how do I learn to live alone

My husband has just died. Because he has been ill for a long time, we have spent most of our time together. I knew he was dying, but don’t know how to cope, I have lived with him for over 50 years and have never lived alone. Please tell me how to get through this

I am so so sorry for your loss none of us are ready for this almighty storm in our lives it’s an explosion of every emotions going fear panic anxiety disbelief it’s been six months and ten days sine I list my soulmate of seventeen years im utterly truamatised witnesing it all and what has happened we dreamed of growing old together everything my life has been stolen im empty and lost thinking about you please sending you a hug please have someone around you i didn’t it made it harder I think my fears and anxiety got to me more gave you dot any family or friends you can stay with or stay over tonight? X

My daughter and partner have been staying but have now gone home. They will be back for the funeral. My son lives nearby so I shall go to his house tomorrow.
Thanks you for your help.

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Hello exhausted I am so sorry for your loss. I’m 6 weeks now without Colin and on my own. It’s not easy. Do you have someone you could ask to-stay? My granddaughter came at night and that helped a bit she is only18 though. Use the Samaritans, Breathing Space or Cruse helplines. Write the numbers out beside your bed. I was phoning all 3 one after the other when I was hysterical. Scream, shout into a pillow do anything that gets the grief out. Some shops are open all night I’ve gone to these just to know there are people there. I’ve cried on the shoulders of strangers. Keep writing on here don’t bottle your grief up. See yourGP immediately and get something to help. I wish I could bring him back for you and for every other member who is missing a part of their life but all I-can send is love and prayers. Kate xxx

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Hi Exhausted.
My wife died in August last year. I will share what I’ve learned with you.
Firstly you have to just find a way of surviving and you may need to learn new skills just to hangon in there. It’s just a case of making sure you can do the basics, eat, drink, sleep and maybe a walk in the fresh air. Hopefully over time you will notice other things a bit more and maybe you can do a bit more. If you can identify where you want to get to then it will demand effort and determination, and lots of patience. I’ve found my mood improves after things that make me feel better… Treats. So be kind to yourself and reward yourself for anything that you think deserves it. I’m a big fan of Magnums, Cadburys chocolate and chocolate digestives. And the occasional whisky.
I’m sure people will have practical suggestions that they can share. I moved into a different bedroom and bought a new mattress. I can tell you lots about ready meals.

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You are more than welcome anytime my heart goes out to you I was alone to fir the first time I hate going to bed alone waking up in the morning with that dreaded feeling that it’s not haopened then open my eyes any my heart sinks his head isn’t on the pillow it’s utterly devastating were always on here speak anytime Patti dot is amazing to talk to too I’m just 39 in two weeks she has alot more experience as do others im just seeing who’s on now I wish I could help you more I’m in such a dark place myself it’s never ending nightmare call the samaratins if you ever need to its free I’ve found myself on the phone to them 2 3 4 in the morning crying screaming over my Edward my heart is shattered anxiety is overwhelming all day basically I’m pleased you have some support tomorrow take care I have messaged oat to message you sending a hug x

Thanks Katie I know you can deal with it better as I’m no good at the moment xx

Hi E someone is always here these great people have stopped me doing something silly a few times in the hope I get to see my soulmate again please take care just wanted someone a bit more experienced for you as I’m still struggling very bad so messaged Katie and Pat xx

Dear Exhausted
I’m so very sorry that you have lost your husband…at the beginning grief is like having an amputation without any anaesthetic and there is really very little to ease the pain…you just have to do whatever makes it bearable for you…listen to your body and try to respond…live in each minute and don’t think about the next one until it arrives…sometimes all we can do is breathe and that is OK. There are many agencies offering help and support…everyone on here will help however we can…Yorkshire Lad has already given sage advice! We are all different and we each develop our own strategies as we put one foot in front of the other…you ask how to get through this but I can’t tell you …I can only reassure you that you WILL…that you will find a strength you never knew you had and learn to smile through the tears. Please trawl through the many posts on here…some of them will really resonate and help. For now, my thoughts and prayers are with you. God bless you x

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Thank you so much everyone, it is so nice to know there are people I can ‘talk’ to who understand. It really helps. This is the first night I have stayed up beyond 9pm

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Always no problem at all whenever you need someone message if no reply call samaratins when my soulmate fell asleep in my arms I was calling alot it’s free don’t hesitate please it’s an insufferable pain I wouldn’t wish this up on my worst enemy my heart is shattered please make a cup of tea or a hot chocolate even if you have a few sips were all here hun x

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Hi exhausted. So very sorry that another person out there is feeling the same way as so many of us on here. I’m coming up to 13 weeks myself I relate completely to your pain, heartbreak, shock etc etc etc. I can’t tell you too much on how to deal with your grief as I’m still trying to get to grips with it myself but, I absolutely remember being advised to take one minute at a time. Yes, one minute. Not an hour. A minute. And, I did. Some days I still do to be honest. Your husband has gone in his physical form and that’s soul destroying, I know. He hasn’t though gone in his spirit form. His spirit and his love is still very much with you and I’m sure it always will be. Talk to him. Out loud. Ask him to help you. Ask him to let you know someway he is still with you. I had advice given to me on this forum to write in a journal. Doing that helps so much. Maybe you’re not strong enough for writing right now, if not bear it in mind for a few weeks time. It will help you. If you can’t eat much that’s ok. If you’re eating too much then that’s ok too. Make sure you drink lots of water and warm drinks though. Potter around your home. Don’t make plans if you don’t want to do. Go out if it makes you feel better. Stay in if that’s the best way for you. However you get through the next few days and weeks really doesn’t matter as long as you get through them. Don’t put any pressure on yourself whatsoever. Do, or don’t do, whatever is right for you. Cry. Cry. Cry some more. Think only of the next minute. Reward yourself with every achievement. Even if your reward is just giving yourself a pat on the back. Talk and talk and talk to your husband. Don’t stop. We all care about you we will all be here to talk you through how you’re feeling. We get it. It’s happening to all of us too. Say whatever you need to say on this forum. You won’t be judged. I think someone already mentioned to you to read the various threads on here. They will help you. Even if you don’t feel like responding yourself, just read. I, and many others will be thinking of you in your grief and I hope knowing that will help you just a tiny bit. I am so sorry you’re on this journey but you will never be alone. We are all here. And don’t forget, your husbands spirit and love is with you too. I know as I write that you’re probably thinking I don’t want his spirit and his love, I just want him. I know. We all know. You do want it though, of course you do, he’s with you. Let him in and let him help you. Close your eyes, I bet you feel him and his love… God bless you. Sending you love and hugs x


Hi hope your doing as best as you can I hope I can get a bit of your fight on day been a real bad few days now another long lonely silent night ahead take care of yourself as much as possible speak soon x

Hi did you go to to your sons today?I hope today was kinder to you x

Hello there. Unfortunately there is no set way of dealing with the change in our lives. Some excellent advice been given already. You will find a way to cope. As far as living on your own I have chatted to people further down the line who are alone and some of them actually learn to enjoy it. In the beginning I didn’t want to stay with anyone or have them stay with me. I felt it would just be harder if I started leaning on others. I had to learn to stand upright, alone and didn’t want to drag out this fact… I didn’t see the point in going to the doctor as they are not magicians and there is no magic pill to take away this pain I’m afraid. I am trying to make myself stop thinking of what ‘might’ happen while now living alone. I talk to my husband, I tell him off even, so that he won’t think I’ve gone soft. I know without a doubt that he is watching over me and I ask him for support if I am struggling. I keep myself occupied or busy everyday because to sit doing nothing just brings on the despair more often. I love the countryside so I walk and admire what is around me and have two lovely dogs that take me out for long walks. I feel satisfied when I have made the effort. I don’t want to be a burden or a sad old woman. I want independence, I want my sad face to change. My Brian would expect it of me and I keep that in my mind at all times. I cry when the need arises and don’t fight it. It comes anywhere, anytime and I accept it as part of my grief. I too knew my husband was going to leave me and thought I was prepared but nothing can prepare you for such pain, how you cope is up to the individual I’m afraid. It is a lonely journey but stay with us as we all understand your pain and this forum has helped so many of us through our darkest hours. Pat xxx


Thank you so much, you really know how I feel. I cannot understand that this has happened, it is as though he has gone away for a few days and I keep finding myself saying ‘we’ll have that…do that’ later, then realising that there won’t be a later. Although I know in my heart that I did everything I could for him whilst he was ill, I still find myself wishing that I had done things differently, maybe been more cheerful, not complained when things went wrong. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Everyone is trying to help me but there is nothing they can do. At the moment doing all the admin stuff is keeping me busy, goodness knows what I will do later,.

Thanks again. Jan

Hey you good to hear from you we all do that the ifs the buts six months and ten days later I still tell myself he’s at the shops or look out the window thinking he will walk up the street it’s utterly heartbreaking the admin will kerp you busy keep you busy keep posting and stay in touch were all here for you hun take as much care as possible Adele x

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Haaa, the admin work. I thought it was never ending. I think it may have just finished. The brain dead people at the other end of the line really started to annoy me. I think I may have been quite rude to some of them.
I looked after Brian but have all sorts of doubts that I could have done better. He kept telling me off which upset me as this was out of character but it was more than likely the amount of drugs he was taking or the pain. Bit on the other hand he also told me I was an angel from god for looking after him so well and even texted me to tell me he loved me and thanked me. So, yes I feel guilty for telling him off from time to time. I do wonder if I missed something. I think its part of grief.
So don’t beat yourself up.

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I haven’t even started on the paperwork yet and am already losing it! I needed to get an out of hours doctors appointment over the bank holiday. The stupid woman on the other end of the line was refusing to deviate from her script - was I bleeding, did I have a pain in my arm, chest, etc. I kept telling her I was not having a heart attack, I just needed some antibiotics as I have a chest infection starting which I wanted to get rid of - I have enough problems without that. In the end I said something really rude and put the phone down…not much help getting my pills!

I suppose with hindsight we all remember things we should and shouldn’t have done for our loved ones but we are only human. Mike had dementia as well as cancer so it could be extremely frustrating at times. I didn’t mean to get angry with him and I am sure he knew it… but I was the one who rubbed his back when he couldn’t sleep, who promised to look after him forever, who took him to all his numerous hospital appointments and looked after him there… I don’t think we do a bad job really and none of us are perfect.

It is so lovely to find others who know all the feelings we get at these times. I feel guilty that I get into the bed we shared for over 50 years and manage to go to sleep without crying for him. I seem to be living in a parallel world at the moment where nothing is real. I expect the reality will kick in and knock me for six before long.

Take care.

Reading your message has just take me back nine months to where I was in terms of my thinking and feelings.
In 2014 my wife was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer and the expectation was she would live approximately 14 months. Being given that news, for me, was much more traumatic than anything that I felt after that. As it happens she lived for over four years and had some quality of life, despite living under a dark cloud. I can see now that my grieving had started well before she died. I devoted my life to helping and caring, just being there to catch her when she fell… literally once or twice.
Towards the end of her life I’m ashamed to say I became frustrated and impatient on occasions as her brain wasn’t telling her to do particular things. I helped with her food but she couldn’t always work out she had to swallow it. That was a problem when she wanted to fall asleep and it could take up to an hour to get her to spit it out or swallow it. I’d never faced anything like that before and I worked hard at understanding and being patient. I did what I could for her but carers came in and were a great help. We can’t change things so I feel I just need to believe I did the best I could, and I’m sure that is the reality.
When you say that you expect the reality to kick in that resonates with me and my experience. Obviously, our reality changes minute by minute but the problem is that we overthink things. My interpretation of how I felt was that I’d constructed a model of how I thought grief would be but it wasn’t like that. At no time was I hit by a massive wave of grief, although I’d braced myself for it. We are probably all capable of overthinking things and I try really hard not to do that, to avoid constructing the imaginary scenarios in my mind. That’s an important part of living in the moment and just concentrating on the immediacy of what needs doing now. We can’t live in the future and it just arrives in instalments. We know how things change rapidly. At the moment your parallel world is your reality but gradually things will change. You will look back and notice a difference, probably not much but then it will change some more. Unfortunately it’s part of a process and it’s unavoidable.
I hope your day improves.