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What changes do people make following a loss?

(20 Posts)
sandelf Thu 23-Feb-23 10:46:11

Not in a gloomy way but spirit of curiosity - How do people readjust their lives from couple to solo? Are there changes that almost everyone makes, or is it totally individual?

vampirequeen Thu 23-Feb-23 11:38:27

My mam was told not to make any major decisions for a year after my dad passed away.

aonk Thu 23-Feb-23 12:00:44

In my experience unnecessary changes should be avoided for at least a year, maybe longer. The advice I would give is to take each day at a time and follow your own instincts as to what you should do. Seek help if it’s hard to cope. That’s actually a sign of courage. I’m currently trying to support a recently widowed neighbour and have been there myself.

AGAA4 Thu 23-Feb-23 12:06:48

When my DH died I just had to carry on as normal but it was very hard. I put off moving for many years.
There was more for me to do as we always split the work.
I just eventually got used to my new way of life.

Shrub Thu 23-Feb-23 12:51:26

I think it depends on your circumstances, there are no rules. I put my house on the market as soon as probate was granted and moved away within a few months. It was the best thing I could have done and it has worked out well.

GagaJo Thu 23-Feb-23 12:51:51

I wanted to make some positive changes after I lost my mother last year, but I seem to have slipped back, from inertia.

maddyone Thu 23-Feb-23 13:05:23

The biggest change since I lost my mother last year is that I no longer have to visit her every day, or even most days. To be honest I’ve found that hard. I thought I would welcome the extra freedom but find I miss those visits and just being able to talk to her.

Judy54 Thu 23-Feb-23 16:40:14

I think it is totally individual as people grieve in different ways. There must be a lot of adjustments to make when you lose your partner, it is something that I have seen my Sister in Law go through when my Brother died and my Brother in Law when his Wife died. Definitely agree that it is best not to make big decisions like moving house for at least 12 months. If possible get back to hobbies/interests and socialise as as when you feel able to.

MawtheMerrier Thu 23-Feb-23 16:51:45

I think many of the adjustments you have to make are made for you.
Shopping for instance- depressing for one and it’s easy to end up with a fridge full of leftovers.
Going out - do you hope kind friends will include you or take your courage in both hands and take the initiative, aware that you will feel rejected even if they are simply not free.
You buy a book on Amazon because he would have liked it.
Yes, you are you own boss and can eat cornflakes for lunch or stay in your pj’s all day but that novelty wears off all too quickly.
You change the answerphone message on your phone, because “we are not available” sounds like the Queen
Suddenly it’s “my house”, “my bedroom ” “my children” but you still say “our”
If I may quote

You lose them over and over,
sometimes in the same day.
When the loss, momentarily forgotten,
creeps up,
and attacks you from behind.

Fresh waves of grief as the realisation hits home,
they are gone.

You don’t just lose someone once,
you lose them every time you open your eyes to a new dawn,
and as you awaken,
so does your memory,
so does the jolting bolt of lightning that rips into your heart,
they are gone.

Losing someone is a journey,
not a one-off.
There is no end to the loss,
there is only a learned skill on how to stay afloat,
when it washes over.
Be kind to those who are sailing this stormy sea,
they have a journey ahead of them,
and a daily shock to the system each time they realise,
they are gone,

You don’t just lose someone once,
you lose them every day,
for a lifetime.

#griefpoem #losspoetry #griefjourney

Jaxjacky Thu 23-Feb-23 17:51:45

When my Dad died, a week or so afterwards, having held it all in, I escaped one evening to my local church. Totally out of character for this humanist, but the vicar and his wife gave me comfort at a time I needed it from strangers. When my Mum died, it was a relief, she’d had dementia for ten years, I’d said goodbye to her many years before.

Yammy Thu 23-Feb-23 17:57:06

My mother always said it was the little things, dad's favourite mug, his suitcase when she was going on holiday.'
As Maw says buying for one and planning for one trying not to feel you are pushing yourself onto someone.
Their children remind you by their odd looks or saying or even the way they walked.
Sorry for all of you who have to cope with this every

karmalady Thu 23-Feb-23 18:04:56


My mam was told not to make any major decisions for a year after my dad passed away.

a wise old widow told me exactly the same and I listened.

Between 2 and 3 years after being widowed, I started to seriously prep for selling my house and then a year later I moved. Changes were to the environment around me, to be near facilities buses etc, this time I had to make my own decisions, to be decisive. I knew I was ready, to forge my own life for myself in a house that was easy to run, new and had space for a sewing room

Initially it was very difficult to get used to cooking properly for one but something I had to grasp pdq, knowing that I needed to take good care of myself. Also exercise, I have learnt to go cycling on my own and to be independent re cycle maintenance.

I also tackled house maintenance almost immediately, certain jobs needed doing for selling and I did them myself, no having to wait for anyone and a good job guaranteed. That was a big change as my husband was very hands on wrt maintenance and an expert on building matters.

That maintenance continues today, it was a big change, I never even had to pump my tyres up but all it requires is confidence, ability can be learned

maddyone Thu 23-Feb-23 18:08:29

Today in Marks and Spencer I walked past a display of Mother’s Day cards and I was instantly reduced to tears. She died last August and this will be the first Mother’s Day I won’t have a mother to give a card and flowers to.

karmalady Thu 23-Feb-23 18:13:04

Just to say that when some people, men, initially met me, they would go out of their way to say things like `I am no good at maintenance jobs` and often the wives would keep the men away from even a general chat. In case I ever asked anyone to do anything. Eventually they learned that I would never be bothering anyone to do jobs for me.

I think they all have the picture now. I make sure that I maintain my bikes in full view, not hidden away in the garage. I hang all my pictures and mirrors, fix things like a water connection to joined-up water butts.

On being widowed, a widow can really feel like a leper on going into a communal function in eg a village hall. There are not so many welcoming couples out there but you just have to learn to be brave and not bothered

pascal30 Thu 23-Feb-23 20:44:44

I agree Karmalady.. I was widowed young and suddenly became, in the eyes of females in couples, a predatory woman.. It was very weird.. like you I became very self sufficient but it took a good three years before I could even face the thought that DH wasn't with me any more...for me grieving was a very long painful process..

karmalady Fri 24-Feb-23 14:32:54

pascal flowers

I believe this happens to a lot of widowed women

Yammy Fri 24-Feb-23 15:36:09


I agree Karmalady.. I was widowed young and suddenly became, in the eyes of females in couples, a predatory woman.. It was very weird.. like you I became very self sufficient but it took a good three years before I could even face the thought that DH wasn't with me any more...for me grieving was a very long painful process..

I think it happens to a lot of newly divorced women as well pascal. They stop getting asked out for supper or occasions where there are couples especially if they are lively and reasonably attractive. It happened to two friends of mine

MawtheMerrier Fri 24-Feb-23 15:46:02

Widowed at the age of 69 - and from what you say Karmalady you were presumably in your 60’s too? - I am glad to say no such unworthy reactions were to ever be seen among my “couple” friends. I don’t think anybody saw me as a “threat - perhaps if I had been in my 30’s…who knows?
Nor indeed did anybody shy away in case I asked for their “practical” skills - although my best friend and neighbour’s husband has been a gem on occasion unscrewing the salt dispenser on my dishwasher and once removing a nearly dead rat from the garden 😱😱
Because DH was not a DIY type of person, (he would always get “a man in “ ) his absence was not like that, rather he was a reassuring presence, someone I could discuss ideas and plans with, someone who was “on the same page” - I miss that.

Franbern Thu 02-Mar-23 15:54:19

I was in my 50's when hubbie left. Perhaps I am particulary ugly etc. but 'NO' I never had any problems with anyone with me being regarded as a predatory woman. Think all my friends knew that the last thing I wanted was any sort of relationship. I often had invites from couple friends to go to them and even stay with them. As I had, largely, had to manage doing most DIY things around the home long before he went, it was not new to me.

I have always found people extremely helpful to me, to this day. The men in the block of flats are alway happy to assist with any minor household problems.

When my youngest son died 20 years ago - I did find it difficult. Applied for a part-time job a couple of months later (having not been in paid employment for some 30 years then (been parent, foster parent, carer, sick) - Had to make myself go for interview and to my astonishment goit offered the job, even though I was 61 years of age. Stayed in that for the next nine years. Loved it. My first day there, four months after my sons death, was the first day I went through without crying.

suninthewest Thu 02-Mar-23 16:01:09

Learning about and taking control of the practical things (taking the bin out, knowing exactly what’s coming in and going out money wise etc etc) that the other partner used to do. Making decisions good or bad on your own and taking responsibility for them. Deciding how you spend your days of whether that be heading off somewhere for an adventure or choosing to stay in your pjs, eating junk and watching rubbish tv all day.