Directionless pretty much

Hello. This is my first post. I am quite surprised that I have taken the step, actually. It is LBC’s fault. This organization was on the radio in the background which I was trying to use as a distraction while I was attempting to have a “throw out”. As per usual, anything that will interrupt or stall having to do that I soon grab at. So here I am. I’m not ready to say who I lost in April this year, or to what. That does not seem quite right, yet. It is almost like defining her as one thing, dead. Just one more among the dead. She was more than that. We shared a home, shared everything. She was for the whole of my life, my constant. Absolutely and without fail, constant. Now here’s the thing, and this is what brought me here. At the start, back in April, everything was in such turmoil - globally - but I got through all that. We got through all that. They said at the hospital, in ICU, the care was not going well, and “she accepts this”. That was code, but I thought well, if she does, I must. I can do this. All the not saying goodbye properly, all the rushed funeral arrangements for fear there were about to be mass graves … all that. And the financial stuff. Not sorted yet, but maybe soon. The practical stuff. Fine. Now I well understand that it is quite commonplace to feel “worse” after that busy stage. But I seem to be floundering badly now. A bit more than I want to admit. The temptation to sleep a lot, the rush to accept every chance to get out of the house for a weekend with a friend, anything but DEAL with the next part. I simply cannot get to grips with the dismantling every part of our shared life together. In the early days I even managed to clear a drawer or two. I had found a wizard wheeze to “defuse” attachment to things by moving them from their normal places for a day or two. They lost their “charge” then. I could dispose of them, just about. It may have been easier, those things were often hospital related, and quite good to see gone. Now though, like today, which I had planned as a “sort it” day, every thing is a major decision, everything hesitated over, even the moving things to defuse them wheeze doesn’t work. So, can anyone help with some really PRACTICAL things . I know that if i don’t change things fairly soon, the year will turn and i will still be living in the equivalent of bombed out rubble. Sorry, but that’s how it feels. The temptation to “cancel” this post is so great, but, no. Let it go.

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Hi Wil, I am so sorry to read that you have lost someone who meant everything to you. Unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions as to what you could do to help yourself in your current situation as my grief is of a different type to you, just wanted to express how sorry I am for your loss because I could feel the pain in your writing. Hopefully some others here might have some suggestions.

Hi Will.You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to.When my husband died 2 yrs ago I felt under immense pressure to decide what to do with his ashes and it took a long time for me to decide that they will stay in the house until I pass and then we will be together and that is all that matters. I came to a decision fairly quickly to remove his clothes from the wardrobe because it broke my heart to see them and each item had an individual memory for me
So I bagged them all up and put them in a spare room except for 2 favourite shirts which I decided to keep. Now I feel a little easier about having done it.I guess what I am trying to say is just do things when it feels the right time for you. I hope one day you will share your story with us too but again it is something you only need to do in your own time.

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Thank you. It is now Monday, the next day. Fresh day, and again full of good intentions.
This isn’t an angry rebuff , but when I first read your reply my instant response was to think " What DOES he mean, his grief is of a different type to you"…and then "what you could do to help yourself ". “YOURSELF!”. And then i thought, well, it’s my own fault for dipping my toe in these waters, a waste of time. I was irritated. I don’t get angry. i don’t get angry enough I often think. Anyway . I thought somewhere in among all these bereaved there is AN answer, a strategy to get through the need to dispose of things, to at least seem as if I am moving on. Of course, there isn’t. And my logical head knows that. I’ve read all the stuff. All the stages of grief theories. And it all makes sense, it really does. And the individual thing: I think that is what you meant by “type” of grief ( if that is not what you meant I do apologize, and ask you to explain if you wish to ). I know we all experience grief, everything, differently. It’s not as if most of us haven’t experienced loss before. And yet, And yet. I just hoped , idiotically, that there would be a strategy, something to propel me into being able to decide whether to move an item, throw an item away, cherish an item, heaven forbid, BIN an item.

Thank you so much. Yes, i agree. There seems to be an endless amount of time to put things off, to put even essential things on the back-burner. It feels self indulgent. But I think what you are doing - or not - is important. I reason it like this…if this makes any sense : you say you long to "escape ( your) thoughts of ifs buts whys and maybes ". That is your head doing at an extremely slow speed the filing away and sorting out of the reality of what is so completely beyond what you can stomach. It’s taking a huge amount of time because - and you say the same - the (yours and mine for sure) brain has slowed down. I can spend a whole afternoon trying to work out a simple Bank Statement. I try to tell myself that is a small achievement. I think you must let these thoughts come, let yourself argue and nit-pick over them. With luck, logic will win in the end. And that’s not meant to sound cold, I assure you, the word “logic”. I mean as an alternative to swilling around in a sea of emotion clinging to the wreckage, which is pretty much what I feel like sometimes.

Thank you. I would love you to say how you came to the decision to clear your dear husband’s things from the wardrobe. That’s the secret I’m looking for! I know, doesn’t exist.
I am no urgent hurry, but it is this dread of, well, if not today then WHEN. Days soon become months. Part of me says I want the house to be as it was the day she last saw it, part says change it, move things, defuse the charge that things have. In the early days, the first month let’s say, those decisions seemed easier. Now it is like the concrete is starting to set around everything, and soon I will be stuck forever, nothing changed. I owe her more than that.

Wil, I know what you mean . I couldn’t bear the thought of getting rid of anything that was my husband’s. He died very suddenly at the end of April and it took me a while to realise that I was still in shock, still am . a bit. And that didn’t seem a good time to make any decisions, I just let things be and somehow drifted along without fighting it. After a few weeks I decided I would try and achieve just one thing, maybe just put the coffee machine on( always his job!!) maybe answer one email, iron one thing and then say that’s it for today, finished. Slowly I found myself doing a bit more once I’d started but there’s no rush as at least coronavirus has stopped people visiting so if it’s a bit of a mess it doesn’t matter at the moment. And these feelings won’t last forever, we will get motivated again and then we’ll be ready and able to do what’s needed. Yes, time’s going by but soon we’ll have dark evenings and not so much opportunity or incentive to get out , plenty of time then to do all those horrible sorting jobs. I’m going to try to get all our old photos into albums. Hope you don’t think I’m telling you what to do, just an idea . take care x

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NO. Absolutely not "telling me what to do ". It’s dawning on me slowly that hoping for the magic bullet of “advice” isn’t going to be forthcoming, but hearing that others are having very- nearly- almost -the- same, but not the exactly the same experiences and struggles will help. Not at the moment - I think i want help, i don’t want it, I want to move on, i want everything the same. But it will come. One day. I’ve always been a bit slow. Perhaps I am rushing it. But it’s the little things. Buy flowers for the spring, they’re coming into the shops now. But why. She won’t see them. She was “let out” of hospital briefly. Came home to a garden in the spring. Do I want it the same? Do I want it different? I only wish I knew. Perhaps that’s it. She knew what I knew I wanted. Now I have to make that decision. Not a joint decision. Mine. Mine alone. Not easy is it. Thanks ever so much for your reply. I am taking all this in I promise you. I am in this mode just now though where I turn everything over, everything, every suggestion even, and think - well what I really think is this. PUT EVERYTHING BACK THE WAY IT WAS. RESET THE CLOCK TO 2019. That’s what’s really buzzing about under every thought. And that’s just not rational. Even I know it’s not. There is no going back.

Hi, from your post it seems like you have lost a dearly loved partner who you lived with. My situation is that I have lost my dearly loved dad, who I did not live with. Therefore our situations are a bit different, and my mum will be the one who will be responsible when it comes to dealing with my dad’s belongings. You hadn’t yet received a reply, and your post made me sad, so I responded just to express my sorrow. That’s all, apologies if you were offended by my reply.

No no no. Not at all. In the USA they call this - the whole forum/help- thing “reaching out” and this, well yesterday, was my first experience of doing that, of reaching out. I think I expected too much. A big well wrapped up pretty parcel with “THE ANSWER” inside. I thank you so much for responding. It has helped. See. I can respond now. On a forum. Do things. get out of this awful FOG that has descended. So no. Having said that, if your mum has any ideas on just what to do when it comes to the awful business of stripping the home you shared of the person you loved, I’d be over the moon to hear it.
Thank you for explaining your circumstances too. You did not have to do that. And just to make it clear : I was not - once my initial disappointment at not having an “ANSWER” served up on a plate - at all offended. I can see from your other posts that is far from what you intend.

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Reading your posts Will, brings back to me that feeling of panic or was it manic, of the early days of my grief. I remember that rawness so well. It certainly held aspects of mania, no doubt about it. My headspace was full. I had to shift stuff to relieve my head. It was over three years ago now but those feelings are still strongly remembered.

Between us we had six vehicles. I had to be sensible. I couldn’t possibly afford to run them alone. Two went to a classic car auction, two went in part exchange for a more practical car and the other two I sold privately but to people I knew and I know my husband would approve. That’s the thing Will, I’m still looking for his approval in everything I do. We had already planned to take one of the cars to auction so I was continuing with that plan. I did all this within the first few months. I had to because it was messing with my head. This is when I got the feeling of panic. That headspace I mentioned earlier, it needed emptying.

My husband was a serious hoarder. I had to throw a lot of stuff away but I took my time. It didn’t happen for the first year. I cleared little bits out in the house, sorted clothes, shoes etc. I gave some away, I took some to the charity shop but I’ve still kept quite a bit too. It’s not in anyone’s way so why not? The truth is Will, you’ll know when it’s time. There’s no hurry. It might never be time and does it matter? It’s what ever your comfortable with. I love to see David’s things around. He existed. He exists. xx


That’s beautiful. "His approval in everything I do ". I don’t quite know why you call yourself “crazy”.

Yes, perhaps I must let time do its thing. That’s what the psychoanalysts tell us.
I was heartened by the “not for the first year” too. A lot. Perhaps I am running and not walking. But you say you did the auction thing within the first few months. That’s what I fear. Disposal in the early days, fine. Now, not so fine.
Thanks. “Approval in everything I do”. I will treasure that, I really will.

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Thank you for your kind words, and for being so understanding. It’s good to have you at this forum, obviously not good that you lost someone you loved so dearly, but good in the sense in that you have a different style of writing and I think it benefits this place where we have diversity in the way people express themselves. My mum has concentrated on other things, she did ask me if it is ok if she throws away two of dad’s dentures and just keeps the ones he wore last, but other than that, she has decided to leave everything as it is for the moment.

Yes Wil, if we could only put the clock back! I know I would have done some things differently but we can’t and it’s pointless torturing ourselves , but I know I still do. As many have said on this site it does somehow help to hear others going through the same heartache and their different ways of coping. Hope it will do the same for you and reassure you that there is no one size fits all for what we’re going through . Nobody can really tell you, if it feels right. at this moment, then go with it and don’t worry, you’ll know when you’re ready to move a bit further along . Some major things will need dealing with but let the others wait til your head’s a bit clearer. I couldn’t cope with much at all initially, couldn’t think. couldn’t concentrate , kept losing things, forgetting things. A wreck in fact! Grief does terrible things but it will all calm down eventually if you don’t push yourself too hard just now. Take carex

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Feel for you, Tillwemeetagain, it’s a horrendous task. Like CrazyKate’s husband mine was a terrible hoarder so I just did a bit of sorting out, tidying and ordering his stuff, books, cds, records, you name it.and that was enough . It was quite time consuming and gave me a focus and I felt Malcolm would be pleated to see his study looking tidy, well, tidier! Good luck, sending lovex

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That approval, Crazy Kate! Malcolm had a Morgan that was his pride and joy and I know at some point I’m going to have to sell it . In fact had he still been here he might have started thinking about it as the steering was so heavy. But the thought of it going is unbearable and like you I need his approval. I bought a hand for our grandson today and on the way home I was thinking I’d show it to him , then I remembered. So hard for us all isn’t it. Sending love and hope to all . xx


Thanks for your understanding. I crash around a bit at the moment. Not even sure if what I mean to say is what I say. Your mother: oh dear, when it comes decisions over what your dad wore last. If only we could talk. I could tell her " NO, you won’t need that" and she could tell me “No, you will be better without that”. If only it was so - almost - easy. It’s a ghastly horrible task, it almost feels like a betrayal. She asked you if it was OK before she went ahead with the task. That is wonderful, it really is. Every item needs that care, before it is gone. ( and then the logic bit of me pops up and says, what the heck are you keeping any of it for ). It is an absolute nightmare, all of this. Thank you. And I do mean that. No voice back of the head saying “nonsense” ).

That might be what all this is about. Learning to stop putting things neatly away. Life isn’t neat, or tidy. We think it is. We get a diary and fill in the gaps with what is supposed to happen. Then it gets tipped upside down. Bereavement guides say : makes you stonger. That’s a strategy I have tried : to think this is a leaning experience. Trouble is, the people who write the guide books and do the studies aren’t in the thick of it, the mess of it, the sheer brain fogged useless random shambles of it.

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That’s so kind. It just feels like, well, 5 months, I " ought" to be happy clappy smiling and coping and not boring the neighbours. “Forgetting things”…well. There are the things I ought to throw out, then there are the things, important that, in error, I have ACTUALLY thrown out. I have to keep double checking every single thing I do now, because I don’t trust myself. I know it will settle down. I know I will get a grip. But, oh… some days. You know.

Dear Will
There is no “ought” in grief. When someone is drowning, survival rests with stopping thrashing about and just letting the buoyancy of the water support you until you are able to breathe and eventually swim…in your own time and at your own pace.
I remember only too well the sheer panic and hysteria of the early days…in many ways I was “fortunate” because my circumstances dictated that I “sort and donate” almost surgically ( the worst thing was selling Barry’s chef’s knives ) as I could only bring the most personal things back to England…but time has slowly helped me to cope and be thankful. I think the biggest lesson I have learned is to plough my own furrow…I have read all kinds of books and internet blurbs and have been supported by many wonderful people on this site but, just like every human who has ever lived, I am unique and my circumstances are mine alone… I accept who I now am and no longer try to be what society would dictate.
It is very early days for you…listen to your heart not to the clamour inside your head then do what YOU feel is right WHEN you feel it is right so to do.
Take care x

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