Gransnet forums


The loneliness on losing a partner

(140 Posts)
JuneS Fri 31-Aug-18 09:23:51

I lost my husband 2yrs ago and like many many others am still going through the different stages of grieving.
What I never expected was the intense loneliness that losing a partner brings. I have 4 middle aged children, one in Australia, who all have their own families and lead busy lives. Unfortunately only one lives near to me, the others need to stay overnight. I have seen one of them this year as they are so busy. It doesn't help that I am, now 81, have severe arthritic problems and can't walk far or drive. This stops me from visiting them as I can't manage the train journey. My lovely granddaughters keep in touch on FB and send photos of my gr-grandchildren.
Loneliness is actually more than being on your own. It is having no one to give you a cuddle or to care for back and the silence. I have had to experience it to understand myself just how depressing it could become.
Thank goodness for forums like this when I can chat to such friendly people.

annsixty Fri 31-Aug-18 09:45:26

Sending very good wishes to you June, when I read your sad post ,it makes me realise perhaps, why I am so resisting making the decision for my H to go into residential care.
I would have nobody to care for, and although it fills my day and I get very down, at least I have another person in the house.
I am the same age as you and don't see much of family apart from one lovely GD.
My H is going for 2 weeks respite on Monday and I will experience what you live with every day.
Do you have local friends or belong to a local church?
I know how hard it is with arthritis make the effort to get out and about but I just wish you well and I hope you keep in touch with us all on here, we are very friendly and supportive and GN has been a lifeline to me..

lemongrove Fri 31-Aug-18 09:49:19

June Sorry to hear of your bereavement, there are several GNers in a similar situation and know what you are experiencing,it must be awful.When you have known somebody for a long time and then they die it leaves such a huge hole in your life.All I can say [from bereaved friends] is that it does get better as time goes on, and meantime stay on forums and join local clubs if you can? Meeting up with friends, even in each others houses if you can't go far is beneficial, or being friendly with near

Oldwoman70 Fri 31-Aug-18 10:04:16

June I can so identify with your situation. My husband died 7 years ago and we had no children. Whilst I go out most days, meet up with friends and keep busy the hardest times are eating meals alone (we could talk for several hours over dinner), and in the evenings. The loneliness always hits at weekends when friends are busy with their families - I can often go for several days without speaking to anyone.

I do find belonging to various forums gives me at least the illusion of talking to people and everyone on GN is always very supportive. flowers

boheminan Fri 31-Aug-18 10:05:43

Hello June. I echo annsixty.

Keeping in touch with the outside world through GN could be a comfort for you. I think there is a difference between feeling alone and feeling lonely. To me feeling alone is like being adandoned by everyone close to you, whereas I can be surrounded by friends and still feel lonely.

Although your miss your family terribly you are in touch online. Have you ever thought of getting Skype installed? My daughter put me onto it (I'm a technophobe and have no idea how to do it myself) it's a great way to stay in contact across the miles and is (as far as I can make out) free.

You are not on your own, we're just a computer screen away....

seacliff Fri 31-Aug-18 10:31:43

Hello June, nice to "meet you". I am a bit younger and more mobile than you now, but I can still feel lonely as my family are small and spread out, and I don't hear from them often. It must be horrible for you.

This may be a silly idea, but have you ever considered getting a budgie? My lovely mother in law moved to sheltered housing after she was widowed, and had to rehome her cat. Even though there were other people in the building, she got very lonely.

Eventually we helped her get a budgie, on the understanding that we'd take it if she changed her mind. She actually really liked having a noise in the house, and some other being to look after and communicate with.

Of course it's not the same in any way as a much loved husband, or family, but it might lift your spirits a little. (sorry if the idea is awful for you).

I wonder if it's worth you ringing your local library or Age Concern, and asking if there is anything locally for people who can't get out much. Why not try, it may open up some new friends for you. Best wishes flowers

annsixty Fri 31-Aug-18 11:28:13

I don't know if you have considered or maybe rejected retirement apartments.
My friend bought one 18 months ago, when I visited her I thought this is not for me.
However 18 months on and 18months older, I reconsider it if my H goes into care.
She never seems lonely, coffee mornings, film nights, trips out and a manager in case of help needed.
She has a much better social life than I do and she only has to go down in the lift to access it.

MawBroon Fri 31-Aug-18 12:36:03

Dear JuneS I send my sincerest sympathy and while we are all different, feel I have an idea of where you are coming from.
I lost my DH 9 months ago and have experienced emotions I never expected. Being a fairly independent person I thought I would cope adequately with going to things on my own and my own company. Not what I expected
DH was ill for several years before he died and in the last 6 or so years needed me to accompany him to ever more frequent hospital clinic appointments in London (50+ miles away) as well as locally. Frequent hospitalisation prepared me after a fashion and I became quite an expert on all things medical so I had the confidence to deal with consultants and nurses, I suppose but I also lived in a sort of denial, refusing to cross bridges until we came to them.
What I am feeling now is not just that I miss him, regret the time we could have spent together,feel the pain of his suffering and quiet courage and regret every living minute that I did not tell him more often how much I loved him.
I have good friends, a loving family and generally see people every day. I also have an affectionate dog, Hattie who gives me a reason to get out of bed, so it is not “just” loneliness, it is an inner loneliness which is hard to put into words. He was the only person who knew exactly where I was coming from, with whom I could be entirely honest about friends and family, who understood me.
Being without him is like an amputation. You learn (I expect) to cope with one arm or limp along on crutches but life doesn’t ever feel like it was before. And you realise that is it, forever.
I am glad to say I no longer have to flee the supermarket in tears because everybody else is in couples, and rarely cry in public, keeping my tears for when I am alone , often because I realise there is something I want to tell him, but can’t.
Sorry to go on at length-your post has opened the floodgates.
Please stay with GN there is so much support and friendship both virtual and real life. It is especially hard if you are unable to get out or see your grandchildren and children but if you can try to be proactive - invite a friend round for coffee/tea/lunch, be the one to initiate the Skype, and if one of your children lives nearby perhaps he/she could help with beds to enable the others to stay over.
We none of us want to seem needy or be a nuisance, but with forward planning perhaps you could see them more than you do now.
But the “inner loneliness”, the silence, or the “nobody to do nothing with” is something we shall have to grit our teeth and get used to flowersflowers

Alygran Fri 31-Aug-18 12:53:33

June my sympathies too. It is very nearly a year since DH died and I understand entirely the loneliness you feel. mawb expresses it so well as ‘someone to do nothing with’.
We were fairly recently retired when DH was diagnosed with bowel cancer and the year before he died passed in a whirlwind of treatment and hospital. My time was devoted to him throughout his illness.
So now I try to pick up the pieces and make a different life for myself than the one we planned together. After a very busy summer of holidays, DGS and visitors it is very quiet as I negotiate these difficult days.
GN is a great companion.

Anniebach Fri 31-Aug-18 12:57:58

I have lived with that inner loneliness for 43 years, not 43 years of grieving , just a lonliness which is there, when others say ‘we’ I say ‘i’ , one gets use to it , as Maw said ‘we have to’

I am so sorry June, but it does ease x

MillieBear Fri 31-Aug-18 13:05:38

I have always found the loss of shared memories difficult to adjust to. The "do you remember when...." is no longer possible and I will always mourn that loss of my past. My sympathies JuneS, I hope that at least by using GN you find some friendship.

Bellasnana Fri 31-Aug-18 13:51:33

Not much I can add. It’s three years for me. What a lot of us there are who bear the unwelcome title ‘widow’. flowers

JuneS Fri 31-Aug-18 16:06:30

Thank you all so much for your supportive replies. MawB has explained what I feel better than I did.
I have a sister near me who takes me shopping and for appointments and also good friends and neighbours. My big mobility problem is with my back. I have had two lots of injections in it for pain and now waiting to have something done to the nerve in the area. This is my problem with going anywhere, constant pain in walking so can't join anything where I can take myself and feel a nuisance asking people all the time. I am not feeling sorry for myself as I can potter in the garden and have many hobbies when I can get motivated.
So many people on here are grieving and feeling that inner loneliness so my sympathies go out to you. It is not something that can be explained but has to be felt.

To honest it has just been a bad 2 yrs. My husband died as a result of being put on a large dose of steroids by a consultant. The dose is usually only given for a couple of weeks and then reduced. He was left on the high dose for 3 months and suffered massive side effects. Basically fungi went rampant through his body giving him fungal pneumonia, diabetes and affected his brain. I had to say OK to turn off his life support. I kept phoning different medical people but as he had seen a few, no one would take responsibility. After many meetings with hospital management I was given a written apology that they had let him down. This all played on my mind for ages and I couldn't even think about my husband for ages as I just saw his bloated body which wasn't my handsome man.
Our last chicken who was a pet died this year, my little rescue dog has been in a vet hospital for 4 days on a drip and my dear little cat has a very large tumour and will only be with me until it gets too uncomfortable for her. At times life seems so unfair. Should say my dog is recovering.

Well I have got that out of my system and thanks for 'listening' I have just started water colour painting and going to paint a picture of them together. Bereavement is just as painful for losing an animal so hopefully if will be good enough to remember them by when the time comes.

So glad I found GN. Just hope I don't chat too much.

Oldwoman70 Fri 31-Aug-18 16:19:53

June Chat as much as you want or need to. There are many of us who have been where you are now and some still are. Please be assured everyone is here for you whenever you need us flowers

Fennel Fri 31-Aug-18 16:29:55

June - feeling for you though my husband is till here TG.
I noticed on another thread that you have an elderly dog, and wouldn't replace him if he died. Now you say he's poorly.
If he does go, please try to get the courage to replace him.
They're such faithful friends, and give a sense of security. No substitute for a husband, but they do help.

Luckygirl Fri 31-Aug-18 16:41:23

I feel for you too - I am in that limbo situation where, a year ago, I was told that my OH was dying. He is still with us and slowly deteriorating and his quality of life is pretty poor, in spite of all our best efforts. He is quite difficult company to be honest and I am torn between wanting this all to be over (how dreadful is that?!) and`not wanting to be lonely and lose my life's partner. It is a weird situation and quite emotionally draining.

I do not want widowhood - but neither, if I am honest, do I want this. Very difficult to live with, as I know that others on here fully understand.

kittylester Fri 31-Aug-18 16:42:31

I still have Dh but wanted to send (((hugs))) to those of you on your own - the thought of losing DH is terrifying.

Menopaws Fri 31-Aug-18 16:48:32

What a lot of proud and caring women you all are, I take my hat off to all of you. Things have eased for now but I have spent many a quietly tearful night imagining the worst and believing I will cope but reading the words of obviously strong women makes me realise the reality of it all, thank you all for your honesty, when it affects me I know where to turn

callgirl1 Fri 31-Aug-18 17:11:36

Hello June, my husband died nearly 2 years ago. I`m not on my own, my eldest, but disabled, daughter lives with me, but she spends every waking minute on her laptop, isn`t into conversation, so I feel as if I`m on my own. I often think about asking David something, somewhere along the lines of "What happened to...…?" or "Who was it who...….?", then I remember that I can`t, so have to remain in ignorance of the answers.
I have 4 other children, all living locally, but as they all go to work and have their own homes and families to see to, I don`t see them quite as often as I`d like.
My husband`s death was particularly hard, because 18 months earlier he`d been discharged after being the hospital`s longest patient in ICU, and he`d seemed to be well on the up, then illness struck again and he was gone 4 weeks later, it just didn`t seem fair. When we all left the hospice on the night he died, I said "When we arrived I had a husband, was married", one of my daughters said "You`re never going to take that ring off mum, so you`ll always be married." So true, but I still need someone to talk to from day to day. Thank heavens for the lovely folk on Gransnet.

Day6 Fri 31-Aug-18 17:49:49

Just wanted to send all who posted about their loss (or impending loss) much sympathy. June, and others, you have written about bereavement and illness so poignantly and your sense of loss really hits home. Gransnet strikes me as being a (mostly) very caring community, and I hope it provides some small solace to you all.

It's made me think about losing the OH, or him being alone if I go first. I'd miss him so much. It's the little things and the day to day companionship that we perhaps take for granted, isn't it?

Hugs (through the ether) to you all.

blossom14 Fri 31-Aug-18 17:52:51

Like Menowpaws, I am full of admiration for you ladies and how you are coping. I have only had a glimpse over the past year of what the future might be without DH and I didn't like the look of it one little bit.

aggie Fri 31-Aug-18 18:11:31

Jim died on May 20th , I can't believe it is so recent yet can't believe it was so long , We were with him when he slipped away , such a release for him , but what a black blank feeling for me , I try to go out , but I have been so involved with caring for him for 4 years , that it is hard to realise I can go out and stay out . My sisters are very good taking me shopping , and the village group I belong to is going on a few days break and I am joining them . I dread it and look forward to it in equal measure . Caring acquaintances mean well , but I dread them saying how glad they are to see me out and about , making me feel I shouldn't be there , I am full of contradictions , not lonely in one way , but in a vacuum , turning to share something on the tv , and no one there , trying to remember what to do about something and no one to ask .Eldest DD is a gem , My DS and DGS were here putting up curtains for me and stayed chatting , filled a hole for a while , he calls most days as do thegrand children , the AC not at home ring most days , it is hard on them all too

callgirl1 Fri 31-Aug-18 21:57:26

I know what you mean Aggie. One of my daughters has taken me out and away overnight a few times now, usually to see a show. It`s lovely, and I`ve enjoyed the outings, but keep thinking I shouldn`t be out and enjoying myself without David. I came into a bit (a real bit) of money when I found I was entitled to a state pension and had been for 7 years, I got 7 years back pay on it, so had some necessary jobs done on the house that we`d never been able to afford, but then kept thinking it wasn`t fair of me to be enjoying having things put right when David couldn`t enjoy it as well.

Harris27 Sat 01-Sep-18 07:31:18

Have read this this morning and my heart goes out to you all non of us knows what we have to face in later life and I feel blessed that even though we hardly see each other as we are still working long hours we still have each other. My thoughts are with yous all.x

Juliet27 Sat 01-Sep-18 07:51:23

I’ve had tears in my eyes reading so many sad experiences and feelings on here. I still have my husband but it’s really been brought home to me how much I should appreciate his presence. It’s so good that GN exists for those who need to express their thoughts and feelings and to find empathy.