I found this on a news item this morning.

https://uk.yahoo.com/news/figures-reveal-weaker-sex-why-133100829.html

It is about women losing their partners.

Hi, that has dawned on me whenever I go to visit my husband’s grave. It seems there are far more headstones showing dates where the husband has died first and sometimes there are many years before the wife has died. My husband was 9 years older than me, I’m 53. I find myself wondering if I’ll have to live for years without him. It’s still early days yet as he died 9 weeks ago yesterday but I do wonder if this unbearable loneliness will ever get any better. June x

I was counting on it, but, unfortunately it’s not guaranteed.

Dear June,

Yes it will get better but it takes time, people are different, some people have work to help take their minds of things for a short while, some people are retired and spend many hours on their own, as do I, but as time goes by you learn to live with what has happened and stop expecting our late partners to walk through the door. It has taken me nearly 5 years to accept that this is it for the rest of my life and that I will only see my husband again in the afterlife.

I have found that the joy and happiness I once knew is no more, I go out, get beauty treatments, buy things, and sometimes go out for lunch at the weekends with one of our sons but it doesn’t and never will bring me the pleasure I used to have being with my husband.

I found the second year to be the worst because the first year went by in a fog of paperwork, funeral arranging and getting the house back in order, because it had been neglected for quite a few years whilst my husband was ill. I put my grieving on the backburner and then when the second year came around I totally lost it and could not stop crying because it had finally hit me that that was it for the rest of my life. He would never walk through the door again, never kiss or hold me again and I would never hear his voice again and that tore me apart. Then my brother in law died, the last member of the family from my past, then our German Shepherd dog Barney died of cancer, I then had to have all my teeth pulled as they had started to decay because of an illness I have it was one thing after another.

It took me until the third year to finally start to sort out my husband’s wardrobes because I honestly thought he would at some point come home and he would want his clothes to wear. It was only when I went through everything that I finally accepted he was never coming home again. That is when I knew that I would never, ever see him again so I started to get on with my life and just got by on a day to day basis, not planning for anything, but just getting out of bed in the morning and doing what needed to be done.

I had become a list maker of jobs that needed doing, washing, ironing, cleaning, shopping, gardening and I crossed them off as I did them the just kept adding things to the list otherwise nothing would have got done. My mind was all over the place, I have been in the men’s toilets more than men have as I just was not watching where I was going. I have tried to draw money out of a machine where you can only pay in and started all the bells going off. It was if I was walking around in a fog. I got taxis to and from where I wanted to be as I could not bear standing at a bus stop chatting about something and nothing to someone else that was waiting for the bus.

I have a lovely home and garden, I have a large detached home that is much too big for me and gardens that are massive. I paid a gardener, but he has now retired so I have to find someone else, luckily, the hedges are not growing much at the moment so I can tackle them myself until I find another one. Unless I have to move from my home because of illness, I will stay here forever as my home is full of memories over the last 47 years.

Please take care.

Sheila x

Dear Sheila,

Thank you for your reply. It’s interesting to read how those further on in their journeys are coping. A lot of people say the first year is the worst with all the things that need to be organised and all the first anniversaries to get through.

I still get the fleeting moments when I forget that he’s not here, such as seeing a shirt today and wondering if they’d have it in Steve’s size as he’d like it, and then the crushing reality that he isn’t here.

I walked the dogs at the park this evening and just thought he’ll never walk them again, never go to the park or see the new wildlife garden they’ve created. I sat on a bench and just cried.

I feel like I’m in a fog most of the time but I think it’s normal, maybe to help us cope with it all.

Take care, Sheila x

You too.xxxx

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Dear Lonely, I remember our biology teacher at school telling us that males are the weaker sex and I’m not sure that we really believed him at the time. Experience bears it (mostly) out, though. My parents are in their late 80s/early 90s and my husband died a year ago, potentially leaving me 20+ years to go on without him and right now I find that unimaginable.

The brain fog and the loneliness - does it gradually diminish? I hope so yet at the same time I don’t want to let him go and feeling it perhaps keeps him close. I really don’t know how we all cope. There’s an awful lot of bravery out there.

Take care. x

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