Struggling to survive without him

My super fit husband, a very young looking 61, died very suddenly a month ago.
We were walking on the coast path as we did whenever we could & he collapsed, had a heart attack and stopped breathing. It was too late by the time help arrived to save him. He was my world, my best friend, my happy place & I am just totally lost without him. I hate waking each morning, I just don’t think I can do this.All our family/friends are hundreds of miles away but I am going to have to stay here as I have to work,
I feel terrified of a future without him & so lost


I’m so sorry, hopefully by posting on here, you will see others struggle too. It’s ok not to be Ok. I lost my husband 25.days ago and I am lost totally. It was a.very rapid and traumatic 13 day from.dx to.death so different. This was so.traumatic and.shocking. I.can not.begin to imagine your husband so.suddenly. with us, he was.given months on the Friday which weeks on the Sunday to shockingly, after blood results, late on the Sunday, days! He died.on the Wednesday. The disbelief alone, the shock, the trauma that you have gone through, not underestimate … You will feel … do not expect too.much from yourself x Accept, this is.bad, this is hard x you will feel crap for some.time x x


Hi Billslove and Cinders,
So sorry that you both are experiencing the sudden traumatic passing of both of your husbands.
If you read my profile, you will see that my family experienced the same as Billslove in 2019 with the loss of my dad.
I have been pondering for a few hours on what to write.
We were so shocked initially. The pain of grief is not definable. Even now, 17 months later, I find it hard to process that he is not in the house with my mom.
You will go through a lot in the next few months. Most of it will get better. You may not want to eat or drink - please force yourself to eat at least once a day, may have anxiety, heart palpitations, sigh alot, or panic feelings that make you want to run away. Its surreal. The universe is all wrong and broken.
As time passes, your appetite will return, and your heart will stop racing. Please know that the physical portion does improve in 4 - 8months time. The mental anguish is different and coping takes different forms for everyone and different time periods for everyone.
People will inquire as to how you are doing from time to time. I always answered honestly - that everyday is a struggle to learn to cope but we are getting through it.
My neighbor lost his wife a few years ago. He is a doctor. They were sleeping, he heard her make a noise which woke him up. He realized that she was having a heart attack or cardiac arrest and began cpr to no avail. He was so sad and distraught. After about 2 years, he sold his house and moved into a fun retirement community where he is now thriving. He misses his wife of course and nothing will change that.
I shared that because for me, I really needed to speak to as many people as I could who went through sudden loss. This helped me to know that every day, random people that we pass on the street, have made it through this and if they can, so can we.
I also think its important to share your memories of your husbands with others. I know for my mom, she went through basically a life review of my dad for several months - talking about their lives together. If your kids will listen, or a counselor, or here on this board, talking about the good memories does help.
My dad was also fit and active. He looked younger than his age too. We had no warning signs. That in and of itself makes this all so hard to process. How can a perfectly healthy person no longer be here? That question may play in your mind quite a bit.

This is a good place to get help when you really need it.


Hi Cinders,
I’m so very sorry about your husband, its sooo hard to even know how to exist, breathe isn’t it. I’m dreading Christmas, are you ? We would have been married for 35 years on 21/12, Bill loved this time of year. Perhaps if you want to you could tell me all about your husband & we could help each other. I am in the uk so may be a time difference. Take care & know I am reaching out to you with a big hug , Sue xxxx

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Dearest Ell,
Thank you so much for reaching out to me, I am so sorry about your Dad &, your right it just doesn’t make any sense that someone so vital, so alive can just go like that.
That, in the blink of an eye, my world as I knew it has just ended & only people like you who have been through this truly understand, but that helps soooo much, thankyou. Everything you describe especially the racing heart & moments of sheer panic, terror really is happening to me. Bill was my absolute best friend, we worked long shifts so that we could spend as many free days off together as possible. Now I go off walking on the coast by myself, its painful but I feel closer to him. I’m still too frightened to look ahead at all, but like you hearing from other people who have experienced sudden loss gives me hope that I might find a way to survive this.
Sending a big hug to you & your Mum,
Sue xxx

1 Like Ell that all make a sense x grief is like a bag of jumping frogs, not know what facet of.grief is going to hit x Freakin Asda today, oh my life, I was like a zombie, teared up everytime I saw something I would.usually buy. I am hoping to be back at work after.Christmas. I hope I can move forward x

Dear Cinders,
I’m the same, Bill & I so looked forward to buying gifts at Christmas too, it’s so painful trying to cope with Xmas as well on top of the agony of missing them, it’s just overwhelming, impossible really
Please keep posting, I will as well. Sending a hug x

Thank you Ell and to all of you other people for posting what exactly describes what I and many others are going through. Nine weeks ago was my lovely husband’s 67 th birthday. We had a lovely day and had shared precious family time on the weekend. We had also recently returned from 12 days in Cornwall where we walked the coastal paths and enjoyed the simple happiness that being with your loved one and very best friend, can bring.
For his birthday I booked some holidays for next year so we could go back to Cornwall, taking our caravan and looking forward to some freedoms after this awful lockdown.
This is never going to happen now because the morning after his birthday my lovely, lovely husband was gone. Suddenly, unexpectedly and I was not able to save him.
He was well, happy and looking forward to everything.
How can this be that someone vibrant, healthy and living a normal life be gone so swiftly?
All of the life you had in front of you feels extinguished by an overpowering sadness and loss that will never, ever go away. It is in fact a life sentence.
I have no idea how to live with such terrible sadness and emptiness.
I can see that eventually a physical life will return, without my adult children I do not know how I would have survived the last weeks but my heart and life, like all of you other people, is shattered and broken.
I wish you all comfort even though there is little to be had
Life is very cruel. We have been robbed of joy.


Dear seasurge,
I live in Cornwall, and My husband collapsed and died on the coast path , I couldn’t save him and it was too late by the time help arrived. He was just 61 & I am struggling like you just to get through a day. I find mornings are just agony
My only solace has come from going back to the coast and walking, like you it was our happy place, I see him everywhere but it still helps. If you ever come back to Cornwall, I would walk with you.

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Thank you Billslove for your kind reply,
I know that I will return to Cornwall and I know the pain will be unbearable.
In our last lovely holiday we had such a special time and each day now I am surrounded by the images of those last, special days together.
Maybe one day we can walk and talk and share our pain and our wonderful memories.

my husband and I also loved Cornwall too. we loved the sea and collecting rocks from the beaches around the UK. I sit in front of our last pile of pebbles now.

Today I am supposed to sort out a lot of death admin things and need to do something about work as i returned last week but then couldn’t continue or phone my boss so I just left a text. i had a message yesterday asking when I will work but instead I am sitting crying on the sofa looking at where he would be. Time is going, 6 weeks apart already.

I met my friend on Sunday she never had a serious relationship where she loved the person (she is 39,we knew each other since around age 16). I told her I don’t care if I die and asked her what her life is like and how she was happy (quite offensive in hindsight). She said I should be glad I had this soulmate that she has never had and I’m lucky. I dont feel lucky, I feel like my insides are liquidating in pain and anger and sheer pointlessness of anything. Of course René was the best thing to happen to me and made my life worthwhile but why couldn’t I have him longer. there is an old man around 90 who walks past that we used to feel sorry for and ask if he needed something. the ambulance comes to him quite often. several druggies too, why not them instead of my husband who did everything to take care of himself. how can we go on.

I think that would be a good thing for us both because we truly understand. I share your pain & Send a big hug.
Let me know if you want my details & be kind to yourself xxxxx

My heart goes out to you & like you l look around & see people who don’t seem to care about themselves & yet my lovely healthy vibrant husband has inexplicably gone.
We are sadly part of a club of people who can only really understand each other because we are suffering this agony.
I have been lucky with my Dr, who despite, the fact that we never saw him, has said that I will need time to recover from the shock and trauma, as well as dealing with the grief, Covid restrictions and Christmas. He has signed me off until the end of February. Perhaps you could go and see your Dr, really make sure he knows how you are feeling, This is agonising enough without being hassled by work as well xxxxx

Dear Fleur del lis,
I understand how hard it is to see people who are very old or unwell and yet still managing to be part of life. It’s not that you don’t wish them well, it’s that you cannot understand why your own loved one was taken before their time, when they had so much still to live for.
I find this hard too. One of my greatest sadnesses is that he is going to miss out on so much. I always hoped we would grow old together. I feel so cheated for us both and life without him is not a life at all.
Billslove, it sounds like you have a kind and compassionate doctor who really understands the nature of our shocking bereavements.
I think we underestimate what it is doing to us. Take care and be gentle with yourselves all of you heartbroken new friends.


I’ve just struggled around the supermarket, saw all the things we would have bought together at this time of year, which we loved so much . Like you seasurge my heart aches for all the things he should have been doing. The end of all our hopes and dreams. That he didn’t even get to retire. Terrified of a future without him, what does that even look like

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I don’t know what the future looks like. I am amazed that I am getting up each day and trying to function and deal with paperwork etc.
All we can do is put one foot in front of the other. Christmas is not happening this year. Too painful by far. I have wondered seriously today whether I will make it and if I do, what for?

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I’ve had lots of moments when I think that I just can’t do this, I don’t want to do this without him, especially when I wake in the morning. But then there is our lovely son, he is 29 & lives about 4 hours away & has worked so hard to do most of the admin etc when I was in a complete fog. He keeps telling me “I’ve got you Mum” & just take little steps” I suppose that’s all we can do, take little steps each day & support each other as we are doing here. You will make it Seasurge, just keep posting. I know that is also helping me a lot when I feel so hopeless & lonely xx & a hug to all who are struggling so much xx

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I have two married adult children who are supporting me with everything and are also grieving for their lovely dad,
I get up each day because otherwise I would be letting them down.
I’m terrified of the future and the sense of being alone. I try not to think ahead but it’s hard.
Love to you all. We can help each other because we all understand what has been lost.

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Today I did a lot of useful stuff. The most of any day since really. Finally changed my bed (it didn’t smell of him anyway as id had to change it as it was where he’d been dying and my mum was going to sleep there so that and carpet had to be washed sadly in October, I wish id just slept in it by myself but I didnt think straight and washed too much). I planted the plants René had bought in the garden centre in the new flowerbed he had made by our front door and unloaded the compost from his car. Long phonecall about mortgage and banking. Bereavement payment application call… work colleague texted. I made toast and ate it. I felt like maybe I can do this. I can do stuff. I didnt cry since the morning either and I remembered to feed the cats and did litter trays twice.

Then my mum and stepdad came to help me and make tea and started watching telly, all those Christmas ads and the news and telling me things. Funny stories, hahaha I manage and can look calm but inside I am wailing guttural long animal screams. just no one but me can hear them. I go out to put some binbags out in the dark, cry. i smile nod on the phone to my auntie who is telling me about her friend who died when she was 16. thanks for the advice yes yes I feel better now so can i go.
Go to the toilet, cry and cry, quietly. go and eat one sausage some mash and veges say how nice it is thanks. Go upstairs. cry cry cry.

Normally his brothers and sisters i save for when I really need them. can tell already I was too real with some and they are my last link to him so need to be careful not to lose them. Some already stopped asking how I am because who wants to know that really. This is a bad one though so I text a picture of the flowerbed René worked on to the family WhatsApp that still says René is a group owner and try to be upbeat. yes I’m OK thanks. they text back pics of their Xmas trees and I say yes how pretty.

Go upstairs and lie on the floor next to my side of the bed on my back in the position I dragged him to when doing chest compressions and where the coroner picked him up from hours later. just to see what its like there. Sat up, how different it would be if he had.


Dearest FleurDeLis,
What you managed to do today is just huge & you should be really proud. I know exactly what you mean about other people though. I think that they are so desperate for us to be “alright” {just not possible} that they try to restore some normality & its too raw, we’re not ready for that. I too have had messages sent with photos of Xmas trees which I can hardly bear to look out but send a polite reply & then cry. I too am being careful about how much I say to my husbands family because I am scared I will alienate them. But know that on here we completely understand, you never have to pretend, because we all feel the pain. We can express our anguish & be supported & understood. The Trauma we have suffered is horrific & devastating. Just keep taking those baby steps one day at a time, I will try to do the same xx

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