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Going it alone

(234 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 09-May-13 07:50:39

When Sally Curtis lost her husband unexpectedly her life was turned upside down. In her guest blog Going it alone she shares what she's learned from the last year - and offers suggestions to anyone who isn't quite sure what to say or do to help.

baubles Thu 09-May-13 08:16:18

Sally, thank you for that, grief is such a personal experience that it can be a little difficult for others to know how best to react. You sharing your experience will hopefully give me the confidence to help others in the same situation. flowers

shysal Thu 09-May-13 08:21:01

I wonder whether this is someone well known on GN! The story sounds familiar.
It has always been a regret to me that once, when a young adult, I did cross the road and pretend I had not seen a neighbour whose husband had committed suicide. I later visited to apologise, but have never got over my shame. I realized that all I had to say was 'how are you?'
One point I would make is that it is pointless to vaguely say 'if there is anything I can do'. I always try to think of something practical I can offer, and follow it up, as being shy I am not great at talking.
My thoughts are with you Sally, as some say that the second year of widowhood can be just as bad as the first. flowers

Elegran Thu 09-May-13 08:31:43

I would second all these suggestions. One smile and one word of greeting as you pass can lighten our mood, and a cup of coffee and a biscuit will transform our outlook for a whole day.

whenim64 Thu 09-May-13 08:34:58

Thanks for that blog, Sally. Grief is such a personal thing that others often feel they are intruding or pressing buttons you don't want pressing. It can also lock others out, who want to say how they feel about losing that person, too. My BiL is a widower of 10 months and fiercely independent, so trying to offer support has become quite a challenge, but he acknowledges that he misses that support if it isn't still offered. After reading your blog, I am going to phone him this morning. flowers

numberplease Thu 09-May-13 15:57:00

Thank you for sharing that with us Sally. I too have done the avoiding the bereaved bit, not knowing what to say, or how to act with them, although I was thoroughly ashamed of myself at the time.

Marelli Thu 09-May-13 15:59:10

How well you describe your feelings, Sally. I don't know many people who have lost their partners as yet - only one or two, really. How awful it must be to be in a company of couples, when they are so accepting of being what they are - a couple - and all the while the newly widowed person might be wanting to say to them, "Speak to each other. Tell each other how you feel...speak it out, etc, etc."
Asking the person how they're doing, do they need help to do something, or go somewhere when they may feel wary of doing this alone (and mean it), really isn't difficult.
Thank you Sally. flowers

Mishap Thu 09-May-13 16:04:00

Very useful advice to us all. I hope I am able to follow up on these suggestions and thank you for them.

annemac101 Thu 09-May-13 16:50:07

You brought tears to my eyes Sally because you are going through what we all dread happening,Ive thought how I would cope and I really don't know. I thought all the points you made we're so useful as its hard to know what to do if a friend or neighbour looses a partner,you want to give them space and not interfere. I did cross the street to speak to a neighbour who lost her husband I didn't know her very well but I spoke to her husband a lot while walking the dog,I just felt I had to acknowledge the fact that he had died I hope I did do the right thing.

Galen Thu 09-May-13 17:50:37

Couldn't agree more. It sums up how I felt and still do after the family have been round.

mazzer Fri 10-May-13 16:19:12

I agree with everything said. I have been widowed for five years after 40 years of very happy marriage. It does get easier but you have lost a way of life as well as your soulmate. Going out on your own is all but impossible as there is no pleasure in it.

I have had so many empty promises l have lost count. 'We will go out for a meal soon". "You must come over sometime". These statements make that person feel instantly better but have a negative effect on the widowed person when the promise does not materialise.

Another problem is being shunned by couples for whatever reason. Just because you are on your own, it doesn't mean you won't want to make a threesome - or that you will be making eyes at the husband!

Just remember that there is a 50% chance that you may be in the same situation at some point and do as you would be done to.

Nonu Fri 10-May-13 16:44:41

I think you might be new mazzer, if so may I welcome you .


Lindylooby Fri 10-May-13 17:29:57

Sally, I can't tell you how your blog has helped me today! My darling husband died on 16th April, his funeral is next Friday 17th May, and I am sitting here on my own wallowing in grief, anger disbelief and generally feeling down. I have sent all the family to their homes said 'I will have to get used to being on my own, go and spend the time with your little families for a couple of days.'
But the house is so empty. It is my birthday this Sunday and I can't think of anything worse than celebrating it, but one of my granddaughters is also 13 on the same day so we will all go for a meal, I think they like me can't face the prospect of a big family gathering with me cooking yet - that empty place still to raw.
Thank you, I will treasure your blog and when I am feeling down I will remind myself that I am not the only person who woke up one morning a happy wife and went to bed a widow.
Thank you

Marelli Fri 10-May-13 17:45:24

Lindylooby, there's little I can say to comfort you, but just to let you know that you're in my thoughts. flowers xx

Nonu Fri 10-May-13 17:48:19

Oh dear lindylooby , you are in such a dark place .

I send kind thoughts to you . Xx + a big hug .

Anniebach Fri 10-May-13 18:56:12

I am new here but I would like to say, as someone who was widowed after eight years of marriage - over thirty years ago - the raw pain does fade, there is no set time because grief is something we have to work through.

I am so deeply sorry for the two ladies who are working through the pain

grandmac Fri 10-May-13 21:33:14

Lindylooby I am 8 years into the journey you have just started. I would like to tell you it gets easier but it doesn't really, you just get better at coping with your grief. Everybody goes through the stages of grieving at a different pace, so be patient with yourself and when alone wallow in the emotions of anger, rage and sadness if you feel like it. I tried to do my weeping alone as I didn't want to upset other people but I still sometimes find myself in tears in B&Q as my beloved was great at DIY. I hope everything goes well and as you would want it to on the 17th, and that you find peace and happiness again. flowers

Sally Thank you for your blog. I hope you too find peace and happiness once more. sunshine
Sending hugs to both ladies, and take comfort in the fact you loved greatly and were loved in return.

mandylou Sat 11-May-13 00:09:40

My thoughts to Sally and Lindylooby and all widows. This is my first message but I felt I had to write. As a widow of just over 2 years, whose wonderful husband died completely unexpectedly and suddenly after 30 years of marriage I find it so difficult to come to terms with being alone, no-one to make tea for, cook for, talk to. My children keep me going.

I too do my grieving and crying at home and talk to my husband constantly. I love to hear other people talk about him so would advise mentioning those who have died - don't be afraid to talk about them and tell anecdotes.

We have had a grand daughter since he died and I know he would adore her. Our daughter is getting married shortly and whilst I am looking forward to the happy occasion I am dreading it too as my husband won't be with me proudly watching what he lived for - to see his children happy.

I feel honoured to have been so loved and to have loved. Tell your family and OHs that you love them. xxx

FlyingGranny Sat 11-May-13 00:59:08

My husband died suddenly at 56 exactly 20 years ago before any of our children married or any of our eight grandchildren were born. One doesn't get over the sadness but one does learn to live with it.
Calendar filling is a great help, do things, get out, travel, have something interesting to tell your friends: Sing for your supper, if you are only a wet blanket you will not be asked again.
One friend who was brilliant at going to the cinema with me suddenly hurt me badly by saying "Oh I can't go to that with you, Husband wants to see it."
Another asked me to lunch and when I suggested the following day instead she said " Oh no I can't then because Husband will be at home".
To well meaning friends I'd say spaghetti on a Monday evening is a delight, so don't hesitate to ask and don't even think of trying to find a table partner, just do it.

Two widowed friends were writing a practical advice book for new widows and I said "Tell them to buy more knickers" because of course the laundry does not need doing so frequently. I was quite cross that they didn't include this useful advice.
However what we did agree on is that year three is the hardest, so be warned. Everyone imagines you must be "over the worst" but actually you have finally, totally run out of energy to hold yourself together, to be brave, to manage and you just want to curl up and moan that you "do not want to play this dirty rotten game no more..." But there's nothing for it, so just do your best and it does get easier eventually.

Good luck!

NfkDumpling Sat 11-May-13 06:52:23

You lot are all wonderful! flowers

Lindylooby Sat 11-May-13 08:25:23

Thank you all for your responses, it is nice to have other people's thoughts on this. Yes, I too weep in private, don't want to be a misery all the time. I have wonderful friends who have either just been here or who have taken me out, as you say no-one to cook for means you don't cook!
I am probably luckier than some, as we always looked after my little grandson from Monday to Friday daytimes and he will be the reason for me to cook again. The reason to go to the park we used to go to again... the first's are the hardest - meeting the dog walkers that Mike used to speak to on a daily basis, hearing that they also saw the warm lovely man that his friends and family knew.
I make a point of taking our dog over at the time Mike used to - it means getting up, showered and dressed by 07.30. It makes me feel close to him.
I fully intend to try and enjoy life and be ok'ish - that is what Mike would have wanted. He was a very happy, jovial man who found laughter in any situation, I want to make him proud that I have carried on his values for our children and grandchildren.
Well off to walk the dog, washing on, and I have lived through another night...I can do it, I will do it for him.

Gorki Sat 11-May-13 08:49:52

What a sad time for you Lindylooby .My heart goes out to you and my admiration for the way you are trying to cope .Mike was obviously a very special man and I'm sure people will go on talking about him for years to come. He obviously left his mark. I found your posts very moving and they made me more appreciative of what I still have. Looking after your grandson will be a great blessing though it will seem strange at first without your husband's support. My best wishes go to you and to all the other posters and GNs who are finding it difficult to cope without their OH's. Love to you all. flowersand cupcake

Spindrift Sat 11-May-13 11:06:58

I so agree with telling people if they promise to do something please do it, sometimes it's not the job it's the company of another human being there doing something, another thing if you say you will keep in touch, call or visit, please please carry out your promise, if like me you don't have much family & even less friends the promise of someone calling means a lot & so very disappointing when they don't come.After a few weeks your expected to get back to "normal", there is never a "normal" after you lose your husband/partner, half of you has gone & unless you are lucky enough to find someone else you can share your life with, the situation never changes. I have lovely memories & treasure them, but we can't live on just memories can we, I am not good at being alone, I like company, I think one of the things I miss most is having someone to talk about the day with.
All the best to everyone that is in the same position as I am, we have to plod on don't we smile

lovebooks Sat 11-May-13 13:26:36

I lost my husband just as unexpectedly, back in March this year. We were going to a friend's exhibition one spring afternoon. We walked in. He suddenly dropped dead, taking with him at least half of my life. At present, I don't know where or who I am. I desperately need to talk to him, and have even researched psychics - which would go against everything we both respected, and he would be horrified. This post certainly resonated with me.

yogagran Sat 11-May-13 14:04:26

I am stunned and humbled by all these previous posters.
So many new names too.
I'm so sorry that you have to go through these tragic times

flowers to you all