Existing, not living

My amazing husband, Chris, died on 10th October 2022 and my heart breaks a little more each day that he isn’t by my side. He died only 25 days after being diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.

38 weeks on and I’m not afraid to admit that I’m only existing, not really living. Even though I have the support of some truly wonderful friends, it doesn’t stop the loneliness or change the fact that I feel I am all alone in the world. I have family or children so my friends are my lifeline.

I know nothing can make what happened any less s**t. I just need to get the below out of my head before I self-combust. I don’t even know what responses I want, just someone to acknowledge me. I know ultimately only I can change how I feel but I’m just so tired.

I just feel so lost and don’t know who I am any more. I loved being Chris’ wife. We had 28 years together, years filled with love and laughter and I miss that so much. I miss him, I miss us but I also miss me. I loved my life and the one I have now just feels so empty, just going through the motions.

I do my best to keep from falling into a pit of despair. I’ve kept up with my exercise routine of riding my bike, I also take long walks with a friend. I crochet and also have taken up cross stitch as it keeps my mind empty. I’m also a gamer (Xbox/Playstation).

I am sad that my love of music hasn’t returned. From a very young age I have played many different instruments and also wrote music but my passion has gone. I have tried to play but my mind won’t focus and it seems pointless. I am grateful though that I can listen to music.

I returned to work only 9 weeks after Chris died. At the time I felt I needed routine but also felt pressure to work as it was a job I’d only started a couple of months before. It has been so difficult to motivate myself to learn a new job whilst grieving. I’m exhausted and to be honest I am not enjoying the role. I feel like I need to quit so I can take some time to breathe and think about what role I want now my life has changed. Unfortunately my manager has declined my request to permanently reduce my hours and I know I am not capable of full time work whilst having to do everything else on my own such as shopping, cleaning, cooking.

My brain overthinks and I know I need to take things one day at a time but it’s hard to do that when I’m thinking of quitting work and how that will impact my future.

Thank you to all who read and/or respond to my rambling. Rachael xx


Firstly, sorry your post was hijacked.

I don’t think your just surviving, you are actively trying to sort your life so you can live.
If you can afford to quit your job and that’s whats best for you, do it, but I would (after a break) get something part time so that you don’t isolate yourself at home.

I fight the pit of despair everyday and it is exhausting but there is also grief fatigue thrown in so it doesn’t help. But I do have a life as well that I’m ok with, not perfect but it won’t be with my partner :revolving_hearts:

Life is hard without them but you can do it, I can feel your strength in this post.


Thank you @Ali29 for responding.

I like how you phrase what I’m doing as actively trying to sort my life so I can live. That in itself has given me a boost and a clear way of seeing what I’m doing isn’t just existing.

The grief fatigue seems to cloud my thinking and I’m being too hard on myself, maybe thinking I need to do more than what I am currently doing.

I know I will leave this job. I can stay on reduced hours until the end of this month as occupational health have agreed to that, but after that my manager wants me doing full time and back in the office. I am grateful that my employer has supported me to this point, especially as I was a new employee when Chris died, but I’ve realised the job isn’t a good fit for what I need for my future.

I can afford to quit and take around six months to breathe, just to be and refresh the skills I’m not currently using in my role. In that time I’m thinking of volunteering whilst studying, and then look for a role which gives me a work/life balance.

I’m trying my best, some days after tougher than others but I’m determined that the cancer which took my husband is not going to take my life too. I owe it to Chris and the support and encouragement he always gave me, plus I owe it to myself.

Thank you for your kindness and support :people_hugging: Rachael


Absolutely some days are tougher but I think you’ve got this. Sounds like a really good plan!

Happy to support anytime! Good luck.


LonelyPanda…I can relate to so much of how you feel. In particular the music bit. Me and my Sandie sang as a musical duo for 13 years and for 6 months from when she got sick I couldn’t pick up my guitar . We played our last gig on 15 November and she went into hospital one week later. However, I have now agreed to play a small festival in a local park in July. Sandie and I played it last year. Her ashes will be planted under a tree there in the near future as it was one of her favoirite places. I will be joined by some old musician friends, and whilst I can’t think of playing any material we did as a duo, I am doing it. Because of this I have now obviously started playing again and am finding it helping me, if painful at times. Hopefully you too can learn to love your music again. Sending love and good vibes your way :heavy_heart_exclamation:


Many thanks for your thoughts @UnityMan

It is a comfort knowing that I’m not the only one to lose passion for something which gave me such joy previously.

I hope that in time I will regain the strength to play again as I miss it so much, but it is too painful at present. Maybe my brain is protecting me from doing too much too soon and one day I will regain my ability to find that joy again.

I hope the festival goes well and you gain some strength from the support of the other musicians.

It is lovely that Sandie and you sang as a duo. It is great to be able to share a passion.

When I met Chris he was teaching himself classical and flamenco guitar, he became really proficient. Over our 28 years together we played our instruments mainly separately but for the past couple of years I had been helping to teach Chris to play piano and read music (the bit he hated).

Sending thoughts of comfort and peace to you :people_hugging: Rachael


Hey thats great @UnityMan that you play guitar. So do i but probably not as well as you if you do gigs :slight_smile: xxx @LonelyPanda youre doing ok you know ! I salute you for working whilst grieving i really do xxx


Many thanks @Deb5 for your words of support. It means a lot when someone acknowledges and understands how difficult it is to keep going xx Rachael

1 Like

I certsinly do ! There were.days especially first few months when i could hardly put one foot in front of the other ! Never mind concentrate on a job xxx

1 Like

Hi Rachael, like you I am only existing, not living. You are very lucky to have wonderful friends who hopefully you can scream if you need to but really important is that you keep talking about your husband, it really helps. I am not lucky enough to have any good friends, don’t have any children and the 2 sister in laws I have don’t really have time for me so I feel very lonely. I don’t know what the point is in living, I can give up and no-one will miss me but you have good friends so they will help you through. Like you I thoroughly enjoyed life before, we were married for 46 years and we only needed each other, enjoyed some lovely holidays and were always laughing. We were always going out for lunch or just coffee but now can’t do anything, have tried going to lunch on my own but it is awful, I just sit in my small flat wishing the day away,(we had a lovely detached bungalow but my husband said we had to move so I would be safe before he died which was only 5 months from time of diagnosis) you are very good keeping up with your exercises and your other interests, I can’t be bothered. Stay positive, with the help of your friends you will start to live again, not like it was before but hopefully you will be happy again xx


@caronia232 I am so sorry that your husband has died. No words can make it any easier, but you have us on this forum who understand how heartbreaking and brutal it is to lose your soulmate.

It is sad to hear that you have no good friends and find yourself so isolated.

I agree that going out on your own is awful. When my friends are busy, which they often are, I have tried going for lunch on my own but I don’t enjoy it and end up coming home.

It is so, so important that we talk about our loved ones. My Chris was scared he would be forgotten and I promised him that as long as I had breath in my body I would keep his memory alive and that a man so good, so funny and caring would live on forever in the stories shared by all who knew him.

I know that it isn’t the same as talking face to face, but I would like to stay in touch on here or private message if you prefer.

Please keep reaching out on this forum.

Sending hugs and comfort to you :people_hugging:


Hi coronia so sorry for your loss and you have come to the right place A lot of loneley people on here and we do understand so please keep posting and make new friends love hope 5 xxx

Hi Rachel so sorry for your loss .im 12 weeks in lost my soulmate too non small.cell lung cancer he was 68 fit and healthy didnt smoke .The nicest kindest man ever xxx


tha nk you for messagin g. I will keep in touch

1 Like

thank you for your message. I will stay in touch, will talk again very soon. You don’t by any chance live in the West of England do you

Hi @Hope5
Really sorry about the loss of your husband.
How I wish that none of us had to go through such devastation. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

All we can do is take one day at a time, some days hour by hour.

Hugs to you :people_hugging:


Hi @caronia232
Let’s keep in touch.
I live in the northwest of England. I’m in Lancashire, and around 10 miles outside of Manchester.
Hugs to you :people_hugging:

1 Like

yes we will keep in touch. I have a friend who lives in Bury and lost her husband a few years ago. Is that anywhere near you, used to love going to Bury Market

You have just written exactly how I feel!!
I’m so sorry for your loss🥲
Like you I was married for 29 years but been together 33 My husband passed away on the 8th of October 2022 5 weeks after he was diagnosed with Cancer of the liver lung Osophegas and also in his spine.
I have also gone through every aspect of what you write I’m angry confused so so lonely and i feel as i’m living in limbo
I give myself a talking to and say I’m going to start doing this and going here but when it comes to it i can’t do it
I have 2 lovely daughters but i don’t want to burden them
They know i’ve been down and god knows they do there best for which i am grateful but I don’t want them to constantly worry about me
I just wonder if i’ll ever be me again When I see the advert of the woman on Sue Ryder punching the bag in the boxing ring I think that’s me too a tee
I’m trying hard to get on but sometimes I just wonder if I’ll ever survive this nightmare that is Grief I really hope that we can make it Take carex


Hi @Mumcon

I am so sorry that your husband died. There are no real words of comfort, but know that all of us on this forum really do get how devastating and brutal it is to lose the one who means the most to us.

I know some friends say I’m strong and doing amazing, but those friends who are more like family do appreciate how hard it is and that some days just getting out of bed takes all my energy.

I am trying my hardest to find meaning in my life. I carry on as best I can - I think that’s all any of us can do but inside I’m screaming and shouting that I loved my life, loved my husband and I want it all back and don’t want to start again.

I’ll never be me again, or at least the me I was. There’s a chunk missing. I don’t really like who I am now, but am determined to try and figure out this life.

Let’s keep supporting each other as we fight the grief monster - I so want to give it a good kicking.

Take care. Hugs to you, Rachael x