THREE YEARS SINCE MY BELOVED HUSBAND DIED

I have been reading many, many, of the stories on the site and I can honestly say that every single one is exactly what I went through from the very first day. I tell a lie, it really happened two years before my husband died because we were living a day to day existence, not knowing when my husband’s next visit to hospital would be his last one, waking up in a morning and turning to him, holding my breath and dreading the fact that he may have died in the night. When I saw he was still breathing I myself could breathe again and know I had another day at least with him.

Then it became a reality, he died in hospital with his sons and I around him, he had fallen asleep and was peaceful at last. I could not cry, I felt numb, could not believe what had happened, I did not really understand what had happened I was in total shock even though I knew that one day it would happen. When we got home, I told our sons I wanted to be alone and they went to their own homes to be with their families. I was in a complete daze, I locked the front door, took our German Shepherd dog into the garden, gave him a cuddle and got on my knees and screamed into a cushion knowing I would never see my husband again, the only boy I had ever loved from him being 18 years old to him dying at 68. My life ended that day. I crawled into bed where he had slept the night before he was rushed into hospital and I cried and cried, wishing to die with him. I tossed and turned could not sleep then I felt myself being held very tightly, I pushed myself into the hug and fell asleep. I am sure it was my husband saying goodbye.

The next few days our sons came over, we had to arrange paperwork and all that entails, then sort the funeral out by the time everything was sorted, banks, etc. it was four months later. Our home had fallen into disrepair over the few years my husband was ill, as he could not be bothered with it. I then decided to get it sorted. it took me 6 months, just about up to the first anniversary of my husband’s death until it was all finished. That was when I realised there was nothing else to do and I was facing the rest of my life without him. I have never cried as much as I did over those last 12 months but I had jobs to do so got on with it. That was when it hit me, I had not let myself grieve properly, I had just kept busy to try and take my mind off it but there was nothing now left to do but think. I was always looking at my husband’s clothes, going through photographs, watching our wedding video over and over again. My face ached with putting on a smile for our sons as they were worried about me, then when they went home, I was once again, putting photos in frames, playing our music over and over again. I realised I was now living in the past when we were together, the future meant nothing to me anymore, even though I have wonderful sons and grandchildren they just were not the one person I wanted.

To cut a long story short, it is now three years since I lost the love of my life, a few months ago I decided to sort through all his clothes, that was a day of tears, laughter and me shouting at him, I have never seen as much rubbish in a grown man’s pockets. My earrings I had asked him to look after because they were hurting me and when I wanted them a few days later, no he didn’t have them, but there they were in his pocket so I said, Peter, I told you you had them. Tissues, polo mints, train tickets, combs, after-shave, it took me ages sorting through his pockets. What hurt the most was many items of clothes still had the tags on, that really crippled me, knowing when he had bought them he was a fit man but never got the chance to wear them. I have never sought counselling, never taken anti-depressant tablets, perhaps I should have, but I did scour the websites looking for forums about grief and the loss of a husband/wife. They helped me a lot, helped me to see I was not alone in this nightmare. I met a lovely lady on one of the sites who lives in Australia and in the same position as myself, and we now email each other every week, keeping track of each others lives and giving each other the strength to carry on.

People say it will get easier as time goes on, yes it does in a way because you have had no choice but to live without him, learned to do jobs on your own but you never, ever get over it. I live day to day, wishing and wishing I had a time machine so I could go back to the day I met him at the Mecca Locarno in 1964 and do it all over again, but I can’t, so I watch our wedding video, look at our photos and play our songs hoping that I will outlive my Barney my GSD then after that I don’t really care.

To all you lovely people who are just starting out on this nightmare journey, all I can say is live day to day and handle what comes and most of all, if you want to cry, for goodness sake cry. I put on a stiff upper lip now, but still cry for the wonderful husband I have lost and the fantastic life that we had but they cannot take away my memories and as long as I have got those, my husband is with me. I have his ashes and they are going to be scattered with mine in Devon when I die so we will be together in death as we were in life.

I wish everyone of you going through this tragic loss, the strength to get out of bed in a morning and put one foot in front of the other, because that is all it takes to get through another day.

Lots of love Sheila xxxxx

Dear Sheila - I’m really touched by your moving account. I wrote a lengthy reply and at the last line or so I lost everything due to technical issues and simply didn’t have the emotional energy to write it again. It’s strange isn’t it as I have read your story on the other website. It was one of the first forums I had read, before I found this one. It took me ages to read your exchanges which seemed to cover several seasons or at least months and I remember some of the details vividly even after all this time. As I started to read more of your posts this time around I began to think how many Barney GSD dogs can there be? Surely this can’t be the same person. I remembered from way back then you saying you’d be content to outlive Barney and then didn’t really care and you have commented about it yourself above. I don’t know whether to be inspired or scared witless that you have and are surviving and managing this pain but getting through life with your family and beloved Barney Your excellent advice of just putting one step in front of the other is very apt. I’ll post again when I have mastered that for myself. Was it yourself having a dental op today? My memory is shot at, but I hope all went ok. My particular nightmare is ever-present Tinnitus and is very difficult to live with but when things are fine but when I’m distressed it’s virtually intolerable. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I’m no expert, but that’s an incredible writing skill you seem to possess. Kind thoughts to you.

Hi Tina, it’s me and thank you very much for your very kind comments. I am so sorry that you have Tinnitus, I know it is a terrible condition to have as I know people who have the condition. Yes, you may have read quite a few of my comments as I try and reply to people who are just starting out on their journey of grief, to let them know that even three years after the death of a loved one, it is still okay to cry and miss them and not feel ashamed of ‘not moving on’ like so many people want you to. How on earth can I just dismiss fifty of the most wonderful years of my life and just ‘move on’ I can’t and to be honest, I don’t want to ‘move on’, not without my husband, I want to remember our lives together, I want to cry for what I have lost, I don’t want to go to family gatherings where it is so obvious that there is someone missing, I am sick of putting on a brave face, I am sick of telling people I am okay. I am getting through this the best way I can, keeping him alive in my thoughts and heart and as long as I do that he will always be with me. I honestly sometimes think I wish it had been me that had died first and been spared all this heartache then I think, how on earth could I have wished this on him, I would not wish it on my worst enemy Yes, I had all my teeth pulled out on Thursday and full dentures put in, I am in absolute agony but I have now got beautiful teeth. I have a medical condition called Sjogrens syndrome which attacks your immune system, I have dry eyes and get corneal ulcers and have no saliva which has decayed my teeth. I was referred to the Dental hospital where they found every tooth was decayed so had to have them out. I feel as though I have got two door-steps in my mouth and I whistle when I talk, my face is swollen and I have a trout pout over my top lip, what a state I am in and I am living on painkillers.
Barney is being naughty as usual, I don’t know why but he is always eating my roses, he just pulls the heads off. I tell him that his daddy would be so cross with him, he knows who I mean when I say his daddy because he was Peters best friend, I fed him, took him for walks but he was always side by side with Peter right up until the last day when he was rushed into hospital. I often wonder what Barney thought when I came home on my own from hospital that terrible day and he never saw his dad again. He still sits in the back garden, looking through the dining room window waiting for Peter to come out. One afternoon I was sat in the garden playing with him when I heard a car go past, I said without thinking, daddy’s home, and Barney went absolutely ballistic, he could not get to the car-port gate fast enough. I have no idea what happened it just came out. I started to cry, Barney was still sat waiting for Peter, it was horrendous. All I can say Tina is to get through one day at a time and take what comes. I didn’t plan my days at all, I got up in the morning, saw to Barney, had breakfast then decided what I would do. As far as I was concerned I didn’t really care whether I went out or not so what I did the night before was get all my clothes ready, handbag, makeup etc. just in case, because I knew if they were not hanging up with everything ready to go the following morning, I would not bother going out. I really am thinking of you and I often wonder where on earth the last three years have gone and how I have made it through them. If someone offered me a billion pounds to re-live the last three years I would say no. No amount of money could heal my heartache. The only thing I want is my husband back. Take Care Tina. Love Sheila xx

Hello again Sheila. Thanks for replying and telling me more about Barney. Our GSD Zara was 6 and a half last year and was just 20 minutes from losing her life. She had stopped weeing previously and was having to be catheterised daily. In the end we had to take her to Liverpool University to see a their international specialists. They told us no surgery was available so we came away with a massive medication list and no hope. She had slipped discs pressing on the nerves. The told us the “prognosis was poor”. Two days later she stopped weeing again and I asked the regular vet if they would consider catheterisation again just one last time as she never displayed any pain. They said No, as it wouldn’t cure the underlying cause. So what to do? I found a vet that would do a catheter at the 11th hour and over 12 months later we still have Zara. It’s a very mischievous, happy and active dog despite still having 8 hourky 24/7 permanent medication for life no. I think GSD are very much a “man’s dog” aren’t they? It’s loved to bits but will only be told what to do by my brother mainly. The point of the story was that they said Dennis also had a “poor prognosis” and I somehow thought if I had helped the dog get lifesaving treatment and she was here then maybe Dennis would have the same result as well from a “poor prognosis”.
Today is Dennis’s 72nd Birthday so it’s quite hard. I also went to visit the house this week but there were lots of items with memories attached that upset me. Stupid things like the TV remote control and opening the DVD player and the last DVD he used still being in. The thing is Dennis absolutely adored life - I was always the worrier and like you I have said many a time that it should have been me that had to leave, not Dennis. Whilst I was back at home I saw all the other much older men in our road that have heart problems and wish so hard why Dennis couldn’t be the same, what was the difference and why couldn’t it have been fixed when they were ok.
I hope you do well with the new dentures. I was in Hospital last month being treated for an unintended staggered Paracetamol overdose due to a dental problem. I wouldn’t care but I’ve never been one to take tablets. The dentures must be quite hard to get used to.
Sorry Sheila to have gone on a bit. It’s incredibly kind for you to be sharing your thoughts. I can’t and don’t want to move on either, as counsellors would advise us to. I’ve never really come across someone else who thinks the same, so I realize I am not alone in thinking this way now.
Well, I’m off to buy Dennis a backing track for his birthday online. He was a singer at the care homes. He “sang” all the songs at his service as I recordings of his performances and edited out the three songs I wanted. The heart-breaking thing is that he would have been impressed with hearing his voice singing through the building.
Take care Sheila Love Tina

Oh Tina, I know it is absolutely heartbreaking but you are not alone, we on this site are with you every step of the way. I am so sorry about your Zara, it is terrible seeing your pet ill, in total over the last 40 years we have had four GSD’s, two died age eight of cancer of the spleen, one died of bloat age nine, (twisted stomach which is quite common in deep chested dogs) and now Barney who luckily is as fit as anything touch wood. He had a urine problem, going through the night on the kitchen tiles, I am always frightened of taking my pets to the vets because they always have to do all these tests and I hate putting them through it, I knew a friend of mine who had urinary tract problems and swore by adding lemon juice to his water it sorted it out, so I went online to check and then I did that for Barney twice a day and a few days after he was cured. I always add lemon juice to both my water and Barneys as it kills all the bacteria in the urinary tract. I used to get cystitis all the time and now have never had it for absolutely ages. My Peter had COPD, (Emphysema) and was on 24/7 oxygen for the last two years of his life, all caused by smoking. Years before he became ill I asked him to stop smoking, I didn’t smoke, our sons never smoked and he did try but never did so when he was diagnosed with COPD I was upset and so angry with him because his illness was self inflicted. Right up until he died he was told if he hadn’t smoked he would be a very fit man, I even asked the specialist if I could donate one of my lungs to him but they told us that Peter wouldn’t make it through the operation. Our sons cannot get out of their mind that their dad didn’t have to die when he did, it was all down to smoking and that hurts a lot because I sometimes think if I had really pushed him to stop smoking he might be here now. To be honest Tina, I also worry about paracetamol. When I kept having abscesses on my teeth I was living on pain killers, I can only take Paracetamol and Ibuprofen as I am allergic to Codeine and Morphine and the stronger ones usually have these in them, but I make sure I stick to the required dosage, even try to leave it as late as possible before taking them for the pain. Peter was 71 years old in April this year, he was just over three years younger than me, he was 18 when I met him and I was 21. He lied to me about his age and told me he was 21 too but when I found out I was heartbroken because I thought he was too young for me but my dad said, age doesn’t matter, he is a nice lad and he looked after his mum when she had cancer so is a lot older in his ways than I was, so I carried on going out with him. The best decision I ever made, I loved that man so much and he loved me back and there is noway on this earth I want to move on, I am quite happy doing what I am doing, filling in my diary, enlarging photos of him and us from years back, playing our music and watching our wedding video. If that is what keeps me going then I don’t need a therapist to tell me any different, I want to remember as much as possible of our lives together until my dying day, I do not want to leave him behind at all. It must be so heartbreaking when a couple find out that one of them has Alzeimers because they lose that person bit by bit each day, the memories vanish and they no longer remember the days gone by. I know I still grieve for my husband but at least I have my memories of him and he knew I loved him right up until the end. You look after yourself Tina, Love Sheila

It’s the “if only” scenarios that really, truly hurt. Thanks for all your comments and I wish you well. ( I don’t know whether you have heard of the “Continuing Bonds” theory but I reckon you could definitely reach them a thing or two.)

Hi Tina, no I haven’t heard of them but I will have a look for it now. Thank you for that. I also wish you well Tina, and you are correct it is the ‘if’ only scenario but we cannot do anything about it now it has passed but it hurts when you know a death might have been avoided if someone had changed their lifestyle. When Peter died I wanted to grieve in my own way and for three years I have done that. I will grieve for my husband until the day I am with him again. As long as I get up in the morning and do what I have to do then it has nothing to do with anyone else. Our sons kept telling me to join a club as I might meet someone to go out as friends with. I told them to get on with their own lives, and they are in no position to tell me how to ‘move on’ because after eight years of marriage they have both been divorced, I told them that they have no idea what the meaning of true love is. If they had been married 50 years and lost the love of their life, then they can give me advice, but not before then as they have no idea what they are talking about. I have fallen out with them a few times. I tell them they ought to think themselves lucky that they had parents who truly loved each other for all those years because not many children get that, their own children have not got that anymore. They now keep their mouths shut because they know I won’t listen and will still do what I want to do. I sent them both a comic strip of an old woman sat at a computer with a cup of tea at the side of her and it said ‘I am up and at the keyboard, what more do you want’. That is exactly how I feel, as long as I am up I have made it to another day. Thank you also Tina, and I also wish you well on your journey, I will be here if ever you need to talk, taking it one day at a time. Love Sheilaxx

Sheila - I don’t know what to say, I have only just read about your precious companion Barney and just wanted to say how very, very sorry I am. I was both shocked and upset by what had happened to him. I helped to save our current GSD but in 2009 we lost our 1st GSD to a known liver cancer but one night we took her to the emergency vet who suspected bloat after a sudden down turn. They did surgery. It wasn’t but the cancer was so severe the vet said we could have kept her a few more weeks or do the kindest thing and let her go on that night. The vet gave us a choice she could either let her go under the anesthetic or bring her round from it in order for us to say goodbye. Maybe we chose wrong because when she saw us her face lit up only to have to watch her being put to sleep. We couldn’t have let her slip away without saying goodbye though. It was the most heartbreaking experience of my life upto that point. We vowed not to get another but the deafening sound of silence in the house was too much to bear and we did get another a while after. We thought same breed, similar tempered dog. Not a chance, Kim was a passive kind-natured, long haired GSD but Zara is domineering and wilful dog even though much loved. The sad thing about German Shepherds is that they don’t have a long life span do they and that’s a great shame as they are the next thing to a human you could get and probably more intelligent. I can understand a little from experience how utterly bereft you must be feeling although one can never assume to know exactly what another’s feelings are. I can just imagine how Barney must have been showered with love and affection and how much joy and comfort he would have given Peter and yourself. I’m sorry to have replied to you on this thread as you have mentioned Barney a lot on it previously but I didn’t want to intrude on your latest conversations with other members elsewhere. I’m thinking of you, it’s a terrible situation and I hope tomorrow brings you strength and a bit of peace of mind. I’m sending compassionate thoughts to you. Take care.

Oh Tina, Thank you so very much for replying to my comments, that is what we are on here for, for anyone to join in the conversation, that is how we help each other.

I am totally lost, I don’t know what to do anymore I have lost Peter’s best friend and my baby. The house is no longer a home, as long as Barney was here so was Peter, it is as if when Barney died on Monday, both Peter and Barney left together, I don’t feel Peter or Barney with me anymore, I just feel emptiness, the house is a shell now. I have a massive back garden which I had artificial turfed for Barney and now there is no way I can sit out there with no Barney running around playing with his toys. I just feel dead inside.

Barney was the 4th GSD we have had over the past 40 odd years. Major died of Spleen cancer age 9, Lucky died of Spleen cancer age 8, Max died of bloat age 8 and Barney has died of cancer and heart failure age nearly 8. With Major, Lucky and Barney there were no symptoms until they collapsed and had to be put to sleep. With Max we got him to the hospital and they operated on his stomach but he died after the operation.

Over the years I have been by the side of my grandma, dad, mum, sister and then my lovely husband when he died, I was by the side of all my GSD’s our Yorkshire Terrier Susie and cat Sooty when they were put to sleep even holding our lovebird Joey when he was put to sleep because of a tumour on his little neck.

It has all been so sudden. Barney had no symptoms until Monday morning when I got up early at 6 ish and would not stand up, I gave him his home-made yogurt which he ate but had to put the dish in front of him whilst he was on the floor and he ate it all, but he still wouldn’t go out. I rang our vets hospital and told them the problem and was told to take him in straight away. I have never driven, can’t drive because Peter and myself were always together so in my opinion I didn’t need to learn. The hospital gave me the number of the Pet ambulance, I had pet taxi numbers but no-one was answering. A lovely man answered and said he would be there as quick as he could, he examined Barney and we took him to the hospital, he stayed with me all the time Barney was being examined and when we were told Barney had to have a lot of tests he took me home. I called our son and he came over to my house with our daughter-in-law and we waited for the 'phone call from the hospital. We went to the hospital and they explained what had happened. They said Barney would never have known he was ill, there would have been no pain and no symptoms until one of the tumours burst and bled into one of his heart valves causing heart failure. They said I had got him there so quickly that he was only just starting to show more symptoms and by putting him to sleep now we would save him from any suffering as he would die later on in the day but die a painful death.

I am grateful for getting up early, grateful for acting quickly and grateful for saving one of the loves of my life from suffering but It was so quick, he was dead a few hours after seeing him in the morning. I can’t come to terms with it. Barney got me through these last three terrible years after my husband died, if I hadn’t have had Barney I would not be here now as I would not have got out of bed.

I have told our sons that I do not want another pet, I have had all sorts of pets from the day I was born and now at 74 without Peter, I don’t have the courage to go through anymore heartache, especially worrying who will look after them if I had to go in hospital, I just have not got the courage to love another animal and have it taken away from me. Barney was only 7 years old. There is one thing I am so happy about, every single one of our pets, apart from their annual jabs, worming and fleeing medications, have never, ever had to visit a vet because of an illness or accident. They have had their annual checks as normal and everything was fine.

This has finally finished me off, I have loving children and grandchildren who I see every two weeks, I go out with them and have a holiday a year with them, but they are not my husband, Barney was my closest friend. Since Peter died three years ago I have not sat in the lounge where Peter used to sit, it emphasised he was not there so I started to live in the dining kitchen, watch all the programmes on my computer with Barney laid next to me on his bed, Where I went, he went, he would not go in the garden unless I went with him, if I came in he came in, we were more or less joined at the hip. If I had an hospital appointment I got a taxi there and back so he would not be on his own for more than a couple of hours. Even when I was washing up he wanted to play football, dropping his ball near where I was stood and me kicking it to him and him bringing it back.

There is only one thing that is going to get me through this and that is, Barney is now with his dad, Peter. He was always Peters dog until Peter died then he attached himself to me. Barney knew every single word I said but he was bossy, if I told him ‘no’ he stamped his feet and grumbled until I gave in. He took tissues out of my pocket and would not give them back until I gave him a biscuit, I have chased him round the garden trying to get something from him but he would not part with it until he got a biscuit. I am going to miss that great big hairy lovable bear of mine so much and I don’t think my heart will ever heal again.

I hope you are doing okay Tina, life sucks, it really does, but I will try and get through this like I tried to get through it when Peter died, one day at a time, but this time there is no-one here to help me so I have got to do it on my own and the way I feel now, I honestly don’t know how I am going to make it.

Lots of love Sheila xxxx

Hello Sheila. I meant to drop by earlier to say I’d been thinking about you on and off throughout the day but I’ve been poorly after having some dental treatment and couldn’t make it. I understand no words can ever offer comfort and support when you are as utterly bereft and grief stricken as is humanly possible. Would one of your son’s come to stay with you for a few days? Keep care of yourself. I can’t help in any meaningful way but I can always listen.

Hi Tina, I hope you are feeling much better, I myself had 9 teeth removed last week due to a medical condition and the pain is terrible. Our sons offered to stay with me but I refused, even when Peter died I wanted to be alone with my thoughts, that is how I handle things, I don’t want to sit and make meaningless conversation with people, I just want to sit and think. What has has hit me hardest and it is so weird, is that when Peter died three years ago, there was always our Barney with me, we were hardly ever apart, if it hadn’t been for him I would not have made it, and that is the truth. Whilst Barney was here I felt Peter was also here, the house still felt lived in, warm and homely but the morning after Barney had died, I got up and it was different, the house echoed, it felt totally empty, there was nothing at all. It was as if Barney had said, right mum, I have seen you through these last three years since dad died so now I am going to be with him. The only thing that comforts me is that I acted so quickly and Barney never suffered, it would have been so easy to say, I will wait until this afternoon to see if he gets any better, I was so frightened of losing him, but I didn’t, I was ringing for the pet ambulance at 6-30 am and we got him to the hospital very early so they could do tests. He loved me from being a puppy to the massive, hairy bear that he became and I did not let him down when it was his turn to need me. I miss him so much, it also feels as if I have also lost Peter all over again as Barney was Peter’s dog until he died then Barney lavished his love on me. I will get through this, but it will be very hard, I have never, ever lived alone from the day I was born until Barney died, that is over 74 years of never being on my own and it is devastating. Our sons say give it a few months mum then if you want to get another pet we will support you. I have told them no, it is time for me to start living this different life, not many people have had the wonderful life I have had both in childhood and adulthood and I should be on my hands and knees thanking God for it. I will be okay, I will get through it there is nothing else to do but get through it but the heartache of losing my loved ones will never go away, ever. Thank you so much for your thoughts Tina, I really hope you are okay. Love Sheila xxx

It’s been three and a half years since my beloved husband died, he was 58 he went to work and didn’t come home. I got a phone call on 18 December 2013 to say he had collapsed and been taken to hospital, whilst waiting for a lift to take me to him the doctor rang and told me over the phone he was dead - I never got to say goodbye. I miss him dreadfully, I don’t have any children and seem to be getting worse than better. He was my soulmate.

I am feeling the same emotions you seem to be. My goal is just getting over the day. Sleep seems to be the only respite. How can I go on like this for the rest of my life?

Hello Sheila - Just dropping by to say I am sending thoughts of compassion and I hope you are as OK as you possibly can be.

Hello Tina, thank you so much for your lovely comments. Since our Barney died on Monday I honestly feel as though I have lost Peter all over again. Barney was always Peter’s dog, we got him to keep Peter company in case I had to go out for any reason, but for the last three years of Peter’s life I was his 24/7 carer so Barney was with him all the time, laying at his side whilst he watched TV or used the laptop, I fed Barney etc. but he was always faithful to Peter. For the three years after Peter died I always sensed he was with me, then the morning after Barney had died, when I came downstairs I felt nothing, the house was empty and cold, it was as if Peter and Barney had left together. It has been very hard, Barney’s ashes have come home and now I have his and Peter’s, sat waiting for my turn to die then all our ashes will be scattered together. I was still living day to day three years after Peter died so now I will just carry on in the same way, the only difference being is that now I don’t have Barney to get up for in a morning, but I am programmed to wake up at 6 am as I always did to take Barney out so I make myself get up. Thank you again for thinking of me, I do hope your are okay too, living day to day like I am. I know for sure we will survive this terrible time but we will never, ever get over it and our lives will never, ever be the same as we have lost the future we expected and got a future we don’t want. I am thinking of you. Lots of love, Sheilaxx

Oh Davy, I am so sorry, it never, ever gets better, you have been without your husband 6 months longer than me and when people tell you that you won’t get over it but will learn to live with it, in one way for some people it is true, but to be honest I have not learned to live with it, I will never learn to live with it. I will never learn to accept my future has gone and I have to spend the remaining days/years of my life alone. You must be very young to lose your husband so early on in life so I honestly think it is much worse for you than myself as my husband was 68 and I was three years older than him so we had 50 years together, but you have lost many more years of your future than I have. Not even having the chance to say goodbye is devastating and I honestly cannot imagine what you are feeling right now and anything I say will not make it any better. I am very lucky we have sons and grandchildren but they are not my husband, that may sound terrible, but they have their own lives and I fit into them when they bring our grandchildren to visit me or I child-mind like I am doing this week-end. I now know what my mum felt like when my dad died, being taken out to give her a break from being on her own. I don’t want to live their lives I want my own life back, but I can’t so I get up in the morning and do the same thing every day. I don’t know if you have seen my other posts, but my German Shepherd pet Barney died on Monday, he was 8 years old so now I am living a different life to the one I lived the day before he died as I am now totally alone, no big, hairy bear of a dog running to greet me and smothering me with kisses, waiting to be taken out. The only thing I can tell you is that you have to live day to day, get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other, that is the only way to live through this nightmare, it is hard but becomes a habit and you lose interest in everything you loved doing before the loss of your husband. I was an avid reader, I have never touched a book now in three years, I cannot concentrate so I go on my computer in the dining kitchen and watch films on it as I can’t bear to sit in the lounge without my husband and now my pet watching TV. I have yet to be able to watch a film all the way through, I watch 20 mins, then watch something else, go back etc. etc. my concentration has totally gone. I am thinking of you because what we are going through no-one would wish on their worst enemy. When so-called friends tell you that you have to move on, I tell them they have not got a clue what they are talking about and if they are lucky, they will die first and be spared this heartache. Lots of love Sheilaxx

Dear Sheila thank you so much for your heartfelt reply. I did read about Barney and know how you feel, we had a German Shepherd/Rottweiler cross about 25 years ago and we still used to talk about her affectionately up until my husband’s death - Barney was young and you must miss him, is there any chance you would get another dog, I can’t have one as I live in a flat but they are great companions and it is unconditional love. I have been looking for a forum like this for a couple of years and glad I found this one. When you’re grieving you think you are the only one going through it and I don’t know about you but friends give you a couple of months of sympathy and understanding then it’s in the past for them. One of my friends said to me a couple of weeks ago “I’m not being funny but I thought you would be feeling better by now”. Someone said to me that I was young and could meet someone else! I don’t want anyone else my husband was my soulmate. We had flights booked to go to Lanzarote to look for somewhere to live, we were going to sell up and live in the sunshine so my future has changed a bit. I know what you mean about losing interest in things I start a book about 8 or 9 times before I get into it and stare at the television not really seeing what is on, I tape most things so I can rewind. I don’t look forward to anything I think I am functioning but not really living, there’s the outdoor face with my lippy on and then there’s the home alone one where you can let go. Enjoy your childminding weekend sending you a big hug - Marilyn x
PS I see you were up early this morning, I was awake at 5.15 a.m. sleep eludes me these days.

Dear Marilyn. Thank you for replying, it is very good of you. About six months before Peter became ill, we were going to retire to Tenerife, we had been there for a few years and loved it, so we went on another two weeks holiday and seen estate agents, I had even made enquires about a crate for Barney to fly him with us. Then bang, Peter became ill and everything stopped, our dreams came to an end and our future became a nightmare. No, people don’t understand, even one of our son’s who is a matter of fact kind of man (now 47 years old) thinks I should move on with my life. I told him, when he has loved someone for 50 years and never been apart from them, then he can tell me what to do but until then to keep his mouth shut. He never mentioned it again. These kind of sites do help as you know you are not alone, but even then, you think you are the only person who has loved as deeply and are grieving the most which is totally untrue. Over the past 40 plus years we have had four German Shepherds, three died of cancer including our Barney and one of bloat. I am now 74 and to be honest, I have not got the heart to take on another pet, be it large or small, even though I would love to, but I have health problems and I don’t want the worry of wondering what will happen to them if I go into hospital as I know for certain, my family won’t take them. I left a note with my will that if I died before our Barney, then I wanted him put to sleep as I could not bear him being given to a dog re-homing centre as it would have broken his heart, but that will never happen now. Even now Barney has gone, I am still sat in the Dining kitchen on my computer, I have a large home and the only rooms I ever use, unless our family visit me, are the kitchen/dining room, bedroom and bathroom, the other rooms are closed off, I clean them all once a week, but sitting in them makes me realise just how alone I now am. I have a massive back garden which I had turfed with artificial grass so Barney could play out, I now can’t sit in it because even that is empty, I keep finding his toys in the hedges then more tears fall. The future is pointless, every one of my ‘old’ family from my past have now gone, no-one to talk about the 60’s to when we were teenagers. I am the same, I go to town, put on my makeup, go for coffee on my own as all my friends still have their husbands, my so-called best friend who I have known for over 30 years has never been to see me since Peter died, it is as if I have the dreaded lurgy, I found out she had visited one of her friends 5 minutes from where I live and never came to see me, I think she is afraid that death is catching. I remember the day Peter died in hospital in 2014, she had sent me a text asking how he was and when I rang her and told her he had died a few hours ago, she said ‘it’s for the best as he was so ill’, I just cut her off and didn’t speak to her until the funeral and I have not seen her since 2014. How can anyone say that losing your husband ‘is for the best’ I hated her at that moment. I now don’t go out much at all unless it is with our sons and grand-children every so often but I still come home to nothing, since Barney died on Monday the house echoes when I walk in, no lovely greeting and looking in my bags to see if I have brought him a new toy. Like I say, one step at a time, there is no other way to get through it. Sending my love. Sheila xx

Dear Sheila - we should both be living in the Canary Islands!!! How uncanny is that. When it’s raining or grey and miserable I tell my hubby off for leaving me I say to him we should be in the sunshine now.
My lifetime motto has been "If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all " but friends and family keep coming up with harsh and hurtful comments, do they really think they are helping. For someone to say “It’s for the best” is unbelievable, with friends like that who needs enemies. I am slowly distancing myself from a couple of friends I have had for over 40 years I don’t think they have been supportive and I just feel let down. I had a falling out with a friend I had from when I was 11 and I didn’t even get a card or letter from her when hubby died.
I’m thinking of moving away (not abroad) I know there are lots of memories in our home but I will take them with me, like you I look at photos - I have lots of videos of my hubby in the pool in Lanzarote where we spent our holidays in a rented villa, I play music and am desperate to keep him near me, some would say living in the past but that’s where I would rather be as the future looks bleak.
Getting back to Barney, the greeting from a dog is second to none especially when there as big as he must have been - it must be so hard for you, life has a habit of kicking you when you’re down. I am full of cold at the moment and am felling very sorry for myself - my hubby used to make lovely hot whisky toddies! You take care sending big hugs - Marilyn xx

I’m so sorry to hear about Barney. My husband was also called Peter, and I remember how devastated we were when our dog Fred died. I still miss him, even though it’s seven years now. I now have a cat called Tilly who moved herself in after Fred died, and I don’t know what I’ll do when anything happens to her. Peter was her favourite person, and she seems to be missing him. I can understand how empty your house must be now.
It’s strange, isn’t it, how people react differently to you when you are grief stricken. Peter’s sister has been very supportive, and she wasn’t someone I was very close too before. On the other hand, people who I expected to stand by me have just not been in touch.
I wish I had something to say to encourage you to look forward, but like you, I’m getting through one day at a time, and most of them are very long days indeed.
At least on here, we know we are not the only ones going through this horror, and there is nothing unusual about our feelings. It’s nine weeks now for me, and people are expecting me to, be “moving on”. How I don’t know.
Once again, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. You know people on this website care about you, and understand. Please keep posting so at least you have an outlet for your grief with others who you know won’t be judging you.

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