What Do You Do When Your Whole Future Disappears ?

When my partner died suddenly and unexpectedly our whole future disappeared.
At 65 and 69, and after 2 years of family problems, this would have been our first year to enjoy our retirement together. We’d planned days out, holidays and splitting the next few years between our home and a little cottage we owned before moving to it permanently.
Financially comfortable after years of working it should have been a time to cherish and treat ourselves.

Has anyone else been in this situation ? What did they do ? I just can’t see a way ahead.

People suggest going back to work, volunteering, studying, I’ve spent 46 years doing all those things. All I wanted was a few quiet years together and we didn’t even get a month.

I just feel so desperate and lost, J

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Sheila, you always seem to put into words exactly how I am feeling. We also were comfortably off after years of working, and some struggles but I don’t want the money. I just want my husband back and nothing else will do. I keep wondering how much longer I can go on like this. My only hope is that as I am nearly 87 with a dodgy heart,. nature will intervene and I will be relieved of all this pain. Take care. Eileen xx

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I am so sorry for you, you must have had a terrible time. All the money in the world means nothing now does it ? My partner always knew that and I’ve found it out the hard way .

bless you , lovely reply , just how I feel J

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I understand exactly what has been posted and the replies! And I thank you for posting and echoing my own despair. And if you knew me ‘before’ you would know that I am not the dithering/sad individual I am now!

I have been out to go to the Post Office and to do some grocery shopping! Nearly had a meltdown at the check-out! Couldn’t seem to work out what I was meant to be doing paying using the cards! The friendly lady then started a conversation and said how quiet it had been and wait until she got home and had the opportunity to natter to her husband!!!

My own story is that I feel so fortunate to have known Ronald for so long and that he lived to the age he did. There was always going to be the issue because of our age difference that he would go before me. But as he was so fit I had hoped he wouldn’t and I never really thought about it. Even when he became ill because he was ‘fit’ we didn’t expect his sudden death from a chest infection.

I don’t want to be here any more either! And yet just writing that upsets me because I have had an amazing life/adventure and I will only get to have it once!

I’ve taken on the voluntary work, the charity stuff, going out on my own, being at home on my own! Nothing works for me! However, I know I can say each day - I am doing my very best to create some life/future - even if it is only creating gifts or looking after house/garden/finances.

I am so sad we are all feeling the same. On such a perfect day with sunshine and blue skies and no financial worries and that I can do whatever I would like… And all I can say (as I try to stop the tears - feeling sorry for myself) is that I can’t think of anything other than wishing Ronald would give me a hug!

Pottering in the garden might help - the forget-me-nots look fab which all started from seed! If nothing else I can always have a good old weep!

Take care everyone.

Hi Sheila!

I will sew for a bit and normally that helps to calm me! I have managed to scratch my arm - so came in to deal with that mess. Not sure I’m winning today!
I have no dependents not even a dog now and that is best I feel. Affairs in order and my gp has a note on file ‘do not resuscitate’ and that I carry with me!
What a sad person I have become!
I understand your comment - keeping Peter’s memory alive. That is what I am doing with Ronald.
I have really enjoyed doing all the photos and putting them into an album special Ronald ones! I have gimped and taken Ronald out of various group photos - so I just have lots of him! I also have a digital frame where I have a selection of photos which I change from time to time - various family friends dogs and Ronald. That plays whilst I have my meals!

Thanks for posting.

I feel silly replying here but I know how you feel on this thread, except I am only child not married and I was sort of married to my mom and dad. I cared for them in the last ten years, they are dead more or less recently and I miss them so much I have no idea what I am doing here. If I had someone, it would be better, but I still would be rather lost. Just wanted to say how common is the feeling that we would rather be with them and that not money nor fame can take their place. All I want is for my parents to be back, my best friends. Life without them is so empty. Hopefully, I will meet someone one day to help me keep going, someone who has lost so they know how it feels.

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Don’t feel silly, your loss is very great. Caring for your parents for 10 years is a tribute to you and they must have realised how much you loved them to do this. There must be an enormous gap in your life after all this time. Take time to adjust to this change in your life and comfort knowing you did all you could for them. best wishes x J

Good morning Sheila!
Thank you for your comments.
I do have a lovely brother who lives in Canada having emigrated decades ago. He has two children and we keep in touch which helps me to be a part of their lives.
I am not able to post about the complexities of Ronald’s illness or the grief/guilt that overwhelms me at times.
I do not want to be bereaved and yet I know running from it is not an answer. I keep Ronald close because I know he is close. I have a strong spiritual belief and know that we are all linked within this physical realm and beyond.
I want to try and make the rest of my life meaningful to me as I do believe it is a privilege to be alive. I have lost that willingness to want to.
And so, like you, I give it my best shot each day.
Today the sun is shining and so another day being creative to while away the time.
Take care.

Such lovely ppl here I sympathize with much that’s been said. We are at different ages and stages yet much is the same. I feel for those of you who are older no offence. Personally I am middle aged an only child with parents miles away. I have my tabby cat.

Hi Sheila,
I hope you had a good day in the garden - it was certainly a hot day! I am clearing away parts of a dead hedge - not sure if it will survive and then it is what to put in its place. Always a project in the garden.
Do you talk to your grandchildren about Peter? That is what I miss the most - being able to talk about Ronald. That is why Ido all my tributes and keep my tribute journal. Ronald has two sisters - both with busy lives of their own. It seems that if I do make any reference about Ronald it is ignored. But I also find that with friends too - Ronald has become ‘invisible’. I do believe if you haven’t been in this situation as we are - you cannot comprehend.
I hope you are ok spending days on your own and this forum helps you throughout the days. Do you have good neighbours?
I will spend another day in the garden and also some time sitting and sewing - which is a bit of a novel experience not wanting to be busy all the time!
Take care.

Good morning, Sheila. Another Sunday, which I hate but the sun is shining so I will have a shower, put my make-up on and go for a walk. I had better put some clothes on too !! My adult children are just like yours. As an example, yesterday I caught a bus to meet my son for coffee. He was telling me about the barbecue he and his family would be having that afternoon. I waited, with bated breath, for an invite. Of course there was none coming and I caught the bus back home. Good job I was wearing sun glasses because I couldn’t stop the tears overflowing. I am not a great fan of barbecues but it would have been lovely to be asked. As far as I know, I will be spending the bank holiday alone.

Whenever I mention their Dad, they change the subject. Maybe they are still grieving but how do they think I feel after being married to him for 66 years? I love all my four children to bits but they are so self-centred on times that I could scream with the unfairness of it all.

Sorry about the rant but every time I read your postings they are so like my own lifestyle that I have to respond. I don’t know what I would do without this site. At least we all know that what are feeling is the same for everyone.

Bye for now. Eileen xx

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Dear Sheila,

I’m so sorry you’re left without family support and I think you’re entitled to a moan.
We never had children and people often said "who’ll look after you when you’re old ? " but often children, including daughters, don’t want to know this happened to 2 of our elderly neighbours.

I took the dog out early because it’s so hot, and started clearing the shed out and been to the tip, have done some gardening, washing and tidied the house. It’s now 11.15 and the whole day stretches ahead of me. Apart from a trip to the shop there is nothing else to do all day.

We used to love spending bank holidays together, we’d never go far but choose a nice walk and take a picnic then come back to an ice-cream in the garden, read the papers, have a drink and a lovely dinner. I miss that so much and feel so alone everyday.

wishing you the best , J x

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Sheila I believe you give a very honest account of life ‘after’ and when the initial shock/help/support begins to fade and reality takes hold of day-to-day living.
If I didn’t have the garden to help keep me sane I don’t know what I would do!

I had a nice chat last evening with a girlfriend who lives in Canada.
I think it would be about two weeks if I keeled over! The gardener comes every two weeks (providing he is not on holiday or poor weather!) so he might notice if i didn’t appear! Seriously! I do have an arrangement with two girlfriends if they have not heard from me after about three days - with a number to call. All my friends have moved away! I also have a Call Button which I had installed when Ronald was at home - so that is available. I kept it on as I have a heart problem. So I hope I have put in place ‘what happens when things go wrong’! But - who cares…

It is such a glorious day and I wish i could say something to cheer us up! I will create a scenario here in my garden…I have a rabbit who I said could stay for Easter but it is still here! There is plenty of grass but he likes the new shoots of some of the plants! I have five pheasants - one glorious male and his harem of four females. In front of me a few days ago - sex on their lawn in the afternoon!!! I am expecting babies. I keep looking at where the females appear to be nesting but no eggs yet!

I have no shade to work in now and so will have some lunch and do some ‘mindful sewing’ - hand sewing whilst thinking loving thoughts!

My new best friend is my iPad! It is helping me to create a world where I have support - from a forum, Skyping, emails, catch up of programmes. It helps to create a reality of being on my own.

Take care everyone and I hope the sun is shining wherever you are as gloriously as it is here in West Sussex. Ronald adored the sun and would tan beautifully - I just keep to the lily white look!

It feels SO good when you have done something yourself! I just hope you give yourself time to sit on the garden furniture!

Hello ladies, I’ve been reading through the threads, and found it astounding how one way or another, we are all alike in our loss.
Thirteen months have passed, since my Ann died, after forty six years married, and I can honestly say, the grieving has become more dominant now, than it was last year. I retired early, we had plans, of holidays, travel, then she was struck down with MND. I did 24/7 care for twelve months, until the ghastly disease took her. I too, like you Sheila, keep house and gardens tidy, as she would expect it. Light a tealite candle for her each night. Photos everywhere.
Have three grown up children, who were a great support the early days, but now, tend to have the idea I should be getting over it. I don’t think I will ever get over it! She was my life.
I to, am just living for the day we are reunited. Tried all sorts to fill time, latest, taken up artistry. Nothing seems to work. Find it harder each morning just to get out of bed, knowing it’s another day without her!
Spend some days driving to our favourite haunts, to soak in some memories, took awhile to sum up the courage to do it.
So my heart goes out to you all. We all know how it feels.

John x

Hello, John. You have expressed my feelings exactly. My husband died last June after we had been married for 66 years, and the grieving seems to be worse now than at the beginning. I read somewhere that the second year is usually worse than the first, and am hoping it’s wrong. My grown up children also seem to think I should be over it by now, and the support I had in the beginning has dwindled somewhat.

It is a super-human effort for me to get out of bed in the morning. Like you, I just want to go and be with him again and, as I am nearly 87, hopefully I won’t have many years to wait.

I have tried all sorts of things to help me recover but nothing works, not even Cruse counselling. I think we all have to face the fact that we are on a long journey of sadness, and try to make the best of the mere existence we have. What else can we do?

I’m sorry to read about the loss of your wife and hope that, like the rest of us,you may eventually find some kind of peace in our lonely lives. Writing on here helps so keep posting.

Warm wishes. Eileen

Sheila, Eileen. Thanks both of you for your reply. It shows me the feelings and emotions I feel, are unfortunately normal.
Yep, still have all her cloths, a neighbour of mines husband died nine years ago, and she still has his cloths. Yep, still have all the tapes, videos records ect. Just transferred video with her on it, to dvd.
I have been approached by a couple of lovely ladies in the same situation, asking if I wanted company, no strings attached, but although I’ve been adviced by friends to at least try, as that’s what Ann wanted, I find it very difficult to accept another lady into my life… Not saying never, maybe one day, but at the moment, my Ann is all I think about… How do you switch off forty six years of memories? Impossible. Although I know deep inside, I will at sometime probably need a companion as time goes on, otherwise I will die a lonely old man.

John x

Hello John,

I am so sorry to hear about your lovely wife, all of what you have said is how I feel.
The days are so long and empty- my partner of 47 years died suddenly with no
warning 8 weeks ago, only 3 months after my mother died.

We were just looking forward to being able to enjoy our retirement with no responsibilities, no time constraints and no money worries and now it’s all gone.
I am so sad at what’s happened to my lovely partner and all our plans. I can’t see how to live with what’s happened.

Like you I try to keep busy , but there is nothing that holds my interest. Most evenings I’m in bed before 9pm with the radio on hoping to fall asleep.

I find some comfort in going on some of our favourite walks in this lovely weather, as you say it takes courage to do it.

Take care of yourself J x

Hi Sheila,
You are extremely honest in your writings and I can certainly understand your thoughts. I am sure in ‘counselling speak’ it will help us to move forwards… And yet I cannot see any reason to do so!
I hold Ronald close and I guess that might not be seen as ideal. However, it is my choice. Whatever I do day-to-day I do with him still by my side.
Nothing can ever prepare us for where we are now - I just simply do my best - my way!
Take care.

Yes Sheila - it is a struggle and I can empathise with your writings as I see me in you! Even when I have a spark of life - finishing a sewing project as a gift - I want to share it with Ronald!
I declutter layer after layer - and yet there is still so much and I ask myself why do I have to get rid of it all - these are my treasures which I shared with my husband. My solicitor will deal with it all and house clearance no doubt - so I enjoy what I have and am extremely grateful for all that I do have and the financial security too.
And, like you, when something needs doing that I can’t - I pay somebody else!
I am almost finished the latest Ronald photo album and am very happy with it. And I have taught myself a bit more about gimping! I love having the photos out and just flipping through the pages and another memory.
Why I am left here coping and plodding on I have no idea - it seems tragic and such a waste. And yet - although I have tried - I don’t seem to be able to even want to create a new life!
I suppose clinically I am depressed - but I believe it is simply grieving which will last the whole of the rest of my lifetime.
The rhythm of needle/thread through fabric may bring some inner peace for a while. I have done more jobs outside. Quite windy here today and that will dry everything out I guess.
Take care of yourself.