16 months on & I still can’t visualise my future

At the early stages of grief you’re expected to be sad, cry at any time & people are sympathetic. I feel now that I have to put my big girl pants on every day before I can face the world. I’ve found it really tough over the last few months because this is the time when people tend to think you’re moving forward. The questions & the insensitive (though well meant) statements. “You’re still young enough to meet someone else” … What the heck? Derek was the love of my life, my soulmate, our future in Spain was planned, we’d taken early retirement, should have moved over last year. I want that life with him & I can’t find my way past that. I can’t even get over to our little place that we bought, our little piece of paradise. The days are going by & I don’t know how I get through them but i do, days go into weeks & into months but I’m just treading water. It’s hard to talk to anyone about it because I can’t quite say to our girls that I don’t want the future as it is, I want what it should be. I’m generally a very positive person but really struggling at the moment to find that part of me.
Take care everyone x


Dear Sheila,
What a predicament. The way I see it is this.
If you move to be nearer them, that may be fine for a year or two while he is still small but what happens once he goes to school? Will the family be expecting you to look after him at the end of his school day as well? Or do they need you only until his full time education starts? If the latter is the case, would you resent giving up your home once childcare is not needed and you don’t see so much of him to compensate for that?
If the care is only needed until he starts school, that means you will be tied for about 18 months. That might be do-able for you. If, however, the care will be needed outside school hours as well, then you will, in effect, be living your life for him. In the school holidays, would you be expected to have him full time? What about your interests and your friends? When he is bigger and you aren’t needed as a childminder, that’s when you might realise the sacrifice you have made.
I know from experience as a grandmother of four, that however close you are to them, they understandably and quite rightly start to shape their own lifestyle as they grow up. In my case, for example, one grandson is moving abroad to the Far East with his work. I will hardly see him once that happens, and I am glad I saw him so much when he was growing up. I think what I am trying to say is, see as much as you can of him while he is little, but keep your own lifestyle going. Hope this helps you to decide.
Hugs, Ann


Dear Sheila,
You and I have been corresponding for some time now so I know you are happy where you live. As you will remember, I live not too far away.
Your latest message rather indicates that you have tilted towards staying put, and I think that’s what I would do. You are not just a glorified nanny, and I think the way your family treated you over the ice cream was cruel and unfeeling. They don’t deserve you, Sheila, and I think you should decide what will make you happy and go for it!
Please write again if you want to. I am always pleased to chat with you.
Hugs, Ann x

You do make me laugh, Sheila. Thank you for that. Xx

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Dear Jodel712

There’s never an okay time to lose someone we love, but I personally feel that grieving during a pandemic is even tougher. You had so many plans with your husband, so I imagine you are understandably devastated to lose them too. I appreciate it’s really difficult to talk about this, especially to your children. Have you been able to have any counselling?

Take care, Kathy.

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Hi Kathy
Thank you for your reply.
I’ve never really thought about counselling, I’ve found just getting things written down & out of my head helps a lot. Joining this forum & sharing has been a huge help too.
I think you’re right, this pandemic hasn’t helped I think it has probably stopped a lot of people being able to grieve properly with family & friends. It also facilitates you hiding from the world. The thought of getting back to ‘normal’ is scary. Although I want to scream every time I hear that, for some people life will never get back to normal.
I had a good walk yesterday to clear my head, that also helps.
Wishing you well with your journey.
Jo x

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It sounds as though you were very thoughtful when the generation above you needed support and care. It’s such a shame that you are not having the same consideration from the next generation down. You sound as though you are caring and lovely - you deserve some care and loveliness back. Sending hugs.

Dear Lonely
I am sad for you that the family don’t make the effort. Some people are the chasers when it comes to meeting up & others either don’t try or give up on efforts too soon. We are so hurt, confused, scared, worried & lonely that our brains are not processing things in a normal way. If my husband was still here, would the friends & family be making the same effort to include me & do the garden visits currently allowed? I think yes, as we as a couple were welcoming, fun, entertaining. Now I am just hard work, annoyed sometimes at lack of understanding & effort on their part & the contrary part of me just wants to be left alone, yet when that happens I feel a bit sad they are letting me down.
I am just not normal, I know that (14 weeks this week, 42 years together) & wonder if I’ll ever be. I get to see & spend time with family including youngest toddler & i could ask for more & it would be given freely. But i don’t really want anything other than the obvious. We loved our family with a passion & were always there for them, we truly were.
Now I struggle to feel anything, I look at clock all the time wishing them to go home, cos there is no joy, no heart-bursting feelings of love as before when the wee one smiles or laughs. So not just my husband that was taken from me, the cruelty of the loss is just piling higher & higher. The lonely we suffer from can’t be filled with anything or anyone else.

Dear Lonely

I am going through something similar at the moment. Me and my husband were there for our son his partner and baby the whole nine months until my husband died. I then took up the mantle of looking after grandson alone. Another grandson was born a week ago. It was an emotional time, my husband was not going to be there to see this one so when they asked me to stay I said that I could not do every night. Instead her mother stepped up to the plate. Since then I feel side-lined. Everything we did previous just completely forgotten. They have gone out to the beach today but I am sitting at home alone. This is a time of celebration for my son and his partner. I will keep my mouth shut but I am hurt. If I do not continue to get to see the grandkids on a daily basis then there is no point in being here - they keep me going.

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Jo, I think that getting things out of.your head in whatever way you chose is a positive. For me, counselling was way to openly explore and express my emotions, anger, guilt, despair… I didn’t have to worry about upsetting others who were close to Paul, it was a safe, non judgemental space just for me and it really helped me. I’d recommend it.
I really identify with what you say about going back to 'normal '. Everyone is understandably keen, but I just feel fearful. It will be hard to see everyone else return to their previous routine, whereas mine, ours are irrevocably changed.
On a more positive note, I do recognise that I feel stronger than I did say, six month’s ago and I keep reminding myself that I’m going In the right direction. It’s such a tough journey and one that none of us would want, but I find that keeping busy and a positive mental attitude have helped.
Take good care, Kathy x

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Dear Sheila

It is shocking isn’t it? My son just been on the phone to tell me what they have all done today. He asked where I had been and told him nowhere and he changed the subject. Like yourself it will be me they come running to when there is something to sort out. I really do not know what I will do if I am cut out. Like yourself all my friends still have their husbands.

The loneliness is all consuming and I miss having the support of my husband. I am no longer important to anyone and it hurts so much.

Take care

Dear Lonely
Such a tragic story & your dear husband would indeed be disappointed that you have been treated so badly. This is their shame. If I was in a similar position, I don’t think I would have the strength of character to even speak to them when they clearly show how little they are concerned about you. When its their turn, they will understand how hard it is. We were a priority to our dear partners, we are not a priority to our families - but that shouldn’t stop kindness, concern, comfort, love & company from being offered.
I really do feel for you. I know we are hard work but its bad enough to lose your loved one, but then to feel as if you are just their family bank …

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Dear Sheila

I am so sorry but can understand your position. Your son’s should really know better - you cannot even brush it off as a generational thing. I am sure that you and Peter brought them up to be caring and compassionate - its very hard to understand when all our investment in bringing them up properly falls by the wayside.

Take care.

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Well, Sheila, if that were me, I wouldn’t have answered that WhatsApp. Then they would have been forced to do the decent thing and ask you properly, not in a WhatsApp. As a previous poster said, how did they change so much after a good upbringing?
Any chance you could WhatsApp u them back and say you have just remembered an important appointment on Monday and you can’t help? Silly question! Like me you will avoid confrontation and keeps the peace. After that though, maybe you should stop being so available and they might realise what a gem they have in you!

That’s strange about the funeral being where the in-laws live. Could it be that your daughter- rin-law prefers you to have them? Or maybe the in-laws are going to the funeral too? Have you tried telling them what you have said on here, and how unloved you feel? They maybe are so wrapped up in themselves that they don’t realise. .
It’s a horrible situation to be in, and I sympathise, I really do, but I don’t know what the answer is. Fortunately for me, but sadly for you, I haven’t got those problems to quote as my experience, but I know I would feel the same as you if I did. X

Sorry, I said have ‘them’ but I know it is just your grandson. Didn’t want you to think I wasn’t taking your posts in properly. X

Dear Lonely and Sheila26, your messages about the, quite understandable and significant, hurt that you are currently experiencing as a result of such thoughtless behaviour has reminded me of that old saying - ‘A daughter is a daughter for all of her life. A son is a son until he takes a wife’! It is indeed horrible to feel so taken for granted. And more so as the one person who never ever took us for granted but appreciated all that we did, is no longer with us. I too feel so very lonely. I don’t have children. My husband had two from his previous marriage and I thought that I had a very good and close relationship with both of them and their families. Now that their father is no longer around that seems to no longer be the case. Even the respect that they used to show me has gone, something that would never have happened if their father was still alive.

Tell them you are not a restaurant, you are fed up clearing up after they have been at your house for pizzas and you aren’t doing it any more! Make it clear to them that you would love to go out for lunch. Surely they aren’t so mean as to refuse you that? Although, I have just thought, if you DO get taken out, who will pay? Errrmm - I can’t possibly guess!
Sheila, I am being flippant, but I do feel for you. I would love to knock some sense into them.

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All I can say, after all you did for them is that I resent the fact you are the one to change. All we can do now is be here for you. And now, words fail me!

Dear Lonely

When I read your earlier message I thought they were going to drop off the little one and then perhaps give you an apology. Devastated when I read your further posts about coming round and ordering pizza etc. I feel for you, I really do.

Take care.