The reality and grief of the situation was never far away and kept on hitting me. There I was busy going about my daily work whether that be doing the washing, my job or simply walking out to the kitchen to get a cuppa and BANG….. The reality of what had happened would hit me. Not just a simple reminder oh no….. I would literally feel what felt like a stomach punch blow to my stomach that would then resonate through my whole body and leave me in the depths of grief, sadness and anger. Just a split second for the initial blow stopped me in my tracks but those feelings continued for a while. It felt like my whole world was crashing down around me and I couldn’t do anything about it.
It’s think it’s your body just letting you know that there is still a problem that needs to be dealt with. Like a timer to say ” Hey there.. You need to think about this for a bit “. Ultimately I guess to help you rather than torture you. But all the same it was awful.. Initially I had them daily but they became less frequent. Now though I still get them but the initial blow is much like a gentle reminder and the feelings afterwards are more soft.
Thinking back through at how my grief has moved on up until now I actually think is an amazing process. Sounds a crazy thing to say I know and certainly a process I would choose not to have to endure but it seems to me like a persons body and mind have already been trained to manage this type of thing through the years of evolution or by God depending on what you believe. Through the years of time since we started our lives on this planet humans I am sure had lost many more people in their lives through illness, famine and war etc. Not to mention the fact that people just didn’t survive as long as they do now. So maybe through those years our ancestors have learnt a coping mechanism which survives in us all today.
I truly believe that we as humans are very resilient. If you were to have said to me on my wedding day what I personally would have had to go through during the following 6 years I would’ve probably shook my little bald pin head and said.. ” hell no, I can’t deal with all that “. But look at me now. I think I did pretty well through it all and still got a smile on my chops. True I have lost my amazing wife through that process but I can still smile and look back knowing I did my best.
How I lifted our mood at the hospital?
Well after the last few less than happy blog posts I thought I would throw in an amusing one that may make you smile.
Helen and I spent a ridiculous amount of time in hospitals through our journey and we ended up being able to walk around the Bath Royal United Hospital without a worry about where we were going. We just knew where we were going as we had walked the corridors countless times before. In fact we could’ve easily taken a job at the front desk helping people find their way.
We also spent a lot of time just waiting in the waiting rooms for treatments, procedures, appointments and result so we had a lot of time to kill. Bearing in mind what we were there for we were sometimes both sat in silence, deep in thought and worried about what could happen, what was going to happen or what the results were going to be.
It was then that I would pull out my special hospital joke that would always lighten up the mood a bit. Even though after a while Helen knew the joke she would always laugh at me.. I don’t think you can ever beat someone just being silly.
So when you are next in a hospital and the mood is not so nice remember this joke that will be sure to lift up your mood.
Here goes… are you ready?
Who is the coolest guy in the hospital?
The Ultrasound guy
And there you have it…. Enjoy!
“I’m so sorry Helen”
These are the words I have said to Helen many times since she passed away.
Sorry for laughing and having fun with the kids, Sorry for having a nice meal, Sorry for going for a walk, Sorry for being happy, Sorry when the weather in nice, Sorry that I saw our daughter ride her bike for the first time, Sorry for watching the kids as they jump in the swimming pool having fun…. Sorry for just being alive.
Even though she can’t hear me I feel the need to say it and if she can hear me then I know she’ll be laughing at me because I am talking to myself.
I guess it’s a similar feeling to guilt. I just feel so sorry for Helen that she is missing out on everything we are doing as a family and I am still able to live it. Even a simple thing like the quiet time before bed reading the kids a story. She’s not there.
It’s been even more difficult recently because it’s the summer holidays so we’ve been away on holiday, days to the beach, lazy mornings in bed watching TV, picnics etc. I constantly wish she was with us to enjoy our kids together, watching the smiles on their faces and hearing them laughing together. The hardest thing is that I know we will never have that.. She will never see what’s in store for the future.
I do know though that Helen would be so happy to see us all doing the things we would’ve done anyway but it hurts to know how sad she would be that she is not there with us. Also I can’t ever see this feeling going away either. I know it will get easier because it already has done but I think there will always be a part of me that will be wishing she was with us. Maybe the feeling will become less prominent for the day to day stuff we do but become more painful for the more exciting happy things we do.
All I know is that I am forever sorry for her loss. My loss will get easier, Helen’s loss is forever.
The Guilt of the Bereaved can be crushing. It can leave you breathless, helpless and empty.
Guilt is a common problem for any bereaved person and stems from the simple fact that you are still alive and that other person is not. The guilt can be there when you jump in your car or during that summers walk because you know that the person gone will never do that again.
I have realised that guilt is an awful emotion to feel. There is nothing nice about it at all yet it’s one emotion that is difficult to shift.
My guilt started even before Helen had left us. She was very weak from the cancer and the treatment so spent a lot of time either in bed or on the sofa. I felt crushing guilt even by simply running down the stairs and jumping the last few steps. It was because I knew Helen couldn’t do that. I felt huge guilt when I cooked dinner or when I put the kids to bed each night. Again because I knew Helen couldn’t do it.
In the initial stages of becoming a widower (Ohh that’s a nice label to have – thanks) guilt became overwhelming…. I was alive… Helen wasn’t. Any little piece of happiness I could find in those early stages were always scared by the pure feeling of guilt.
I now know guilt and any other emotion when coupled with grief can feel different or last longer/shorter depending on the person but for me initially it was awful. 5 months on now though and I can honestly say that the feeling has decreased immensely. It still comes to bite me now and then but in general I can now take the kids out for some food or have fun in the park and not feel guilty for it. I can smile and laugh with the kids and not feel like I shouldn’t.
Maybe its because I have realised that life still needs to go on and that life is there to live with a smile rather than a frown. I have said this many times before but Helen would never want us to live with sadness and certainly never with guilt.
I can hear Helen say it…. “I want you to be happy and I want the kids to be happy.. that’s all I would want for you” Those comfortingly wise words she said to me before she passed. Never realising how important that would be to the future of her family.
Thank you Helen, you have always been amazing and will continue to be. Love you always x
How does a Widows grief compare to say the grief of losing a parent for instance?
Well of course all people deal with grief differently and certainly also depends on who that person is in relation to you. But for me I can see the difference in the grief I felt for my father and the grief I feel for my wife. But also maybe this depends on circumstance at the time!!
I was 29 when my father passed away, I had not long met Helen, we were living together, having fun and our wedding was 6 weeks away. My life was with Helen. Sure I went to work, saw my friends but I would always come home to Helen and leave her in the morning. Weekends we spent together shopping, walking, eating and just generally having fun with each other. I always knew my parents were either at the family home or not far away. I knew I could pick up the phone and they would answer and I knew I could pop over and feel like a little boy again with my mum feeding me anything I wanted.
So when my father passed away my life continued as it was. Obviously I was devastated and sad at the loss of someone so special and significant in my life. But, if you strip it all back my father had done his job and brought me up to become my own man and I was then living my own life. What I lost was my dad at the end of the phone or sat in his chair at the family home. I lost my Dad to talk too about stuff and to tell him what I had done or what I was going to do. I lost him seeing all the things I was going to achieve in the future but day to day nothing changed. I was able to get away from that grief because he wasn’t always in my life ever single day.
Why I think the grief differs slightly due to circumstance is that Helen was always in my life. Like before we got married we lived together and spent pretty much every waking moment together unless I was at work. We spent the evenings together and the weekends. We lived as one with our children, she was my best friend.
So the grief has to be different because I lost the person who was the other half of me, the other half of my everyday life and future. I can’t get away from it no matter what I do. In our bathroom in the morning cleaning my teeth she will pop into my mind because Helen use to stand there doing the same. Walking into the lounge she will pop into my head because she was sometimes sat in that room. I miss the texts I would receive when at work, miss the evenings together and the weekends. Miss her being there when the kids make me laugh or doing something amazing.
I believe the grief of a widow or widower has to be harder for these reasons. Day to day life is affected so dramatically and there is no change of running away from it.