Grief v Self pity ?

My wife and true soul mate passed away with pancreatic cancer just over 5 weeks ago. I’m 73 and now living on my own for the first time in my life. We were married 50yrs. My kids are so supportive but have their own lives to lead. And my two closest neighbours have been wonderful. I’ve been noticing a difference in the way I get upset. The grief hits me like a punch in the chest and my whole body shakes with sadness and floods of tears.It strikes when I least expect it and I have to go along with the flow. Letting it all out. I’ve discovered other times I get sentimental and quite naturally so. Like suddenly realising in the super market my beloved isn’t with me and I feel the tears start to form but hold them back. Deep breaths and finding a distraction. These sentimental feelings are more frequent than the grief attacks and so I’ve named them self pity bouts. That’s not to belittle my feelings or anybody elses. But by and large I do find them controlable unlike the grief attacks.My Anne was a great believer in the old Saying ’ Pick yourself up. Dust yourself down.And start all over again.’ And I honour her memory by trying my best to abide by her strength and wisdom. So I am coping. And yes its bloody hard. Yet I think I’m going to pull through this. I’ll of course never be the same man again and my sweet heart will always be in my heart. But my life will grow around her memory and my undying love for her. I’ve had a visitation from Anne. ( I can enlarge if anyones unterested.) So I know she is in the other dimension where love abounds and away from this existance of so much pain and suffering.

Bless you all. Geoff.

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Hi. Geoff. My goodness, your situation will be so understood here because you describe so accurately what we all feel in grief. It’s 10 months since my wife died and I am beginning to see some light, so take heart. At the moment your emotions are raw and it will be difficult to see more than a few days ahead, but take it slowly.
Of course you and I and everyone else will never be the same again. But there is hope, honest. It’s far to early for any kind of real relief.
I was married longer than you so I can imagine the pain. I also am alone for the first time in all those years.
Try not to hold back feelings and emotions. It’s natures way of giving release. I am not suggesting weeping in public, but either with some who understands or a bereavement counsellor. Counselling can be so helpful.
I don’t think sentimental feelings can be described as self pity. Self pity is when you feel the world is just too much and you give up. Feeling sorry for one’s self is counter productive, although unavoidable early on. I’m not suggesting you force yourself to try and be happy, that won’t work. But take any form of solace you can provided it comes from the right source.
This site is such a place to come back and talk whenever you feel down. It has helped me immensely and I have made some lovely understanding friends.
Take it easy Geoff. One day at a time. One hour at a time. We are all here for you. Blessings.

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Hi Jonathan

Thank you for your wise words my friend. I remember when, as a serving office, I was training at Surry University to become a facililitator for the Met police my Instructor said " Labels can sometimes be unhelpful." I can see the wisdom in his words when I used the term self pity on my post. Perhaps there is no label for our general state of sadness when confronted with memories that hit home hard yet are not grief attacks.

Bless. Geoff.

Hi Geoff I to am exactly like you in every respect except I have no family now on my own any relatives or friends don’t want to know.
My wife Jane passed away last November aged 67 I am 69-70,
We were married 43 years 44 last Friday what ever anyone says yes we are still married and always will be always enjoyed being together knowing what each thought,said and did she was the only one who would have perhaps put up with me.
I do not use the word self pity to me these are memory bouts loving memories come flooding back to times spent together even as you say in the supermarket although she could go round faster without me.,I hold on to the memory of the girl aged 23 that I married the woman of 67 that fate took away most of all the fate that brought us together.
I have had 3 visitations from Jane which I have posted on this site before we always talked of after life and would definitely like to hear of your visitation everyone seems to have different stories.
Do I believe you BET I do hopefully Jane will be waiting when its my turn I can imagine her there shaking her finger at me saying you should have done this you should have done that and then laughing at me as she did in life when ever any problems cropped up,I’d give anything now to see that smile and hold her hand missing her so much it hurts.
Kind regards my friend hopefully we will both find peace when we see them again. MM69

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Hi. Geoff. Purely as a matter of interest I had a close friend, no longer with us, who was a police sargeant at Buckingham Palace for many years. I believe he was stationed at a nearby police station… Canon Row?. But, as you may know, there is a station inside the Palace. I think he paraded 15 officers on his shift. He was a most interesting guy to talk to.
Just a matter of interest

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Hi MetalMicky and everyone.

My Anne visited me about three days after her passing. I was laying in her bed (we slept in single beds because of Anne’s other illnesses.) with my arms over the quilt. I then became aware that something was in close proximity to my left hand which was facing down.It was like something lightly stroking the hairs on the back of my hand. During this time my face felt like a cobweb had settled on it. Slightly itchy and I found myself smiling.All of a sudden there was a tap on the back of my index finger that took me so much by surprise I quickly snatched my hand away. It was then that behind closed eyes I saw what seemed like a circle of tiny bright crosses forming but it didn’t form a circle. It formed a heart. It was then that I knew for sure my Anne was with me and I opened my eyes hoping to see her but sadly that didn’t happen. All this was as real as anything could be and no way a product of my imagination. What sealed it for me was that when Anne was semi comatose in her hospital bed twice I went to hold her hand and she snatched it away. I must have startled her. So from then on I would ask her if I could hold her hand before doing so and it was OK after that. Anne was paying me back as a little joke which she knew I would understand and which I feel was why I continued to smile as I fell asleep.

Bless you all Geoff

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I really sympathise. My darling husband died 7 weeks today and there has not been one day when I haven’t cried and longed for him. Youre right about how it strikes when you least expect it. I cant go into M and S and have to park in Sainsburys in Southend otherwise, because we used to go to the M and S end, the pain of him not being there is unbearable. We did everything together. I am 67, was planning to retire and spend quality time with him. I had a real melt down a few days ago because I saw something about the high street where we used to go on holiday and realised that I would never go with him again. I don’t think it is self pity at all, it’s grief plain and simple. Adrian and I were married for 32 years and had been together for 36. You cant have that kind of relationship without it having a profound effect on you. I dont think you should hold anything back, I’ve been told it’s natural and good to cry. I realise for a man perhaps this is a little different but if your heart is breaking, you need to let it out. I am so sorry for your loss and admire you for soldiering on. It is so hard and I agree with you at how the grief changes. Valerie

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Valerie I can truly empathise with your feelings.My darling loved her M&S to. It was the the pinnacle of our visit to Harrow shopping centre. I’ve had to travel to the centre since her passing to deal with our building society accounts but the thought of ever entering M&S again fills me with dread. I know I never will. This was my Anne’s store not mine. I’d feel like a trespasser and totally break down. I’d be looking for her in every isle like in the past when I lingered behind. I’m OK when involved with distractions like our kids visiting or associating with my good neighbours but in the end its all about living in a house alone that has no spirit any more. Anne’s things are every where and will remain so because as far as Im concerned this is still our house. I know I’m probably drinking too much beer but it helps to quell the grief and pain of living a life that no longer has any true meaning to me.I don’t care a fig about my health anymore. The sooner I pass over and meet my soul mate on the other side the better. Like so many of us I’m just existing for the sake of it.

Love and Light. Geoff

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Hi Geoff
Sorry to hear your sad loss.
Your Anne has definately left you with strong thoughts.
How strong you are to dust yourself down and get on with life in time ah!
I wish I could feel like you. My Mike died in January and I just exist at the moment.
I wish I could feel well and get on with life but in a different way. I have no family and it is hard. Like you a wave comes over me and the tears flow. This happens to many people who have gone through the loss of a partner like us. It is such a sad and horrible time for us all. Its so nice to know others are here in are darkest times . Just a few words is so comforting.
Be strong Geoff, my thoughts are with you xxx

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Thanks benenden x

Hi Geoff999 our situations are very similar, my wide died in intensive care approx 6 weeks ago, we had been married nearly 38 years (the anniversary was 20 days after she passed away) for approx 8 years she had been suffering from the effects of oral cancer and radiotherapy the effects of which grew with each passing year. also like you my daughter and granddaughter have been wonderful, i think they have kept me sane, without them i think i would have have tried to join my beloved wife. I admire the way you are handling grief, it hits me without warning no matter where i am, wish i could be like you and recognise self pity bouts but i can’t and they all effect me badly. don’t know about you but i try as much as possible to avoid talking to people other than relatives and neighbours who are aware of what’s happened. Having to explain to somebody triggers the grief attack very bad and crying is the only way out. Did you do anything hobby etc together. The reason I ask is my wife loved her garden, together we developed and worked on it together, I believe with all my heart that she is with me and I find working in the garden helps me a lot because I am doing it for her, so I am not totally useless now as i first thought. Coming home to an empty house is very upsetting and for this reason I try to stay at home with my memories.
2 weeks ago my wife ashes here strewn in the meadow of the crematorium, its a lovely peaceful and secluded place and I find solace just going and sitting near the spot and talk to her for ages, perhaps this could help you if you have the option.
You sound a very strong person and you will come through this as so will I but we must be prepared for a long hard road before that time.
My eventually being reunited with my beloved keeps me going as I am sure it does you

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What you have said reflects my own feelings. Yes there are distractions, but that is all they are. I’m very lucky to have such caring friends and family but nothing takes away the emptiness that my Adrian has left. I went to London with a friend last week, enjoyed it as much as I cold but came home and wept solidly for two hours! I think we have to take things slowly and be kind to ourselves. Like you, I am drinking too much, wine at the end of the day helps to numb the pain but it is just a quick fix, I know that. One of the things that keeps crucifying me, and I don’t really understand why I’m feeling like it, is that I keep thinking my husband didn’t love me and that’s why he left me. Just before he died, he gave me his wedding ring and said it would always keep him with me but I keep thinking that he gave it to me because he didn’t want to be married to me any more. Why do I think like this? We were never apart from when he was working away temporarily and never parted. He told me I had been the best wife and he couldn’t have had better so why do I feel like this? I keep thinking he was just saying that. Have you had thoughts like this? I’m also looking for signs that somehow he is still with me but have seen or experienced nothing. It may be that when the cancer he died from became advanced he had dementia and at times could be verbally aggressive as he sometimes thought I was someone else or he didn’t know where he was etc. He wasn’t my lovely Adrian any more. I don’t know. We’re all different I know. Like you, I couldn’t care less about my own health and just want to be with him again. I wonder if these dark days will ever pass?
Valerie

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Hello Valerie, so much of your message I can certainly relate to. My Brian never stopped telling me how much he loved me and thanking me for being such a good wife, yet when he died within a couple of months I was wondering had he ever really loved me and was I a disappointment as a wife. These thoughts were driving me mad.
My doubts were triggered by all the things I had to sort through. My husband hoarded everything and I found a case and box full of old photo’s in the loft. He must have locked them away when we married thirty years ago. Photo’s of him with other woman in his youth and of his previous wife which he had never shown me and was always reluctant to talk about. His old marriage certificate and divorce papers and so much more. I was so angry with him for leaving them all for me to sort through and I’m afraid my imagination started to run riot.
Thankfully I am over that stage now. By the way I burnt all the photo’s, papers etc.
My husband too died of cancer and my lovely kind, considerate man did change and became verbally rude and called me names and accused me of trying to hurt him. I looked after him single handed and nursed him at home, it was hard but it was what I wanted to do for him. One day as I washed him he said “Your nothing but a bloody nuisance”. Further accusations followed. I try not to think of those final weeks and remember my lovely husband as he truly was. I have signs of him often so I know he’s around. He promised me that he would still be looking after me if I took him out on my walks (we was keen walkers, which I still do), so we have both kept our bargain to each other.
Please do take care of your own health. I was like you after leading a healthy lifestyle. My eating habits were awful, then I had a health scare four months after losing him and it was the shock I needed as I hate anything to do with Doctors and hospitals, never having been ill in my life. It did result in an op but I put myself back on the road to being healthy again and pleased that I can now still enjoy my walking and gardening (allotments and grow all my own veg). This would have all come to an abrupt end if I hadn’t pulled myself together and I decided that I was with my husband anyway as he is always with me and in my heart and while I live he will live also. Look after yourself for him, please. and look for that glimmer of light as time passes, it does appear from time to time and I know I am so grateful when it does as it signifies hope.
Good luck and god bless

Pat xx

Hello Geoff, sorry for your loss, I can see myself in what you say. My wife, soul mate, passed away two and half years ago now, of MND, though, it doesn’t seem that long ago to me. I retired to care for her 24/7 and am now 68. Now… from my prospective, two and a half years on, nothing really has changed. I’ve learnt to live with myself, but, I still yearn for her, still cry, even when out, when memories pop there head up, and do you know what, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I loved her, still do. It’s an empty existence, in a once busy boisterous house, but, that’s all it is… Existing, till I part with this world, and hopefully be back with her. And oh yes, had several spiritual contacts with her earlier on, but not recently. So… When it’s said, things get better over time, yes, you learn gradually to live with it, but… Never get used to the terrible loss… John

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Hi Valerie,

I’m so sorry for your loss and I am sad to read about how you are questioning and doubting your relationship. It is quite possible that this is the impact of the dementia and how it made him behave so differently at times. Looking after a loved one with dementia must be incredibly difficult and it makes sense that it would have an impact on you. Would you consider bereavement counselling? I know that it can’t change your loss, but it might help you learn some coping strategies and help you stop these feelings of doubt. You could ask your GP for a referral or look into our Online Bereavement Counselling Service, which is free and takes place over video chat. Find out more: https://support.sueryder.org/bereavement-counselling

If you are concerned about drinking too much wine, you could also consider taking this quiz from Alcohol Change UK to see if it is likely to be affecting your health to find support if necessary: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/alcohol-facts/interactive-tools/check-your-drinking

Geoff - I don’t think we live far from each other

I think it is both grief and self pity - I/we grieve because we lost a loved dear person - someone that was part of us . When Jack died I died w him - the person I am now is a different person

I say it is self pity because I cry for me . I cry for the person I used to be and I am no more. I cry and feel sorry that I don’t have Jack’s company I cry because I am alone and lonely, I cry because my life as I knew it is no more
And I don’t think that isn’t anything wrong that I feel sorry for me at the same time that I miss and grieve for Jack

Sadie x

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Thank you so much Pat. Yes, we were both married before and although there are no photos of his former wife anywhere I would find it very very hard to see them. Your experiences were so similar to mine. I have had such a terrible day today. I have been clutching on to anything that he used, touched or signed as if it is going to bring him back. I feel nobody will ever love me like he did and I’ll never come first in anyone’s life any more. He was always telling me lovely things and telling me he loved me, now that’s all gone. I do so wish, like you, that he is with me but I don’t feel it and was crying today because I feel he has left me and doesn’t want to be with me. Your story is so similar to my own. When I took him to the hospital for radiotheraphy, which took a great deal of effort, he thought I was taking him there to be horrible to him and said he was worried for my mental health. I don’t know if it was the cancer that made him like that or possibly side effects of drugs or perhaps another Urinary Tract Infection but it was frustrating and hurtful. I was exhausted at the time and didn’t know how much more I could take but fortunately I did get through it. Now I would even have him back like that rather than not at all, like now. Again thank you for your reply, it has helped me lots.
Valerie

Thank you so much Pat. Yes, we were both married before and although there are no photos of his former wife anywhere I would find it very very hard to see them. Your experiences were so similar to mine. I have had such a terrible day today. I have been clutching on to anything that he used, touched or signed as if it is going to bring him back. I feel nobody will ever love me like he did and I’ll never come first in anyone’s life any more. He was always telling me lovely things and telling me he loved me, now that’s all gone. I do so wish, like you, that he is with me but I don’t feel it and was crying today because I feel he has left me and doesn’t want to be with me. Your story is so similar to my own. When I took him to the hospital for radiotheraphy, which took a great deal of effort, he thought I was taking him there to be horrible to him and said he was worried for my mental health. I don’t know if it was the cancer that made him like that or possibly side effects of drugs or perhaps another Urinary Tract Infection but it was frustrating and hurtful. I was exhausted at the time and didn’t know how much more I could take but fortunately I did get through it. Now I would even have him back like that rather than not at all, like now. Again thank you for your reply, it has helped me lots.
Valerie

Thank you Priscilla, I am scheduled to speak to one of your counsellers tomorrow. I did ask my GP but she said there is a massive waiting list but I am also going to join a group support organised by my local Hospice where my husband died and I can apply for one to one support there. Unfortunately I have to wait 3 months for it.

Thank you Priscilla, I am scheduled to speak to one of your counsellers tomorrow. I did ask my GP but she said there is a massive waiting list but I am also going to join a group support organised by my local Hospice where my husband died and I can apply for one to one support there. Unfortunately I have to wait 3 months for it.

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