How do I carry on?

I recently lost my husband due to advanced cancer. It was abit unexpected as he went into hospital with side effects of a medication and never came out. I looked after him with cancer, COPD and a heart attack for the last year, and would do so all over again if I could. It was hard to see his health getting worse but I tried to keep him positive. I blame myself for not picking up on the signs of pneumonia and sepsis that killed him.
Now he’s gone I feel so lost and lonely. I have family around me but it does not always feel like they understand. An I being ungrateful pushing them away, not on purpose but I don’t know how to carry on.

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Hi Yemmy,
I too recently lost the love of my life to lung cancer and COPD. He was diagnosed 12 months ago but the end came so suddenly a few weeks ago when he was admitted to hospital with what was thought to be an infection but he never came home…I am devastated especially as like you we were so positive! Please don’t blame yourself for anything,I did that, and even went back to the hospital to speak to the Consultant and Macmillan Nurse to reassure myself that I could not have saved him no matter what, which doesn’t help as it doesn’t bring him back but all we can do is our best! I push people away but I tell them to please try to understand that it isn’t them it’s me and I have to get through sometimes with them, sometimes without them. I have recently started counselling which is helping, maybe you could consider this too?
Take care,
Lynn x

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Thank you for replying. I’m sorry to hear of your loss which is so similar to mine
My family have now come to the conclusion that I will contact them if I want anything. It’s been about three and a half weeks since losing my husband and I still can’t see any way forward. I was told to have bereavement counselling but am abit shy and feel like I would be wasting their time.
I’m also afraid that I can’t control my emotions at the moment and people don’t always understand it. My mum particularly does not understand that it’s me who can’t handle things, I appreciate their help but she seems to think I will be fine in a week or so. She keeps asking me to go home ( her house) no longer my home, so I can get through it. I explain to her I am in our home ( mine and Alan’s) where I need to be. It’s lonely and quiet but I have to get used to it.
Everything around me seems harder to deal with and I don’t always feel up to it. I am currently looking for work but don’t know how I will cope. I gave up work to care for my husband. The only work I know is care which I’ve done for many years. Not sure I can go back to that again.
I have never had alot of friends so that made it worse as I have a very small social network and feel like I am not good company. I will consider giving counselling ago, on antidepressants off the doctor at the moment. But not forever hopefully.
Take care
Xxx

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Hi. Yemmy. Three and a half weeks!! My goodness, give yourself time . It’s nearly ten months in and I still find it difficult There’s no time limit on grief, but try and be kind you yourself and not force anything.
Your mum thinks you will be fine in a week or so! Sorry, that leaves me speechless, it really does. Has she suffered in this way? Does she understand the extreme pain of grief? She may be trying to be helpful, but false hopes are not what you want at this time.
Counselling can be very helpful and I suggest you try. A counsellor will always try and put you at ease with no judgement or criticism. You should never feel shame or self criticism. None of us asked to be here and your reactions are very normal in the circumstances.
But I have to say again, three weeks is far too soon to even begin to talk about relief. Just go with it, a day at a time. No matter what others say, it’s you that needs looking after so be kind to yourself.
Days and weeks will pass but there is no time limit to grief. We all have to do it in our own way. Please keep posting. You will find so much help here as I have. Blessings.

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Thank you for replying. In answer to your question no my mum has never really dealt with death. When my grandad died she had kids to focus on, I have no children
She does not seem to understand that I am lonely even in a room full of people and keeps telling me I’m pushing people away.
I try and be sociable and stronger on the outside but everyday I wake up in tears. She seems to think I should be round people all the time but I am still too emotional. I was with my husband for only 5 years but we went through so much in that time. We only kept a small group of friends due to immunity after chemo and he was with me 24/7. Where I went my husband went. Because of the short time together she thinks it will be easier to get over but she just doesn’t understand how much he meant to me .
If I cry she says be brave, I don’t feel brave and tend to feel more depressed when she’s gone. I think this is because I can’t explain how I feel when she’s here.
I am trying to carry on but really only want to be with Alan at the moment. I don’t make friends easily as I’m too shy and worried about going back to work. If I mention any of this to family I’m told you will be fine when you get back to work. I’m working age and happy to work but it just seems so scary starting from scratch again.
I’ve got a really good friend who I can talk to but I don’t want to put too much on her. I will try bereavement counselling once I get the courage to ring up about it.
I am trying to be kind to myself and take things steady . The reason I joined this site was because I knew people would understand and not judge me.
Take care

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Hi,
Please be kind to yourself! I am 3 months in and still wake up in tears every morning and cry myself to sleep every night. It doesn’t matter how long you are with someone, it’s the depth of the love that matters. I was with Daz for 16 years but I felt the same about him as I did when I lost him just a few months into our relationship!
I have both my parents but to be honest they both lost patience with me after the funeral. It pains me to say it as I love them dearly but they have no understanding of what I am going through! They celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary next year so they have thankfully never experienced the loss I am feeling. My mum wanted me to “come home” after Daz passed away but like you I have a home, our home! She got frustrated with me when I declined invitations for coffee with friends etc (which I have now started to accept but only recently) as she said it would help me to get out! Going back to work is something else “that would help.” No it wouldn’t so I haven’t yet. The only thing that would help is for Daz to walk through the door which is all we want isn’t it, our loved ones back! Yes please try bereavement counselling, I do think it will help but only when you are ready, nobody else, you!
This is your grief, my grief is my grief and all we can do is get through it as best we can, minute be minute, hour by hour, day by day…
Take care,
Lynn x

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I totally agree that the only thing that would help is, in my case for Alan to walk through the door and give me a cuddle. Just to hear his voice again. I was very lucky his last words to me was how much he loved me and me to him, even though we did not know he was dying.
I’m having a bad day today feeling very tearful. I went to the shop earlier and walking home when an ambulance passed. I just stood there and started crying. I got a few odd looks but just got home as soon as possible. It was a Saturday Alan was taken into hospital in an ambulance and all the memories came flooding back. I could not really explain that to the people around me though.
My family backed off after the funeral. They said let them know if I need anything but they can’t give me back what I want, no one can.
I will definitely try counselling as I can’t talk to my family so much and it might be easier to explain how I feel to a stranger. They won’t tell me to be brave either like my mother does. Macmillan and the doctor suggested it also, it’s got to be worth a try.
I am trying to take it day by day and usually end up in tears starting and ending the day. I do talk to him even though he’s not here but I have to talk my day through with somebody!.
I hope you are ok.
Take care
Emma x

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To hell with being brave! Now what does that mean? It just seems as if family are just ‘jollying you along’. It’s always with good intentions, but can often hurt rather than help.
I am not anti social, but more than a couple of friends I just can’t cope with. After a while I want them to go, but I can’t be ungrateful or rude. The danger is that if we become too introspective it can become a habit, and not wanting people can make us like a hermit.
Five years, five days, fifty years makes little difference to grief. It’s the depth of love that’s important. That never dies on either side.
Why would we judge you? What is there to be judged about? Never feel any shame or have bad feelings about yourself None of us want to be here, but we are and we need to accept that. You and I have done nothing wrong. We have, for the moment, fallen victims to life.
Take care now.

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So sorry for your loss. Your life seems to echo mine. My partner of 38 years died in May and every day is so hard to get through. I like you was with Alan 24/7 4 days a week. I worked the other 3 to allow us to do the things in life we loved to do together. He was 72 when he retired and 77 when he passed away. I am 67 but do still work, but not gone back yet. We didn’t have friends because we were happy with one another. I too am quite shy and never mixed very well. I have a couple of friends but they don’t live very near. One is an old school friend and the other one I worked with until she retired, but none of us drive. Like you say people don’t seem to understand how really upsetting grief is and won’t clear up overnight. From some of the posts on here that you read it can take years. Unfortunately we never know what is going to set off our emotions, or even when and where. That makes you more reluctant to go out. My son has said to me that I’ve pushed everyone away, including him. He doesn’t like the way I’ve been saying things to him about family. He says all I do is slag them off. Whatever I have said is true and said it because they don’t seem to care. They never ring, text, or call to see if you’re alright or if you need anything. The day after Alans funeral I was left alone all day while 2 of my sons and 3 of Alans grandchildren were at the pub from morning 'til well after midnight, then he’s got the cheek to say I slag them off. Why can’t they see that a kind word or a nice gesture would leave you in a much better place. Alan cared for me so much as I him, so it would be nice if they could just make an effort occasionally. Its very true that when you’re out you want to be in and you long for company and then want to be left alone. Our world is just turned upside down and round and about. Not knowing what to do for the best. All the time you sit and think of you’re wonderful life you had together, and will never be the same again. It is so hard to bear. Even when you try and explain how you feel to family, that all you need is a bit of help and understanding whilst your grieving, it still appears to make no difference. Our lives are lonely and quiet now and as you say everything seems so much harder to deal with. I think may be looking for a job may help you but I would certainly give it more time as it seems early days yet. I start counselling on Wednesday and am a bit apprehensive about it, but I will try it. The way I would sum up my life at the minute is to say I feel as though i’m only half a person looking to try and regain my other half at some point in my life. Before Alan died I would think how lucky I was to be living this wonderful life of travelling all over the country doing the things we liked to do and how it was so nice to be alive. But that has now all changed and my life is not wonderful at all. Take care and hope all goes well whatever you decide to do workwise and if you decide on counselling. xx

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Hi Yemmy
Good to hear your story and very sad to hear the sad news about your husband. Sounds like you cared so much
for your husband during his illness and I am sure he appreciated every minute.
I know just how it feels to feel so lonely as I have no family at all and am all alone. You are lucky to have family around you for comfort.
All of us who have lost our love ones are finding it so difficult to carry on as it is such a different life. I live in a small flat but it seems so empty as I have no one to bounce off. Weekends are especially hard as friends have their own lives to lead with their family. My husband died in January and today is the first day when I have made myself sort out a cupboard. I am doing it half-heartedly but at least I am doing something. I hate this lonely life and wish I had family around me, just to talk to someone is nice.
Try and be strong. I find this web site so lovely as feel there are such lovely people out there feeling just like us .Take good care and keep messaging love Suex

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It is a very different life now as you can understand. When you are with someone 24/7 it is constant companionship, then nothing when they go. I would not have changed a single day though apart from I would not have him unwell and we would have had more time together.
He gave me so much ( not possession wise ) but love and showed me a much happier and better life. I had never travelled before meeting him and he was keen on travel and showed me so many places.
We did not have much spare money but we had each other and around him I could be me. Family can be a good thing at times but I think you are finding the same as me. They do not really know how we are feeling and it is not easy to explain, or get them to understand. I have found my dad to be the best, he gives me space but pops by just on the of chance I might be in very occasionally. He also encourages me to be open with how I feel. My mum is the opposite, she does not understand and pushes too hard to do things I can’t do yet. I agree a kind word or gesture can make the day seem abit better and as if you are not alone.
I find that family can never truly understand the bond you have with that person. It seems like your family do not know how to help you like my mum with me. I’m afraid I tend to get abit snappy with my mum. I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it and say things that upset her, so you are not on your own on that one.
If I summed my life up I would say I was only half the person I was, because I gave my heart to Alan to look after when he died. I now just feel empty but I don’t really care much about carrying on without him. I just want to be with him and I will be again at some point in my life, of that I’m sure.
I do hope you find the counselling helps you on Wednesday. I’m going to give counselling a go but think I will wait another month before going back to work. I’m abit worried I might start crying in the middle of a job interview, not a good look!.
Take care
Emma

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I find it very lonely even with family and it’s just me but I can’t get feel much comfort from them at the moment. It’s my fault not theirs I think. You would think that having family is a good thing and sometimes it is. On the other hand it depends in circumstances like this how they can deal with things makes a big difference . As you have probably picked up from my posts my family are not quite sure what to do.
The trouble is they can’t give me back what I really want nobody can. They also have there own lives and committments which I don’t want to intrude on.
Believe me you can be just as lonely with family as without. The doctor said I have to let family help me through this. If I can’t connect with them how can they help me?. I don’t mean to sound selfish I know I’m lucky in a way, but at the moment I cope better on my own or with a good friend I once worked with.
I can be myself with her and I can say anything to her. She helps me to calm down and put it in perspective. When I told my mum I speak to my friend everyday she asked what she had that my family had not?, and got upset with me. I don’t know the answer to that just she understands!.
I try to make myself go out but it does not always happen. After yesterday I stayed in on my own all day as was very tearful again. It was a weekend my husband was in hospital and he died early on the Monday morning. I now have weekends and mondays. This is when I feel at my lowest.
It will be four weeks on Wednesday and I’m at the job centre, that will be interesting. I’m always here to talk to if you need.
Take care
Emma
I

Hello Emma thank you for your reply. When you talk about your Alan its as though I’m talking about my Alan. I wouldn’t change anything about him in the forty odd years I’ve known him. He was such a hard working man, at work until he retired at 72 and in the home doing everything whilst I was at work, to allow us to be out together the 4 days I was not working. He cared for me and showed me so much love. We had many wonderful holidays together travelling in our motorhome. I never thought the last time we were in it last July would be our last time in it. Our family didn’t have a lot of time for us when Alan was alive. We would always have to be the ones to take the presents out, never the other way round. They were never interested when you’d been on holiday, telling them where you’d been or showing photos. they just weren’t interested so I don’t know why i’m surprised about their attitude now. Sent my eldest son a text the other day telling him about my youngest son not wanting to speak to me anymore, and generally telling him how I felt and all I wanted was a little support. He text me back saying he would definitely come and see me at the weekend but he hasn’t been, but I’m not surprised at that either because he’s always saying it. It hurts so much to be cut off just when you need them most. Been a very long day today although I didn’t get up until gone 12. It has dragged and I have been quite teary. I also don’t want to carry on without him. I know for a fact if I had the guts I wouldn’t be hear now. I went for 2 days without food and drink hoping I would just fade away but obviously it takes more than that. Can’t wait for the day when i’ll be with my Alan again. Good luck whenever you go job hunting but I wouldn’t rush if I were you. Hopefully the counselling will be some help. Thank you for listening. lots of hugs Janet xx

I have just read these post & feel so sad I can’t reply at the moment as I am very sad today . I have put a like on all the messages so you know I am thinking of you all x

Morning Janet
I’m sorry to hear what your son’s did. I know it hurts when they are meant to be family but just remember we are all here to talk to. You are never alone. Just don’t let them upset you, they are not worth getting upset over. Look after you now not them as it sounds like that’s what they are doing.
I do hope the counselling might be able to give you a little bit of support, and may be able to help with some suggestions on how to deal with it.
When Alan died I could not eat anything or drink hardly at all for a week. I dropped over a stone and was only about 11 stone anyway. Unfortunately I’m still here so no two days is not enough. I did not do it purposely, I just felt sick all the time and felt like I did not deserve to eat. I think I was thinking I could join him deep down. It was a similar reaction I had to when my grandad who I adored and never hardly left his side died. I helped look after him from the age of ten to fifteen and he had Alzheimer’s. It was sad to watch but we kept him at home pretty much to the end when he started falling. I was lucky though to have him in my life from being a baby and getting to know him. I was not encouraged to grieve for him but just to put myself into school and exams, then college. It was not the right choice. My mum was the main one at home and you can see how she is with my grief over Alan, not good. I suppose I should have remembered her reaction to grief back then. My dad worked alot and my brother and sister were too young. I had support from a couple of good friends and that was about all I really had.
The sad thing is that both Alan and my grandad died at the same age of 71. I was younger by a fair few years than Alan but that did not change our love. My grandad died on the 6 th of June and Alan on the 24th of June, both the men who meant so much to me in the same month. I think I might have to skip that month next year, Alan was a big support as he knew how much my grandad meant to me. It’s been 24 years since he died and I never got over that I don’t think but Alan understood.
Today is 4 weeks since I held Alan’s hand as he died. I’ve had tears at 5 am this morning but I’m sure there will be more later.
I am being dragged out of the house today whether I want to or not my friend told me.
She is insistent on needing my help with a few things. I think it’s a ploy really but she is not taking no for an answer so I guess I’m helping!. I know she is trying to help and understands so I don’t mind.
I never left the house yesterday, could hardly even be bothered to move until about two o clock in the afternoon. I had no reason and purpose for moving. Then I got a phone call of my friend who told me off in a good natured way. It made me move, eat and try to look after myself a little bit. I don’t know what I’d do without her some days!.
Try to have a better day today. Always here to listen, anytime. Big hugs back to you.
Xx

Hello Emma I do try to not let them upset me but unfortunately we are vulnerable and weak a lot of the time whilst we are grieving. I can manage a day then I get all teary wishing they would contact me. My weight dropped from nearly 11 stone to just over 8 so most of my clothes do not fit me now. Alan had been poorly from late November and the gp just kept giving him antibiotics. Half way through December I asked if he could be referred to hospital as his weight had plummeted from just over 11 stone to just over 8. He had a terrible cough a nose that wouldn’t stop running, he was stressed, had anxiety, wasn’t eating properly, had been diagnosed with copd, prostate cancer and non-hodgkins lymphoma, and the gp asked my why did I want him referring to hospital. Anyway he wouldn’t refer him, which I feel bitter about, and wasn’t admitted until January 8th, and that was only because he had an appointment with his cancer consultant. As soon as he saw Alan he said we’ll get you a bed for a few days, but he never came out and died on 4th May. Everyday I visited and would spend 8 to 10 hours there. Trying my best to feed him but he did some bizarre things. He would cover his head up a lot with sheets. Say and do strange things. Never really got a proper diagnosis. When he did eat it would take about 2 hours just to get a bit of food down. They tried to insert a nasal tube for feeding him but he fought them off so they gave up. He fell while he was in there and it was the only day that I was late getting there because I was having a new boiler fitted. From that day he very rarely got out of bed because they don’t like them to if they’ve fallen so his muscles wasted away. Before that I would walk him up and down the corridor. This was a man that was very fit for his age. We’d been to Scotland in October and done a fair bit of walking. Everyone used to say how fit and well he looked and couldn’t believe he had 2 types of cancer. I haven’t had a very good weekend and today been no better. I wish someone would come and drag me out of the house i’m sure I would feel much better for it. There is all sorts for doing in the house but like you say whats the point and can you be bothered. I find the best time to be night when the world is still and quiet and you don’t yearn to be elsewhere. I do eat but not as much as I used to do and I sleep ok. but the days are so long and never ending. Life seems to revolve around sleeping, having a bit of food and washing the pots. Wash and iron occasionally. Hoover up occasionally. Do some gardening when I feel like it. But sit about a lot thinking of my Alan and what we’d be doing if he was here. Walking about in the sunshine in some nice small town or village. Hope you had a good day with your very good friend but it probably left you in tears once you got back. Thanks for listening. Take care. Lots of hugs Janet xxx

Hello Janet
It sounds like the hospital did not take his illness very seriously. I know how upsetting it was watching my Alan and can only imagine how you were feeling.
Your days revolve in a similar way to mine. I have spoken to the doctor today who agreed I needed extra time to get myself settled before looking for work.
As I guessed my friend was just trying to get me out the house. We did succeed in getting her a budgie though which I know she wanted.
Yes I was in tears when I got home as it is four weeks today I lost Alan. The funeral directors phoned to say I can collect his ashes tomorrow. I’m glad I can bring him home but am afraid it’s going to make me realise it is so final. He’s really gone, here come the tears again.
When I go out I try to imagine Alan is with me. In a way he is in my heart so where I go he goes. Your Alan is always in your heart too, of this I’m sure.
Always here to listen.
Big hugs back to you
Emma xxx

Hello Emma Alan had plenty of scans and all sorts of different tests done but I don’t think they ever really knew what it was. I would get home about 9 in the evening and try to find answers on the internet but there are so many illnesses with very similar symptoms. I did mention paraneoplastic syndrome to the doctors, something to do with the central nervous system and strangely enough that along with pneumonia was on his death certificate. Apparentely there’s not a lot of doctors know much about that as its quite rare. I only collected Alans ashes last Friday although they’d been there quite a while. Yes our Alans will always be in our hearts and minds. Wouldn’t want it any other way, but could do without the sadness and heartbreak all the time. Thank you for listening and have a restful night. Lots of hugs Janet xxx

I agree we could do without the sadness and heartbreak all the time. Hope you have a restful night too.
Nights are the worst for me as I don’t sleep but I will try. Goodnight for now.
Always happy to listen and talk
Xxx

Hope all went well for you today when you picked up Alans ashes. I went out with my friend. I feel a bit guilty though as she is bad on her feet and walks with a frame but I find it really difficult walking at her pace. It tends to give me backache. We had a bite to eat and drink and walked around looking in the charity shops. It made a pleasant change for me and I actually was alright when I got home. I think its when i’m in the house day after day thinking about Alan and how horrible my family are. Anyway I hope your day wasn’t to stressful. Speak soon. Big hug. Janet xx

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