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Cannot believe I've lost my husband

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We had been together for just over 40 years - married for 35 and I was 17 when we met. He was told a lesion found on his pancreas following a CT scan on Dec1st 2020 was probably cancerous but biopsies needed to confirm.  Delays in getting a confirmed diagnosis from the biopsies, developing jaundice and stent insertion meant chemo was not started until end of Feb and he passed away on 12th April aged 62yrs.  I don't know if I'm in shock, denial disbelief but it feels unreal I felt I was attending someone else's  funeral.  I feel so angry our future has been taken away we had so many plans in retirement. He was fit and well before diagnosis and thought his minimal symptoms were due to his diverticular disease. I don't know how I will cope with the rest of my life, my grown up kids have been a great help and have been staying with me for the past 6 weeks or so, but will be returning to their own homes soon.  There are so many things to organise /change my mind is in a whirl. I have been dipping in and out of this forum and gained a lot of knowledge of this dreadful disease and am thankful to Rachel for her support over the phone and by email over the past few months. But where do I go from here? how do you go forward? I  would be grateful for any advise on how you have all coped.  x

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Hello Suckicat I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my 75 year old big strong brother 7th March. He was always there for me. During my divorce, the rearing of my children as a single divorcee. I had my 'spare'room at his bungalow, as I lived 100 miles from him. He was my main social life. I am lost without him. I am nearing 70.

He was diagnosed from a simple blood test 18/9/2019 due to Warfarin tablets he took, and he had no symptoms of PC. He survived 18 months. No one can prepare for the loss of a loved one. There is always disbelief at any deterioration of health and even though informed ' he has weeks' it is never accepted.

I had time to talk to my brother about all the essential unspoken things, his Funeral, his children and spent weeks reassuring him to his end of his life. 

Now I take it day at a time. I've been angry, I feel so alone. My children have their busy working days and their lovely children. I know I have to put on a reassuring face that I WILL be alright. I can just ask you to think what he would want for you, and had you left him alone. It helps me to feel my bro wouldn't want me to give up on life but to look forward every day and find some positive meaning. I'm considering a house move, even buying a over 60s Warden assisted flat. It's a means perhaps of meeting similar aged people, yet living independently. I don't want to make my children responsible for my entertainment, or my welfare. I'm still healthy. I did feel every symptom my bro went through during his illness and I felt physically I was dying WITH him. I just know for those who love me ive got to get up and onward. 

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Hi Sukicat. My husband died in October, having been diagnosed in Feb 2019, so we had 20 months together before he died. He was 67 and we’d been married 42 years. An earlier diagnosis does give you more time, but it’s hard when you know it’s a death sentence. And I wonder now if it would have been better to have had less treatment and just lived the best life we could. But you make the decisions that you can at the time and there’s nothing you can do to change anything. 

It does get easier - it goes from being the main thing you think about all the time, to being there, but quietly in the background. Obviously there’s things that trigger sad feelings (I don’t listen to music as I find a lot of that upsets me). Just keep going. I’m quite a practical person and have found sorting everything out to be helpful as it keeps you busy - I’m just starting on his book collection now. 

Getting back into a reasonable sleeping pattern was one of the hardest things for me as ever since he was diagnosed I’d had problems. It took a long time, but it’s just occasional nights when I’m awake at 4am now. 

Be kind to yourself. Identify your friends who understand you and talk to them, meet up with them if you can. I had 2 close friends who had lost their husbands and their support was invaluable. If you can, go out for a walk every day. Buy coffee and cake, or whatever treats you like. My local hospice, who managed his end of life care, although he died at home, offered bereavement support to me and the children, but up to now I haven’t felt the need. I joined a Facebook group for bereaved people but found it too depressing. 

I’ve also started to plan things - I’ve redecorated the bedroom. He would have hated the wallpaper, but it cheers me up and it makes it not feel like the room where he died. I’ve booked a fab holiday for next year. It’s tragic that we weren’t able to take the trips we’d intended to, but at least I can do some. 

But grief is individual and we all cope with it differently. There’s no right and wrong. It will take time - it feels like a hurdle race where you have no idea where the finishing line is and while you can get over some hurdles OK, some you have to keep going over again and again. Just do what feels right. Hopefully we’ve got years of life left and at some point you’ll feel like you want to enjoy it again  

I’m thinking of you. Xx


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Thank you both for your replies and support. I know it will take time but 'I can't see the wood for the trees' at the moment and everything is daunting without him. My daughter flies home next Sunday so that will be very hard but I'm planning to go and stay with them soon (hope Boris Drakeford and covid make travel easier!)  

Hope you have a good Sunday x



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