Coming home after being away awhile

My husband is gone for 15 months now. I have moved into a new home since then. Still every time I am away for awhile I return to that pain again when I walk through the door. My heart aches , and I truly wish I was not alive.

Dear Joyless.
I am so sorry to hear about your husband passing away. I lost my 24 year old son just over 3 months ago and know that only someone who has lost the dearest thing in their lives can only understand the pain myself and my family are going through. When our boy first passed it was like a horrific nightmare that we could not wake up from but the problem is now that everybody else is carrying on in their lives and expects us to do the same, but you and I know it is not that simple. Like you I will be ok for a while, distracted, go out for a while and then you come home or you just think about your loved one and it is like someone stabbing you in the heart all over again and you wonder if you can stand much more pain.
I know my son would want me to carry on, to look after myself and his little brother and sister but sometimes the desire to see him is so strong that I have to just take time for me and talk to him and have a really good cry. I know that I will see him again one day, when my time comes, and that will be a happy day.
Sorry this has been very rambling. I am on holiday at the moment and am finding the unfamiliar soroundings a bit unsettling.
Please take care of yourself
Janet

Dear Joyless. I am so sorry for your loss, but I think a lot of the time, other people, who have never been through the agony of losing someone very close to them, do not help whatsoever. They expect us to ‘start moving on, go out more, not sit at home on your own etc. etc.’ I tell them, they do not have a darned idea of what they are talking about. It is now three years this month since my beloved husband died in 2014 he was 18 years old when I met him in 1964 and it would have been our Golden Wedding anniversary next month, which I am dreading. After three years, I still hate going out because I know there will be no-one waiting for me when I return, asking me what I have bought and did I enjoy myself. I honestly will never get over losing the one person who I had known nearly all of my life from being little more than children ourselves. I spend all my time in my dining kitchen, as sitting in the lounge watching television emphasises the loneliness and emptiness of my home so I spend my time sitting at the dining kitchen table, watching films on my laptop. I cannot even read a book anymore as I cannot concentrate. I was talking to a friend the other day who lost her husband many years ago and we both agreed that when our husbands died, the joy of living ceased to exist, and that is what we widows and widowers do now, we exist from day to day, mourning the partners we have lost and the future we will no longer have with them. I cry for the future my husband will never have and never see his grandchildren grow up, I love our sons and grandchildren to bits and they take me out a lot, but they have their own lives and I don’t want to live their lives I want to live my own with my husband. All I can tell you is you have to live each day as it comes. We had a German Shepherd dog who got me through the first 12 months of my husbands death because I had to get up in a morning, feed him, take him out etc. and for the past three years he has been a lifesaver, but he died four weeks ago and it was as if I had lost my husband all over again as Barney was Peters dog. I now find I am sleeping in longer in the mornings and going to bed earlier in the evening as there is no-one now to get up for and no-one now to stay up for. There is nothing more I can say, we are all going through the same nightmare and there is not a darned thing we can do about it but it does help enormously knowing that we are not alone. You take care we are all here for you on this wonderful site. Sheila xxx

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Dear Jan p -My heart breaks for you. The most relevant thing you said is that everyone else is carrying on in their lives and I cannot wake up from this horrific nightmare. I find the weekends to be like a torture chamber. I just do not know what to do anymore. Thanks for responding and try to take care.

Hi Sheila- It as if you have written my thoughts in your reply. Existence is the only word for life now. I too, spend most of my time inside and wait for the relief of sleep to get to the next day. I do not know how much longer I can go on like this. Thanks for responding -try to carry on.

Hi, Joyless, thank you for writing back. There is nothing much else I can say but carry on the best way you can. I was asked to join a club for OAP’s, they organise days out and little functions etc. I go with another widowed friend but my problem is that I am 74 years of age but still have the mind of an 18 years old girl and even though the people that go are lovely, they seem so much older than me. I still play mine and Peter’s rock-n- roll music from the 1960’s, it is the only music I have ever liked and ever played. I have put all Peters and my 1960’s music on an SD card and play it on my head set when I am gardening. Yes there are many, many tears as I play our music and I can remember as clear as a bell when we went dancing at the Mecca Locarno so long ago in the 1960’s, but I also smile with the memory of my handsome boyfriend, then fiance then husband taking me in his arms for the last dance. I remember as clear as anything when our sons were born, in fact when I think of Peter I can see him clearly, what he was wearing etc. I even remember what I was wearing. The silly thing is, I can’t remember what I was wearing three days ago. This is how I get through my long days, I find the past more real than the present as everything I ever wanted and had was in the past. Our sons have taken me on a cruise, on other holidays since Peter died and one of our sons got married, but I absolutely hate it when we are altogether because it emphasises the fact there is someone missing. I put on a smile until my face aches, laugh and play with our grandchildren but at the end of the day, I come home to nothing. There is only so much gardening you can do, only so much shopping, only so many days out you can go on but they get me through the lonely days. When it rains I think, great, I can stay in and not feel guilty about it. I have not cut myself off from the rest of the world, I go out, with friends and get dressed up, but all my friends I have known most of my life still have their husbands and it hurts when I hear them talking about what they have done this week or last month as everything I do is more or less on my own. But still I get up each morning, make myself breakfast and watch a film on my laptop then decide what to do with my day and that is my life. If there is something I need from town, the night before I hang my clothes up ready for the next day, because if I didn’t get them out I know I would change my mind and stay in. Sorry for the long essay, but I just want you to know that you are not alone, there are so many brokenhearted people going through the exact same thing day in and day out, I just thank the lord we had a fantastic life together, and our sons know they had parents who loved each other very much from the very beginning. Sending all my love, Sheila xxxx

Hi Joyless and Shelia
This is such an awful path we are all walking on, painful and lonely and one that none of us have chosen or can escape from. I do not think it matters how old you are or who you have the lost, pain and grief is all the same. When I read things on the site t is like people have seen inside my heart and are saying how `I think and feel, yet it is their feelings and thoughts too. It is so true that you can be in a room full of people and feel utterly alone and out of place, you pretend for others. Sometimes though it gets to much for me and I need to be alone, either to have a good cry or talk to my son and ask him why he has left me. When you are with other everything seems wrong somehow, nothing feels normal or right because someone is missing.
I am currently on holiday, it was meant to be our big family holiday with all our children and although it is good for my other two children to have a break from home, all i keep thinking is how many days it is till we go home to familiar surroundings as I feel complexly out of place here.
Take care of yourselves ladies
Janet

Hi Jan, you are so right, everything has changed, but when you lose a child who should have had many years in front of them, the pain and heartache must be absolutely unbearable. I am one of the very lucky ones, my husband and I had 50 wonderful years together, two fantastic sons and grandchildren and I was only saying to them the other day that there is only one thing that can break my heart again and that is if one of them got seriously ill. My mum lost my sister when she was only very young and to be honest I do not know how she got through it, our dad had died years before. My sister and I went to school together, worked together, went on holidays together and she was with me when I met my husband and I was with her when she met her husband. I now don’t have any family of the past left, everyone has gone. I honestly cannot imagine what you are going through, I really can’t. When you lose someone you have spent nearly all your life with is soul destroying but at least we had many years together, but to lose a child does not bear thinking about and I am so terribly sorry for what you are going through. One of my neighbours who lost her husband twenty years ago has been told that her eldest son has cancer, another neighbour lost her son last year to a virus at the age of 25. So much heartache in so many families, the sad part is we think we are the only one going through this hell on earth but we are not, there are so many families going through the exact same thing with members of their own family. I am so terribly sorry. Love Sheila xxx

Dear Joyless, you have echoed my feelings exactly. We would have been married for 66 years in July but my husband died in June. I am fed up with people telling me it’s early days although they are right. I also wish I wasn’t alive, and every night I pray that I won’t wake up in the morning. But I do, and the pain gets worse every day. My lovely family are moving on, and I sometimes feel as if I am totally alone. Living alone after 66 years is awful, and I hope that I will somehow be with him again soon. I would never self-harm though, because of my family. Is there any relief from this dreadful place,

Dear Virgo825, I am so terribly, terribly sorry, After three years since losing my husband of 47 years, we were together a total of 50 years since he was 18 years of age, I can honestly say I have not yet found any relief from the pain of him not being here with me. I miss him every single minute, hour, day and like you have said, your family are moving on, in a way like I did when my dad died when I was 25 years old, but I had my husband to see me through it. There is no joy in my life anymore, my joy comes from watching our wedding video, looking at photographs of our lives together, in fact I live in the past nowadays more than the present as even though I have a wonderful family, I see them every two weeks or so, but our grandchildren are now getting to the age they want to be with their friends and not be visiting their old grandma as much, in a way like our sons were when they started to have lives of their own. We have lived our lives and have been very lucky to have had long and happy marriages, unlike some people on this site, so I count my lucky stars for what I had. Sometimes I don’t know if I cry for what I have lost or cry for what my husband has lost in not seeing his sons and grandchildren grow, my husband, two weeks before he died, said to me, do you know Sheila, as ill as I am, I absolutely love my life because all he wanted was his home his German Shepherd dog Barney (who died 4 weeks ago) and his family around him. When he died I lost my best friend, my soulmate and my whole reason for living. Just hang in there like I am doing, just living day to day, knowing we are not alone in this nightmare. Like you have said living alone after all those years hurts because since the day I was born in the 1940’s, I have never, ever lived on my own, I left my mum and dad’s house the day I got married to live with my new husband and now the silence and the emptiness of our once happy home where we raised our children is killing me. Lots of love Sheilaxxx xxx

Dear Lonely,
Thank you for your reply to my message. This morning I have been riding around in buses just to escape the awful loneliness. I live in a retirement flat where pets are not allowed so I cannot even have a cat for company. It is the most miserable place, with no social life, just full of moaning old people who can only talk about their ailments. I hope to move sometime. I keep wondering what I can do to ease this terrible feeling but have yet to come up with an answer. All I know is that I have no desire to do anything, and I am convinced that what I feel right now is with me to stay. We were always together, and now when I see elderly couples out shopping or having lunch, I feel an urge to scream. For the first time in my life I am taking anti-depressants but wonder if this is a good idea, and how much worse would I feel without them.

Sheila-When I read your reply it rings so true. Your life seems to be the same as my life. The question is-is it a life? Your writing brings a sense of calm to me. I wish - well I don’t know what I wish-maybe for some hope?

Always,

Jackie

Dear Virgo-If you ever find that place-please let me know. I have no answer for any of us and self harm would, as you say, destroy my family. I believe that is the only reason I keep on. Painful existence-not life.

Dear Joyless, When Peter first died, I honestly don’t know if I would have died of a broken heart or not because I had my massive German Shepherd dog Barney to get up for and look after, I know for certain he was bewildered by what had happened to his dad as he used to sit by the door waiting for him to come home, if we were in the garden he would sit looking through the back window waiting for him to come out. Kept looking at me and back at the window. We showered our love for Peter on each other, when I sobbed my heart out, Barney was there with his head on my knees with his big brown eyes looking up at me. He used to get soaked from my tears but he never moved. We were like two lost souls trying to make sense of it all. Now Barney has gone the hurt as come back, this time not only for Peter but also for Barney as he got me through the first three years after Peter died and I miss him, he was the link between them both as Barney was Peters dog, I fed Barney and walked him but it was always Peter he sat with on the settee cuddling up to him then when Peter died Barney transferred all his love to me and mine to him. I never sought help, never took depression tablets because my way of coping was thinking about Peter all the time, playing our music, looking at our photos. It took me nearly three years to sort out his clothes and only because I kept going into his wardrobe and smelling them but then I realised I could not smell him anymore so gave them to charity. I kept all his books, records, CD’s etc. etc. They are still in the book-shelf and record cabinet they were always in. They will stay there until I die because at the end of the day this was Peter’s and my home and always will be. I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to see them where they always were. I sleep in our bedroom where we always slept together, until the day before he died and was rushed into hospital, we never, ever slept apart. Our sons came to see me today and we had tea in the garden and our eldest son said, ‘do you know mum’ there are not many people who get to be together for so many years and still love each other the way you and dad did, he said he used to talk to his brother about how we always were happy in each others company and we were enough for each other and they wish they could have had a married life like we had’. Both our sons got divorced after eight years of marriage, one son has re-married but our eldest is now single.
I, like yourself, wish I had a time machine to go back and do it all again, re-live every single minute of our lives together, but we can’t so we have to live our lives with only our memories to keep us going. I do hope we all find some peace along the way, but I honestly doubt it because I don’t care how long ago this terrible thing happened to us, we are never, ever going to forget what we once had and have now lost. I am so very sorry for you, myself and every single person on this site who have had their hearts broken into a million pieces and I wish we could go back to what was but we can’t. Sending my love, Sheila xxxx

Dear Virgo825
So sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved husband in June. It is not really very long ago since you lost him and I am afraid it is too early for you to be moving on, to be honest I do not think we will ever move on I think you must just learn to adjust to you new life and learn how to deal with the pain. People who have lost children as I have had told me that you probably begin to feel normal after about 2 years. I must admit that when I heard this I thought to myself that I could not live with this pain for 2 years but apparently it is a granule process. In the first few weeks after my sons death I would have quite happily have just laid down and gone to be with him, and I still feel like that quite a lot of the time, but I have a husband and 2 other children who miss their brother so much and who need me to get them through it. This life is hard, we are now different and cannot go back to who we were before.
One day at a time, thats how we must live. Get up everyday, do things then go back to sleep. I want to make my son proud, as proud as he made me.
Your husband sounds an amazing man and it sounds like you had such a happy marriage full of amazing memories, I pray that you can find strength from the wonderful life you had together.
Janet

Dear Janet
Thank you for your reply to my story. Yes, my husband was an amazing man. He was given six hours at most after his accident but he fought for three weeks. We all thought he was on the mend but it wasn’t to be. I don’t want to live without him but we have a lovely family of two sons, two daughters, fourteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren so how could I do such a terrible thing to them as take my own life. Of course I couldn’t but the feeling to want to be with him is very overwhelming at times. I am going to seek help next week as I feel I need it. I have never before been in such a dreadful, dark place. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child. I wish that there was some kind of magic to take away the pain. Eileen

Dear Eileen
Thank you for your reply. It sounds like you have a really large and lovely family, they must all be missing your husband too. It’s funny how you can be surrounded by son many people that love and care for you but the only one you really want is the one you cannot have, I feel the same about my son. I would give my last breath just to see him again, but I know this sort of talk would make him so cross as he would be concerned for his little brother and sister, but at the moment it is all about him and I cannot change that.
I am glad you are seeking some help. I have been having counselling for quite a few weeks now from a local berevment charity and I have a truely wonderful lady come to see me for about an hour every week. It is good to talk and cry and say whatever I want without fear of upsetting someone else and we talk about my son so much which is lovely, just to speak about him. I do hope you can find someone to chat to about your amazing husband and all you had together.
Do take care
Janet

Dear Janet,
Thank you so much for your lovely response. I have just come home from one of my son’s where I had dinner. As soon as I walked in my front door, the grief hit me like a cricket bat. Why isn’t my husband sitting in his armchair waiting for me? On came the waterworks and I wanted to see him so desperately. I cannot even begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a son or daughter. I definitely need help as, more and more, I just want to go and be with him, and it worries me. A visit to my GP tomorrow I think. Glad that counselling is helping you. It is very difficult to break down in front of family as they are grieving too.
Best wishes
Eileen