My husband died three weeks ago after an unexpected, short illness. He was 70. We were happily married for over 30 years and did everything together.
The pain of losing him is too much to bear. I’m surrounded by loving family and friends and have started grief counselling.
But I can barely put one foot in front of the other and remember to breathe. I know I must go on, but right now, I’m facing a lonely, unimaginable life.
A New Widow
A long and loving marriage is a gift and its loss, when sudden, deepens the pain of grief.
The Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden expressed that searing level of grieving when he wrote “Funeral Blues,” published in the 1930s and popularized in the 1994 film, “Four Weddings and a Funeral.”
For me, the third stanza says it best:
“He was my North, my South, my East and West.
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong.”
It’s truer than the poet’s impossible demand in the opening line: “Stop all the clocks.”
Time doesn’t stop from loss.
Instead, with all our emotions raw and our hearts aching, we go on with life. To not do so is to waste all the joy and fulfillment we experienced with a beloved partner.
You are not alone though your husband has passed. He’s with you in your memories, in flashbacks to shared moments and events, and in dreams ahead.
Being surrounded by loving family and friends is a benefit from your years together, which brought other people into your close circle.
Stay with grief counselling. We will all eventually experience losses, and doing it with guidance is a wise choice.
Thanks to author/psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and her co-author David Kessler, their 2005 classic book On Grief & Grieving outlined the five stages of death - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
These are still early days in that process, when you face “an unimaginable life,” because you’re not ready to try to imagine it.
There are many helpful resources e.g., grief workshops, and your own faith may also help you find meaning in the cycle of life and loss.
Kessler went on to write Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief, in 2019, which also discusses how society does or doesn’t support the basic human need to mourn.
Three years prior, the author’s son died of an accidental drug overdose at 21. One of his messages now as a grief survivor himself is that, “helping others is one way to heal.” Something to imagine and consider in the future.
I’m a wife and mother of two toddlers. My parents live nearby and my father has a health condition.
I regularly get groceries for them and phone daily. I’m their only child.
The problem: My husband’s job has recently been transferred to another province. He expects me and the children to move with him.
Previously, I would’ve just accepted this. But I’m so worried about my parents! They have very helpful neighbours and my father’s doctor is always responsive.
Should I stay here until both parents get vaccinated? My husband can’t refuse this promotion.
Talk to the helpful neighbours, alert the doctor to your move, and set up an account with the grocery store for regular deliveries.
Organize the technology for online contact with your parents before you move, then continue chatting daily after you move.
I’ve been in a five-year relationship since my girlfriend’s sons were ages eight and ten. My own sons were already in high school.
We hung out a lot at her house. She stated early on that I couldn’t act as her sons’ father.
Their own dad’s mostly absent in their lives but she insisted that only she could deal with any misbehaving or answer questions about sex, etc.
I accepted it as her being a strong mother.
But recently, I discovered she wasn’t committed enough to our relationship to allow close ties to grow between me and her kids.
Another man’s in the picture. She’s been meeting him even when I was waiting for her at her place. I learned this from her older son. Your thoughts?
Sad and Disillusioned
Your story shows that kids know what they see and hear. Parents who play fast and loose with reality can lose their children’s respect.
Tip of the day:
A long-loving partnership is a gift. Grief’s process takes slow steps to accept loss.