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Feeling Like “When It Rains, It Pours” When It Comes to Loss?

By Marie Burns June 20, 2023 Lifestyle

I don’t feel like there is a magic age, but eventually, we realise how short life really is. Maybe it’s just more of an awareness as we keep journeying through these milestone “new decade” birthdays, like turning 60.

Recent Widows

We are halfway through this year, and I now know six more widows. Some are family members, others are friends, and still others are family members of friends. When I spoke with my mother-in-law recently, she had attended five funerals in the past couple months. “When it rains, it pours” was never a phrase I associated with loss before. But as we get older, it comes with the territory.

Our Next Chapter

If you have read some of my past blogs, you may feel like I obsess about planning for the next chapter of our life. Talking about dealing with the risk of running out of money, incapacity, and end-of-life planning is not high on anyone’s list of fun things to do. It can be hard to think about, talk about, and even hear about.

One client recently was talking with an adult child about her cremation wishes and one of the grandsons happened to walk in on the conversation. He got very upset and said, “You need to stop talking about that, grandma!”

Pain at Every Age

But I implore you to think about how difficult loss is for most of us. So we often don’t think about it or do enough about it in advance, which makes it even more difficult for family left behind. And being “older” doesn’t make the loss any easier.

One recent widow I spoke with, after years of care and an age difference with her spouse, shared that she had never imagined it would hurt this much. Loss of a parent can be similar, even when you know it may be soon, it doesn’t matter. Loss changes life.

Does Time Heal Pain?

And that old saying about how “time heals” is only partially true. Healing is not forgetting. And the wound is still there, just scarred over. It’s not something you get over, you just get through it, eventually with less daily pain.

The Second Year

You may already know or be surprised that widows often find the second year harder than the first. There is often so much change and so much to deal with in the first year that it almost helps to keep busy with your mind on other things.

One young widow understandably re-iterated several times when I saw her: “I am just so exhausted from all of this!” But then in year two, all of the “firsts” take place. First Valentine’s Day, his birthday, or your anniversary without him. First Christmas or other holidays without him. First anniversary of losing him. First grandchild, graduation, or wedding without him. All of those “firsts” in the second year can feel exhausting again.

The Hospice Attitude

Loss and celebrations of life can bring some gratitude, peace, and memories. I have always admired hospice staff/volunteers for their amazing attitude and role during end-of-life experiences. I would feel forever sad, depressed, and crying in that capacity, but I’ve talked with several who have chosen that path and they have a different perspective. They feel honored, grateful, and helpful to a family in need. And they certainly are!

Two Solutions

Perhaps part of our solution for dealing with this “when it rains, it pours” time of life is two-fold. As a society, we need to do a better job of educating and openly discussing death. It is definitely going to happen to all of us. Somehow, we need to have conversations about facing that and how we want that to go.

Secondly, we can’t control when we will pass away, but we can plan for the things that we can control. So preparing for the unknown timing of passing, in advance, involves not only putting wishes in writing in documents, but also making sure titles/beneficiaries are correct, passwords are accessible, and a list of assets has been compiled. My Before and After Loss Checklist is a great double-check to confirm that you, or a friend, or a parent are ready to help your family weather through loss, whenever it comes.

What Are You Waiting For?

One client recently told me his current favorite line when talking to friends is, “What are you waiting for!?!” He was referring to spending/gifting/donating or enjoying travel or a new “toy.” We could apply his question to many things in life, especially this topic of preparing for loss.

If I asked you, do you have your financial house in order? I hope your answer is a resounding “yes!” Then you can spend the rest of your time focusing on living out and enjoying the rest of your story. But if the answer is “no,” then “what are you waiting for!?!”

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What have you found helpful in dealing with or preparing for loss? Any words of encouragement for each other on the challenges of this next chapter in life? Let’s have a conversation!

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Judith Louise

Twenty two years ago my husband became chronically ill. I left work to care for him. Over that time all our savings have been depleted. We have a government pension which keeps us on the border line of poverty. In 2019 a bush fire completed destroyed our house, contents, animals, vehicles, tool etc We lived in a shed without windows for nine months. We now have a house. Unfortunately an increase of house insurance and land rates we cannot afford live here anymore. If we sell the house and profit, there is a huge risk that we will lose the pension and all it health benefits. We are locked between a rock and a hard place. Meanwhile my husband’s health has taken a turn for the worst. He is too weak to even help me pack up our belongings and move. Four years ago I was diagnosed with a rare spinal disease which weakens my legs and causes chronic pain. Sometimes I can’t even help myself. Sadly were not able to have children. All of our extended family are either dead or are frail and elderly. Last week my husband was in the hospital intensive care unit. Doctors did not expect him to return home. We have been together since we were seventeen years old. As I write, the love of my life is sick and in bed. I have never felt so alone in all my life. The prospects of no husband, no money, no help, no family and no close friends.

Marie Burns

I can hear your pain in the description of your challenging situation and am so sorry for all you have endured! When you have independently weathered through all that you have, it can be especially difficult to reach out for support. I hope you can seek out a local senior organization, church, or agency that can help you continue to move forward.


This was a great article to get people moving with getting their house in order. Thank you.

The first thing I would suggest would be to MAKE SURE your Life Insurance is WHOLE LIFE – NOT TERM LIFE insurance. My husband passed away last June 2022. We were married 41 years and when we first purchased Life Insurance we did not know the difference between WHOLE and TERM insurance. Term was cheaper of course so we had 3 policies on him that were TERM. The year before he passed away I found out the 3 TERM policies expired when he turned 90 years old. Well, he passed away 8 months after his 90th birthday. I lost all that money! However I would rather have had those 8 months with him than the money. So please buy WHOLE Life. Second, start paying on a funeral plan. We paid for 5 years at $53.00 per month per person when I was 36 years old. We paid out $3,180.00 per person. When my husband passed away last year, the funeral would have cost approx. $20,000.00 if we did not have that policy. So PLEASE start paying for your funeral or cremation now!.I now have a folder with all the account numbers, passwords and phone numbers for my daughter to call when I pass, I did not want to leave her with a mess.

This is the beginning of my second year of being a widow and believe me the first year was hard however that first year I was so busy with all the paperwork and changing out all the accounts and bills to my name I really didn’t have too much time to mourn.Also figuring out how I was going to make the bills and keep this house going. My income went down tremendously after his death. Lucky for me, our home was paid for. I’m afraid this second year is going to be tough though. .

One more thing I want to mention, Facebook has a couple of great groups for widows, NO MEN only WOMEN. Join one of them if you can. It is nice having a group of women who understand what you are going through. Friends and family have a way of drifting and questioning “Why aren’t you better or over the mourning process. Trust me it happens. I was shocked. The women in these groups understand exactly what you are going through. There is no rule with a time limit on when you will be doing better or when you must get rid of his stuff. Blessings to you from Texas.


Thank you for your response. I lost my husband 2 yrs ago as well. We had been married 55 yrs. The 1st yr I was so busy getting things in order and trying to convince my kids “everything was fine” I didn’t really let myself mourn. When our 14 yr old cat died this past winter, it was like the world caved in. This 2nd year is definitely harder.

Marie Burns

Thank you for sharing your experience. Grief is definitely a very personal journey with a different timeframe for everyone. Just as you mentioned about a group, whether it is Facebook, Griefshare, or other women who have experienced widowhood, it definitely makes a difference being surrounded by someone else who has been in your shoes.

Lana Muir

We “can” control when we die. I am a Canadian and euthanasia is legal in our country. My sister chose this method at end of life when she was dying of pancreatic cancer at age 78. She did not want to suffer during the last weeks of her life and we as her family completely understood. She died at home with her two adult daughters by her side. If I am terminally ill, I am counting on the medical professionals to advise me on “dying well”. If my plane goes down at 42,000 feet, my will is ready to go into action. Too many of my friends fear death, but then again, many of them have also feared life.

Marie Burns

I am glad to know there are more options in Canada. I personally understand your sister’s situation and wish the US would follow suit, maybe someday.


What a gift that euthanasia is legal in Canada! I want so much to die with dignity and to spare loved ones from watching me die slowly and painfully. In some states, like mine, we are so much kinder about our pets’ deaths than we are about human death. Bless you for your advance planning!

The Author

Marie Burns, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), advocates for women’s financial health. She is an author of a financial checklist book series, speaker, podcast host and partners with clients to offer friendly financial advice in her independent practice Visit her at or

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