My friend said I've changed

My husband died in October 2014 and I have found it difficult to cope. I am still profoundly unhappy and taking antidepressants for the first time in my life. In conversation with my best friend of over 40 years last night she said ‘you are not yourself’ and that I am ‘different’. I said that this was how I am now and that possibly I would never be that person again because the focus of my life is now gone. I know that I have to live through this, but I feel that she was judging me and I was coming up short. Not moving on. Not coping. It upset me a great deal as if this is something I can just get over like an illness. How do I deal with that.

Hi Vicki,

Welcome to the Sue Ryder Online Community. I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your husband and how you are struggling. You’re right that a bereavement like this does change you. Some people find it helpful to think that, no, you don’t “get over it”, but you can learn to grow your life around your grief and find ways to live alongside it.

I’m really sorry that you felt judged by your friend - do you think that she meant it as a criticism, rather than a sympathetic observation? Unfortunately, the users on this site do sometimes find that friends are not as understanding as they had hoped. It can be hard for people who haven’t been through the same thing to truly understand what it is like, perhaps because grief isn’t much talked about in our society.

If she is a good friend, it can help to be as open as possible about what you are feeling rather than trying to put on a brave face. It sounds as though you gave her a really honest answer, I hope she takes on board what you’ve said.

I’m glad that you’ve found this site, and I hope that it helps a bit to be able to share things openly here. You will find that you are not alone in much of what you are going through. For example, Woody posted recently about an unsympathetic remark from his daughter, who told him to “snap out of it” after he lost his wife: https://support.sueryder.org/community/life-after-bereavement/losing-my-wife?page=1#post-8815

If you have any questions about this site, or there is anything I can help with, please let me know.

Priscilla
Community Manager

Hello Vicky I am replying to your post because my husband also died three years ago in August 2014. I have friends who have not gone through this nightmare who think I should be singing and dancing in the streets and enjoying my different life. Well I tell them they have no idea of what they are talking about, no-one does until it happens to them. I get sick of putting on a brave face because everyone thinks that after three years I should have ‘got over it’, well I can tell you I have not got over it. I think about my husband all the time. We were together for 50 years, he was 18 when I met him and he died 50 years later to the exact day I met him. I watch our wedding video, play our music and look at photos, I have a loving family but they are not my husband as they have their own lives to live, I want my life back as it was and I can’t have it. We had a German Shepherd dog called Barney and if it had not been for him I would not have got through these last three years without him because I had to get up in a morning to see to him. Yesterday morning I came downstairs at 6 am and found him laying in his bed and he refused to get up, so I called for the Pet Ambulance and got him to the hospital where they did tests and found he had cancer and heart failure and they put him to sleep whilst I was holding him. There had been no signs at all he was ill, the vet said, Barney would not have known he was ill as there would have been no symptoms until the tumour burst and bled into his heart valves. I came down this morning to an empty house for the first time in 53 years and I am lost, lonely and absolutely heartbroken. I am now 74 years old, all my old family of the past have died, so there is only me, our sons and grandchildren who I see every two weeks for a short time. I just miss me and Peter doing our own thing, side by side as we always have done. Nothing will ever be the same again and to be honest, I absolutely hate it. I am not afraid of dying because my husband and family will all be there waiting for me as I am a great believer in the after-life. You do what you have to do to get through one day at a time, and after three years that is what I still do. You can’t forget or move on from the one person who was half of you, it is impossible. When you make your wedding vows, it states ‘until death do us part’, as far as I am concerned. even in death we are still married.
You now know you are not alone and if you need to talk, just leave a message. Lots of love Sheila xxxxx

Hello,

Thank you for replying. I too have a much loved dog called Polly, a Cavapoo, a cross between a Cavalier Spaniel and a Poodle. I don’t know how I would have survived without her. The only reason to get up is to let her out and take her for a walk. I dread losing her. I feel such sympathy for you losing Barney. I don’t know how I’ll copy when Polly’s time comes. She is my link with my husband too.

I have two sons and 3 grandchildren and they are very loving but as you say, not my husband. I was doing a lot better last year, but over the winter it sort of sunk in that this situation is relentlessly going to go on forever. The missing of him is crippling. I don’t want to join classes or go walking or join U3A as suggested by my eldest son. I want my life back.

I know that it is nearly 3 years, in October, but every day is just plain awful. I put on a front but inside I feel no better than just after he died. We were together 49 years, married for 48, and I am lost.

Nobody understands unless they have been through it. My friend has been a real source of strength to me, but she shocked me when she sort of implied that she thought I would be stronger and that I should somehow snap out of it.

I try not to wallow in it. I try to be normal. I too feel that I am still married.

Thanks again for your reply.

Love

Vicki xxx

Oh Vicki, your life sounds so much like mine, we were married for 47 years and together for 50 when he died. Barney was Peter’s dog, I fed him and took him for walks because Peter wasn’t up to it, but Barney always was with Peter. Then when he died, me and Barney were together nearly 24/7, if I went out it was only for a couple of hours as I didn’t like leaving him for long. If I hadn’t had to get up for him every morning after Peter died, I would not be here now, I would have stayed in bed.

We also have two sons and three grandchildren with another on the way next year and our sons keep telling me to join this, and join that. I don’t want to join anything thank you, I just wish they would let me get on with it in my own way.

I have a friend like yours, she says move on Sheila but I say, when it happens to you shall I tell you to move on, and until you lose your husband you don’t know what you are taking about.

Vicki, as far as I am concerned, I am still married, my name is still Mrs. I wear my wedding ring and now my husbands wedding ring. I will be married to my husband until the day we meet again and no-one is going to tell me any different.

Too many people have their own ideas of what you should be feeling but I don’t care, I will feel like I want to feel and if I am still grieving after nearly three years then it shows just how much I loved my husband. Now I have lost our Barney everything seems so pointless, he kept me going for three years so what do I do now, get up each morning and do what, no dog hairs to vacuum up, no pet to feed and make sure he has his water, no tripping over him because he was a massive GSD and took the whole of the floor up where we sat. Even today when I stood up from the kitchen table, I moved my legs to make sure I didn’t knock him, but he wasn’t there so the tears started again.

I wish I wasn’t here anymore all I want is my husband and Barney, nothing else matters. Whether it is three years or until I die, I will never, ever get over losing my husband, and now Barney has also gone I just feel so empty inside and to be honest
nothing matters. I have a gardener who cuts my hedges as I have a garden to three sides of my house, I look after the flower borders and the flower tubs only because Barney was by my side and I enjoyed being out with him but to have to go out in the garden pottering about or sitting in a garden chair no longer holds any appeal to me. I don’t see a soul from one day to the next as all my neighbours are out working. Our sons ring me or text me to see if I am okay and I see them every couple of weeks when they bring our grandchildren to see me. I need to get a life of my own, but I only want the life I don’t have. I thank god I am in my 70’s because so many young women on the site are so much younger than me and have so many years facing them without their husband.

Keep your chin up Vicki and look after your little furry one and we will get through this on a day by day basis, looking towards the future without Peter scares the living daylights out of me, so I stay in the past a lot when we were all together and happy and take each day as it comes.

Love Sheila xx

Hi Vicki, my husband and soulmate died 18 December 2013 and I am still struggling, it was sudden. My friend of 40 years said to me the other week “I’m not being funny but I thought you’d have been feeling better by now”! I was so close to telling her where to go. We will never be the same I can’t move on and have not only lost my husband but I have lost my future, we were planning to sell up and move to Lanzarote and enjoy ourselves, we didn’t have any children. I thought my friends would have been understanding and there for me but I feel I have become a chore for them so I am distancing myself from them. I am planning on moving away from the town I have lived in for 50 years to make a fresh start. Deal with your grief the best way you can and don’t be rushed into doing something you are not ready to do. It took me three years to sort my husband’s clothes out, someone told me to get rid of them after 6 months! People don’t understand, I am also hurt at my friends responses and will never be the same with them again. Big hugs xx

Hi Vicky, I was thinking about you and just wanted to catch up and have a natter. It is a lonely existence so if you ever need to talk just email or message me. We are all in the same boat albeit, we are further down the line than some other lovely people on here but we still feel the same heartache as if it happened yesterday. I don’t think any amount of time will prepare us for the lonely future ahead, in fact I still live day to day. What I have started doing since Barney died two weeks ago is getting my clothes ready on an evening to go out the morning after, all hung up, shoes, tops, trousers etc. etc. because I know for a fact if I didn’t do it I would not leave the house in the morning as I could not be bothered getting them out of the wardrobe. I make a list, ring for a taxi, I can’t abide going on the bus and making small talk and I don’t drive either so I always get a taxi to town and back. I start at the top of town and work my way to the bottom, popping into the shops I want, no deviating from my route and then ring for a taxi home again. I get in the front door, lock it and get changed. I do online shopping as I cannot stand pushing a trolley round a supermarket. If you need to talk you know where I am. Love Sheila xxxx

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