Timescales

Hi, can I ask anyone’s experience of what their family and friends and colleagues expectations were in getting back to “normal”? My husband John died in hospital 1st February as a result of Covid, age 52. I found myself apologising to my mum yesterday for speaking about him as it was obvious she didn’t want to. Messages have stopped other than 1 close friend. Bosses don’t mention it and colleagues ask how I am but don’t wait for a reply. I don’t expect everyone to feel like us nor every conversation to be about him but it’s getting to the stage there’s no acknowledgement of what happened or how my children and I are coping. Can I ask how you all handled this? Sorry for rambling on!

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Hi Linda, really nice that you have posted and please never apologise for anything on here, we are all in the same situation having lost a loved one.
I am afraid what is happening to you, happens to most of us. Personally I don’t understand it but people seem to think they can’t mention the person who have left us. The other thing that happens is people just disappearing from our social circle and to be honest very few people really want to hear just how we feel. Even the family don’t want to talk or ask how we are doing.
We don’t talk about death or grief in general conversation so it’s no surprise the this happens but we do need to talk about things.
Your husband was so young and you will be missing, take things slowly if you can and try not to let these thoughtless people affect you. Take care of yourself. Sxx

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Hi Linda,

It is no time at all since you lost your precious husband - 15 weeks or so? For me it is almost two and a half years. I think people just don’t know what to say, but rather they then say nothing and we are left feeling that nobody understands or cares. For you (and us all on here) it is all that is in our heads - for me it is just as difficult as it was in the beginning. I wake and sometimes think I can hear Eddie’s voice and consequently the tears still come, day after day. How you are coping going to work I don’t know, although I guess sometimes you have to think of something else for a little bit. Please never apologise for grieving, especially at this early stage for you. I do think friends and family shy away from any discussion in case you break down - my children have said they don’t want to upset me and make matters worse. How much worse can it get than losing the love of your life!! They have their own lives and families to go home to, so although they obviously miss their dad so much, it is still very different for them. I still want to talk about Eddie constantly. I met a neighbour and his wife recently whilst shopping. He asked how I was and I said I was still missing Eddie desperately. He then said “do you know what love, I still miss him very much too”. He was a good friend to Eddie, and he then went on to tell me some of the things they used to laugh about when they went for a pint, and the things they said, and he spoke for at least 40 minutes. Instead of upsetting me, it made me feel a lot better (if only for a while). If only people could understand that you need to not avoid speaking of your husband, but to talk about him. I feel so sad for you, 52 is no age at all - Eddie was 69 but I still thought we would have more time together. I wish I could be more help to you - sending virtual hugs xxx

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Hi, I know just what you mean. We lost Mark in Nov 2020, I had four months off work and since I’ve been back no-one has mentioned him. My friend who has known him for 40 odd years changes the subject when I talk about him, but is very supportive otherwise. I feel very upset because he is still very much in our hearts and minds. He was 59 when he died, we had such plans when he reached 60, I was going to retire early and we were going to move to the coast. Now I’m just plodding along, haven’t got the energy to plan a different future, everything feels bleak and pointless without him.

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Until we lost our loved ones how many of us really knew what other bereaved people were going through. How many times did we ever talk about the person who they had lost? We just didn’t feel it was our place to talk about them for fear of upsetting people. No one means to be unkind, they just can’t feel the same as we do.
Talk to us here on the site and you will find someone who feels your pain with you. You may want to Private Message someone who is an a similar position to you and a friendship may go from there.
There will always be someone to help you.
Love and light. x

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Jean
I was thinking exactly the same myself. A few years ago I was a shop manager and the husband of one of my staff died very suddenly. She came back to work after 3 weeks and because she never cried I just said how sorry I was and then we carried on as normal. It was only when my Ron died that I realised what she must have been going through and it haunts to this day that I didn’t understand because I had not experienced the utter heartache that grief causes.
We are all human and unfortunately we do not know the true extent of grief until it happens to us.

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Hi Linda21. My husband Peter died a year ago of covid. My sons and daughter and friends seem to think I should be alright now and to get on with my life but that isn’t easy why do people think we should be over something so awful. They don’t even talk about him anymore and I now feel as if I shouldn’t.

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Hi, thank you so much for all of this, I didn’t realise how much it would help knowing I’m not the only one going through this. I had no choice with going back to work, I had to use 10 days holiday for the last 2 weeks and was then told I’d be put on SSP which wouldn’t pay my mortgage never mind anything else. I know now I wasn’t ready as I’m struggling to cope, lack of concentration, retaining any information and basically no confidence in my ability any more. My son and daughter (19 & 15) are what keep me going and make me get up in the morning. John and I must have done something right with them as they have been amazing, even when they are having bad days, it’s still a case of we’re in this together. I know though there are things I can’t speak to them about, nor anyone else for that matter. We were together from 15, 3rd year in high school, my one and only and my best friend. It’s only on here I can actually say that so thank you for this. Realise I’m away off on a tangent again, but thank you all x

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Hi @Linda 21,

I’m absolutely amazed that you are where you are only a few months after your husband’s death.

Do you feel like you’re on auto-pilot? I’m older than you, I just got my pension, I didn’t have the immediate pressure to get back to work. I was on auto-pilot for about 3/4 months after my husband’s death last September. People said I was ‘coping well’. They had no idea of what I was actually feeling.

I think the loss of a husband is a life changing event, one that merits for example compassionate leave from work. Can you talk to HR or your Union rep to explain that you are struggling? Can you ask your GP for help and advice? Your children have lost their father too, and they might benefit from some specialised counselling.

We are not alone. We’re part of humanity, and sometimes people close to us for whatever reason don’t help or listen when they should. Life goes on a such a pace that we don’t have time to mourn, as the Victorians did.

As I said, it took me 3/4 months to escape the shock that came with my husband’s sudden death. Death from COVID is even worse, because usually you can’t be with your loved one at the time of death.

My heart goes out to you. The weekend is coming. Maybe you can sit down with your children and talk to them, find out what they are feeling. Then perhaps write down a list of people who might help, for example your GP, HR, the staff at your children’s school, organisations like Citizen’s Advice who can help with your rights at work and finances. Beyond that there are organisations such as Cruse and Sue Ryder, who offer specialist bereavement counselling and also help with practical matters.

I’ve been seeing a community psychiatric nurse regularly - she arranged for me to see a psychologist last week. That is really helping me. I am prone to anxiety anyway, and I have a condition called fibromyalgia which is made worse by stress.

As I’ve said. losing a life partner suddenly is just about the most horribly stressful, life changing event you can face. It will take you a very long time to reach your ‘new normal’, because the old normal has gone.

My heart goes out to you. Please stay in touch and let us know how you’re getting on.

Christie xxx

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Ah Jen, how sad that is only a year and people think everything is ok now. I remember watching a film a while ago and this lady had lost her husband. In the film she said “It’s a year now so I’m ready to meet someone else!”. I was astonished (I know it was only a film but even that makes you feel wrong about still grieving). Please don’t stop talking about your precious husband. You will never get over losing him - why would you? Almost two and a half years down the line, it is all that is in my head. Life has changed so dramatically for us - I do believe that people don’t understand until it happens to them. My best friend has now stopped mentioning my husband, but she still has hers (thankfully) and only when she hasn’t will she really understand.

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At the end of the month it will be 11 months since i lost my partner i have had a few bad weeks again
People say you need to get on with your life easier said than done though isnt it? and i really hate it when people say that just because they are we all grieve differently and we are on our own journey with it x

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Hi Linda
I think people don’t want us to talk about our loss because they don’t know what to do or say , but you should never apologise for talking about your husband
How can you not talk about him?
How is it possible to live a life as he didn’t existed?
Take care
Sadie

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Hi Christie and Linda21

It really is awful. Organisations adhere to their policies and procedures and any compassion goes out the window or is quite narrow in terms of giving time off. I was in a similar position in that they reverted to the contract and received limited full and partial payments before I needed to go on SSP. I eventually resigned - mainly because me and husband had planned for me to retire at the end of 2020 and also because I could not cope with the fortnightly ‘welfare calls’. Don’t get me wrong they were very nice on the phone but the reality is we are dealing with a dramatic and life-changing event and having to deal with financial pressures alongside this.

When I was a Senior Manager in Local Government I signed-off compassionate leave for one of my team colleagues whose mother had died suddenly and got a ‘good hiding’ for it but I stood by my position and gave him as long as he needed.

When my husband died in the road traffic accident our kids had very different experiences with their work places. One organisation should hang their heads in shame. They too made our son take annual leave and at his return to work (after only 4 weeks I should add) said that his time off would trigger a flag on his absence record - unbelievable particularly as he had a flawless attendance record. They also never asked how he was nor gave any support.

In terms of helping children, schools have a responsibility to provide support and make referrals to support services.

I am suffering from family and friends expectations. The Inquest into my husband’s death was this week so only just got the death certificates. Takes you back to day 1 all over again but friends and some family see this as some sort of release for me and that I should be ok now.

As most of us have experienced on this forum friends/family we thought we could rely on are noticeable by their absence.

Take care and keep posting.

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Hi @Sheila26,

Thanks for that. For the last 35 years I have been self employed, so the system didn’t really apply to me until my husband died.

I have asked for an inquest into my husband’s death, but as yet I’ve received no reply except the stock COVID response. The hospital where he was/wasn’t treated have sent me an apologetic letter, but…

Life goes on. I have obligations and duties and friends and loved ones. As you do. We carry on somehow.

Thanks for your heart felt words - they mean so much to me.

Christie xxx

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Dear Fg15. As you say people tell you to get on with your life but for me and everyone on this site its not so easy when you have lost someone you loved deeply I don’t think the pain ever goes away. A year to some seems a long time but to me it only seems like yesterday that I lost peter and I will never get over it.

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Dear Jen
The reality is that unless it has happened to you it is difficult to understand
We are getting on with our lives - we get up, see people, shower etc
But getting on with our lives does not include joy, excitement etc etc there is always that loneliness lurking , there is always the great void in our soul and life has become grey
So when people tell me to get on with life I just smile and say nothing!! No point to explain
Sadie x

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I definitely relate to all youve said ,as this has happened ,and still to me .No idea till it happens to them the way we feel .:persevere:

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Please don’t apologise Linda. I lost my husband very suddenly just over 2 years ago. I’d say I’ve really found out who my true friends are since then and thinking about it, they’re mostly the ones who’ve experienced similar loss themselves, or come very close to it.
I’ve found “being dropped” by people who promised to keep in touch quite hurtful but I also think it’s very true that until you’ve experienced the same utter shock yourself, you have no concept of how it feels.
We all understand though. Thinking of you,
Jo

Oh Linda I am so sorry for your loss, that’s far too young to go. I lost my hubby my world feb 2020 & the only way to keep them alive is to keep talking about them & everything they would have thought or said in any scenario. So please NEVER apologise for crying or speaking about your hubby, they may not be with us physically but we keep them alive spiritually. So next time anyone ask how you & your children are, tell them & also tell them if they are just giving lip service because that’s what they think they should do, then tell them don’t bother unless it’s genuine. Sorry for me also to rant but as you know grief takes you on so many different journeys I am at the point now where i feel I can say mostly how I really feel. It’s a bloody hard journey though, wishing you & your kids all the best xx

Hi Gilmar
My hubby was same age as yours & like u we had plans to move to the coast. To cut a long story short I have moved to near the coast, he is still with me spiritually & to take a 5-10 min drive to the sea is so uplifting. If you can I urge you to go ahead with the plans you & your hubby made, staying & doing the same old routine may not help you? I don’t know? Sending hugs x

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