Widower Wednesday: Running with the Dead

Just a reminder that I’ll start posting about holiday topics next week. If you have any holiday situations you’d like me to address in a Widower Wednesday column, send me an email and I’ll answer it. Last year’s topics included Making New Holiday Traditions, How to Remember the Late Wife during the Holidays, and, Moody Holiday Widowers.

Also, my next book, “Marrying a Widower” is going to be released next year. More details here.


The other day a flyer was stuck in our door announcing a 5k run/walk. The purpose of the event was to raise money for breast cancer research and honor a local woman who recently lost the fight to that disease.  That same evening I received an email from a woman whose widower BF was going to run in a similar event. The woman was worried that the event would suck him into the past and make him moody and hard to live with and wanted to know how she could talk him out of participating in it.

Personally I don’t have a problem with these types of events even though I’m not a big fan of them. If you want to raise money for charity or awareness in hopes that it can save some lives or make people more aware of a cause, more power to you. Organize one and have fun doing it. However, the relationship issue seems to be is whether or not these kinds of events stop a widower from moving forward or put him in a temporary holding pattern instead of moving on with his life.

Everyone had different ways of grieving and moving on. For some these events can be therapeutic and help them close out a certain chapter of their life. If the race or event is tied into a local charity it might even help them feel like they’re stopping others from going through the same pain that they experienced. For others, however, these events may indeed throw them into the past and be terribly unhelpful to their progress. They may become withdrawn or sad and pine after their dead spouse. It really depends on the person and how they tackled and managed the grief monster.

So if the widower you’re dating participates in similar events without getting sad or otherwise putting a serious relationship on the backburner, let him do it. As time goes he’ll stop participating in these events as he puts that chapter of his life behind him. If events are causing emotional or relationship issues, then sit him down and talk it out. He may not be aware of much the event is affecting his mood or your relationship. Unless you’ve got a serious concern, I would stop short of asking him not to participate. He needs to be the one to weigh your feelings and his goals decide whether or not to take part. The decision, the consequences thereof, are his to make.