The Last First

Hi Everyone
Well, it’s a new year and I can’t believe I have managed to still be functioning. When I look back at my posts from early last year I am shocked and surprised at how far I have come since then. It’s like the penny has dropped and I have accepted that I will never see, touch or hear my beloved husband again in this life. Without him I have endured the first Valentine’s Day, first birthday (mine) , first birthday (his), first wedding anniversary and the first Christmas and New Year. All these milestones have been enormously difficult and sad. Now I am coming up to the last “first”, the first anniversary of his death on 10th February.
Please tell me how I can cope with this. Just writing this I am shaking and crying. I think this is the one that will really crush me. In our 22 years together we never spent more than a week apart. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I hugged and laughed with him. I miss him so much. I will always miss him.
Sending love to everyone who is hurting.
xx

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Ellie i am further down this horrible road (10 wks since my healthy husband’s first and last heart attack). Some days recently I thought I was starting to find a way to continue living after 9 weeks of suicidal thoughts. Last night and this morning though its all hitting me again. I am not sure if we can cope with this. I know many millions of people do and have. Maybe they didn’t love their partner quite this much or maybe they are stronger, I don’t know either way doesn’t help me at all, I am struggling I just cannot believe it.

Time keeps going and you have gone through all those firsts. Were they all as bad as you expected?

Back in late October I would never have imagined I could survive Xmas, his birthday and new year (I found new year the worst which I didnt expect as we were Christmas fanatics) but I have and valentines is next (which we always booked at least one day off around). I know these days will keep coming at us and I don’t know if they’ll get easier but I feel like a survivor of a horrific accident that lost most of my limbs and I wish it had taken me too.

I am shaking and crying too, I don’t know how to live with this but you have already done so much, I hope you can find some peace in the coming hours.

Thank you FleurDeLis
When Covid hit us last year my husband had just died of cancer in February. His funeral was over a month later as he had 2 post mortems, neither of which identified how he had died. His death certificate just says cancer. A week after his funeral we went into the first lockdown. It’s only recently I have been able to rationalise that had he not died when he did, his chemo would have been stopped and that was his great hope that it would give him a couple of good years. He would have been so vulnerable to Covid and lockdown would have been hell for him. He has missed all this crap and although I wish him back with me every minute of every day I’m grateful he didn’t have to suffer all this as well as cancer.
So when I think back to all the milestones we have missed together over the last year I think the dread of going through them was actually worse than the event itself. I have allowed myself the time to cry for him but I actually think I am also mourning the loss of what was my perfect life with my perfect husband and what should have been our long future together.
I have no plans for this year. Just to get through each day will be an achievement.
I am very lucky I have a gorgeous Basset Hound called Humphrey who listens to me crying without spouting out the usual platitudes about “you’ll get over it”. He just listens. I have come to rely on him a bit too much. He now sleeps with me on my bed and in a weird way I find it comforting to have this warm, breathing being beside me even though he takes up most of the bed. We have to take our comfort any way we can.
The anticipation of how I will cope with the first anniversary of his death is daunting. My bereavement councellor from Cruse has been a huge support to me and will call me on that day. I am amazed how she can listen to my misery and still comfort and reassure me. I know I couldn’t do what she does.
It’s very early days for you. I was in that place where you stare into the future and just see bleakness. But I am moving the right way. I keep in my mind that my husband and I adored each other and it would make him sad that I was so unhappy so I am doing this for him and my step-sons. I am not the only one who mourns his loss keenly.
Be strong but be kind to yourself. Only you know exactly how you feel. It’s strange that we can pour our hearts out to people we have never met and who never knew our loved ones but thank God we can.
Sending you virtual hugs.
xx

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Reading your post almost mirrors my own experience Ellie…my husband passed 23 Feb 2020 and like you so many milestone without him after 45 years of being side by side …when I look back I somehow got through it and survived but the aniversary of his death is met with a different sense of anxiety. I am thinking what got us through this past year …certainly distracting myself from the pain and disbelief helped for a while …but then I realised that long term that wouldnt work …I would be exhausted and burn myself out …so what helped then was just being in the moment …being kind to oneself…if it was a day for just curling up on the sofa …if it was connecting on line with family ect then so be it …I will follow my gut on that milestone day …quite reflection… tomorrow will be another day …one of my favourite songs one day at a time…sending you warm wishes and strengh

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Dear @Ellie1,

Whenever I miss the physical presence of my partner’s touch, voice and smell, I feel your very same pain… I cannot believe over 3 months have already passed for me. There hasn’t been a single day without tears and yearning.

I too reassure myself not to be too self-absorbed and focus on what my partner would want me to do to honour his memory.

Sending you all support to go through those seemingly impossible milestones ahead

Xxx

Hi Ellie,
I remember exactly how daunting it was to approach the first anniversary of my husbands death. For me that was last November. It is something for which there is no possible way of preparing but when you think what you have already endured you will get through it.
In comparison with the initial moment of realisation that the love of your life has died, seeing them but unable to process the fact that they really have died , arranging and attending their funeral, possibly collecting and scattering ashes, in your case ,as in mine, reading your husbands post mortem report the day itself is just another day in the new life we now live. All of those events I still find it impossible to believe have happened.
As the date approached I found I was unable to even see the date written as it would induce a sense of terror. In the supermarket if I saw an item with a sell by date of that fateful day I would search for another one with a different date. It sounds absolutely ridiculous but it was a very real trigger for panic.
The day itself came and went quietly. I received messages from friends saying they were thinking of me which was kind but for anyone who has lost the love of their life knows, every single day is an ordeal. Some days are better than others. By that I mean less excruciating. Everyone in our position will know what I am trying to say.
So many of us have survived the seemingly unsurvivable. No idea how but we have and you will too. Thinking of you. Xx

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Dear FleurDeLis,
I do so hope that by the time you are reading this you are not still crying and shaking. It is quite simply the worst feeling in the world desperately wanting what we know we cannot have.
Your posts are so expressive of the utter rawness and horror of grief but at the same time you offer so much empathy to others. You have endured so much Fleur but you are still functioning even though it is hard for you to see it in yourself. You help more people than you realise.
Take care and wishing you some calm moments. Xx

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Thank you Jobar for your lovely encouragement. I am shaking a bit still but not crying so that is an improvement :slight_smile:
My mum and stepdad should arrive soon for tea (and the dreaded depressing news-watching). This afternoon I had to tell an Indian friend of René’s that he is dead (the guy had texted him to let him know his wife had the baby), I just texted it (but from my phone).

Then I texted a French guy who had messaged me on an email he sent by searching for me on linked in to ask why René didn’t respond to his messages. He then said he would phone me when he was out of his work meeting and I waited for two hours but he didn’t. He just tried to ring me now but my mum and stepdad will soon arrive. So earlier when I was desperate for someone to talk to I had no one and now I will have three at once when I feel like being on my own.

At least I have calmed though a lot, thank you so much and I wish you a calm and peaceful as can be evening with a good long sleep hopefully. Take care and lots of love to you.

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This is my first message on here I lost my soul mate of 28 years on the 16th November and have been alone since then my family are miles away and because of tier restrictions spent my first Christmas Day alone I have a wonderful Daughter who phones every day and a Son who is not so far away but comes when he can because of work Some very good neighbours but he is not here. The one person who really knew me I was his Carer because of his Heart Condition but now realise he was my Carer too. I managed very well at first taking care of paperwork sorting clothes taking our little Dog for a walk until one morning when the weather started to get bad felt very unsteady on my feet so thought I would rest for a few days then realised I was scared to go out scared I would slip if it was icy always hated snow and ice had to steel myself to walk outside in the garden realised I had a problem and still have it had a Doctors appointment this morning because I realised I had no energy and have had water and blood tests taken I realised I may be short of iron but tests will tell me that I do have a water infection how can I be brought so low by grief it has taken a toll on my health I am old I realise but never felt it before health has been kind to me. I have so many fears and realise now he was always there to take my fears away we were rarely apart realise now I have good neighbours but no real friends and am actively thinking of trying to move nearer my Daughter not yet it is too soon but there are many obstacles there realise now I am not alone in my grief after reading some of your stories but life is so terrible without him.

Hello Rosie.

I am sorry to hear of the loss of your soul mate. It also must have been a really difficult Christmas time for you.

I’m glad that you’ve been able to share how you are feeling here, and I hope that you find the community a good source of support. Everyone here has experienced the loss of a loved one and will understand some of what you are going through. I am confident our lovely members will reply to you soon.

Please know we are here if ever you need us. Sue Ryder offers an online bereavement counselling service. This is a free service and sessions are held via video chat so you can attend from home. There’s more information about this service here: www.sueryder.org/counselling.

Take care. Stay safe, especially in these wintery conditions.
Audrey,
Online Community Team

Hi Rosie
I have just read your message. My husband passed away on 4/11/20, we had been together for 32 years. I took early retirement a few years ago to help care for him and we had been together 24/7 for the previous 8 months as he was shielding due to his ill health. I was the same at first dealing with all the paperwork but I can’t bring myself to get rid of any of his things. The thought of a life without him scares me and I am so afraid of a future without him. Although I helped care for him, he was such a wonderful emotional support to me and he was never afraid to tell me how much he loved and cared for me. Like you said I am getting older and the thought of not having him here if I became ill to support me is frightening. The whole situation with COVID makes a terrible time so much worse. I feel as though nobody can know the depth of my sorrow. It does help me reading other messages of people who feel the same way but it would be so much better if we could meet face to face but COVID has put paid to that. I don’t particularly want to speak to a counsellor but prefer to speak to someone who knows what I am going through personal experience.
Christy

Thank you for your message I recognise so many emotions and despair I have been going through from reading some of these messages I thought I was such a strong person but suddenly found myself with no focus my dear Husband passed away in hospital and I visited him every day even though he could not talk eat or drink for the past week or so he was 88 but deteriorated very quickly whilst away from me he called for me night and day so I was told wanted to get him home but was told he would not survive an ambulance to a Hospice or home to me and they could not provide me with the help I would need so he died alone on the last afternoon I visited at Night he was such a lovely gentle man and I miss him so very much I am 75 but have never felt my age until now all I am grateful for is we had 28 years of wonderful days together and found each other after previous bad marriages of long standing this virus has not helped so many people no visits no hugs no hand holding and that is what so many need especially at this time nobody can understand what it is like to lose your soul mate until it has happened to them thank you

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Hello Christy I too felt I could not speak to a counsellor and have spent the past few weeks plucking up enough courage to register on this site I Cry a lot and miss him so much and wonder how I can get by without him in my latter years have felt so alone this Virus has stopped maybe a cup of tea with a neighbour or a hug from someone anyone or a visit as I am also unable to even walk for exercise at the moment my Daughter arranged some time ago Food deliveries for us not sure how she managed it but she did it will get better so I am told but that day feels such a long way off thought I was such a strong person but this has brought me to my knees with love to you xx

Rosie
I also considered myself a strong person but his death has completely floored me. Considering how I feel it is difficult to imagine a life without him, it’s ironic how afraid I am of becoming ill with COVID, so therefore I am not really seeing anybody at the moment. My children are continuing to work and my grandchildren are school age so I am trying to maintain social distance at a time when I could do with their support and company.

Hi Christy well I have been affected health wise by grief my Husband also told me every day he loved me and there was always a hug I am older than you I am 75 so not surprising my health has been affected I too am shielding from this virus but my Daughter is many miles away and my Son also I get a call every day which helps me but not to see them has been pretty bad and this icy conditions has made me afraid to go out in case I slip His health was deteriorating badly and he had a Pacemaker which needed to be changed we went for a check up he was in a wheelchair for the first time and they took him in that day to change the pacemaker he had had it for many years they said it was showing danger signals two months before anyway he was speaking well for his age no dementia he was 88 but breathless they put him on oxygen and for the first day and night he called for me all the time so I was told I was his rock and had kept him going anyway day after day until lockdown they were going to change it but he was too ill had to dash up there I was visiting every day because of agonised phone call please come please come please come lockdown arrived and could not visit for 3 days by that time he was dying and had not eaten or drunk anything he lasted with me by his side for another week I was now allowed to visit during lockdown but he was not really conscious I think he knew I was there and he died alone at 10 at night I knew that afternoon it could not be much longer I wanted him home but they said he would not last in the ambulance and anyway could not provide me with the support I needed to care for him I felt he could have gone on for longer with me at home but because he was away from me he went downhill very fast besides Because of age I felt they just let him pass they did make him comfortable but I was not there with him not a day passed without him telling me he loved me and I miss him so so much nobody knows what this is like until you go through it so a big hug from me and see your children as much as you can xx

Hi Christy and Rosie

I too considered myself a strong person - that’s all I hear from those trying to support me. But me and Ian were a team - a strong team - and now I am weak, scared about the future and also about getting ill. Feel full responsibility to make sure that I stay fit because our two wonderful children (adults) cannot endure anymore heartache, but this only serves to create more stress and anxiety. I could always rely on Ian to give me the reassurance I needed.

I just take one day at a time, that’s all I am capable of.

HI Sheila just read your post this Virus has only seemed to make our fears worse because of no interaction with others but at least in this site we realise we are not alone with our feelings and our fears hug to you too

Hi Ellie
I have just gone through my first wedding anniversary in November which was a trigger that catapulted me right back and I felt destroyed all over again. Just gone through my first Christmas and first New Year which was hell. Now this new full lockdown like last March has been another trigger. This month will be first Birthdays as my Wife was 5 days older than me again I know it will be so difficult for me. Then Valentines Day if you see my story will again trigger I am worried as the other firsts already broke me again. I dread April as first death anniversary and what that will do to me.
I still feel like in shock as I go into 10 month without my Wife still feel shock that she is gone. My Joy was always so full of life her smile lit up everyone around and you saw how happy she’d make people, she was never sick, always fit and healthy. So hard for me to lose her suddenly with no explaination. The doctors just said to me sometimes they just don’t know why this happens it just does…I didn’t get any closure from that. I miss my Wife more than I have words to express and my firsts that have still to come scare me.
I hope you have all the love and support you can get Ellie. I will pray

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Hi Gj68
I hope you find the strength to endure the rest of your “firsts”. My husband always told me that I was his strength, the one who kept him positive enough to fight his cancer with every part of him. In truth, it was him that kept me going. During his diagnosis and treatment I was always “scrapping” with one health professional or another to get things done for him. It was exhausting but my love and concern for him kept me going. If love alone could have saved him I would not be on this forum with all the other grieving people like yourself.
Dates pop up unexpectantly that hit me like a punch in the stomach and I remember certain things we did or places we visited together and look back on them with sadness that they will never happen for me again. I hope to be able to look back on them in the future with fondness but it’s too early yet.
I have found that having support from a bereavement councellor has helped me. My councellor is called Ann from Cruse. I had to wait a while before I could get a series of sessions but it was worth the wait. I opted for phone calls because I find crying in front of people mortifying. I did a lot of crying at first but not so much now. I know there is probably a waiting list but I have really found it helpful.
I hope and pray that you and all of the others on this forum find some comfort somewhere when you need it the most.
Sending everyone love and strength.xx

Hi Ellie
My darling husband passed away on 11th February last year. I know how hard these ‘firsts’ can be. His birthday (March), our anniversary (June), our children’s birthdays (November and December), Christmas and New Year. Yesterday was my first birthday without him. It was the first time in 28 years that he hadn’t been there. Last year he was in hospital. The doctor sent him in for a minor procedure, only for us to be told 10 days later that his organs were failing and it was only a matter of time. We managed to get him home for his final two weeks. I still struggle to believe it. I thank God for our wonderful children. They are only in their early twenties (too young to lose their dad) but they have been my strength. At the beginning I couldn’t see a future: I didn’t feel as though I had one. I feel calmer now, but I dread 11th February. I don’t know what it will bring or how I’ll cope with it.
You’re right - this forum is so helpful, and the members so lovely. Just to be able to write what’s in our heart and to know that it will be received with understanding and kindness.
My thanks to you all. Together we can help each other through these ‘first’ times, and all those difficult times to come.
xx

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