Going on alone

I 59 with the three most wonderful children up until the end of May last year I had the near perfect life. My husband (Phil) had retired from the london fire brigade after 30 years service, the children were all settled and we were making the most of retired life travelling, socialising and in general enjoying life. He then got what doctors thought was a trapped nerve he passed away on 19th July with a brain tumour aged 55 6 weeks earlier he was a fit strong and healthy man. Love you so much Phil. I have made myself three rules get up and get dressed, go out every day if if only to walk the dog around the block and accept invitations. I have managed to do it for 10 months and I will continue to do so life is lonely, sad and hard but worth living


You are so right, life is worth living - thank you for reminding us of that fact. I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost my husband very suddenly, a fit and healthy man and then BANG! GONE! A sudden heart attack, no symptoms prior. Almost 2 years later and I think I am still in shock. There are times when I still can’t believe it. But we go on. Like you, I have my coping strategies and they work for me most of the time. Of course there are moments when the aloneness and sadness, for what should have been, is overwhelming but I accept that those moments will continue to come and go always. I think our grief does go through stages but it will always be with us and it becomes a part of us, a part of who we now are. My wonderful husband was mine, is mine, will always be mine and I’m thankful for that.

“What we had, we have.
What we were, we are.”

Sending love xx


So sorry for your loss, it is 12 months today since I lost my husband, 6 weeks after we celebrated our golden wedding anniversary, he’d never had a days illness in his life, I was given the devastating news tests had discovered a malignancy, 38 hours later he passed away, I’m grateful that he never got to learn of his illness, I didn’t want the doctors to tell him, they insisted it was his right to know, but I know my husband better than anyone in the world could ever know him and I knew it wasn’t in his best interests to be given such devastating news, thankfully, the consultant realised he wouldn’t understand what was going on. Why tell a person who had only hours left on earth that they won’t pull through, I wanted his final hours to be as stress free as possible,.

I truly hope you find comfort and support from everyone on this forum, we’re all travelling this enforced journey and understand each others turmoil, grief and torment.

Jen ☆

Thank you for sharing and your kind words yes we are all suffering from a grief no one can understand unless they are been through it

You sound so positive and yes our grief is part of who we are now but it makes us stronger people. How lucky were we to have had someone we loved completely and who loved us for who we are

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Sorry for your loss. I love your quote at the end of your message. It’s very simple but perfectly sums up how I feel about my husband who passed away on 31st January. Thank you. Take care xx

I lost my husband suddenly just 13 days ago - so am feeling overwhelmed with loss. No warning and we are most definitely still in shock. We too were planning for retirement. Due to mobility my husband had already retired and was my perfect house husband whilst I continued to work. I am 63 but have always enjoyed work up till now - and I regret now not retiring early to spend more time with him. But it worked and we were happy so I really should not regret that. He jinxed it … two days before he died he turned to me and said life is perfect… but at least I know he was in a really happy place when he went. I too have two fabulous grown up children who we are very proud of and am grateful for the 40 years we had together. You are right life is worth living and I know he would be so cross with me if he thought I was giving up on things. Still have the funeral to get through - but that is just his worldly being that we are saying goodbye to. The light that was in him is definitely still here with us - and will continue to be so. Thank you for letting us know how you are coping.

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Trisha, what wonderful sentiments it has cheered me no end. To know and realise that your husband was happy and content when he left you must be a help through your grief. I wish you continued strength.
Pat xx

Dear Pat

Yes it is wonderful to know he was so happy - but as well as our grief from losing him I feel overwhelming sadness that he is not here to enjoy the next chapter. Our son bought us one of those ring doorbells - most of the time it just filmed him putting out the recycling. I looked at the recording of him the afternoon he died and he looked absolutely fine - as usual looking up the road to see what was going on… I looked at them when he first died but have saved some funny ones with him waving at me and pulling funny faces - as he knew it alerted me on my phone at my desk at work. I am saving those to keep looking at when I feel stronger. It is the good memories we live on and you are right to know we have been loved so completely is something some people will never have. It is just so so hard when they are no longer here. I loved your post about the Isle of Wight. Many years ago we thought we would retire their ourselves as we loved the place for family holidays. We loved it. I am taking my car to the garage today - first thing on my own without being accompanied by one of the children. I have encouraged my daughter to go back to work today - it was hard for her but she loves her job and they are nice there so will always send her home if it becomes too much for her.
This forum has been my life saver. So many people have been and are going through worse than me which puts my own grief into perspective - and so many people have words of encouragement and hope. We may never meet any of the people we speak to on here - but it is a valued friendship group.
I hope you have a good day today. Sun is out - but the hedge needs cutting - that will wear me out !
Trisha x


Hi I felt your story and mine seem similar in the age of our husbands and that your husband like mine seemed to be fit and healthy only to be struck down far too early in life .

I love your 3 rules I don’t think we who are left have any choice but to wake up each day and carry on. I think our loved ones would want us to not only survive but flourish in whatever way we can.
Those of us who are lucky enough to have children are blessed with the fact that our lost loved ones not only live on in our hearts but also in the very fibre of our children.
It’s tough but very important to continue to live the best life we can.
Lots of love to all going through this mire of experiences.


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For your husband to say he had the perfect life is amazing hold on to that it was you who gave it to him. Most people would strive all thier love to say those words

Hi Trisha, I like your attitude, I think we are thinking alike through the heartbreak. We have been truly blessed with our husbands and must hang onto that thought.
My husband was a keen photographer and also used a video camera but I can’t look at these films at the moment either.
I had to smile about the car I’m afraid as I was terrible about wanting to drive mine. My daughter came over from Spain and couldn’t wait to get her hands on it as I wouldn’t use it for a couple of months after losing Brian. I couldn’t trust myself not to put it into the nearest tree. The grief would overwhelm me those first weeks and I knew if I was driving I wouldn’t be safe.
Many people do retire to the Island but it’s not always a good idea. If people suffer a loss and then left on their own with family on the mainland they usually go back to be near their family. Brian was an islander so had never lived anywhere else. Couldn’t even get him out of the town he was born in and only live two roads away. It caused so many arguments about his refusal to move even a mile or two. Now I can sell up but reluctant to make that decision. Can I cope with the upheaval at the moment, yet I feel I need to do something drastic to find another life of some sort. Such a mixed up mind at the moment.
Hope you got on with the hedge cutting. I find keeping busy has helped me. I wear myself out and then I can sleep at night.
Pat xxx

Dear Pat

No the hedge is still long and straggly ! Did not get round to it. Took me ages to see to all the flowers people have sent - fresh flowers are hard work - I had 7 vases full and the water gets nasty if you don’t change it. After that I actually put the TV on for the first time - watched Friends - which he would not have watched so that was OK . I am not sure if I am ever going to be able to do the things we did together.
Wise not to drive the car. Gary never drove - he would be the first to admit he was an awful driver - so to me driving is second nature. I find listening to LBC chat in the car takes my mind off things as I get so cross at some of the people on there. I am waffling on - aren’t I ? Sorry - I type like I chat …
Do you still have the car - if you do maybe someone could sit with you. The island is so beautiful it would mean you could go further. We have a holiday property in Devon which Gary loved - it is going to be a long time before I can go there I know. That is some drive too - around 4 hours. We used to go as often as we could - and would pack a picnic to take. I often threatened to leave him by the side of the road around stonehenge - which was usually when the bad jokes kicked in. Oh that hurts …
I too thought about moving in the first couple of days - but think I will stay here as I can see him everywhere and kind of feel him here too. It is also the children’s home and we have lived here for 30 years. I can understand where you are coming from - and I will probably change my mind constantly.
Busy is definitely good. I have the solicitors again tomorrow and then I may do the hedge… though I am no gardner and it is a b****y big hedge. I think I may get rid of it as I need a drive put in. Something else to do …
Hope you are Ok this evening.
Trisha x

I don’t see it as waffling, just getting things out, then they won’t stay on your mind and goodness knows there’s enough tucked away at a time like this. I find I wake up every morning with something or other on my mind but it’s gone the next day and another thought is there.
Yes I was driving the car again within two months, just wanted to feel more settled. It’s my car but Brian did most of the driving. He was a bus driver for the last eleven years he worked. Not service runs he had a specially adapted bus to pick up wheelchairs. Unfortunately he became a bit bossy after he past his test to drive buses and began telling me how to drive, so I let him get on with it. I was a good driver and didn’t need his ‘advice’, used to rally drive years ago. I did feel nervous about driving and couldn’t understand this as I had been driving since a teenager.
I have two big allotments which I keep tidy and at present planting the veg but struggling to do the garden, have to be in the mood, can’t understand it as I love gardening. With the allotment I know I have to keep it in good condition as I could well lose it.
Take care Pat xxx

Good morning
Thank you for your reply. My first morning without anyone in the house and it is hard this morning. I will get going in a minute but wanted to go on to the forum as it really helps.
I am glad you are driving - you made me smile about Brian being bossy when he passed his test and if you drove rally cars- wow.
I have never liked gardening but nor did Gary - but living in London our garden is not huge- so it is just mowing and pruning and the hedge! Think I am going to get someone in to do it. Gary liked cutting it -but I find it far too much hard work and it makes me sneeze too!. Because you love gardening you are probably finding it hard as it was a previous pleasure and no one to share it with. Life is so much about sharing but we do not realise how important that bit is until we do not have the person we love to share it with.
It is a beautiful morning today and I am off to the solicitors - in Surrey -where I grew up. I also have another list to get through !! And I may even cook something today for dinner !
Trisha x

Goid morning, you’re doing really well Trisha, I have lived here on my own since Alan was taken into hospital on 7th May last year. Never ever lived alone in my life, and I hate it. For the first few weeks I didn’t get dressed unless i had to, lost a stone as I didn’t eat at all. Used to sit in stony silence, didn’t even put the TV on. When I finally did, I had it on mute.

Became very nervous about driving anywhere and would avoid it at all costs.

When our daughter returned to work I had to get up on the mornings and get dressed, as I looked after Winston her pug every day. I then got my own little darling Ada also a pug, on July 1st, between them, they gave me a purpose to get up, get dressed and go out with them for walks. Slowly I have started socialising a littke more, it took me an awful long time, but I’m gradually going out a little more.

My husband Alan, was diagnosed with cancer and passed away 38 hours later on May 19th last year. Thankfully, he never knew, I was told late Thursday afternoon and he passed early on the Saturday morning. I’m glad the way it happened for him, but it is still very very hard to cope with.

None of his family have been in touch since his funeral on 30th May last year, only one of my sisters and my mum is in contact with me since then too. It’s as though I’ve suddenly contracted leprosy. People I though were friends I’ve found to be 'fairweather ’ friends.

The evenings are the worst, although some days are too.

It’s a hard journey we’ve been forced into treading and a lonely one too.

You are doing really well with your baby steps and your husband will be really proud of you I’m sure. Like you, I have found great comfort and support from this forum, everyone is really lovely and understand totally what each and everyone of us is going through.

Hooe your day is as good as it can be and you get sorted all the legal tasks that lie ahead.


Dear Jen, I liked your post to Trisha. It gives encouragement and hope whilst also being realistic. It’s not easy, this grief thing but we can do this, we must do this, we will do this! Sending love xx


Good morning Jen

I am not sure if I have just sent a reply - or not - see a confusing day. If not I will send you a proper reply later. Late as ever - so had better get going !
Take care

Trisha x

Well I have done the solicitor thing, posted some stuff for my daughter and then came home to an empty house. It is the hardest isn’t it. I can switch off from the legal bits but the personal bits are hard.
We have a big grey cat who is a very beautiful british shorthair. We got him 9 years ago when we both worked - as a dog would not have been practical. He is lovely but not the friendliest - unless food is on offer - I think he thinks he is too beautiful to sit on your lap. Which would be nice. I would really love a dog - always had dogs growing up and they are so much more responsive than cats. Maybe when I give up work completely - not sure how the cat will take to that.
Have just done some washing and a bit of gardening … I really should not be fat as I can never sit still for long.
I am glad your Alan did not know - hard for you but so much better for him. See we are so used to looking after them we still would wish to put them first. That is love. I dont think Gary would have known either - or I am telling myself that and will not believe anything else. Talking to him putting the washing out - neighbours will definitely think I am mad. My friends are still wanting to talk and I get daily messages - but it is early days yet. We shall see how it goes on later.
Families are funny things aren’t they - my dad thought the friends you choose were better. Gary and I were only children - no parents left - so it was always just us two and the children. I am glad they have each other - it was hard being an only one when our parents were ill or dying. My son has a lovely girlfriend who has become part of our family and her mum and I have become really good friends - she lives too far away to see but I know she is on the end of the phone. It is strange isn’t it how you click with some people straight away. She lost her elderly mum this time last year - but I agree losing a partner as we have bears no comparison. I am going to start cooking a veggie curry in a minute for my daughter ! For some reason I do not want to eat meat either ! I have never lived alone either - I know my daughter is still here - but soon she will be out more - but I feel lonely even with her here. It is half of us that has gone - and we have to learn to live with this I guess.
Hope your day has not been too bad.
Trisha x

Hi Trisha, as Jen has said a dog can literally save the day. I have two dogs Beepa (Brian and my initials) and Bugsy. I love them to bits they come almost everywhere with me. They travel on the buses and in the car as well as the ferry to mainland. They love everyone and Bugsy introduces himself to literally anyone that will speak to him. Beepa misses her Dad. I used to say I was only the maid. I did all the work but it was her dad she loved to be with. She lies on his chair in the dining room all the time.
An added bonus is that I never come home to an empty quiet house as I always get a lovely welcome and Bugsy starts barking with excitement as soon as I come down the path. I would really recommend getting a dog. A rescue dog there are so many wanting a loving home. Beepa was on her last day at a Dog Pound and Bugsy we fostered for a rescue centre and he ended up staying. You couldn’t have two more friendly, lovely dogs. Who needs unreliable, uncaring family and friends when I have my two best friends to love me.
I agree wholeheartedly with Jen, without my dogs I don’t know how I would have got through all this, even now. I have to get up for them and I go for a long walk every morning and evening and usually meet up with other dog owners for a chat. Beep and Bugs are saving me.
Love Pat xxx

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