Our widowed are a large segment of society often forgotten, because no one can really understand until they go through it.
Women live longer on average than men, which means they have a higher chance of someday being the spouse left behind. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the median age of widowhood, for a first marriage, is 59.4 and half of all women who will become widowed, become so by age 65.
Unable to afford the expense of a death notice in the newspaper, countless friends are unaware of her loss. Studies show that when her spouse passes a widow will lose 75 percent of the friends she had as a couple.
For many, the spiral of povery begins at her husband's death. While she still needs 80% of the income the two had, Social Security benefits are cut up to one-half, with his passing and if he had a pension, oftentimes, it ceases. Yet, utilities, food, medicine, taxes, gasoline, auto and home insurance go up, even in years when there is no cost-of-living increase from Social Security.
His funeral can be financially devastating when there is no life insurance. Nearly a third of single women over age 75 are impoverished, with less than $890 a month to live on. Sometimes there is not enough money left for food, yet many widows don't qualify for food stamps.
Medicare doesn't help with any dental, eye glasses or hearing aid needs she might have. Unable to afford the dentist she may lose teeth. Struggling to make ends meet, she is on her own to figure out a way to find the money for those needed expenses.
Frequently gas to church or to the doctor is a luxury she can't afford. A book of postage stamps to pay bills or a small gift for a grandchild's birthday can be a hardship.
Half of her is gone with his passing and she is left with feelings of loss and abandonment. Alone, facing the obstacles of loneliness, grief, discouragement and poverty, feelings of isolation and rejection by others can make them easy prey for con artists.
Sensing that she isn't needed or wanted she may feel that she no longer has a purpose, which can lead to depression and ultimately, affect one's will to live.
Aware that widows find comfort and hope as they reassure another widow that their feelings surrounding their loss are natural, we provide 'thinking of you' cards and stamps for widows to send to other widows. Appreciative, both sender and recipient tend to look for ways to reach out to others.