Things that help


It’s been 9 weeks since my wife died and I thouhgt it might be helpful for people on here to know what has helped to process the loss and grief for me so far. I realise that the process and circumstances are vastly differing for each of us and so I realise that none of this may be of assistance to anyone, but I feel as if I have to at least try to help and if even one of these things helps someone to process and rebuild then I’ll be happy

I began with the small things and tried to build a routine. Showering, changing clothes, brushing teeth.

I made sure I ate at least one healthy meal a day, for me it was porridge. I didn’t worry about what else I was eating as long as I had my porridge.

I gave up drinking. Which was a surprise as its was a constant companion for both me and my wife. It just wasn’t the same without her so seemed rather pointless, all it was doing was giving me a hangover which in this situation is the last thing anyone needs.

I made myself excercise. I began with a half hour walk around where I live, now I’m out for 3-4 hours each day. Just walking. It gets the endorphins going and interrupts the feedback loops of emotion. The first time I laughed out loud at the idiocy of birds was a revelation, I laughed then realised I could still laugh. Walking for me is a chance to engage with thee randomness of reality and where that can take your thoughts. I found this also gave me a space to reflect and to think about my wife and our times together. It’s not been easy but it’s proving to be, on balance, a positive experience.

Watch some youtube on the science of grief, both psychological and biological. I found these helped to give me an understanding of what was going on when the emotion wave rolled in. It didn’t make it easier but it at least gave me reassurance and made things a little less terrifying.

Don’t rely on others, be it friends or family, to have any idea about how to help you. I really did have to tell them what I needed. It might not be comfortable and people might disappoint you but I’ve realised that no one person can replace the intimacy I had with my wife, thats just not possible nor when I thought about it was it wanted. I found instead that accepting any and all offers of help and social engagement with the understanding that I might cancel was the best way to go. Sometimes I had to force myself out the door, sometimes it was a bad experience, sometimes it was lifting. I just keep trying things and seeing what works for me. I also found that identifying who could help with different aspects of this situation was really beneficial. For instance one friend is good with listening to my emotional despair, whilst another is good for going out and socialising with, another is good for always complaing about their life and so giving me respite from mine.

Again on friends and family, I try to forgive them for not knowing what to do, for having lives to get on with, for having little time for you. I’ve tried not to dwell on the disappointment I’ve felt from some peoples actions or lack there of. Before my wife died I was guilty of being them, I acted as they acted towards the bereaved. As we all know it’s not till you’re here that you have any understanding of the nightmare to be faced. I forgive them as I forgive myself for once being that person. As much as we wish it not to life goes on, the world turns. For me I’ve seen what happens to people who cant forgive and it’s a path I don’t want to follow down into bitternes and hate.

If you can, get away for a while. I’ve found that getting out of my house for a time has helped no end. I’m lucky in that I have friends that could offer the use of their flat but even going on a day trip helps. Again it gave me time to relect but without all the triggers of being in our home.

Try to engage with activities that face to the future, I know it’s hard to think of the future but the future is inevitable. I restarted my driving lessons, it was difficult to be in such an intimate space with someone else, the first time out I worried I would break down at the wheel but now I look forward to it. I found it really difficult to move away from this moment of loss, it felt like I was leaving my wife behind but now I hear her cheering me on.

One of the most beneficial things for me has been to reflect on my wifes life. She had an enormous amount of struggle and was dealt a pretty shitty hand at times but she always got back up and was very future facing. She believed in moving herself forward, learning new skills, seeing new places, tasting new food. I try to think what she would have done in situations, some times I do that, sometimes I do what I want. It’s my way of carrying her along with me, I guess to try and see what she would have seen in a situation. I talk to her all the time and get some surprising answers.

All of the above is in no way a guarantee but for me I’m in a different place than I was a few weeks ago. I still breakdown daily, question my actions, relive the trauma of her last breath, but I can see a movement in the right direction. It’s been really, really difficult to get here, there’s been a lot of tears and anguish, self doubt and despair. In all the research that I’ve done, all the shit I’ve experienced since she died and in everything that’s become apparent about existence since then, I’ve come to realise, as with much in life, I have to put in the effort, do things I didn’t want to, experience pain I’d never imagined to exist. and with each little accomplishment I give myself praise as its one more thing that I’m doing that I wasn’t doing last week, yesterday, an hour ago. I remember to give myself space for failure, change of mind, I can always try again. Am I ‘better’, absolutely not. The person I was died with my wife, but the person my wife fell in love with is still there. There’s no way my wife would have wanted me to be anything else other than happy, she lived with terminal cancer for 9 months and she could still find joy and laughter. I know trying to rebuild my life is the only way I could honour what we had together, so I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and hoping that it works and listening for her cheering me on.



Dear @Walan

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the Community.

Take care and continue to reach out at any time.



What an AMAZING post and some wonderful insights into your approach. Thank you.
I admire all you are doing and will try many of those things myself. I do believe my husband would want me to make the most of my life and look after his legacy too. I have said in other posts on this forum, that he is my motivation to do much of what I do. I am determined to make him proud - even if I get it wrong sometimes, I will at least try to do things.

I am nine month in so have been battling this grief longer than some and have certainly seen improvements in how devastating daily life is. My tears still come frequently but less frequently; I can do some things more easily whilst others are still terrifying and seem impossible.

I hope we can all gain from your ideas in some way. Thanks again.

Karen xxx


Thankyou for your words Walan they are very positive and helpful.

Like you, My husband died 8 weeks ago tonight and I have been trying to process what has happened and to navigate a pathway to a new reality. I did not have any choice around what happened, one minute my life was perfect, the next it had changed for ever. Knowing I had no choice then, I know I have a choice as to how I try to work my way through this pain and distress, knowing I can sink or swim. I want to swim, the water in the pool changes in its depth and at times it feels as if I am barely coming up to the surface, but I am as I am alive. I have dogs so my routine has been established around them, they need feeding and walking… I find the walking therapeutic what ever the weather… I take then opportunity to reflect and talk to my Gavin.
Gavin was a glass half full, and although his body could not cope, his spirit is with me … he would want me to live his life through mine and I will honour his with this.

I know the wave everyone is riding is different for all us, but you contribution has give me strength and increased my hope. Thankyou


Thanks KarenF, if it helps in any way then I’m happy.

This site has helped me quite a lot, it’s good for just checking in and out of, I find I get a better sense of what to expect and how to use that in way that approaches positive. I just want to return the favour.

Tbh I’d like to return the compliment and say that your posts have helped a lot. When I first came here I had no idea of what I could do to help myself and then I came across your posts of bringing in sheep and saying ‘we did it’ and it made all the difference.

It inspired me to post, just to share and to hope it helps others. We’re all that we have got


Thanks @Walan

As @MinnieImber said, we didn’t have a choice about what happened but we do have a choice about learning to swim in this pool. None of us believe it’ll be easy but we CAN do it.

Keep inspiring us and we’ll try and do the same.
Today, sheep moved nearer to home so we can check them easily as they get heavier in lamb. They behaved very well as we moved them with the help of a friend who also had no experience of it. We may have 3 or 4 more weeks of them before they go home to lamb.
Karen xxx


I know what you mean about choice, some things are put on us and some things we walk into. My wife had many challenges through her lfe and always chose to move through them and assess from the other side. She told me that all her problems were the things that were put on her, but I was the thing that she walked into. That’s what I want to caryy into my future.


Hi walan …,I also found Karen’s posts inspirational and the really helped me to adopt as positive approaches as much as I was able x


Hey KarenF,

So just wondering if you’re doing OK with the sheep:

Today, sheep moved nearer to home so we can check them easily as they get heavier in lamb. They behaved very well as we moved them with the help of a friend who also had no experience of it. We may have 3 or 4 more weeks of them before they go home to lamb.

are you coping OK ? Not that I can offer any help with sheep rearing, or any sheep related matters or activities. Bugger. Take care x


@Walan :joy::+1:
Doing ok thanks. So far they haven’t given any trouble - only trying to count them!!! Should be 104 but they won’t stay still if you get near enough to see them clearly and know one isn’t hiding behind another.
None stuck on their backs, or prolapsing, or stuck in hedges yet so pretty good. :clap::pray:

Maybe when I move on to DIY on the house you can advise me better?

Karen xxx


do you literally fall asleep counting sheep?

I can advise on Diy :rofl:


@Walan what an inspiring opening post. I am doing some of the things you say, like walking, exercise and the not drinking.
I also like the swim analogy @MinnieImber.
I am trying to do things that will make my hubby proud, but its so hard. Im also thinking of having a celebration for his birthday, think he would like that.
@KarenF im confused about the sheep, so theyre not real…
Love and hugs to all x


your thoughts helped me SO much … :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


Glad the swimming analogy helped a little… it is tough to keep afloat all the time, but if you bob under, that’s when you need to focus on your breathing, keeping calm and paddle harder… try and big kind to yourself … big hugs


Thank you @Walan, your words have helped me start my day with a much more positive approach. I woke up crying as I often do but reading your post has given me ‘food for thought’. I manage to struggle on without my husband by honoring him, looking after our home, family and property as best as I can,continuing unfinished projects, doing what he would have wanted, in the way he would have wanted. After all, being soulmates, we have been moulded together, our minds thinking alike, our souls intertwined, two people becoming one. This can never be taken away from us.
I agree totally about taking long walks in the fresh air, especially in countryside surroundings, amongst the peace and harmony of nature. During these walks I also find it easier and more tolerable to reminisce over my life together with my husband, releasing the pain of grief, instead of suppressing those feelings putting on a brave face during our daily routines.
Thank you again and sending you strength and serenity.


Dear Walan

I know exactly what your saying …firstly condolences on the loss of your wife. The guilt of laughing, eating and those brief moments when you feel ok never goes away…like you the loss is too recent to be believed :cry: :broken_heart: continue your growth and strength. Sharing is such a great help and seeing how others are dealing with their very different normal.

A friend in grief


Such a lovely, warm, and brave message.
Thank you.
I am nearly 6 months on this journey, and like you i am trying to do something positive each day. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so. I am trying to make my husband proud of me, because he always was when he was alive. He gave me such confidence and helped me grow as a person over 52 years, I owe so much to him.
I hope today will be a good day for you and all of us x


They are real sheep but not ours. As well as being a driving instructor, my husband looked after about 90 acres of land which he inherited when the family farm was divided. I had very little to do with it, not being brought up to farming. Part of the income from the land involves having pregnant ewes grazing it over the winter months which he would check every day whilst they were here. This year it has been me and my daughter doing the checking and it’ll be us trying to look after the land too. A steep learning curve but hopefully entertaining a few of you too. :joy:


Thanks for the info @KarenF KarenF wasnt sure if it was in dreams, trying to help you sleep which im sure evades us all in these times. Gosh your hubby sounds like such a hard worker, and it must be hard for you and your daughter but hope it brings you both some comfort. And yes please, keep the sheep and baa lamb stories coming
Love and hugs x


Hi there Walan
When I started reading your post I was inclined to wonder what you knew about things that might help as you was so early in your grief but when I read on I realised you was really trying hard and you was doing some of the things I had also been doing and still do four years on.
My love of walking was a big help and having two dogs I had no choice. Now it is an accepted fact that walking is a natural stress buster. Being in the countryside with nature is so therapeutic. Just by being outdoors you can meet other people and get easily into conversations. I kept going with our interests including two large allotment plots. All of which kept me close to my husband as he asked me to take him on my walks with him. He also loved his allotments and I feel him near me watching over me.
I also wrote down everything I did in a day just to prove to myself that I was existing.
Many tears later I am still doing what I can to give myself something to focus on.
So many thanks for being brave enough to do such an inspiring post I hope it will help some members to pick up the pieces of a life again.