What am I looking for?

My partner of 33 years passed away suddenly a while ago. Although I’m experiencing what you all are there is something else in my behaviour which I’m not sure is helping me but I can’t stop myself. You see she had a life before me other men,friends,experiences etc. She was after all 46 when we got together. She did talk about her past life to me and there are photographs of when she was younger and while she was alive I accepted this and it did not concern me. However now I find myself trying to imagine what her life was like in those days, there is no one around now who could tell me about those times and how she was. I constantly look for things of the times she was alive. Old photos of the 50’s 60’s 70’s. Websites of bygone places she would have visited. I’ve even thought of writing to an old boyfriend of hers just so he could tell me about her in them days. I feel as though I’ve missed out on such a big part of her life I’d wished I’d talked to her more about it when she was alive. It’s a fruitless search what I’m doing I know this but I can’t stop doing it. Is this just a normal part of my grieving process or is it something else?. She was my one and only love and I miss her so much.

Hello, I’m not really sure what to say to you. My husband died 16 months ago and we adored one another. It was a second marriage for both of us but I can honestly say that I have never spent any time wondering about his first marriage. I’m not at all interested. Why would I when the best years of our lives were spent together. I have found a diary though which my husband wrote when he was 13 in 1965. I’m really enjoying reading it as it’s giving me a real insight to the boy behind the man. He sounds such a happy boy and in a strange way that diary has given me some comfort.
I wonder what it is you’re looking for. It was you she loved so try to concentrate on your life together. I’m sorry I’m not much help but I’m so sorry for your suffering. Sending love xx

Thanks for taking the trouble to reply. I know what I’m asking is not easy I don’t really understand it myself. Like I said in my post when she was alive it never bothered me as such. However I now find I’m hoovering up any information I can find out about her and her life. Like you say in your post when you found his diary it brought you some comfort. Maybe that’s what I’m looking for anything which will make me feel closer to her.

Hello Sunnymeade,
I’m so sorry to hear of your partner’s passing. It sounds as though you’re just trying to get closer to your partner by finding out more about the time before you met.
Grief is such a varied experience and is so different for everyone so this might just be your way of coping with your loss. Ultimately I think if you find comfort in it, then you carry on, but if you don’t think it’s helping you then perhaps it’s worth looking a bit closer at why you might be doing it.
Take care of yourself and let me know if I can support you in any way.
With best wishes,

I hope you find what you’re looking for, I really do. Much love x

Sunnymeade, your opening post has been very much in my mind over the last couple of days. I have had enormous difficulty in articulating a response, and I still can’t formulate what I really want to say. I’ve started three times and then abandoned a reply. If I send this one, I’m sure it will be emotionally incomplete.
Since her death, I have found that I want to know more - everything - about my dear wife’s life, and what I do find out, I cherish. We were together for 52 years, but I just want to add more, I suppose.
I have tried telephoning and writing to the mutual acquaintance who introduced my wife-to- be and me in 1966, but perhaps understandably, after decades of no contact I have had no reply. I don’t know if the address and telephone number are still correct, nor indeed if she is still alive, but if she is I would so much love to hear her recollections of the part she played in bringing my darling and me together.

Your circumstances are different to mine in that I was still in my teens when I met my wife. In your case and that of your partner, there is a much greater proportion of your lives spent before you came together, and the void you seek to fill so much the greater.
You are not alone nor unusual in your quest though, and I hope you obtain some answers and fulfillment.

I feel this reply to be inadequate, really, not adequately serving what I - and probably you - feel, but I just had to say something and I hope it helps you a little.
Good luck.

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Thanks Edwin, I think we seek the same thing but like you say it’s difficult to put into words what we are looking for. Thanks for the reply I’m glad I’m not alone in having these thoughts

I feel I am fortunate in that my wife kept in contact with several friends from when she was very young, with school friends, with friends she made during her time working, and friends she made going about her life in our small town, some of whom have moved away. Many of these friends have been in touch since my wife died and we have shared treasured memories and even stories that predate my getting to know her. I’m not sure why but things that had little value now seem to have massive value. A good example is photographs, many of which sat in a box undisturbed for years and gathering dust in the box room. Now I pore over them trying to remember what they depict and when and where. My wife used to complete the fragments of memories that I had and I wish we had looked at the photos together while we could.
I found a lot of old photos which go back to before I knew her and I would love to know more about them. Fortunately I’m still in touch with people who may fill on the gaps. As we are all the products of our past experiences I can see why it’s useful to look into a loved ones biography as it then helps us to understand more about the person they became. I fell in love with her when she was 16.