7 years on

7 years on from losing my husband to prostate cancer, I still have times when the shock of it all hits me, badly. I have joined groups and that distracts me somewhat. I think I am emotionally damaged and that will never go. I cry almost every morning because I’ve woken up and I know I will have to get through the day. Once I am out of the house, it eases off a bit. I manage Monday to Friday and then - the weekend! Two days of solitary and dark thoughts. I have no family support and if anything happened to me, no one would need to be contacted. A lot of the time I am scared. What if I get ill ? What if I am hospitalised ?

Dear,

Mazhob,

I think you are very,incredibly brave to have made it through 7 years,considering what you have been through,so sorry for your loss,my heart goes out to you. I lost my Mum,coming up to a year ago the end of August,1st of September 2017. Like you i don’t really have much family support,i am 35 and a lone parent to my son who is almost 12,and no brothers or sisters. On top of this i have been suffering with an illness since 2012,and the loss of my Mum has only added to my anxiety etc. Like you i dread the weekends,and struggle to do much at all,other than look after my son,our flat,and do the best to look after me. I feel very frightened,when i think of the future i am now having to face. If ever you need to talk i am here,Take Care,Lucy,xxx

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Hello Marianne
Have just read your posting. I am so sorry that you are feeling so down at present but hopefully it will lift a little…I think you must be quite amazing to have got through the last seven years and I don’t think you are emotionally damaged at all!! You are just a left behind lady trying to live life on your own and sometimes, for all of us, the sheer effort gets too much. In many ways I don’t think we ever completely recover from losing our soulmates…no matter how much time passes… and as the days go on loneliness is sometimes even more difficult to cope with than the initial grief. It is so difficult to make new friends in today’s society and I really empathsise with you. Please keep posting on here and, if you don’t feel a little brighter soon, go and have a chat with your doctor. Take care…I am sending you a hug! X

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How kind of you to reply Lucy, especially as your situation is so recent and you are struggling to cope on your own. Losing your mum must have been heartbreaking . I know how I felt losing mine, albeit in 1976, I could do with her now. I’m sure your mum was your bedrock and, like me, part of your world has gone. You must be strong for your son who, one day, will be there for you. Mar. xx

Thank you for replying Amelie’s gran. Soulmate is the right word. 43 years together work & play. No one to say to, “do you remember when we…”.
Mar. x

Hi Mazhub, how I feel for you because like you I don’t have family around me and feel uneasy about being found in my bed days/weeks later. Seven years is a long time but soulmates are there for ever. It’s difficult to find a way of getting though each and every day without them and I know the weekend thing. My lovely soulmate went on a Sunday and it seems that every Sunday I relieve it, I always try to find things to do but it doesn’t always work. I can’t cope with certain things, I just get to emotional but it’s taken a few years to work that out. Has they say life goes on wether we want it or not. Finding things to do that makes you feel happier and takes your mind of it, helps. I do hope you can find the things that help. Bless you.S

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Thank you for your empathy Susi. Everyone copes differently. Like you I couldn’t cope with things like the car and mower. I would burst into tears when I had to use them, and then, when they went wrong…!!
I can’t go walking or to the beach because the memories of us doing those things just destroys me. I do different things to what we did together and yes, it does help a bit. I go to the cinema on a Sunday to keep my mind off things.Have you tried that ?
Kind regards,
Mar.

Hi, tomorrow I am going to the cinema to see Mamma Mia just as you suggested, I will let you know. Thanks for the idea.
I am very lucky because I can do most things but it is not good when I can’t. Coping is not easy and I don’t think it will ever get wonderful but It does get a bit better, I suppose we just learn to live with it. You take care and I let you know about tomorrow. S

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I hope you enjoy it Susie. I will be going to see Whitney.
No, coping is not easy, especially if you’ve been used to sharing decisions. You will get stronger but there will be times when you need two heads and one won’t be there and it hits home. Mar.x

Hello Mazhob,

I know exactly how you are feeling, it is four years for me since my wonderful husband of 47 years died, and I will never, ever get over it. People think that as time goes on you start to live your life, forget about what has happened, but they do not realise you are still grieving and will grieve for the rest of your life. I have learned to be a good actress, I smile when I have to but the smile never reaches my eyes, my husband always said that when I smiled, it lit up my whole face. I have two sons who think I am ‘over it’, little do they know.

I cry on a night, I cry during the day when I hear one of our songs and when I catch a glimpse of his photo, this ache will never go away. I tend to live in the past now, because that is where my husband is, the future has no interest to me, the present is just another day to get through but the past holds so many wonderful memories.

I have a will and power of attorney in place so I will not have to worry about that when anything happens to me. I also am going to get a DNR put on my records and get a copy for myself in case I have a serious illness that I will not recover from so even if I didn’t have children I would not be laying in a hospital bed for the rest of my life unable to do things for myself.

I am so sorry you have no one so you need to do the same, see a solicitor and make a will leaving all your worldly goods to a good cause or whoever you want to.
A solicitor will sort out all the pros and cons so that will put your mind at ease if you are taken ill.

Like yourself, when I go out, it is easier, but the heartache is always there. Many is the time I see a shop where my husband used to buy things, even seeing his favourite sweets on a shelf brings a lump to my throat. I have no-one to tell the news to, no-one to say I look lovely when I go out, no-one to ask me if I want a cup of tea and say ‘how many sugars do you want love’, I have never, ever taken sugar in the 50 years we were together, but my husband always used to ask.

This is it for the rest of my life, the thought that I will never, ever see him again on this earth does not bear thinking about and I know it will not get easier as the time goes by, because he was the love of my life, he was 18 when we met and we thought we had forever.

You are not alone in this grieving, whether it be a few weeks, months or even years, the heartache will always be with us and there is nothing we can do about it but get up each morning and do what needs to be done.

Please take care.

Love,

Sheila xx

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Hi Sheila, Your letter made me cry because it says everything that I also feel. I have made a will, everything will go to the hospice. As you say, you put on a brave face for the public but inside you want to die. I remember when my mother died. The grief I had was not the same as now. I did’nt know how my father felt and I couldn’t understand why he didn’t “get on with it” like I was doing. I certainly understand him now! He was a widower for 35 years. I have only done 7 years. Equally with my mother in law. Again, 35 years a widow. All she wanted was our company but we had our life to lead.I feel the guilt of not giving them more time and sympathy but until you are in this position, you can’t possibly know how bad it feels.
I expect your sons are grieving in a different way to you and you must make allowances for the fact they have their lives to lead.
I know what you mean about songs etc. My husband played guitar and was in a group. I remember the first time I saw him playing. Now the songs his group played bring back memories and I miss him more. It’s funny how the words of a song have a different meaning with a change of circumstance. Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” reminds me of the ambulance that took him to the hospice to die.
Mar. xx

Dear Mar,

What you said about your dad and mum in law is exactly the same for me, the grief was not the same, as I had Peter to put his arms around me and say that everything would be okay. My dad died when he was 57 and my mum 55, I was newly married to Peter and my dad had given me away, then a year later he died. My mum was a widow for 30 years and never, ever went out with another man, my dad was her one and only but like you, I didn’t think too much about it and I never understood the pain she was feeling until now, yes I grieved for my dad, mum and sister but we had work and each other so we carried on with our lives.

My sister died aged 47, and my brother in law also never wanted another woman, he died the year after Peter, aged 69 so he lived for 32 years without his wife. I am 75 years of age and thank my lucky stars I am an old woman with hopefully, not long to live as I could not bear to live all the years my mum and brother in law lived without their beloved partners.

My husband had been ill for eight years and in and out of hospital for three years, I was his 24/7 carer. He also was taken in on the Friday night by the ambulance and died the following afternoon. I met my husband on Saturday the 29th August 1964 and he died on the Saturday the 30th August, 2014, exactly 50 years to the day we met.

You are like me, you remember your husband as a young man playing in his group and I remember Peter when he was 18 looking like a member of a 1960’s group like the Searchers and the Beatles, Dark suit, dark tie and white shirt with Chelsea boots.
When I think of him that is how I see him, not the man who was bent double with illness, but the 6 ft 4 ins young man who loved me like there was no tomorrow, but then there wasn’t.

I honestly will not get over losing him for as long as I live. We are now existing, I do not go out for the sake of it, I do not keep busy for the sake of it, I just do what needs to be done no more no less. I don’t want to take my mind off my loss, I want to remember my life with my husband, I want to look at photos and remember everything about the day the photo was taken. It is funny, the past is more real to me than the present is because there is nothing in the present or the future for me anymore but there is everything in the past.

I feel so terribly sorry for the people on this forum who are just starting out on their grieving journey, many expecting to feel better after a few months, but I have said many times that grief cannot be rushed, it is with us all the time and it is something that will be with us forever, we lost the love of our lives and no-one can be expected to ever get over something like that.

I have learned, over the past four years to cope with things, if I cannot do them I get someone in who can. I found out that hard way when I asked our sons to cut the hedges for me and was told to pay for a gardener as I have enough money. I never asked again. I have paid for decorating, gardening, electrical work, joinery work and have not asked favours from anyone. My home is now lovely, it is my haven. When I go out and come home, I close the door, breathe a sigh of relief and think, I am home.
This is where we brought up our children, I am surrounded by memories in every corner of the house and garden and they will have to carry me out.

Sorry for going on so long, if ever you need to private message me, please feel free to do so.

Please take care, I understand everything you are going through.

Love

Sheila xx

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To all on coping with bereavement, well we are all the same on this strand, the years are moving on but I can’t say any of us are ‘getting over it’. I do hope someone new to this grieving thing doesn’t read what we have written because, well they just may go and do something silly. What each and every one has said is just me and I am sorry but each day is a struggle with some days very hard. Yes I put that smile on and best foot forward but
Well tomorrow is another day. I am ready for when the good Lord says it’s time. Everything I can do to help my boys deal with the paperwork is done and kept updated.
But in between times if I can help someone else with anything, then I will and oh it keeps me busy. That’s my answer to everything, keeping busy.
Bless each and everyone of you. S

Dear Susie,

I totally agree with you, time moves on but we don’t get over it, we just live with it as there is nothing else we can do. I have found these last four years without my husband that there has been a gradual change from non-stop crying, to crying when a song plays, or a memory pops into my head. One day I can look at all our photos and smile and remember everything about that day, then another day I can just burst into tears. I find I am living in the past more and more as the present is just another day to get through and the future is nothing to look forward to. Perhaps if my sister had still been alive, she died when she was young, or if I had widowed friends of my own age 75 years, I could go out with or go on holiday with things may be different, but all my friends are still together and spend most of their time on holiday.

The friends I do have who are widowed are in their mid to late 80’s and I don’t have a thing in common with them. I am still very young at heart, still love rock n roll music and get dressed up when I go out shopping. I don’t have any family from my past, they have all died, I have our two sons but they live their own lives. I know I can’t have my husband back, but I wish I could spend the rest of my life happier than I am now because when he died my life as I knew it ended, and now I feel as if I am just biding my time until it is my turn to die.

When you lose a partner of many years, the friends and family around you are the ones that can make a difference to your future, make a difference to you staying in every day or going out for a meal or to the cinema, but people like myself who are alone, albeit have sons who they do not see very often, live a different kind of life, they go out alone, stay in alone, don’t see a soul unless they are shopping, don’t talk to a soul unless they are ordering a meal for themselves in a cafe, they go out and come home again and no-one knows if they actually get home or not as no-one knows that they went out.

This is why many people, like myself, are still grieving after four years, because of their lifestyle, it is as if when their husband/wife died they died with them.

Love

Sheila xx

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