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Trouble doing things without my husband

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Since my husband died 2 months ago, I have been unable to cook, clean or do anything which I would consider a "necessity", such as cleaning the shower, doing the floors, dusting, etc. I am now at the stage where I feel there's no point. Everything I did for my husband now seems worthless. I also find that I can't do any activity that we used to do together, which is really difficult because we were so close, we did absolutely everything together, including shopping, going to hardware stores, etc, etc. We were never apart. We never spent a night in separate beds, except for two occasions towards the end when he had to stay in hospital for a few days. Even then, I did everything to get him home, so he could die in his own bed, in his own "castle". How do others cope with this? 

He asked me not to be like his mother and become bitter and twisted and isolate herself and never get rid of her husbands belongings, and to enjoy life, but I'm finding that impossible at this stage. His mother stopped doing everything (cooking, knitting, going places) and am worried I'm going to be the same, despite my best efforts, it's all just too hard. I hate going out and actually have panic attacks, where I just have to get back home.

I hate socialising, even though I know I should, and am now finding that I'm isolating myself more and more because I just can't bear going places and seeing people without him. A number of times some friends have come visiting, but I have to turn them away because I just can't deal with having to talk to them.

Being military, my husband was incredibly practical, stoic and brave. I can imagine him being quite cranky telling me to get over it and move on with my life, but I just can't, which makes me feel bad because he would have expected me to cope and carry on.

I can honestly say this is the worst experience I have every had to deal with and am feeling lost and overwhelmed. Any advice would be really appreciated.

Thanks to all the good souls on this forum, I feel blessed to have found it.  

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Hi Panda, I hope today has been kinder to you.  Our sense of time seems to become very distorted after the loss of our other half. I have learnt that we are very hard on ourselves, feeling we should be coping better because ? number of weeks have past.   Also, that grief knows nothing about calendars.  

From what I've read, most of us have experienced the difficulties you describe.  I can understand why cooking and mundane things like household chores become so unimportant whilst our minds grapple with the enorimty of our loss, but in hindsight, the lack of interest in personal care baffles me.  I so nearly went to hubbys 1.30 pm funeral without having brushed my teeth!!  I was out the door when I realized. Have had some ribbing over that one!  I had showered early morning then spent hours putting together a slideshow to be played at his wake.  

We really do need to pamper ourselves whilst grieving.  I can't recall at what stage I started indulging in extra long showers but they are now high on my daily indulgence list.  I do a lot of thinking in there.  I do understand why they covered mirrors in the old days. On more than one occasion early on, upon catching a glimpse of myself I thought my grandmother was looking out at me!  I'm not kidding. 

The desire to keep up with any more than just the basic housework and maintenance is very slow to return, but I am at the stage where I do want it to.  I'm still having to use self-discipline and work from a list - a short list!  If someone offers to vaccum or whatever, accept gracefully as this definitely makes it easier to 'keep on top' of things.   

Some well meaning friends may think it would be good for us to socialize more but we aren't just recovering from a break-up of a relationship.  There was no argument, no packing of bags, no possibility of a second chance.   

If your hubby can see you from where he is now, and I believe he can (in my case, hubby only sees me when I'm outside, including in the car, and I'll say no more for fear of sounding nuts) he will feel your pain and not be cranky. 

So agree about not being able to do things or go places we used to go to with our partners.  It's tough. A favourite walk is a good place to start.  I so miss and grieve for the short breaks we used to take - renting a holiday home to fish new waters.  

Do you have a friend that can go shopping or places with you until you feel stronger?  The need for support to venture out into the world alone initially is very strong.  This too gets easier with time, Panda.  I make a point of making small talk with staff.  

Sending strength and hugs.

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Panda,

My husband and I always did our grocery shopping together, and because it was 100 mile round trip, we'd also eat out first, and getting groceries was a team effort.  I kept an eye on the ringing up and paid for them and he did the bagging and putting into the car, bringing into the house, and I put them away.  Getting groceries was one of those things that was really really hard after he died, he'd always enjoyed it so much, being from a family of 11 kids and never having enough to eat growing up.  My daughter got groceries for me at first, and finally I bit the bullet and did it.  Sometimes I'm still triggered, all these years later, seeing a couple get groceries together.  I've told them to appreciate each other, you never know how long you'll have each other.

I pretty much don't have a social life, it pretty much died when he did.  As a couple we'd do things with other couples, have dinner or barbeque together, go camping together, take a trip together.  As a single person, I don't get invited much.  It doesn't help that I live way out in the country and can no longer drive at night.  All our friends disappeared on me when he died.  The friends I've made since have moved away.  I get out in the daytime to the senior site or church, but I miss close friendship, companionship. 

M88, I like what you say about needing to pamper ourselves.  We do need to, esp. since we have no one else to do this for us anymore.

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I have no idea if the "multi quote" function has worked. If not, thank you both Kay and M88.

Unfortunately today was worse, which seems to be the norma at the moment. It took me all day to literally force myself to do a bit of ironing (I've run out of clothes) and to quickly run the hoover over the place so it doesn't look like a brothel. I never in my wildest dreams realised how hard that would be to do. I had to do a bit at a time and stop. 

I have no desire for a social life whatsoever. However, meaning friends and relatives are trying to coax me out. Last weekend my wonderful brother visited all weekend, cleaning up for me, did the washing and cooked up a bit pot of soup because I've lost so much weight. He's not too worried that I'm not eating a lot, as long as I eat healthily.

Anyway, he took our Shepherd (Anzac - his full name is "the Spirit of Anzac" as he was born on Anzac Day last year) to a off leash beach down the coast. I wasn't up to walking far, so he took Anzac for a good romp and play and to socialise with other dogs, along the beach but all the while, all I wanted to do was get home. I had a panic attack and just had to get back to the similar comfort of the car, which I did, and waited for them there. I felt quite "ill" otherwise.

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I'm glad you had a visit from your brother and he was helpful and caring.  Panic attacks can be a part of grief.  If it continues I hope you will see your doctor about it and get some help with them.

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Hello Panda:

I understand all too well how you are feeling.  I too did everything with my husband.  We socialized very little, and were wrapped up in our own world.  Now that he is gone, I find it difficult to do almost everything.  I do have one good friend who I have gone out with twice, but I too suffer from panic attacks and always have, even before my husband died, and have a hard time dealing with new situations.

Prayers and hugs sent to you, just take one minute at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.  

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Panda

I know what you are going through.  My husband and I also did everything together - I mean everything - we cooked, cleaned, painted, planted, shopped (just to name a few things - but you get the gist)  I would hope you take your husband's advice - not to become isolated, twisted and bitter.  They do more harm than good for you.  The bitter heart eats its owner, and only destroys those who are bitter.  Bitterness is a result of clinging to negative experiences; it serves no purpose and closes the door to ones future.

I learned that things don't always turn out the way you planned or the way you think they should be.  There are things that go wrong and don't always get fixed or put back together the way they were before.  Some broken things stay broken and you get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people in your life that genuinely care and love you.  All that to say, friends are there to comfort - excuses will always be there to turn them away - opportunities on the other hand, may not. 

I get it, this is my worst experience of your entire life and you sometimes wonder what to do, how to do it; and when to do it; but sometimes the best we can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess.  Just breathe, and have faith in God that everything will work for the best.

We're all on this forum at this time for a reason.  To uplift one another and give some comfort, definitely, but also to learn that this life is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy. 

My prayer is that God bless and keep you, keep us all, safe.

 

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Francine, --Ditto to your post. We have no choice but to keep continuing on. What path we choose is up to us. Either go on with a negative frame of mind, or a positive one. It will not be easy, but life is not always a rose garden. The end goal is to get through the rest of this life in the best manner possible. I'm working on remaining open to possibilities of finding meaning. At my age, I have no intention of replacing my husband. My heart knows this for fact. I would like to find new friends to do things with. Friends that are going to be totally supportive when you need them the most. God does know best and has a plan for each of us. Time and patience will reveal that plan.

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3 hours ago, KMB said:

At my age, I have no intention of replacing my husband. My heart knows this for fact. I would like to find new friends to do things with. Friends that are going to be totally supportive when you need them the most. God does know best and has a plan for each of us. Time and patience will reveal that plan.

Couldn't have been better said.  Thank you KMB

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3 hours ago, Francine said:

Couldn't have been better said.  Thank you KMB

Never say never!!

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Francine and KMB: I thought your posts express perfectly what many of us are thinking. I hope KMB does not mind, but I quoted part of her post on a new thread, "Making New Friendships."

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Panda, two months is NOT very long at all. I doubt your husband would be so harsh about your grieving. If the shoe was on the other foot, he would have just as hard a time as you are, I'm sure! You're being too hard on yourself. Don't worry about the dust or the clutter or the shower floor- messes are patient things and they will wait. And please know, I feel so like you in so many ways! I dread leaving the house. There are so many 'triggers' for me out there. A box of cereal, a restaurant we loved or hated, a certain smell, a song on the car radio, just so, so, so many things that leave me with shaky legs and an aching throat- signs that I'm about to lose it. As far as my house work goes, I've left it- it can do it's own thing, for now. I just load the dishwasher, a little laundry and take out the trash. The scent of him still lingers but it's getting fainter and this horrifies me. I've lost all I can stand, for now. Can't bare to think his scent will drift away and that will be one more part of him that's gone. We're sad, our hearts are broken- we need time. Our houses will wait!

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That is so true that our houses can wait. Outside of trash, dishes and laundry, I have been letting other things go for the past 8 months. It was just this past weekend that I started taking care of other household chores. It was getting past the point of not being able to tolerate my own mess. Up to this point, I have not had any motivation or right frame of mind to care. Seems so pointless without my husband. A lot of things seem pointless. I want to get back to the person my husband knew and loved.

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Panda---"Any advice would be really appreciated." "two months is NOT very long at all"

Hi Panda , Give your self some more time, best advice "get out of bed". When ready try reading my main post "Autocharge My experience". Im fast approaching the one year mark. Among my rants you may find some useful information. That was the original intent of my thread, however it may have turned into a open diary for all to read.

Autocharge

 

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     My husband of 25 years died suddenly of a heart attack two months ago. He was young ( early 50's)  very healthy with good blood pressure and no family history of heart disease. He had no bad habits or vices.He was the love of my life, kind, gentle and successful.We have a young daughter preparing to leave for college in one year. He was her protector, her knight in shining armor. She was his little angel.His miracle.We were planning her transition into becoming an independent adult and preparing our final trips together abroad as a family.We were looking forward to having these years to live out our dreams and be proud of our accomplishments.Retire in the near future and enjoy life and its blessings.In one moment of sheer horror it was all taken away from us. He suffered a massive heart attack one early Sunday morning as we were all preparing breakfast,. The image of him falling onto us and of our utter helplessness haunts me daily. I was completely destroyed.I am living in a bad dream.

  Each day i feel as I am living on auto pilot. I rise (weep) shower (weep) and begin the act of functioning. To all relatives and friends that feel I'm doing well, tell me I'm looking great, and are so proud of how I'm handling this, I'm sorry for the fake facade. Im crumbling inside, Im scared. Im lonely. Im confused . I'm angry. I also want well meaning people never to say:

Life goes on.( Perhaps for you, right now for me time stands still)

Time heals everything.( Does it really? Or does it heal into an ugly scar you can't help but notice every day?)

You're  young,attractive , you'll  find joy and love again ( I only want the joy,unconditional love and purpose I had.Attractive or not, he made me feel beautiful. I wanted to grow old with him) 

God has a reason for everything.( If so he must really have it out for me. Why not you?) These cliches sting and feel like a thousand needles in my heart. 

 It does help to hear from others that have suffered similar loss. Unfortunately for me,friends my age haven't lost a spouse yet.They are at a loss as to what to say or do. I just want you to know you are not alone. I too have panic attacks,fog ,despair, rage, jealousy.I also have moments of clarity and courage to attempt things i never thought i could. I will survive this, but I will never be the same.Half of me is gone forever. I know your pain.  I wish you peace 

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LalaLee, I'm so sorry for your beloveds passing, and I'm sorry for your daughters loss of her father. My wife passed unexpectedly almost four months back, and we also have 21 year old daughter. 

I understand all too well the devastation that comes in the wake of this unthinkable scenario. Triggers, emotions that seem to control us more often than not, the anger, confusion, simply staring at the ruins of what was once our lives. The future destroyed before our eyes, nothing there but a "blackness" of uncertainty, a world of unknowable shadows. 

My wife was 42, we were roughly 7 months from 25 years of marriage. Life without her has been horrible, the sorrow so powerful it becomes a physical sensation, like being knocked down and all the air being forced out of your lungs. Being "sucker punched" by random waves of sadness, it all becomes the norm. The new normal, that is. 

I really understand what you mean when you explain that friends and family assume your doing "good" because you aren't crying every 5 seconds. We know the truth. Some days, we barely hang on. Saying "life goes on" is nonsensical rhetoric. Of course it does, my wife's passing didn't stop the earth from spinning, but it stopped mine. That comment tends to diminish our loss, it just reveals their complete lack of understanding or empathy. Time does NOT heal all wounds. By it's very nature, time does allow us to cope in a healthier way, allows us to come to terms and accept our loss, but it won't heal this. Nothing will make this "better", but there are always possibilities, which is to say there is hope. Don't lose sight of that, no matter how horrible you feel, don't let go of that. And God has a reason for everything? Saying that to someone in your situation is naive on their part at best, at worst it's implying that because it's part of a "plan", then you should be okay now. Why be upset? It's just a part of the "plan", and the "plan" is good. Not only is this insensitive to you, it also simplifies God to a juvenile perspective. Things are far more complicated than that. 

I'm truly saddened by you and your daughters loss, I truly hurt when anyone shows up here for the first time with a story of a beloveds passing. I'm glad you found this place, it's full of wonderful people, each offering something in the way of comfort, advice, or simply "getting it"

May you find peace and comfort, you and your daughter,

Andy

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LalaLee,

I am so sorry...I lost my husband to a heart attack, he had just turned 51, we never saw it coming.  He'd had some difficulty breathing but so had I and mine was Asthma, so I guess he figured that must be what he had too, I don't know, but the doctor never sent him to a Cardiologist, oh that he had!

I don't believe God plans this, I don't believe Him to be so cruel and unfeeling, so I reject those stupid cliches as coming from people that really don't know what to say.  

You put into words, what we've all felt, the facade, the pain.  It's been nearly 12 years for me and I miss him each and every day.  I don't want to scare you, the pain isn't as intense as it was in the beginning, for the most part I've adjusted to living alone, as well as anyone can, it's still hard feeling like there really isn't anyone that cares, not really, not like my George did.  But I also feel fortunate, that as hard as this road has been, at least I was left with our love and memories intact.

This morning I was sobbing because my son-in-law left my daughter, destroying all of her memories with him...their wedding day, anniversaries, all of the I-love-yous.  Memories of just hanging together, getting their cats, all of the everydayness of married life.  Years of being there for each other.  How head-over-heels he was for her, how he tried to win her.  And all of it is now dust.  And I wonder that she wouldn't be better off if he'd died instead of left her because then her memories wouldn't have been destroyed for her like someone had vandalized them.  And I'm horrified for even having that thought because I love him and don't wish him dead.  There are no answers, my heart is just broken and I realize how lucky I am that my husband never quit on me, he just died.  Something that's not his fault, it just happened, but our love remains.  I have more than she does, 17 years of her life down the drain, betrayed, rejected.

 

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KayC, I wish I could be there and give you a hug. A virtual one will have to do (HUGS)

 

LalaLee, I am sorry for the loss of your soulmate. It seems so incomprehensible how a person can be there one minute and gone the next.  My husband also passed of sudden cardiac arrest in our home. I was in shock for a long time. He was a kind, gentle, giving man and helping others right into his last day.

I fully *get* the pain, heartache, devastation you are going through. We all do. Just being able to breathe can be exhausting in its own right. Trying to cope with the swirling, confusing emotions and feelings is exhausting. Make sure to take time for yourself. You need your strength to see your daughter through this as well.My heart breaks for the both of you. Prayers and hugs to you both.

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Lalalee,

I feel your pain and suffering and sometimes words are just inadequate to say the least.  But know that we all know what your are experiencing and what you are going through.  My husband, the love of my life; my heart of 45 years also died of a massive heart attack, and even though it was the worst day of my life, I am so grateful he didn't suffer.  I am also thankful that he knew how much he was loved when he left his world.   It's difficult enough to lose a part of oneself, but to love and be loved is the most amazing thing we can ever do on this earth.  My Charles and I both retired and was looking forward to sharing the 'best years' of our lives - together.  What anticipation I had for our future and ready to take it on - together; as along as we were together, than the sky was our limit.  I thought our best years were ahead of us, but that was not the case.    Now all that's gone - in a moment.  I went from ready to take on the world (with my Charles) to wanting to leave the world.

Many times I have reached rock bottom and expect I will revisit that place many times. I've come to realize that God lets us hit rock bottom so that we will discover that HE is the rock at the bottom; and hitting rock bottom is not always the worst thing, sometimes in order for us to be fixed, we must first be broken.  Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand back up taller than you ever were.

22 hours ago, LalaLee said:

I will survive this, but I will never be the same.Half of me is gone forever. I know your pain.

Yes you will survive and yes, you will never be the same.  You won't get over this loss, but you will learn to live with it.  It will become harder before it gets easier.  He has left you with good memories that no one can take from you.  The little things that you remember, the quiet moments, the smiles, the laughter will bring you some comfort; and although it may seem hard right now, it will be the memories of these little things that will push away the pain and bring the smiles to your heart.  You have God-given strength, even if you don't realize it.  Strength isn't always about how much you can handle before you break; it's also about how much you can handle after you're broken.  With God by our sides, we can handle the world. 

I hope you continue to post; we are all on this journey together and will get through it  - somehow, someway.  God Bless and keep you, keep us all, safe.

 

 

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Panda, 

Just seeing how you're getting along. Hope everything is as okay as it can be. 

Warmth and peace,

Andy

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