Bereaved spouses and partners

A place for widows and widowers to share their feelings and support one another.

Brave all week

occupation2heal
Posted by

Well I’ve been keeping it together all week, at a work/ social thing in London, then with my son and his family and then at work. This evening wine and music and I’m in bits. But feels like I need to do this. Just miss him so much. 

Alison 
Trying to be like the tree that bends with the wind and rain and thus weathers the storm
limbo
Posted by

Me too, missing him Thought the tears had dried up. Gow I wisj it would all end. I  still can't imagine a future without him.

limbo
Posted by

Oops, sorry for the mistakes: How I wish ...

Newb
Posted by

Hi limbo it does seem to just hit you out of the blue I find Saturday mornings are hell I don't know why but really hard same here wish it would end 

Ian
limbo
Posted by

I suppose, without realizing it, work helps; it's a distraction during the week, then weekend comes, and the reality is rammed into our faces all over again. Sorry for the violent image but that's how it feels. I began fooling myself into believing that I was doing better but now I'm not so sure. I know it's nobody's fault but I feel so abandoned. I feel guilty for even thinking that, seeing how ill my husband was. Of course, it's one thing to know intellectually that his dying was probably the best thing that could ever happen to him, but emotions and selfishness are a whole different kettle of fish. Dec. 20th will be one year. Will there be some magical moment at that time which will give me the strength to put into action certain ideas that I have? 

The thing is, I remember discussions we had about what we would do when the other died. I  worried because I earned more than my husband. He always said he would sell our flat in town and go and live in a smaller place by the sea. He had a very clear idea of what that would like. Although he was 15 years older than me, I never envisaged what I would do; I couldn't. Now, that's the reality I'm facing and I feel totally out of control. It's as though I'm being swept along with no will of my own. I wasn't exactly a control freak before but I needed to make plans. That's not unusual, is it?

Still feeling very lost and don't know when that will end.

occupation2heal
Posted by

It is so hard isn’t it? You are right that work provides a distraction. I went back 2 weeks ago on a phased return and I’m grateful for the sense of normality it provides. I teach in a university so I’m surrounded by people all the time. 
I was interested in what you said about feeling abandoned and wondered if you meant by your husband or by other people? One couple who I’d have said were very close friends,  whom we’d known for years and years ( the husband was my husbands best friend, best man at our wedding etc) have barely contacted me since Mike died. Maybe my expectations of them were unrealistic but I do feel totally abandoned by them. I know this happens - you find out who your friends are - but it’s painful nonetheless. 
You refer to having plans; I’m a great planner too. When Mike was ill I didn’t think about how I would feel but I thought a lot about what I would do. I hope the anniversary of your husband’s death will provide some sort of catalyst for you in moving forward with some of your plans. 
Look after yourself. 

Alison 
Trying to be like the tree that bends with the wind and rain and thus weathers the storm
limbo
Posted by

It's a bit of both: I feel abandoned by my husband and by others. I know feeling that way about my husband is irrational. I know he didn't want to leave me but that's part of the grieving process, from what I've read. I feel like that when I'm particularly down. As for other people, that was a disappointment. I'm on a four-year contract at a university on a small island. Three months after chemo, the tumour grew back to its original size and the doctors advised us to go back home, which we did, as Gilles wanted to see his family. He died 6 months after and I returned to my job a month and a half later.

I knew I could depend on a certain group of colleagues to help me get settled again, which they did, but I quickly realized that they would help with anything I needed but for most of them, no invitations were forthcoming, not even in the beginning. It soon became obvious that I would be the one to have to seek them out. There was only one couple who really seemed to care and were extremely considerate and available. The others never phoned at weekends or anything to see how I was doing. That couple has since retired and left, so, basically, I'm on my own.

If it's one thing you learn from death, is that people react in unexpected ways. I don't know if they're acting from a place of fear -  fear of death or fear that we will impose on them, fear of becoming too involved. Well, it's not because we've lost our spouses that we've lost our dignity, so I remain very friendly towards everyone when we run into each other but I stay away. The vague, non-committal invitations of coming over when I wanted didn't ring true to me so I smiled and nodded nicely each time. I'm not really bitter about that because you realize that people have their lives and nothing happened for them to change. It happened to us; it was our loss and, without a doubt, I might have acted in the same way, were situations reversed.

You take care of yourself, too. Death implies not just one loss but several others, apparently, but I suppose new things will come our way too.

Geoff999
Posted by

Hi Limbo 

Unlike your good self it's only been 4 months since I lost my soul mate Anne after 50yrs of marriage and I'm well into retirement so I have a lot - maybe too much time now - on my hands. Luckily I have great support from our two children and three neighbours, two of which themselves have lost their wives. I agree with you, work or indeed in my case socialising, is a distraction from our grief and  in an all encompassing way is probably therapeutic? But at the end of the day time alone is also extremely important in order for us  to  release those devastating emotions associated with our deeply rooted and heart breaking grief. I find its like living the life of a clown;  I walk through life with a painted smile on my face entertaining my audiance, however beneath the grease paint there is a devestating sadness that they never see. When alone and I have my grief attacks the power of my loss, as with all of us,  is beyond description. At times I've found myself almost howling  like a wolf to the moon. Then after it subsides a feeling of total numbness comes over me, mind and body, and I find myself just staring blankly into space for ages before some kind of motivation takes over and I start to function again. Can you empathise with this process Limbo?  I think what I'm trying to say amongst my ramblings is that perhaps we all are trapped in exactly the same way  in this cruel and heartless process of loss and grief. And I have no idea when or how it becomes less and less intense to the point where another kind of form of normality takes its place. Im sure others on our site maybe able to give us an insight into that. 

Love and Light 

Geoff.

At the end of all our journeying will be to find ourselves back where we started knowing the place for the first time. TS ELIOT.

limbo
Posted by

Hi Geoff, 

You expressed everything so accurately. For some reason, it's only now, into the 11th month, that the feelings are less intense although there are still those horrendous waves that come crashing over my head. I know exactly what you mean when you talk about howling like a wolf. the first  eight months were sheer torture. 

I'm glad you have support. There'll come a time when you'll realize, "Oh, I havent cried today." It actually feels strange, as though something was missing. I remember reading that the pain makes us feel more connected to our loved one and so, we sometimes try to hold on to that pain. 

How we manage grief and loss dépends on so many things: the relationship we had, our personality, our support system. I think, though, we shouldn't feel rushed to try to feel better or do things people think we should do. Society today doesn't want to have to deal with grief, death or grieving people. We're living in a culture where we're all supposed to be happy human beings loving life on this earth. I was just that before my husband's death. He accounted for a large part of my happiness ( and I'm not ashamed to admit it) because I enjoyed living with him. Today I'm not happy and that's how the cookie crumbles. People can take it or leave it.

occupation2heal
Posted by

Hello Ian, it’s Saturday morning which I noticed you said is hell for you. So I thought I’d just send you a post and say hello. I’m sitting at my kitchen table drinking tea and wearing my husband’s dressing gown ( the closest I can get to a hug). It’s raining and grey but I will have to take the dog out and do some shopping too as there is nothing to eat in the house. It feels like putting one foot in front of the other and keeping going. I hope you have some tasks to see to today that will carry you through. Look after yourself. 
Warm  wishes 

Alison 
Trying to be like the tree that bends with the wind and rain and thus weathers the storm
MelanieL
Posted by

Hi everyone,

I think this thread shows very well that grieving is a process and that we are all on this journey together and yet each of us in their own way.

I know that the first few months after Paul's death were extremely difficult. There was first so much numbness and then waves of the most intense pain I have ever experienced; there was my inability to eat and I found every meal I had to prepare for myself and eat on my own absolute torture; sometimes I didn't want to live anymore and, even though I didn't make plans how to end it and don't think I was really at that point, I felt the thought comforting that I could go if I wanted to; I felt disoriented and sad and life had become so strange; I had to continuously think back to the last days and particularly the last night in hospital and what we had each said and, even worse, the feeling I should have said something else and all that stuff. But then, over time, the realisation dawned that, while I am still here, and because I am still here, I need to make the most of this life I have and that indeed Paul would want that very much. So I started meeting up with old friends, I joined Meetup and made new friends there, I started a bit more self-care with regular massages, reading more, spending more time in nature... I visited my brother in Malaysia, as some of you may remember, and my family for Christmas, this summer my mum was over here in Ireland and then I spent time with her back in Germany. Work has been very important all along. So, over all, I am feeling a lot better now. But it is a different kind of happy. I miss Paul - of course I do - but I am okay with my life as it is now. I am still Paul's wife and will always be his wife and I am wearing my engagement and wedding rings with pride as a sign that, yes, I am Paul's wife. No, this society is not good at dealing with dying, death and bereavement. But if somebody felt it difficult being around me just because I have lost the love of my life, so be it, then this person cannot be my friend.

Love, Mel.

I don't like "moving on" because it sounds like leaving our loved one and all that happened behind. But I like "moving forward" because it means that, in spite of my tremendous loss and the pain about that, I move forward in my own life taking Paul with me.
occupation2heal
Posted by

Dear Mel, I really like your post. It gives me hope because my goal is to be ok with my life, just as you said. Thank you for shining a little light into this wet and grey Saturday afternoon.

Alison 
Trying to be like the tree that bends with the wind and rain and thus weathers the storm
Newb
Posted by

Thank you for your message I went to my wife's bird box at the crematorium and had a talk to her  serious cry in fact if anyone was looking it looked more like a fit of paddy waving my arms about  tried to come home but got stuck in traffic as it's a Xmas market at bury at edmunds  did a bit of shopping and calmed down I'm now with the dogs cuddling them as they seem very down as well today 

Ian