Before and After

I have been writing a post here for three hours and then I realised it was way too long for anyone to bother reading (at least 3 A4 sides) so I deleted it. I have been thinking about my life 9 weeks ago and how totally blissful it was compared to the neck-high dogsh!t I spend my days wading through now.

How can one person make so much difference. Should I have been much more self-reliant, I was obviously a princess as very simple things I cannot do. He helped me with every single aspect of my life except for wiping my bum. I seriously can’t think of anything else I always did myself without any help or guidance from him.

Also how can one strong healthy man who used to lift things for me, die like this. For our 15th Wedding Anniversary in September this year we’d taken a week off work, as we do every year and went on day trips every day (other years sometimes we went on holiday but we always booked the week off to celebrate our anniversary). One of those days we went to Llangollen as we’d (he’d but I liked it because he liked it) started a thing of trying to visit as many castles in the UK as possible over the rest of our life, we wanted to walk up to Dinas Bran, the ruined castle up the hill.

We were walking and it was quite a warm sunny day and I was getting tired so asked if we could sit on a bench. We did and then were overtaken by an older couple, he joked to me that if they can do it surely we can, we carried on but then I had to say to him I can’t go all the way up the hill, can we go back and try another time… he was disappointed as he was raring to go but I just couldn’t so we walked back and went home. He could have walked up that hill if i was not weighing him down. Now he’ll never get to go up it and the book of castles I bought us to work through over the rest of our life he never had looked at. He was healthier and stronger than me so why him.

A month later he was suddenly dying in my arms of a heart attack. He did all the right things, went to the dr, ate healthily (he took over the cooking this year and kept trying to persuade me we should have a green smoothie only week, i wish we had…), got on his treadmill 5 mins of every hour of the working day. Our weekends and days off were always a nature walk. Our only real vice was a drink in the evenings (especially on Friday we always had “Happy Hour” at home making cocktails together and it lasted around 4 hours!) but most evenings it was only a drink or two. He had been clearing out our alcohol cupboard with all these weird spirits we had that had been there for years so he would make us an “alcopop” each evening as he called it from one of them with lemonade, most recent was cherry brandy and lemonade and that was a favourite.

Now, I sleep in the bed with my mother. I don’t need to anymore but she is still too worried about me as I am not a good enough actor yet but I am learning. I got up had a shower whilst she was here so i could let her out as she cannot operate the doorlock he installed on our front door (like most things in our house he installed something special, i also used to struggle with it so he always did the door on the way in and out and my key was like new and stiff in the lock after he died and i had to start using it).

After smiling and waving her off i go to bed or another room and cry heaving sobs. Then I write for hours useless crap I end up deleting because i dont have editing in me or i listen to music or i weep until i sleep. Very occasionally I have a moment of being human and do something useful. Just now my dr phoned me (i never had a dr i could call “my dr” before, usually whoever is available) and told me he thinks i might need some long term depression drugs as it’s maybe not grief anymore but depression. I have to do a questionnaire he texted me now and that is the most excitement all day.

Bloody hell it turned out really long again but shorter than last time.

How was your life before and after, what kind of routine did you have and do you now have?


Hi Fleur De Lis. I read your post first today.(I nearly said this morning) but it is now almost 1PM and I have only just woke up. My sleeping pattern is the biggest change in my life since Ron passed.He was always up cleaning the car at about7 am.He hated me staying in bed too long and so I was always up by about 9.30am. Now I just see sleeping as an easy way to pass the day.Like you I feel I am not living anymore because the one person who made it feel like living was my husband. We were not adventurous like you but Ron loved to climb when we went on holidays and he loved walking. Apart from that our previous life was quite mundane but felt complete. We went for a drink on Saturday evening after I had been shopping and I used to feel so happy just to sit and listen to the music. What I miss most is him not being able to go on holiday anymore and at the moment I can"t face it without him. We got engaged on a small island in the middle of the lagoon in Alcudia and I feel sick now at the thought of ever returning there without him.Like your husband I thought Ron was fit and healthy.(He was a bit of an hypocondriac though and I was always telling him to take 2 aspirin.) He was so muscular and always had a lovely deep tan.People used to say he looked as though he went on holiday every week. So when he got pancreatic cancer it shook us to the core as we had just enjoyed a week in Greece and he looked so well. My whole life changed then.He started to loose weight and was about 7 stone when he passed. Now I just see my life as something I have to endure even though it is 2 yrs 3 months since he died. I have a voluntary job, I go shopping, I chat to friends and I live in a house but not an home.Life has changed beyond recognition and I will never get back what I had. But like you I carry on and hope It will improve.I still laugh and joke but then it goes back to that awful wave of grief and pretending that I am fine. I have written a much longer post than normal and still not got out of bed.It is raining and miserable outside so I don’t care. I am sorry I have rambled on but I know it helps to talk to those who really understand and this site has become part of my new life. I hope that one day we can all feel ok again.I think that’s as good as it gets. Anyway, I just want to say how much I enjoy your posts. You make me smile! Better get up now and start the chores.


Hello @Angiejo1 yes sleeping is the best now, as long as no horrid dreams anyway. I could go to bed right now (6.30pm) but my mum and stepdad are visiting so I am trying to put on a brave face. So many masks to wear now.

I can almost imagine the shopping and then knowing you and Ron were to go out for a drink on a Saturday must have been a lovely feeling, busy with happiness and being needed.

Holiday without our men sounds impossible. Then again only as impossible as being here at home or the supermarket or anywhere else without them I guess… I had to google Alcudia as I’d not heard of that place. Google told me it is in Spain. It sounds a beautiful way to get engaged. What a love story.

It was a miserable day where I am today too (Greater Manchester) but I kinda like the days it rained since René died as I feel like the sky is crying with me. The sunny days whilst they feel nice when I get out in them also annoy me that there can be a sunny day without him and that people are enjoying it, very bitter and twisted I know. Let’s hope I grow out of that as I seem to have become evil, always wishing other people were dead instead of my René.

Thank you so much for saying you liked to read my post because I do feel I am just writing to no one and a lot of nonsense a lot of the time but it gets me from minute to minute so I just keep doing it some days. Like today I was on here for 8 hours waiting for Doctor to call. Thank you for the company. I hope you managed to get up and look after yourself a bit. Keep breathing xx

I like your posts too!!

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Dear@anjijo, your post could have been written by me, I can relate to you and your daily life. My lovely husband passed away just over 6 months ago. I find I can’t sleep until 3am or later and then I sleep in to at least 1.00pm, sometimes like today I just stayed in bed until 3pm. I don’t want to face another day without him so half the day goes and then I get up and my first meal is at 4pm. I don’t know why I haven’t lost much weight. Yes it’s hard, all through the day I cry, then when my daughter comes home from work I try not to break down in front of her, she is grieving too. If only Covid would just disappear then I could go to airport and go visit my sister in Gran Canaria, or take Marcial’s ashes to Spain, he wants to rest in the family tomb in his village. Please God we can get back to doing things again it might help with this intense grief I’m going through. Take care much love Margarita

Dear @FleurDeLis ,

I relied a lot on my partner too for more than ten years, he used to call to wake me up everyday, he was such a good time-keeper… He did most of the handy-man tasks around the house, and I was the computer guy if anything happened to the computer or games…

Our heartbreaking experiences sometimes play nasty tricks on our minds. You are not useless or evil at all because I’ve seen your replies to other posts and I can tell you are a very kind person.

I agree with you and @Margarita1, sleep is the only time when we don’t feel anything. But last night I dreamed about my partner, I reached out to touch his face because i was surprised to see him smiling at me, the sensation was so real, i wish i never woke up…



It breaks my heart to read your post about your husband, I am only almoost 3 months in and like you I really don’t see myself going on holiday alone… I get flashbacks of wonderful holidays I had with my partner, it was just so reassuring to have someone you trusted by your side in unfamiliar cities…

I do hope your quality of life keeps improving.


@FleurDeLis …I am up and down like a bag of frogs! This is as hard as it gets and your posts speak volumes. Do not underestimate how much you are progressing, it will be small steps, I’m sure but every little step matters. I wont go through my story again, I find we kind of break each others hearts. I am so glum, so sad but I know that the little steps matter and I will get through this.

Keep writing Fleur, keep going over it … do what you need for yourself - we cant love in depth and be fine a few months later, it would not make sense, everything is ’ tits up’ changed – our lives as we know it have gone.

I read something online by typing in Greif v depression and im pretty sure I am still in grief although sometimes, I feel on the floor. Have a read and think about how you are feeling so you can get an idea yourself of where you are with this process… we are all different.

You can do this, you do need to take charge now your beautiful Rene isn’t here. Little steps and be proud of yourself

All the love, I hope you have cracked a smile or two today. Lots of love

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Thank you @AnnR :orange_heart:

@Cinders21 “up and down like a bag of frogs” made me smile thanks, that is a good one :slight_smile:

@Margarita1 I hope you can go and do what feels right to you soon so you may have some small relief from this. Even though I am English myself I feel half-Dutch and would love to go back there. I miss the Dutch-ness there used to be in my home. I didn’t pick up Renés ashes yet as no idea what to do with them but I got the call last week that they are ready. I hope you get to make the trip for Marcial sooner rather than later and that is nice that you have the plan to do with his ashes as he wanted.

@Riley at least you were also useful by the sound of it, I didn’t do much really, poor René got a bad deal out of me as he did all the useful stuff. This week though in between crying several bins full of tissues (i am also killing trees hither and thither with my copious snotting) I did unblock the sink for the first time in my life, got 3 rungs up a ladder and changed the small round watch-type batteries in the motion sensors to get home automation lights working on the stairs a bit again (after guidance on another techy forum) and when my computer fan sounded like it’s about to break I took off the front of my PC case and dusted it like René once showed me (although I don’t know if it’s the problem). It’s more than I’ve done in a lifetime already I guess. I can’t imagine how you have managed to pack up your apartment and be moving to another one already… how did you manage this and well done.

Lots of love back to you all x

7 weeks ago we were striding along the coast path as we loved to do, we had walked all 630 miles of it. Just the year before we had hiked up 2 Welsh mountains
7 weeks ago, miles from help my darling husband and best friend of nearly 35 years inexplicably collapsed and died at 61
Now I walk the coast path alone, when agitated and panicked it calms me, whilst still painful. Christmas which held so much joy for us both is just torture as I go through the motions for my son who has come home for 3 weeks and felt his Dad would want us to keep up all our lovely traditions, Which meant so much to him. I hate going to bed as I cannot sleep ,and keep seeing him up there on that cliff. How is it ever possible to live with this ,


Hi Fleur De Lis. Thank you so much for replying to my post. I did finally arise and went to a friends so I felt a little better. I am supposed to be going to Mancheser tomorrow but I really have no heart in anything anymore. I used to love buying clothes and modelling them for Ron even though he was usually watching TV with one eye. Like you I feel I am rambling on here and no one is there but I get comfort from posting and people reply so I know there is.( That sounds a mouthful) I too live in Greatet Manchester and would be happy to meet up when things are more settled if you would like to go for a coffee and a chat in Manchester or somewhere convenient to us both. Anyway getting late again so I will say goodnight for now. Hope you are feeling a bit better. Every minute counts.x


Fleur Dr Lis, I hear you. My husband was also a big, strong man. He was a night club bouncer for many years but, with myself, our children and his Staffies, he was a gentle giant.
Fortunately, unlike in your case, he abhorred paperwork of any description so I handled all of that. That being said, all the paperwork I have had to deal with since his death has been a nightmare as I seem to have a head full of cotton wool.
My granddaughter (31) came over to stay with me and my grandson (22) came to me straight from Uni so I am not on my own. They both know that if I say ‘I’m going upstairs for a while’ to leave me alone until I come back down. Everyone says ’ if you need anything just let me know’ but no one can give me the only thing I want, Danny’s arms around me when I go to sleep and his head on the pillow next to me when I wake.


Hello @Angiejo1 how are you doing today? I would love to meet up in Manchester once we are able to. I haven’t been for over a year. The last time I went was with René, he had one of those tests for his Citizenship near St Peters Square and in the meantime I went in the Library, it was the first time I’d ever gone in there and I was gobsmacked, what an amazing place.

I also used to model my clothes for René’s opinion (and since he was Dutch it was sometimes more honest than I bargained for haha!! but I loved that).

Going to Manchester (like everything else) does fill me with dread though now as even on the rare occasion I went by myself then René would drop me off at the train station and be waiting for me there in the car when I returned. All these little things made me feel so safe and like I had a home.

@xradancerx thank you for listening too :slight_smile: yes the head of cotton wool (a more polite way of putting it than I have been calling myself) is familiar. It is hard to get used to that I am now one of those wishy washy people I used to look at with disdain and frustration, worse even. I hope our brain comes back properly but not as much as I hope to wake from this nightmare and like you say see his head on the pillow snoring peacefully next to me…

The other day I found heated gilets/bodywarmers that René and I had bought together as a Christmas present last year. I gave mine to my brother and I am wearing René’s. Wearing it today as I type as I am always so cold now, not just because it is winter but there is a coldness deep inside me, I also have a heated blanket on the sofa. Nothing like the feeling of a comforting hug from René though, Keep warm and take care x

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Feur De Lis. Thank you for agreeing to meet me in Manchester when things are back to normal. It is something to look forward to and be so good to talk with someone who is in the same awful position as me. Don’t worry. I haven’t much idea on the City centre either so we can be a couple of lost souls together. I am ok today but not ok if you know what I mean. Just passing the day as best I can. Please keep in touch. I live to read your posts.xx


I love your posts too @Angiejo1 yes it will be nice to have something to look forward to.

I am watching Emmerdale but not really (I never used to watch any soaps) thinking I’ll go to bed soon. Hope your evening is as pleasant as possible… take care x

Hi Fleur I hope you don’t mind me shortening your name. Thank you for your reply. I am sitting here at 2.30pm in my onesie. I got up at 12 noon. I used to be so active. I was a retail manager and always in control. Now I feel useless.I have so many things I should be doing but never do. I start and stop things because there seems so point. I miss my friends and life just seems so lonely without Ron. No matter what I do I just feel I am in a deep hole although I don’t cry so much. I am fed up of watching TV but that is all I seem to do these days. Sorry I am moaning as I know it is so tough for you and everybody else. I feel better when I have a shower and put my face on but I can’t motivate myself to do it until teatime and then no time to get anything positive done. I have a nutter of a dog called Henry and he makes me laugh but he needs 24 hour attention and sits looking at me all day. Hope you are ok today. I am watching Judge Judy. I know enough now to be a judge Anyway let’s hope this will be in control soon and by spring we can meet up and have a good retail therapy day in Manchester. Keep smiling even it is forced xxxxx


Hi @Angiejo1, no I don’t mind at all.

I know what you mean about the things you should be doing but don’t. I was discussing my housing dilemma with a friend a couple of weeks ago (whether I can live alone or if my brother can live with me if i remodel the house somehow as no room in the current set-up or whether i just give-up and move back in with my mum)… The friend said to me that my (younger) brother should come and live with me and I can look after him to give me something to do… she thinks I don’t have things to do because I get up late and go to bed early and watch sh!te on TV so I explained to her I have loads of things that should have been done many weeks or months ago but I just don’t somehow do them! So you’re not alone in that for sure! Also just to be fair to my brother he would end up looking after me even though he is younger and has his own problems (health).

I had also mentioned my sadness that I don’t have a child (to which she thought I should get a child another way but I don’t want any child, only a child made from René and me). It’s really not the biggest thing on my mind though as I know a lot of people have kids and reality is not like I am thinking it is probably (that you have someone to share your grief with who looks like them and that you are forever immortalised as a pair in this new person who will go on to make new people from the genes given by you both so you live on as a couple forever). I just keep thinking in a family tree picture of René’s family I would just be a stub on one end not leading to anything, not significant at all in his life now and we’ll never be mixed as a future except in our ashes.

You have every right to moan because this is an unbearable situation we find ourselves in. Judge Judy is terrible, I wish you would replace her as then I might watch it again (I used to not mind it but can’t stand it now, along with most TV that I associate with this new highly depressing life that isn’t mine but I am somehow in).

I can lose myself for a bit on Netflix so I prefer that as my mind goes AWOL in advert breaks/between programmes on normal telly. I am watching “The Kominsky Method” for the second time at the moment and will go and continuethat in a bit, it is quite funny and the man talks to his dead wife a lot which I like to see.

Today I had some online work meetings as my sick note ends on Monday (only easy meetings, both for one hour and just listening for me not talking). That distracted me for a bit and it was nice to hear voices from my past life. I just tried to do a yoga video on youtube but that sounds better than it is as i basically lie on the floor breathing and cheating at the actions she does. I also discovered two areas of cat poo whilst I was down there that I had missed in the recent diarrhoea-wars that seem to be going on between my four cats at the moment (they used to be no trouble at all but now they are always ill :frowning: ).

I hope Henry isn’t causing you any similar trouble and that he is behaving himself!

I’ve been quite upbeat for the new crappy version of me these last three days but feeling like something is welling inside me again so I’m going back to bed now after holding it in. I never did like rollercoasters but this is just the worst.

Hoping AnnR, Riley and the rest of you are still out there too. Good luck for some good hours everyone. What, a. life.

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Thank you for that, Fleur-de-lis and, yes, I am still here but don’t post as much now. Nothing new to say really but I love to read your messages and those of other people I follow. Keep safe and build up your strength as much as you can.
AnnR x

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Dear FleurDeLis
I am new to this site and have read a few of your post and i fell everything you are feeling. My husband Ray passed on the 30th August last year. He did a lot for me and I relied on him for things that I now have to, spelling is one of them he was better at it than me. We had 35 years together not long enough, thought we had more time for our retirement but that was not to be. In December 2018 we had decided for the first time ever to go away for Christmas just the two of us. Had a great time until the las day when he started acting funny and could not see very well and was complaining of a headache we were flying home that afternoon and he and I made the decision to get the flight home to the UK. I knew there was something wrong but made the choice to get him home on out flight his head got worse and I was panicking the flight crew were great. On landing he was taken to A&E 6 hours later had a scan and it was discovered he had had a few bleeds in his brain. That was the 29th December 2018 he was in hospital until the 29th April 2019 during that time I was able to be with him everyday from 2pm until 7pm and I was, even though I had to drive an hour to get there. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury and was changed for ever but he survived . I thought 2019 was a hard year for us we had a lot of changes to our life but together and with our love we could get through, Ray had to even learn how to make a cup of tea again. One of the biggest things to him was that he could not drive and he had to rely on me to get him everywhere he needed to be, he also could not get his head round not going to work and sometime thought he was still working but we were together, Role on this year and I am alone. 2020 was even worse than 2019. From May 2019 he started to have little bleeds in his brain and was in and out of hospital until he went in in August but this time he did not come out he died without me and because he was so confused most of the time I could not even talk to him on the phone I can not forgive myself for not being there with him to have held him one last time to have kissed his lips one more time. During one of his last phone calls I knew he was suffering because he told me that he could not live this way and I told him that he could let go if that’s what he needed, he had always promised that he would not leave me so I think he needed to hear this. I did not want him to and I am still angry at him for leaving me. This has helped me writing this but I have a lot more that I need to say. I love you Ray with all my heart and always will. Love to you all on this site take care.


Hi everyone, such a tough time x.Im functioning mostly, back at work, working from home for most of the week. I’ve just done another 1st, clapped for heroes without him x Today was also a first, working from home without him here. On Monday, I cried making the bed because he would usually be in it, I would give him a little peck on the forhead x It really isnt easy is it?

What do people say to you really? Someone said well.done to me at work and said Steve would be proud of you …I remember thinking, I’m proud of me, just getting through a day… cried all the way home but had to keep my eyes on the road and then… came.home to THE EMPTY HOUSE! apart from my cat x She is keeping me busy and thank goodness she is here x

He s not here, it’s painful when I realise that I can’t change it x The weather, Covid, it’s all against us. I hope I can do this I really do x I keep thinking ok im done with this now… enough x

Much love to all of you x