Coming out of lockdown.

We went into first lockdown in March 2020. I found it very difficult the first 10 months after Steve passed away in 2019. Difficult to be the odd number when I went out with friends. The odd number at a table. I didn’t go to days out with them that we used to go as a pair. Lockdown came and I felt no pressure, no one was going out. No one spoke about where they had been with their partners, I did not feel under pressure to go out. Now lockdown is coming to an end and my anxiety levels are beginning to rise. I feel like I’m back to square one.

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@Montague

I can see where you are coming from here. Although I lost my husband in Nov 21 and, I worked throughout the first lockdown, we went through lockdown together not knowing he was so very ill. We had such a fab time throughout x When he became ill after, we were lucky…it was not Covid-19 and for the last 2.5 days of his life he was in a hospice. Only I could be there due to the restrictions and, although not at the time, I fully appreciated the intimacy and the time we had, just me and him. He didn’t want it any other way and it uncomplicated decisions we may have had to make such as others being there and such x I only know lockdown in my grief as the restrictions became higher during his short illness and passing. I am at work but I have been able to grieve freely, 8 have no young children or any dependents and I’ve been able to focus on my every day progress dealing with the loss.

Now…I have to face moving forward, rebuilding, socialising and spending time with mutual friends. This is not going to be easy x Take it one step at a time … phase don’t be hard on yourself x

Its not a normal phase, being without our partners and Covid has made it less normal x The sun will shine and I hope that helps x

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How I identify with you in your anxiety.
Lockdown has been the easy part. The thought of everyone going back to normal and being expected to join in, makes me feel sick and my heart races. The calls I’ve had from one friend rejoicing in going out again, having her hair done, nails done, facials, buying unnecessary clothes etc. just make me feel shrivelled inside.
I don’t want NORMAL. Nothing can be normal for me again and the end of lockdown means that this stark fact is rubbed into my face at every turn. Hearing of the garden parties and the holiday plans has me trembling and sobbing.
There is also the guilt. Am I begrudging happiness to others because it cannot be for me? I don’t think I am but find it so hard to respond as they wish when I’m told of all the exploits. Why can’t they just be grateful for being in lockdown with their husbands? Why are they craving anything more?
I don’t understand it. My husband and I were so sorry for all who were I’ll or bereaved and knew how blessed we were to have each other. Lockdown was not irksome at all as we counted our blessings and enjoyed being together.
Now I don’t recognize the half person I have become.
My head, throat and eyes ache with tears. At least in lockdown I can shed them in peace. I don’t want people suddenly appearing at the gate and the sound of the 'phone makes me jump. I want to see people but no sooner are they here than I wish they would go.
People want to be kind and think that telling me their news will be a diversion. It isn’t. I either can’t take it in or it just emphasizes all I had once and will never have again.
After 60 years there are only happy memories and the grief is knowing that the years are over but this shadow is forced to go on breathing in and out.
Apologies to you all as I can’t find way to offer comfort.

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And I thought it was just me. I am dreading the lifting of lockdown as I feel its insulated and protected me from many aspects of grief. I have had the privacy to grieve alone and hide away from the world without it looking like that. I dread now being in a position where I have to make decisions about where I do or do want to go/visit due to memories. I will have to make myself visit friends for the first time since my husband’s death (9 months ago, we were married 26 years) and it feels like the grief is raw and new. I don’t want there to be uncomfortable situations where conversation is stilted etc but what seems weird to me is that I don’t want to socialise with anyone who didn’t know him. My heart goes out to all of you in the same situation, it’s not easy

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I lost my partner just 7 weeks ago and we was so looking forward to coming out of lockdown , because of Covid he’s heart condition went undiagnosed and 3 days before the consultant called him he died of heart failure, heart attack and high blood pressure !! I had taken him for an ECG that morning then went back to my flat so I wasn’t with him
I found him early the next morning after not being able to contact him , totally devastated

I share your anxieties. I have had a family member text to say they intend to visit once lockdown is eased further. I rang them to say that they would need to call me in advance to see if I am up to visitors and they were somewhat surprised! That says it all really - they do not have a clue. They do not understand the pain that I am going through every day since my husband was killed in a road traffic accident. No chance to say goodbye, no returning home.

To get onto our estate I have to drive past the local pub. Its full of people returning to their normal lives. I no longer have a normal. I do not want a ‘new life’ I want and need my old life. Its not that I begrudge people enjoying the opportunity to resume their lives and fulfil their plans - I would not wish grief on anyone - its just I miss my husband, he was all I wanted and needed. I cannot live my life through our kids and I feel I now have nothing except to wait until I join my husband.

I have said before we were together 42 years and married 38 and there are not enough decades left to get over this loss.

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In the past I have supported all our old widowed friends to the best of my ability and now I am the only one left. There are two new couples whom we met more recently and who are doing what they can to comfort me but nothing seems to get through the numbness. How can it hurt like this but still be numb?
They cannot understand.
Only we, on this site, know the pain that feels like fear, the helplessness. I hate every little decision having to be mine and every major decision my responsibility. Nothing I do, say or think matters to another soul. There is no family to whom my existence matters. My death will make no difference to anyone.
To my husband I was the world, for 60 years, married 58. Now I am nothing. Just as bad is having no-one who is the world to me. He is gone. The brief contacts I now have are forced and unnatural. I try to care about their grandchildren and their plans for holidays, parties, new houses and weddings but nothing happens inside me. They are excited and happy but nothing teaches me. I can’t help it. I don’t care. A year ago we would have been excited and happy for them. Now there is no “we”, just a less than half person lacking the emotional energy to care about myself, let alone anything else.
It’s ten and a half months. Will there ever be an acceptable “normal” again?
God bless anyone who is going through this.

Sorry, … nothing reaches me.

I feel the same about coming out of lockdown. All the couples out in sunshine everyone talking of their plans. I feel so alone and lonely lost my husband of 40 years suddenly and out of the blue.
Everyone one thinks I’m coping well if only they knew . Wish I could talk to friends and family tell them how I feel but always put on ‘brave’ smile .
So alone .
Take care all

Sorry you had to join us @Dina
I lost my partner 5 weeks ago to covid. He was only 48. It has totally shattered anything abs everything I thought i knew about myself and my life.

So sorry that you are now needing to be part of this forum, but it will help. I lost my husband suddenly 4 weeks ago, he was only 50. I understand your feelings of shock, panic, anxiety and anything else that comes your way. Keep posting - people will support you

Dear Dina, you have come to the right place.
We may not have answers but we understand your loss and utter loneliness.
Here, you can pour out your heart knowing no-one is expecting anything from you and no-one is judging you.
We all find ways of coping alone when we are hating every minute and just longing for the day we can be reunited. I tell myself that this is my last gift to my beloved husband. I was his world as he was mine. I’d have died in his place but instead, I have been made to live in his place. We are all going through this anguish so that our dear one is spared it.
Are we saying we wish we had never had the wonderful years (60 in my case) ? Of course not. Is the price worth paying? Yes, every scalding tear and sleepless night.
I used to be able to do little things like taking a hot drink out to him when he was working in the Winter garden. I could make him breakfast in bed on his birthday. On one occasion I surprised him with a party and on another, booked a holiday (a huge surprise) but I always wished I could do more. Now this wish has been granted. He did everything for me. I was loved, honoured and cherished until death parted us. I WILL be glad that he is not the one left, suffering. I CAN ride out out the storms of weeping helplessness and pick up the pieces out of the debris of my life. I am making my grief a gift and hope that in so doing, it will leave me, not with emptiness, solitude perhaps and tranquility. I know it will be back but each time, I am stronger.
God bless you and everyone going through this.

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Dear Prof

Thank you. Your words resonate. The loss of the ‘we’ and now just ‘me’ cuts deep and I am most certainly less than the half person as you describe.

Sorry you are on this awful journey too.

Dear Sheila, you are right when you say, “journey”.
It really does feel like travelling to me.
The path is unpleasant and difficult and I am “ambushed” along the way by sudden problems, major and minor. There is no-one by my side to protect me or to foresee and avoid the pitfalls. For 60 years, when walking outside the house, my hand was in his. Even crossing the road was not my responsibility.
I know how pathetic this must seem and how sheltered a life I led but the stark contrast is the greatest shock my system has ever known and that includes both a train crash and a 'plane crash. These were both before I met my husband but from that time onwards I knew I was safe.
Now this hideous path with its twists and turns and frequent crossroads, travelled in gloom, is the most frightening situation I have ever experienced.
All of you are travelling with me but we are unable to help one another except by words of encouragement or shared thoughts and feelings.
For me, just pinning down a feeling, in words, can help me to deal with it a little better.
Encouragement? Yes, I can offer that. The road is longer than I had feared when first forced onto it but the gloom lightens from time to time and the surface feels easier and firmer. Meltdowns still come and are savage but they are less frequent. Best of all, there is no longer the fear that I shall ever lose sight of my love or forget anything about our life together. As the numbness wears off, he is becoming clearer in my mind and my heart is warmed by his constant presence. Love doesn’t die.
In the midst of your grief, please take heart and know that there IS comfort. God bless.

Dear Prof

I understand that feeling of travelling alone - never been so scared as now and for the future (not that I look beyond one day).

Take care.
Sheila

Dear Prof, I love and appreciate your words of encouragement. It is only 5 months for me but I really hope to travel on the journey in the way you said. I know that is what Geoff would have wanted for me. He made me the person I am today and I owe it to him to live my life as fully as he would have done if he were still here.
It’s going to be very hard, but I will try.
Love and hugs :hugs: Jacky

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Dear Sheila and Jacky,

You are right. Thinking beyond today is only necessary for tackling the grim realities of form filling and essential telephone calls. The latter can be particularly upsetting, especially when dealing with “bereavement departments”. I admit to, very rattily, demanding of one of these contacts, “Have you ever looked up the word, ‘bereavement’?” Knowing beforehand that these encounters are going to be lengthy, frustrating, upsetting and exhausting, means we can be prepared and, to a certain extent, sorry for the agent on the other end of the 'phone.
For the rest, I make myself get out of bed every day, have my shower, do my hair and make-up and dress.
That there is no-one to see or know and no-one to tell me I look nice always threatens to undermine my resolve but up to now I have claimed this little triumph.
Once up, I do very little except a little desultory dusting or pushing my light vacuum cleaner around. Only my husband could manage the big one. I have always detested cooking but can open tins, jars and packets and have only the things I like to eat. My mealtimes are unvarying and give structure to the day.
This is existing, not living and the floodgates of tears, engulfing me and leaving me exhausted are draining beyond belief as you know. They ARE becoming less frequent and the fear subsides. I’m not sure what the fear is about. I think it is to do with feeling that the pain is all we have left and that it will be our only link with our lost love. I now know that isn’t so but when in the grip of it, even now, it is hard to fight down. My husband now feels closest to me and more real in calm times. I am blessed with a faith that gives me the sure hope of our reunion. For anyone able to hold onto that, I think this journey is easier as it has a destination.
For now, we are on the same road. I greet you as our paths sometimes cross (it is not a straight road) or as I pass you and move a little ahead. You may come across me later on, fallen by the wayside and your words will encourage me.
May God bless us today and help us through it.

Dear Prof

I have placed all my faith in God that I will be reunited with my husband, otherwise there is little point in continuing this journey. Our son has lost all his faith and it is sad to see this. Our daughter does not talk about her feelings, she is still struggling with the fact that because of lockdown the last time she saw her dad was a social distance picnic in June when we all travelled half-way to meet up.

As their mother I am incapable of helping them in their time of need, I can hardly look after myself. I pray every night for God’s help to somehow get them through this.

Take care.

Sheila

Dear Sheila,
He’s already on the case. Your faith will get you through this and your children too.
I am a little further along than you are and have reached a dry, flat bit of path. I have no family and all our old friends have predeceased us so my world is empty indeed. Somehow I’m still here. I am being sustained despite wishing I could join my husband. There must be some purpose.
Yours is to rejoice in your children. Their anger and even rejection of faith is normal I think. I have done my share of screaming at God and hating Him, telling Him that no loving Father would treat His children so cruelly. He can take it and even if I don’t feel it, something in me knows that the love is not withdrawn or diminished.
You can’t see your husband at the moment but your love has not gone away. Your need for his presence, for the feel of his arms round you and for the sound of his voice is even stronger if anything than it was when you knew he was just in the garden or out shopping. It’s all real, a bond that can’t be broken and it will reunite you when the time is right.
Let the tears flow. They are healing, washing out stress hormones and bringing relief. There are times, as you have probably experienced already, when there are no tears; you don’t even feel like crying but sometimes these are harder. Perhaps you and your children need to cry together when that becomes possible. Shared grief brings comfort. It’s probably why so many of us are on this site.
For now perhaps you have a plan for the day, even if it is to do nothing at all except eat food you enjoy, read, watch television and sleep if you can. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless.

Dear Prof

Thank you.

God bless
Sheila

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