Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Adult Children

Sunday, February 1, 2015
Posted By: 
Marlene Delaney

I will have been a widow for six years this week. My husband, Tom, died when our son, Chris was a freshman in college and our daughter, Nicole, was a junior in high school. They were not young children but they were far from being adults. My husband had been dealing with a brain tumor for about a year so his death was not a surprise. We had spent a wonderful Christmas holiday together but when my husband’s best friend took our son back to the University of Illinois, I knew that there weren’t a lot of days left in Tom’s life. A week later, Tom had a massive seizure and spent his last days in a hospice facility. Chris came home from school and we spent almost two full weeks at Tom’s side. Nicole went to school some days so she wouldn’t fall too far behind but she was with Chris and me when Tom took his last breath. We grieved but the three of us started our new normal life in a relatively quick fashion. Tom had told us that he wanted us to continue to live our lives to the fullest and so we have tried. I returned to work and the kids returned to school. It was difficult but we persevered.

Now my children are adults - Chris is 24 years old and Nicole is 23 years old. But even though they are adults, they still have problems that I wish I could talk over with Tom. They had issues in college. And since they have both graduated from college, now they have job issues. They have girlfriend/boyfriend issues. And my daughter has significant health issues that bring back all the bad memories of when Tom was ill and are causing that same terrible feeling that I hoped I would never have to deal with again.

Even though I have a decent support system of friends and family, nothing can replace my late husband. He was the optimist. He always said that everything would work out. He was the problem solver. Now I have to be the optimist, say that everything will work out, and solve problems – on my own. It is a lot to deal with as an only parent even when your children are adults. But I have done it successfully (more or less) for six years and will continue to do it in the future – I just don’t have to like it.


Welcome Marlene. Your perspective will be helpful to many.

I have been a widow now for three years and my children were 23 and 28 when my husband died. Although we all had time to prepare, there still seemed to be so many unanswered questions after he was gone. So many times I find myself saying, "what would Bob have said or done…." but ultimately it is my decision alone to make about absolutely everything. I learned my first grandchild was on the way at the one year anniversary of my husband's death. Bittersweet? Yes….but moved my focus to life, rather than death. But inside I was hurting. I had always told my husband he had to beat that cancer because I wasn't doing the grandma thing without a grandpa to help me out. Well, I didn't get the choice. And he never met his namesake. Now I'm helping my second son plan his wedding. Another event that will force the happy face, when inside I am dying…..and wishing my dear sweet husband would be the one to walk me down that aisle. It IS a lot to deal with even when your children are adults. They NEED both parents, but they, too, don't get the choice. Being an ONLY parent, is very different than being a SINGLE parent. Like Marlene, I'll keep on doing what I'm doing, but this is not my choice. And I don't like it either…..

I am So sorry I know excatly what you are going through My wonderful husband Jeff passed four years ago Even my three sons were 26, 23, and 16 It was a horrible time for all Of us you are right when you day dealing with it all Alone is awful nothing can replace your hubby!! But seems like you are dping great he sounds like He was a great guy like my Jeff! Good luck and god bless!!

I loved your blog. My husband died 5 years ago, my son was a jr. in high school and my daughter was in 8th grade. Yes they were young, but more adolescent. It has been a difficult 5 years, and I too have a great support system. Some days easier than others, some rough spots. But my husband was also the one to say it will all workout and be ok. I have said it before and I agree with you, we are not single parents we are only parents. We had a spouse supporting us and in the trenches with us, they have unfortunately left us and we are now left to deal with the child rearing ourselves. Single parents have either chosen to raise children on their own, or they have a spouse who they are divorced from who they can contact for the most part, if they need help or an opinion. We have no one, and must go with our gut and trust out instincts that we are doing whats right. That is what makes this the hardest part of widowhood, not having anyone to validate that you are doing the right thing.

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