Lost my wife

Dutchman, Don’t beat yourself up about things you wish you would have done. Life isn’t scripted, there are lots of things that all of would change but it is part of the fabric of life. If you had done all of the things you wish you had done more it would not make an iota of difference to the way you feel now because like me you will still grieve about the loss of the one you love. Its the person we pine for that is the issue not the fact we didn’t do certain things. In our head we wish we had the opportunity to do things once more and that is the thing that is hard to come to terms with. I know it’s hard but sometimes you have to accept that you did what was right at the time and to have changed that would not have stopped you grieving today.
Keep going and stay strong, we all care on these pages.

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I’m reading The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion at the moment, and have just finished chapter 17, which for me accurately describes the grief that follows the loss of a life partner, the associated loss of identity even, and how hard/impossible it is actually to really come to terms with the fact that they are no longer there. She’s a much better writer than I could ever be - I encourage you to read it.

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Thanks, I’ll look out for it.
I’m reading The Aftergrief by Hope Edelman. Interesting point - the Five Stages of Grief was a rebrand of the Five Stages of Dying, developed for terminally ill patients. Nothing to do with grieving. The writer was exasperated by this and encouraged mourners not to follow a textbook but to trust yourself and you natural emotions.

I’ve been thinking that it’s not that Bridget has gone so much and how much I miss her company and love, it’s the hole that’s left behind. For almost 10 years, if you include the dementia years, I’ve looked after her in all different ways. First at home and then the support I gave in the care home.

There was a structure of sorts to my life but you could say that now I’m free of that responsibility of caring, just enjoy the freedom. But freedom like this comes with a cost. I just miss her and the whole lot of space she filled. How do you replace the other half of your life? Clubs, projects, pets, holidays, mostly lacking if it’s on your own.

You could say that I’m feeling just sorry for myself and some in my family would agree, but I think I’m justified considering how long I’ve struggled on my own mostly and the toll its taken on my physical and mental health. But she’s gone and I miss her and her companionship. Plain and simple

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Absolutely. That’s something else Joan Didion addresses in that chapter - the concept of self-pity. I highly recommend the book. Of course it’s not going to make any of this go away… but it is reassuring to know that this is all, normal, if there’s any normality in any of this.

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Take comfort in the fact that you have logically identified where you are in the process of grieving. You have identified the most important things, and understandably like us all you will pine and wish you were able to do things with your beloved just one more time. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting where you are in this process, it’s not over but by your own logic you are starting to understand it better.

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One book which I found helpful is “you’ll get over it , the rage of bereavement “ by Virginia Ironside.

An honest down to earth book about losing someone. It helped to put my thoughts and feeling into some form of perspective. All these types of books help in some way. Some are awful and need chucking across the room and others help shift the feelings of loss a little

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It is 8 months now since my wife died and for about the last few weeks I felt I was beginning to cope. I have good friends and have not isolated myself, my family have been great, I had a few days holiday with friends. Then out of nowhere I had a wobble on Saturday morning. Tears flowed, realising again I would not see the woman I had known and loved for 50 years would not be sitting across from me in the morning. Such a huge presence in my life gone.
So for all the socialising, the friends, the family there is still that feeling of loneliness.
Grief is such a funny thing it hits you in waves and often when you don’t expect it. In the car for instance , tears running down your face as you drive.
I have a feeling this will never change but in a way , why should it, I do not want to forget the life we had. :heart:

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Hi I am in my 9th month and what you describe is exactly the same with me. When I have a good day I try to analyze why the bad days creep up on you and I can find no reason. When I describe grief to people it is like this -

When your loved one passes away you have a small bucket inside you which the tears drip into. To start off the bucket is very small about 0.25ml and will overflow on a daily basis. As time goes by the bucket gets bigger and bigger but will still overflow so don’t look for when it will happen next but be prepared for it when it comes along. Somehow my bucket is at a decent size now and I can go a short while without it overflowing but I can assure you it will still overflow and when it does, and it might take 2-3 days to pass the whole process will start again with an empty bucket.
I hope this all makes sense, to me it does and that’s how I cope.

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So just after 2 months in and really feeling it today. I don’t know if it’s reassuring or terrifying that you guys are so far ahead of me in this journey and feeling the same thing. I miss her so much and it just feels impossible that she isn’t coming back.

@TeeCee I’m also a visual thinker so the way you describe how you feel makes a lot of sense to me.

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Never ever did I think I would be able to cope again, It took a long time to accept being alone in the house, and 8 months to go and sit in the living room but I now do. I never stop talking to my Pam and convince myself little things happening around me are really her. If a robin appears in the garden I call to it by her pet name. If I unexpectedly need to go back into the house and I find a light on I know who sent me back. Its little nuggets like that which remind me that I am not alone and someone special is keeping their eye on me.

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It’s moments like driving on your own with an empty passenger seat that it hits hard that she’s gone.

I look at her pictures and can’t accept that she won’t be walking up the path to the house. Looking out of the garden window she appears looking through at me.

The memory is so strong that on one hand I know she’s gone but the other part of me doesn’t accept it. So many years together makes the grove in the brain very deep.

Even my dreams are about her and losing her.

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Hi @Dutchman you sound very much like me. I find myself doing and imagining similar things. I know my husband isn’t coming back but still think he will walk through the back door asking for a brew. Life is so unfair. I don’t like living on my own either. Take care.

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Dutchman

2m

What’s wrong with me! I can’t help it - I pick up the album where I’ve collected all the photos of Bridget when normal and with dementia and when she was content in the care home and it’s upsets me so much but I can’t help but look.

It’s like a drug that I know will upset me but I still do it. It’s like there a very thin veil that separates me from her. If only I could get behind it she’d be real again. This grief really messes with your mind.

I miss her then I’m fairly ok then I’m not and I’m a mess of tears again. It’s not fair is it.

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Just looked at some photos there. Had to stop. Every time I look at a photo of her the feeling of longing for her is overwhelming.
What a beautiful woman she was, I was so so lucky. I even miss her telling me off, she was definitely the boss, her infectious smile and just to hear that laugh again I would do anything for.
This grief is bloody murder.

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I post on here and keep going round in circles. I guess that’s the nature of grieving.

I beat myself up thinking I could’ve done more for Bridget when she was at home. She became confused and frightened and I didn’t know how to manage especially when she refused to recognise me as her husband. I retreated into self protection mode and couldn’t give the understanding and compassion she probably wanted.

In the care home she repeatedly begged me to take her out and, if it hadn’t been for the imposed isolation of those Covid years, it would’ve been worse going inside and her pulling me towards the door.

I hurt because of her hurting. I cry because I can’t go see her now and, even though she couldn’t have understood, I could say sorry.

Do you think the guilt ever goes away? I’m not so sure. I just want to be at peace with all of this and come to some sort of acceptance that I can live with.

Peter

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Peter I don’t think guilt is the right word its more a case of what would I have done differently if I could do it again. As I have said before life isn’t a script and we do what is right at the time. The decisions you made at the time would have been right for the situation. If you had lived a pristine life and done everything that you wish you would have done you would still have been grieving now so try to concentrate on the good things you had and pat yourself on the back and say I did my best we were both happy we lived a married live as well as retaining our own identities we were together a long time and it was a happy time, but remember we all have fall out’s even in a happy marriage so don’t beat yourself up, your relationship with your wife allowed you both to learn from adversities and cope with problems together, like me you are now alone so say to yourself when you are in a sad place, what would Bridget have done? Involve her in your thought process remember she is not here physically but she will always be with you in your head and in your heart you must realize the only thing you can change is your thought process and ability to cope .

Trevor

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One of my close friends wife is in hospital with heart failure and I am afraid the prognosis is not good. I think we all know what he is going through when your wife is clinging onto life. I am afraid I am at a time in my life when death seems to surround us all. And in turn you grieve for that person and the wife that you have lost. I will be there for him just as he has been for me.

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Thank you for your kind reply. Trying to distract myself with spring cleaning :weary::weary:

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Hello @TeeCee

Thank you for those comments. I always think I could’ve done better even though I know that there’s no holding dementia back and I coped daily and sometimes hourly.

I miss her company, of course I do, but what upsets me more that anything is how she suffered with dementia and the struggle she had with her deterioration. The photos of her in her care home show her confused with a heartbreaking look on her face. There was no way of knowing what she thought as she’d lost language by that point. This was a teacher who talked for a living.

It’s pitiful, it really is, how someone is destroyed like this. And I was helpless. And loving someone and seeing them like this till she died last September is terrible and terrifying.

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