A Widow’s Grief and Health Impact


Research shows widower’s grief can damage their health

Have you personally known or heard stories of the romanticized couple who have been married for more than 40 or even 50 years? Then one day, you hear the unfortunate news that one spouse passed away and shortly thereafter – sometimes within hours, days or weeks – you hear that the other spouse has died.

A few famous examples of this phenomenon are:

  • Musician Johnny Cash died four months after his wife, June, died in 2003.
  • President George H.W. Bush became seriously ill after his wife, Barbara, died.
  • Kate Spade’s father died a day before his daughter’s funeral.
  • Quarterback Doug Flutie’s mother, Joan Flutie, died of a heart attack one hour after her husband, Dick, died of a heart attack.
  • Harold and Ruth Knapke died 11 hours apart. 
  • Jeannette and Alexander Toczko each died within 24 hours. 

Studies have shown a strong link between grief and the impact on the immune system. The phenomenon, known as the “Widowhood Effect was examined in a study in 1995. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Public Health found that people whose spouses had just died had an increased chance of dying within three months following their spouse’s death.

There is no denying that death and the grieving process are extremely difficult. These times are full of complexities. Widowed spouses, who can be dealing with their own health issues, may lose the will to live without their partner.

It is important to help the widowed take steps that encourage healing. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Provide space to express their grief. Feeling this loss is normal. Embrace their emotions, tears, cherished memories, and stories, etc.
  2. Grief has no timetable. Go at your own pace. Everyone copes differently. Don’t pressure yourself to “move on.”
  3. Find a support group or counselor. This can help process grief in a healthy manner.
  4. Gift a book about grief. It can provide insight on what they are experiencing and what to expect. 
  5. Encourage healthy habits. Eating healthy meals, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep are imperative. Staying in contact with their doctors is also a good idea. 
  6. Remind them of what they have to live for. Living one’s life to the fullest is a great way to honor their spouse through family, friends, charity, legacy aspirations, and favorite activities.

There is no magic wand that ensures a widow’s happiness or health, though the support of others is vital in the times ahead.  

Knapp Family Wealth partners with families beyond their evolving financial needs. 

If you have any questions, schedule a Ask Me Anything” 30 Min Call.

James C. Knapp, AIF®, BFA, CPFA®

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC

The material and opinions expressed in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

SOURCEAero Crew News, September 2022
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James C. Knapp, AIF® founded Knapp Advisory Group to help professionals and retirees make informed decisions with their financial affairs. James believes financial success is a matter of choice, not chance. For over a decade, James has found the greatest satisfaction in helping his clients identify their financial, charitable and legacy goals. To help clients pursue their goals, James’ risk aware investment approach seeks to provide consistent, realistic total returns with lower volatility than traditional portfolios of equities and fixed income securities. James’ professional experience includes: · ACCREDITED INVESTMENT FIDUCIARY(AIF®) certificate, awarded from the Center of Fiduciary Studies signifying specialized knowledge of fiduciary responsibility and the ability to implement policies and procedures that meet a defined standard of care. · FINRA Series 24 General Securities Principal (As a registered principal with LPL Financial, James oversees operational, compliance, trading and sales operations in his office). · FINRA Series 7 General Securities Representative (held with LPL Financial) · FINRA Series 66 The Uniform Combined State Law (held with LPL Financial) · National Futures Association Series 31 Futures Managed Fund (held with LPL Financial) · Life, Health and Variable Insurance License (held with LPL Financial) James makes himself available to speak with friends and family members referred by his current clients. James, his wife Katie, their two sons & daughter reside in Prairie Village, KS. James graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelors of Science and Business Administration in Finance and Economics. Born and raised in St. Louis, James is a lifelong Cardinals baseball fan, enjoys attending any sporting event, volunteering his time to various community and charitable organizations. James serves on the Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas City Advancement Council Board.


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