No reward for good behaviour

I seem to have had a bad week - lots of tears and feeling so sorry for myself. But over the last 12 weeks I have made some progress - I can now look at recent pictures of Gary and I sit and talk to him in his music room. But as I talk to the photo that looks like he is really looking back I find myself thinking that I have done so well and I deserve to get him back now. But of course that will not happen - I know that.

Throughout our lives we are reward driven - everything we do seems to offer a reward at the end of it. The more effort we put into making a meal the nicer it is, good behaviour as a child often results in a treat, working hard at school the exam results you obtain, the harder you work hopefully promotion and a better salary. It conditions us to thinking that the more we try the better the end result. But not this time and it is so hard to come to terms with. No matter how well we do there is no reward this time.

When I look back on my posts, I can see I have made some progress, but it is oh so slow and there are still so many things I cannot do. I cannot listen to any kind of music, I cannot go where we went together, I cannot go to our holiday home, I cannot watch the tv programmes we watched together, I cannot plan more than a couple of days ahead. I hope to do all of those things in time - but when, I have no idea.

I loved him completely and utterly for nearly all my life - he was my life and so I have to learn to make a new one. Sometimes I think yes I can do this and other times I just hide from any thoughts as they are just too painful.

I have at last gone back to work and am increasing my hours next week. I know I can do that and it will be a little bit more time I am distracted and less time thinking. I so want to enjoy life again and I know he would want me to, and I suppose I am starting to enjoy little snippets like driving my new car, like looking at the garden which due to my hard work is looking better than it ever has, talking to friends and laughing at silly things, it all helps. But that loneliness I am not sure will ever go away - I just need to learn to live with it.

My rewards now are the signs that seem to indicate he is still here and looking over me, the picture of him that suddenly popped up on my phone, the romantic birthday card I found in a pile of household manuals, the white feather in the hedge the day after I cut it again, the cocktail sticks he cleaned his pipe out with and which were the bane of my life - just appearing on the floor. When you have a relationship that you believe to be so special - how can that end.

Thank you for listening. My adult children are wonderful - but they would not understand this ‘conversation’. I know weekends can be particularly hard - so sending everyone a hug that needs it.

Trisha xx


Hi.Trisha. Oh how I feel as you do. Yes, there is that faint glimmer of light. A faint hope it will come right, but it can never be the same again. No way!
I honestly believe they are still with us, and I feel so often some guidance. Years ago I asked someone about death and where we went. He was a wise old guy and said’, But where would I go? Here of course where else’. I believe they are very much here and taking care. Another dimension to which we have no access, maybe.
In this society we avoid talking about death as much as possible. That’s why you are right, no one would understand our ‘conversations’ except on here.
Difficult and hard times, yes. But I like to think everything has a purpose. I know that I’m a lot more tolerant than I was, and so much more understanding.
We all have our way of coping. I often sit and just think of good times. Then I get a bit sad and have a cry. Yup, guys do cry!!!
On this site we can express our emotions without fear of judgement or criticism. I think it’s so important to let emotions out. If we try the ‘stiff upper lip’ approach it will end in anxiety. What people think matters not one jot. Provided we do what we do with love then it’s ok. No one gets hurt. All we ask for is love and understanding, but it’s not always forthcoming.
Life is hard at times, and people can be hard and hurt us. But we have to avoid creeping into our shell to avoid pain. What has happened has, and there’s noting we can do about it.
But one thing we can do is to ask what would they have wanted for us? To be miserable? Oh Trisha, it’s so difficult isn’t it? I have good friends around me but it still hurts a lot.
I agree. It seems life is all about rewards. Getting better. Achieving more. Being good and honest and kind, but still expecting a reward of some sort. When we do things from unconditional love then rewards just don’t matter at all.
Now take care Trisha. I love your posts so keep coming. And a big hug to you.

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Hi Trisha
Big hugs to you too. I think you and I are at a similar time on this awful journey of grief. My Harry always talked about journeys in life and so that’s how I like to think about it although I’m not sure my journey is going to end or at least that’s how it feels.
The tears are flowing again for me and I had been thinking I had had a good week. I managed to go through the door at work this week and have sorted out going back.
I’m moving house this next week to live closer to my daughter, mum, friends and work but it means I’m leaving ‘our home’. Harry told me to do it and joked with me about it before he died so I feel I have his blessing and know he will be with me but it feels so final all over again.
I’ve got my favourite photo of Harry in the kitchen and talk to him. I can’t bear to pack him up yet but can hear him telling me not to forget him ! As if I ever could …

Hi Trisha, I enjoyed reading your post and understand what you say about rewards. For myself, I look forward to my reward for grieving for my mother, talking to her, confessing to her and hope soon that my reward will be to be at peace.

…i too went through that " reward " period…I found several items we had bought when on our early dating holidays that had been hidden in the kitchen cupboard that i brought out and placed around the living room, the Dartington crystal, the Portmeirion china, we had bought back home as our holiday souvenirs…the three miniature floral vases i had just bought…i just wanted to make the home look pleasing for when Richard next comes through that door…of course he ( Richard ) never came…
Oh yes, the photographs that the eyes are upon us, same with the photos of my-our three fur-babies, i placed Richards photo nearest to his " favourite dog, he would tell me all three were just as much his favourites " but i knew different…I often talk to the photos and tell all four that i miss each and every one of them, and i tell Richards " favourite fur-baby that Richard ( his photo, not his ashes ) is right beside him…
Trisha, i am sure it feels better being back to work if only to clear your mind for those few hours…


I meant to have added, all four sets of eyes are looking straight at me…


I lost my partner suddenly in May so I am at the same stage as you. I have managed to visit a couple of places where we had gone together which took courage and wasn’t particularly enjoyable but was a huge milestone for me. I have been back to work a month but It is quite a solitary job and feel I now need to find the courage to find something different. I still cry lots and talk to the photos of my partner and everyday I write a journal as if I am talking to him. I like you lost my partner suddenly he was only 51 and nothing could of prepared me and my son for the shock of losing him. Some days are better than others. I feel like you where is the reward for good behaviour?? Life certainly is a journey. Unfortunately this wasn’t part of the journey I had planned. Life is certainly full of twists and turns and at the moment seems so unfair. I try to be positive but it takes a tremendous amount of effort but we must remain strong for our family.

Much love

Now I know why I have come back to the forum. You understand, simple as that and we all have the same intense feelings and try to find some comfort the best way we can.
I was asked last week where I went for my holidays. I couldn’t even think of going on holiday without Brian. We did a lot of travelling, he loved it, but now it’s a no, no for me. We went out for a meal once every week, I have tried once but it’s not the same sat there alone. Last Saturday they had an open day and show at the allotment. I went along as they was presenting a trophy in Brian’s name but how I struggled with so many people being near. Then a couple of singers started playing and as Brian was in a group this completely finished me. I went to my own plot and sobbed. Like you Trisha there is still so much I can’t do but plenty that Brian and I shared that I still enjoy. I do not join groups or clubs, not really my thing anyway. Today I worked on our garden. I had let it go a bit and I love gardening but I remembered how last year we was working together, how we sat on the patio for the last time together, the last time Brian went outdoors. I am considering a re-vamp through the winter months perhaps that will help.
So hard but I will not give up and search for that peace, and promise Brian I will one day remember our time together with happiness and not the sadness and tears.
Good luck

Pat xxxx

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Hi Jackie, how do you know that Richard hasn’t been through your door. I know without a doubt that Brian has been in our house. So keep it nice for him with the familiar souvenirs
Yes I have photo’s of Brian all around the house and can feel his eyes watching me. I wonder if this is the right thing to do because just turning and catching his eye can be upsetting at times. I place a vase of flowers near one of Brian’s photo’s. They are from the garden or allotment, nothing special, simple, but what he liked. I let him know that he is still a big part of this house and my life.
Take care

Pat xxx

…I know Richard has been helping me in doing the paperwork, he is still looking after me…just strange things happening that are out of the ordinary…


Yes Jackie your right. I know Brian is on the allotment with me and has been to the house and been quite explicit in dreams, always telling me something. We cling to their visits, don’t we.
Last week I was on the allotment and didn’t really feel like being bothered. I had no energy, then I went onto Brian’s plot (he still has his name on it) and suddenly I was energised and spend two hours working really hard. I couldn’t believe the change in me. I was certain it was Brian telling me to get on with his plot as there was weeding to do. He’s all heart !!!
Take care
Pat xxxxxx

…bless him, seems your Brian is still cracking the whip…he wants to see his allotments thriving in the manner that he looked after his plot…Pat, I know you wont let him down…


Your right Jackie, no I won’t let him down. I’m always aware that when I work at the allotment I am trying to make it nice for him. That he is there keeping an eye on me. I’m always putting my tools down and then can’t find them. He told me repeatedly never to touch his tools as he was so fussy about them. I still haven’t touched any of them and if I go to I can hear him warning me to leave them alone. I still haven’t sorted out his shed on the allotment, I can’t bear the thought. Silly isn’t it because I sorted out all his things at home.
Take care Jackie, always thinking of you Pat xxx

… yes the shed, this is the one thing left that i will be needing help with, the clearing out of Richards shed, then anything not needed someone to take it to the tip, not something i can do, no car and my MS illness…
I seem to be on an extra downer today, as been sorting all out for my future but the future what i am really wanting is my old-my past future, the one i cant have…think the reality is hitting me today, once again…


Dear Alice

I apologise for not replying to your post - I have increased my hours at work and at least I have less time to think and less time on the forum. The journeys there and back are the worse and often cry - but that was because we used to chat on handsfree - and I miss that so much. Even after 40 years we could still talk and talk…

I hope your move goes well and going back to work too - it is all so hard without them but your Harry will be with you wherever you go.
Sending a hug and let me know how it goes.
Trisha xx

Dear Heartbreak

I admire your courage in visiting places you went together - I have only just managed the supermarket where we shopped together every week - and hurry round head down as I do not want to be asked where I have been. As for the pleasant things in life - restaurants, our holiday home, garden centres are still all out of bounds for me. I hope to have the courage soon and go there and remember the happy times - but like last week - this has been a bit of a weepy one, Work has helped but some seem to think I should be fully functioning so the pressure is already being added. I will however only do what I can - I have realised that life is too short and wish I had cut my hours down before to be with my husband more - and I regret that now.

This was not our planned journey either and when I cry I find myself saying how this is not fair. Just like everyone here I guess.

Back to my lists and getting through the day by filling it so I do not have much time to think.

Take care


Thank you Pat- so pleased to see you are back on the forum - you helped me so much in the early days.

I am planning a few days away with my daughter - having decided I could not face the cruise Gary and I had booked. We are not going far and it is only for a few days. It is somewhere I had not been with Gary so feel I can cope with that and I have been away with just her before when he had a boys holiday with our son. It is the coming home to the empty house that is the hardest and the thought I must tell Gary - and writing about it in my journal is just not the same.

I am pleased you are planning things in your allotment. It is a sign that there is a glimmer of positivity. I have promised myself a dog when I retire in about three years - a long time to wait but could not have a dog when working full days.

Not much gardening today as the weather here is not good - but I bought a lovely wind spinner which I will place out there soon,

Take care and sending you a hug.

Trisha xx

Hi Trisha, well done on the few days away, not sure I could cope at the moment. Brian and I travelled quite a bit, Brian loved travelling but I wasn’t so fond of it. Terrible traveller and couldn’t bear to go abroad without him now, hated the airports anyway. Without Brian with me, think I would become too stressy. Think that part of my life is over now, nice while it lasted.
What I would really like to do is go to a Retreat where you can relax with nature and just be quiet, possibly meditate. Not a health spa or anything like that. Anyone else tried this!!! I have my dogs though and I can’t bear the thought of being away from them. My best friends and comfort blankets. Perhaps a local break not too far from home with my best friends and then I can run for home if it get’s too much. We camped, only locally but it was a change at the weekends. Camping stuff in the loft, never to be used again, by me anyway.
Enjoy your break

Pat xxx

Hello Trisha, I have had so much trouble going into the supermarket. I ended up crying everytime and we didn’t shop together as I am not a happy shopper and Brian would take himself off to the local coffee shop until I had finished. Going up to town on the bus is another thing that brings on the tears. In the square I search for him as this is where we used to meet up. Restaurants, cafe’s, pubs where we went for a meal once a week all a no, no now. Holidays will probably never happen again, can’t imagine not being with Bri. My life is different now in some ways yet the same in many others. I will accept what life offers me and have to be grateful…
Love Pat xxxx

…getting back to work was taking one gentle step at a time, and how proud your Gary would be to know that you took it…yes one short step at a time…