Finding it hard to accept DH's death

(24 Posts)

My darling husband passed away 3 months ago - cancer. Our daughter was 6 weeks old when he died. I'm struggling to accept he's gone and have pretty much been in a daze. It doesn't seem real at all. I've been focusing on our baby and trying to keep distracted but I'm not sure that is the right thing to do. Its becoming more often that it suddenly hits me and the tears flow. I'm scared of what the future holds - we have wider family around us but I'm now solely responsible for bringing up a child - all our plans and dreams that we had when found out we were having a baby have all gone - we were so excited. I am so pleased to have her but sad he doesn't get to share in seeing her grow up. I'm also scared of something happening to her - after seeing my husband die I'm scared she will get sick and I will lose her. Or I will get sick and she will be left without either of us. When is his death really going to hit me? Right now I have crying sessions and then stop and carry on looking after her but I'm scared it's going to hit me hard all of a sudden.

Friends/relatives keep telling me that at least I have my daughter, I say I'm so lonely without him and they say I now have my daughter. As if she is replacing him. They say to be strong for her - I don't want to be strong. My best friend is dead.

Wishfulmakeupping Tue 17-Dec-13 02:18:19

I'm so sorry that is heartbreaking. I'm hoping someone far wiser than me will be along to give you some advice in a minute but can I just say you sound like a lovely mum but I think you are right you need time to grieve now. Have you had any counselling OP?

MrsFlorrick Tue 17-Dec-13 02:27:05

Didn't want to read and run. I'm sorry for your loss. It sounds heart breaking.

Remember that people want to comfort and don't know what to say so the old platitudes appear. It's not unkind or meant to take away from your loss. They are hoping to soothe a little. Not easy in your circumstances.

How is your baby DD? She must be at that very sweet and exhausting age. Lots of gurgles and smiles.

Do you have help from family with your DD?? If they are close by and willing to help out. Do get them to help. You don't have to do it all completely alone.

Also having a few moments to yourself when you have a small baby can be invaluable. Even if it is for you to have a cry/grieve.

If your family are far away. Consider changing things and move closer to your family. You need them.

And friends?? How are they helping??

Someone else much more knowledgable will be along shortly with better advice. Here and MN hug from me for coping so well over the last few months.

ThatVikRinA22 Tue 17-Dec-13 02:37:13

i feel for you so much - people just try to say the "right" thing - they dont realise that the right thing is to acknowledge your fears, and your pain.

its hard because people mean well - but they can be so off the mark. I havent lost a partner - but my son was gravely ill many years ago - there was risk of permanent brain damage - i needed to confront this, to plan, to explore my feelings about it - but others - well meaning others - kept shutting me down. Only one person acknowledged how i was feeling, how scared i was, and said that was ok - and that was precious to me. That person is sadly no longer with us, very suddenly taken from me in an accident, but to have my fears, my feelings, acknowledged was all i needed to carry on. death is part of life - its damaging not to allow your feelings to be out there - dont hide them, or squash them - counselling might help to allow you to feel whatever it is you need to feel, to expose your fears, air your thoughts without anyone feeling uncomfortable.

my heart goes out to you. the person i lost was my closest relative, confident and friend, the only one i had, the one person who knew me totally, it is so so hard. Its a huge cliche but time does help - it truly does, there is nothing else that makes you feel any better - the passage of time allows you to function again, to live on, and even to laugh, to smile, to enjoy things without feeling guilty. At the moment it feels like that wont ever happen - but it does. and it will. You just have to keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

much love. x

Thank you both. I haven't had counselling other than just talks withthe nurse at my baby's doctor. Up to now I haven't really felt like talking - I'm still not sure about it as feel it'll be no talking and just me crying non stop - part of me thinks talking won't make it better but I can feel it starting to hit me more and the sensible part of me thinks I ought to find some proper help if only to try and not be a mess as our daughter grows up. What happens when you go for counselling? Stupid question but do they mind if all you do is cry?

We were living close to my husband's family and they have been wonderful with us despite clearly going through this all as well and having their own grief to go through. I have had lots of help with the baby from them. My family are in a different country and while we speak on the phone and I know they are there for me it's very hard. They don't know really what to say so end up not saying anything. its difficult when you can't have a physical hug. I have a couple of close friends who have been wonderfully supportive.

My daughter is lovely and the perfect distraction (for both me and my husband's family). But sometimes makes me sad looking at her and thinking what he's missing out on. I feel guilty. probably sounds silly! There's certainly lots of smiles from her and they really do brighten up my day when I'm feeling down.

ouchthathurt Tue 17-Dec-13 02:56:09

How raw this must all feel for you. It's such early days. You have been hit by death and birth all in such a short space of time - you must be in a daze (6 week old baby alone would have you in one). Your lovely baby daughter must be a lovely distraction but maybe that's the thing - you don't need distracting? There is such a lot to process and such a lot of grieving to do.

Don't ever feel guilty for having happy moments with your new baby and don't ever feel guilty for feeling distraught and inconsolable either. I haven't had anything remotely resembling your experience and I hope some other people come on here more equipped to offer words of comfort. You are trying to cope because you are a new mother and maybe you are in pure survival mode at the moment - catering to your daughter's needs and putting your own on the back burner - that's not wrong at all. Keep communicating with everyone and if it helps, keep posting on here. My heart goes out to you and your little girl. Congratulations too on your little girl - I'm sure your DH was delighted that she arrived in the world safely and that you were well.

HoLilyChristmas311 Tue 17-Dec-13 04:08:26

I know exactly how you feel. My Oh passed away last year before our daughter was born, she is now nearly 13 months old. The fear was the worst, losing her, me dying and leaving her, what if, etc. It became sometimes unbearable, I never experienced so much worry before. What helped me: writing a will and choosing guardians, asking my parents to call me every day to check we are ok, give a set of keys to the closest person and making sure if anyone worries about us knows this person's number. It seems extreme but I am alone.

I was also alone and my family lived in a different country and made a decision to move back to my home country when my dd was 5 months old. The support I get here feels just right although I had amazing friends in the uk too.

As for your daughter missing out, yes, she is. But she has you and you will tell her everything about her daddy. My daughter kisses daddy's picture every night and say night night to him as part of our bedtime routine and recognises his face on pictures. It's heartbreaking to know that she will never meet him and I'm facing all those questions later in life. She doesn't know it differently just yet and she perfectly happy with me but she will experience loss at one point.

I haven't had counselling either, grief attacks me periodically, I deal with it as it comes. Not easy. Being a lone parent is so hard. I long for him to hold me, to help me to make all those parenting decisions, to feel loved. I have been where you are now and it will get easier, believe me. Your daughter will heal you, you will become such a tight unit and the bond between you will give you the strength.

Pls pm me if you wish to.

HoLilyChristmas311 - thank you so much for your reply. You've put into words exactly how I'm feeling.

Alongside the grief for my husband is the worry about the future - we were a team and were going to work together to bring up our child, and despite having some family/friends around I can't help feeling very alone.

I'm heartened to hear that your daughter does recognise her father's face - it must be warming but bittersweet at the same time.

Part of me thinks that I should get some professional help - counselling etc but then I'm quite sure everything I'm feeling is pretty 'normal' for situations like this and I'm not sure talking through it with a stranger is going to make it any better?

Life can be amazing but oh so cruel as well.

HoLilyChristmas311 Wed 18-Dec-13 18:11:51

I decided against counselling as 1) I would have needed to get a babysitter and I could not leave my baby with someone even for an hour, 2) I blocked everything out and concentrated on my daughter. That's why when grief attacks me, it comes unexpectedly and I have no control over it for a day. But I get stronger after every attack and being with dd helps me, she saved me from the total meltdown even in my tummy and she has been healing me slowly.

It is very important that for me that she knows she has a daddy and that we can talk about him openly. I still haven't been able to tell her stories about him but she is too young. It will come.

I feel very alone this Christmas, last year I had a month old baby, it was all so new and I was just fine. But this year it really is hard. Probably not what you want to hear. I wish I could tell you that you will be happy again one day and that you will over his death but I can't, sorry.

everlong Wed 18-Dec-13 18:23:56

I'm so sorry. The early days of grief are truly awful and it's just a case of getting through every hour, trying to sleep and eat something.

Please don't expect too much of yourself. The first year at least is spent in shock, denial, exhaustion. Make no excuse for how you are feeling.

Little by little and in a way you hardly realise it you do start to feel a tiny bit better/stronger, you cry a little less and you start to smile.

Take all the support from your friends and lovely people that you can. I also think counselling can be beneficial after the shock has worn off somewhat.

Keep talking to us on here to, we will listen.

Wishing you strength and love.

something2say Wed 18-Dec-13 18:32:24

Dear both of you,

I am crying at the loss in your posts and am so sorry to hear of what you are going through. Also wanted to say that I have listened to many a client who is grieving and please know that crying is perfectly ok and most clients do it. I did it myself, and still do, when I am someone's client. I have listened to many women talk about people they have lost; the lead up to it, what happened, what happened after that. We talk it all through and get to what it is that they are struggling with on that day. Practical things help like the keys hidden, plans made for emergencies etc. there is nothing a person like me can do to stop or reduce the pain, but knowing that there is someone sharing it does help. You are not alone. Xx. Do grieve, it's ok to lie down and cry, and to arrange for your babies to be taken care of while you do this. Lie down and let it out, and don't be afraid that it will be too much, or come too often xxx. It will pass when it is ready to x until then open the door each time it knocks. I am sorry x we all go through times like these tho x you are not alone x

My daughter is the only thing keeping me going.The only reason to keep going, yet I'm so scared of being solely responsible for bringing her up.

I'm already scared of the day when she asks where her daddy is, I don't want to upset her but I'm also looking forward to when I can tell her stories about her dad. I'm writing a journal for her with stories about him and our life together.

Christmas was very difficult. I tried to put on a cheery face for her but there were many a tear behind closed doors.

thornrose Sat 28-Dec-13 01:18:03

I understand how if feels to be the only parent and solely responsible. My exp, dd's dad died 3 years ago but dd was 10 so very different from your experience.

My dd loves to hear about her dad. I sometimes look at her and say "gosh you just looked like your dad then" we talk about him often. The journal is a fantastic idea.

I have recently contacted Winston's wish, they are a great charity for bereaved children. They might help you as your dd grows up.

babsie007 Mon 06-Jan-14 09:05:58

I'm so sorry that you have had to go through this, it's absolutely heartbreaking. I am certain that your husband walks with you every day. I'm sorry I can't give you any answers of how to make things better xx

LilyTheSavage Sun 12-Jan-14 15:33:44

I'm so sorry for your loss and what you're going through and I wanted to send you hugs. Maybe if you feel strong enough you could write down memories and thoughts about your DH so your DD can read them in later years.
Please be gentle with yourself. If you could manage to bring yourself to get a babysitter do try the counselling. I've been having counselling after the death of my DS in the summer and it's been helpful.
I agree with thornrose about Winston's Wish and have used them before to help a bereaved child in my class. They are great.
thanks for you

Marraskuu Fri 28-Feb-14 23:08:20

I just wanted to say I lost my husband ten years ago (in his 20s) and since then his sister has had three children. All of them know about their uncle in heaven, recognise his face, and can tell stories about him that they've heard laughed over round the dinner table. We all miss him still, but his family have done a brilliant job of keeping him part of family life.

It's so terribly early for you, and you will be far more vulnerable even than you realise. Take things really gently. Before I tried counselling via Cruse I was both sceptical and frightened. Sceptical that anything could possibly help the pain, and frightened of falling apart and being unable to get things back together. But I really really recommend Cruse. They probably saved my life in one hour each week. If it's right for you, when you're ready, give it a try. Time hasn't made me love my DH less, but the pain does change, and the world does stop being black and white eventually, I promise.

onlyjoking Fri 28-Feb-14 23:55:39

Sorry to hear about your DH, people mostly want to say the right thing but don't know what the right thing is.
I'm sure you go through the whole lot of emotions in each day and sometimes each and every hour.
You have a new and different normal, one you didn't sign up for or want.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
My DH died of cancer nearly 6 years ago, me and our teenagers will never forget him. We talk about him most days.
Macmillan are a good source of support even after the death, we had one until 18months after DH had died.
We had a lot of support from WAY widowed and young, you will find lots of people in the same or similar circumstances.
Take care.

louismama Sun 02-Mar-14 00:09:17

Haven't had chance to read all replies so if I concur with what's already been said I'm sorry. I am a mom to 3, 10yr - Autistic, 6, and 4. My husband and life partner since I was 15 died Oct 13 (can't say last year yet) to Cancer having been told he was all clear in May.

He was diagnosed originally when I was 7 months pregnant with our youngest and I can only imagine how you must feel with a new baby, although I contemplated it enough. It is a horrendous time I know, I miss him constantly but I am coming up to 5 months along this terrible road next week, and can say in all honesty 3 months is when reality really hits so thats why you feel quite so overwhelmed right now.

Counselling REALLY helps me although it would never have been something I would have done before this. Cruse are amazing, but if you really can't face going (maybe someone could sit with the baby in the waiting room) Macmillian have an online support forum for breaved spouces and the people there truly know what you are going through, and will offer advise and support 24/7.

It can be hard to talk to friends and family as time moves on they resume their normal lives and I sometimes feel his name is a Taboo word (eyes roll - shes off again sort of thing) so please consider it. I feel we're like something from a Dickens novel and dread the day I hear my youngest say my daddy died when I was 4. Have had photo cushions made for all the children and they cuddle them at bedtime - just a thought when your DD is a little older.

You don't mention much about the illness but you've lost the carer role in your life too. You'll have to work through those distressing memories before the good ones can get through, but they will, so do be kind to yourself, it truly is the crueltest of blows to endure.

Wishing the strength and courage for the days ahead. LIZ 123 is my signature if you come to Macmillian online. XX

louismama Sun 02-Mar-14 00:39:20

The Path

I must walk this path that lies ahead of me.

Walk this path that life has mapped out for me.

The way is dark and rocky underfoot.

But walk it I will as best I can,

Till the way becomes clearer and easier to see.

Walk with me a while, down this path of pain.

Walk beside me, and help me should I stumble.

Be patient and walk at MY pace.

Stay with me even if I fall,

Your feet are surer than mine.

But never forget whose path it is.

The path is mine.

And I must walk it my own way,

In my own time.

And walk it, I must.

Inaminutenow Sun 02-Mar-14 20:59:00

I'm also one in a similar situation - my husband passed away (cancer) three weeks ago, we have two boys aged 7 and 4, and my family is in a different country. It's still very raw and I don't think it has quite sunk in with me yet. Can't really give any advice, but finding it helpful to see the different responses from people who are further along on this journey.

louismama Mon 03-Mar-14 01:55:22

Inaminutenow

So sorry for your loss. Its such early days for you and the children, the sharpness of the pain does ease, it does get more bareable either that or you learn skills to cope with it better. I am not saying it's easy path ahead but time does slip by & without noticing you'll find you've progreessed, and over come hurdles. Wishing you strength tomorrow and the days ahead. X

Sorry I haven't been on this thread for a little while - been using the distracting strengths of chat and am I being unreasonable to take my mind off it for a bit at a time.

Inaminutenow - so sorry to hear of your DH. I can completely understand the raw feeling. If you have any friends who can look after your boys for a few hours just to give yourself time cry. Although my daughter is only months old I felt bad crying infront of her so find myself forcing myself to be fake happy. Good at times but you do need time to grieve.

Thank you to everyone who has replied - I deeply appreciate your words. I think it's only in the last couple of months when it's really begun to sink in. I find it's getting harder as it becomes more real. I'm going to look into counselling.

tigandtiglet Thu 03-Apr-14 03:23:01

I lost my husband last week after only being told the previous Friday that his cancer was terminal. We both had believed he would be treated and fine - we booked holidays, etc. on the basis that he would be well.

I am due our second baby in June and we have a 2.5 year old.

I feel like nothing has hit me yet. I am doing so much practical stuff, keeping myself busy and doing my normal routine with my daughter that I am worried about what will happen when it does start to kick in.

I have tried to explain to my daughter that Daddy is in heaven and we talk to him every night but now she's started waking badly in the night despite having never done so since 10 weeks old.

I'm worried about how to cope with two children and having to go back to work full time in a demanding professional role to keep a roof over our heads.

I've lost my soulmate and best friend.

CommsWhizz Thu 03-Apr-14 13:43:31

Oh Tig, my heart absolutely goes out to you. I couldn't read and not send you a message - I can only imagine how you're feeling and I wish that things were different for you.

Like everyone says, the first few weeks are spent feeling lost and numb, going through the motions of what needs to be done on a practical level, and I would imagine things will start to seem real further down the line. There are, sadly, many people on here who will be able to give great advice based no their experiences which I'm sure will help. My advice, and I come from a place of witnessing this heartbreak rather than living it so forgive me if it's not quite right, but I think it's crucial that you surround yourself with those people who give you comfort, and reach out when you need it. It's such early days, just take it step by step, hour by hour.

Sending you all the love in the world, and for your little one and one-to-be too xxx

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