Coping with passing of Wife

Hello my name is John
13 days ago, my dear wife of 46yrs passed away from severe Arthritis, and MND. I have been her carer for the last few years, which was full on 24hr day in the end months. I am now at a loss, everything surreal, feeling i should have gone with her. The first week, though in shock, i found myself not to bad, as myself and my three grown children organised her funeral ect. But now…a feeling of great loss, and wondering what the future holds for me. Nothing seems to matter to me, and looking out the window people going about there business, like alls normal in the world. Is it normal for me to talk to myself? and talk to my wife, even though she isnt here. Everytime i open a cupboard or drawer, theres her things that fill my mind with memories. How on earth does one go on everyday? Thanks for listening…

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Hello John, I am very sorry to hear of your great loss. It’s truly awful when you lose someone like this, but there are many members on this site who understand what you are going through from their own experience, and will listen to you and offer advice. What helped me through the early weeks was to focus on one day or even one hour at a time and not to think too much about the future. It’s advice I found in several places, and I found it very helpful.

The feelings and behaviour you describe are perfectly normal in the circumstances, and you have absolutely no need to worry about whether your reactions are normal. Bereavement does the strangest things to us, and almost anything goes. I still talk out loud to my wife six months on.

Other advice that helped me was to spend time with family and friends, be gentle to yourself and don’t expect too much from yourself, accept any help you are offered, and eat and sleep or rest, and cry when you need to. I’m sure other members will be offering support and advice over the next few days and in the meantime you just have to keep on going; you clearly have great inner strength as you cared for your wife 24/7 for quite some time. Tap into that strength to look after yourself now, not least for the sake of your children who will be grieving too. Words are inadequate but I wish you the fortitude, courage, and bravery to face the journey ahead of you.

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Hi john im very sorry for your loss .Yes looking out window at this stage you wont feel any benefit or emotional .Some people on here talk to there departed wife so your not alone there.Italk in my mind but not out loud .There caring side i definitely understand i was my darling wifes carer for 8 years .The cupboard thing i understand too eventually you might re organise them or maybe just keep them closed .There is no right or wrong way to grieve and you definitely come to the best club to explain and get support about your nightmare .My name is Colin (im 57 my bwife was 41 she passed 04032016 on her birthday .Ive taken all the photos down and put them in a bag in a cupboard .A year on id definitely be jumping off a bridge if i looked at them .Dont be stranger here being silly or ranting on dioesnt exist here .You take life now day by day dont try to plan too far ahead All the best Colin

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Thank you Neil and Colin for your thoughts and advice, all makes sense. Of course yes, my children are grieving over there mother, must be hard on them, whilst trying to comfort me.Dont know about you, but i am still unable to even contemplate sleeping upstairs in any bedroom. I bought a camp bed from Argos, and unfold it every night to sleep on.

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Hello John, to answer your question, I do sleep upstairs at home now. I didn’t at first, but I took advice from a relative and decided to try it after a few days. But I think there are others in this community who do sleep downstairs, and some who live with relatives. There aren’t any rules - just do what feels right for you.

If you haven’t found it yet there’s good general advice elsewhere on this website. I also found a site called recover-from-grief quite helpful, and a “leaflet” on bereavement on The Royal College of Psychiatrists website. You can’t avoid grief, but I find it helps having some idea what to expect. Take care.

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Do you know, forgetting all the photographs, the personal items ect, thats always there to remind me. Its the radio that really set my emotions going throughout the day. We loved music, and i dont really want to turn it off, but holy cow, its so emotional when i hear a favourite song that she would sing or dance to when she was fit and healthy. Have you had this experience? John.

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Hi John im a year on and still sleep downstairs .I can stand in the bedroom for no more than a minute .Songs o gosh yes im the same but Denises song to me i cannot listen to all the way through .I have a very secure bubble usually.Music is definitely the worst i avoid it like the plague Colin

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Yes Colin, im with you there on the bedroom. A bubble is a good description… It is like forming a bubble isnt it, I think thats unintentionaly whats happening to me, closing out different things you know will hurt. Going out, even for food, which has to be done, is harrowing. The world feels unreal now. John.

Hi John, no that’s not anything I have experienced. I don’t listen to music at all any more. I don’t know why but I can see how upsetting it could be though especially as music appeals directly to the emotions.

Hi Guys
How on earth can i move forward. Near everything in the house is my late wifes, cupboards and drawers full of clothes and stuff. I want to move, and sort things, but cannot, just makes me fill sick. I know its only been just over two weeks since her passing, and that im raw, but i cant even sort her handbag and purse out. Sat in this house, surrounded by 45yrs of married life. Just mouch about until evening when i can draw the curtains on the world and hopefully, sleep again until the next day, when it begins again.

Hi John, I feel for you I really do. I only got through the first few weeks thanks to the close support of my family and some special friends.

It was 2 or 3 months before I could touch my wife’s handbag or start sorting through any of her belongings, and after 6 months there’s still loads I haven’t touched. You will know when you are ready, and if it makes you feel sick you probably need more time unless there is something you urgently need to find.

One piece of advice I came across in several places was not to make any major decisions/changes for at least a year - eg moving house or changing jobs. You’re probably not thinking straight, you probably don’t have any clear vision of what you want your life to look like in the future, and are unlikely to be ready for the stress of a major change.

So my advice would be don’t try to move forward and sort out your future too quickly, you need to give yourself much more time to grieve. It might help you to look at a couple of threads on here: one is Worried about my Future, and the other is How do I Plan Ahead. They show lots of us are struggling with this question.

But for now you just need to get through each day, process and absorb what has happened and focus on simply looking after yourself.

But that’s just my point of view and there are people on here who are moving house before a year’s passed, so it’s not a universal rule. Like you I was married for over 40 years, and a few weeks aren’t nearly enough time to make the huge adjustments to our lives that are required. Give yourself time.

Thanks Neil
You are right of course. And i do have great kids that help and support me, and they are going through the process of grieving too . Just needed to know if my feelings and actions were norm if you can call it that. Thanks for your support and words of wise…John

Hi John.I lost my husband of 46yrs 4 weeks ago .My husband died of cancer and I cared for him in and out of Hospital.
At first i was ok so busy doing paperwork and sleeping because I was so exhausted but now reality stepped in and Im so lost.
I have stopped looking to the future because it looks so awful so do what I have read and take one day at a time but that doesnt help much either.
I go out but hate looking at other couples walking around laughing and just getting on with life ,We had so much to look forward to and now its all gone.
I have taken everything out of his wardrobe because I didnt get any comfort from it and thats helped,
You will have to keep coming on this site like I do because nobody else seems to understand,
Take care Sue

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My mum passed away 5 months ago today. Its very hard for my dad and I can see that my dad who is 74 is not doing well at all. Its very difficult he’s stubborn. Everything is still the same in the house. My darling mums cup is on the kitchen unit. Her clothes on the chair. It breaks my heart to go to see my dad now… I don’t know what to do to help him…he won’t let me help him.with housework…its a sad difficult situation. I didn’t realise how much my mum did for my dad. .I know how much I miss my mum so I can’t even imagine how my dad is feeling and everyone else who has lost a husband or wife.

Ohh sammie, i am sorry. I really do know what you are going through. Im the same, was ok first week, as there was a lot, as you say, paper work ect to do. but now, hells bells! its hit me like a rock too. We would have been married 46yrs this month, she passed just over three weeks ago, from MND. I looked after her 24hrs a day. Now suddenly stopped. I relate to outside life to, like another world. I am promising myself i will find things to do, maybe charity work, something like that in the future, as im now retired, and her express wishes before passing was for me to be happy and get on with life, My children are a great help and are just about keeping me sane. This little (club) makes all the difference, with lovely advice from folk in same situation, If you to wish to talk im usually here daily…John

I do sympathise Devastated, I can relate to how he is feeling in some ways,. Its like you want time to stand still. Memory locked on what was, and the need for it not to change. I suppose like folk would say on this little (club) give him time. Its good you keep an eye on him. …John

Hi. My husband passed away at the end of February this year and I recognise all of the feelings mentioned on these posts so at least it must mean that they are normal! I talk to myself and my husband all the time! His coats and shoes are still in the coat cupboard and his clothes are still in the wardrobe. There hasn’t been a day go by when I haven’t cried. I went back to work last week to try and do something ‘normal’ but it was very hard. I think we just have to do one day at a time as best we can and know there is no rush to do anything. The problem with belongings is that the things that the things that upset me are also the things that comfort me! Does that make sense? For example I like driving his car because it makes me feel close to him but it also upsets me so I can’t decide if to keep it or not. I’ve decided that I don’t have to decide yet ! Xx

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So much of this rings true with me. My husband died last summer after a long battle with cancer. Quite early on I summoned up the courage to give away some of his clothes to a charity shop. But his coats are still hanging in the hallway and the last clothes he wore are still laid on the chair beside the bed.

The early days and weeks are a blur of pain and exhaustion.

One thing that helped me, very soon after the funeral, was a week away doing an activity which I enjoy. It was good to be surrounded by friendly people and be completely absorbed. Yes, it was incredibly hard coming home to an empty house, but it helped me to begin finding a new identity and put me in a different frame of mind. There’s no rush to make changes - some days are better than others when it comes to reorganising your life.

HF holidays run walking and activity breaks in the UK and I’m sure there are other similar organisations.

Sharing thoughts and worries with others is one of the best coping strategies - and sometimes virtual friends are the most supportive…

Hi Linaj
Oh yeah, im always talking to myself, and wifes picture. I ask her questions, “shall i, shall i not” things, and its comforting, for, after 46yrs together, I would know her answer to me, as she would me, new each other for so long we new each other inside out!. I understand what you mean on belongings, The feel, the smell, I could never discard them i dont think i could, would probably have to leave that to my daughters, in the future, like you say, one day at a time. Im retired now, but yes, i hate coming home to an empty house, (except for wifes budgie), i tend to leave a light on, and keep radio on quietly, so theres some life in the house. …John

Hi Dancing queen
Your right, about activities. My kids coax me out and involve me with the young grandchildren for games ect, which most certainly helps, and make you realise, life is worth living, and that there’s lots of loving caring people around…John