Hello. This is my first post here. I lost my partner Clive, who I had been with for 28 years back in April. I am 49 and was his carer for much of the last 10 years, on and off depending on his health. The worst until this year was 2015 when I almost lost him while he waited for a transplant, but he pulled through that time. But at Christmas he became ill again and I knew, I just knew that this would be it.
I put everything on hold again and willingly - including the last semester of my degree - and did everything I could. I woudn’t have had it any other way. It was harrowing, terrifying and yet some of the most rewarding weeks of my life because we became closer than we had ever been. Our love was stronger than it had ever been. But a few weeks before he entered a hospice we had the terrible news that one of our dogs was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney failure. A week later his sister (they were both from the same litter) was also diagnosed. We lost them both within 48 hours, two days after Clive went into a hospice. For us, they weren’t just dogs, they were our children. We were a family unit. But just four weeks after that, I lost Clive to Covid pneumonitis. In the space of a month, my entire family had gone.
And then the hell of sorting, admin, clearing (he had a social housing flat due to his disabilities and not being able to work which I had 28 days to clear out). I’m now living on our narrowboat. Then the funeral to plan and I poured my heart and soul into that. He was a musician and I put on a heck of a show for him, one I know he was so proud of.
No sooner did I have his ashes back than the study deadlines started looming. I couldn’t afford to defer for a year and this was my final semester so I had to complete this year and pushed on and knocked out three presentations, an essay, a dissertation from scratch and today, my final exam. I did it all in 8 weeks.
Today is also our anniversary. I am exhausted beyond belief but I have done everything I had to do. The last few weeks have been so difficult to focus and try and compartmentalise my grief. Everyone comments on how strong I am and maybe I am but I just want to grieve properly and I don’t think I’ve been able to do that yet. I’m scared of it. Scared of the endless void that lies ahead and I just don’t know what I am supposed to do.
It was truly a privilege to have been the one who cared for him, to hold his hand as he took his last breath. But I just cannot see how I can build a life without him. I’ve carried on and done all these things because I had to. Now I don’t have to do anything and it terrifies me. How do you carry on?