Living two lives

It was the first anniversary of my wife Nicki’s passing on Thursday last week. A whole year, the worst of my entire life.

I took some flowers to the cemetery in the morning, spent some time sat at Nicki’s graveside, talking to her, then slept most of the afternoon at home. I had been invited to dinner that evening at the home of some good friends and their two young boys. Dinner was very enjoyable, first time I’d sat at a table for months, and they’d even made me a sponge birthday cake and given me a card (Nicki passed on my birthday). I was laughing and joking and behaving pretty normally, but the entire time there was always one thing on my mind, and that was “I wish Nicki was here”.

In the late evening, my friend walked me the mile or so back to our home and we said goodnight on the driveway. I unlocked the front door, switched on the light in the entrance hall, and closed and locked the door. I was home, safe again in my familiar surroundings where Nicki and I spent the majority of our time together. Then it hits again. Brain working overtime. Knowing that you’re truly on your own, no-one there to welcome you, no-one to ask how things went, no-one to accompany you in the first place. I switched on the TV with the remote and sat down in my armchair, picked up my laptop and browsed through Facebook and the Sue Ryder website, trying to distract myself from the loneliness and emptiness. This is the real me now I’m home, not the me I put on display earlier to make others feel not so sorry for me. I know many others have commented in various threads and posts about the “public” and “private” faces we have, and I’m no different. It’s like living two completely separate lives. The public one where we appear to others to function as almost normal human beings, then the private one, where we can get lost in our own thoughts and feelings and try to recall details of the life we had with our loved ones. I can say in all honesty that I prefer my private life, even if it causes me pain to think of things I - we - will never do again; or spices in the kitchen cupboard I’ll never use; Nicki’s vitamin drinks and spreads that have been in the fridge for over a year; her wheelchair in the dining room with a small pile of her clothes; the constant worry over finances, mortgage and bills, hanging over my neck like a guillotine. I’m exhausted. I just want it all to stop. Maybe God will answer my prayers tonight and let me be reunited with Nicki. But I doubt it. He still has tasks for me to complete – that’s what I believe. Strange considering I was never very religious, how things have changed.

I didn’t cry on Nicki’s anniversary. I wanted to, but didn’t. Well not until just before I went to bed and that was way, way after midnight, so that doesn’t count. I’ve cried most nights at bedtime for the last few weeks, but not on her actual anniversary. I know I’ve gradually been getting further and further down over the last few months, spiralling around the plug hole again, ever so slowly. It’s getting harder, not easier, wearing me down a little more every day. I still don’t care about anything, my existence is still as pointless, and my desire to carry on is negligible. My branch of our family tree ends with me, no offspring, no-one to be responsible for or to except myself, freedom to choose my destiny. It will be a race between God and me to see who makes that choice first.

Sorry to sound so depressing. Seems to be my default mode nowadays, just in varying degrees. I can only hope each and every one of you is having better days than I.


Hello Alston.
Loneliness is an awful thing. I know you only want your Nicki, there will be other humans you can connect with in a deep way through one day I believe as friends. We are very social creatures and losing a life companion destroys that in an instant. Since I started making new friends ( through this site) I feel an improvement in my daily life that I never thought I would. Like you say having no one to tell unimportant chatter too is very lonely… it must be more important than we think. Take care and I’m sorry it’s getting harder for you…


I sorry to hear how down you are feeling. It’s good that you can be honest on here. People can identify with all you are saying. I’m not as far on but I certainly don’t feel that things are getting better or easier. I can’t even keep control of the mask at times. It is so sad that so many people who loved each other dearly and were living happy lives have to go through this worst pain imaginable. Life just doesn’t make sense. Sending hugs

Hi @Alston56,

I’m so sorry to read about your situation, to hear how you are feeling and that you just want it all to stop. It sounds as though you are finding things very tough which is completely understandable given your circumstances and the anniversary of Nicki’s sudden and unexpected death - I’m sorry to hear this all happened on your birthday last year.

Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly, I’m glad you’ve been able to talk about how you’re feeling here. It does sound like you might need some more support - I would really encourage you to reach out and speak to someone about how you are feeling. Here’s a few links which you might find helpful:

  • Samaritans are available 24/7 to talk about anything that you are worried about in confidence. You can call them on 116 123, for free.
  • Shout are contactable by text, 24/7 - you can text SHOUT to 85258 and talk to them about anything.
  • Find your local NHS mental health helpline here.
  • The Money Helper website offers information about financial support following a bereavement.

Sue Ryder offers an online bereavement counselling service as well. This is a free service and
sessions are held via video chat so you can attend from home - if you’d like to find out more, please follow this link:

You can also make an appointment with your GP and ask to be referred to counselling
or other support services in your area.

Keep on reaching out @Alston56 - know that you’re not alone.

Take care,

Its very bad time, mine is very recent, always wish I’d said more to her, too late now regrets, do you have a local walking group, if your free its a good way meet others and have a chat about thing, we call at the pub on return and have a pint before returning home, then it hits again, but helps get some out of the system.

Dear Alston56

I can understand your feelings surrounding the anniversary. I am building up to the first in September and can already feel the tensions rising. Our daughter’s birthday tomorrow - her first without her dad - and I struggled to know what to sign in her card. I put Mam and Dad because I could not bring myself not to include my husband but hope it does not cause her additional pain. I know it will be so difficult for her. Then the ominous journey towards that fateful day. I can’t even bring myself to say the date anymore, it no longer exists. I will probably go up the Northumberland coast and spend the day there on the beach where we spread his ashes. I did this a couple of days ago and what used to be a wonderfully pleasant drive is now an emotional challenge to just stay focused and get to the destination.

I know there is nothing I can say that will ease your pain. But just wanted to say I welcome your posts. They are honest and for me personally it only tires me to have to put on the mask for others. I have withdrawn into the smallest bubble/world that I can - its the only way that I can survive until I too am reunited with my husband. I manage to go to the shops but then just sit and cry in the car even though he was not a shopper and I always did this on my own. I think it is the thought that the bag is lighter and I am going back to an empty house to ‘force-feed’ some food down my neck to keep me going.

Take care and please keep posting.