Christmas without my husband

My husband of nearly 50 years passed away at the end of September. I am going to spend Christmas with my daughter who is also grieving over the loss of her dad. He loved Christmas. How can the 2 of us get through this difficult time

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Hi Tatie, although every memorable event is difficult the first is always the worst and I think the lead up to any Christmas, birthday or anniversary is worse than the actual day itself. My first Christmas (2013) was exactly one week after my soul mate and darling husband died. He went to work on 18th December and didn’t come home he was 58. I was numb and just sat in the chair staring into space, the Christmas after that was probably worse reality has set in and you are still dealing with so much shock and everyone else is enjoying themselves. You don’t say if your daughter has children - we didn’t have children and my brother lives 300 + miles away and my niece lives 150 + away. She has her own family and works as a nurse on Christmas day and Boxing day so I just get through Christmas day and Boxing day the best I can. Four years on it hasn’t got any easier I am perhaps just a bit stronger to cope with it. Be kind to yourself don’t do anything to please other people - I hope you and your daughter get through it together. Take care Marilyn x

Hi Tatie and Davy36
Your words feel so like I am experiencing.
My husband just passed on 17th September.
He had dementia for about seven years and I had fought so hard to get him the best quality of life.
It just seems to have hit me in the last couple of days that he is really not there any more.
I feel that the coming Christmas will be awful.
We have one son who is married and lives about 50 miles away. I won’t be invited over. If I suggest that I come over they are ok with it but don’t seem to want me there.
I love my 2 granddaughters but its a long drive and if I can’t stay over I can’t afford to stay in a hotel or guest house. They don’t have much money either.
I feel driven to try to get involved helping others with maybe school, or crafts but just haven’t got the energy.
I find nighttime is the worst, little worries get bigger
Maybe it will get easier with time. As you say the shock is huge.
Take care xx

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Hi Tatie,

Last year was my first Christmas without my husband and I also found the build up worse than the day itself. It can never be the same as previous years so it might help to plan something completely different, but only as much as you can cope with. I find that keeping busy is one way of not feeling overwhelmed by things that sneak up on you unexpectedly. Go easy on yourself. It will be what you make it.

A.

Hi Fluffy - I’m so sorry to hear of your sad loss, dementia is a cruel disease not just for the person suffering but their loved ones too. I spent the first two Christmases just quietly on my own I could not get involved with anything and its a strain having to pretend you’re enjoying yourself. It must be hurtful having children and them not making an effort to support you at such a sad time I feel that way about a friend I have known for over 40 years she has been no support whatsoever and has been quite sharp with me on occasions. Nighttime is a struggle you go to bed shattered and when your head hits the pillow you are wide awake, thinking, worrying, having flashbacks etc etc. I try to think of who did what on Strictly Come Dancing the week before to distract myself. It is very early days for you it has taken me a long time to feel half human again, I still have dark days and very rarely get through the day without a few tears. Not only have we lost our loved ones we have lost our future. Be kind to yourself try to keep busy, don’t do anything to please other people. Take care Marilyn x

Hi, having read your responses I too lost my soulmate husband in 2011, the first Christmas being 2012. I went to a friends’ house (I do actually love Christmas but couldn’t stand the thought of being on my own in the house). I was made extremely welcome, felt like an onlooker but it passed the day. In other words, I got the day out of the way… Even six years on it feels like yesterday. It is certainly a rollercoaster of emotions. I hope you can enjoy Christmas and yes some friends think that it is all in the past and have no idea that to us, the sadness and hurt continues. At the time there were lots of kind words and support but that soon fades away. The strength must be found from within and it is quite amazing what we are all capable of. Love and best wishes Annettexx

Hi I lost my husband October 2016 everyday I wake up I think what will I do today something to make the day g quicker, then the next day it starts over again just trying to walk through life it’s as if I’m in a waiting game I don’t have a lot of friends as my husband was my best friend so sorry to be such a bore

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Patricia, you are not a bore. I do exactly the same except that my first thoughts when I wake up are why didn’t my dodgy heart give up during the night so that I could go and join my husband. He died in June this year and I just want to be with him again. I get up, have a cup of tea and then try to plan my day but it is useless without him. We were married for 66 years and spent all our time together. Life has lost its meaning for me and I miss him so much that I know I will never get over it completely. Posting on here helps as trying to talk to my family is difficult now as they have all moved on and expect me to have done the same. Keep in touch on here and see if it helps you. Best wishes, Eileen

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Hi Patricia, you have just written what I think everyday, I lost my husband September 2016, I have a wonderful family and friends, but still so lonely, never say sorry, it’s so hard,

Dear Eileen and Patricia
I know exactly how you feel. My husband passed away last July and I’m finding the second year much harder, presumably because reality that he has gone has set in. I don’t think we should ever expect to get over it, how can that be possible? They were our one true loves and the fact that they are no longer here will never stop us from loving them. I no longer think about the future, I just take it day by day. I have come to realise that nothing will ever fill that hole he has left, it’s too big but what I do is find something each day that I enjoy. It might just be reading the newspaper in the coffee shop for an hour, baking some scones… anything no matter how small. My analogy of my husband’s death is of a ring doughnut. Nothing will fill that hole, but around the outside there can be some sugar, some icing or whatever you like… the hole comes with you, but that’s ok, it reminds me how much I loved him. I have joined a choir, not church, sorry but can’t face that sort of thing, just a happy rocky pop choir and I love it! The first time I went I cried afterwards because I’d found something I liked doing that gave me some happiness because my husband had died. Why couldn’t I have found it before then he could have come and watched me in our shows. Then I realised I wouldn’t have done it if he’d still been here, because I wasn’t looking for anything else.
I will never stop missing him, but he comes with me everywhere I go in my heart.
Don’t actively search for something but just have an open mind as you go about your day. What did you like to do when you were younger maybe even before you met your husbands? What gave you pleasure and happiness… mull it over gently then try something, and keep trying. Don’t expect to want to do it, I didn’t. In fact I nearly didn’t go but now I’m so glad I did. I just said I know you don’t want to go, but just go anyway…
Unfortunately, there seems to be a limit on people’s capacity for sympathy, not because they don’t care, but I think because they want things to go back to how it was before these tragic events took place. I don’t think they mean to be hurtful, but I find it best not to expect anything from them. Of course you won’t have moved on… and although it’s very tragic to lose a father it’s not the same as losing your soul mate, so they probably don’t realise how devastating it is. They are likening your grief to theirs and I’m sorry but there’s no comparison. I thought losing my mother very unexpectedly four years ago was bad enough but this…well this is on another scale. My dad fell to pieces afterwards and now I really see why… no better teacher than experience I’m afraid. My dad and I now compare notes!
I’m reading this book which I think helped me enormously too. It’s called companion in the darkness. The author suffered the same loss we have and it’s written from the heart, warts and all, as she progresses through her grief. Have a look, it may help you too.
I hope this has been of some help to you - don’t give up… Find that tiny bit of something to keep you going. Our husbands would want it. I know mine does and I think he’s proud of it too.
Best wishes
Viv

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By the way, last July means 2016.

I am having trouble finding who I am I have been a daughter, mothers wife, after 48 years I don’t know who I am feeling very lost

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You’re so right, especially about nighttime. I take the little blue pills but still take ages to go to sleep.

Hi Patricia
Your not a bore …I can so relate to you my fiance passed away 8 months ago but we never had many friends as we where best friends … we both work for the same company on the same shift for 20 years we spent every day together we both played bowls did quizzes together walked …gymed and family … one of our friends said many years ago that we shouldn’t be in each others pockets … but we enjoyed each other and yes took each other for granted as you do …although it’s not so raw as it was I look at his picture and just can’t believe that this has happened … I miss not rambling on about work to him… talking about what we would see and do and talking about afterwards …the worst is in bed and I know so many of us feel this way but just having a cuddle … instead of this expance of nothing next to me … I try keeping busy but you have to go home each day to an empty house … I leave the radio on so I have sound when i come home … when people ask how I am answer " I’m functioning "… I’ve thought about this alot and i’m going down the puppy route … take care we do understand x

Hi my husband passed five months ago we were married for forty years , I know the pain your feeling I have two daughters and four grandchildren we are doing things different to previous years ,my daughter’s are coming Xmas Eve eve with grandchildren for the evening then two of my grandchildren are sleeping waiting for santa (which we have never done ) so there will be lots of excitement amongst the heart ache , Xmas morning will be different because they will be here already playing , Xmas dinner to follow after opening presents then quite a few drinks to help us through , vonn x

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Hi Annette, I’m nearly four years on and yes it seems like yesterday. People say time is a healer but like you I can’t get off this roller coaster of emotions. I am going away this Christmas, have found a company that caters for solo travelers - have been away with them before in the summer and the people are generally older. It will be something different in the company of people who many are in the same rocky boat that we are. What plans do you have? I can’t believe it’s only 4 weeks to go! - Take care love and best wishes - Marilyn xx

Hi Patricia - don’t apologise for anything, you are not a bore. We all understand here, this journey is a very difficult one and it is still early days for you. It is coming up four years for me and as I said I very rarely get through the day without tears. I have cried most of today for no reason; just feeling sorry for myself and with Christmas coming everyone seems to be extra jolly. Tried to write some Christmas cards and just signing my name instead of Marilyn & Brett breaks my heart. Have you any plans for Christmas, I am going away for 5 days on my own, have found a company that caters for solo travelers of an older age. It won’t be the same as having a Christmas with my darling husband and all the little traditions we had but it gets me through another festive season. Take care love Marilyn xx

Hi Marylyn, I know. Today has been a good day. Working outside in the garden, usually does it. Christmas will be spent at home enjoying surroundings. I took a hasty job over last Christmas and shouldn’t have, so this year I will enjoy it and face the New Year with some optimism. Yes, it’s not long and I do very much enjoy Christmas as unfortunately we cannot rewind our lives, we have to ‘get on with it’…That company sounds like a good idea and I wish you all the very best with your trip. I am sure you will enjoy it. Love Annette xxx

Hi Tatie
My wife went to haven in 2016 although it was some time ago I still remember the many loving years we spent together, my wife Patricia had cancer and in the later months Patricia always said to me “Bryan you’ll NEVER walk alone” and to this day I sincerely believe that to be true.
I am spending Christmas with my two daughters, like last Christmas the three of us
were able to manage the Christmas period reasonably well, we gave each other the support in all aspects. We all agreed that we are “never alone” without Patricia is there with us.
I find that having photos around the house do help without Patricia being present.
I sincerely hope Tatie that you and your daughter are able to manage the Christmas period. I will say good night and God bless you Tatie and daughter.
Bryan

Hi I know exactly how you feel this year. I lost my wife after a very short 3 weeks from diagnosis to her passing. I like you have little comprehension of just how to deal with a Christmas apart. I guess the support you can offer each other will help. Your not alone and people are going through the same experience. I hope all goes well and try to take each day as it comes. I too will be walking the very same line this year x