15 months on and how I feel now

I’m not sure why I wanted to write this, maybe to remind myself of how things have changed in the past 15 months, and perhaps to show others in this situation we find ourselves in, that there is a way to find moments of joy amongst the darkness.

On 10 October 2022, my amazing husband Chris died only 25 days following diagnosis of small cell lung cancer.
We were together for 28 truly wonderful years. He was my everything in this world and I miss him with every beat of my heart.

I really don’t know how I’ve got to this point. The day he died was the most challenging day of my life, but was also a day filled with unimaginable love as he shared his last breath and heartbeat with me. I held him tight and talked about our love story, our life of adventures and how honoured I was that he picked me to share his life and love with.

I could barely function following that day. I couldn’t sleep, didn’t want food and really don’t remember any of the conversations I had with the friends who supported me during that time. Somehow though I organised Chris’ funeral and celebration of life, I found the strength to read the words I had written and honoured our love.

Only a few weeks after the funeral it would have been our 20th wedding anniversary, then followed Christmas and New Year. Again, that period of time is a blur. I was distraught, numb and so very, very scared.

When my birthday came around I found myself in the darkest of places in my mind. How was I supposed to care about the day when the one person I wanted at my side was no longer there? I spiralled further and further into the darkness, trying to cope on my own with looking after myself, my home and trying to work in a job that I no longer cared about.

Still, I kept going. Every day more difficult than the next until at six months I knew I needed help and reached out for counselling. I was diagnosed with PTSD and there followed heart wrenching discussions delving deep into the darkness of my mind. The therapy I had was the thing that enabled me to make sense of this new world I found myself thrust into – one I didn’t ask for and certainly didn’t want, but what was the alternative? I could either give up and wither away, but what would that achieve? It would have been an insult to Chris and his desire to live a good life and would also have been a greater insult to the 28 years we spent together always wanting the best for each other. I made the decision to keep fighting, to try and find some purpose.

It was impossible to be the person I was before Chris. I was 17½ when we got together, and found myself at the age of 45 a widow, scared, broken, and not knowing who I was anymore.

I first made the decision to quit my job. It was making me emotionally unstable and I couldn’t cope. This enabled me to try and find a new routine at home, a boring routine of household chores, eating a meal and sleeping, but one which I knew I had to do to survive.

Little by little over the next months I started to go out with friends during the daytime, just for a bite to eat or a brew. This gave me the strength to start engaging with the world again.

I also signed up to this forum and met a group of people who have become friends. A truly supportive tribe, where we share sadness, tears, but much laughter.

Every day was still a fight to carry on but fight I did. It wasn’t until I hit the 12-month anniversary of Chris’ death that I felt a shift in motivation. Slowly I started to rediscover my hobbies, those things which had always been my hobbies and uniquely mine. Others which we had shared I realised I had to leave behind – those were part of the “we” and not “me”.

I knew I had to do more to re-engage with the world and discover the person I am becoming and want to be. I took the plunge and booked a music concert, only one ticket so it would be me and the music. I also booked to stay in a hotel overnight alone. It took so much out of me emotionally that night and when I come home, I spoke out loud to Chris, saying “I did it my love. I hope you are proud of me for trying and not giving up”.

I have now been to other concerts, staying overnight each time. I have also booked other events, some with friends but mostly ones where I’ll be alone. I find myself laughing with friends, enjoying days out, enjoying my own company and not feeling guilty for doing so.

I am proud of myself for carrying on and trying to find a new path in life. More than anything I wish I didn’t have to and would love my old life back. I loved my life, loved Chris, and never imagined I would be without him.
Sadly, I know that I can’t have my old life so day by day I keep going, keep trying to discover new things about me but also realising that underneath my deep, deep sadness I am still me. Still the person Chris loved with all his heart.

I am not saying that anything is easier. I don’t believe time is a healer as there are some wounds that can never heal. My heart has been left with a Chris-shaped hole; nothing can ever fill that.

I struggle and get overwhelmed but keep fighting. Determined that something good has to come out of this. Grief has taken so much away from me, but I’m determined that it will not take my life and will not steal the things from me which give me joy. Yes, I still cry every night when I say goodnight to my love, but that it is the price to pay for loving someone so deeply. I am privileged to have known such love.

All I really wanted to say is keep fighting, it’s the hardest fight. We can let grief in, and lean into it. We can be torn apart by it, left reeling from the brutality of it all, but we cannot let it win.

Chris will forever be with me, the light in the darkness and the handprint on my heart until the moment my heart ceases to beat.

Wishing moments of peace and tranquillity to all. Rachael xx


Beautiful and well said! Chris is so proud of you! You are amazing. See you soon x :people_hugging::heart:


Wow. Thankyou Rachael that is so powerful. I‘ve had a really tough day today and I really needed to read this. x


Hi @LonelyPanda, a lovely inspirational story to tell. It has many similarities to mine, although my own marriage ended after 49years and 11 months. I even had a party to celebrate Penny’s life on our golden wedding. I had PTSD, and therapy which was amazingly successful.
I was determined to get through by never giving up, and now after 21 months, my life is rebuilt. I still have a few emotional episodes, and probably always will.
I hope Penny is proud of me, Im sure she will be.


That’s amazing @tykey . What an achievement. I’m sure your wife will be very proud!


@tykey Your messages on here have always shown that there is light if we let it in.
You’ve honoured the love for your wife by having a party on what, I’m sure, was a day of celebration of your love, your marriage and also grief and pain for the physical love lost.

Keep on fighting. It’s the only way thing we can do.

Lots of love and peace to you x :heart::people_hugging:


@LonelyPanda a truly lovely heart warming post. Those of us (including myself) that have reached this part of our journey/life can show newly bereaved people that there is light, hope and joy in this new life we now have and most importantly love. We continue the bonds with our loved one’s who have passed and incorporate the old with the new. I have always said it is not what life throws at us, it is how we respond. Good to see you are in a better place


Hi, I’m 44 and I’ve just lost my husband 2 wks ago. I met him when I was 17 and have been with him for 28yrs. Never apart and now I feel completely lost. I can’t keep living without him as the pain is unbearable. I haven’t managed to get out of bed since I lost him. I’ve been looking everywhere for some support as the Samaritans just say to look after myself which doesn’t help! Martin had a bone marrow transplant for leukaemia in2005 and relapsed after 16.5yrs. He blames the covid vaccine. He was just over a year post 2nd transplant but I had to call 999 when he collapsed just after Xmas. He was on the ward but then was taken to ICU for more oxygen.when he got there they said he was not ill enough and would be back on the ward next day. He became unconscious and for the next few days got worse and I lay on the bed with him in my arms when he passed away. It’s killing me that he was in remission and it was an infection that could have been avoided. I want him back so bad. Reading your story I can relate as we are the same age and seem to be feeling the same. I just don’t know if I can carry on x


Hi @Beaglegirl . This is a thread which is very optimistic about the future, but the future seems far, far, away, doesnt it! I certainly felt in deep despair after two weeks, there was no way forward, no future worth having.
Like other people. I hung on by my fingernails as things slowly resolved themselves.
I remember the best thing I did was everyday, at dusk, I sat in “her” chair, looking over her garden, and told her about my day and what her dogs had got up to. These little routines bring back the thousands of happy memories. I tried to hang onto those memories. It became to feel that she was with me listening.
You can do this!


@Beaglegirl I am truly sorry that your husband has died and that you have joined this group, one which none of us could ever imagine having to join.

I remember the pain, anguish, despair and disbelief of those early weeks. The seemingly impossible task of looking after ourselves, the minutes and days ahead having no purpose.

Somehow we find a way, hanging on by a thread. The only thing you need to try to do is breathe, eat small amounts, stay hydrated - nothing else matters right now.

It is not easy but at some time ahead you will find a way of living alongside your grief, and the love of your husband will be right there with you.

You can do this. Us on this forum are right there with you.

Rachael xx


Thank you Rachael for sharing that I’m so sorry, it’s nearly 9 months since my husband passed and I feel like I’ve gone backwards crying everyday with grief I sometimes think I can’t cope and desperately want him back but reading about you and others on this forum is helping as today I actually haven’t cried.


@Jennison1946 I struggled too at 9 months and seemed to take one step forward and three back.

I’m glad that sharing my grief journey so far has helped you today.

Keep sharing - keep fighting - you’ve got this xx Rachael


@LonelyPanda all I can say to you is how I admire your bravery and courage. You have faced up to you “ new” existence whilst honouring the man you love so much . I wish I was as half as brave as you are my lovely.
Sending you best wishes from Wales :wales:


@Ladysuisei6 Thank you for your kind and supportive words.

My strength comes from the people on this forum who have been there at the darkest of times, encouraging and giving words of comfort and hope. My friends old and new who have shown such courage themselves in helping me figure things out - I know that it has been hard for them too to see me become a person I no longer recognised, but they have been there alongside me, picking me up when I’ve stumbled and cheered me on when I’ve faced something new.

When you are ready you too will find a way of living again, one which will bring you moments of joy in amongst the sadness and grief.

Sending you thoughts of peace xx Rachael


That was a very moving story about your journey.
I wish I could always move on. I am still struggling after 14 months. Some days I do better than others.
I have picked up some hobbies slowly.
I will always miss him.


Thankyou so much for sharing your life with your Chris I was absolutely balling my eyes out when I read it…I lost my partner 6 months ago and I’m not really sure how I’ve got this far we were together 33 years and met when I was 23 I didn’t get the chance to tell him how much he meant to me and give him that last hug kiss ect… as I found him dead in the morning… I’m wracked with guilt as I’m sure a lot of us are on here if only I’d !!
I’m even feeling guilty hearing about other people’s grief and how there in such pain and even wish to take there lives… I’m not sure if I’m in the stage of numbness or not quite believing it or even acceptance as I’ve lost both my parents at a young age but most days I just function I have days out with friends I’ve been to the cinema on my own … I’ve booked a holiday on my own with my doggie but part of me feels so guilty that I’m trying to be as normal as I can… I also find people around you almost expect you to be moving on after 6 months… I guess we are all different… I do cry at random times but why am I able to carry on… I’ve even questioned what’s wrong with me… does anyone else feel this way?


@Enorac Everyday is a struggle to keep going. I find the term “moving on” not to be our reality. Somehow we find a way to live alongside our grief and sadness.
Those days where I have the motivation I make the most of it. There can be days where I sit and do mostly nothing - and I don’t berate myself for those saddest of days.
Each day has an undercurrent of sadness as my love is no longer at my side, but more than anything I don’t want my life to be miserable so I fight and do my best to find those moments of joy.
I wish you peace xx


If I was a widow 22 years younger than I am I would have been able to cope much better than I do. Then I was so much fitter than I am and could have seen a future.
I am sure I would have embraced doing more.
But it is harder as you dont ha e much energy


@Ilovehorses Thank you for sharing some of your story. I can feel your sadness, and pain in your words, but also hope in the way that you are trying to find your new purpose.
So many positives in your message. Finding the strength to go to the cinema alone, days out with friends and booking a holiday.

There is nothing wrong with how you feel, the guilt, the questioning of how are you able to carry on. Those are things I feel too.

The numbness started to dissipate for me around the one year anniversary of Chris’ death. It was then the reality sunk in that this was now my life and I could either give up or keep fighting.

There is no timeframe for our grief. I know I will always carry sadness, but also hope for a life I’m content with.

Hugs to you xx Rachael


I am trying to do exactly that trying to find joy in a life without my Chris… I’m lucky enough to have a grandson who loves spending time with me and two days a week my life brightens… My children are a great support and we speak daily and weekly…
But I had a thought we are born we die and it’s what we do in between that’s important…
I know my Chris would want me to enjoy life as he did and that’s what drives me forward…
I was taking holidays were we used to go together but this was quite painful although familier… I’ve decided I need to make my own new memories and do things we never used to or go… so my sister and I are planning to go to Spain… I still haven’t reached our anniversary but I’ve got through all the other firsts…
Sending hugs to you xx