I’m a gay man whose partner of 20 years died 18 months ago. We had enjoyed an incredibly happy life together – never apart from our first meeting, working together in a successful field, travelling to faraway places.
I’d married briefly at 19, and had a daughter who was a part of our life, so, eventually, we also had a grandchild whom we saw regularly and adored.
We were lucky in so many ways, that my partner’s sudden accidental death has left me still stunned, desperately lonely, and unsure how to proceed with my life.
I went online to a website for gay relationships but the whole idea of searching through a shopping list of strangers to find someone new, felt shallow, disloyal and depressing.
How do people move on after losing the love of their life?
One step at a time. Then, one day at a time.
That’s how people who’ve been devastated by a loss, try to start emerging from the depths of grief.
Some seek counseling just to talk, or start yoga instruction just to move. Some search their religious beliefs, seeking meaning.
The majority simply go out their door and do what’s necessary to survive.
It’s not easy, there’s no one formula that works, only the certainty that you’re not alone in the world, because others have been through this and survived.
It may help you to consider this effort as a way of honouring your remarkable relationship, by using all your strength and will to carry on, as your loved one would’ve wanted you to do.
It may help to devote some time to fulfilling special plans, again in his honour – e.g. a charitable project he cared about, an event celebrating his life with people you shared, etc.
Whether or not you had some grief counselling at the time of loss, consider re-visiting that process.
You may need professional guidance to learn how to give yourself permission to move on.
FEEDBACK Regarding the grandmother who was “un-friended” by her narcissistic daughter-in-law (Sept. 11):
Reader – “I couldn't help but think of my brother and his situation. His wife acted exactly the same way: she was controlling, narcissistic, nothing was good enough for her.
“She worked strategically to isolate my brother from his family and friends.
“She blamed him for everything and eventually concocted a story of abuse to gain sympathy with the Children’s Aid Society, police and legal system, to push him out.
“All this was directed to her personal and financial gain.
“They legally separated (although they remained living under the same roof). She used their four kids as a weapon through parental alienation and he fell into a situational depression.
“She continued to push him down, isolate him and usurp her ways. He succumbed to suicide in the fall of 2015.
“Sadly, there are narcissistic, sociopathic people among us who care little for those around them.
“I urge this mother and those in their inner circle to have a private intervention with her son and assure him that there's support there for him.
“I suspect he might need it, and due to the woeful lack of support services for men as victims of domestic abuse, he likely doesn't know where to turn.
“If I'm right, this grandmother and her close family will be forever regretful (unless they act) because this daughter-in-law isn't going to change. And the potential damage to the son is immense.”
Wish I'd Acted Sooner
I’m 65, single. My brother’s 67, single, living 200 miles from my city. Neither of us has close friends.
We’re estranged from our younger brother who’s 63, married (no kids), and lives in my city.
We’ve have had no contact for six years. He was Power of Attorney (POA) for our parents and there were arguments regarding his handling of finances after their deaths.
I now feel very sad and remorseful about this. I don’t know how to begin making amends. My older brother hasn’t expressed any similar desire.
Reaching out may not resolve old disputes, but if handled sensitively, can renew contact enough to see where it leads.
Tell your older brother you’re thinking of contacting your other sibling, hopefully to end the estrangement.
Then write that brother a letter saying you miss him and care about him, and hope you two can meet soon.
Whatever his response, it may be an opening.
Tip of the day:
Moving on from a loved one’s loss takes time and your own permission to let grief rest.