How long is Lonely?


How long does one feel lonely? I joined this site shortly after my husband died 10 months ago after 59 years of marriage. I have, since then, read numerous threads on all aspects of grief, joining in conversations myself, experiencing support and comfort from other contributors, and hopefully giving the same, yet, this morning (regrettably in the early hours), I find myself still feeling the acute loss of my wonderful husband. Frequently, I weep at the mere thought of him. At times, over the months, I have felt I am coping reasonably well with my grief, having joined a number of groups including the U3A, of which organisation both my husband and I were members for some years before he became ill, and I became his Carer. I've also joined an exercise group, Mothers Union and other Church activities, all of which I enjoy while I am taking part and meeting people, yet I can get upset when I return home becoming overwhelmed with the feeling of loneliness and missing my husband. I have a son, daughter, and 5 young adult grandsons, for whom I am grateful, and in their eyes, I expect they believe I am 'coping'. I know my husband thought of me as being well able to cope with life's troubles and strifes, but I realise this was because he was by my side. I understsnd, of course, that in the loss of one's loved one, one cannot expect to be able to carry on as if nothing has happened, and sometimes that very thought is a comfort. However, like many others on this site, we become weary of the thought of life ahead without our life long partner. I my husband and I were very fortunate in that we met when we were young, and were able to have such a long married life together, and I do feel so much for younger people who sadly experience bereavement of their loved one earlier in life than me. I just wonder how long my feeling of loneliness will continue? I know that some people would say that I have a 'new life' now! I'm doing my best to feel joyful in my 'new life's, but do not find it easy. Do others feel the same?
Sorry, I'm not sounding too positive at present, perhaps it is still early days, but I had just read through some of the threads on this understanding site, and felt the need to write. We are all in a similar state, and can write here as we would not feel able to elsewhere. Very best wishes to all. Deidre.

Dear Deidre,

It is 142 days - that’s not quite five months - since my wonderful wife of 51+ years died, so I am clearly not the best placed person to attempt to answer your question.
With that caveat in mind, I’ll say that I expect the loneliness of loss to last until I die.
The regular forum poster, Sheila, aka “Lonely,” frequently told us that she was nearly five years bereaved, yet still suffering awful loneliness, as her user name would suggest. About ten days ago she seemed to have a Damascene conversion and announced that she was going to live for the day and adopt a new attitude. Since then her daily posts have all but disappeared. I hope that she may be tempted to reappear and help you with your question, because I cannot think of one better to address it for you.
I am so sorry for the sense of loneliness you feel. One small solace that I have is this; that I would not wish for Eileen to be going through what I am going through. One of us was always destined to bear this awful burden, and I will do that for her with as much stoicism as I can muster.

In reply to Deidre

As loneliness is something that we feel then I just assume I will feel lonely for the rest of my life, as it's highly likely that I will spend most of it alone. There may be times when I don't think about it, presumably when I'm in the company of others or when I'm absorbed doing something on my own.
I presume there are degrees of loneliness and that it would be felt most acutely when I have been on my own for a relatively long period of time and I become introspective.
Like most families, my family and my wife's family comprised many people who were on their own, some for many years, and most of them were women. I don't remember talking to any of them about loneliness.
It seems inevitable that this week I will feel more lonely and more sad as I have a quiet week with little written on my calendar. It seems likely that as I age and my health deteriorates that it will just inevitably become a bigger part of my life. My mother sold her house and moved to a block of apartments in the town centre just to avoid such a fate and I am seriously considering taking a similar initiative.

It's only been 8 months since I lost my partner will i feel less lonely in time I don't know. I'm only 50 and if I am lucky to live another 30 years it's horrible to think about feeling like this until I go. I as say to people nobody can replace my partner . I just feel empty sometimes .

I agree with everything said here.I remember a post by ameliesgran,where she said loneliness or incompleteness? I think i will feel lonely until i go,but i know i will always now feel incomplete until i go.
I'm 56 now and don't like to dwell on the years ahead,i stay in each day.I can handle that.I can take what comes a little easier that way.And i am trying to let life happen,iv'e given up all control,whatever will be will be.Out of my hands!xx

Dear Aries

So sorry that you feel empty, which is natural after losing your partner. I'm not sure if I will be of help, but will try. I feel that whatever age you lose a loved one, your true soul mate, emptiness will follow, at times mixed with the very real happy memories of your partner, and the desire for more of the same. It is hard to take that our loved life with our partner will not continue. I am older than you and have seen friends over the years lose their partners at a similar age to you. Some remarried or made a new relationship, others remained single. As you are still only middle-aged, life will unfold for you, as indeed it does for all of us, and I hope you do find fulfilment in the days ahead. My thoughts are with you. Deidre

Thank you for your kind words x
Christine x

Dear Edwin, Thank you for your understanding and thoughtful comments. Your thoughts were a help to me. You made me realise I am not the only one feeling lonely. I meet some friends who, when I mention my husband's name in conversation, say nothing to extend the thread and change the topic of conversation! Maybe they are afraid I will become upset, or purely they are at a loss as to how to reply. In the latter case, I leave matters as they are, in case they become upset! Like you, I know I would not want my lovely husband to go through this. As you indicate, one of us has to. Thanks again for your wise words. Diedre

Dear Yorkshire Lad, Many thanks for your reply and thoughtful comments. As you say, 'loneliness' is a feeling, as other feelings, joy, anger, happiness, and the rest. Looking round the lounge in my home where I'm writing this, I have the happier feeling of pleasure and contentment because this is the room in which my beloved husband and I spent many happy hours. In fact, I sometimes doze in my favourite chair, and when waking, for a brief moment, feel that he is sitting beside me in his chair, until I realise he is not here after all. I gain pleasure from the room because we chose the decorations and furnishings together, and certainly at present I don't want to change them. I note you say your Mother sold her house and moved to an apartment to avoid feeling lonely. I have indeed had similar thoughts, but then I realise I would not have the familiar comfort of my present home, nor my friendly, but not intrusive, neighbours. A big decision. Whichever way you decide, I hope you find the right solution for your future life. I must stop writing or I will miss the event in my diary for today - communal meeting in a town community centre, where we, small group of retirees, will be discussing a book or poem. Nice to see people. Thank you, again, for your kind understanding words. Deidre

In reply to Deidre

How strange that I didn't read your reply until a few minutes ago as I had just got back from a meeting of the Crime Readers book club. It's a U3A club and I quite look forward to it. I think many of the other members have been going for years and they could hold their own on Mastermind.
As usual it was very interesting and I will continue to think about it long into the evening. The meeting is held in a room at a local hostelry.