What The Heck is SoloSpouse?

by | Apr 8, 2020 | Blog | 3 comments

Such an obvious and great question! One I hope to sufficiently answer, or at least impart some understanding of what I have confidence it can become.

As many ideas often land miles away from their inception, SoloSpouse is not at all unique to this theory. Please, allow me to explain….

Inception & Mission

If you had a moment to read my opening piece, you have a general idea of what my grand aspiration is for this platform. Creating a virtual space where newly bereaved spouses can access accurate and timely information intended to offer solace, structure, and empowerment following bewildering loss.

“The SoloSpouse you visit today is the tangible version of roughly two years of thought, brainstorming, collaboration.”

In addition to that valued component, my aim is to somehow combine that with frontline community support. Does this sound impossible? Many have told me that this is an insurmountable feat. I say to them, “Attempting to reimagine life after losing my truest friend and husband, Patrick, is more suited for that category”. I chose to listen to and shadow my instincts. The vision began to percolate and dance in my psyche….

To provide a timeframe reference, the SoloSpouse you visit today is the tangible version of roughly four years of thought, brainstorming, collaboration, and most importantly active guidance from family, friends, fellow solo spouses, and my immediate Charlottesville, Virginia community.


I need it to be known, this endeavor would have remained sealed inside my imagination had it not been for limitless and genuine gestures of belief in me and the concept. This ignited an unidentified buried courage to pay forward the generosity of kindness afforded my family. Is it possible to recreate such a network for other solospouses that do not have a similar scope of help? Herein lies the genesis for SoloSpouse. A lifework that I see as a non-traditional, inventive love letter to my husband….

Redefining Family Life

Before it was SoloSpouse, it was called Widows’ Window, Widow Wise, Savvy Sage, and Growspring. It is very telling that the progression of name changes eerily mirrored my emotional transformation during this tumultuous period. The fluid modifications streamed from dark to light. My deliberate course moved away from death and toward redefining family life.

Think of this platform as a scaffolding designed to shepherd you through the first year following loss.


A Glimmer of Order in a Time of Chaos

SoloSpouse employs a very tactical approach to addressing and completing the mounds of tasks that besiege you simultaneously. Keep in mind, all of these “to do” items descend during ground zero of your emotional capabilities. What needs to be done, how do I get them done, in what order, and where can I find help in my own community? The first iteration of SoloSpouse, with any luck, will illuminate exactly those steps and place you in a safe environment as you attempt to heal and rebuild.

Grief is such a tricky emotion! Once you give in to its schizophrenia, you will find the bravery to build a plan. My experience has taught me that taking action, no matter the magnitude, is control, and control outlines the way ahead. Not so subtle warning ahead!

My Guru

Here comes the first of many, shameless shoutouts to the man whom unwittingly prepared me for this vocation, my love Patrick. I modestly ask for some grace in this department sans judgement. Without gushing about his numerous accomplishments, I will highlight one I believe he found most rewarding.

That is the creation of a Trial Defense Service for our country’s National Guard, an organization built to offer valuable legal services for each states’ service members. Many accomplished officers before him tried to design and build without success.


This glowing achievement etched his military legacy as the founder and grandfather of TDS. I was the privileged eye-witness and sounding board for the nine years it took to purposefully craft an association that would steer and serve every National Guard soldier coast to coast. The parallels to SoloSpouse and its future versions are magnificent and profound. Now, I acknowledge that this was my classroom….

Creating a New Dialogue

It is also my frank ambition to create a platform that will modernize the flawed perceptions and dialogue that surround widowhood. SoloSpouse will seek to dispel these myths and generate a more helpful discussion model.


The platform will speak precisely to the SoloSpouse society, as well as anyone who has the desire to walk alongside, rally around, and minister to a bereaved family member or friend. For this to work, I know that authentic advice regarding content and service is vital. Fellow SoloSpouses, I am open to such candid feedback.

Please take a moment to send me an email at kbarnett@solospouse.org with commentary on what is useful, not so much, and what should be incorporated in future versions of the site. My only request is that the correspondence be constructive and respectful. Now, let’s rebuild together!


  1. Anonymous

    As a fellow solo spouse, I really identify with the importance of changing the context by which we talk about and live through widowhood.

  2. Kelly Magee-Prichard

    Growspring provides guidance and community for a soul in pain. The structure of immediate steps, coupled with the nurturing spirit and understanding of societal stigmas, creates a platform for addressing the whole person and his or her connections to self, others, and the world around. Well done, growspring.

  3. Dbryan

    As we all know, overcoming grief is a process. You don’t ever get over the loss of your loved one, but learn to move forward. I was told that was the reason you chose the name “Growspring”. You grow and spring forward. What an appropriate name. All your hard work, dedication, and love has brought this to fruition. You turned your grief into helping others. Well done!


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A More Constructive Label for Forging Ahead

SoloSpouse is a modern term to redefine one who is on a solitary and often overwhelming path after the significant loss of a life partner. A partnership is reduced to a solitary mission to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. You are now solely responsible for everything that two people took care of before, and this often includes a combination of major roles such as household management, parenting, and working outside the home, to name a few.

But this new identity can be made easier through seeking community and learning from others who are experiencing similar changes and challenges. SoloSpouses can find strength and examples from others in similar positions and from vetted professionals they can trust in this new normal.