I went to lunch with my neighbour today. On the way home she said ‘shall we pop into Tesco as I need a few things?’. In I went for the first time since lockdown and the first time since John died. We used to go shopping every Thursday for us and Dad with our shopping list. John pushing the trolly and making sure he didn’t lose me between the isles. I love that man so much. Suddenly a huge wave of grief, fear, terror and sadness hit me and I could almost imagine him walking in front of me with the trolly. He wasn’t there. He should have been there. I could hardly move and began to cry in front of all those people. I felt so sick I had to rush outside. I am sure everyone has had their own Tesco moment and perhaps we can share how we coped or didn’t cope. I went outside and had a cry in the car park. My neighbour came out and gave me a hug. I will never go to Tesco again.
Aw Johnswife.I know exactly how you felt.I used to go to Aldi every Saturday. Always phoned Ron as soon as we came out and then went to meet him for a drink.Sometimes he came shopping with me and always he used to browse the middle aisles for household things.I never went back there when he passed away until one day my friend dragged me unknowingly.Like you I felt sick although some of the place had been changed around.I feel the pain everytime I pass a shop or a pub we had visited.I stay clear of some many places now and can’t pass his local without turning round to look at the door.I don’t know what time will bring. All I know is the emptiness never goes away.I have got a little better with time but I know I will never fully recover my life without him.I am so sorry for your experience.
Johnswife. It’s awful isn’t it. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. My mum used to work for Morrison’s. The first time I went back there when I was visiting dad. It was the most awful experience. I stood and looked at the aisle where she worked. I looked at the little cafe where we used to go for lunch. And I cried. Some nice lady next to me gave me a cuddle. No idea who she was but I cried on her shoulder. And she explained she had lost her brother a year ago and she had cried in a supermarket too
However I have been back several times and it had gotten easier. Still sad. But not as horrendous as that first time.
Dear @Johnswife, I can so relate to your experience, my first visit to Morrisons supermarket was two days after my wife’s passing. Fortunately I was with a very good friend who had come to stay with me for a few days. But I can recall simply following him around like a lost puppy, food was the last thing on my mind. I used to do the shopping on my own because of my wife’s mobility problems and I just didn’t want to be there that day.
On a more recent visit about 3 weeks ago I entered the shop by an entrance which I had used a few days previously. As I entered, an extremely irate exiting customer shouted at me that the entrance was now an exit only, even though there was no signage to indicate that. I replied to him equally angrily and subsequently found myself in an angry exchange with one of the Morrisons security men. He and another guard approached me later at the checkout and I apologised profusely for my behaviour. After the checkout I simply leaned against a wall i the store and cried, because of my behaviour and I was angry at life for being so unfair. A very nice lady assistant asked if I needed any help, and I simply mumbled “No thank you” a few times. Once I got back to my car, I sat down and simply sobbed my heart out. I did hand-deliver a letter of apology to the store manager later in the day because the incident had upset me so much.
Not one of my better days - I felt my behaviour let my wife’s memory down, and myself, and I just felt so, so remorseful. But perhaps an example of how our emotions can just explode unexpectedly when we are under such emotional stress.
@Jooles45 Thanks for understanding. If I go to a supermarket again it’s going to be Sainsbury’s
@Alston56What a terrible experience you had and it was definitely not your fault. People can be so aggressive for no reason and never consider others might already be in a dark place. You will never ever let your wife down. I couldn’t work the self service payment and the woman who came to help was a bit narky. People can’t see we are broken hearted because unless you look closely you can’t see. I have aged 10 years since my darling John died. Take care.
Sometimes I think if you know it’s going to be a trigger then be kind to yourself and avoid it. Maybe in a year or two when you feel a little stronger. But if you don’t then that’s fine too.
@Jooles45 Your so right we had a nice lunch and I met her friend. I didn’t see it coming so I had my guard down. Oh well lesson learned.
Oh that’s even worse when not expected. Like you say you now know that’s a definite no no for now. I happened to stumble upon 24 hours in a and e on Tv . And I was a mess within minutes as it was a lady on oxygen. Like my mum. It was too soon and too raw. I won’t watch that programme again.
I lost my gorgeous son in June aged just 23 I was in Morrisons when I got that shocking call I was at the check out, I’ve never been back and have struggled to shop anywhere without feeling panic stricken and overwhelmed with grief, we are all walking round with our stories in our heads and hearts and carrying our grief, my Dear daughter went to get petrol at Sainsbury’s and got confused with the paying at the pump the assistant shouted at her over the speaker system and when she went in the garage the lady glared at her, she didn’t know my daughters story ( Recently lost her brother and her sister ten years before) She too went back to her car and sobbed, none of us know what Others are going through and we all deserve to be treated with politeness and respect when doing our daily tasks Take care everyone x
Hi. Jayne. Yes, so very true. It all comes back to our response to people even in good times. Kindness and respect cost nothing, and even the worst offender needs sympathy. No one knows what’s in another’s mind. How could anyone know how you and I feel as they pass us by? Unfortunately there are some people who do not not know what sympathy means. I think most of us on this site have empathy, a different matter to sympathy. In empathy you feel another’s pain. That can only come about when you have experienced it yourself. Places we have been together can set us off so easily. I have learned after two years to never say never. I do go to such places now, but the pain is still in the background, and I am sure that’s where it will stay.
Thanks for that post. So true. John.
I work at the hospital where my husband had his cancer surgery and treatment. I have to pass the Ocology building where he patiently sat every week for hours and hours having chemo and radiotherapy on my way to my office. I go into the hospital cafe where we would sit after his treatment and we would meet for a coffee and he would tell me about his day. I pass people in the corridors who were involved with his care and want to shout at them “why didn’t you stop him from dying?” Every day I do this and it doesn’t get any easier. I just feel angry that he went through all this for nothing. As I write this my throat is aching with wanting to cry. It’s been 8 months since he left me unexpectantly in his sleep but in my head and my broken heart it could have happened yesterday.
@Ellie1 I am so sorry It’s so cruel and like will never be the same without them.
Hi Ellie, it must be so so difficult returning to work every day surrounded by so many sad reminders of what your husband had to endure.
Although his treatment sadly didn’t save him, if he hadn’t had it you would still be going over and over what if he’d had treatment?
The real issue is why he was ill in the first place. it’s so difficult accepting that some people are destined to live long lives and others are taken far too soon. My husband died suddenly almost a year ago from an unknown heart defect which if discovered was eminently treatable. Some people live long lives with major heart complaints and I like you wonder why my husband didn’t get a chance. Regardless of what we do or don’t do ultimately it’s beyond our control and in that respect the world is a cruel place.
I think we’ll always remain frozen in time when our partner dies. It’s simply life before and life after. Not the same life at all. We wonder how we carry on with hearts in pieces but somehow we do.
I hope your colleagues are sensitive to what you face each day. take care.
Thank you Jobar
It’s strange how we measure time. I read old emails or look at photos or projects we did around the house and I think “that was before he was diagnosed with cance when we were happy and well” or “that was after he was diagnosed when we were in shock and denial”. I know I need to start thinking of these things differently but it’s really difficult. With the pandemic stepping up again I’m so busy at work and tired of it all. I can’t stop thinking about Christmas, the time of year we both loved and celebrated with our families. The thought of spending it alone fills me with dread. I avoid looking at adverts for Christmas. They are everywhere now . And I avoid the chatter in the office about other people’s plans. I have always felt dreadfully sorry for people with no families who regularly spend Christmas and other annual celebrations alone. I never for one moment thought that I would be one of these people.
For some reason today I am feeling very sorry for myself. I feel that no one is suffering like I am but I know they are. I have started envying other people’s mundane lives and get quietly irritated when they complain about their husbands leaving an empty toilet roll on the holder or not picking their socks up. Such trivial little things to get angry about. I would give anything to have those little irritations again. I really should buck myself up. My lovely colleagues at work will sense my mood and I don’t want to bring their moods down as well.
It’s normal to go back over life as it used to be. It’s a happier place. Projects we started that will never be finished. All entered into with hope and anticipation, both of which are sadly lacking now.
As for Christmas, it will come and go like any other day. It’s not going to be normal for anyone this year as the underlying uncertainties surrounding the pandemic persist. Something will turn up.
Christmas last year was only a few weeks after my husband had died and just a couple of weeks after his funeral. A neighbour suggested I took myself off to the sun for a couple of weeks to recuperate?! In the end my elder sons in-laws invited us all to theirs. They were so kind and I will never forget their generosity. You never know what may transpire. This year I will look after those members of my family who I’m allowed to.
As for friends complaining about their husbands, well I’ve lost touch with a couple. I just can’t be doing with their insensitivity. You’re not feeling sorry for yourself - you’re rightly heartbroken. Thank goodness you have lovely colleagues.x
Yes, I count myself very lucky to have them. Work has been my saviour sometimes, especially when we were all in lockdown. NHS staff were certainly not furloughed and I was able to go to work and interact with my friends here. But sometimes, like today, when the alarm went off it was all I could do not to turn over and throw the duvet over my head and hibernate. I toy with the idea of retiring or at least reducing my hours but I think it might be too soon to start making drastic changes, and besides, I don’t really know that I could afford it. We could have been OK in retirement if my husband had lived and I would be champing at the bit to stop work and spend more time with him but his Government pension died with him as he wasn’t old enough to retire so like many others I find myself a bit worried about my financial future and whether I will be able to remain in the house we loved so much.
Maybe if I think of Christmas as just another day instead of a family celebration it might help me to ignore it all together. With the rule of 6 now the liklihood of being invited out is rapidly disappearing. I expect I’m not the only one.
I haven’t been on this site for a while. I thought I was coping OK.But I realise that sometimes when things get difficult I need the support of people like you who really do know what it’s like to be in this sort of place in my head. So thank you.
Work is a double edged sword. it takes a huge effort to get there but without it there is even more time to sit and think what might have been!
Like your husband, mine died before he was in receipt of his state pension. The fact that neither he nor I will receive a penny of it is very hard to accept. I will receive a reduced amount because I stopped work years ago for family reasons. The financial implications on top of the devastating loss of a soulmate are too big to confront sometimes.
Together we would have weathered any storm but alone it’s daunting to put it mildly.
That’s why contact with people in a similar situation is so vital. It doesn’t solve our individual issues but we do feel less lonely.x
So true, @Jobar…so very, very true…
Yes, very true.