How does one cope with the pain and loneliness

My husband passed away 4 months ago after 9 years cancer. For the last 3 years we knew it was terminal but how does one prepare for loosing a loved one. John was my World, the light of my life. My life seems bleak, empty and meaningless Everyday I go to work and go through the motions in a robotic fashion but once I’m home through the front door I can be myself. My husband left me a farewell video which I watch every evening. I can’t seem to accept the complete final break. If only there was a message, letter or phone call once in a while. Life is just too painful right now. I don’t think I’ll ever really get back to being normal or smile again. I’m still going for counselling at the hospice apart from the counsellor no one knows exactly how lonely and desolate life is. Tonight I feel so desperate if it wasn’t for the fear of not seeing John again I’d quite happily end it all. Being a Catholic I can’t take the easy way out. I’m grateful for the time we had together and for the love we shared. Not all get to experience true love. I hope it won’t be too long before I am called to be with John again. Sorry I didn’t mean to go on…

Hi Libby,

I’m so sorry to read about the death of your husband, and how terribly bleak and lonely you are feeling, and for how desperate you were feeling when you wrote this post last night.

Four months ago is still very recent and, even though you knew it was terminal, it is still not possible to really prepare yourself for the loss of the person you have spent your life with.

This site is a place where you can “be yourself” and be honest about your emotions when you need to. There are other members here who understand how you feel. For example, you might want to read and reply to this conversation, where several women talk about losing their husbands:

I saw that your post was quite late last night, and you were feeling very lonely. If you ever need to talk late at night, please remember that you can call the Samaritans free 24/7 on 116 123.

Have you had any sort of counselling or support since you lost your husband? If he was getting any care through a hospice, it is worth getting in touch with them, as they often offer bereavement support.

Cruse Bereavement is also a good organisation that can support you via their helpline or local centres. You can contact them on 0844 477 9400 or

Or, talk to your GP to find out about other local services.

We also have some information about coping with bereavement on our website:

I hope this helps a little bit. Remember that this site is here for you and keep posting and letting us know how you are doing.

Thank you Priscilla for your kind words, the phone numbers and links. I was feeling very lonely and sorry for myself last night. Night times are the worst!

It’s 20 weeks today and every Thursday I relive the last few hours until 2pm, can’t help myself.

Thank you Priscilla for your kind words, the phone numbers and links. I was feeling very lonely and sorry for myself last night. Night times are the worst!

It’s 20 weeks today and every Thursday I relive the last few hours until 2pm, can’t help myself.

Hi Libby,

Yes, many people find that night time very hard. Are you managing to get some sleep? It sounds from your post as though you might be struggling.

We had a conversation on the site a little while back where members discussed sleeping problems:

Sorry to hear that you find yourself relieving the last few hours each week. Flashbacks are a very common part of grieving. I found this a really interesting article on the psychology of why people experience flashbacks and how to deal with them:

I do know how you feel. The only way I can cope is to keep busy all the time

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Dear Libby, I am in the same situation. My Neil passed away last year,he was ill for a long time, but I thought he was going to come out of hospital once more. The stress of looking after him (he was my soul mate) increased my OCD and amongs other painful feelings, I feel guilty for my mental illness at he time. We had plans to travel, but it was taken away from us, bit by bit, over the years. I am Catholic as well but there have been times when I didnt want to wake up. HIs was heart failure,mainly. I miss him so much. thank you for reading this,

Dear Cristina
I know we what you mean about coming through and guilt. I am riddled with guilt. I never seriously thought that was the end. John was so brave, loved life and always came through each time. When I saw him swallow the liquid on the sponge my hopes were raised but a couple of minutes later I realised his chest wasn’t moving. I never said goodbye! The last few days have been really bad. Today all day I’ve been in tears off and on. I normally do my crying in private. People seem to expect you to get on with life, don’t realise it’s 21 weeks today, 147 days! that’s only important to me - my loss!! I was my husband’s carer we didn’t want anyone else, even at the Hospice and now I feel redundant, lost. Hope your OCD is under control and you find peace. Remember your Neil’s love is always in your heart. I talk to John all the time.


Hi Sally I try to keep myself busy but there’s always something that drags my thoughts back to my present predicament; Some song, card, note etc. I try to sort paperwork but I can’t bear the thought of getting rid of anything so off it goes straight back into the files/boxes - perhaps one day in a few months, years…

Dear Libby, Cristina and Sally. I am so sorry for you. I felt exactly the same as you. 5 years ago my husband had come out of hospital to die. Trouble is, I didn’t know that. I did everything possible to keep him alive. When he died in the hospice, I felt a total failure. The lonliest moment was after he died and I drove home from the hospice alone. Then you get caught up with the funeral and everyone buzzes round you. Then reality hits you and you realise you are on your own, forever. I cried every day. I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up. Sometimes I still feel like that. This has been the hardest 5 years of my life and I’ve prayed for the clock to be turned back. We’ve all gone through a terrible experience losing our loved ones. You are at the beginning of your journey. It does get easier. Evenings and weekends are the worst. I still can’t do things my husband and I did together for fear of going two steps backward. I have to do new things. I don’t feel the same person I was. A spark is missing. If you’ve got a good counsellor, keep talking. I carry a photo of my husband with me everywhere. I talk to him. I’ve had the odd experience, call it a sign or message. I try and think of my husband being with all the friends and family that have died. I like to think of him being happy chatting to them and laughing again. There’s no easy way to cope. Keep busy. Keep company. Time does change the way you feel. Kind regards, Marianne.

Dear Mazhob
Thank you for your kind words and support. I naively thought although I’d never be the same person I was before I’d pick myself up and get on with things in a matter of a couple of months. It’ll be 6 months this coming Saturday and I feel worse than ever. Suddenly I’m finding it difficult to accept I’m on my own, thought I’d got over this part of it. I act and do what’s expected of me in a robotic fashion. People ask ‘how are you’ but they don’t want to know the real answer, in fact most have stopped asking. I guess life goes on…

I too find evenings and weekends the worst times. Saturday mornings I go to the grave so that keeps me busy for a couple of hours.

I’ve volunteered to take part in the Alzheimer’s research study project so spend some time in the evenings on that. I find I can’t sit downstairs and I can’t watch Telly apart from the news.

Good luck, I hope you find some peace and a new way of life. Someone said our lives will never be the same, we have to learn to adjust to a new way of life.
Libby x

Dear Libby, The first year IS the worst. The feeling of loss is terrible. I used to say I’d lost two people, my patient and my partner. All the things that you two did, as routine, changes. There is no one to look after, cook for, and worst of all, talk to. You WILL get used to being on your own but it takes time. In my first year, I would get up and go out, thinking that I was still going to the hospital to visit. I would wander round the town and then go home and go to bed, at 2pm! I really felt like life had no purpose. I joined a cancer support group, which was my first stepping stone. Once a week I would go and talk to others in a similar position. Of course, I came home to an empty house but, it was a small distraction. Life does change and we do adjust to being on our own. Kind regards, Marianne.