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From the Widows’ Files: Thoughts on Love, Death and Moving Forward, Part 2

From the Widows’ Files: Thoughts on Love, Death and Moving Forward, Part 2

March 11, 2020
  1. Crisis Management
  2. Prioritizing
  3. Choices and Decisions
  4. Opportunities
  5. Moving Along
  6. Regaining Equilibrium

Ebb by Edna St. Vincent Millay


I know what my heart is like

Since your love died:

It is like a hollow ledge

Holding a little pool

Left there by the tide,

A little tepid pool,

Drying inward from the edge.


Prioritizing: Widowed and wondering… What is important to you?

It seems overwhelming. The bills and newspapers continue to arrive, along with a stream of well-meaning visitors. Nothing feels normal, not even the most mundane activities, like doing laundry. Or making breakfast, because it is impossible to wrap your mind around another sunrise. These are the days when it can feel like a monumental accomplishment to brew a pot of coffee. In fact, it is. When your friends ask, “What can I do for you?” point them in the direction of the kitchen and the laundry room.

Your focus as the surviving spouse will be to evaluate (or re-evaluate) your priorities. Though daunting, the task at hand is not insurmountable. Are there young children still at home? Or other dependents who require your continuing support? Do your adult children live across the country? What is the state of your own health? And your career? Has there been a liquidity event, such as the payment of life insurance proceeds or the inheritance of a retirement plan? Might there be a settlement from a lawsuit? Should you consider life insurance to support your dependents? Are there compelling reasons to move? Or to stay?

Even if you do not have definitive answers at this point, thinking about your priorities will help to you to steer toward a direction. Talking to a friend or adviser who has been through the process can help.

The Financial Peace:

The primary goal at this stage will be to collect information and assets. Your spouse’s employer, the Social Security Administration, and the life insurance company, if applicable, can guide you on the benefits you may be entitled to and how to access them.

Do you have the appropriate life insurance in place for you and your loved ones? We can help you analyze your current needs for liquidity. Click here to discuss.

Voices of Experience:

From the widow: “Order a dozen death certificates. Or twenty. You will hand them out like Halloween candy on a Friday night.”

From the widower: “Go back to the beginning of your list and re-categorize the items as 1) Must Do, 2) Should Do, and 3) Would Like To Do. Your list is made. Now, go for a walk – a long one. Engage with the people you care about, and people you don’t know. I believe that exercise and helping others made all the difference for me and my family. Everyone has stuff going on. Help them help you. Your trusted advisors can help.”

Wherever you are on your financial journey, we can help.

Stratz & Company Financial Services