My wife Jackie passed away on 24th May 2019, she has health issues for many years and I was her carer, although she could manage most daily personal tasks. I planned for my retirement to happen on my 69th Birthday in April 2019, the reason was to spend more time with her and also care for her. Just after giving 6 months notice to my employer I was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, resulting in major surgery and taking 6 weeks off work, which meant going to work for 4 weeks prior to retirement, I was annoyed that I had to take time off work just prior to finishing as I had not had a day off in 31 years.
Four weeks after retiring early one morning my wife became ill resulting in myself having to do CPR whilst on the phone to 999, until the ambulance arrived, unfortunately after over an hour of trying they could not save her, the illness was unrelated to the known health issues.
It has been over two years and there are days where I feel totally alone, although I have 3 sons and their partners and 10 grandchildren who all make me feel very special, it doesn’t take the heartache away, I feel that I have not grieved properly, but not sure one way or the other.
We had been married for 47 years but including courting we knew each other for 50 years. The main two important events in my life my wife and work where both gone within 4 weeks of each other, leaving a massive void, along with Covid it has been an awful two and half years.
This is first time I have actually put it in writing and shared my feelings. Sorry for the long story but felt it was necessary. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

Dear Jackie55

I am so sad to read your story and hear of the loss of your wife,I understand your comments regarding loneliness and heartache. You are ahead of me. I am approaching the first anniversary of loosing my husband as a result of a road traffic accident in September. Married over 38 years and together 42. We have two beautiful grandsons and two adult kids who are are trying their best to keep me afloat but life is so difficult without the person we loved and were loved by.

During the first lockdown we had planned for me to start retirement Christmas 2020. I left work in February of this year as this was now the only plan that me and husband had discussed and agreed that I could complete.

I was also upset to read at how your employer had treat you before retirement. I do not think that organisations recognise loyal and dedicated workers much nowadays. I can only hope that they have stayed in touch in some shape or form and offered you support.

The support I had in the early days has pretty much disappeared. Some at my instigation because people just did not comprehend the devastating loss and were not helpful, others wanting to return to their normal lives and being too busy. I can say that this forum has been my life-line at my worst times. People on this site unfortunately are suffering the same or similar loss and therefore we can share our feelings and others will listen.

Take care and keep posting.

Dear Jackie 555
Life can be very cruel and you certainly seem to have more than your fair share of grief over the last few years…not only have you lost your beautiful wife in horrible circumstances but you have also had to come to terms with your own illness and the challenges retirement brings…add the pandemic and general gloom into the mix and it is no wonder that you are
finding life difficult.
I am further down the path than you and coping with the aloneness is still a challenge. We each have to find our own way of adapting to a life without our loved one to guide and support us and what works for one person may not help another but I try to find something to be glad for every day and make a conscious effort to live each day as it unfolds…it doesn’t always work but the waters are calmer now and I have learned to ride the storms when they happen. Time doesn’t really heal but it makes the pain more manageable and each one of us honours those we have lost by putting one foot in front of the other and doing the best we can in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.
It is good that you have a supportive family and that you have found your way to this site…I hope that putting your feelings on here will have helped a little and that you keep posting and reading…everyone of us on here understands.
Take care and try to be kind to yourself.