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Recently widowed and suffering with loneliness

(88 Posts)
MarilynGradden Tue 21-Jun-22 10:11:43


I am recently widowed & am really struggling with loneliness.
It’s a very tough time. My husband fought hard with a brain tumour, but it got the better of him in the end. He was the love of my life & I feel like a half of me has been ripped away.
I have great friends, but at night is the worst time as there’s no one there to chat to.

Su22 Tue 21-Jun-22 10:46:19

I was widowed the end of last year after being with my late husband 24hrs a day through most of our married life and for the last 8 years caring for him. I find the evenings the worse I can still see him sitting in his chair but no reply when I talk to him. sad I hope things get a bit easier for you soon flowers

MawtheMerrier Tue 21-Jun-22 11:04:30

I'll be honest OP half your life has been ripped away. Not only the one person who knew you better than anybody and loved you more than anybody, but also, at a practical level, the person around whom your world revolved in these latter years.
That is not meant to sound brutal but people who say Oh time is a great healer, you'll get over it etc etc have NO idea.
Yes, the pain will ease but it will also sweep over you quite unexpectedly and you won't miss him any less but you will learn to put one foot in front of the other. The familiar situations (as you say, the evenings) or the nights may be the worst, or it could be seeing other couples in the supermarket or looking at the contents of your solitary trolley when everybody else is shopping for a family, or arriving at family events alone when the other grandparents arrive and leave as a couple. It can be grief by a thousand cuts and nobody and nothing prepares you for this. has to go on and you will find there are days when you find yourself enjoying something without feeling guilty about it. Try to let yourself feel some joy in the small things, they will help you to heal.
There's a reason partners are called " our other half" and for those of us fortunate to find the right other half, something to be grateful for.
I hope friends and family are looking after you though- they may not see how you are hurting g inside, but it is good yo be in understanding company flowersflowers

Georgesgran Tue 21-Jun-22 11:07:02

Beautifully put Maw.
It is the little things, isn’t it?

travelsafar Tue 21-Jun-22 11:08:15

So sorry to hear this and i truely hope that things get easier for you as time moves on. Sending a virtual hug to both of you and flowers

MawtheMerrier Tue 21-Jun-22 11:13:41

The family event thing got to me and I lost it a couple of years ago when I had a rant at the D's about just this.
It would never have occurred to me but that day I just could not pin a smile on my face and nearly chucked my contribution of food for GS's party picnic in the bin!
I was literally shaking. One D really understood and arranged for us to meet up on the way, one clearly saw but got defensive ("we miss him too") and the middle one wisely let it be!
These things take you unawares and are like a punch in the gut.

Honeysuckleberries Tue 21-Jun-22 11:14:49

I would also say let yourself grieve. When you want to cry or scream do it. Do it as loudly and as long as you want to. When my husband died after seven years of colon cancer and even though I had done a lot of grieving before he died, I just used to scream and shout and wail my head off for half an hour. It seemed to me that I had dammed my feelings up in front of others and they just had to be released somehow.

It sounds as if it is early days for you so I wish you well.

SallyHa Tue 21-Jun-22 12:51:59

I’m 3 years down this difficult path . I miss him so much and really understand your loneliness Marilyn. I am very much the same . No one can really understand until it happens to them . Sending hugs x

Kate1949 Tue 21-Jun-22 13:31:53

This thread is so sad. flowers

M0nica Tue 21-Jun-22 13:47:00

But helpful and hopeful.

Kate1949 Tue 21-Jun-22 14:23:33

Yes it is Monica

Beautful Tue 21-Jun-22 14:27:59

I loss my lovely hubby nearly 6 years ago, so can understand how you feel ... also unless you have gone through it no one truly knows & understand how you really feel. Cut a long story short I have a canvas of different photos on it my lovely daughter & son in law had it made for me. I always go through all the names on it, also my hubby , saying to him ... good night God bless love you ... every morning I look at it & say good morning , when I go out & come in the same, blow him a kiss , I do this going down the road as well, no doubt people think I am nuts , I don't care ... I kiss his pillow & say the same when I go to bed ... also there is a difference between being lonely & alone, sometimes I can be in a room full of people & still feel alone ... if you want to cry ... cry ... if you want to laugh ... laugh ... do what every you want to , we all have our own way in grieving ... I even had a cry this morning after my daughter showed me what she put on FB about her dad ,bless her ... this may not be for you ... it is hard, like you say no one to talk to ... yes I do talk to my hubby although no answer if you know my meaning ... will take time ... I pray that you will start to feel much better very soon ... God bless

Grammaretto Tue 21-Jun-22 14:38:33

Such helpful replies Maw. Your words have helped me in the past too. Especially miss the doing nothing together which Im pretty sure was how you described what we miss most about married life.
I am 18 months into it. It is different, so I must have adjusted and I am filling my days and weeks.

Evenings are the worst but also like today when an old friend has been staying and has just left, I turn to him and he's not there to remind me how mush we like being just by ourselves.

We haven't had any family occasions yet but will have this Summer so I am preparing myself. brave face.

Another thing to remember Marilyn is that you have spent a lot of time caring for him, like a fulltime job and with no job your days will feel empty.
Plan a treat, however small, just for yourself, every day.

GrandmasueUK Tue 21-Jun-22 14:50:09

One of my close friends is going through the same thing. I try and phone her some evenings. I'm pleased that she feels comfortable enough to phone me and ask if she can come round because she is having a bad day. I have very limited mobility now and she doesn't live far from me, but she drives, so can be here in a couple of minutes. I put the kettle on, pass the tissues and let her talk, or not. She has been there for me when I went through some bad times and I feel as though I am now repaying her kindness to me. We have been friends for over 50 years and she knows when I ask her how she is, she doesn't have to pretend and put on a brave face.
I hope Marilyn and Su have friends that they can share their feelings with. I agree with Maw that it's the unexpected times that catch you out and the guilt of enjoying something without them. It does take time to get used to a new different and there is no set timescale either, everything at your own pace.

AGAA4 Tue 21-Jun-22 16:41:19

It has been a long time since my DH died and I have found a new normal and I am happy now on my own but it has been a rocky road to travel.
I took comfort from my family and friends. They were the ones who were there for me when I was low.
I found I learned to just accept a bad day and do whatever I wanted or nothing at all.
I can't tell you things will be easy but now after all this time I can think of DH and our time together and not feel sad.
Take care of yourself Marilyn. Grief is exhausting ?

GrannySomerset Tue 21-Jun-22 16:55:49

Maw says it perfectly. Just five months down the line I am airbrushing the last couple of years of DH’s life and remembering and missing the man he was for most of our sixty years together. I most miss his unconditional love, his humour and his ability to remind me that I am not always right, and for the rest of my life there will be a huge gap at the centre of things.

Maw is right about it being the little things; I was almost undone in the supermarket when I realised that I need never buy Snickers bars again, though GD1, when I mentioned this, said firmly, “But you could buy them for me - Barbar always gave me Snickers”. Some traits are inherited!

I found DS’s recent wedding quite hard and wept in private later. We just have to soldier on.

rosielabrador Wed 22-Jun-22 13:09:17

I lost the love of my life nearly seven years ago. He was only 63 when he became I’ll and died a year later. All I can say to you is that you won’t always feel this bad I promise. Awful memories become less sharp in the end. What has helped me even more than my family is my widow friends who I met at a hospice support group. It is so important to get out with people

Whiff Sun 26-Jun-22 08:53:43

Marilyn this is my experience . I have written about it on the pain of loss forum.

My husband died 18 years ago aged 47 I was 45. We always knew when he was diagnosed with grade 4 malignant melanoma in January 2001 he wouldn't live 5 years. After the cancer was removed he didn't want anyone other than me and our daughter and son he wasn't going to live. He wanted to be treated normally and wanted to live a normal life. It was like living with the sword of Damocles hanging over us. My darling man could face dieing but not pity .

We had been together since he was 18 and I was 16. Together 29 years married 22. We where eachother's other halves and we where lucky we found eachother while young.

We had the terminal diagnosis in October 2003 given 4 months to 2 years but knew it was months. He had 3 tumours in his right lung ,1 in his chest and 2 in his brain by the optical nerve. He still went to work but I had to stop him driving as he was going blind. So the men who worked for him fetched and brought him home.

Letting he do what he wanted to for a short time was hard but he did not want to be treated differently. I let him go but once a work he had 2 hours and had to come home. He could only do this for a month. He went down hill fast. But then worked from home. Only hour a day.

Just because he was dieing he still wanted to be him. He had palliative chemo . This gives you an idea for my man . I said you need your hair cut before starting chemo he said I am not wasting £7 when my hair is going to fall out. He didn't lose any hair was never sick only side effects where lose of taste and impotence. The worse things that could happen to him . If you knew how much he loved his food and sex . That drove home to him he was dieing.

He set himself a goal he wanted to get to his 47th birthday in February he did and died 4 days later . At home in our bed with just me and our children. Anyone who says death is peaceful is a liar in my experience. My husband couldn't breath even on full oxygen he was a morphine driver which gave him a dose every hour. He was in agony and watching him die and getting more skeletal by the hour. Before he became unconscious he said all the things he wanted to us . I was lying beside him on the bed and told him to stop fighting we would be ok he died a couple minutes later.

The moment he took his last breath half of me died and still haven't been whole since. When he died my present and future died to.

The week before his death he made me promise a lot of things and to this day I have kept everyone. The main one was to live the best life you can

Our children where 20 and 16 when their dad died. Their grief is not the same as mine. Nor should it be.

I can't give you any hope the grief will ease but this is my experience others will disagree. The early days after his death I was on automatic pilot. Doing all the things that had to be done. It was an effort to wash and brush my teeth but had to do it. I would have loved to stay in bed all day and never wake up. But couldn't . I promised him I wouldn't.

Knowing I had to make a new life a new present and future is bloody hard and even to this day it can be a struggle.

What I didn't expect after he died was the anger and rage I felt. I expect the feeling of lose and other emotions. But the anger shocked me. I felt wicked feeling this way but come to realise it's normal.

I talk to my husband every day out loud from the moment he died. I have shouted ,swore and blamed him for dieing which to some may sound awful. But it makes me feel better. And I can see him with that stupid grin on his face. We both have tempers and both stubborn our children are the same.

But talking out loud to him everyday helps me cope with life. I talk about anything and everything. Been doing this for over 18 years . I am lonely but only lonely for him not because I live on my own.

I still feel half of me is missing,still consider myself married,wear my wedding ring,sleep on my side of our bed. And love him as deeply as when he was alive.

As the years have gone by the grief gets worse you just learn to cope. But have learnt if you try to contain the grief you are only hurting yourself. So if you want to shout out loud,swear rant and rave ,cry or hit a pillow do it. I promise it will make you feel better. I class early years of grief as 10 years. As that's how long I found it took me to come to terms with it. Others will disagree but this is my experience .

My husband will always be 47 I am now 64. The worst thing about my husband dieing is I have been ill or my life and when I was 29 it got very bad. So I was always prepared to die first . My darling man when I got very ill and wasn't unable to do some things just said we will alter our way if life to suit what you can do so we can be a normal family. Because if him I am like I am today.

Everyone grieves in their own way there is no right or wrong way. We all have to find our own way and it's hard. Making a new present and future is hard and doesn't get easier with age but this is my experience. I miss my husband more today than ever but because my wise man knew what I needed to live without him I have kept and still keep every promise to him and it's not easy. But I am the sort of person who keeps their word .

Do not rush into doing things only do what has to be done now. Everything else do when you feel you can face it. I slept with a toy snowman for the first 8 months as I couldn't stand the empty bed still can't. I couldn't sort out my husband's clothes until 8 months after his death and only because my daughter helped me.

I miss everything about our life together and at times feel cheated . I have screamed this shouldn't be my life . But it is and I live it to the full. After my husband died I wanted to move and live closer to my children but couldn't as I had both my parents and mother in law to look after. My mom was the last to die in 2017.

I finally moved nearly 3 years ago. I existed in my old house. I was wife the widow the kids mom and all the other labels. It was our house even though it was mine after my husband's death.

Moving on your own is hard but until I did I didn't realise I had lost me. Moving you take your memories with you. But moving for me is freeing. People here know me no labels. I no longer just exist but live my life to the full . I know my husband would be happy I still talk to him everyday and still see him . I only found out in April what is wrong with me and it's something I was born with and it's rare. The one person I wanted was my husband as without him and his get in with the life we have attitude and wouldn't be who I am today .

Losing the other half of you is so hard but you must give yourself time. Grief has no time limit. And there is no one grief as we are all individuals so is grief.

Time in my experience doesn't heal grief but you learn to cope. I still have wobbles and days when I just cry. So you must do what feels right to you.

Hope something I have said has helped. But this is my experience.

My thoughts are with you all as we are members of a club we didn't choose to join. ?

silverlining48 Sun 26-Jun-22 09:58:12

Whiff your brave and moving post has brought tears. Sending a hug and flowers to everyone who grieves.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sun 26-Jun-22 10:13:45

You've put it so well Maw and Whiff - I lost my husband 12 years ago at 56 to MND. I'll never stop missing him but have learned to be fairly self-sufficient which helps.

It's the little things like having no-one to do nothing with which can feel so empty and again, it's the little things (small compensations) like having an interesting hobby which can help to pass the hours.

The passage of time doesn't really heal but it knocks the raw edges off. I say 'night, night' to his pillow as I switch the light off. I'll bet many of you do the same.

And let us not forget the value of female friendship. Many of my friends are alone due to divorce which brings a different type of sadness. In our own ways we make the most of things.

karmalady Sun 26-Jun-22 10:21:36

Beautifully written posts above and so right about one half being ripped away. Mine was so sudden, I had no time to prepare, he went out for a good cycle ride and result was air ambulance and a policeman at the door

The ache was terrible, I had to work so hard to control the sudden rise in cortisol, which I knew was causing the rise in bp and consequential loud heart beats that were pounding in my ears at night. I knew about dying from a broken heart so I sat and gazed out of the window at swaying trees and birds. I did meditation, I listened to beautiful chanting such as gregorian chant and most of all to music by s kaur, which took me into my very soul and helped the tears to run

I needed to be alone at home to process what had happened but I also needed to know that it got better or would my future have me always feeling this bad. I went on a bus to wells, sat behind two older women, obviously friends and widows. I asked them, I needed to know, yes they said, you will learn to cope with the grief. It does not get better but you learn to move on in your life

I learnt about the stages of grief and that was re-assuring, I knew when I had reached the last stage, it was when I was able to make a home for myself. I had grief wash over me the other day, not uncontrollable and I took the same measures as in the beginning and sat quietly in the moment until it passed

I stay busy all the time, 2015 it was and my youngest brother lost his wife exactly a year after, to the day, he also stays busy. Then six months later I lost my dear sister. That was three in 18 months

I feel blessed that we had 45 years married

Caleo Sun 26-Jun-22 11:31:54

Maw the Merrier, true and well expressed as I too know from experience. I wish I had read this message when I was most acutely suffering my own loss.

Greyduster Sun 26-Jun-22 12:43:43

I am very new to this and couldn’t have put it better than Maw put it. It leaves a hole in you that nothing can fill and a long road stretching nowhere. I am grateful that I have a wonderful family, kind neighbours and friends who know what I am going through because they have been through it too. I talk to my DH all the time. The little rituals you develop to keep them close may seem silly to some, but they do help sometimes. I was driving home today, thinking about all this, and it’s like being in a huge, totally unfamiliar house, trying to find your way around, and you think you’re doing okay; and then suddenly there’s a power cut and all the lights go out and there is suddenly no sense to it, nothing to help you get your bearings, so you just have to sit tight and hope it’s not long before some light comes flooding back.

knspol Sun 26-Jun-22 13:10:02

I lost my husband of over 50 yrs just 4 weeks ago and I just don't know what to do with myself. I wake up with that big hole every day and burst into tears umpteen times a day. I spend time looking at the places he used to sit and talking to him. I'm lucky to have some family close by but I don't want to become a burden to them, I don't have any friends nearby just a couple of acquaintances who have sent cards etc. Everytime someone says something kind to me it sets off the tears again. Also realised how much admin work is involved and mostly on line too and how many decisions need to be made when I'm not in a state to make them.
I wonder if anybody has experience of any sort of bereavement group or any reading that might help in any way please?

Kate1949 Sun 26-Jun-22 16:47:54

Your posts are humbling ladies.