My mind is elsewhere.

I don’t know if this has happened to other people. I lost my husband over three years ago and ever since then my concentration has gone to pot I cannot stay in the moment, I am always one step ahead, thinking about the next thing to do instead of what I am doing now.

After Peter died I could not concentrate on anything, reading, watching television etc. I still have not touched a book in over three years as I stay on the same page and loose the story line as my mind keeps wandering. I am okay watching television though.

I went out yesterday and got the bus into the town’s bus station. I was on autopilot, not living in the moment but planning on which bank was the nearest, so I was not concentrating on the matter in hand. I wanted to use the toilet but I ended up putting 20p in the gate and walking into the Men’s toilets. A man came out and said, I think you are in the wrong place love.

I then went to the bank, I went in, thinking about having coffee and a cake and walked up to a machine, put my card in and whistles went off and it gave my card back to me. Everyone was staring and a member of staff came up to me and asked me if there was a problem, I said I just want to draw some cash out and she said, you are using the wrong machine, this is for deposit’s. There was a large sign over the machine stating that. If I had my mind of what I was doing then I would have known. I bet she was thinking, poor old lady.

I told my friend and she said she is just the same, she can no longer concentrate on more than one thing at a time since her husband died, she has taught herself to deal with what she is doing now and stop thinking about what need’s doing next.

I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t because I am not concentrating on what I am doing, it is because I am not interested in what I am doing, so go wandering off willy nilly.

I used to love window shopping with Peter, we always bought something, had lunch, he took photos of certain types of buses, he was a transport enthusiast, we even bought a cup of coffee and sat on a wall near the park, but now it is down to town, do what I have to and go home again.

I open my front door and don’t want to give myself time to feel the emptiness in the house so I call out I am home love, or hello I am back.

When I go out with our family I am okay, it is just when I am alone that I think of everything apart from what I am doing.

I hope it gets better because even after losing Peter over three years ago, going to town has become a chore, there is nothing there for me, in fact wherever I go alone, there is nothing there for me.

I just wondered if anyone else finds this when they go out alone.

Regards.

Sheila xx

Hello, Sheila. Your post interested me because I am behaving in the same way. The other day I set off to catch the bus, just to get out for a couple of hours. As the bus arrived I panicked about whether or not I had left any taps running or anything plugged in to the electrics. So I turned tail and went back home only to find everything was in order. The bus only runs every two hours so I abandoned the idea and went for a walk instead. This is only one of many silly things I am doing, and although I do feel sorry for you, it is a relief that I am not alone.

Bill has now been gone for nine months and I don’t feel any better. I had six weekly sessions with a Cruse counsellor but to be honest, although she was a very nice lady, it hasn’t done much for me. It’s the loneliness I cannot stand and, like you, my family have gone back to their own lives, expecting me to do the same. I don’t have a life any more, only a day to day existence made worse by my living in sheltered accommodation where I cannot even get a cat for company.

I am thinking of moving to somewhere where pets are allowed as I’m sure I would at least have some company. Since Monday, I have seen only two other residents and then only to pass the time of day or comment on the weather,

Where do we go from here. I keep saying a little prayer that my dodgy heart will give up but it still goes on, and when I wake up in the morning my first thought is that I am still alive and facing another lousy day.

Sorry I haven’t been able to say anything cheerful but you and I seem to think along the same lines so it’s easy to have a moan with you.

I hope we will feel a little better once we see an end to this awful weather, although nothing will take away the pain of losing my husband.

Take care. Eileen xxx

Hello Eileen, I am so glad I am not alone. Like I said in my comments, I honestly don’t think we have lost our concentration as such, I think it is because the things we are doing don’t matter anymore so we cannot put our minds to it.

I agree, where do we go from here, I seem to spend all my time with widows, even the friendship group I go to every month are widows or widowers and that is keeping us from accepting our new lives and moving on, but I don’t know what the answer is.

When I go out with our family, I am the one that is put in the middle of our grandchildren, and am now given our new baby to feed whilst their parents talk. I want adult conversation but I think they think they are doing me a favour. I love our grandchildren but I am still the same girl who used to dance until 1 am in the morning at the Mecca Locarno, win a jive competition dancing with a Teddy Boy (remember them) at Butlin’s holiday camp in the late 1950’s. I don’t want to be this old woman who has still the mind of a teenager and loves rock ‘n’ roll I want my old life back and I want Peter back and it is never going to happen, so we plod on.

Thank goodness I love computers, because if I didn’t have those and be able to do so many things on them I think I would have gone doolally by now.

One of our sons rang me last night, the first time I had heard his voice in two weeks. Our other son has not telephone me in two weeks either. The only voices I hear are the postman, the shop assistants and the taxi driver. I have not seen my neighbours for goodness knows how long.

I got a text from one of our sons telling me that he is staying over at the weekend, not one phone call for two weeks, then a text message. The week after I am childminding at the week-end again and the week after I am throwing our grandsons birthday party as their parents have moved into their new home so it is not ready to throw a party and they are all staying over.

I have started to add dates to my calendar as there are a few trips lined up at the Friendship group so I am going on them all otherwise I will be booked up for childminding and won’t be able to go on them.

I get my permanent teeth next month then I won’t have to go back to the hospital anymore, they leave you on their books for six months in case of minor alterations if they rub and cause sore spots but then that is it.

Yes it is a life we never thought we would have, we never thought about death until Peter got this lung disease and even then, I never thought there would come a day when he would not be here and I would be left alone after all those years together. I still can see him, as clear as day, when we met when he was 18 years old stood in front of me on the dance floor asking me to dance and I knew he was the one right from the start. I never knew a broken heart would hurt so much and never stop hurting.

In fact our son, his wife and their new little Alfie Peter are spending their holiday there this year as they don’t want to take him abroad as he is too young. Even our eldest son, when he is working down there always get’s a hotel near where we used to stay and he does the same walk we always did when they were tiny little children. I have pictures of me pushing a Silver Cross Pram with both John and Mark in it when they were babies, 1970 and 1973 so many years ago. Remember the Broderie Anglais sun canopies for the pram and the large under pram basket that held so much stuff.

Oh what fantastic memories we had. I just wish we could do it all again but as long as I have got my mind still intact, I can close my eyes and be anywhere I want to be in the past.

Well, I am going to change my bed and get some washing out. Another exciting day, I don’t think. It is blowing a gale here, the sun is shining so they will dry quickly.

Bye bye for now, and take care of yourself, it is such a pity that you cannot have pets, when will these places realise that lonely people need something to love when they are left on their own, something to take care of again.

That is why I am staying put in my too large a home, I can do what I want, when I want, and have as many pets as I want, if I wanted them, I have a massive garden and every single nook and cranny of my home and garden holds memories. Our pets that died, dog’s, cat’s, love-birds, tortoise, goldfish, apart from our Barney are buried in our back garden under a massive lilac tree. I have saved our Barney’s ashes and they will be scattered with Peter’s and my ashes in Devon where we spent our holidays from the day we got married.

Take care Eileen, I am always thinking about you.

Love

Sheila xxx

I must apologise Eileen, the paragraph about the Silver Cross pram should have followed the paragraph about our son going to Devon for their holidays this year. There I went again, nattering on willy nilly and getting things out of context.

Love Sheila

I went out last week to buy a new washing up bowl and came back with a bra!!! Brain fog or what I think we go about daily chores but our minds are always on our loved ones. It’s over 4 years for me and it’s not getting any easier I had a tooth out a couple of weeks ago and had a gum infection which I had to take antibiotics for which made me feel awful I felt really sorry for myself and just wanted Brett here to give me a big hug and make me a cup of tea or one of his lovely hot toddies. Sadly he’s not. Not feeling well exacerbates the feeling of loneliness and seems to make everything worse. Easter Sunday I spent washing and ironing instead of cooking a nice leg of lamb with all the trimmings like I used to. Time doesn’t heal it just softens the really hard edges. Big hugs to all Marilyn x

Hello Marilyn. I did exactly the same a few weeks ago and ended up in the men’s toilet. I don’t think we are suffering from lack of concentration I think it is because we are no longer interested in what we are doing. I have now got a frozen shoulder and cannot lift my right arm. I spent Easter childminding then today I cleaned all the rooms from top to bottom it was agony with my shoulder. I have now got a birthday party to put on next week-end for our grandsons.

Terrible weather, snowing, raining and icy cold.

Fed up.

Big hugs to you too Marilyn.

Love Sheila

Hi Sheila I think you’re right my interest in everything has gone I just plod on, I hope that shoulder gets better soon I’m sure we’d all feel slightly lifted with blue skies and a bit of sunshine. Congratulations by the way on becoming a mentor a great choice you are perfect for the role. Hope the party goes OK Take care love Marilyn xx

Thank you Marilyn. that is very kind of you. My shoulder is killing me. I can’t even lift my arm above my waist, I have to use my left arm to put in my eye drops, what a mess.

Bless you I recommend a month in the Bahamas I’ll come with you for company x

Let’s make it three months, I would be on for that. xx

Off to pack! I x

I don’t suppose there is anything stopping usxxxxxx

I cannot cope at all I don’t even know how I’m going to survive

Yes , I’m the same . Lost my 17 yr old son almost 3 years ago. I can still enjoy things sometimes but I find that I need more stimulus than before . It has to be an exceptional book to retain my interest for more than a few pages . I used to get through about 4 a month . Its a constant I internal battle to stay mentally occupied and to resist the ever present urge to think about maudlin stuff . That said I like to talk to Nick whether in the car or at home . Some of that I find cathartic but it’s obviously overlaid with sadness and grief as he isn’t here . Its not quite so sharply painful as it was in the immediate aftermath of his death but it’s always there and I know it’ll be with me for the rest of my life . I don’t think there is a solution or an answer .I think people like us just have to accept that our lives have been changed for ever and continue to try and get the most and best out if it that we can , as I’m sure that’s what Nick would want me to do, and for the sake of our friends and family as well as ourselves . Paul

Hello Paul, I totally understand what you are saying and to lose a child does not bear thinking about. I hope and pray that I die before any of my children or grandchildren, I don’t want to live a long life and see my family go before me. My mum lost her daughter, my sister, to cancer only a few years after losing our dad and it was the most terrible time imaginable, but I had my wonderful husband to lean on but now he has also gone and all I am left with are memories.

Yes, I agree, time does dim the pain as the years go by but we never forget our loved ones, we are facing a future without them and they don’t have a future. I still cry for my husband, for when we were young so many years ago. Sometimes I wonder if I cry for myself or cry because he is not here, it is all mixed up in my mind. I do tend to live in the past, I think any person in their 70’s who has lost their partner of many years thinks about what was and now what is. I was lucky, I had a wonderful childhood, albeit in the 1940’s when there was not much money about, but we had plenty of love and food on the table. Then I met my husband who gave me a fantastic life so really, I should thank my lucky stars as many people, especially on this website have never come close to having that because they have lost their children, or lost their partners when they were young.

I do try and think positive but I have lost the spark I used to have, I don’t laugh anymore, I just put on an act when my family is there and it is so tiring.

But, this is now my life and I have got to live it as best I can because there is nothing else I can do. I don’t know how long I have left on this earth, no-one knows that so I get up each morning and do what needs doing and that is it.

Please take care, I hope, with all of my heart we find peace one day.

Sheila x