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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I am so so sorry, and I know how you feel, Peter was 68 and I was 71 when he died and now, after nearly four years I no longer think about my future, because since Peter died I don’t have one, nor do I want one without him. I feel trapped knowing I am never going to get out of this prison of grieving, what is there left for me, our children have their own lives, and I have said it before, unless I childmind I am on the outside looking in, not knowing what is going on in their lives.

We were like yourself. Peter retired at 60 then straight away he was diagnosed with COPD, we were lucky in one way, we could still have holidays in the UK as he was banned from flying due to his oxygen levels. Until the last three years of his life we still went out for meals then everything changed and I became his 24/7 carer.

The last three years were terrible living on a day to day basis, waking up next to him in the morning, never knowing when I turned to look at him whether he would still be alive or not and when I saw his chest moving, I knew we had at least another day together.

So now, I am left with all our fantastic memories knewing he loved me and I loved him but now I am alone I don’t want memories I just want Peter and I can’t have him. It feels as though I have this tight band around my body every single day because I can’t relax as I think I would fall apart if I let go. The word tight as a drum springs to mind.

I just want my old life back, that is all I want, I am not asking for millions of pounds, or a massive, expensive car or a castle to live in, I just want my old life back.


Sheila xx

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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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Oh Eileen, I wish I could wave a magic wand and bring all our lost loved ones back, because until we are with them again life is not living, it is just existing. I also wish I was ten years older as I do not want to spend another ten to fifteen years on my own. As you say, Peter also left me comfortably off, I have a lovely home and garden, can buy what I want and go where I want, but I don’t want to, what is the point of it when you are doing it alone.

I have said before that it is upsetting to see one of my friends who lost her husband 14 years ago trying to fill every day doing something to keep busy. Bowling, walking, this club, that club, library etc. she is exhausted but just can’t sit down and feel, if you know what I mean. I like to do what I want to do, when I feel like doing it, but I won’t force myself to do it, I like to sit, close my eyes and just think, yes tears run down my face, but my husband deserves that, he deserves for me to cry because I miss him so much.

If I have to go out and I mean have to, I will go out, but if it can wait a few days, then it waits a few days. I do what I feel like doing and that is it, I will not do something for the sake of it.

I have trimmed my back hedge this morning, so tomorrow I will potter about in the garden, I just ordered some more roses for the back garden so when they come I will plant them out.

Going to have a coffee now Eileen, so please take care, I love our little chats.



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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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Thank you so very much for your lovely comments.

I feel for people on this site or anywhere else for that matter, who have lost loved ones, especially those who are just starting out on their heartbreaking journey without the person they love. It is not going to be easy, it is going to be very hard, because things will never, ever be the same again as we are all facing a future that we didn’t ask for and especially do not want.

You feel so helpless, you can’t change a thing, you can’t go to bed and get up the next morning when everything will be okay because it won’t, it won’t ever be the same again, life as we knew it has gone.

I am thinking of everyone.


Sheila xx

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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.

Hello Carole, I totally understand what you mean, we are no longer the person we used to be, we don’t recognise our self anymore because the day we lost our loved ones, we became a totally different person.

We now have to live a different life, a life we don’t even want, but what is the alternative, it is either go to bed and never get up again or get up each morning and live our lives the best way we can, albeit a life without our loved ones who would hate to see us falling apart. They would have given anything to have still been with us and here we are wishing we were with them.

So, I plod on each day, looking after our home and garden as it would be so disloyal to Peter to stop caring for it when he loved his home so very much and took such great care of it before he started being so ill.

He always looked after and loved me from the day we met so now I owe it to him to look after the home he made for me where we were so very happy together, to do anything else would be so wrong. I will never leave unless I had to for some reason, but until they carry me out, I am staying here. I am surrounded by memories, some sad but most of them happy and that is what is keeping me going.

The time I have left is about keeping Peter’s memory alive, remembering our lives together and just keeping going until we meet again. Nothing else interests me, I love our family, but they don’t need me anymore and I don’t know what is happening in their lives until I look after our grandchildren then we have a little chat, but that is not the life I want, need or should have. I just want my own life back with Peter, nothing less will do.

Take care Carole.


Sheila x

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

Dear Carole, I am so sorry you don’t have a family to help you through your grief and I can understand why you are feeling like you do.

For people in your position it must be terribly hard, you lost the love of your life and have no family by your side, I cannot imagine what you are going through because your circumstances are much, much worse than mine. You must be a very strong person to go through all this heartache on your own. You say you are a sad person, I disagree, I think you are one of the bravest people I know because if I had no-one I honestly don’t think I could have carried on.

My life seems hopeless without Peter but I should be thanking my lucky stars that I have sons and grandchildren, I know I don’t see much of them, but I know there is someone there if an emergency happens.

If ever you need to talk, you can private message me.

I am so very sorry.


Sheila xx

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.

Good morning Carole, I too believe in the afterlife, I always have because of the things that happened in our lives from the day I was born. I am so pleased you have a brother that you keep in touch with, thank goodness for Skype or Facetime, they are fantastic things to have on your phone and computer because you can see who you are talking to. I use mine a lot to speak to our grandchildren.

I am going in the garden today, just got to tidy the hedges then that is it, I won’t be seeing anyone until the end of next week as they are all off on holiday for a few days, one son with his girlfriend and the other with his family so I am on my own too.

I will see them in just over a week’s time when I am childminding our grandchildren, but I would love to see them because they want to see me and not when they want something doing.

I am going to have a coffee now, just waiting for my online shopping being delivered.

Please take care Carole,


Sheila xx

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.

Hello, you are quite right, we are all different ages but going through the same nightmare as each other. I wish I could make it better for all of us, but I can’t, this is the life we are now left with and we just have to get on with it, whether we like it or not, and I for one do not like it one little bit.

We are all here to support each other, moan and groan to each other, because many of us can’t talk to our children as they have moved on and we don’t want them to think we are not coping,even though it is so hard and we still cry. Some people don’t have anyone to talk to and that is why we are here, to ensure that we all have someone who knows exactly what we are going through, because no-one knows the heartache we are all going through until it happens to them.

Anytime you want to talk, there is always someone on the end of a computer waiting to chat. Sometimes, in the early hours of the morning when we cannot sleep.

Lots of love.


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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 Carole, Yes I spent all day in the garden yesterday and putting my garden furniture together, it was a flat pack.I am as stiff as a board. Got to paint the fence and spray the weeds today, then spray the gates where there are bits of rust showing.

No-one talks about Peter anymore unless I bring him up which I do quite a lot, I refuse to let him be forgotten, but like you say people treat me as if I never had a husband and our sons never mention him unless I make a remark like, your dad said that, your dad did this. Our 12 years old granddaughter loves to hear about my life when I was young, and they tell me such a lot how much they miss their granddad Peter.

That is why I have compiled a memory box of photos, music, and after Peter died I started a book of his life and ours together with photos, what life was like when we were children right up until the day he died and then I wrote my thoughts down, how I was coping and how I got through the days after he died. I filled up one large hardback book and it is now tied with a blue ribbon in my memory box. There are the yellow roses from my wedding bouquet, silver keys from our 21st birthdays, even the coronation cups we were given at school when the Queen was crowned all those years ago. Every card we ever sent to each other the list goes on. When I am gone I don’t know what they will do with it but I won’t be here to find out.

I feel it is very important that our children should know what our lives were like when we were children, instead of leaving a birth and death certificate, we should leave memories of our lives, what school was like, what work was like, the list goes on.

I knew nothing much at all of my mum and dad’s life, grandmas in those days were someone you visited, sat still and then went home, I can’t remember loving them, because I didn’t know them, apart from an hour a week. At least our grandchildren have memories of Peter and me which will stay with them forever.

I never, ever see our neighbours. Even in winter when it is thick with snow, not one person will knock on my door and see if I am ok. The only time they will know I am not okay is when I don’t bring the wheelie bins back because I bring them all back every single week, the black, green and brown, they never bring them back, everyone is too absorbed in their own lives. Not spoken to anyone since last Tuesday nor do I expect to until I visit our daughter in law on Wednesday, I will get two buses and a taxi there and our son will bring me back home.

I have got used to it, I now fill my days with jobs that really our son’s should be helping me with. They are too small to bother with a diy man, but tiring for a 75 year old woman
but it keeps me active, these are the jobs Peter and I would have done together.

Since the day our sons left home and started their new lives, Peter and I never, ever asked them to do anything for us and even now, they still don’t do anything for me because they say I can afford to pay for it doing. I was once cutting my garden hedge, before I got a gardener, and our eldest son, nearly 50 years old turned up, sat on the doorstep whilst I had finished, I was cutting it with a large cordless hedge trimmer then swept it all up, carried the waste bin back to the car-port and not once did he get off hos bottom and offered to help, then I had to make his tea. This was last summer. It made me realise that I can no longer rely on anyone but myself to do jobs. If I didn’t have any children my life would not be much different at all, I only see our grandchildren when I childmind and I only see one of our sons when he stays over as he is going to town with his friends and comes home at 2 am in the morning.

It is just the fact that if I was ill I have someone to bring me stuff from home but that is about it. I love my children but they are so very self absorbed and I am on the outside looking in.

Well must go and have breakfast, then get cracking again.

Pease take care Carole,



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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Good morning Eileen, I am so sorry, but it is the same for me too, not seen or heard from a soul since last Tuesday when I asked my daughter in law if she would like to meet up for lunch (I paid as usual). I have texted them but no reply. When our dad died when he was 57 years old, my mum was only 55, and from that day on, she never, ever spent a bank holiday, Easter, Christmas, Mothers day etc. on her own, whenever we went out for the day, we took her with us, I honestly cannot remember having a holiday without my mum being there unless we went to America or Canada as it was too far for her and she didn’t like Spain.

My sister couldn’t help as she was depressed from losing her twin girls, I had also lost a baby a few weeks before, I was 20 weeks pregnant but I carried on with the help of Peter, then a few years later my sister died of cancer. My mum was always at their house, cooking and cleaning for my sister, but it was me and Peter that took my mum out everywhere. We took her to Italy for a week, we were going to take her to Rome the year after but she died a few months before, that was 19 years ago.

It has always been just me and Peter, and when I think of how he worked all week, then went to our sons houses to put in extra lights, and decorated for them to save them money, he would be horrified if he knew I had to pay for everything I needed doing. He made them promise to look after me, yes the first year they did then it all stopped. The excuse I get when I ask them for anything is, we have busy lives. We had busy lives with no-one to look after them when they were young, but we childminded which I still do their children and it has never, ever cost them a penny,a bunch of flowers or chocolates now and again would be appreciated.

I have told them before, that I never see any neighbours, and with not hearing from them for a week at a time, sometimes more if I am not childminding, I could be laid on the floor and until they tried to contact me and I didn’t answer they would not know there was anything wrong until they came to see what the problem was, and what would it look like if I had died and our sons only lived 20 minutes away from me and had not seen me or contacted me for nearly two weeks.

I rang my mum every single night and she rang me every single morning, and if she didn’t ring me, I rang her. The times I rang her at night and she didn’t answer so we jumped in the car and drove over to her house, she said she was tired and went to bed early. We didn’t have mobile phones then.

I have even looked after all our grandchildren whilst both our sons and their wives went to a party, the sad thing was, it was a birthday party for one of our son’s wives parents, everyone was there but me, brothers, aunts, uncles, sisters, nephews etc. but all I was good for was childminding.

To be honest, I am fed up with them and I am getting to think I would rather not see them at all, but then I would miss our grandchildren even though I only see them when I look after them.

I have neighhbours who are widowed and their family take them shopping, take them out for lunch, meet them for afternoon tea, the difference is, they have daughters. The saying, A daughter’s a daughter for all of her life, a son is a son ‘till he gets him a wife’ is so true.

Our eldest son takes me on holiday once a year, because he has a lot of holidays and his friends and girlfriend don’t have as many as he does, so he asks me to go with him for company rather than go alone. We have a great time and he has said that he likes to go with me because I don’t moan and I enjoy walking and will try anything food wise, so I get a weeks holiday a year for which I am grateful. I pay of course.

Sorry for the moan, anyway, going to spray weedkiller after lunch and then tomorrow, paint the garden fence. Nothing else to do.

Lots of love.

Sheila xx

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