How do you carry on living?

I am 52 and lost my lovely husband just over 10 weeks ago after a very short illness. Yesterday my sister and niece invited me out for cocktails in the evening, which was lovely, but why did I feel so guilty and disloyal to George just by going out. I sat down and ‘spoke’ to him before I went telling him that I would much rather it be us two at home just like it used to be. Why does it all feel so wrong getting ready and going out, and yet somehow I have to carry on living as well? How are you all coping with this? Maybe it is all still too raw for me at the moment, as all I wanted was to get home to the safety of my home and all my memories of the man I love and so desperately want back xx

I completely understand the problem.
My way of dealing with it was to sit down with a pen and paper and try to work out a formula as to how to measure how much benefit was derived from a quantity of guilt and feelings of disloyalty. However much I tried to perfect the calculation the answer was always zero. So then I tried to calculate the degree of difference my feelings were making and, again, it was zero. Surely all that thinking about it deserved more than that.

Debra, I lost my husband 11 days ago. I went out last night to a pub he seldom frequented lately but, he always liked, for some food and a glass of wine. I can’t say I enjoyed myself, not at all, neither can I say I didn’t. I was just there. Eating, and quietly chatting. I felt better, if only psychologically, that I had eaten some ‘real’ food for the first time, instead of half a sandwich or a slice of toast etc.

I hate coming home and he’s not here. But that’s the case regardless of the time of day and wherever it is I’ve been. Equally, I feel closer to him here, although it’s here I miss him the most, up to now.

I can only say don’t overthink those things. Whatever I do or, don’t do I’m merely existing. Others may see me living, but living isn’t what I’d call it, not for a second.

Your husband knows. He just knows. Just as I guess he always did when he was here. I’m sure he doesn’t want you explaining your actions to him. He knows Debra. Just like he always did. I’m sure mine does too xx

I know, coming home can be as hard as anything else. George would often pick me up if I went out. A couple of days after his funeral, I went to a leaving do at work. Driving home I sobbed my eyes out because I realised he would not be there. It is just so hard doing things that are meant to be enjoyable without them, but we have to live some kind of life, even though it feels like only existing at the moment xx

Hi I am also 52 and lost my husband on the 1st of February of this year with cancer.
I know exactly where your coming from as I feel exactly the same way.
I was never one for going out with friends as I was content with being with my husband. Now I feel I have to make an effort to go out even though my heart isn’t in it.

Oh Bonnie it is very early days for you too. I am so sorry too hear of your loss. Like you I was not one for going out with friends, and was content to be at home with George. He was my best friend. I know we have to make some effort and to carry on with life in whatever for it takes, but I would much rather stay at home with my memories and where I feel George and also feel safe xx

I thought it was only me that felt such guilt at doing things and struggling because my husband couldn’t do the things he liked doing. What right had I to be carrying on with my interests. I love rambling and tell myself this is acceptable as I have the dogs and he would want them to go out for their walks. He certainly wanted me to keep our allotments up together, but it seems so unfair. We did everything together and I have to convince myself that it’s O.K. for me to still carry on without him.

I feel guilty doing things as well. I feel guilty I’m still here and Denise is not. I feel stupid doing things in the house, in the garden, why is it important now. The most important love of my life has been taken so what is the point in it all. No one to share it with. The lovely weather at the moment seems to make it worse. Guilt of being alive feeling the sun hearing the kids having fun. Just makes me miss her more. Xx

Stevie, don’t feel guilty at still being here whilst Denise is not. Would you really want her to be left behind, and to be suffering like you - and I - are going through ? It’s a tough bullet - take it for her.

Clean the house, do the garden for her, as she would want.
I am trying so hard to have the lovely floral display that Eileen managed to produce every year, so much that people, strangers, used to come and photograph the house. I haven’t a bloody clue about gardening, but I am going to do my best.

your right Edwin it’s a hard bullet to take. It’s harder for us left behind I suppose. Cheer Edwin

It’s a strange one is gardening. I’m sat in the sun having a rest and a coffee after 2 hours hard labour doing something I dislike… gardening. I’ve never had the slightest inclination and put it in the same category as washing cars or dusting. A necessary evil. I don’t feel guilty, in fact it’s probably more resentment. There’s lots more to do and I’d rather go for a walk.
I think I’m done with guilt.

Edwin. Reading this response to Stevie has helped me so much. I’ve thought too that I’d rather I be here alone than the other way round. I would never want my husband to feel this emptiness, pain and desperation. He didn’t deserve it. But I love your terminology. I too will take the bullet. Thanks Edwin x

I’m not coping that well but myself and family all think my husband would not have coped at all if I had gone first so if there can be a best way then this is probably it. I’ve had the phrase in my mind on several occasions that ‘I’m taking one for the team’, similar to Edwins thoughts today.

Edwin and YorkshireLad you have both made me laugh tonight. I can imagine you both in your gardens, not enjoying it one bit. I have been on my allotment for six hours today and found it so fulfilling. I have knocked in stake’s and lost the mallet as I usually do. Prepared other area’s, spread barrow loads of muck and suitably pleased with myself. How different we all are. My gardening has saved me these past weeks. Yorkshire Lad I too love walking, I just alternate it with other things. Tomorrow will probably be a walking day as was last Saturday. Embrace your gardens, make it a place of pleasure, where you enjoy going into. Flowers, shrubs etc. I love wildlife so I plant accordingly. I too hated gardening many years ago, but I became hooked when I gave it a go. Gardening can be an exciting journey to some of us. All the seasons can be a challenge. Edwin go to your local garden centre around May and there will be so many bedding plants for sale you will be spoilt for choice. Don’t have to be clever at gardening just plant. Good luck, now get digging!!!

My lovely George was a widower when we married. His wife died very suddenly from what is classed as Sudden Adult Death one morning at the age of 43, and George was left with two children to look after, the youngest one was 10 at the time. When I am struggling, I try to think that George had already been through this and went on to live a happy life. I am really glad he did not have to go through it again though, it is undoubtedly fairer this way round with me taking the bullet!!

I cut loads of shrubs, bushes and trees back this morning. I would imagine there is a correct way to do it but I just hacked at everything. They may die which isn’t all bad as they wouldn’t need to be done again. There’s loads of snowdrops, daffodils, crocus and grape hyacinth blooming now. I may just mow some paths and leave the rest to go wild.
It was such a lovely day I went for a walk. Didn’t set off with a plan but climbed right to the top of the Moor. I’m paying the price now as my Calf muscles ache. Spent more time thinking about my knee problem as it was painful today and hardly gave my wife a thought. Presumably that’s some sort of progress.
I will put it in the diary for next February… More gardening necessary.

YorkshireLad you have not got the right attitude!!! When you prune it’s to make the shrubs and bushes more beautiful for the coming season NOT to kill them off. Surely you can see the beauty of the new year to come when you look at the lovely spring flowers. Good idea about the paths at least the wildlife will get some pleasure from the garden. At least you made me smile again.
My back started aching today when working on the allotment and for the first time in months I had to take an Ibruprophen. How we suffer to get some enjoyment out of life, but well done on the walk.

I’m pretty sure I will be taking ibuprofen tonight. I think I would suffer a lot more if I couldn’t go out for a walk. Much easier tomorrow. I’m leading a group of U3A members on a trip by train and bus to an Industrial Museum then into the city for lunch.
Maybe the bushes, shrubs, trees will survive. I’ve done them before. Alan Titchmarsh was born in our town so maybe it’s in the jeans, or genes even.

I’m with you there. I would surely go mad if I couldn’t keep active. I’ve given up cycling so that I can go out walking more with my lovely dogs. Have had to cut down on distance as my back and foot was pretty bad in 2017. I thought that was it, never would I enjoy a long walk again. My chiropractor suggested quality over quantity and I was appalled at first but have taken his advice and although I don’t walk so many miles I can still enjoy getting out in the countryside and people seem shocked when I tell them how far I’ve walked. So out will come the packet of Ibruprophen or whatever it takes to keep me active. Good luck with the garden. Try and get a feel for it. It really can be so rewarding. So Alan came from your town, now he has a house in my town and he used to be a Sheriff or mayor or something like that and does a lot for this area, so we have something in common.

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