Dealing with grief

My husband died six months ago. I looked after him for nine years and watched the Alzheimer’s disease gradually take him over. When he first died I felt a sense of release. Six months on I am feeling so different. I would like him to be here as I miss him so much. I wouldn’t mind if he couldn’t do all things he used to, I just want him back. Is this a normal way to feel as my friends keep telling me I should start living my life again and I just can’t?

Sometimes our feelings surprise us, as we can long for a situation to end, and that drives us forward to manage some very difficult phases of our lives.

Your feelings about your husband’s death are not unusual. Caring for a person with dementia is often likened to a living bereavement because of the changes the illness can bring to the life of the person with dementia and their family.

Living with a roller coaster of feelings for so many years can make bereavement after the person has died difficult to manage. Feelings of sadness, anger and loneliness are natural feelings when someone close to you has died. However, if these feelings are taking over your thoughts for most of the day, and preventing you going out and completing everyday tasks it may be as well to go and talk to your GP. In addition you could phone our Admiral Nursing Direct helpline where you will be able to speak to a dementia specialist nurse for individual advice and support, and to find out if there is an Admiral Nurse available in your area.

It is possible to have depression after someone has died, so if you have noticed prolonged low mood (e.g. tearful, unable to ‘think straight’), difficulty in sleeping and a poor appetite, do make an appointment with your GP.