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Bereavement

Does it get easier?

(91 Posts)
Su22 Sun 09-Apr-23 11:40:15

It is 18 months since my husband died, people tell me it gets easier, but it's no easier in fact it is getting harder and harder. Lots of people turned up to his funeral which was lovely to see but where are they now I can count on one hand the people that have kept in touch. It's four days since I have spoken to anyone I realise it is Easter and people have their own things to do but life is pretty lonely, just need someone to tell me it will get easier and life does go on.

Whiff Tue 16-May-23 06:26:58

GrannySomerset as the years go by for me it gets harder. The grief gets worse as my husband has missed so much . Seeing our children grow , marry and have children of their own . We all cope the best way we can. People said to me the grief will get easier for me it doesn't and at times it overwhelms me even after 19 years. But as I have said many times we are the lucky ones to have loved and been loved in return. Some people live their whole lives and never know that.

I am worried about my best friend. She was widowed 6 months ago and has been to all the places she went to with her husband but not on her own . She's gone on holiday to their holiday home. She says she's making new memories. But to me she's erasing the memories of these places with her husband. I could never go to somewhere we stayed on holiday as those memories are precious. Making new memories yes but not at the expense of erasing the past.

I suppose the difference is my husband was 47 and me 45 when he died our children 20 and 16. Together 29 years married 22. Unfortunately they could never have children and where married 36 years and her husband was in his early 70's.

I hold the past with my husband as precious memories. It's hard making a new present and future but you have to and it's hard.

The difference between me and my friend is I had the children at home for 2 years then they left home permanently it's what I wanted they had to live their own lives. But from when my husband died I had both parents and mother in law who needed me. Even though having health problems all my life they needed me and looked after them until they died. Mom was the last to die in 2017. But I wasn't living my life to the full like my husband wanted I existed until I moved over 100 miles to live closer to my children in 2019 and live my life to the full . I finally have the life I want and needed but am fiercely independent. For her she never had her parents or in law's dependant on them and didn't have to look after them before their deaths. So they could live the lives they wanted .

GrannySomerset you may not be crying but something really stupid you see or do will set you off. Grief like life is unique for everyone. Just because you are coping doesn't mean you are inside . I feel like I am screaming in my head when I can't do something outwardly I am look ok. Prefect example I tried to get a plant out of my front garden . I have mobility problems so have to work out ways to do things. I tried getting it out but couldn't so decided to cut through the roots with my tree saw. That seemed to work but it still wouldn't come out. So decided to use my husband's large prized chisel to cut it into pieces. After hammering it in its stuck I can't get out . I was screaming my head off inside. So now I will wait until my son in law can come and dig it out for.

My fit healthy husband died from cancer in agony. I was born with a rare Neurological condition which finally got diagnosed last year aged 64. Only because of genetic blood tests.

Grief is a physical and mental pain. There are no rules how you deal with it. Whether you cry or not doesn't matter it's how you feel inside. Yes I cried but only at night in my bed until the children left home. I have screamed,shouted ,swore and hit a pillow blamed my husband for dieing . Anything bad that has happened I have shouted at him but I don't feel bad about it as I then see him with that stupid grin on his face.

The rage and anger I felt after he died shocked me and thought I was wicked but then realised it's part of grief. I still feel that rage and anger at times after 19 years. But I don't fight it I embrace it and feel better .

Like being a parent there is no handbook on being a widow or widower. You just do the best you can. Like I said as the years go by my grief gets worse but I cope until it overwhelms me but I don't fight it. As I learnt I only hurt me.

Don't be hard on yourself GrannySomerset only you know how you really feel . And grief like love never dies. Take care of yourself .

grandMattie Tue 16-May-23 07:03:07

I’ve had a double whammy. My beloved, precious “baby” son died very suddenly 18 months ago aged 39. The crushing sorrow caused DH’s cancer to return and it killed him, horribly, 8 months ago. We had been married for 45 years.
DH and I tended to keep ourselves to ourselves but I was stunned at who came to the funeral.
I’ve had to deal with the grief of my DGS, aged 17 at the time, losing both his dad and granddad in such a short time. And that of my offspring too.
I cry frequently, ambushed by idiotic things/thoughts. My anger at the various medical agencies who could at least have tried harder with my two precious men, but am pragmatic. It is what it is.
Since then, I have moved from one side of the country to the other to be nearer DD. My life is completely different, I shall be alone for the rest of my life - probably some 20 years (oh, horror!) but have to make the best of it.
My grief is private, my solitude is to be bravely borne, my remaining offspring need all the support I can give them while I have my marbles…
Widowhood, like old age, is certainly not for sissies!

grandMattie Tue 16-May-23 07:05:16

Ps. I’m not sure it’ll get easier. Only that the big DH-sized hole left becomes less intolerable to bear.

Luckygirl3 Tue 16-May-23 08:06:17

grandMattie - I am so sorry that you have these two bereavements to deal with - I cannot imagine how very hard this must be. Sending a hand hold.

Allsorts Tue 16-May-23 08:17:47

It does get easier because you learn to live with what you have.
You build a different life because you must and it’s a waste not to. I miss my husband every day, it’s not that deep raw grief you have in the beginning.
I often imagine it were different as we were a close couple and enough for each other, I have made different friendly acquaintances and joined things I wouldn’t have, I was getting quite lonely.
Find something you are fairly interested in and follow that up if you can, plan a holiday. I find I have to have something to look forward too.

Greyduster Tue 16-May-23 14:55:54

I wrote a poem this morning. I thought I would share it with you.

They Cancelled Spring

They cancelled Spring last year
For you weren’t here.
And Summer too without you
Held no cheer.

In Autumn woods, where once we laughed
And tried to catch the falling leaves,
The trees were silent
But the leaves said
“Who will catch us
Now that we have no hand of yours to fall upon?”
And I said “And who will catch me when I fall
Now that your hand is gone?”

But this year, though I miss you sore, the seasons
Show you to me in many a lovely thing.
Your favourite flowers growing in the Spring.
In Summer’s promise of beach and rock pool,
Heather hill and limestone dale
That were so dear to you.

And in Autumn, I will go to woods and try and catch the leaves.
Not as one who grieves, but in the sheer joy of remembering
All the silly things we used to do.
In those memories, you will be close, I know,
And there’ll be strength anew.

grandMattie Tue 16-May-23 16:42:19

Lovely, greyduster and thank you.

Foxygloves Tue 16-May-23 16:44:18

That is beautiful Greyduster flowers

notoveryet Tue 16-May-23 16:59:39

To quote Maggie Smith, it doesn't get better it just gets different. Its 4 years for me. Cruse was not for me, but a local bereavement group led to making good friends with whom I meet up every week. My dogs kept me sane and we are very involved with agility and other canine sports. I miss him every day, there's a grandchild and a great grandchild he will never meet and that is hard. I try to enjoy life as I know he would have wished but grief can still be overwhelming sometimes. I guess I have more good days than bad now, but the bad can still be awful. I do hope your journey along this path none of us want to walk can bring you happiness along with the tears

Whiff Wed 17-May-23 06:46:51

GrandMattie I am sorry you for your loss. Unfortunately life isn't fair and no one knows how long we have to live . So we have to live it to the full. Grief is a heavy burden to bear but it's part of life. Only 2 certainties in life we are born we die. The rest is up to us. Glad your move closer to your daughter has changed your life. I know before my move I existed but since my move I live a full life. When I was first widowed aged 45 the thought of spending the rest of my life alone filled me with horror. But my husband was the love of my life and have never wanted anyone else. After 19 years he is still my husband and as far as I am concerned I am still married and always will be. Like you I was surprised how many came to his funeral. They came from all over the country it was standing room only at the Crem. I am glad my children and I didn't cry during the funeral as there where so many people to thank for coming. We didn't have a wake as we don't like them nor flowers but raised over £5,000 for the cancer ward that treated my husband. This may seem odd but it made me happy so many people came and as we are atheist's had non religious service . I remember smiling at the things the funeral director who did the funeral talk about my husband and he said all the things we had told him about him. But remember all I could hear was people crying and laughter. We had Mr Blue Sky by ELO playing as we left the Crem which was ironic as it was pouring with rain.

Yesterday would have been our 42nd wedding anniversary even though I registered the date it didn't dawn on me what it meant until the afternoon and then I just smiled and remembered all the things that went wrong that day. I am now 65 and my life has never been so full but it's things I want to do. My husband died in 2004 but it wasn't until my move in 2019 I lived the life I want. Had parents and mother in law dependant on me. Mom was the last to die in 2017.

Moving for me I found me again I hadn't realised I had lost myself. But I got get so wrapped up in my labels that I didn't realise it . But that's life. And even thought ill myself others needed me but I don't regret anything I did. When mom's dementia made her violent I couldn't put her in a home she was my mom and I loved her plus I knew I could look after her better than any home. It cost me health wise and still have the scars of the damage she did . She was my mom and loved her yes I hoped everyday day she had died in her sleep I know that sounds awful but my mom would have hated what she be came. My mom had died but her body lived on.

Grief isn't just for the dead but we can grief for the living and found over the years there is lots of different forms of grief. I am estranged from my son his choice I never saw it coming that's a living grief, lose of health and ability to do some things is another grief. Lose of a loved pet is another one. But we have a choice you can crumble under the weight of it all or it can make you stronger . I choose to make me stronger and whatever life throws at me as nothing is as bad as my husband dieing and losing half of myself the moment he took his last breath. I haven't been whole since and never will be but because of his love I can face every changellege life throws at me. We had 29 years together married 22. But to love and be loved is so precious and some people live their whole lives and never know that all consuming love and giving that love. So I am very lucky we had the time we did have and it keeps me going everyday day.

And I know I have said this all before but it's still true.

Greyduster your poem is lovely and so true. Thank you . Especially reading it yesterday .

Notoveryet grief can still overwhelm me at times but I go with it. If you hold it in you only hurt yourself. I learnt that the hard way I was a fool..Being widowed at 45 I thought I had to be brave now realise only I thought I had to be. Bereavement group was useless for me. Only went because my children thought it would help but it didn't. It was run by a married woman who did a 12 week course and everyone was over 20 years plus older than me. I was glad when they left home and could stop going. Luckily they never asked if it helped as I don't lie. They just asked if I had a nice time which I did they where nice people but didn't understand what I was going through.
No one should be a bereavement concsellor unless they had experienced it. As they don't understand how it feels. Some of the things this woman said was so stupid it was laughable. Unless you experience a thing no matter what keep your mouth shut as you can do more harm than good. I never talk about things I haven't experienced as to me that's wrong.
Anyway rambled enough .

Live each day to the full the best way you can.

Beechnut Wed 17-May-23 07:08:16

That’s lovely Greyduster.

NanaDana Wed 17-May-23 07:11:49

You’ve Gone Away

I just can’t take in, it’s so very hard to bear,
My world has changed forever, now I see that you’re not there.
You were always there beside me, through our good times and our bad,
And we faced life’s storms together, through all those years we had.
We were youngsters when we married, my first love and my last,
When we looked into each other’s eyes, we fell in love so fast.
As the years passed by we were closer still, it almost felt as though,
Our hearts both beat in unison, as we watched our children grow.
As a parent you were magic, and you loved our kids so much,
You steered them through life’s rocks and reefs, but with such a gentle touch.
My soulmate, best friend, lover, it hurts so much to see,
That your smiling face and your warm embrace have been ripped away from me.
So brave through all your illness, though you’d reason to complain,
You’d kid me on that the hurt had gone, but I knew you were in pain.
And when at last you left me, though I knew you were at peace,
Though you’re suffering was now at an end, it brought me no release,
From the aching, empty void that sits just where you used to be,
I know you’re near, and through my tears, I still can’t set you free.
So days go by, and now I try to get my life on track.
I’ve just about accepted that you’re never coming back.
I focus on those happy times, sweet memories of our past,
I’ll always have those in my heart, to help me at the last.
It’s funny how it’s little things that bring you close to me..
Familiar places, favourite tunes, a savoured cup of tea…
So now I smile, because I know, that though you’ve gone away,
There’s still a part deep in my heart where you will always stay.
So thanks for sharing in my life, for all your loving care,
And though you’ve gone, I’ll soldier on, I know your love’s still there…

Whiff Wed 17-May-23 07:38:36

NanaDana that's sums up the death of the other half of you perfectly. Thank you 💐

creativeness Wed 17-May-23 08:49:59

Very poignant NanaDana poem I can relate to this sentiment

karmalady Wed 17-May-23 09:06:59

GM flowers

very poignant post. I read with empathy, I lost my dear younger sister and my 58 year old sister in law within 16 months after my husband.

Life has completely changed and this line from GM has struck a chord

"Widowhood, like old age, is certainly not for sissies!"

Being in the autumn of my life and heading to winter, Living day by day is best, trying always to have something to look forward to during the next day

I will not be maudlin, it is not my nature, there are still things to look forward to, different yes and nothing can replicate 45 years of very happy marriage. My path is different now and I will embrace that