First holiday without my husband

I lost my husband after a long battle with cancer in January this year. Before he died he made me promise to go on holiday with his brother, wife and niece as we’d done together many times before. The holiday is next week and I feel so anxious and frightened at the thought of leaving the house for two weeks and going on holiday without him. Up until now I have kept myself busy and took each day as it comes. I just don’t know what to expect and cannot get excited or look forward to going. In fact I more dread it. Has anyone got any suggestions to how to get through this? I just feel at the moment that I shouldn’t be going even though I know he wanted me to. Confused.

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I’m really sorry to hear about your husband. I can see that the holiday is a big step, especially at this early stage and it is understandable that you are scared. If you really don’t feel up to it, you don’t have to go. Your husband obviously wanted the best for you, but grief is unpredictable, and neither of you could have predicted in advance what the best thing would be for you at this moment.

On the other hand, you may feel that you will get something positive out of it, even if it is difficult. Do you think your husband’s brother and his wife will be understand and supportive? Perhaps you could let them know in advance that you might need to take some breaks and escape to your own room from time to time - that way you can get some space if you need to.

If you have a favourite photo or something that reminds you of your husband, could you consider bringing it along, in case you might find it hard to be away from?

I have found a previous conversation on this site where people have talked about their first holiday after bereavement. While you wait for more replies here, you might find it helpful to have a read and see what other people’s experiences were:

https://support.sueryder.org/community/life-after-bereavement/newbie#post-1965
https://support.sueryder.org/community/life-after-bereavement/newbie?page=1&field_harmony_thread=192

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Hi Alison my deepest condolences on the loss of your husband I lost my husband in February 2016 so I totally relate to your feelings, a few months after my husband died I went to Salou with my sister and a family who had a experienced a couple of recent losses themselves and despite them being surprisingly upbeat I had a horrendous time and even tried to return home early but was unable to get a flight. What I would say to you first and foremost honour your own feelings before anyone elses, if you don’t really want to go, don’t, you have to get through this horrendous situation at your own pace, I understand your husbands perspective he obviously was worried about leaving you and perhaps thought by continuing normal routines it would help you. But at this stage of the grieving process which is very very early, " by the way "only you can decide what’s best for you and how to navigate through it. I’m still very much in the isolation stage myself which I am constantly being told is not healthy but on some level I find it quite therapeutic when I have my strong days I make myself do things normally things that I have not done before as I try to discover my new normal because let’s face it our lives are completely different now and we are on a journey which nobody can take for us. I suggest writing to his brother if you can’t face a one to one and just explaining that at this moment in time you just feel to fragile for a holiday and and although you are grateful for the invite you need to some time to adjust to your circumstances. I think people just don’t realise how draining grief is emotionally, physically, mentally and so you need to be kind to yourself it’s not being selfish, at this stage your in survival mode until you begin to feel stronger which will take time. I really think he will understand as most people look to us for pointers as they are not really sure how to proceed with this type of situation as lets face it we are all different. Anyway wishing you lots of strength remember you are not alone we are all part of this horrendous club so feel free to share your pain xx

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Hi Alison

I have been thinking about your post all day having read it this morning and firstly am so sorry to read of your loss. My situation is not the same as yours as it was my Mum who passed away but as I lived with her I miss her around the house everyday and chatting to her, doing things with or for her.

I went to stay with a cousin about four months after Mum and have to say I fought not to cry all the way there as I did not want to go. I then fought not to cry all the way home at the end as I didn’t want to come back to an empty house. I have since been away a couple of times just for odd nights with the same thing happening each time.

You don’t say whether you are going abroad or if the holiday is in this country, a hotel or self catering. Abroad would be awful if you can’t cope but this country possible if you could make a bid for home if needed.

One thing my Mum’s sister said to me not long after was that she was deeply unhappy too and missing Mum as well. Something that I realised I was not making allowances for. Your brother in law has lost his brother and must be so unhappy, maybe a trip away would be a chance to just share memories and remember your husband, his brother.

The decision is of course yours and you can only do what feels right as that will be what is right for you. Whatever you decide I wish you well.

Mel.

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Hi Mel
Thank you for replying to my post. We are going on a cruise, which I have never done before which I think is adding to my anxiety. My husband and I always went on holiday with his brother and sister in law so I do feel very supported by them. I know they will support me throughout the holiday I think it is the unknown and the confused feelings that are upsetting me at the moment. I will make sure I have some me time and I am taking a photo with me. We always talk about him and have happy memories to discuss so yes it will be therapeutic in that way.

Alison

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Hi Alison

Can quite see how you feel doing something completely new, I would feel very unsure too. It does sound a lovely thing to do though and I think taking a photograph of your husband with you sounds an excellent idea - thank you Priscilla, will do the same myself when i go away in future. You will hopefully have a nice little cabin which you can retreat to at times, could even have room service at times of real need.

You will be making new memories if you go, different ones but hopefully good ones. Have a lovely time if you go.

Mel.

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It sounds you are close with his brother and sister-in-law, and it is good that you have had a think about some coping strategies for the difficult moments. Do let us know what you decide and how you get along.

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Hi Priscilla
I will thank you for you support
Alison

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Hi Alison,

I was just wondering what you had decided about the cruise in the end? Whether you ended up going or not, I hope you felt you’d made the right choice for you.

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Hi Priscilla
Yes I did decide to go. I am on my second week of the holiday. I have had some sad times as most people seem to be in couples and it’s really hard to not be now, especially when everyone is having photos taken and enjoying a night out together. I bought a photo with me as you suggested and I take a photo out in my handbag too. My husband’s family have been great as they always are and really supportive. I’m glad I came but looking forward to being at home as that is where I feel closer to my husband.
Thanks for your support Priscilla.
Alison

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Ah, I didn’t realise it was two weeks, sorry to bother you on holiday! I’m glad it’s going ok, in spite of some sad moments. All the best for the rest of the week.

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Hi Alison,

I had been wondering about you too. I am glad you are having a good time.

You take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the cruise. I feel much closer to Mum when I am at home so understand what you mean completely.

Mel

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Hi Alison, so sorry for your loss. I have only just seen your post so I hope your holiday went as well as can be expected. I was going to give you the advice someone called Dave on here gave me. My husband passed away in August last year and our wedding anniversary was in November and I went to Edinburgh for the weekend it was somewhere we loved. The advice Dave gave me was to take a photo of a Ted with me and Place it by the bed which I did and I found it comforting. I will be taking the photo with me in two weeks when I go with a group of friends to Wales which is the last place Ted and I went on holiday and to the same hotel . Not sure how I feel about it but I know he would be saying ‘just do it’. It’s hard without the one you love but we have to carry on as best we can as it’s what they would want us to do. It’s hard doing day to day things but I find thinking that I have to do them because if I didn’t Ted would be cross with me. But in a nice way. Just take one day at a time and don’t be hard on yourself.
Take care of you.
Jackie T xx

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