House no longer feels like 'home' without my wife

My World fell apart when my wife & partner for the last 28 yrs passed away unexpectuntly 4.5 weeks ago, aged just 54 following a short spell in hospital. We did everything together and were always on adventures in our campervan. She has been at my side since I was 21 yrs old and as such I feel truly lost right now.

We have a son together who is 27 who lives at home. My wife was a childminder and as such our house is usually full of joy & laughter, with the little ones running around during the week. Due to covid I have been home office for the last 18 months. During that time the kids got to know me really well and used to call me Uncle Ivor.

Now when I come downstairs the house feels empty, not only because of my beautiful wife not being there but also without all the joyous atmosphere of the children. My son goes out to work during the day. So our house doesn’t feel ‘homely’ anymore and I’m sure it echoes now in the kitchen & playroom.

Does / did anyone else feel that their house is just a shell now, a roof over your head and not the home it was? Do / did this improve over time?

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Dear Ivor

I am truly sorry that you are suffering the same pain as all of us on this site. Your grief will be raw and it is very early days on this journey.

Me and husband were nearing the end of building works in our little bungalow. A property we had down-sized to four years earlier and were just getting the way we wanted. I have been left to get the little jobs finished that my husband had decided he would do himself. In the early months I wandered round the five little rooms that make up our bungalow and nothing felt as if it belonged to us anymore. It is approaching 14 months on now and these feelings are not as intense. Our little grandson still visits and we have a new addition. I cried the first few months as the grandson started to crawl and then walk/run around the bungalow as my husband was so looking forward to these milestones only to leave us far to soon. Grief creates such immense silence in anycase but you are now missing the atmosphere created by the children your wife cared for and I can only imagine the challenges this poses.

We have adult children and I know how they hid their feelings from me in order to protect me. I hope that you may find ways to bring each other comfort and to eventually reach a point where you can both talk about your wife/mother.

Take care.

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Thank you for sharing your experiences with me.

You quite rightly picked up on my Son. I have tried not to hide my emotions from him and I let him see my cry if that is how I’m feeling, as I want him to know that it is ok to cry. However, I worry this is a double edge sword, as he seems to be blocking things out, which I fear is to try and protect me in some way. I try to engage conversation but he keeps his cards close to his chest. It’s so confusing to know what’s best!

You are so right about a home becoming just a house.
I think my family struggle to understand what I mean when I say this, as to them everything looks the same. My choice of furniture, my decorating, all done with my husbands blessing!! He was more then happy for me to make our place the home that it was …….
They don’t see the big gapping void that I see, the silence in every room that I notice, the empty space on the settee where we would cuddle up of an evening!!

I’m hoping things change and I become more settled. Only time will tell

Sending hugs
Dee xx

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My husband died without warning 7 months ago at the age of 50. My two adult children live away but come home from time to time. My house is just an empty shell. It used to be a joyous place and holds so many memories but these are just painful now. The fact the my mum and his mum are now in care means that they can’t come round either. It’s all familiar but not - if you know what I mean. It’s also harder with the dark evenings now. I hoped for another couple of decades together at least but as we all know, we have no control.

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Our son did the same and then it became too much and he sought counselling. I know from my own experience that sometimes they want to be able to say things to others that they do not want to share with us as parents. Our son eventually sought counselling through his GP so I know this service is available as should be support through his employer.

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Thank you for sharing your experience. My wifey baker (she liked being called wifey baker - even friends would refer to her as Ivor’s wifey baker) was the home maker. When we’d go on our adventures in our campervan, we used to say that it was my job to do the structural stuff, which meant attaching the awning and it was her job to make home by make it comfortable. I can’t bear the thought of driving the campervan anywhere now without her being with me.

I hope things settle for you as I hope over time they will for me but right now only just under 5 weeks in, things are too raw. x

Oh yes the house is not the same anymore,just somewhere to sleep if you can and eat if you can and cry all the time.It is not a home anymore.I am unhappy everyday now,find it hard to smile ,lust for life gone ,sick feeling everyday,pain of grief overwhelming.Coping ,NEVER.Michael.

My house to no longer feels like home since i lost my husband 2 months ago. I want to sell it as memories too painful, as hes not in his usual place. Both my adult children said, “youre not going to sell my dad’s house are you” i was devastated. They have no understanding of how i feel each evening looking at his empty chair.

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Thank you for sharing your experience with your son. I will have to monitor how things go for my son. I have asked his friends whether he talks much about losing his mom. They say that they ask him but he doesn’t really talk about it much and changes the subject. Maybe in time he will realise that it is all real and he needs to open up and get support.

I had my first call with our occupational nurse who has insisted that she isn’t going to let me go now that she has my contact details. She’s a great listener and I know deep down that I will need this type of professional support to learn to move forwards as best as I can.

My son lives in Spain and he will not talk about his dad at all. Every time I try to mention him he closes the conversation down. They were never close sadly but at times, it’s as if Ian never existed.

Ian passed away 20 weeks ago today and on waking this morning the first thing I wanted to do was ask him a question ………

We bought our bungalow just over 5 years ago and it had to be completely renovated which Ian did. It’s not a home anymore, just somewhere I sleep. As to moving, I haven’t moved any of Ian’s possessions or clothes as it would just be too final. I’m not sure I could bare to leave all his hard work behind as that seems too much of a betrayal at the moment .

Take care everyone,
X Julie

Thanks for sharing Mickeyboy. I know that sick feeling. On Monday I had this wave come over me and it made me wretch, feel dizzy, get pins & needles in my hands and made my breathing so fast like I was having some sort of panic or anxiety attack. I was completely floored and overwhelmed by the level emotions running through me. I felt like I was in full flight or fight mode and needed to get out of the house. That was the worst wave so far and it came 4 weeks to the day my wife passed… I thought the worst would’ve been in the first week but I guess in the early days we are still in shock.

I hope that you do start to find some days when it isn’t completely overwhelming.

I’m writing everything down in a journal each day. I will use this to look back upon, so when I’m having a really bad day I can look back to see whether it is as bad as it was previously. I’ve no idea whether this is of value but for me it feels what I need to do.

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Yes it does come in waves this grief,this big black cloud dumps on you out of the blue.My heart pounds in my chest at times,quite worrying.5 weeks for me now but still feels so unreal that she has gone.Michael.

Yes I can believe that too.Being alone in the family home is horrible.So empty ,so quiet.This new painful life is not what I wanted,I want my old life back with my darling wife.Michael.

@IJB Scott died on the 1st October and I have never felt so much pain, grief, anger and total heartbreak.

Myself and Scott bought our forever dream home 2 years ago and it is now just not the same, it is just a roof over my head. Scott loved it here so much and he always said all his dreams had come true, but sitting at night looking at his empty chair, where he sat so happy and content on cold winter evenings, just breaks my heart. I can only sit in the front room for a little while in the evenings and then I go and hide away, not that it makes it any easier.

We have a caravan, again a place that Scott loved and I am due to go their for the first time tomorrow. i am dreading it so much, but I know that he would want me to go there, but who knows maybe tomorrow I will wake up and decide I feel strong enough to go or maybe I will wake up and just want to curl into a ball and cry all day.

Take care xx

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I think it changes over time. I just wanted to leave and get as far away as possible to begin with but now I know it would be just as bad, if not worse, if I went somewhere else. Maybe that feeling will change again later I don’t know. Wherever I am it will feel empty without him there.

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I know then cry all day ,I do all the time for my lovely wife who passed away 6 weeks ago from the evil cancer after weeks of pain and suffering.I hate every day now,waking up brings no pleasure at all anymore.Life without my Judith is so empty,I am so unhappy,so lonely ,what is the point anymore.Michael.

Hi Jane

Whatever you decide to do today, make sure it is what you want. I’m sure Scott wouldn’t want you to put yourself through anything you don’t feel ready to do.

Ian passed away 20 weeks ago, suddenly and unexpectedly, and I’ve just started counselling. The only way I’ve got through these awful weeks is by just taking one day at a time. It’s hard and I often just spend hours and hours sat in his car at one of our favourite places. But, I have also managed to fly out to Spain on my own to visit my son and granddaughter.

Just do what you feel you can, and if you just want to curl up in a ball and cry, do that.

Take care of yourself,

X Julie

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@Trixie1
Thank you Julie.

I didn’t sleep all night anxious and not knowing what to do. But I did take the step and came to our caravan. As soon as I walked in I curled up on our bed and cried like a baby but I know scott would be proud of me taking this step.

Take care

Jane xx
I

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Oh Jane that is really so sad.I cried most of Sunday ,it was always our special day,Judith would cook a roast and we would listen to our favourite music show on BBC Essex John Leech soul show.But I cannot do that anymore it is much too painful a memory.6 weeks today she passed away and it has been my worst nightmare ever since.I cannot get that image out of my head as she slipped away from me that day.This such overwhelming grief is eating me alive,I cannot see my future without her.So lonely and unhappy.Michael.