7 months less a week when I lost the love of my life...

I will be 73 years old in two weeks time. I lost my husband Michael to lung cancer last October 31st, and although I thought I would be prepared for his loss, nothing could be further from the truth! He was a very healthy 85 years old man who didn’t look or act his age, until the cancer diagnosis was made, and although he responded well to treatment initially, he developed side effects and then treatment had to be stopped. By the time he would have been ready to resume same, the cancer had progressed so far that they did not resume treatment as it would not have helped. My husband’s son from his first marriage with whom I have a great relationship, helped with all the arrangements for the funeral, and all the paperwork associated with a death and I managed to get through that relatively well. I was also able, slowly, to clear out Michael’s clothes, sort through his books etc. which helped me keep sane over the winter months, but now that all that id done and dusted, I am feeling much less ‘capable’ than before, if that makes any sense.

I did not marry until I was 57 1/2 years old, but then I met Michael through mutual best friends who were partners, and the rest was history. He moved to Canada where I lived and then we made plans for both of us to move to the UK in 2012 so he could be closer to his children and grandchildren from his first marriage. I developed a wonderful relationship with them which continues to this day, but they live over an hour and half’s drive from me. Most of my friends live in Canada, where I have no plans to relocate (could not afford the moving costs in any case…) and have no family of my own. I do have a few friends, but none whom I could just call at the drop of a hat if I needed a shoulder to cry on. And I have been crying - a lot - as a matter of act these days. It’s been 7 months for Heaven’s sake! You’d think it would be easier?

I suppose I have had more than my share of losses over the past year… April 2018, I had to put my 12 1/2 years old Hungarian Vizsla to sleep; in October, I lost Michael; and 4 weeks ago I had to put my 11 1/2 years old vizsla to sleep - all three due to cancer! :frowning: It is now just me and my 6 year old vizsla…

I fell guilty because I don’t feel like going out for walks with Fitzkó, I don’t feel like doing anything, don’t want to be around people, etc. I console myself by eating resulting in my putting on weight, making me feel more guilty. Never ending cycle…

I am not lonely, but feel ALONE, and don’t particularly want to be around people. I am an independent individual by nature, having lived alone for 55 of my 73 years, but it is no longer the same as before, when I was full of confidence, happy to be on my own and independent. Now it feels like part of me has died with Michael. I cannot face visiting places where he and I used to go together, I have given up attending concerts to hear the music we listened to together as it is all too painful. Just Saturday I drove to my step-daughter’s place for a barbecue and when driving by the city of Cambridge, I burst into tears as this was where Michael had gone to university, where we visited often and went to Evensong at Kings. I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to go there again?

I keep wondering if this is all ‘normal’ under the circumstances? I always thought that there was nothing worse than losing a beloved pet (I have had 10 vizslas that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge) but losing a spouse is pain like I could never have imagined. I feel I have nothing to look forward to any more. I am getting older, likely to become ill and be alone as I deteriorate. Life looks very bleak…

Thank you for listening…

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sorry for your loss,thought id leave a little comment as lots of posts on here tend get ignored,as we all seem more concerned about ourselves than other.hope you get strength from some were to live with this heart wrenching loss,i to lost my partner and nothing anyone says can help but knowing some one cares a little does make a difference.im looking forward to being with Jayne,as nothing in this life could ever live up to being with my beautiful soul mate Jayne.regards ian

Thank you Ian. The past few days have been heartbreakingly bad, for no particular reason, hence my joining this community. I just want to know this is ‘normal’, under the circumstances.

yw inge
i can only tell you my experience,and im not coping at all im lost and emotional all the time Jayne was my world and no one can say anything that will ease my pain.ive been told bereavement is individual we all cope differently.you might well be able handle your loss in months whilst other never do.fingers crossed what ever you do helps you.

I know exactly what you mean…my friends tell me to go to the doctor, but I don’t want pills. I don’t think ‘counselling’ is what they crack it up to be so that’s not an option. Si I’ll just have to tough it out - like you. :frowning:

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i found counselling ok in the sense i love talking about Jayne and how much i love her and that losing her broke my heart ,i want every one to know how special Jayne was to me,she made me feel like the luckiest man ever to of lived.whether its actually helping me come to terms with my loss i aint got a clue but i know i need to talk about Jayne.she was my world.

So sorry Inge for your loss. Yes, you are perfectly normal in missing your beloved Michael. It is 13 months since my much loved husband died. I still miss him terribly. Over the months, I have joined various groups, including the U3A, in order to form a routine for myself and to meet people. This can be help. I know what you mean about not being able to listen to music that you and your husband had enjoyed together. Music also affects me, at times. At first I was desperate to go out to meet people to beat the constant loneliness of being on my own… However, I now find, that I don’t always feel like going out, and believe this means I am gradually settling to my ‘new,’ way of life. Yes, I still get tearful spells, after 59 years of marriage, but get over it more quickly. My husband was my beloved soulmate, and like others on this site feel only those who have experienced such loss can possibly know and understand how we are affected. Even one’s children don’t realise, although, of course, they, too are suffering the loss of their beloved father. I have a cousin who, like you, didnt marry until she was 50 years of age, and now in her early 80s has become widowed, and naturally she has had to learn to be ‘single’ again. I try to remember that I’ve been considered to be quite a confident person most of my life, and my husband would expect me to continue to be the same as I was when he was beside me. Memories of our lovely life of togetherness keep me going, and I truly hope you and others recently bereaved, will soon find your way through this difficult stage. We all have life ahead of us and on this site, you are not alone. Deidre

Deidre, Ian and Bristles, reading your comments has helped. And I agree, no one knows how devastating it is to lose a spouse unless you have been through it. We’ve all been there and can sympathise with each-other.

This morning, though I woke up about 4:30, I feel better about today. I am going to go out to vote in the European Elections, then will take my vizsla for a walk, taking my camera with me in case we find interesting subjects to photograph.

I was a clinical psychologist in my previous life, so I know all about depression and its symptoms (according to the most popular rating scales I’m in the moderately depressed range) but do not want to go on anti-depressants as they have always made me put on weight and I don’t want to go there again. As for counselling…I hated doing it when I was still working, and would not want to go to a stranger with my feelings of loss. Sharing with others who have been through the same is easier. So thank you for being there for me and for each-other.

I now realise that with me at least, the tears and the overwhelming feelings of loss come in waves. I can go for weeks without crying, and then suddenly, for not particular reason that I can find, I become a blubbering idiot. I will just have to realise that ‘this too shall pass’ and just get on with life. We’ll see how today unfolds. I hope it will be better than the past few days…

Dear Inge

I am very recently bereaved and agree with everything said here - you only know how if feels when you go through it. It really helps to talk on here. Even early on the grief comes in waves - today it has been tears since I dropped my children at the station - they are both grown up and supportive and I am lucky that my daughter still lives at home. We are a tight family unit that has just had a quarter of it taken away - and half of me too. I think it was so recent I have been in shock - now the reality is hitting and I hate it. I know pills are not for me and I have my children to talk to - and one friend who is like a sister to me. She has known both Gary and me for the last 40 years when we moved in next to her. Gary and I were only children - so no brothers or sisters and no parents living. It all seems so unfair - doesn’t it.
I have to go and see the funeral directors at 11 - and I may go and vote too. At the moment I am hacking down weeds in the back garden. There are probably other things that need doing more urgently but hacking at something helps …
I hope you have a better day today.
Trisha x

Trisha, thank you for writing and my heart goes out to you in your recent loss of your husband. Funnily enough, I found the weeks after Michael died easier than recently because I had so many things to do regarding funeral, legal stuff, credit cards, banking etc. When I did all that and cleaned out his clothing, then rearranged our - now my - office, there was nothing more to do except day-to-day things and that’s when it hit me the most. Grief does come in waves - I think it is meant to, otherwise we couldn’t bear it - but I thought they would be less intense and less frequent with time. I suppose they ARE less frequent, but seemingly no less intense. I still miss Michael with all my heart and feel less complete without him. After we met when I was 55, and he came to Canada to live with me, he wondered how I would adjust to having a person to share my home. It was as though he had always been there and he belonged there. It is far more difficult to no longer have him around than adjusting to his being in my life.

Even after 7 months, I just have to keep reminding myself that I will have good days and bad days. I just have to keep slugging along and know that things will improve. We widows/widowers know what it’s like so we share our sorrows freely with each-other and hopefully, draw solace from the rest of the online community and offer the same to others as they need it.

Today IS a better day. :slight_smile: I voted, took my vizsla for a long walk, met an other vizsla and other dogs, saw swans and their new cygnets, mallards, pochards, Mandarin ducks and all manner of wild flowers. I feel better for having done these things and now I will go and process my photographs to post on my Facebook page. I wish you strength to get through all the funeral arrangements, the funeral and then the aftermath. Hugs to you…

Dear Inge

Thank you - I am glad you are having a better day today. It is a beautiful day here too. Have just got back from the funeral directors and I think we are all sorted now. I have put almost all the paperwork in the hands of my solicitors - expensive I know but worth it. There are still some bits to do - but no hurry on it really - and anyway I am not going to fuss about it.

I had to look up what your dog looked like - aren’t they beautiful dogs. I have been brave and just spoken to one of my neighbours (who happened to be walking his very old dog ) and that is the first time - as I have avoided them up to now. I am fortunate to have good neighbours - and my first instinct was to cut and run… I think I will stay here we have lived here for over 30 years.

I am so glad you found your Michael - but sad that you did not have him for longer. I feel I did not have enough time either - but time is somehow irrelevant as a measure of grief. I don’t think any of us have enough time - it will always be too short for one person…

Not sure what I will do for the rest of the day - maybe back to the garden!
Take care

Trisha x

Inge, it was 12 months Sunday 19th May since my husband of 50 years passed away, I still cry every single day. Some things have got easier but not many.

I agree with everything you have written. There is no time limit on grief and we all experience it in ways that are personal to each of us. Everyone on this forum has experienced the loss of their husband/wife/partner and know how each and everyone of us is struggling to cope with even the very basic decisions.

For the first few months I’d sit in total silence every evening either staring at the wall breaking my heart or talking to Alan’s ashes and still breaking my heart. I had never ever lived alone and now I am faced with trying to create a life alone without my beloved husband.

It’s only recently I have been able to listen to music on the wireless but there are some songs that really do upset me.

Just go with what feels right for you, the stages of grief are not uniform and we may revisit some stages many times, there’s no hard and fast rules just personal feelings and emotions.

I am so very sorry for your loss and hope each day is filled with loving memories of your husband.

Blessings
Jen☆

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Thank you Jen for your words of comfort. Today was a ‘good’ day… not tears and accomplished a lot. Perhaps tomorrow will be the same as I have over 477 photos from today’s outing to work on, then Saturday a friend is taking me shopping at a second hand store with designer clothing, and I’m invited fro lunch on Sunday to a mutual friend of Michael’s and mine. So not time to get all emotional in the next few days. I’m sure I’ll miss Michael at the luncheon date, but Richard understands and is very supportive. I wish you peace also Jen…

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Thank you Inge, ☆

Hello Jen just thought I would say I know just how you are feeling, my lovely Ron died 9months after our Golden Wedding Anniversary, he has been gone nearly 3 years now and I can"t believe I am still going. We had such a wonderful 50th with our family, a cruise which we renewed our vows with the family with us and many celebrations all through the year. I just count my self so lucky that we reached the 50th., I live in a retirement village and there are so many ladies here who didn"t reach their Golden Anniversary. I am like you have never lived on my own and it is hard but I am so thank full for our family and friends. I joined a group that have lost their loved ones and we all know how we feel and we really have an understanding with each other and go out for meals and days out. Ron and I always used to say that just because one of us has passed we will still be married and I love him so much now and will for ever. Hope talking to you has helped and I am always here for you. Love and hugs Carol. xxxxx

Hello Inge
I would say that your having perfectly normal feelings as they are exactly the same as mine. From day one I set about sorting everything out. Brian painted, was a photographer, a musician, lover of electrical gadgets. It took months to sort it all out. As well as the endless paperwork and phone calls. I even decorated the house throughout all this and was looking after our allotments. I was so scared they would take Brian’s off me as they wee entitled to going by the rules. So I wanted to make sure it was up together and looking good. Couldn’t bear to see anyone else on his plot. As things eased I then went into a meltdown. Suppose I now had the time to think. I had a health scare and I have always been healthy. Depressed, frightened.
I was quite happy with my own company and didn’t particularly want anyone with me. The company of my dogs was all that I wanted. Things are improving now and I feel that I am seeing that light from time to time. I keep busy and try not to think about the future too much. I was wondering though if there was some chance that you could move nearer to the family that offer you support. An upheaval I know. I am considering it myself.
Good luck to you whatever you decide.
Pat xx

Hi Pat, thanks for writing. You sound very much like me in the aftermath of Michael’s death - busy, busy, and then there was nothing more to be done. I even attempted to rearrange the living room furniture, but the realised that the original arrangement was the best there was, so left it. Touch wood, no health scares for me yet, except that I had an upper respiratory infection lasting a month starting the week of Michael’s funeral. Do you think I might have been stressed? (sarcasm…)

I did have my two vizslas at the time, but had to put Sarah to sleep 4 weeks ago as she was not eating due to a tumour under he tongue and was now in obvious distress. It killed me to have to let her go, but it was the right thing for her. She was my 10th vizsla to cross the Rainbow Bridge and I hope that now all of them are playing with Michael on the other side of the Bridge.

I don’t want to move from where I am right now as I am happy in the home where I live. The family is way too busy, so even if I were closer, I wouldn’t see much more of them, so I’m going to stay put where I have made friends. And I’m in a town where I’m equal distance from both Michael’s daughter and son so that’s handy when everyone gathers together at my place.

Slowly, slowly I’m beginning to learn that bereavement is like riding a roller-coaster. Sometimes you go hurtling down to the bottom screaming all the way down, and then slowly, you climb back up again. The first few times are the scariest, but I’m hoping that with time, the downslopes will begin to smooth out and won’t be as scary. I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that there will be good days and bad days. I think gaining this insight is the first step to being able to cope with the loss of my beloved.

I had to organise a different heating engineer to replace our central heating system after the original engineer let us down, the house was in turmoil, at the same time had the bathroom rearranged, Alan and I made plans to have the whole house revamped, all to bd done last year whilst we moved into the caravan we were going to buy. Obviously plans took a back seat, I only did the urgent renovations. Now I’ve a few things to get changed which have reared their heads which weren’t on the list, sadly these are jobs Alan would have done himself.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of Winston’s litter brother Henry, crossing the rainbow bridge, he was 13 months old, he had a liver shunt, we did everything to try to save him but he was too poorly and would not have survived the surgery, plus the postmortem showed he had different severe brain damage, loss of sight, hearing and balance. We couldn’t have let him suffer like that. He was an absolute darling. Both Henry and Winston are our daughter’s pugs, I have Ada, also a pug, she was 1 year old on 29th April, she joined us 1st July last year.

I understand your grief regarding your furbabies, they are part if the family.

As Pat has said, what you are experiencing is normal in our situation.

Blessings
Jen☆

Hello Inge, you sound a very capable lady who is organising your life the best you can. I am trying very hard to do the same as hard as it is at times. On my down days I try to accept that this is part of the grieving process and in time it will get better, at least that is what I’m hoping. Last week I had three bad days I was expecting them but now I’m climbing up slowly again.
Pleased your happy where you are, that will be a comfort to you. I can’t make up my mind what I want to do with the house. Stay put or move on. Sometimes yes,
sometimes no.
I can’t imagine the pain of losing your dog.If I lost one of my own now I wonder if it would push me right over the edge. They are proving to be my best friends, my companions. I love them to bits.
Take care Pat xxx

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