Tips for Coping with Widowhood
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Tips for Coping with Widowhood

This article was written as a response to the question: What are some tips for coping with widowhood?
The death of your spouse, though make you a widow, is not the end of your world.If you are young, you may have to opt for remarriage and search a husband on line in a number of web sites that exclusively engaged in this service.However,if you find a suitable person for getting remarried, take your own time for taking a final decision.It is safer to have a premarital agreement before getting remarried in the interest of your future and your children as well.You should also have the death certificate that serves as an important legal document in all your future ventures.If you are a widow in your 50s and 60s and your children are grown up you may have to fully concentrate on the well being of your grown up children and in the administration of your deceased husband's estate.The situation of widows in India is slightly different.The condition of a widow in an orthodox brahmin family still remain worse and pathetic and the condition of a widow in other communities is somewhat improved.Therefore, a widow before getting remarried should take into account her age, her children and the estate of her deceased husband.
                                         Tips for coping with Widowhood

Losing your life partner by death halfway down the life race and becoming a widow all of a sudden is really an excruciating and never thought of experience. But the death of your life partner does not mean that it is the end of the world. It is true that many of your short term and long term plans and goals that you had jointly devised along with your deceased partner will go haywire and get derailed. Now you have an added responsibility of resetting your derailed goals and put them back on their rails and make renewed efforts to achieve those goals.

The sudden death of your spouse also forces you to have a rethinking on your personal life, your children and your estate and the estate left by your deceased spouse. If you had already entered into a premarital agreement with your deceased spouse or if your spouse had already executed a Will or created a trust for the benefit of you and your children, you will have no difficulties in dealing with the estate of your deceased husband. Suppose, your spouse has died intestate, then you have a legal problem in getting the estate of your deceased husband for you and your children. If there are rival claimants for the estate of your deceased spouse, then you have no other go but to battle it out to claim your legitimate share for you and your children through a court of law by engaging a competent attorney preferably in the state where you are residing.

If you are forced to go to court to get the legitimate share from the estate of your deceased spouse, it may even be a protracted legal battle that you have to wage all alone. Then it is time to think about your personal life. If you are young and issueless, or if you have couple of children through your deceased spouse, you have no other go but to get remarried even before the widow tag sticks with you.Then the first step before searching for a new life partner is to get the death certificate for your deceased spouse, which is very important legal document that helps you to prove that you are a widow, that you and your children are the legitimate legal heirs of your deceased spouse. If you are waging a legal battle to get the legitimate share from your deceased husband’s estate, then the death certificate of your deceased husband will surely serve as a passport. Besides, while searching for a new life partner and getting remarried, the death certificate of your deceased husband is a very vital document.

You have decided to get remarried. There are number of ways to search for a life partner. Finding him on line through professional web sites that exclusively engaged in matchmaking service, is one of the safest ways. If you find a person who may become your new life partner, before taking a final decision of getting remarried, take your own time. Meet him in person. Know about him, his marital condition, his children, his estate etc. If your future life partner is a widower and is not in any existing marital relationship with a spouse, it is well and good. In other words, you can even narrow down your search for a new life partner from a number of widowers.It is also necessary so as to get convinced, you should exchange your credentials, I mean death certificates of your spouses on either side. If your proposed new life partner is not a widower but a divorcee then ascertain it through his divorce certificate. If your proposed new partner is already having a premarital agreement with his previous divorced or deceased wife, then you must be very careful before taking a decision to get remarried.It is equally good both of you should consult an attorney and taking all the existing circumstances on either side into account, enter into a new pre-marital agreement so as to safeguard your future and your children as well. Once you feel and get ascertained from an attorney that your future is safe and then go ahead on your remarriage.  

If you are a widow in your post 50s or 60s, by this time your deceased spouse must have executed aWill or a Trust deed perhaps appointing you as the trustee. Your children have grown up waiting for your guidance. Your age has played havoc in your charm and beauty and considering your other preoccupations, onerous duties and responsibilities you have no time to think about your remarriage. Nor it is easy to find a suitable partner for you. Of course, you are also not interested in getting remarried. Then you have a major role in settling your children, getting them employed and married besides discharging your legal duties and obligations as an executor or a trustee. Of course, you have grown up in your stature.

While all the abovementioned tips may be mostly useful for the widows living in the western countries, let us look at what is happening to a widow in India. The condition of a widow in most orthodox Brahmin families in India is still worse. When she becomes a widow regardless of her age, she has to wear only white saris; untie her nuptial knot; not to wear bangles; not to go for outing, but always remain secluded in the corner of a house.In some remote corners of the country, sati had been in practice till most recently. The widow who lost her husband should go along with her deceased husband to the funeral pyre to set herself aflame.

But, by and large, the situation has largely improved now. No more sati. No more taboos on the widows. Widows, if they are young are making up their mind for a remarriage and parents are also supportive.The irony is while the remarriage of a widow is a simple affair in the western countries, in India, a person, I mean a male who come forward to get married a widow is a hero and held in high esteem in the eyes of the society since he has given life to a widow through remarriage. Mostly the widow remarriages are very simple and held in temples and only a limited number of invitees are there to witness the event.

Therefore, a widow before taking a decision for remarriage should take into account her age, the well being of her children and the problems that she may have to face or deal with pertaining to the estate of her deceased spouse.   

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Comments (1)

Great article. I remember a documentary of some country...not sure of which it was.. where if a husband died, the wife was buried alive with her husband or threw herself onto a funeral fire or something... do you know what I'm trying to talk about here?  Were these things done because the widow would not survive without a husband? I hope that isn't done anymore in whatever country it was. I'm not sure if it was India or Africa or something. Voted!

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