Still missing my husband

My husband died in September 2014 after a very short diagnosis (4 months) of motor neurone disease although I had privately diagnosed this 6 months before the medics recognised it. I had 10 sessions of bereavement counselling from our local hospice and found this extremely helpful. However 16 months on I don’t feel any better than I did year ago. It seemed to hit me all over again at the time of the first anniversary of his death and I can’t get myself out of constantly grieving. I get out and do things and I have some good friends locally, I just miss him so much it still feels very raw. I’m 63, he was 72 when he died. I feel very alone. I found it helpful to see on this site that it can to be over 2 years before things improve so at least I don’t feel as if there’s anything wrong with how I still feel but I’d really like to be able spend less of my time in tears.

Hello Rosemary, firstly I’d like to say ‘welcome’ to our Community, and I do hope that you will find some comfort from contacting us. Even though you had realized what illness your dear husband had, some months before he was officially diagnosed, it must have been a great shock for you when he died. As you have found, anniversaries of special dates can be so painful, and when you came to the first anniversary of his death, it triggered very strong memories and emotions for you to face. I can assure you that what you are experiencing at the moment is quite normal - you haven’t said how long you and your husband were together, but you are now trying to rebuild a life without him, which does take time. I’m glad that you have some good friends and are making an effort to go and do things, even though I expect that sometimes you don’t really feel like it. When you have been used to being part of a couple, it is bound to feel odd just going to places on your own, without having your husband there with you, to share your experiences. I hope you will gradually find you can enjoy your life again, and be able to look back on the special times you spent with your husband. Regards, Jackie

Thank you very much for your welcome and your message, Jackie. We’d been married only 23 years in the June before he died. This June would have been our 25th when we’d planned to go to Venice for a week. It never occurred to us till when we made this plan that we wouldn’t make it. June 21st will be another very hard one for me this year.

I think the first anniversary of his death re-inforced that my on my ownness was here to stay and like you say re-building my life is very hard. It does help you saying it’s normal to feel as I still do after nearly 16 months particularly as I have a friend who lost her husband 6 months after me and isn’t experiencing things in the same way. We’re all different. She has two daughters living locally which I think helps. I have no children and my sister who is a good support lives in Altrincham, Cheshire. I’ve coped with all the paper work and practical things pretty well on my own.

Anyway I’ve read a lot of other people’s experiences on this site and will in time write to the ones that have really touched me. Sharing is everything.

Very best

Rosemarry. It is 2 years next month since my husband died. He was a week from his 60th and I am now the same age as you. I know how you feel as the pain and grief seems just the same and just as raw. Then you notice little things are different and although not much I suppose we have to cling to them for the future. Good luck Ev x

Thank you Ev, it’s comforting to know there are people who feel the same and are prepared to say so. I do know what you mean about little things being different, I guess they get more so as time goes on and eventually there’ll be more better feelings than miserable ones. I thought the first year would be the most difficult but in many ways this second year is even more difficult. Warm wishes to you too. Rosemary x

Rosemarry you are definitely not alone and although in the same position we are all so different. Don’t feel you should do this or that because none of us have the answers and you just have to do what you think is best for you. It is good to talk to others like this who don’t judge. Be kind to yourself. Take care x

Hi Rosemary welcome to the community. Next week it will be 8 months since my husband passed - away a couple of months before his 73rd. Life hasn’t been the same since that dreadful day and I doubt it ever will. They say grief is a roller coaster some days you just about manage to get through other days are a real struggle, all part of the grieving process I believe. At first I thought I was going crazy but my counsellor confirms this is the grieving process. I had three years to get used to the idea but I wasn’t prepared. We’re all different, some cope better than others and get on with life. Don’t compare your grief with anyone else’s, just take one day. All the best Libby x

Thank you for welcoming me, I’ve found it comforting already being in touch with people in the same position as me. I had counselling for about 5 months after Michael’s death and found it very helpful but it wasn’t on offer for any longer. I know I took great comfort from my counsellor, like you say, telling me that how I was feeling was quite normal. I’ve always been a coper and had never felt so out of control of my emotions before and again, like you say I thought I was on the edge of a break down, it was and still is at times very frightening. I suppose with time I’ve begun to understand that the bad patches come because I just plain miss my husband and the person I was when we were together. My counsellor said she didn’t like the word ‘cope’ and encouraged me to use ‘manage’ instead and I’ve come to realise that this is really what we learn to do…manage that awful emptiness and deep sadness in the best ways that we can and I’m told that changes over time.
With all good wishes Rosemaryxx

Take care Rosemary. I hope you have a friend you can talk too face to face. I found that this is when I found out who my true friends were. My mind was all over the place at your stage and I kept forgetting things; put the cooker on and forget the food! Don’t rush anything just take it a step at a time and only what you are comfortable doing. A big hug from me. Ev xx

Hi Rosemary, many people say the 2nd year is more difficult than the first. Maybe because in the first year you are able to think this time last year my husband was here, or you anticipate the anniversaries in a different way or that others maybe seem to have forgotten that you are grieving and they get on with their lives. Thinking of you

Thank you for your kindness, yes I do have local friends to talk to but some though well meaning just don’t have a clue…(fair dos neither would I have had two years ago) but it’s really helpful to communicate with others who know just what it’s like.

Forgetting…yes, I know that one well! xxxx

I agree with all you said. I had no idea what this would be like and the actual physical pain of it all. Some friends have been great and just there for me but I feel very let down by others. It is also difficult because we were a couple and all our friends were/are still couples. The forgetting bit does get better. Keep in touch. X

I’m certainly finding the second year more difficult than the first. I think the biggest factor is that as you say friends think I’m ok now. It also keeps hitting me how much I’ve lost of a life I enjoyed. I find I also view things differently. Small things that people get wound up about no longer matter and I lose patience with them, then feel unkind. It’s a complex business.

I know just what you mean about friends and couples. I went to a new years eve Scottish dancing party with very good friends who I’ve known since I was 18 at teacher training college. I’m ok being with them as a couple having known them for so long and Alison has been a brilliant support, but I was no-where near ok with the party being all couples and me on my own. Alcohol isn’t the be all and end all but I find it helps at such events, but there wasn’t any. I felt absolutely dire. I do have a couple of single friends locally and I gravitate to them more now. Friends who haven’t given me any support have been dropped. I’ve become very intolerant of other people’s attitudes and I’m not sure I like this new characteristic but I just can’t relate to many of the people I once thought of as friends. I think I’ve made two categories now, people I know and people who are friends. I do hope you can find some compatible people perhaps who are also on their own now. It all takes time and a huge amount of energy. I’m pleased to hear the forgetting improves because at the moment I’m nearly as bad as my mother who is 89! Take Care x

I am exactly the same and ‘friend couples’ who have only sent Christmas cards I no longer consider friends. I am not as tolerant either and somehow it doesn’t bother me whereas I was never like that to this degree before. I too am in Scotland and my husband was a teacher. I live in the central belt. Ev. Ps alcohol definitely helps! X

I don’t think that people who are a couple realise what it is like to be on your own. And that going to any function on your takes a lot of effort. It’s hard to create a new life but sometimes meeting new people who haven’t known you before can help, not always but sometimes. Cx

I was asked yet again today what I did at Christmas and did I enjoy it by a well meaning person. I was quite off with her, saying that Christmas will never be the same on my own. She looked a bit startled and I felt mean then but people just don’t realise it was bad enough getting through the season without having to keep talking about it into mid January as well.

Been there, done and got the t-shirt as they say! It defies belief at times what is said. Take care. Ev xx

I think I’ve also got a few T shirts! People just don’t comprehend. A recent ‘talking group’ my GP referred me to asked me how I felt about ‘behaviour modification’ treatment. I was speechless and decided not to bother going back. It’s a bit worrying when even the professionals don’t understand.

Did you ask him how he felt about going through the compassion and understanding extraction machine…silly me he had already been through it!! If anyone writes a book I hope they put that one it. I still can’t get over that one. I haven 't went to any professionals because I just felt I had to try and work my way through this myself along with some good friends. I have no idea if this was right or wrong but I am not sure how anyone can get me through this or if you ever get anything near through it. Take care. Ev xx

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