Widowhood and Divorce are Biggest Stressors
You may have suspected it. The SRRS confirms it. Stress correlates directly and measurably with the chance of getting sick.
Developed by Dr. Thomas Holmes at the University of Washington State Medical School, the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) assigns rankings to life changing events. Death of a spouse and divorce rank at the top of the list.
Combined with the other factors on the chart that are natural companions to widowhood, the combined score of a widow catapults off the charts.
Divorce typically doesn’t happen without warning. Not so for widowhood. Within the space of a heartbeat, you can be widowed. A plane or car crash. A fall from a ladder. A boating or skiing accident. A heart attack. Your world turns upside down. Your social status changes; your family pressures increase. Financial pressures can push your nervous system beyond your ability to cope.
For the first time in your life, you may now be faced with financial decisions. Your husband may have wanted you to be involved in the marital finances, but you let him do it, saying you were too busy or not interested.
Perhaps you were married to an optimist who refused to face his mortality, who told you not to worry, that nothing would happen to him. You may have been worried sick (metaphors do apply here) about how you would cope on your own if something happened to your husband, but you never took any action to make sure you had the financial information you now need.
In short, you may be totally unaware of what you’re facing as you now have to manage things on your own.
Ultimately, the only thing you can control is to plan for the things you can’t control. If you’re not familiar with the finances in your family, not just the household budget, but all the marital finances, get involved.
If I were your husband, and I loved you, I’d nag you to participate and understand the finances. After all the hard work you both did, he'd hate to see you blow it all after he's gone.