Feeling totally lost

Hi, I lost my wife 3 weeks ago-we had been together 21 years until she passed away aged 48, she had lifelong heart and lung problems but had adapted to life with her limitations and we were very happy together.
18 months ago she was admitted to hospital with severe pains which turned out to be pneumonia and subsequent scans revealed a large blood clot in one of her lungs-with her heart/lung problems her mobility was seriously impeded with trips out reliant on a wheelchair although she could walk about in the house.
A few months later she sought treatment for severe irritation on her rear, she was scanned to rule out bowel and colon cancer but the scans revealed an abnormality on her adrenal gland, this led to numerous other scans until a diagnosis was made that this was a tumour-‘don’t worry’ we were told ‘these are normally benign and not a problem’, well this one wasn’t benign and she received the devastating news that it was malignant and growing.
One of the side effects of an adrenal tumour can be excessive hormone production which of course was what happened to Leigh-this led to severe water retention and what her doctor called ‘Cushings disease’, the effect of this was awful and my girl’s legs, stomach and hips ballooned with fluid.
As she was under the Royal Brompton for her heart they desperately tried to deal with her water retention but all efforts were in vain.
She was then referred to Kings College hospital who took her on in an attempt to deal with the hormone issue, 2 different drugs were tried in succession but both times led to kidney failure and she was lucky that the kidneys were rescued after stopping treatment.
This then left one option-tablet form
Chemotherapy for the tumour, this seemed to be going ok for 10 days but following a trip to Kings college her oxygen levels plummeted and she was admitted to the Royal Surrey A+E on Saturday the 26th October, they fought all night with me at her side until she passed away at 5am on the 27th after her heart stopped following a massive blood pressure drop.
It has left me utterly broken having fought so hard for her not only in all of our 21 years but especially the last 18 months seeing her slowly being taken apart piece by piece.
I feel so lost and empty and feel as though I’m sinking into a well of depression, I’m now in our home alone as we had no children and I hate it.
Work have been brilliant giving me unconditional time off since the end of August when Leigh needed someone with her continually but when speaking to one of my managers this morning I had a breakdown and she took the decision to arrange for me to have urgent bereavement counselling-I really feel that I need to speak to someone as I always bottle things up.
Have any of you had a similar experience?, I am so frightened of a future without her and I don’t know any other life than the one we shared.
Thank you for listening. X

Hello Andrew welcome to the forum
Im so sad to read your post. I totally understand your feelings, as I lost my lovely husband in May after a long fight with strokes, vascular dementia and other health issues. I have family who share my grief admittedly. We were married for 51 years and it was a good marriage. The last four/ five years of his life were sadly a long goodbye.
Have you had your wife’s funeral yet?
I wont tell you it gets better, but somehow you do learn to cope. I wouldn’t want my husband to be suffering any longer. I tell myself that when I feel very down and lonely.
Not sure my post is helpful to you, but I am listening.
Others will be along who are in a similar situation.

Grief is a funny emotion. Do you keep a diary or not? What about seeing a therapist? Will that help you cope? You may also wish to read this article on grief too Coping with Grief and Loss - HelpGuide.org

Hi Andrew,
I am so sorry to hear your sad story. My sympathy and condolences on your terrible loss.
Immediately after a loved ones passing there is much to do and arrange, but when all is complete it suddenly hits hard. I know this is a much offered platitude but it is really true that time passes and although your grief may never completely go away, it does get easier to live with.
It might help you to look up ‘stages of grief’, to understand what you are going through is normal, although different people react in different ways.
Be kind to yourself. You will be exhausted as well as in deep mourning. Most certainly go for the counselling. Don’t push away anyone who reaches out to you and forgive those who seem to ignore you as they are probably afraid of upsetting you and ‘don’t know what to say’. Try hard not to isolate yourself.
Your lovely wife fought hard to live and you must not let her down by ‘giving up’ yourself. There’s no quick fix. ‘Baby steps’ as they say. Set yourself mini ‘goals’. ‘Today I will go for a walk’. ‘Today I will cook a proper meal’. ‘Today I will go into work for half a day’.
One day you will smile to remember the 20 years of love and companionship, not dwell on the last 18 months and be glad that you had such a good marriage with a special person. In that fact you were lucky.
There are many people on here who have lost a much loved spouse or partner. I expect they will be along to offer their support.
Take it one day at a time.
Kindest regards

Thank you all x

Andrew, I am so sorry for your loss.

I am further down the road: my beloved husband died almost two years ago. I had been his carer for two years before that (he had a brain tumour). I feel that, in the early months, I had to adjust to the loss of being a carer (which had been my focus for so long) as well as to the loss of my partner.

I would say accept the counselling now (it’s good that it can be arranged), but be aware that it might not be a one-off need; you might also want more later and there is no shame in that. I went to a bereavement support group earlier but have recently also had some counselling sessions to try to help me adjust.

Things do change. It goes from taking things almost minute by minute to day by day and I can now look ahead (a bit: I’m not saying it’s ever going to be the same again, but I am going back to a couple of groups I belonged to before I was a carer).

Although there will always be support here for former carers, I also have a suggestion for another forum that was recommended to me. (Forum Mods - is it OK to mention it here? If not please edit the post and I’ll send a PM instead). If you are under 50 there is an organisation called Widowed and Young - there is a sister organisation for those over 50 called WAY-UP. There’s never a ‘right’ time for this to happen, but people there know what it is like to be widowed at an early age.

Hello Andrew,

I was widowed at the age of 54, I found my husband dead in bed. He had a massive heart attack.

I didn’t feel I could cope even with bereavement counselling. Later, I found a good counsellor who I can go to at any time, I don’t do this often but it really helps me to talk things over with someone else who is non judgmental and her focus is me. (When my husband died I was also caring for a housebound mum and a son with severe learning difficulties and running my husband’s business).

At my husband’s funeral, a childhood friend of my husband’s, himself widowed in his thirties, gave me a pretty stern lecture along the lines of keeping going and making a new life, not wallowing in grief. I did not welcome this at the time, but it was true. We meet from time to time, and without saying anything I know he’s doing a “check up” on me and my sons.

It goes without saying that the next few months will be very difficult, but very slowly, things will change, and improve. 13 years later I live a very different life, but have a lot to be thankful. Most of all being married to someone I loved so much. In time, you will feel the same.

Think of the next year as “treading water”. Your old life has gone, and will be mourned. There IS a new life waiting for you, but no hurry. DON’T make any important decisions in the next 12 months.

I found a book called “Starting Again” by Sarah Litvinoff very helpful, primarily aimed at divorcees, but really helps for anyone going through a change of life. It’s always available on ebay.

This is a forum for former carers, as well as current carers. Feel free to ask us anything. We are here for you.

Andrew, I’m so very sorry to hear about the loss of your wife…
If you want to speak to someone by phone you can phone CRUSE Bereavement care on 08088081677.

How are you feeling?