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Loss of DH after illness

(41 Posts)
Nanamar Fri 09-Apr-21 12:52:27

My DH died three weeks ago after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. We were married for 50 years and together as a couple for 56. I was his care giver and health advocate throughout and was fortunate to be with him until the very end despite hospital restrictions due to COVID. My guess is that when the EMT brought him to the ER the doc on call was pretty sure what was happening (DH had already refused intubation and resuscitation) and exercised her option to allow a family member in due to the end-of-life scenario. My question to those of you who’ve experienced similar loss is - did you experience grief as anxiety? In addition to the sadness and sense of loss, I feel so anxious and I don’t know why since the worst has already happened.

Blossoming Fri 09-Apr-21 12:55:22

So sorry for your loss Nanamar

Canalboatgranma Fri 09-Apr-21 12:57:54

My sympathy for your lossflowers I don't have an answer to your question but didn't want to read and run.

Marydoll Fri 09-Apr-21 12:58:53

My sincere condolences, Nanamar ?

CafeAuLait Fri 09-Apr-21 13:07:20

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a gap it leaves in your life to lose a husband you were with for so long. In answer to your question, the death of someone close has manifested in a lot more anxiety ever since for me. Life seems less predictable and safe, so I guess it's natural. My doctor was able to help me cope with the worst of it, so consider speaking to them if you need to.

TerriBull Fri 09-Apr-21 13:11:38

Deepest sympathy to you and your family for your devastating loss flowers

Ro60 Fri 09-Apr-21 13:13:45

So sorry for.Your loss - I can't even imagine ...
Is it blood pressure maybe?

timetogo2016 Fri 09-Apr-21 13:18:03

So sorry for your loss nanamar.

tanith Fri 09-Apr-21 13:20:43

My condolences Nanamar to you and your family, I found I was anxious after DH died at the thought that every decision was now mine to make alone I found that very daunting having never lived alone before. Give yourself time to grieve it’s very early days and as someone else suggested speak to family or your GP.
I wish you well.

Peasblossom Fri 09-Apr-21 13:21:35

Anxiety at this time is very natural, especially for those of us who have been carers. Although it was often stressful, in another way it was secure, in that we knew what the day held and what our role was, even the emergency became familiar and we knew what to do.

Then suddenly that disappears, we are in a strange land where our life is totally different. Of course, you will be disorientated and anxious about that.

Then there is that underlying anxiety of powerlessness. In spite of everything we could do the worst happened. I was anxious for other people that I loved.

And finally there are very specific anxieties. I was terrified of sleeping alone in the house. Even though there was nothing my husband could have done to protect me in his illness. Totally irrational but very real.

It helped me to know that my maelstrom of emotions was normal, including the anxiety. If it becomes unbearable, your doctor can help.

I’m so sorry for your loss?

LauraNorder Fri 09-Apr-21 13:22:43

I am sorry for your very sad loss Nanamar. flowers

Redhead56 Fri 09-Apr-21 13:23:10

So sorry for your loss?

lovebeigecardigans1955 Fri 09-Apr-21 13:24:03

I'm so sorry for your loss, Nanamar. I remember a heavy sadness as though my heart was literally breaking. Much of my anxiety lifted because DHs' illness was so terrible, and I was glad that he wasn't suffering anymore for his sake. It's still raw just yet for you and time will not make it go away but it knocks the rough edges off. And it'll be the little things which trip you up because you'll be watching out for the big things. flowers Don't forget there's support on here.

Sofa Fri 09-Apr-21 13:26:10

When my husband died I became very anxious. I also lost confidence in myself and felt I wasn’t a whole person as for so many years I’d been part of a couple. I even found it difficult to go into shops. Strange as my husband hadn’t shopped with me. As time went by I became less anxious and my confidence came back. So be kind to yourself and give yourself time to adjust.

olddudders Fri 09-Apr-21 13:27:28

My father lost mum when he was 64, she 62. I thought that was pretty cruel. But then I lost Deb when I was 63 and she was only 57. And I found myself living alone in a foreign country, with all the ghastliness of sorting a funeral, probate-equivalent and lots of other tedious and mysterious admin. Evidently I coped, but I lost weight (I have never been overweight in my life, so this mattered) and was a bit of a zombie for a while.

There are no clever cures for the loss you feel - and when you spent a lifetime together his presence made everything easier to cope with. Now you must do that alone. I won't patronise you by telling you to get out more, or to seek friends to support the worst days, or anything like that. I can tell you it does get better, but only you can handle the dark and the drear.

Be strong, and one day, maybe not for a long time yet, you will see a ray of sunshine again, and then another and another. I promise it will happen.

JaneJudge Fri 09-Apr-21 13:38:31

I'm sorry about the death of your husband sad flowers
Do you have anyone to support you? You need to call your GP, they will be able to prescribe you something to help with anxiety if you feel that would help? x

Whiff Fri 09-Apr-21 13:48:01

Nanamar any emotion you feel is the right emotion. I was widowed 17 years ago aged 45 my husband was 47. In my experience I have learnt that when you lose your husband you lose half of yourself . If he was your other half of you it doesn't matter if you have been together a year or 50. I still feel half of me is missing. What surprised me is the anger and rage I felt. I thought I shouldn't be feeling this way. But they are normal emotions. When your husband dies not only do you lose him but also your present and future. You still have your past together. But have to make a new present and future and it's hard. You will feel is it worth going on. But you do. Because you know he would want you to. Our children where 20 and 16 when their dad died. But if you have children and grandchildren the loss is the same age doesn't make any difference.

Some days I didn't want to wash or eat. But you make yourself do it. Because you have to. Grief consumes you and it is so hard to get through each day. But you do.

50 years with the same man by your side through thick and thin is a great achievement. I know how I felt. We had been together since I was 16 he was 18. A couple for 29 years married nearly 23.

In my experience you think the worst is his dieing. But living without the other half of you is far worse. My husband died in agony from cancer I told him to stop fighting and he died minutes afterwards. His suffering was over. But nobody tells you how your suffering starts from that moment.

The early weeks and months there is so much to do so you can distract yourself for a while. But at night alone in bed it hits you. You put out your hand and expect him to be there.

If you want to cry, scream or hit a pillow do it. Don't bottle your emotions up. Took me years to realise that. You don't have to be brave for everyone else. What has given me comfort all these years is I talk out loud to my husband everyday. I have swore and shouted at him for leaving me and blamed him for things . But it's all natural and normal to feel like this . Only wish someone had told me this in the early years instead of feeling guilty and wicked. He didn't want to die it wasn't his choice. We and I am an atheist. But what also gives me comfort is the children have his DNA and our 5 grandson's have parts as well.

They say time is a great healer. In my experience it's not. You learn to cope and make a new life for yourself. But you are never the same person you were.

Even now after all these years grief can still wash over me at the oddest moments.

I had to do a lot of firsts for the first time on my own. And it's hard.

You will learn to cope but you don't have to be strong if you don't want to be . Like I said no emotion you feel is wrong. Grief is all consuming. I felt and still feel sometimes like I am walking in treacle.

I if only one thing I have said helps you then it was worth the tears writing this.

merlotgran Fri 09-Apr-21 13:52:10

So sorry to hear of your loss, Nanamar.

Anxiety is definitely a part of grief as well as physical exhaustion, sadness and a sense of loss. Make time to recover from the demands of being your DH's carer.

I hope you have plenty of support.

Susan56 Fri 09-Apr-21 14:30:33

So sorry for your loss Nanamar.Sending you my condolences?

SueDonim Fri 09-Apr-21 14:53:53

I’m so sorry, Nanamar. thanks

Nanamar Fri 09-Apr-21 14:54:37

Thank you all for your condolences and for sharing your words of wisdom and affirmation of my emotions. You’ve all said it so well. I do have support - have been with a therapist for over a year due to the stress of DH’s illness and other family matters, have medication, etc. Our adult son has been living with us for about a year due to his (fortunately amicable) divorce and I see our DGS almost everyday so I’m not alone - unless I want to be,
which I do at times - legacy of growing up as an only child. I guess I just expected to not be watching for what’s around the corner as I did during his illness and the feeling of fear and dread I have was not anticipated.

nanaK54 Fri 09-Apr-21 15:00:29

Please accept my sincere condolences flowers be kind to yourself at this very difficult time

Hiraeth Fri 09-Apr-21 15:14:18

I lost my DH 7 years ago from an awful illness . He had never been ill in his life. I was never a frightened person but after he’d gone I started getting anxious . When I was shopping I just wanted to get home in my secure surroundings. I just couldn’t come to terms that he wasn’t here anymore . I did have grief counselling which helped. As I personally don’t agree on taking medication for grief. Everyone who loses a loved one grieves differently. There’s no perfect way to grieve . There will come a time of gratitude . Thankful for the wonderful years you had together . It just takes time .

JaneJudge Fri 09-Apr-21 15:19:40

Nanamar, it isn't going to go away instantly. You've had to be hyper alert and aware for months (years?) you don't just stop feeling that. Bodies are really weird re trauma. I cared for my daughter who is disabled full time until a few years ago and when she went into supported living I found I had issues with adrenaline. I must have run on empty for much of the time so my body just carried on with the adrenaline when I no longer needed it. Do talk to your GP x

muppett1 Fri 09-Apr-21 15:23:59

So very sorry for your loss. I lost my husband 10years ago after over 30 years of marriage. It was not unexpected but came sooner than anyone expected. It is never easy. Our daughter and son-in-law were brilliant. I talked to my GP who helped a lot. I learned to be independent but not frightened to ask for help. I also found that when people offered help they meant it but didn’t know what I needed until I asked. Give yourself time. Don’t try to make all those difficult decisions all at once. Time will give you strength to move forward.