Two months later -- life doesn't fit.

by Ralph
(New York City)

72 days, 19 hours, and 17 minutes. That’s how long it has been since my partner died.
I’ve gone through the initial shock, I’m still in denial, but I seem to be able to navigate the depths of depression with the help of medication.

Now, two-and-a-half months later, I’ve withdrawn from the world. I still go to my day job, but I rush home right after work. I have a really hard time walking the streets of New York City. I have difficulty being around crowds. I don’t even want to see friends. Being around others heightens my sense of isolation. I look at people and they all seem to be with purpose – going about their business, living their lives. I don’t have what they have – at least, that’s how it feels. So I run home to an empty apartment, sit, and stare at the walls. Sometimes, I’ll pick up a book to read, but most of the times, I just sit there. As dysfunctional as that sounds, it’s where I have found the most comfort.

This blog site has been extremely helpful to me. To read about what others have gone through tells me I'm not alone.

It was my birthday last week – the first in 22 years that I had to spend without my partner. I had braced myself for what I knew was going to be a storm of emotions. I managed pretty well. For some reason, I just felt his presence all day, wishing me a happy birthday, and that was comforting. Then my friends took me out for a birthday lunch a couple of days later, and that was very nice. After the lunch, I rushed home again where I experienced a feeling of emptiness.

There was no one to share the moment with, no one with whom I can synthesize and process the experience. Life before he died had been an adventure. Whether together, or separately, we brought back pieces of our experiences to share with the other. It was like bringing together a giant puzzle, each one contributing a piece to complete this image of a shared life. Now, the pieces of what I experience as a single person no longer fit, and if that’s what I have to look forward to, then I question the need to continue.

I’ve gone to very dark places in the last couple of weeks. Taking the easy way out isn’t in my DNA, but I keep thinking about it. I hope to find new relevance in the next few months, or years. I know that grieving can be a protracted process, and I tell myself to keep faith.

Speaking of faith, I’ve been going to church now, every Sunday, for two months -- after being away for over 30 years. I don’t agree with many of the exclusionary policies of the Catholic Church, and I still don’t. But I’ve decided to make an attempt to rediscover my deeper held beliefs – in particular, that there is life after death. I’m doing it for selfish reasons – because it’s the only hope I have of being able to see him again. And for that, I will do anything.

Comments for Two months later -- life doesn't fit.

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Apr 19, 2012
It will never be the Normal we knew
by: Anonymous

Our lives will never be the Normal that we knew before our partner passed. I am sorry for all of you who has lost a spouse or a loved one. We are not alone in this journey.

I am 5 months, 18 days,20 hours and 40 minutes since I lost my best friend, soul mate, lover, companion and partner of 25 years. Keep the memories close to your hearts and cherish them.

Now is a time for us to learn who we are without our partner by our side. It is no easy journey and it feels like a roller coaster ride every day. We can't go around grief. We can only go through it. It is a long slow journey and takes a lot of work and energy. I am trying to move forward as that is what he wanted. I keep him close to my heart and have the memories which I will always cherish.

I retired at the end of April of last year. We had so many plans and had decided we were going to retire to Belize. His unexpected passing changed everything. I am getting back into the work force but not doing what I have done in the past. I feel that now is a time for change, moving forward and learning who I am at this stage in my life.

One breath, one step and one day at a time is all we can do. God bless all of you.

Apr 19, 2012
To Karen
by: Ralph

Dear Karen,

I'm sorry to hear about your partner. We're in the same boat. Any clarity I had about the future is gone, all my fears and insecurities have returned. I have no confidence.

Like you, I'm propelled by thinking about what I would want my partner to do had the situation been reversed. I would want him to be happy, as you would wish for your partner. Thing is, it's hypothetical and it doesn't really make a dent on grief.

My heart goes out to you. I know what you're going through.


Apr 18, 2012
the pain is never ending
by: karen

i am 4 months in to grieving for my partner of 30 years. I ache for her. i sometimes, no most times, no all the time wonder how i will face another day. i just have to believe that she would want me to find happiness as i too would have wished for her if it had been me who had passed. We didnt have time to say all the things i wanted to say. i am still in shock and denial will i ever accept i cant imagine i will

Apr 16, 2012
Thank you, Anonymous
by: Ralph

Dear friend,

Thanks for reaching out. I feel the loss of your partner in your writing. We're going through similar storms, and like you, I miss us.

Today, I was just hit with the memories of dinners he cooked for me and how carefully he planned them with all my favorites. There was always a cup of coffee ice cream waiting for me in the end. Just one of many, many expressions of how much I was loved. I remember, and I buckle. I'm not yet able to see these memories as happy ones. For now, they are painful reminders of loss.

I was sure of one thing in my life -- loving and being loved. That was the one constant that got me through every crazy thing that came my way: fear of losing my job, the absurdities of my family, the pressures of the city. I weathered them all because I knew I had shelter to run to.

I'm so deeply sorry for your loss. I know there's nothing I can say to ease the pain. But I can tell you that I share what you're going through, and I understand.

Be well, always.


Apr 16, 2012
Thank you, M Mack
by: Ralph

Dear M,

Thanks for your comment. I agree, this site is a comfort to me. Every one here understands what I'm going through, and I empathize with everyone's struggles as well. Reading the blogs validates my own journey -- still in it's early stages -- and the experiences of those further along lay out a road map of what's ahead.

Thank you for your kindness.


Apr 14, 2012
Two months later
by: M Mack

I am so sorry for your loss. This is the safest place to be at least for now. Everyone on this site knows your pain and confusion because we've all been there. Sadness, grief and emotionial turmoil is like an appendage when we are left here as the survivors. Now the question of survival- we do it because we have to. Our lost loves want us to make it. We need to find the right path. I did the same thing as you-went to church looking for help. I agree with you and don't have much trust for the catholic church but I do house the Lord in my heart. Our loves never die- they are here with us in spirit. They want us to find ourselves again and know what we are here for. Take your time to grieve, contemplate about how fortunate you were to find someone and have that love in your life for so long. You will find your way in due time, I'm positive. Keep writing and know we are here all the time if you need support. My prayers and hugs to you for peace, comfort and recovery.

Apr 13, 2012
Thanks, Trish
by: Ralph

Dear Trish,

Thanks for your comments. It really helps to hear that the path I'm on is shared by others. I've been reading entries posted by others who are one or two years into their journeys, and I know that I can expect the same trajectory.

I still haven't found my footing, but I'm working on it. As you said, our dear departed ones want us to find happiness.

Thank you for your kindness.


Apr 13, 2012
Thank you
by: Ralph

Dear Don,

Thanks for your comforting words. I'm sorry to hear about your dad. You're fortunate to have had a great relationship with him, and to have your family around during this time. All we can really do is take it one day at a time, and to remember to give ourselves permission to feel, however irrational the emotions may seem.

As for faith, I'm doing my best to reconnect.

Thank you for reaching out.


Apr 12, 2012
6 months later
by: Anonymous

I lost my partner 6 months ago and am trying as hard as I can not dwell and torture myself as much as I have. Easier said than done.
My partner and I talked about what I should focus on after he passed. He only had 8 weeks from diagnosis of terminal cancer. The shock for both of us was unbearable then, but it got much, much, worse,after he passed.

He told me to plan things ahead and try and make sure I had something to look forward to each week. Again, easier said than done, but I try to do that. A week end away to visit our friends, coffee with a friend, accept visitors when they want to visit. I don't particularly enjoy these little things anymore alone but I persist.

My partner always was the optimist, so I drawer on that strength he had and try and use it now.
He was never sad, always the life of the party. He faced his death with unbelievable courage and strength. Never complained and even toward the end days he said he was looking forward to seeing his Mum and friends on the other side. Forever the optimist.

I always have a feeling of tremendous sadness and an overwhelming longing for him in everything I do and everywhere I go. I accept now he won't be back and that reality is almost too much to bare most days. But as he would have said, don't dwell on it. hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I too have been looking closely into life after death and also researching near death experiences.
I too need this to help give me some sort of comfort to believe we will be reunited on the other-side. Our love was so strong it's unimaginable for me to believe that the connection between us is gone. I still feel him with me. He's there in another dimension to me, I know.

I miss him, I miss us.

Apr 12, 2012
We must go on...
by: Don

Hi Ralph,
I haven't lost a partner or spouse, so I can't reply with the obligatory "I know how you feel". But on 7 February 2012, I lost my hero and best friend- my Dad. A great deal of my feelings are identical to yours. I find the most comfort and consolation in my own home, with my wife, or at my Mom's house.
Even the simplest tasks become enormous and seemingly beyond reach. I go to work, come home, eat supper and go to bed. Even the things I used to enjoy hold no meaning for me.
Now, I look at everything in my life with a new pair of eyes. Suddenly, life-lessons that my Dad spent 50 years teaching me have given me new insight. His strength, courage, determination, integrity and faith force me to move on to the next day. Does it make it easier? Not really, but it does help to know that my Dad would tell me to move on each day.
You also mentioned faith. Not to get preachy, but that is the main thing which carries me through all of this. I MUST believe in my Creator and there there is life beyond this! I want to see my Dad again when my time here is over. Thank you for sharing this. We must move forward, because that's what our loved ones want for us!

Apr 12, 2012
It's Just Not The Same........
by: TrishJ

We are all going through the same thing. I don't like to be around my friends.....they are all couples and it kills me to see happy couples. I know it's selfish but it is how I feel.
Birthdays and anniversaries are so hard. I totally doubted my faith after my husband passed. Years and years of catholic girl guilt has made me not want to go to church. I do believe in the life after death. I know I will see my husband again. It's what gets me through.
I miss him so much and some days I actually feel him with me. It took a while for me to connect all the dots. I literally felt like I was going crazy for the first year.
Be patient with yourself. When we had the perfect person in our lives it's hard to picture ourselves with any one else. It may or may not happen for us but if it does we will be twice blessed.
Take things just one day at a time. Anything else it too overwhelming. Your partner would want you to go on and be happy. It's hard to be happy without them but somehow we make it through.
We never forget and their love is something that can't be taken from us......ever.
God bless.

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