Maybe this can help you? This is what I learned in the year since my soul mate passed
This site has been a life-saver for me, probably literally, since my darling Sharon passed away on 17th May last year. I’m posting this to maybe help others in their first year of losing their partner.
IN CONTEXT: my beloved Sharon is (was) my reason for living. We were together 42 years since our teens, inseparable and a single soul shared. She was diagnosed out of the blue with stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer on 30th July 2019, and given 6-12 weeks to live – totally devastating. However my girl refused to accept this, and lasted 3 years having undertaken 40 horrific chemotherapy treatments, and the last 5 months immobile in a hospice since the local hospital (possibly trying to end her) gave her 3-4 days to live with total kidney failure on Christmas Eve 2021. I slept on a camp bed by her bed in the hospice, and never left her side for this 5 months.
SO WHAT I LEARNED:
Use this site, understand you are not alone. Learn from others who have lost a partner. Post back, support others.
Losing a partner is thousands of times worse than losing a parent. My Dad passed away a few months ago – and even though his wife hastened his end in order to get all his money (my inheritance) and quite literally danced around his grave and celebrated with champagne – compared to losing Sharon, it is insignificant.
The people who tell you they understand, don’t. Unless they have lost a partner, they have no idea what life is like on our Planet Shit (Transported to a New Planet).
As a hard-core alpha male who would previously have disparaged counselling, that attitude is total b*******; take all the help you can get. And find a counsellor with whom you “click”. It’s OK to be vulnerable.
Read stuff. Understand Continuing Bonds, Dual Processing, understand what you are going through; physical and mental.
For me, antidepressants (vortioxetine) reduced physical anxiety symptoms, but has no other side effects to date. But not for everyone, so talk to the professionals.
Being diagnosed on my NHS record as “at risk of harm” i.e. suicide is a pain in the a*** from legal aspects, but enables you to get NHS help (even via the GP) easily.
Talk about it. Bore everyone. Talking is good.
I have been diagnosed with “complicated grief”, PTSD and all the other labels and am being treated in the local NHS Mental Hospital which is a bit crazy to some “friends” who know I’m attending a Loony Bin as a Loony; but ignore what other people think, they don’t live in your shoes.
Be positive, such as: “I was married to the most beautiful girl in the World who was way out of my league but loved me unconditionally, and other people who didn’t have that were the unlucky ones”….and “it is better for me to try to cope with living without my darling girl, and continue to protect her, rather than her have to deal with the devastation of living without me”.
You don’t recover. You don’t move on. But… you do learn to cope better. This is the big one.
Find a bereavement buddy or buddies; a few of us who lost our partners attend a weekly Zoom meeting, which allows us to talk to people on the same planet, who understand; this is incredibly helpful. I met one of the others for coffee a couple of week ago on my way back from seeing my son, and we talked for hours.
Sometimes, our partners choose to depart in a way that protects us, which although hard to swallow, shows how much they love us. For three nights in a row I held Sharon in my arms having been told she’d not see the dawn tomorrow, but then she went on the 4th day when I popped to the loo for 2 minutes – which the staff nurse said was common and Sharon would have done that to avoid me dealing with the shock her going cold or worse as I held her.
Watch “After Life”, although I don’t like Gervais, the program nails it. You are not alone.
Finally, “be kind to yourself”… and by this I now know this means: be selfish, ditch those that don’t support you, eat chocolate when you want, duvet day when you need.
And for me, the poem I wrote for my darling Sharon’s funeral (attached) sums it up.
I wish you all the very best who have lost a partner, and who now live in a World of shit where everything looks the same, but everything is different. Carpe Diem Quam Minimum Credula Postero……
Thank you for your post, I think it’s important to read lived experiences at different stages of grief. Lots of what you say resonate with me, I’m 3years & 5 months on from losing my Derek & am definitely coping better than in the early days. I found this site which helped me see that my feelings weren’t unique, my despair was normal. Our close friends & family as supportive as they have been, still have their spouses & can never know the anguish of losing the love of their life. I met a lady down at the church whose husband passed away a year after Derek, we got talking & have become friends because of our shared experience. Talking to someone who knows what it’s like is so helpful & although I’ve not joined your zoom meeting it’s a great idea. I’m just better with the written word.
I started writing poetry & that really helped me get the feelings out of my head & also started reading poetry, I find Donna Ashworth’s poems so poignant & one in particular has really helped called “Take them with you”
I still have days where I can’t face going out, but I just ride with them, it can be exhausting trying to make some kind of life for yourself a life we don’t really want but we’ve been forced into. Rebuilding your present & rewriting the future you’d dreamed of & should be living. We should have retired to Spain, we had everything in place & then bam, that life was no longer to be. That’s the big one for me, the fact that our lives as we knew them ended too, our future destroyed. It’s no wonder that it’s so difficult to try & come to terms with & getting through each day is an achievement we should all be proud of.
I’m living my life for My Derek, I want to make him proud, we have a grandson who he sadly never got to meet, but he will know all about his Grandad. Whilst I’m here Derek will never be forgotten, he lives on in me & that gets me through.
Take care xx
Thank you for your post…although I’m only 4 months into this shit show I relate already to EVERYTHING you say. I’m not sure how this pans out…in fact I’m in limbo…but this forum is a true resource to be used. Best wishes to you and everyone else going through this horrific situation
@Jodel712 That’s a lovely response - and I totally agree. Whilst I’m medically stuck in denial and am being treated in the Loony Bin, and nowhere near your 3 years 5 months, it is good to understand where you are at. Thanks…
@DennisS , thank you for posting this. It has been comforting ti hear from others like me 6 weeks in this terrible grief and to know i am not going mad. Like you i lost a parent, i was grief stricken, but not like this. Now i am broken, lost, overwhelmed and so sad. Like you we met as teenagers and were together 50 years. I dont know how to be me without him. I have a wonderful family and supportive friends, i know i am luckier in that respect than many on this forum. So i try every day to do something, but at night i feel very alone. Your post and others after you have given me a glimmer of hope. Thank you.
@Freefaller I’m glad this helped you in some way. I totally understand what you say about not knowing “how to be me”. Since I was 20, it was only ever Sharon and me. The guy in the Loony Bin told me that isn’t helpful that we only ever needed each other and were totally exclusive - but I ripped into him and said if he hadn’t got that, then he was a loser. Oooops…
@UnityMan You are welcome… I went from being a hard core Alpha who thought I’d never need help, could tough anything out - to a weak, vulnerable person who will accept any help he can get from anyone. Its OK to accept help.
@DennisS What an honest and heartfelt post. I agree with every word you have stated. Your wife is so beautiful, I’m sure she is extremely proud of you. It gives me, and I’m sure many others a little bit of hope; this journey really is the worst we will ever take, and it really does help to listen to other members who are further down this dreadful road.
I too have lost both my parents and believed that was tough! Goodness, no one prepared me for the greatest loss in life, our soulmate, other half, partner, reason for living, our joy and sunshine…
I lost my Dad 11 years ago. We were close. I thought I’d done grief. My Mom died 3 years ago, but with Alzheimer’s. She hadn’t known who we were for about 10 years änd it was a blessing. I did not grieve. But this is on another scale. I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad. I know now why they refer to your other half. You are not whole without each other. It’s claptrap to say that’s unhealthy. Those people are missing out on great love. We both had our own interests separately, but we were mutually deoendent in ways that brought us joy. That is not something unhealthy. That’s what everyone is looking for. We are fortunate we found that, but there is a price. I’d still do it all over again.
Thank you for sharing this. I agree that the more we can talk about it and get support from others who know how it feels, the more it will help us to cope. We (Viv and I) had a good life together and I miss her so much (3 years now). You have so many good points for us to think on and that means a lot. Take care and know we are all here for you.
Hi @DennisS, nice to see you back. I’ve just read your post, it’s a very good insight,says it all, I’m sure everyone here agrees with everything you say. I joined this site a year ago and I have found it very helpful too, we need to cry out to others who are in the same situation to find empathy and understanding, helping each other in our struggle to survive, otherwise we may as well talk to the brickwall! Nobody can possibly understand the devastation we go through when our life partner is suddenly torn away from us, unless they are going through it too. For you it’s a year since you lost your beloved wife, and for me the 15th of May marked two and a half years, but it seems like two and a half days to me😕. Another fake “proverb” I hate hearing is “time heals”, there is nothing to heal, grief is not an illness, that hole in our souls cannot be fixed. We are everything we are because of the lives we led together, we have become who we are today because of the love we shared with our soulmates, so they will continue to live through us, the connection is still there and this will comfort us, giving us courage and strength to carry on.
Take care of yourself, and by the way, that’s a lovely photo, an attractive lady.
Agree @AngelinaH I lost my lovely Dad when I was only 22, then lost my lovely Mum at 37, one year before I married my love. I remember at the time being so upset; I have two brothers and couldn’t choose who would walk me down the aisle, so I walked myself…
Martin and I were together 17 years, but only got to 10 years in our marriage.
It’s just not fair…but I take comfort in what @DennisS has posted…
Thank you for your honest and inspiring post. I am at a similar time to you in that I lost my darling Richard in April last year. I didn’t join here until around five months after he died but have found that being in touch with others who have lost their partner to be so helpful.
My grief is less all consuming now but ambushes happen at any time and I expect that will continue for many years to come. I do have better days now and make a life for myself and my daughter. I am inspired by my love to keep going and to make him proud. He will always be part of my life and I feel blessed to have had the level of love we had, which many never do.
Those of you in the early stages, it is the worst event imaginable but, as Dennis suggests, take all the help you can and gain support from others on here. We can do this together.
Thank you so much for your post about what you have learnt.
It’s so heartfelt
I’m 8 months 24 days in…it’s excruciating…I can honestly say the last couple of weeks have been the worst… I’m scared for it getting even worse…
Many of your insights so resonate…
… Losing your partner is like no other loss… whatever anyone else tells you
No one gets it until that has happened to them … I actually want to punch people who say " I know exactly how you feel , when my mum…
Sorry , NO YOU DON’T!!
I tried antidepressants and sleeping tablets …none helped… So I’ve stopped takin them…
And We do have to be kind to ourselves…
I find that so hard because I have spent my whole life doing everything for everyone else…
But I have learnt to be a bit more selfish …its kind of called survival… I think that’s part of what you say when you say we don’t recover, we don’t move on , we just learn to cope…
I have a bubble… only me, my husband and our two dogs in it…its a sad bubble but it’s a safe bubble… I’m in it wherever I go … When I go to work, when I walk the dogs… when I talk to anyone even on the phone … and it’s how I cope.