Brain fog - after losing your beloved partner

I found this online: Widow brain, often referred to as widow fog or brain fog, is the fuzziness or fogginess that can be experienced after a spouse dies. It can cause you to forget things, lose focus, and have trouble concentrating. Widows describe it as not being able to think straight. Some have said it feels like “I am losing my mind.”

Brain fog is your body’s natural response to so many heightened emotions and hormones. In a way, it’s a form of natural protection, dulling your senses while you work to process through what has happened. Once you’ve had time to process and grieve, your body slowly releases its hold, and brain fog recedes.

Here are the best things you could possibly say to someone who has been widowed:

I’m so very sorry
I can only imagine how hard it is/how awful you feel
I remember when… tell stories about the person who died
I miss him/her too
They’d be really proud of you
You’re doing a great job
Spend Sunday with us, we’d love to have you over
I’d like to do something to help – give me a job
Shall I come round and bring dinner with me?
I’ll do the driving
I’m going to take the children out for the whole day

And here are the top things not to say to someone who’s been widowed, and why:

I know how you feel
Unless you’ve been widowed too, you simply don’t know how it feels

When my uncle died/when my granny got cancer/when I got divorced etc.
It’s just not the same

Call me if you need anything
Your friend won’t be able to ask for help unless you offer something more concrete

You’re being so brave
Your friend is just getting on with it…
You have to move on/get on with it/you should put your grief away
Everyone grieves differently and it may take longer than you’d expect
You should be resting, taking it easy, being kind to yourself

How? When you have a house to run, and maybe a living to earn and children to care for

And an extra one that many WAY members hear:

At least your mortgage has been paid off

Many people labour under the misapprehension that widows and widowers must be rolling in it after cashing in their partner’s life insurance. The reality is often very different. Many widows and widowers struggle financially. And no amount of money can compensate for losing the person you love.


The other things I hate hearing is
Your so strong
You are doing so well
Could you go to the doctor’s and get some medication…I’m not ill!!!
You are young you will find someone else
What would your husband be saying to you…
I don’t know!
And finally you mustn’t cry in front of your son.


@Hazel.1966 @Annaessex
I agree I hate all those comments too…
Especially those who try to compare losing parents, grandparents, friends…
And even worse those who tried to compare their grief at MY Phil dying with mine. With comments like " I know how you feel cos I miss him too!
And a family member (my mum) who even said to me “it would be nice if for once you just thought about how I’m feeling”

And other crass comments…

The suns shining!!! (Why oh why do so many people think this is a good thing to say to us!!!,)

He wouldn’t want you to be sad ( How do they know? He’d understand how I was feeling…he’s the only one who did)

It’s good to see you smile you must be feeling better (why don’t more people understand that our weak smiles are a way of disguising our utter grief)

Good to see you out ( what do they expect us up do!!)

You’re looking better ( firstly I’ve not been ill, so I do t need to get better) and secondly I don’t feel it…so please don’t make assumptions)

And when you’re asked, How are you?
And you dare to tell the truth, and say something like " Actually having a hard time today" and so then you get the interegation… Oh, why is that? What happened today then?
So I’ve found it’s easier just to say ‘im okay’

Oh it’s so hard isn’t it…and exhausting, completely exhausting .

Big hugs :hugs::hugs:


So true. Hugs from Anna


Oh yeh my stupid sister said that to me on day of funeral … youre so strong … i said no im not ive been crying … she just looked at me ! Huh … its just a cop out ! Not heard a thing from her since !! How evil … your own sister !!! Omg im shocked at the callousness i have seen in my own family Xx


Just so insensitive!! I have not from my sister in law or neice since the funeral and I don’t want too. 2 weeks after my husband died she thought I was back at work. I said to her why would I be back at work. So cold. Xx


I know people are quite unbelievable aren’t they ! Ive told my family im not speaking to them again ! And im not ! Theyve all been horrible ! Its all top show !! :frowning: i really wonder in this horrible world we are now in if theres anybody you can rely on ? :frowning: xx


@Annaessex if only we could give everyone we know a copy of this it would make life a lot easier. It sums up exactly what we need. The one that says ‘phone me’ is particularly apt for me. The amount of people that have said that, I’m sure they mean well but it’s totally pointless. You can’t explain the utter devastation and despair in a phone call and even if we could what good would it do?


It does make you wonder why people can be so horrible. Especially your husband family and children. Surely they must be hurting losing their dad xx


Maybe ? One of my daughters is talking about her dad a bit now. She only got married last april snd she has lots of pics of her dad giving her away :frowning: she showed me her album on friday and made me tea … it was nice … other two are still sulking and i not even spoken to them for 4 months !!! :frowning: xx


Hi Deb’s that must of been hard looking at your daughter wedding album though hard or nice memories for your daughter? It is such a shame about the rest of your family as wasn’t your fault that your husband died. This is when they should be pulling together and supporting you. I bet your husband wouldn’t be happy with the way they are treating you. :pensive:Xx


No he wouldnt he would be really cross ! But hes not here ! So he cant do anything. I asked to see them so i could see his face btw. But actually it was strange because it felt so surreal and distant somehow … it was lovely but so strange after all the pain of the last few months … the pain im left with every day as we all are :frowning: xxx


Deb’s I am so sorry that you are going through this as though life isn’t hard enough… sending lots of love and hugs xx


Ive let a lot if it go with my kids hazel but its a big disappointment how cruel some people in family can be when i have lost my beloved husband - as you say its hard enough ! Thats why i want to move far away from them all … so they cant upset me anymore … all i can do is try protect myself. Thanks for your support x


So true……… thank you for articulating it……….


i couldnt agree more with that list anna and especially the mortgage nonsense .My wife died suddenly 18 months ago at 51 im 44 and self employed within 2 weeks of her death i had to go back to work and have had to work throughout. We had minimal savings and its just a simple reality that aside from the personal tornado that has ripped through your heart and your world everyone still wants their bill money . To this point i still havent had a chance to sit down and fully comprehend the whole bizarre events that led to my wife passing and tbh i doubt i will . The funny thing i found and what convinced me that people have no real understanding of grief is how constantly i would be told its great to stay busy its great your getting on with it when in reality and still to this day i just wanted and want to be indoors in our house with my wifes things and just let th world go by without me .


I didn’t know this brain fog was an actual thing! I thought it was just me! Thank you for this.