Apologies for my late response, Gillyflower.
I do think it is only time that helps you recognise the hole that is grief and skirt around it rather than falling in. I, too, lost my mum, dad and brother before Mike and as you say all in different ways for me too. I still torture myself as to whether it was better to lose my dad quickly to a heart attack, although he was only 53, or at an older age, and expected, like my mother from cancer. Not that there is anything I can do about either. But I do think our minds have ways of helping us cope in times of deep grief and seem to drip-feed only as much as we can cope with on a daily basis. And don't underestimate tiredness - it took me a long time to realise how I always felt worse when I was tired.
There's really no answers to the 'what might have been' questions we torture ourselves with. I believe we do whatever we do for the best and then wonder how differently we could have done it. In time these thoughts got less for me although I still find I need to occasionally tell myself I did the best I could with the knowledge I had.
I can completely understand your thoughts on what might have been without Covid. I obviously didn't have that to contend with, but several new drugs came out shortly after Mike died and I was forever trying to work out whether I thought if they had been out a year or two earlier they would have made a difference.
And I agree some days it can be so hard to carry on. Fortunately as time goes by I found that these days came a little less frequently until they became rare.
But it's all the things that make you realise how everything has changed for you, yet life goes on for those around you isn't it? Even for the rest of the family I found they could go back to their own homes and life went on whereas I struggled to go home alone as it brought all the memories back. I have found a very different, and busy life, and it is all so much easier now, but it was a struggle to get there.
We all find our own ways, but I found if I did different things and went to different places then I coped better than doing the same things with the same people as then Mike was always missing. Although doing new things made me wonder what he would have thought, whether he would approve of what I was doing and where I was going.
I hope you are still finding it makes you feel better to get on with your garden. I have always found to get out in the garden and make improvements, however small, is helpful. And how nice you got a surprise visit from your daughter - always a treat to get a surprise visit, and can totally lift you.
You're right in that listening to a friend's tribulations can take your mind off of your own sadness for a while, but please be careful - it is so easy to feel overwhelmed. Remember to take care of you.
Hoping you have a nice sunny weekend and can get outside - it's always so nice at this time of year to get warmer, sunnier days when we don't expect them.
Take care, Janet, x