I feel so scared and pathetic

This sounds pathetic. I passed my driving test 50 years ago when I was 17. In recent years I didn’t drive much at all. He loved to drive and I was quite happy to sit back and gaze out of the window. A couple of months before he died we bought a new car and I never got round to driving it. Now it’s sitting out on the drive and I am relying on my son to take me shopping, dental appointments, etc. It is ridiculous that I am terrified of a car! I got in it yesterday, adjusted the seat and mirrors. The dashboard resembles an aircraft cockpit with symbols that mean nothing. No ignition key, just a button. I used to think nothing of driving hundreds of miles on my own but I am so nervous now. I tried again today having looked at the online manual. I managed to reverse it out of the carport and back in again. My hands were shaking, my stomach was doing somersaults. I feel useless and ashamed. It has been a fortnight today since he died of a cardiac arrest.


Hello, you are not pathetic, your in the very early days of grief.

I understand how you feel, i drove the same car for 16 years and was very confident, then my husband died.

Then my car died.

I bought a new car, push button ignition, brake & accelerator slightly touched and I’m speeding! I found without my husbands support I was scared of driving it.

My family didn’t understand, I’ve found my confidence in trying new things alone very low, my husband would have been cheering me on and helping me.

But now it was me versus “the car”.

I was a nervous wreck driving it & drove like a learner.

I drove it to quiet areas and that wasn’t too bad but in lots of traffic I didn’t feel like I had control of it so in a web of secrecy I had a couple of hours with a driving instructor, he showed me controls on the car seat I didn’t know were there so I felt more comfortable, ran through the dashboard & talked me through the differences to handling it versus my old car as technology has increased a lot.

8 weeks on I’m much better, so don’t think it’s just you I went through it too.

Our confidence dips without our supportive husbands, no one told me that might happen!


I had my Merc from new 12 years ago, I loved it. Then, 6 days after Steve died I crashed it and wrote it off. I walked out without a scratch. I couldn’t cry, I just shook. I had a hire car for a month from the insurance, I hated it and needed someone with me whenever I drove it. Then I had to go out and look for a new car, which I’ve never done before. Luckily I saw one I loved, drove it round town and felt really comfortable in it.
I’m so glad I didn’t give up driving as I easily could have.
Getting a few driving lessons from an instructor is a great idea. I wish you well.


It is so hard when we lose our loved ones, much of our confidence goes with them.
I used to be so independent, even in the early days of my marriage and would go and work abroad for periods of time without any question. I now try to remember what that felt like and am looking for that person again to help me move on with my life.
I’m ok driving but when something needs done to the car like an MOT, I’m terrified to phone the garage. Luckily they have been fab and so helpful as they got to know my husband well over the years.
Is so hard for us all. Just gotta keep trying xx


Like you my husband just bought a new car before he was taken into hospital and he had only driven it 30 miles.
My husband did most of the driving as we towed a caravan and toured all over England. The car was just sat on the driveway after he passed and my grandson said you are going to have to drive it or sell it. He then lifted up the bonnet of the car and there was a small white feather. We all took it as a sign that my husband wanted me to drive it. I started off with small trips and felt so nervous but now I am driving on the dual carriage ways and motorways. I am so proud of myself that I persevered as my world would be a lot smaller and I would not be able to go where I wanted and when I wanted.
Take care and little trips first.


Same here husband drove all the time when we went out because he drove a van during the week and wanted to drive the car when he could, i just went to supermarket and back…he died January, my son drove up from Oxfordshire to Nottingham and i drove to his whilst he was beside me and then we both came back…the plan was for me to get confidence back to do motorway driving but i chickened out and did the A roads… next couple of weeks i need to drive to his and am getting anxious thinking about it, but need to do it

@Willow112 i was going to suggest a couple of refresher driving lessons. Or speak to the garage where the car came from. I’m sure someone there would be only too happy to show you the controls.

But you are not pathetic, we’ve all been there.

Thank you. I feel better and less inadequate knowing that I am not the only one to feel like this. I have booked a session with a driving instructor on Tuesday. I can’t say that I am looking forward to it, but I know that I have to do it. I can’t keep leaning on my son, willing as he is. So many ordinary little tasks seem like mountains. This morning I changed the bed linen. I have been putting that one off, because HE slept on that sheet and because changing a superking duvet cover on your own is bloody difficult. Yesterday I planted a new wisteria we bought together, then I came back in and cried. I hoped to feel a sense of achievement but when I do something I just feel afterwards that there was no point because nobody is going to notice anyway. Everything seems pointless. It’s two weeks today. Sorry to be so downbeat but I am so miserable today. Xx

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It’s still very early days for you Willow. I hadn’t driven for ages because my man was housebound for the last six months or so and I couldn’t leave him. I found I had totally lost confidence and it was so scary going out for the first time. And that was in a car I was familiar with. So what you are feeling is completely understandable. Take it gradually, don’t beat yourself up about it and it will slowly come back. I’m five months in now and planning to drive from South Wales to Cumbria next week to visit my son. We always used to share the driving, two hour stints each. It could take me anything from 6 to 8 hours but I know I can do it.
Take care.

Sending a very big hug,

Rose xx