonie

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I am a 36 year old widow my husband died September 2016 ,am now raising a 11 year old boy and a 9 year old girl,they are so like their dad and that makes me smile sometime .That void of losing him will be in my heart forever but people will never understand it .But through it all I am surviving with God on my side.My son tells me time and again “momy I love you ” sometimes he even say”I care about you mom and I will always protect you because you are my precious mom” it hurts at times but for the sake of my kids I have to put a smile, losing someone you dearly love and you hoped to live life with him forever is not a child ‘s play …Mrs Q Eastern Cape

    • Shaniqua Garvin

      Thank you for sharing your story with me as well. I wish you strength as you raise the two children on your own. Blessings to you.

    • Vuyo

      Thaks for sharing, i lost my husband in 1997 but i always feel like it happened yesterday. I raised 02 girls now they are 24 and 21 years old.

      • Shaniqua Garvin

        I appreciate you too Vuyo. Knowing how vivid the pain and lost is to you after 22 years would help me and others here know we are not alone.

  • Vanessa

    Thank you! I needed to hear this… it truly is a struggle almost daily. Im 28 and was widowed November of 2016. I am a proud mother of two beautiful girls ages 4 and 5. It’s been a rough two years and it is truly a pain that only a widowed parent would understand. I lost both my dad and sister in 2014 and my mother-in-law this past summer. All are very different pain/grief.

    • Shaniqua Garvin

      Thank you for sharing about your loss Vanessa. I wanna apologize for missing this comment until now because I was on a long break. Your braver than you feel and know I am sure. Stay close with our widowed community.

  • Maria

    Hello Shaniqua Garvin,
    First of all thank you for your article I admired your strength and words. I need your advice on how to help a close friend of mine,she became a widow and it’s raising two girls pretty similar age to mine kids which that’s how we met since our kids were friends and classmates.she is as you described ,she smiles and says she is okay but I know she also needs help however she won’t ever ask because she doesn’t want to bother anyone .I would like to help her and by this I don’t mean to annoy her.

    • Shaniqua Garvin

      Thank you Maria,
      It’s so wonderful that you want to help your friend. I find that the only help I accept these days is unexpected gifts or gestures. Like your friend we are trying to feel our way through this new responsibility of being a sole provider without relying on or feeling like a burden to anyone. I would say simple do things without asking but not in an over bearing way. I have a friend who brought tickets to something she knew I wanted to go to but truly didn’t have the money. She said hey, I got us tickets already to (event) so make sure you have babysitting. I had another friend who knew I needed money so instead of saying here let me give you some money, he hired me to consult him on social media for his new business. He truly didn’t need my help and later admitted he knew it was the only way to get me to accept the money. For your friend I would pay attention to the things your friend needs, maybe even offer play dates (babysitting) where you watch her girls. Treat her to mani, pedi or dinner. You know your friend best. Wishing you luck. Thank you for being such a considerate friend.

  • Ashley Roman

    I am 34 and was widowed March of this year. I have 2 young kids, 8 month old and 7yr old. It has been tough, I lost my house, daughter left her school, had to leave the state. I am trying my best to keep a smile on and stay strong for my babies. Especially, I found out my husband cheated on me while pregnant which ignited him to take his own life sadly. It has been tough trying to work and process through all the emotions. I am glad to know that there are different support groups out there. I will continue to grieve in private, and rebuild a life for my family. Thank you for your support.

    • Shaniqua Garvin

      Ashley, first I want to apologize for my extremely late response. My goodness you have been given a heavy burden to bare and I am so sorry for any pain and struggle you might be going through. I hope you have continued to seek the support that you needed during these times. Blessings to you.

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