First thoughts on waking

Does anyone else have this problem? The minute I wake up, depression takes over and I wish that I had passed away during the night. It is over 4 months since my husband died and instead of moving forward, I am going back. All I want to do is to join him as soon as possible. As I am 86 the chances are that I won’t have to endure this for much longer. The loneliness is unbearable and as I live in a Retirement flat where pets aren’t allowed, I can’t get a cat for company. I would never take my own life as my lovely family are still grieving for their Dad, and it would be a terrible thing to do to them. I don’t drink, which is a good thing. I do go out as much as possible and have joined a knitting club but I really need a good counsellor. I cannot even get to speak to an advisor at Cruse, and others have long waiting lists. When I read the sad stories on here, I realize that I am not alone, and some of you are worse off than I. At least I had 66 years of being married to Bill, but his death has torn me apart and I don’t know where to go from here. Eileen


Eileen - I’m really sorry to read of your devastating loss and anguish. I lost my Husband a year ago. I was 51. Yes, I absolutely agree, the mornings are horrific and I often say maybe I could pass away in my sleep too because to wake and wonder how to get through the next 24 hours is often a torment. Not only do you wake with a heavy heart emotionally, it also feels like you have a 5 stone weight on your chest. I feel I have gone backwards. I’m sure many bereaved feel that way at some point. I’m unsure if it’s because I’m unable to “move forward” or I’m unwilling to do so. It’s such a shame you are unable to have a pet. I’m thinking the rule relates to all living creatures where you live, not just cats/dogs… In some parts of the UK you can refer yourself to an NHS counsellor but they are not grief specialists so I don’t know if this would help. Do you have a sympathetic GP that you can speak with? Someone preferably old enough to have a bit of life experience and empathy because sadly not all GP’s know how to interact with bereaved patients that well. You have done remarkably well to get through four months without giving into the temptation of isolating yourself alone at home. I know it’s no help at all but I’m sending compassionate thoughts to you and warmest regards.

Thank you for your reply, Tina. Your husband was very young, and I send you my condolences on your loss. My husband was 87 which is a good age, and as I am 86 it was only to be expected that one of us would be left alone sooner rather than later. He relied on me for such a lot that I suppose it was best that he went first. It’s this awful loneliness I can’t seem to deal with. We were always together and I still look around to see where he is. I wish I knew of some magic which would make everything all right for me and all the other grieving people out there. It’s good to be able to chat on this site though. My GP is very young and I am having to sign up at another practice because I have recently moved, so I may be lucky to find an older doctor who can help. We are allowed birds here but I am not keen on caged birds so have discounted that idea. Anyway, keep in touch and I hope you will soon feel a bit better. Best wishes, Eileen

I’m so sorry to hear of your loss Eileen. The reason I am on this board is I lost my mum a few days ago, unexpectedly and still feel so numb about it all. I know when my mother who had been with my Dad for almost as long as your marriage was left without him, she felt as you do. She talked to me about it a lot. She lived in a retirement flat too and I dont know why but she asked if she could get a cat and they said she could if she paid a small fee, I havent got a clue what it was for, but anyway she got a rescue cat, an older house cat. It did help her a lot, gave her something to care for and some company. best wishes

So sorry you have just lost your Mum, Alicia. I am going to ask if I can get a rescued house cat although I doubt whether they will allow me to. Just to have something alive and breathing would help, and I love cats anyway. Here’s hoping. I remember losing my Mum and Dad many years ago, and I still miss them. I have also lost 8 brothers and a sister, but nothing was as bad as the way I feel right now. Take care. Eileen

I hope they allow you to have a cat Eileen, you could just sneak it in!! I love cats too, mine is called Harry and is such a lovely thing, so I do know how you feel it would help. I think animals do help, they seem to sense when we are sad. I can understand how you feel, to lose your husband after so long is devastating and when you are feeling so vulnerable you have to get used to a different lifestyle and how sad to have lost your siblings. Life can be so unbearably hard. Do you have a communal room at your retirement place, my mum forced herself to go to it and eventually enjoyed the couple of hours she had in the afternoon with other residents. I think its still unreal for me at the moment that I wont be able to talk to her again, that is the hardest thing, the finality of it all. Keep in touch hope you have good news about the cat, fingers crossed. take care alicia

Hello Eileen and others in this chat. I just discovered this forum, looking to see if I was alone in having unbearable grief that doesn’t fade, and I can so relate to your post. My husband had a stroke while we were on holiday last Christmas and died abroad 18 days later. I don’t know if I’d call it depression or loneliness, it’s just raw pain that hardly ever goes away from when I wake in the morning. I did see a counsellor at my GP, and he was lovely, so I understand that grieving isn’t formulaic; there’s no timetable. I’ve even thrown away the list of ‘stages’. The counsellor helped in the sense that I couldn’t or didn’t want to talk to anyone else, but I didn’t ‘move on’. I can’t seem to. I know my husband would want me to, I know I want to be a grandma to my grandkids, I know I should get back to the work we did together. But my world has stood still, day after day. I understand how you feel about caged birds, but if you are not allowed a cat, I wonder about a male budgie in a very large cage. If ‘adopted’ when they are very young, they can develop an affectionate relationship. They love to be preened (scratched as you would a dog or cat) and spoken to and they respond, at least in my distant experience. They can be trained to perch on your finger and so let out and return to their cage. It’s not like a canary that just sits and sings. It isn’t a life in the wild, but then no pet is. Just a thought, but I understand it has to be something that feels right for you. All the best, Rosie

Dear Virgo, I fully understand what you mean and so will many others on this site. It does not matter how long or how little you were together, the main thing is we all loved the person who died and that is something we will never get over. I was with my husband for 50 years, he died exactly 50 years to the day I met him in 1964. It is very early days for you yet and it is three years for me but I will grieve for him until the day I die and you will also grieve for your husband until the day you die. We still cry when we hear a song that we used to play, or a TV programme comes on that our husband’s used to love, the hurt goes on and on and nothing will ever be the same. We have our children but they have moved on with their lives as they are not living in our environment, they have work and other things to take their mind off their father not being there. There is one thing that has put everything into perspective for me this last week. My friend of 44 years who lost her husband 20 years ago has now found out her son is dying of cancer, he has a wife and two young children. I am one of the lucky ones, we had many, many wonderful years together but my friend didn’t have that, now she is going through one of the worst things that can happen to a mother and that is losing a child. I thank God for what we had and hope and pray that our family never have to endure what my friend is now going through. There is just one thing I wish for and that is to never see our sons and grandchildren die before me. It is hard to carry on alone but we had what not many people get and that is a long happy life with our husbands. I know we will meet again so I plod on until that day comes. Can you keep birds in your flat, I had a Lovebird and that little bird loved me to bits, always sat on my shoulder, sat on the draining board when I was washing up and chatted away non-stop
sadly he died but I was with him until the very end when the vet gave him his injection. These next few years will be hard, we all know that, but there is no other way around it, we get up in the morning and try and live day to day. Best wishes, Sheila xxx

Thank you for your message, Rosie. I have come to the conclusion that loneliness is one of the worst parts of grieving. I miss my husband so much, and sitting in an empty flat without him is just heartbreaking. On the other hand, had he survived the accident, he would have been left a cabbage in a wheelchair, so why can’t I feel glad that his suffering was ended peacefully?
Living, as I do, in a retirement flat, can add to the loneliness but I have no other choice at the moment. All we can do is to hope that, in time, our grief will lessen and we can find some purpose in life once more. Best wishes, Eileen

Dear Lonely, thank you for your message, and how sad to read about your friend’s son. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose one of your children. At least I had 66 years with my husband, and at our ages, it was inevitable that one of us would be left alone sooner or later. It doesn’t make it any easier to bear the loneliness, which is a big problem for me, although I am lucky to have family not too far away. But they have gone back to leading their very busy lives, which is how it should be. I would never take my own life but often wish I could go to sleep and not wake up to face another day. Best wishes, Eileen

Dear Eileen, I think we all feel like going to bed and never waking up again, especially those of us who now live alone. Even now it would not bother me, my future ended when my husband died. You are also correct in saying that even though we had many years with our husbands we still wanted many more. From meeting my husband when he was 18 years old to when he became ill in his 60’s, we never thought about one of us not being here, perhaps we lived in cloud cuckoo land but when he became ill it became a reality that I would not have much longer with him and it shook me to the core. The hardest part for me was the fact my husband would not talk about it, would not discuss anything at all, he said he was going to get well and he would not let me talk about medication, hospitals, DNR etc. when I tried to talk about our lives together he refused, it was as if he would not accept the fact he was dying. I had to keep positive for him, he was going to buy a new car, he was buying new clothes and planning for the future that I knew we would never have together but I could not say anything at all. When he died there were many outfits in his wardrobe still with the tags on that he had never worn. Our sons have also gone back to their busy lives,just like I did when my dad died when I was 25 years old back in the 60’s. After three years, the pain is not as raw as it was, but even now, when I walk past a photograph of us when we first met in the 60’s and he looks like someone out of a sixties boy band, tall, dark and handsome, I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about him. How did we get to be old, what happened to the young couple who were so much in love and had the rest of their lives in front of them. I just wish I had a time machine and go back and do it all over again. Best wishes, Sheila.xxd

Dear Sheila, thank you for your reply to my posting. You have put into words everything I feel, and more. It’s very sad when we don’t really want to wake up and face yet another lonely day without our loved one. I do try to be positive but it is very difficult on times. I have even tried thinking back to some of the less happy side to our long marriage but that doesn’t work because it was mostly fine. We met in 1949 when Bill was doing his National Service in the R,A.F and I was in the W,R.A.F on the same station. We married in 1951, had 2 daughters and then 2 sons. I now have 14 Grandchildren and 6 Great-Grandchildren. You would think that, with a family of that size, I would never be lonely but apart from one son and his wife, who are trying to help, I don’t see any of them. What I am afraid of is that, sooner or later I will become full of self-pity. It would be very easy to do that. All I can think of at the moment is how to get through Christmas. Once that is over, and we can look forward to spring, I hope we will all begin to feel a little better. Writing on here is a great help because we are all in the same boat and can relate to the feelings of others. Best wishes. Eilee

Oh Eilee or is it Eileen, I also think back to the times when we argued just to get some perspective that our lives were not as happy as I thought, but the arguments were few and far between. I was the volatile one and Peter the calm one and if I got annoyed he would just laugh and then ignore me and if you can’t have an argument with someone you just don’t argue. We had a wonderful life together, we loved each other to the very end. We have two sons and three grandchildren with another on the way and I child-mind a lot for them. Our sons take me out for a meal, pick me up and bring me back home and sometimes they stay over but it does not take away the heartache, all I want is Peter back. My first Christmas without him was hard, we always had Christmases at our house since the day we got married in 1967 and it was the first time I had Christmas somewhere else which was at our son’s house and I hated it, being in a crowd but feeling so alone. The first year is terrible as it is a year of firsts, his birthday he is not here to enjoy, our wedding anniversary he has missed, my birthday he has missed etc. etc. The second year I also found hard, making new memories without him and when I looked back to the previous year he wasn’t there for me to say, last year we were doing this, it was as if he was going further into the past and I was leaving him behind. This third year the raw pain finally was not as bad but even now, I still can burst into tears for no reason at all, it is knowing that whatever the future has in store for me it will be a future without Peter and that kills me. I feel so much sadness for people in our position but there is one thing that is for certain, it will happen to everyone at some time in their lives, there is no getting away with it. I am selfish I know, but I sometimes wish it was me that died first then I would not have to go through all this pain, but I honestly would not have wanted Peter to have felt the way I do now if I had died first, I loved him too much to have wanted him to hurt like I do. If you ever need to talk privately you can message me. I am thinking of you. Sheila xxx

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