Coping too well: Storing up problems for the future?

Basic facts: I am male, 51 and was married for 28 wonderful years. We have 5 children, daughter and two sons in their early 20’s with lives away from home. 21 yr old son, back between Uni courses and 16 year old son who had to do his GCSEs right after mums death.

My wife was my best friend as well as my business partner and Finance Director. She was diagnosed with Breast cancer 1st July 2016. Treatment went OK. However, post radiotherapy, she was admitted to hospital, diagnosed terminal on Thursday afternoon and passed away that Saturday morning (20th May 2017). So we held a large family and friends funeral. Whole family and community came together. A good send off and burial in the local cemetery (5 mins walk away from home).

Business dealings have been on hold since she became ill. That chapter of life is over. I am too old to risk everything again and I wont do it alone anyway). I now lecture @ a Uni part time (started as Debbie became ill) and do some business consulting. Work is hectic, but fine. It is as I like it. Oh, Im also studying part time for a PhD. For fun I sail a 1960’s wooden yacht - my 45th birthday present from my wife. So all in all plenty to do.

All at home appear to be doing OK. We have formed a “new normality”and we rub alone OK. We cannot control the situation but we can control our response to it. Cleaner has been engaged. Sainsbury’s deliver the food, we take tuns to cook. Morale is mostly fine with the occasional mood and cry. However, evenings are lonely but bearable. But you know, its actually OK. We hate she died, we don’t like being left and we feel sad about our loss. But life does go on.

So my questions are simple: Is there a big shock waiting round the corner? What are we missing? Are we headed for future trouble? Or we we OK? What does your experience tell you about us?


Hi Phill,

Welcome to the Sue Ryder Online Community. I’m so sorry to hear about your wife passing away. It sounds as though you and the children are doing well, even though you miss her very much.

In answer to your question, everyone is different, and grief doesn’t follow a set pattern or timeline. Yes, in some cases, people do find that they do ok at first, and then it hits them harder some months down the line. Ups and downs are normal, so, if this does happen, try not to see it as going backwards, but as part of the grieving process.

However, the fact that you are coping ok is not a bad thing. What really tends to store up problems for the future is bottling up or repressing emotions. Try to bear in mind that whatever your emotions are doing at any given time is right for you - so have a cry and a bad day when you need to, but also accept that it’s ok to enjoy the good days when you have them.

With five children, I suppose you probably won’t all always be in synch with your good days and bad days, but it will help to keep talking to each other about your feelings and your memories of Debbie.

Hopefully some of our other users will be along soon to share their experiences. If you have any questions about this site, or there’s anything I can help with, just let me know.

Community Manager

Hi Phil im very sorry for your loss (im 15 months into my nightmare).Like Priscilla theres not set pattern to grief and i can hit you at different times .I dont have a family to support me (im doing it solo).But i think that it will help you for the future .I believe whether 1 asks themselves will i cry ,am i looking at a meltdown situation it will or wont happen in time .People on here will help theres also private messaging .That 1 and other members use .Dont be a stranger keep coming back Colin (im 57 my wife was 41 she passed 04032016 on her birthday.)

Thanks for the replies. Most helpful. I recognise that there is spectrum of feelings that I and the family may feel. Good point about recognising who is were, at any particular time.

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