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Each day a challenge

User
Posted 25 Sep 2020 at 21:10
Dear Gilly , I’m not great with words mostly. Be kind to yourself and try not to be so harsh on yourself. You’ve suffered unbelievably recently and are undergoing a very natural process of grieving. I think you are doing that really well. You are letting it go emotionally and also verbally to us also. That will be doing you the world of good.

This may sound flippant but you truly know that time heals. And you will be healed. Maybe not completely but enough to enjoy life again. That is my hope for you xx

If life gives you lemons , then make lemonade

User
Posted 25 Sep 2020 at 21:54

Dear Gilly

I can’t say ‘I know how you feel’ but my heart breaks for you, you family, and my own family.

my dad had end stage advanced stage prostate cancer and it’s really heartbreaking and shocking to see someone so fit, hardly able to walk...how can this be in 10 weeks?

I know we are all a product of nature and part of life’s cycle but it does not really help when it hurts so much?!

Sorry I am no help but only I feel some of this cancer pain that takes our loved ones earlier than should be - I am not spiritual or religious but I hope/think there is a different level after life and you will be meet your loved ones again in a different format....

take care 

xx

 

User
Posted 25 Sep 2020 at 22:10

Gilly, so sorry for your situation. Look after yourself, be kind to yourself, you have been through so much. 

Ido4

User
Posted 25 Sep 2020 at 23:19

Dear Gilly, I am so sorry you are having to endure such heartache.  You are showing great strength doing as you are and your precious G will always be there with you.  I hope you can feel the love of those who are very special to you and to who you are very special, like your Granddaughter, although a different kind of love, and hope this helps to bring you great comfort.  

Thinking of you,

Angexx

User
Posted 27 Sep 2020 at 11:49
Dear Gillyflower, I have no words that will make it all better, but I do remember so many similar challenges in the early days of my own journey.

A weekend on a road trip by yourself - I had to do that as I had to go on several business trips straight after Mike died. Somehow often whilst I was away it was a little easier, but the coming home was hard. And I am embarrassed to remember how I often opened up to strangers on trains when they asked where I was going. Somehow it was easier to talk to strangers than those close to me.

All you say about trying to get on with life but really struggling at times brings back my own memories. I understand your emptiness and how what was previously enough isn't any more. It sounds similar and I was completely happy to be anywhere, or nowhere, with Mike - his company was enough. I am smiling now as sometimes he would be working in the garden or house on a Sunday and announce he was going to walk down the canal to Tesco to buy an apple and would I like to join him. I did readily!

You say you don't know if life will ever feel OK again? I used to feel that way, and I struggled to feel okay. Then I decided to just sit with my grief and let it be. Eventually that seemed to be the way that worked for me, I think it allowed my grief to take its own course rather than trying to force it, but we are all so different and need to do what feels most right for us. Of course, nothing feels right so I learned to call it 'the most right it can be just now'.

Take care, Janet, xx

User
Posted 27 Sep 2020 at 12:31

Thanks Janet

I arrived safely, the sun has been out all the time and I did two of our usual long walks. I have seen a lot of old friends and had a fish and chip supper with our old friend to round yesterday off. I will go home tonight feeling tired but a little refreshed too.

Nothing prepares you for that lunch in a cafe by yourself while people chatter around you but I did it.

Your words are wise and I would love to have G here with me but I know that is something I will have to live with and accept.

I have done better than I thought I would, so can face doing it again but it will have to be on a "strong" day.

From our circle, so many have died in the last ten years, it makes the rest of us more keen to stay in touch.  There are so many widows but the men must miss their old friends very much too. We try to keep the memories alive.

I will carry on and as you say take each day as it comes.

Take care - let's hope we don't all get locked down again. X

User
Posted 27 Sep 2020 at 13:14

Gillyflower

Your own advice is so right, let out all the pain and sorrow. Love and hugs.

Chris

User
Posted 28 Sep 2020 at 09:27

So happy to read your weekend went as well as you could expect, and that you will do it again 'on a strong day'.

I feel sure it will become a comfort to keep in touch with your friends in similar circumstances, but I agree it must be difficult for the men who miss their old friends too.

My situation was a little different in that I seemed to be the first to lose my husband and so I had to grow a new life for me otherwise I was the always the only one on my own.  I was used to travelling on business so I was used to sitting in restaurants, cafes and hotels alone, but being alone means your mind wanders to previous happier times.

You're so right, carry on and take each day as it comes is a good approach.

Janet, x

User
Posted 28 Sep 2020 at 14:03

Thanks again Janet ,

I was used to doing things on my own in my twenties and right up to when I retired , I was travelling for work and every other weekend caring for my infirm parent but there was always G at home ready to welcome me home.

I am drawing on my inner strength and carrying on with a list of "to do jobs" that we made before G died. I think you must have been very brave. 

Stay safe in this crazy world we live in now

 

User
Posted 28 Sep 2020 at 17:44

Take care Gillyflower, every day you get through us an enormous step. It is true life will never be the same again but just keep going. Your posts help us to understand why we need to live in the moment and make good memories X

User
Posted 28 Sep 2020 at 19:59

We had time to evaluate our whole life and there were things we still wanted to do but we looked back on a good life with memories that are precious. Everyone has a few hiccups along the way but if you can get over those it makes your bond stronger. There are still things I wish I had done and said on his last day, but it is as if I couldn't believe he was dying and thought I would have more time , so those are regrets I have to live with  but I still tell him every day how much I will always love him and I hope that in some way he hears me.

Love never dies. I have his love letters and he loved me from a few weeks after we started dating. I was blessed with a lovely man.

 

User
Posted 18 Oct 2020 at 11:10

A lovely post. You were indeed blessed with a lovely man and that must make it so much harder to lose him when there were still things you had planned to do.

I understand your regrets on things you could have done and said on his last day. I remember feeling the same but in time I forgave myself as I realised we both knew without saying and doing, as you must have done too. Time does make these thoughts a little kinder to us, it just seems to be the journey we go through to get to a calmer place.

Hope you are getting through your to do list, however slowly.

Take care, Janet, x 

User
Posted 18 Oct 2020 at 19:51

Thank you Janet. I have been a bit numb up to now, getting on with things,but this weekend has been tough and the covid restrictions are tough too- I am in tier 2. I seemed to spend most of today in tears- just out of the blue - the desperate loneliness got to me.

Sorting through photos was a happy/sad experience for me today. I am not sure if I will ever feel normal again whatever that means. I am watching"the greatest showman" again, one of our favourites. 

There are many things I want to do if I can get the motivation to start on them I made a hedgehog home yesterday. No hedgehogs yet but the home is there.

It is good to hear from you. I check in on here sometimes and feel for everyone who is still going through the cancer journey. It is such a cruel disease.

Do you have a dog? I am seriously thinking about another- we both broke our hearts when our old boy died over three years ago and my husband couldn't give his heart to another.

Thanks again for keeping in touch- I think we would get on if we ever met.

 

 

 

User
Posted 18 Oct 2020 at 21:24
Gilly, don't wait for or expect to 'get back to normal' - as time goes on, you will find a new normal but you might not realise it because you are hoping for something to look and feel like it did before.

I think that it sounds like you are doing amazingly well and, having met Janet, I can tell you that she is one of the kindest, most resilient souls.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 18 Oct 2020 at 23:55

I know you are right and I will never be the person I was before but hopefully the new me will be ok.

Thank you and everyone for your ongoing support. It means a lot to me.

 

User
Posted 21 Oct 2020 at 07:48
I have married a wonderful woman who has been widowed twice. She has told me about how she did/didn't cope and one common theme was having a dog (s) in her life - Get one you won't regret it!
User
Posted 21 Oct 2020 at 15:55

Thank you. I am glad you have a lovely wife to help you through everything. I hope you have many years together.

User
Posted 23 Oct 2020 at 13:00

Hello Gilly,

I noticed it was Sunday when you found you were having a tough day and remember how it was often a Sunday or bank holiday when I struggled most. Although these are different and difficult times it's still true that so many people are together with loved ones on these days and it brings our aloneness to the fore. 

And Lyn is right - normal will be a little different, but with the perspective of time I see that as okay. I tried to say to myself that there was a whole big world out there and what did I want to do. Of course at first I didn't want to do anything, but in time I took up new interests and travelled and I actually started to wonder if Mike would recognise, or like, the person I had become. It didn't happen overnight, but gradually I changed into the person I am as I really couldn't have the life I wanted, so I decided I'd want the life I had. 

I think if you feel a dog would make you happier and give you a purpose then go for it. I never did as I was working full-time and often away from home so it just wouldn't have been fair or practical. I also found I struggled at home and tried to be away from home as much as possible and started taking myself off on train journeys. Somewhere through the years I found the person I am now and am happy with life, but really I have almost always felt that Mike is around me. I've just finished a little project in the garden which I had a couple of attempts at because I know he would have done it so much better than me!

I hope a hedgehog has found its home for the winter by now.

Take care, love Janet

User
Posted 23 Oct 2020 at 15:46

Hi GillyFlower,

I felt your sad experience when you mentioned looking at photos.  There are only so many old family photos you can look at.  At first they cheer you up but then it slowly turns.    I'm afraid it's mainly a woman's lot to outlive their husband.   My neighbour on the right is an 85 year old widow of 30 years and on the left an 89 year old widow of 5 years.  There are 3 more within sight of our house.

My wife is 4 years younger than me and it's my fear that I go much before her.  Yet her parents lived into their 90s.  I don't really want her to marry again if it does happen although if she's unhappy then I guess it would have to be if it came about.   I think she might do OK without me as she goes with friends to remote places I don't want to go to, mainly craft related.

There is a local group who are friends of a building.  Their leader is an 80yr old widow who welcomes ladies in a similar position.  One of them told me she was feeling lost but was saved by the lady who runs the group.  She likes meeting people and agreed to volunteer days to welcome people into the building.  From what I hear there are a lot of such groups if you have such an interest.

Keep well, Peter

User
Posted 24 Oct 2020 at 01:14
Thanks - no hedgehog as yet!!

You are right there are a lot of groups that you can join - well at least when the covid restrictions are less. I have 4 single women friends within a few hundred yards - two have been alone for many years and the other two more recently alone. All have full lives although missing having someone special in their lives.

I know that I would never marry again but enjoy having both male and female friends and am lucky that they ring me and keep in touch often at the moment.

I have tentatively enquired about a rescue dog but am only going to get one if I feel it is the right thing to do.

Each day I try to have something to do and am rarely bored. I love my garden and have hobbies but it can be lonely and the worst thing is realising it is only 11 weeks since we were together but feel like years.

I am doing ok and take each day as it comes.

User
Posted 28 Oct 2020 at 15:06

Eleven weeks is such a short time, but in some ways will seem like so much more. You're very wise to just take each day as it comes - and realise there will be bad days and better days. It took me a long time to realise that I couldn't just fast forward my life if I tried hard enough.

Regarding a rescue dog - I am sure you will just know what to do if you get the opportunity.

I'm glad to hear you have friends who are alone - I know it doesn't make it right but it does mean you have company who understands (when we're allowed) at times when it can seem the whole world has someone special by their side.

You sound similar to me in trying to have something to do each day. When I was young and had some problems my mother told me to focus on making sure I had one thing each day that I wanted to do. I have always fallen back into this habit when I've needed to and it certainly helped me to regain some sort of order to my life after Mike died.

Take care, Janet, x 

User
Posted 29 Oct 2020 at 00:27

So true Janet. I have been driving G's car and I feel so comfortable driving it, as if he is with me. We had often thought of reducing to one car but couldn't decide which to keep. 

I am having to deal with a lot of house and other problems at the minute and I so wish I could share with him. 

Every night I snuggle up under a blanket and try to watch things on TV that are interesting or uplifting. I have been knitting but the pattern is hard and the article I have made is nothing like it should be. I think I need to start again!!

I can't imagine my future but have been looking at volunteering with a local wildlife group. I love being outdoors but I think it will wait till new year.

I am doing ok overall but still miss the cosy companionship we had even when G was poorly.

He was and always will be the best person in my life.

 

User
Posted 29 Oct 2020 at 07:43

Gillyflower

Just a thought, have you sorted any required changes on the insurances for your cars. 

If you meet certain criteria it may be possible to foster a dog, may help before committing to a rescue dog.

Take care of yourself, big hugs.

Thanks Chris

User
Posted 29 Oct 2020 at 23:41
Yes I sorted the insurance etc early on when I was on autopilot and getting on with paperwork.

The dog I had in mind has gone to another home so I hope she will be happy there - there will be another when the time is right.

I will think about fostering - lots to think about.

My son came over today and it was so good to have some company for a while. He likes a snooze on my sofa!!

I hope it is a bit less windy tomorrow - the leaves are falling thick and fast off the oak tree oppposite the house and swirling around in the drive. Bin day seems to come round quicker and quicker each week. That reminds me it is another week on my own.

Have a good week - won't it be nice when we can see friends properly again? I can't see an end to the restrictions here for ages.

User
Posted 07 Nov 2020 at 12:31

Hello Gilly, it's good it's comforting driving G's car. I understand. I had to keep my car, rather than Mike's, and it never felt right. Three years later I managed to change it for one very similar to the one Mike had, even the same colour, and it felt right straight away - I've still got it - can't explain why, but just right.

I hope you find somewhere outdoors to volunteer when you are ready - I find it so helpful to get out. I'm lucky I live near a canal, woods and fields and during lockdown to just pass the time of day with strangers is good. Strangely this time people seem to be smiling and greeting strangers, whereas I noticed at the last lockdown people looked straight ahead and ignored people.

I often used to think the problems I was dealing with in the house were because Mike would have seen them coming whereas I was learning new things. But everything is so difficult when left to do it alone when there were usually two of us. On a positive though, we all get by and find our solutions, often feeling good about managing to do it ourselves.

Take care, Janet, x 

User
Posted 07 Nov 2020 at 21:59

I am not looking forward to this new lockdown and it is tough watching couples walk past all the time. I go for walks myself and have enjoyed seeing many geese fly overhead and the autumn colours have been lovely.

Yesterday I tackled our front hedge with a hedge cutter, something I had never done before. It looks good but I wasn't quite as drastic as G would have been.

Today my son and grand-daughter came over and we put together her new bed - hopefully one day she can stay with me again.

I am doing ok, I have days when I cry a lot and hate recalling the last few days of G's life. Nobody deserves to suffer so much with cancer and yet so many do. I hope that one day I will find the memories less painful.

It is good to hear from you. I am trying to make myself live my life and enjoy what I can. Friends have been so good at keeping in touch and being "normal" with me. It helps and there are hours now when I can get through things without feeling overwhelmed.

I feel as if I am not always alone and hope that G can still be with me now and then when I need him most. Who knows if that is possible 🤔 

Take care and keep safe. We will all get through these difficult times I am sure. X

 

 

User
Posted 08 Nov 2020 at 07:33

thinking of you and hope you soon get your grandaughter over for a sleepover.

 

barbara xxxx

Edited by member 08 Nov 2020 at 07:35  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 20 Nov 2020 at 16:46

Hi Gillyflower 

Have been thinking of you and wondering how you are doing? Very conscious of the difficulty for you during lockdown and I hope you are managing to get through every day. I'll be where you are one day and its frightening. I hope you have support and people around you that you can talk to. I went through it with my mother when my Dad passed away suddenly and eventually will go through it myself. I wish there was a group like this for partners of people with cancer. I havent found one yet. 

I just wanted to say hello, I hope you are coping ok...that's about all one can expect for the first year at least I'd say.

Oh just found your post below...you are a fighter! And I'm so glad you have your family around you and a grandchild...how lovely. Let's hope people get to be with family for christmas after the lockdown. 

Hugs

Misty xx 

Edited by member 20 Nov 2020 at 16:49  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 21 Nov 2020 at 17:32

Hi Misty, there is a group I have joined on Facebook called Uk Women Affected By Prostate Cancer, all the ladies are very supportive.

 

best wishes

 

Sheila

 

User
Posted 21 Nov 2020 at 20:21

I have joined a UK widow/widower group - all very supportive and all at different stages. I manage some of the time and am still desperately sad and expect to feel that for a long time but today was a good day spent with my little granddaughter making a Christmas cake. The spices and smells of cooking were nice.

Last Saturday night was spent in A&E as my heart  began to race and I was unwell. Having lots of tests to see what is happening but I know the stress of everything came to a head last weekend after a very emotional few days where tears wouldn't stop and my heartbreak was overwhelming.

I feel ok now but anxious about the causes of my erratic heart. This isn't an easy journey after such a dreadful experience with my husband in his last days.

Cancer is such a horrendous disease and whilst I am grateful for the extra years we had together , it was often tough and facing life alone is hard. He told me I had to be strong and I try every day but I miss him every second. Enjoy every moment of your lives together and don't dwell on what might come - just deal with each thing as you can.

I just feel sad that he had to know he was dying, it must have been mental torture for him and although we cried together, I can only imagine the agony he felt when he so wanted to live.

 

User
Posted 22 Nov 2020 at 10:04

Gillyflower it sounds like you are doing as well as can be expected at this stage. It is very frightening and traumatic to see somebody you love suffer so much at the end. My sister is three years out from her husband dying from lung failure...secondary pulmonary hypertension and while she has a lot of good days now...actually hugely improved this year ...she too had a difficult time the first year especially. She said the 2nd year she stopped thinking "this time last year" and even not doing that made things a tiny bit better. She was just 60 as was my mother. I hope we can beat that... it's only 7 years away but I really hope we can. 

It's great that you have found a good support group. All online these days i expect which is handy but maybe not as satisfactory. Not easy grieving anytime but a pandemic sure makes it harder in some ways. I hope your heart is just suffering as hearts do and things might settle of their own accord, but if not lets hope they get you on the right medication soon.

Making the cake with your granddaughter sounds so special...my Mother loved when my 3 kids came along but she had to make do with my sisters only child for 10 years before I had my first! She was 40 when she had me and I was 30. I bet my son will be 40 at least before he settles down 😁😁 and who knows with the girls! 

It is very strange how after the first awful few weeks after the hormone therapy news and all it entails sank in, we just got on with it and are happy everyday...probably happier than we normally are despite or probably more IN spite of the existential threat hanging over us. We are living in the moment which I have never tended to do...I have always had my own health issues and silly resentments and fears getting in the way. After my Dad died suddenly in my arms at 20 ...I did CPR on him...it had always been my greatest fear to be abandoned. I watched and lived through my distraught mothers grief ...she had no warning and no good byes...and I always thought given my husbands excellent health and his long lived parents and grandparents, that at least I would be the one to go first. He had to step in and care for me...or rather he chose to do so...when I became very ill after a viral infection only 6 months into our relationship. I spent a year sleeping all the time with no idea what was wrong and collapsing all over the place...only 23 years old when it started, and he still married me before I was was finally diagnosed  a year or two later with Narcolepy and Cataplexy! Not life threatening but quite limiting being always tired.

Luckily I manage it really well and am a full of beans person in between the exhaustion and naps...I get about 3 to 5 hours at a time  before I am tired again if I am active, unless there is something very exciting happening when I can get by on adrenalin for a good bit longer...but I pay the price later then!  A short nap or two during the day really help but get in the way a lot and I do nod off involuntarily when doing some less stimulating things if I'm not very diligent about naps and lower carb eating! 

Hence my now even more extreme fear of being left on my own. But I will take heed of your advice Gillyflower because we do still have lots of time I hope and the happy memories will sustain me as they must sustain you. Once the winter is over and spring is here again I hope you will notice that your heart is beginning to heal. I send you all my best wishes and thoughts. I'm not religious so I don"t pray....I really wish I was....I just may investigate Buddhism but probably just enough to help a little!

Please feel free to write here if you need anytime. You have been a huge help to us and if we can help you too now, all the better! 

It would he nice if the moderators set up a section where partners specifically could post continuously, since we get to know each other throughout the journey. 

Hugs

Misty xxxx

Edited by member 22 Nov 2020 at 10:16  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 22 Nov 2020 at 20:14

Dear Gillyflower

Its really nice to hear your updates.. I realise you have been through the worst this year but just wanted to say I found your posts a comfort and helpful this year, while I watch my poor dad slowly dying from advanced prostate cancer...the worst is the never ending sadness, anxiety from my mum, his wife of 54 years but my dads so brave, never complains!

it would be great if there was an online support area for wives, husbands, kids, siblings as I now realise cancer affects the whole family not just the cancer sufferer and sometimes I find this forum is focused on all the scores and medical terms but my dad does not want to know so much detail and end of day the scores and points don’t change anything...it’s all about making the best of times together

i hope you can have you family and grandchildren for Christmas...it sounds like we are getting a pass for then!!

take care

anne

xx

User
Posted 22 Nov 2020 at 20:57

Let's hope we all get to spend time with those we love at Christmas. Thank you to those I may have helped in some small way. You are all right that cancer affects the whole family and sometimes we forget how much. My friends always ask how the children are but one of mine remarked today that not many friends have rung and that made me sad as my friends have been so good with me. As she says, her generation don't phone.

We are all so busy texting when sometimes we need that voice on the end of a phone-line.

Take care everyone and thanks- 😊 🙏 

 

Edited by member 22 Nov 2020 at 20:58  | Reason: Not specified

 
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