I lost my husband 12 weeks ago to a sudden catastrophic heart attack first thing in the morning in the bed next to me and it is truly the most terrible trauma and grief I have ever experienced. I relive the event every morning. However because of massively supportive friends and family and continual busyness, I am beginning to pick up a little. One of the things that is helping is planning an exciting holiday later in the year and another one next year - new places with no bittersweet memories…Just thought I would share this because I think that although you never really get over the loss of a partner, maybe you can learn to live round it…I am hoping so anyway…

Well done Mrsmap, you are making great moves to pick up what can only be called, a sort of life. At the moment I can’t even think about a holiday but I think whatever makes you feel alive is good. I do so like your wording ‘learning to live around it’ I will remember this when people ask me how I’m doing. I have been told, I’m strong and coping well. I’m positive. when I’m just going through each day and giving myself a challenge, just like you, keeps me focused. I don’t want to feel like this for the rest of my life,and it’s up to me to do something about it.

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It is so hard; there is no going back but our partners would want us to live our lives. For me, while I cling to the familiar, I also feel a good way forward might be to try new experiences. There are times though when I still go into meltdown- as when I started sorting clothes out…It seemed as if a life was being consigned to a bin bag. I have had to back off from that - obviously not ready for that yet…Sending you every good wish for strength to travel on this new road…

Well said,Pattidot !!! Your last sentence is simple, to the point and inspiring. You should have it made into a fridge magnet and sent to every bereaved person. That’s my philosophy down to a T. I’ve had more than my fair share of bereavement in my life and have learned that “wallowing in self-pity” is a bad thing, and the sooner You “get on with life” the sooner You come to terms with it. I lost my Mum to Cancer in 1958 (3 days after my 9th birthday) when She was 36, lost my first Wife to ARDS in 1983, aged 30, My last Wife in July last year (4 days after my 69th birthday) to Mesothelioma, then my Cousin (who was my role model in life) last November to Cancer. (He outlived His 3 siblings who I wasn’t very close to, sadly.) So I think that I can speak with a degree of authority on the subject.

Mrsmap, You also deserve merit for Your attitude. My Wife told me before She went that She wanted me to get on with things. She beat the odds by just over 2 months and had already organised Her “Celebration of Life” (I hate the word “Funeral”) to the last letter and had given a lot of Her valuables to various friends and relatives. My Step-Daughter and Sister-in -Law sorted all her clothes, toiletries and jewellery out and took it all away the day after the service. There are still one or two items of Hers in the bungalow that I’ll probably keep for ever and I have several nice pictures of Her in various places, but my most treasured things I have in my head and my heart, fond memories that will stay with me for a lifetime.I promised myself "New Year-new start, and that’s what I’ve done, exactly as She wished, and I think that I’m in a good place now, I’m even considering moving house to be nearer to two of my Daughters who live on the South Coast.

Oh tell me about having to sort things. My husband was a major hoarder. I never guessed as everything looked so tidy. The room he kept for his art/photography/music/computers was a nightmare. It took me five weeks and did I cry as I did it. I too had to stop and go back another time. When I had done that I got into the loft for the first time in our thirty years of marriage. I’ve already done three loads to the tip, and charity shop visits and more to come. I found paperwork and photo’s from long before we met. I have had to burn them and already had four bonfires, which makes me feel terrible as I’m burning his past but who will ever want old paperwork/wage packets/photo’s of people that I’ve never seen before, some I have, but long since gone. I feel he must hate me if he’s watching what I’m doing, he never would let me near his things as I’m a de-clutterer, now I know why he kept me away. I managed his clothes as they was tidy but he had so much but usually kept to wearing the same things all the time. Last week I sold his guitars, other musical instruments gone to auction and his electric bike sold to a neighbour. No good keeping them to go back in the loft. Last week I went into his shed, another forbidden area, here we go again!!! Patio full of bags awaiting another trip to the tip. I too have meltdowns, just stop and give yourself time and start again another day. Hopefully it will come to an end one day and I won’t have to feel so guilty…
I too cling to the familiar, leading very much the same life as we did together. I’m also making myself do things that I don’t think I can manage, but do get a buzz when I cope.

LuciferSam you certainly have had such loss in your life and you will give us such encouragement with your positive attitude. It certainly gives me hope that I will come through this grief, which is just four months old. My husband told me just before he died that I must marry again as I’m such a good wife. Well that’s certainly not on the card but I know it’s no good wallowing I must get used to this new life. I’m not desperate to go and join clubs for company as I have enough to keep me occupied and meet up with enough people with my interests. I too not sure if I’m going to move. Too soon to be thinking about that. I will never leave my husband behind and will take him with me into the different life we have to lead.

Dear Mrs Map
You are a strong person
I lost my husband in similar circumstances at the end of July except he had just got up when he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and through interventions by myself and medical staff he was resuscitated, made it to hospital where he had stents fitted but died 3 days later in ITU
I have been constantly busy too because I have had to get much more involved in our business which is a garage
But the thought of organising a massive holiday and going without him is something I could not contemplate
It would fill my with dread
So good on you
At the moment I can only contemplate stuff I’m pretty familiar with locally
But I get where you are coming from about making new memories
My husband is ‘everywhere’ …at home , at work , abroad in the place we have in Mallorca
This is a blessing most of the time but very difficult to bear on very sad , grief stricken days
I don’t know whether I will ever want to move from our house or sell our place abroad
It is still very early days for me and they say not to make important decisions in the first year
I have made loads of important decisions business wise since the day after he died because I have had no choice but I do not feel the same pressure to make any major decisions personally
His clothes stay where they are
His stuff stays where it is
I visit him regularly at the nearby church yard
Go to the same pub as we always used to etc etc
I will just incorporate incremental changes to my life as it goes along
No massive changes for me . I could not cope
Losing him so suddenly was such a massive change in my life that it is comforting for the rest of it to pretty much stay as it is
I need a period of stability to regroup
I will try to be as positive as you in my attitude to life now …but unfortunately will not be half as adventurous!
Wishing you well in your grief journey and exciting holiday plans
Love Romy xxxx

Dear LuciferSam
You ,like Mrs Map , are really positive in your attitude and proactive
I wish you could bottle it and send me some !
I have been like that business speaking but as far as home life is concerned I have not made any changes there
My husbands stuff …clothes , tools, books etc etc all remain exactly where they were when he died suddenly from a cardiac arrest back in July
We never discussed stuff like you and your wife because his death came totally out of the blue
He was 60 and in good health , active and running the business …a garage
His death has come as a massive shock to everyone who knew him
Like you I keep memories of my husband in my heart and soul
Good on you for all the stuff you have done and best wishes to you for the future and in respect of any house move you make
I myself will not be going anywhere in the foreseeable future
My roots are too strong here what with the business and my three daughters all living and established locally so I have to make a new life for myself with what I’ve got here and what I can add of value to it using local resources
We are all on our own individual grief journeys
I hope yours works out well for you
Love Romy xxxxx

I lost my husband 2 months ago and very much like your idea of living around it. I hope I will be able to do that one day. I too have booked an exciting holiday, one with no memories. Just feel I must carry on somehow. I wonder if the feelings of grief and loneliness ever go away. I feel as if I have been torn in two. Surely these feelings must get better some time. At the moment the future looks bleak.

I could never have imagined that grief can go on and on and that it is so exhausting…I think I am feeling just a bit better though after three months, probably because I have been kept so busy that gradually my mind is beginning to focus on other things a little. I am also a bit less emotional when someone offers sympathy…i find that having things to look forward to does make the future a little less bleak…A friend of mine lost her partner 11 years ago and has recently also met someone else. Can’t imagine that but she did say that in time you are left with a glow of happy memories…

Thanks for the comments. I put on a very brave face and people say I am coping so well. If only that were true. At home I am a blubbering wreck. I hope that perhaps one day it won’t just be a brave act for other people and I will actually feel better. I have lots of happy memories and perhaps that will help eventually. I have had all my firsts, birthdays, anniversaries Christmas etc
But still have an inquest to face and that’s not until August. Yet another ordeal to cope with.