Lost partner a month ago

Hi, I lost my partner a month ago, aged 71 and I am feeling so lost without him. He had been diagnosed with COPD due a lifetime of heavy smoking, although he did give up after his diagnosis (approx. 12 years ago; before I knew him). He died in his sleep of a heart attack due to coronary artery disease. We didn’t live together, but had discussed it (the pandemic didn’t help!), but had been in a relationship for 4 and a half years. We did split up for a time, between June last year and March this year, but he was my best friend, we spoke at least 2-3 times a day even when we weren’t together. There was an age gap, I’m 39 so there was 31 years difference between us, but it really didn’t matter deep down. Of course it would crop up in conversation at times, mainly from him because he felt like I needed to live my life and he tried to push me away at times, probably to protect me. In the week or so before he died, I had these feelings of wondering about the future. I feel guilty about that. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with him, I was just thinking about what it would look like and more and more recently he had said that if anything happened to him at home, that one of his children would inform me and that’s what happened.
In the couple of months before he died, he had mentioned an ache in his chest on and off, he never described it as a pain. He kept saying it was anxiety. He also had lost weight over a long period of time, but that is down to COPD. He also complained of indigestion. I asked him so many times to go to the Doctors and I offered to go with him. But he suffered from “white coat syndrome” and his blood pressure went up when he went to the Doctors. He did have to go periodically for check-ups relating to COPD, but he never liked discussing his health so I didn’t quiz him too much. The symptoms he was having are also similar to stage 3 of COPD, which I feel he was entering. The last conversation I had with him a few hours before he died, I asked him again had he been to the Doctors and he said “no, you know what men are like we don’t go”. He had never said that phrase before, but I just said I didn’t know what to say or do if he wasn’t going to go to the Doctors. After he passed away, I did find out that he had been to the Doctors a week earlier and he was scheduled to go into hospital for an operation to do with his COPD. I know for a fact he would have hated to go into hospital. He was the type of man who would not want to worry anyone - he was the same with his children. I was told he passed away peacefully in his chair, he had got up early hours of the morning and quite regularly he sat in his chair as more often, lying down proved difficult with breathing due to COPD.

I feel like there is such a huge void in my life now - I am also feeling guilty about whether I could have done anymore to help him. I never googled his symptoms, but would it have made a difference? I asked him time and time again to go to the Doctors. I do remember him telling me that when I met him 5 years ago, he said he probably only had about 5 years to live and that he wouldn’t live long enough for COPD to kill him. That sticks in my mind, but at the time, he seemed OK, not too unwell. In recent months, he had definitely started to struggle more, but he was the type of man to keep busy and doing things, without resting properly. He started to seem a bit frail somehow and was getting tired more quickly (again, due to COPD).

I know the age gap was big and some people have suggested that this was to be expected. I understand that, but I think if he had been a little more open about his health, it would have prepared me a bit better. I know that sounds selfish, but it was such a shock to receive the phone call to say he had passed away. I still feel a sense of shock now a month on.

I went to see him in the chapel of rest - that was a huge step for me to take having had a breakdown when I saw my Grandma 20 years ago. At that point, I wasn’t prepared at all for what I would see. However, having seen my partner, I felt shock at first when I looked at him - but I could see he looked very peaceful, which hopefully suggests that he didn’t suffer. I wrote down everything I wanted to say to him, including his favourite prayer and a poem he used to read. When I think about it, there was never anything else I wanted to say to him in life, I said everything I ever wanted to, which is good.
The funeral was much more difficult - I tried to keep it together as best I can, but at times I wept.

Now, a month on, I have had great support from family, friends and work colleagues. I have also started counselling last week. Although I am so grateful, I jut can’t get my head around the fact that physically, he is no longer here. We both shared a strong christian faith, and having visited his grave several times, I feel a sense of comfort when I’m there. I just sit on the grass next to the cross and talk to him. I just miss him greatly, every morning I feel like I’ve had my heart ripped out and after a split second of thinking everything is OK, I realise that he is no longer here.

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Feeling so low this morning. I should feel glad that we got back together at the end of March. Just never thought that three months later, K would be gone. I feel so alone at times, no children and feeling worried for the future.

I’m sorry for your loss. Nothing prepares you for this and there is nothing that you could have done.
We can all be stubborn and say we don’t need the doctors and think it’s nothing to worry about because usually it isn’t and we feel were wasting their time.
What you’re feeling is normal and you will have many good and bad days. Just embrace thee bad days and let them happen. You lost your love and the future you had planned, it’s not easy.

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Thanks for your message. I knew K was starting to struggle more and he wouldn’t have wanted to go to stage 4 of COPD, which involves basically being on oxygen most of the time and potentially in a hospice. He just kept going, I suggested he slow down but he didn’t listen. I feel frustrated with him for not looking after himself properly. But then I feel guilty for feeling like that. The void he’s left, not just for me, is simply huge.

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Totally get the frustration and then guilt. It does pass as you realise there’s no point to it as it won’t change anything.
I think I’ve had every emotion going and it’s never ending!


You’re right. When I go to his grave I realise that and can be at peace for a short time and then I start dwelling on things again. Ive always been someone who dwells on things, not helpful. K used to say not to own it if something bad happens. I understand what he meant, I let it consume me. I know exactly what he would be saying, he’d be saying c’mon, get on with it. Yes, he was a different generation to me and I suffer with depression and anxiety anyway. It’s 5 weeks today since I last saw him. It’s both dragged and passed by so quickly.

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@frances425 I can relate to how you are feeling, as I lost my darling husband in May and I seem to be spending all my time dwelling on the what ifs and why’s, I know we can’t change what has happened, and these feelings really are wasted emotions but we are what we are in our thoughts and I just hope as time goes on we will all feel better than we do right now :broken_heart:x

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So sorry for your loss Steffers. It’s definitely really hard to get out of the mindset. I’m hoping for some sort of wave of acceptance to wash over me. Wishful thinking I know.
I’m on leave from work at the moment but back next week. Hoping that’ll give me more of a structure. I could have worked this week but even though I’ve been back since K died, I’ve been exhausted, so balanced last week with counselling, meeting friends and going to the gym, as well as resting. We also should have been away last week but I couldn’t face going alone so I cancelled it.

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@frances425 I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my husband 7 months ago. I went to work on the Saturday and Sunday my son rang me to say dad had collapsed. Time I got home he was gone. I did CPR until the paramedics arrived. He was just 53 years old. He had undiagnosed kidney cancer which was in both kidneys. What a shock! For months I felt guilty that I didn’t notice that he had lost weight and was ill. He was still working until the day before. 20 months previously he had a 3 meter fall and smashed his elbow to pieces. I think this masked his symptoms. Sometimes I am like a old record repeating myself with the IFS, buts and only. Like @Ali29 said there nothing I can do about it now. I am finding some days are better than other days. I still cry every day and have the odd shout and scream. We have lost our soulmates and our future plans and dreams so we would feel like this. I been told that grief is like a roller coaster and some days are better than other days. Hopefully you have a lot of support from family and friends. Take one hour at a time.
Take care and big hugs xx

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@Hazel.1966 I’m so sorry to hear this, that must have been such a shock to say the least. What a horrendous thing to go through. You’re right, our soulmates have gone. I always felt so connected to K, more than with anyone else I’ve ever met in my life. For me, part of days are better than others at the moment. I think I’m still in the hour by hour mode. I’ve just had a crying fit, cuddling K’s dressing gown which is still hung up where it was left after he last wore it. I really feel like I need to pull myself together, but easier said than done. Just arranged to meet a friend for a walk this afternoon. I also have pet pigeons (two of which he gave me) so despite them not being cuddly pets, they are very friendly and give me some comfort. I hope you have a good support network around you as well, sending you hugs as well xxx

Woke up feeling so anxious this morning. I take 75mg Sertraline every day for anxiety and have been taking it for a few years. My partner was always determined I would not go back up to 100mg, he encouraged me endlessly and supported me. This morning, I have taken 100mg because the anxiety was just too much. I can’t believe I’ve lived just over a month without him. I know I only had a short relationship (4 and a half years) compared with some and naturally with the 31 year age gap, I guess logic meant he would go first, but I never thought about it much, I just enjoyed seeing him, speaking to him, learning from him. He was a very wise man in many ways. I miss him terribly. I’ve been doing some work from home this morning to distract myself. I’ll probably be on my own for much of today and tomorrow.
Also, this sounds selfish, but at 39, I have no children and no partner, I’m scared for the future. I have my Parents, Brother, Sister-in-Law, Nephew and Auntie and Uncle family wise, as well as cousins I don’t really see, but I’m genuinely frightened about my current situation. I’ve always been stupid enough to worry about what other people think. Last night, part of me was thinking maybe me and K shouldn’t have got back together in March, maybe we should have left things as friends. Having said that, the pull between us was just too strong, I would still have been heartbroken at his passing as we were best friends and always would have been.

5 weeks ago today since my partner left. I miss him so much, but he was released from his struggles with COPD. That’s me trying to be positive, but I am aware that it might not last.

Hi @frances425 , 5 weeks is such very early time in all this, I remember feeling completely lost, self doubt, crippling fear of the future, the list goes on. I had moments of questioning my relationship with my wife, we were very hermetic, a unit of self reliance and reflection. I even questioned at times if she really loved me! As time has went on these questions have seemed to resolve themselves somewhat, moments came back that gave me confidence in our relationship, that we had loved each other and that everything we had done had orbited around that fact. Your partner very obviously cared for and loved you and from what you write you very obviously returned that care and love. And that’s something that will never leave you, the care and love you had for each other. It was very painful for me at the beginning, to have lost so much, my world, but now I can see it as the most beautiful thing I’ve ever had, her love. And it helps me now to know that, I will always carry that with me, and so she and we will go on. Things for me came in waves, and I wont kid you on it’s very hard and overwhelming at times, but it ebbs and flows. I’ve learned to be patient in the moments of doubt and sadness and to let myself find relief in the moments of stabilty. For me this ebb and flow has progressed naturally, the times of darkness got shorter and less intense, the times of stabilty got longer and now I can smile, find joy. I never thought I’d be writing that when I was where you are. I found this site helped enormously in ways I’m still comprehending, understanding myself, who I am now. Be patient and kind to yourself, it’s easy to be unsure of where you might end up, youre in a unique space with no sign posts. We’re here to help you find your way.

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