This is how I feel

My husband Doug died suddenly in late 2020. We were devoted to each other for 20 years, really my whole world revolved around him and fell apart after that awful knock on the door.

I’m still struggling to find any real joy in my new life. I find myself wearing a mask for others most of the time, although I’m blessed to have friends and family I can speak to - I’m just painfully aware how relentless this level of grief is and I’m wary of burdening anyone. I’ve spoken to my Dr and I have recently arranged counselling.

I think I am probably guilty of just pushing myself through days, trying to put as much distance between myself and that night, desperately clinging to the old adage about time being a healer. I’m not sure I’ve “processed” my grief. I feel like I’ve reached some invisible line in the sand where before it people told me that healing will take time but, now I seem to have crossed into a different perspective where I’m starting to hear the phrase “complicated grief” which leaves me feeling like I’ve somehow failed at grieving, like I should be feeling better.

Has anyone heard this phrase? It seems a ridiculous phrase as of course grief is complicated: this wholly unwanted and disorienting phase is probably the most complicated period in my life and certainly the one I’m least equipped to navigate without Doug, my: husband, best friend, lover, co-parent, life partner … the one person I chose, and the one who chose me, to live our lives together. I mean, of course its complicated, I feel like I have to re-learn everything about living, from the most practical tasks to the most intimate emotional experiences.

I feel utterly lost, all at sea and I don’t mind admitting that I have no real ideas about how to move forward towards enjoying my life without him. I know it sounds dramatic and horribly ungrateful but, most days I feel I’m only here for our son.

Has anyone found councillng to be beneficial?

Thank you.


My partner Doug died in October 2021, and like you we were devoted to each other. Everything you say feels the same for me, I push myself through the days. I have friends and family who try to help but most of the time I feel unable to talk to them as it is the same old story. I thought I was making progress but it seems to have come back, only worse than before, I am also contacting a councellor as I am at a loss as to know how to move on and feel motivated about anything. I have joined a bereavement group and also volunteered but they are not enough to fill the void.
Each day seems a struggle to get through. I am sorry I am no help to you. Just feel the same as you do.

Hi @Loveliday, my husband was Doug too, he passed away March 2021. We have been together 47 years married 44 years.
Like you and @patsee I was devastated, Doug has been ill for a number of years, part of me died when he died.
I’ve never needed to before but since the first anniversary I haven’t coped well, not sleeping, no energy or motivation struggle at work. Saw my GP, she put me on antidepressants to help me sleep and has sent me a link for councilling.
I have registered but not heard back yet, I also have an option to go with the employee assistance programme that my employer pays for.
I have heard of complicated grief, I’ve seen posts on this site about it. If you put it in the search on community home page, it should bring up threads where other people have talked about it.
You are right all grief is complicated, and we each have to deal with it the best we can. It a journey that has no end. Being on Sue Ryder helps as you know others are going through the same things.
Our children are adults both with partners and I have 6 grandchildren. Lossing their dad has brought us closer together in our support of each other. I also have a couple of close friends that have either lost partners or a parent and that helps too, they understand.
I think the key is to keep busy, I still work, I go to and volunteer at my local church and I meet up with friends and family often for lunch or just a cup of tea and a chat.
It’s still not easy coming back to an empty house, but it’s something I just have just got to adjust to. At home I play alot of music so the house is not silent and I read alot and gardening. Doug’s favourite place so I have to keep it special for him.
Sending love to you both.
Debbie X X

Hi @Loveliday your post resonates so much with me. I also lost my partner of 30 years in October 2020. He’s in my thoughts every moment., it feels endless.
I have heard the term complicated grief, but all the information here stressing that grief has no time limit is reassuring I think. No-one can really grasp the enormity of losing your life partner unless they’ve experienced it, and the pressure to ‘move forward’ can feel quite intense.
A good friend of mine is a psychotherapist and the opportunity to just talk is really helpful. It doesn’t diminish my grief but it does help to express my feelings.
Be kind to yourself, you certainly haven’t failed in your grieving process, it’s such a huge thing to try to build a life you never wanted alone. For me, counselling is simply recognising that losing my partner has been completely earth shattering, and anything that might help, however small, is much needed and will continue to be needed for a long time.

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Counselling is a personal choice - you won’t know till you have tried it.
What you have written is how we are all feeling -
Time is a healer - that’s a saying I hate -
grief isn’t like a broken limb - you just learn to get thru each day the best you can, there are no rules.
Be kind to yourself.
G. Xx

I’m sitting here with big tears rolling down my cheeks and just wanting to say thank you to you all for sharing your feelings. @patsee @Debbie57 @Rarelion @Grandma While it’s horrible to know you’re suffering similar devastation, there’s also such comfort in being able to talk openly and find genuine understanding. I can hardly believe how similar some of our shared experiences are. Truly, some of the words above could have come out of my own mouth and that makes me feel a little less alone - which is so valuable to me.

It’s really reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one to feel like I’m going backwards and to feel this constant pressure pushing me to move on and be better. If I’ve shared a brighter time with someone but then the dark clouds return (as they always do) I can end up feeling like I’m disappointing them, you know? Like they’re thinking “oh, I thought you were getting better but… obviously not” I’m constantly torn between sharing how I honestly feel and putting on a mask. To be honest I find both options exhausting. I’m hoping that counselling will at least give me a place where I don’t have to perform. I think its definitely worth a shot.

Thank you again :white_heart: xo

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Hi @Loveliday, it’s exhausting trying to put on a brave face for other people. But true friend and family will understand you can be smiling one minute and sobbing the next. Two steps forward one back, it’s hard work.
I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked are you okay. The trouble they really don’t want to know the right answer.
I hope the councilling helps you. X :purple_heart:

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