Can't visit old holiday places

I lost my beloved husband of over forty years just 12 weeks ago. We retired late and this was to be our special year of visiting some of our favourite places. Lockdown curtailed it in the early part of the year and after that Mike became ill and within 9 weeks he was gone. I still can’t believe it and I can’t ever imagine wanting to go to any of the special places we went to - not even the beach as we live in a seaside town. One special quiet spiritual retreat we used to stay at haunts me that we’ll never go there again, especially as Mike once said that if I wasn’t around he could never go there alone. I suppose things may get a bit less raw over time, but I’m not sure where I would want to go without him.

Hi. Jean. I am so sorry for your loss. 12 weeks is not long to expect too much. I was the same at first. There was nowhere we used to go together that I thought I would ever visit on my own. But after 21 months I am going to those places again, (when they are open!). There were twinges of pain at first, especially when someone said ‘how’s your wife’?
But if we don’t try we will never know. It’s all about effort. It’s far too soon for any of this to be possible for you. But never say never. None of us know how we will react when the time comes.
Take care of yourself. It’s good to talk to you again. I think we did exchange posts a while back. John.

Hi Jean,
I was moved by your use of the word haunted to describe the memories you have of favourite places. You will have seen from various threads that it is often being in those places with our husbands/wives /partners which evoke and heighten the feelings of loss.
Like you, I am haunted throughout the day and sometimes in the middle of the night by the realisation we can never go back together and flashbacks to those magical times are very bittersweet. Ironically those same places where we were happiest now cause the most sadness to remember. Of all the places we had been I long to be back on the cliffs in South Devon looking out to sea but cannot imagine walking there without my husband, nor indeed watching the sunset on our frequent evening walks. For the last 37 years it was an intrinsic part of our life and it was his favourite place in the whole world. We too hoped to visit so many places together but it was not to be. Part of me wonders if it would be healing but I am just not brave enough yet. I know for his sake I must return but when that will be I have no idea.
Like every thing else to do with grief and heartbreak how we deal with these issues is a very personal matter but you are definitely not alone feeling how you do. X

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Hello Jean and Jobar, you are certainly not alone and I feel some relief to know thatI’m not either. Haunted is definitely the right word and I wondered if I was a bit strange for feeling this way. Frequently I have pictures in my head of places we used to love visiting and the thought that we will never go to those places ever again breaks my heart. We used to spend 5 weeks in Brittany every summer and both loved it there and I hate the thought of never going there again but also can’t contemplate it without him. And we used to love trips to Filey, a favourite place since before we had the children. All these lovely sunny days I know we would have just taken off and it hurts so much for all that to be stopped. I know Jonathan must be right but after five months I just can’t imagine it. Sending love xxxx

Hi Bjane,
I wonder if it’s because our lives are in such turmoil now that we seek solace in thinking about those carefree times on holiday. The trouble is that the technique of focusing our minds on happier times involves thinking about what has now gone forever and I find it increasingly painful.
We also loved France and I can recall so many truly lovely memories both as a couple and with our two sons. We were in Devon only a few days before my husband died and when we left we were anticipating returning in the near future. We had so many plans and I had no idea that the places we visited had been for the last time. I cannot imagine returning on my own nor can I imagine never going back!
As Jonathan says until we try we never know and many people do find comfort going back to familiar places. My husband was from the Midlands but his heart and soul very much belonged to Devon and the sea and for that reason I will have to go back. Not going sort of denies what made him what he was and what I so loved about him. I’m nowhere near being strong enough yet. In 7 weeks it will be a year since my husband died and yet I still think he’s coming home. If I went back to our favourite places I’d just be looking for him everywhere.
It’s a form of madness from which there is no escape but it seems to be a common theme of intense grief.
I do wonder at times why I should be constantly looking backwards when it causes such anguish but the future seems so terrifying. In theory our happy memories should sustain us and hopefully one day we will find peace from the past. I do hope so. I’m thinking of you. I see you also were awake early. Oh to be able to sleep soundly!! Xx

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Good morning Jobar! Early morning waking is such a pain isn’t it? Nothing to do but think or try to listen to the radio or read. Although I’m finding it hard to read now, can’t seem to concentrate for long enough, which is so not like I used to be.Malcolm always laughed at me, loading the car up with at least a dozen books for our holiday in France!
Yes, we were so oblivious weren’t we, gaily thinking our lives were carrying on as usual. I remember laughing and saying “”see you next year” in a lovely restaurant we liked to visit in Southport for Valentine’s Day. We never thought it would end, did we? And so awful when it all came crashing down so suddenly when we were least expecting it. I
Just have these pictures of us in all those lovely places and they pop up out of nowhere. Probably that’s the trouble with being close and doing everything together, it’s so hard to separate our husbands from everything. I must admit I don’t have much incentive to do much at all, I just go along with things but don’t really want to instigate much. A friend has organised a trip to Brasserie Blanc today and I’ll try not to think how lovely it would be to have Malcolm here too. When it gets bad is if you’re the one without your man , that really hurts doesn’t it. With a friend feels different and I’ve just looked at the menu and actually felt a little bit of pleasure! You never know! Hope you have a good day and find something nice to do. With love xxxx

Hi Bjane, concentrating really is a thing of the past. I have to focus on my 150 mile journey to my 91 year old mum later this morning. I listen to the radio as I drive and try to remain in the present. My dad died last June so it’s also difficult going there as we are having to pack up our family home after almost 100 years in the family. That has its own sadness of course and represents yet another unraveling of life as I knew it. My poor mum doesn’t know if she’s coming or going.
I hope your lunch in Brasserie Blanc goes well, albeit forever tinged with sadness without Malcolm. It’s all so bittersweet now. Make the most of the menu before the next lockdown!!
Love to you and bon appetit. Xx

Gosh that’s a long journey. Hope you have stop offs on the way. What’s going to happen with your Mum when the house is sold? That is so sad too, like you said another piece of your life stripped away. We’ve lived her for 47 years and it was virtually derelict when we moved in. Oh the optimism of youth! Malc did most of the work himself so I see him in every stone and beam, don’t think I could ever move. It will be a massive wrench for both you and your Mum and a sad thing to have to do alone. Does she cope on her own or does she have live in help or a career? I hope it goes well, go carefully and have stops. Listen to me, your mother talking!! Safe journey, sending love xxx

I can only say it resonates 100% what you both mean about places and holidays . My beloved gary (gaz) and I love Whitby and all it’s beautiful surrounds- rhb and sandsend etc . We holidayed there each and every year for 31 years and I could never go back again . Not without my Angel . The pain is agonising to even think about . We have never left each other’s side from the moment we met ( except to go to work) . We adore eachother beyond belief . Its 24 weeks today that my life collapsed and will never ever be the same again . Gaz was obviously an earth angel and was needed elsewhere . Precious and loved forever . I musr not of been good enough for my love or why take him from me . I am so proud to be his wife for eternity . . Everyone on this site are so lovely and we all feel eachothers pain . Xxxx lesley :broken_heart::disappointed:

Jean2 I can relate to that my Julie passed away December 8th 2019 we had been together from 17 years old she was 73. Now when out going to the places we frequented is not the same. Passing the seats we used to rest the cafes we used to eat etc all becoming overbearing and all you want to do is run home. Time is a great healer we are told but 9 months on its getting no easier. Hope things pick up for you and you manage to cope. Terry.

Whitby yes myself and my late wife always there no longer the same on my own.

Beautiful coast, happy memories now so sad for us all x

Indeed it is. But we must have the strength to carry on put on a brave face in public especially to family sons daughters grandchildren all facing the same loss all grieving in their own way.

Yes, so true. Am on the Scarborough Spa Express , a chartered trip for the day. Doing it for Malcolm, making myself be brave and do things on my own. No special memories of Scarborough so should be safe! He loved steam trains so just a few tears but ok now. Take care x

Good on you steam trains a passion myself also. Keep focused on the positives negativity am sure was not part of your lives in the past. Onwards and upwards take care enjoy.

Have a great day! Will be writing later. It’s pouring here. Hope it’s not like that with you! Xx

Raining mid morning I managed my morning walk before it started brighter now coming up to 3.30 but temperatures dropping take care.

Hi Terry
After moaning about no rain down south for ages and being a keen gardener us allotmenteers having to use hosepipes again. I was out with dogs early this morning and the skies opened up on us. Soaking us. Serves me right for moaning. Managed a later walk and going to have a go at another one before dark. Well done on the morning walks. Keep it up.

Terry and Ann, thank you! A lovely day, even saw a bit a of sunshine and got give a box of chocolates and a trip onto the footplate and inside the engine. Such lovely staff x

Hi bjane, when I read you were off on a day trip I thought you were quite brave. I’m not sure I am ready for that level of enjoyment yet. So my hat’s off to you for trying and I’m so pleased you had an enjoyable day.
Take care, AL x