Emotions Following death of husband

Hi I am new to this forum, but I have been reading posts for some time. It is only now that I have built up the courage to come on line. My husband died suddenly 8 months ago, I was only talking to him 30 minutes earlier, and he was gone. For the first few weeks I was in a daze, numb, just going through the motions - funeral, financial details, Covid. During this time you get visits but that soon stops as people move on and I was left to deal with what was left. I have felt panic, anxiety, but the loneliness is unbearable which is made worse with Covid. The evenings and weekends being the worse. I can cope during the day as I work. I have hardly any friends and my children have their own lives and I don’t want to burden them. I am constantly in a mood, snappy, and if not that just plain sad with life. I cannot get out of and find it difficult to have conversations. People act as though nothing has happened, even family, they think I should now be back to normal. Sometimes I am desperate for anyone to ask how I am.feeling, I am asked where I am going on holiday, or where did you go at the weekend. I find these questions difficult - who am I supposed to go on holiday with or go out at the weekends with? Who would want to spend time with a person who is constantly sad or in a mood? Sorry to have gone on but needed to get this off my chest.

Take care all

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Dear Viv3

I can relate to some of what you have said. Please do not apologise - sometimes we have to get things off our chest and this forum is the best place to do so.

I too lost my husband suddenly through a motorbike accident. I had only spoken to him 3 hours before the crash. I still sometimes find myself feeling as if I am looking in on someone else’s life only for the reality to give me a hard kick. Because I had to wait for the inquest many of the processes were delayed and I am still trying to sort things even as the first anniversary approaches.

I gave up work after he died as me and husband had discussed and agreed I should start retirement with him Christmas 2020. He died in September.

I too do not want to burden our kids, they are too traumatised already and are struggling with his loss. The reaction of some friends and family has surprised me, mainly at their lack of empathy or understanding.

My emotions are stuck in ‘angry’ and I had hoped that counselling would help me get over this but as it nears the end I have to be honest it really has not dealt with that part of my feelings. I do understand your reaction to people’s comments - some do not have a clue what to say and make the most insensitive comments. I had one person tell me to go on a ‘girlie holiday’ as if I had now suddenly had chains cut away from me and I was now free to do whatever I wanted.

In terms of feeling sad, I can only say that after being married 38+ years (and together 42) there are not enough decades remaining that will ever make me happy again.

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Hi Sheila26

Thanks for replying, your response was really helpful. I was also married for 38 years, those 38; years seems like a few minutes but this 8 months feels like years. I was thinking of making an appointment with my GP but I am really not sure if I will get anything from it, it doesn’t change anything. I just hope that my mood swings get better as I really don’t want to hurt people close to me.

Like you I am going through a year of firsts, and not one of them getting any better, if anything it’s worse as the reality hits that your hubby has missed these events.

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Been there, experienced that and it is awful. The truth is that, as a culture, we are appalling at dealing with death. Most people can’t even use the words death, and died, substituting euphemisms like ‘passed on’. My husband didn’t pass anything, he died.

It’s perfectly normal to be deeply sad after such a profound bereavement. Other people’s intolerance of that is their problem, not yours. The people you say expect you to have moved on are doing that because they can’t cope.

I don’t have any family at all so I got specialist bereavement counselling. I could not have managed without it. Trained counsellors can give non judgemental support, guide you through the grieving process and most important, validate your feelings and help you cope with them. I can recommend bereavement counselling from experience.

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Hi - it’s just over 8 months since I lost my husband. Life is very lonely as you say. I too have noticed that nobody asks me how I am anymore. And I also hate being asked if I’m going on holiday. As you say - who are we supposed to go with now. During lockdown five or six different people said that they would invite me to their home or out for a meal or coffee “as soon as we are allowed to”. Lockdown has finished - but I’m not receiving any invitations. I feel rather hurt by that - why say it (usually more than once) if they don’t mean it.
Maybe it’s because I am sad - I try not to show sadness - but inside I always am.

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These comments make me so sad.
My Father died 8 days ago.
My heart is broken.
Dad always worried about Mum if he went first and I always promised him that my 2 sisters and I would look after her.
Mum can’t even work a TV remote control and relied on Dad for everything.
My heart is so heavy right now …I miss my gorgeous Daddy so much,it still doesn’t feel real.
As well as my own grief I and my sisters cry for our mum…we take it in turns to be with her making sure we all take turns with a complete 24 hour break.
She wants to stay in her home…we all have our own families and its hard feeling stretched when at your absolute lowest but…I made my Daddy a promise and till the day he comes for my Mum I will keep it and she will never be without one of us by her side x

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Hi
So sorry how you are feeling. It is 2 years 4 months since my husband died. I also feel lost still. I think the covid situation made things even tougher. I am glad my husband wasn’t ill when covid was around. I haven’t many friends only two and they have their own lives and families. We used to go around to our friends and they used to come to us but now I never get invited to theirs.
I join in a zoom bereavment meeting run by the hospice my husband attended and the lady that runs it says people don’t like to talk about death even though it happens to us all.
I have had two people fall out with me for such a petty things I think they are scared because it might happen to them (they both gave their husbands alive)
The first year I was numb even though we was expecting his death (he had terminal cancer) I find it easier now, but my life has changed so much and I feel so lonely. It must gave been such a shock for you to lose your husband suddenly.
I think we just try and get through the days as best we can. I never think about the future only the next day.
My son has autism so cannot support me, he can now come and stay with me now things have opened… I didn’t see him for nearly a year bacause he lives in supported living and they stopped his visits and I have a step daughter I hardly hear from her. I have a brother but no other family. My husbands family I haven’t heard from them since his funeral.
I have had counselling and it helped to get my feelings out. So that really helps because you show to the world you are alright but inside you are feeling terrable.
Look after yourself.
Anne

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Thank you all for your responses.

BarbM. I have had the same invites but nothing has come to fruition. My daughter says I should do the inviting as well, which I agree, so I did only to be let down, so now I have stopped bothering. I have come to the conclusion that it is best to find friends who have experienced the same as we all have. I have left the door open and if people want to spend time with me then we can.

Jenny31 I am so sorry to hear of your loss, you must all be in shock. Your Mum is so lucky to have you, but please look after yourself also.

Anne - I too have not heard a thing from the majority of my husbands family, nor have my children via social media, which I think is so heartless, as they have lost their Dad, and have struggled for months.

One thing is for sure you learn a lot about people during these times

Take care all…

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That is so lovely. What an amazing daughter you are. My husband died last year, and had it not been for my daughters and grandchildren, I don’t know how I would have coped.
So, my heart goes out to you. If it were not for people like you and my daughters, we widows would be totally lost.
Thank you, and all the daughters like you.
However, a word of warning - please make sure you don’t give up your own life for duty. You deserve a life too, and I am sure your mum would manage without you or your sisters having to go there every day. Encourage her to find her own new life. You shouldn’t sacrifice your life for hers, there has to be a happy medium.
Good luck!
Kind regards,
AnnR

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Dear Viv3

I spoke on a number of occasions with my GP. I declined the anti-depressants but she talked through alternatives to hep with the weight loss. I have not took her up on any of these options but did go in for a health-check because the stress caused by grief is also such a worry.

I know that people same about ‘firsts’ but reality is we have a new grandson so this Christmas (second without husband) will be another first and then in April it is his first birthday. At the moment I feel it is a constant cycle of things to remind me that my husband is not here to share in so much that he was part of. And of course it would have been 40 years in March. We were so proud that we had such a long-lasting marriage only for it all to come to an abrupt end.

BarbM - I have had the same comments and promises. It really does hurt that they do not follow up on these promises. I feel forgotten. I did ring quite a few of them but after 6+ unreturned calls I took the hint. They have moved on.

AtillaTheNun - I applaud your approach. One of my brother-in-laws just doesn’t get it and ended a call with me because I was upset saying he would ring when I felt better! I told him he would be waiting a long time and not to bother if he only wanted cheerful - needless to say not heard from him for months.

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Hi I haven’t approached the GP since the first week of Rob’s death when I was given sleeping tablets, some anxiety pills, told to go for a walk and listen to meditation tapes followed by a “chat” about being a Mum and to think about my kids instead, it’s put me off going since. I am sure he meant well, but It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I do think after reading these posts that it might be worth another go but maybe with another Doctor.

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Sheila, I totally understand your feelings. We too, were so proud of our tight family unit. We also were very aware that we were so blessed with good health, quality of life. We had started to lose family members and I did feel an impending doom getting closer it was a horrible feeling. I lost hubby in a second, no time to discuss anything.
I also started to panic about all that he will miss. For me it is better to think that he does nt know he is missing those things, only we do. Rightly or wrong I now think of forthcoming events, milestones. I work out the likely ones still to come. And I am relieved that the ‘biggies’ such as marriages, births are at least 2 years away. So in my mind, I have another 2 years to prepare and recover further. Time continues to be my friend. Nearly 3 years now.

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Hi there Viv
Your post interested me and being over two years since I lost my husband I am now worried about replying to the newly bereaved on the forum as I wonder if like you say I am not telling them what they want to hear.
I have never believed that GP’s have magic pills or can take away grief as it is a slow process that we have to travel through.
However I did go for daily walks into the countryside being a keen walker and nature lover anyway and did find it beneficial as well as helping with my general wellbeing, I also tried meditation/mindfulness and for a long time wondered if it was really helpful but I am now feeling the benefits by being able to stay reasonably calm when my mind becomes overwhelmed with sad thoughts.
I am not sure what you wanted to hear from you GP but please don’t dismiss the suggestions given to you and trying to cope naturally and not with medication, No quick fix I’m afraid.
Take care
xx

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Hi Pattidot

I really welcome your comments and suggestions, as you have been in the same place, so I certainly want to hear and learn from them. I totally agree about the pills. I did have them but only took one weeks supply. I tried the meditation tapes and they helped a little with the panic attacks. Maybe I should have another go. What upset me was the tone from the Dr it appeared a little dismissive, but maybe that was just my frame of mind at the time and I was being overly sensitive. I am now 8 months on and in a slightly different place, although I feel I do need to talk this through with someone.

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I’m 15 months since I lost my Mum. Right at the start of the first lockdown. People sat outside the house and offered help but no one could come in. My GP suggested tablets only two weeks after I lost my mum as if what I was going thru was odd.
I’ve battled on my own with some help from a counsellor just to cry with. Friends have got tired of keeping in touch Some of them are almost afraid that death is catching! I’ve walked away from those people. Ignoring my loss and trying to cheer me up didn’t help at all. I hoped that after 12 months I’d no longer have those firsts and feel better. It didn’t happen. But I think in the last week I’m managing to move forward. Someone on here made the comment that moving on didn’t mean you didn’t love your loved one anymore Eventually it’s struck a chord for me.
It’s not easy any of it. Hold on in there. You are not alone. You will find your way thru this in your own time. Take what helps from others. Grief is love in disguise. Xxx

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Hi Viv
I was very adverse to medical pills, maybe because i am a nurse. I did however, take the herbal sleeping pills. I also subscribed to a year’s worth of the griefshare podcast - it was truly amazing. I am 3 years in now and have to say I am a different person in many ways, not a bad thing at all. Life is different with many altered plans, now with different people. I do feel that the future looks good. My strive was to recover for my boys - if I m ok then they are ok.
If i were asked to pick one thing that helped me the most, it would be other widows. I know many. They rallied round, told me about their journey, showed me that they had survived. Only surround yourselve with positivity.
Good luck and big hugs

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Hi Viv

You’ve reminded me that the hardest thing was coping with people’s lack of understanding. A work colleague asked me what happened and I said my husband just said he had a headache and he couldn’t see properly. Then he collapsed, was unconscious in ten minutes and died that afternoon. She replied oh my cousin’s husband had a heart attack and was dead before he hit the ground! I was staggered that some people will compete over anything. I agree with comments about the attitude to death in this country, most people can’t even say the word and use euphemisms which I hate. Also compassion fatigue sets in after a few weeks, you’re supposed to try and cheer up. Sad that it seems unless you’ve been through it you just don’t get it.

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I look back though at trying to support people who had suffered a loss before I did and sometimes now I think that I shouldn’t have said what I did. I only had good intentions at the time but no one can begin to understand the heartbreak until they have experienced it. I have had people say the wrong thing but I think there’s a difference between people who are trying and just don’t have the experience and people who should know better. I think about the things I did and didn’t do when my mum lost my dad and I wish that I could go back and say or do things differently. I like to think that I did help but now, knowing what it is really like, I could help much more.

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Hi Jules
Totally agree. I can’t believe how selfish I was with anyone that lost someone close. I hadn’t a clue. My own mother who lost Dad at a young age and also my Nan. I was utterly useless and just carried on with my own life.
How I wish I could turn back the clock and say how sorry I am now that I understand what it’s really like. Plus how proud of them I am for their courage in the way they handled their losses.
xx

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Hi Flowers - Thank you, you are really lucky knowing lots of widows who can support you, it must be so much easier to talk. I was told by someone that I need to reinvent myself as I am a different person, which I think may be right. I suppose that will just take time.

Chris26 That is so true, most of the time now though I am hardly ever asked, it’s as though it has never happened. There are a few neighbours who will ask how I am. At work though God forbid I raise hubby’s name when I reminisce about something, I get the deadly silence which I now ignore and carry on as Rob existed. But to be honest it’s like Jules and Pattidot says I probably could have done better when dealing with someone else’s grief in the past. I certainly know how to deal with it now.

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