can't stop crying

That might sound like title of a country western song, but it’s all too real an experience when your spouse/partner has died.

After my husband’s death, I felt like the tears would never stop.

I remember being at work, in social situations, or just driving and finding myself unexpectedly tearing up. Caught off-guard and often embarrassed, I’d head for the nearest private place (like a restroom or quiet street), to try to pull myself together.

I realize some people consider crying a form of self-pity.

But I’ve learned that tears are nature’s way of helping us release tension. The best way to do the mourning is to do the grieving. And that means every tear helps.

So trust yourself. Your mind does have a shut-off valve.

How have you handled these situations?



Unknown said...

I lost my husband four weeks ago today.....the tears show up like you say at unexpected times. I'll think I'm doing "ok" and out of the blue I feel them coming upon me - I pretty much let them come because I also feel it helps to let them take their course. I don't think crying is a form of self pity - certainly not after going through loosing your husband of so many years. I have to say I hope it gets better because it is really really tough. I think bottom line is, one day at a time. We have to realize some days will be better than others and we just have to accept that. It sounds so good in writing but man it is hard to live it!!! We can only try.......even if we don't want to. Hope it's getting easier for you Ruth.

Donna H.

Ruth said...

Dear Donna,

Thank you for your comment.

Right now you’re going through the most difficult period of a loss but as I and others have discovered, it really does get better with time.

Take care and please stay in touch.


calljudyb said...

It's been 6 months since my husband died. Even though I knew it was coming and there was the pre-death grieving period, the months immediately following his death were busy. Now things have slowed down and I miss him so much. There are just so many episodes of tearing up and I'm trying to keep it together, but it's is so lonely and I've never been alone. I look at the years ahead and wonder how I'm going to keep going.

Ruth & Laurie said...

Looking ahead can seem overwhelming, so try to just focus on one day at a time ( a cliché but useful) With time, the pain will soften.

Have you considered joining a local widowed group? It can be a good place to connect with others who share your concerns and issues. Any group involvement (through your community center/place of worship), offers more options for battling loneliness.

Take care of yourself and please stay in touch.

Jodi said...

My husband sudden passed away 6 weeks ago. There were no warnings and they could not find a reason for his passing. His doctor says that he may have died from S.U.D.E.P. (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy). He passed on my birthday while I was at work. I was supposed to take the day off but I was home sick the day before and didn't want to take two days off in a row. If I had stayed home I may have been able to help or save him. Instead I was at work and he was home ...alone. I left him alone. I know exactly what you mean when you talk about crying all of a sudden. I can't even say his name without falling apart. I'm so sorry I didn't stay home that day. I can only seem to get 3 hours of sleep each night. I toss and turn for hours before I cry myself to sleep. Sometimes I think it'll never stop. So many people keep saying, "Each day it'll get better" but it doesn't. Each day is just another day without him. I don't think I've ever been this sad.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Jodi,

Sorry about the delay in reading your comment – we’ve been having technical problems.

Given the circumstances around your husband’s sudden, unexpected death, your reactions are certainly understandable. It sounds as though you’re battling with guilt and remorse at not having somehow prevented the death. This dilemma will complicate anyone’s ability to move through the grieving process. At some point, you may find it helpful to get support with these issues from a professional (a medical social worker at your hospital can refer you to a qualified grief counselor). Take care of yourself and please keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband of 5 years in a car accident 9 months ago. When i walk by his picture on my bedside table i will not look into his eyes, i will just glance and look away, I do the same thing when i run across his picture on my computer. My mind is consumed with the pictures of the wreck, it made the front page of the newspaper so its all over the internet. I have gone through a few months without crying at all but the last few days I cry on and off all day long, I have found myself once again consumed with questions, and getting angry at his mother who he left a large insurance policy to, in which i waived any rights to because I trusted that she would help me with "our" bills ( which she hasnt) I have no job and am living on $130 per month and hand outs. I know everyone thinks I can and need to get out and find a job but all I do is sit at home like a prison with no exit. In theory I want to, but I cant. Fear has gripped me and I just sit and think about him and us and the future. I wonder how long i am going to be this way, or will i ever get over it.

Laurie and Ruth said...

An unexpected death, the resulting publicity and financial complications have understandably complicated your ability to grieve. You’ve probably been in shock and now the real pain of what’s happened is hitting you.

It’s also normal to feel anger over a sense of being abandoned.

Consider joining an online widowed support group such as griefnet.com and/or local widowed groups sponsored by hospitals or places of worship.

Also check out our other posts for support on some of the above.

Take care and keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on 5/18/2013 - he passed away on 6/7/2013. I hadn't even processed the diagnosis when he passed. I feel my world coming apart. I'm afraid of having to re-do my life. I find myself crying all the time. Co-workers just let me and never say a word, driving home is scary because I'm usually crying. I cant go through his things, I don't listen to music. I pray everyday - I want to dream of him, and I don't. I find myself begging God to let be with him. Will this ever stop? Lost!!!

Laurie and Ruth said...

All the reactions you describe although difficult, are normal symptoms of an unanticipated and recent loss. Try not to pressure yourself into going through your husband’s belongings yet or making any important decisions now. Trust yourself to know when the time is right for you to tackle difficult tasks.

With time, the pain does soften but try to be gentle and patient with yourself as you mourn your great loss.

For safety’s sake, please pull over while driving whenever the tears start.

It may help to also read the chapter in our book and/or our blog post re returning to work.

Please let us know how you’re doing.

We care.

Maria said...

My husband died on July 1st from a rare form of skin cancer. He was doing so well and he was so optimistic then he is not feeling well and four days later he is gone. We were together for 25 years and my life is over. It hurts so much and I just want to be with him. Why do people say just hold on to the memories. My God the memories are what hurt the most because there will be no more memories to make. I think of him or look at his picture and it feels as if someone is tearing my heart out. Three weeks and it is no better and maybe even worse!!

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Maria,

Others often say things that don't feel helpful at the time, usually because they feel helpless in the

What you're going through right now is one of the most difficult experiences in life and only you can know what feels right for you.

It sounds like your loss was, in a way, unexpected, as your husband was doing ok and then suddenly he wasn't. The shock of an unexpected loss takes a while to come to terms with.

Please try to be patient with yourself and give yourself permission not to be your usual self for some time yet.

Let us know how it goes. We care.

Kathy said...

It has been 3 months since my husband died and until the last couple of weeks I have been doing ok. But now I feel like I am falling apart. I don't know how to get through this. My husband was 61 and I am 60. He has not left me in a very good financial sitsation and he was self employed. I lost my job 3 years ago and I am not working. I am empty.

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Kathy,

Following a death, we're in shock and operating on "automatic", just to get through what needs to be done.

But eventually the pain of the loss hits home.

Sounds like there's the added burden of financial issues. Are there any reliable, trustworthy family, friends or community resources who can offer support and advice?

Be sure to also check with Social Security (call or go online), to explore possible survivor benefits you may be entitled to.

Take care and let us know how you're doing.

Thanks for your comment.

Karen said...

Hi, I just my husband two weeks ago. We'd been to gether 38 years.. He'd been in the hospital 5 months, and things were getting worse. I had to make the extremely difficult decision to put him in palliative care. Although we'd discussed all this when he was healthy, and he'd specified that he'd never want to live in such horrible quality of life, I almost feel guilty. Like the others above, I cry at the most unexpected moments, and usually when I feel that I'm doing not too bad. Difficult stuff all this

Laurie and Ruth said...

Dear Karen,

Difficult stuff all this is right!

Even when important decisions are planned, having to act on those decisions is never easy. It's normal to struggle with feelings of guilt in the aftermath of these situations. Remind yourself that you did the best you could under extremely difficult circumstances. You might read our chapter "Battling Guilt and Remorse" in our book, for some tips on coping with these feelings.

Tears and "sneak attacks of crying" are to be expected for
some time. But as we say, "Every tear helps!"

Take care and let us know how you're doing down the road.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Anonymous said...

My husband died of a sudden massive heart attack in our yard 3 months and three days ago. I still can't believe it some days and other days it seems like he has been gone forever. I tried to join a grief group last night but dissolved into tears before we even got started. People say snap out of it. Others say it's been three months you have to start moving on. He was 62 and we had been married 40+ years and were just planning on all of the things we were going to do in our retirement. Selling our RV and boat where we had had so much fun and looking forward to much more has been so hard. I cry sometime during the day every day. When will it stop??

Laurie and Ruth said...

Any sudden, unexpected loss always complicates the mourning process.

It's much too soon to expect yourself (or let others pressure you) to feel or act like your usual self. When people say things like "snap out it", it's usually because they feel helpless and/or frightened by the reality that what's happened to you could happen to them.

Put off making any important decisions for the rest of the year.

It sounds like it's just too soon to be in a widowed group. For now, you might find one-on-one grief counseling a better option for finding support. Contact the group leader and ask for a referral.

Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband 6 mos. ago. I was married for 40 yrs. We met in July 1973 and got married October 1973 I guess you could say it was love at first sight.We had 2 daughters and was blessed with 4 grandchildren. Everyday I cry it is so hard sometimes I just can't deal with him not being here. As I write this tears are flowing. Ialmost fell for scam on the internet stupid me I am so lonely and people that lost their loved ones know what we are all going thru. I have to keep on working just to keep my sanity if I didn't I'd just get to depressed.

Laurie and Ruth said...

It's wise to beware of internet scams, especially when you're so vulnerable.

You might consider looking into a widowed group, for support and a way to feel less lonely.

We appreciate your comment.

Please let us know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

I lost my partner of almost 2 years, I've known him four years prior and with him being gone so suddenly it just takes me to a place I've never been before. I haven't gone to counseling I guess because I thought I didn't need to. We were in a car accident but his life was the only one taken that day and just seeing him the way i saw him, something no one should ever see I just have all these questions. All these unanswered questions, feelings, thoughts that will never be clarified. He turned everything around for me and died so young. I miss him so much i may not have had that many years with him but for the past year and a half we slept next to each other, woke up next to each other. I was actually in a comfortable place. I found out that I was pregnant the day he died and now have to raise a child on my own. He's been gone almost three months now it's just so hard on me.

Laurie and Ruth said...

The trauma of a sudden loss as well as going through an unexpected pregnancy is quite a lot to deal with.

The length of a relationship is less important than what that relationship meant.

While it hasn't been long since the loss, please consider reaching out to others for support. Being young, it can be even more isolating to be widowed.

Check out some of our other posts
and consider GriefNet.org for online support groups for younger people who have lost a partner.

Take care and let us know if we can be of more help.

Brenda said...

I lost my husband 3 1/2 weeks ago after a brief illness. we were supposed to have at least 6 months together, but long story short, he got pneumonia, sepsis, and cdiff which took him before the cancer could. I feel so much better reading these posts. I felt like there was something wrong with me that I am crying so much. every time I think of him, I can feel the tears start to come. I lost both of my parents and my husband in a 20 month period. Losing my parents was really really hard, but I didn't know there could be pain to compare of losing my husband. I miss him SO very much. we were together 15 years. We were supposed to go old together, I feel like we were ripped off. thank you for having this blog. It truly helps to know I'm not alone in my grief.

marie said...

I lost my partner 4 weeks ago. He died of an anurism We had been together 11 years. He was the love of my life and we were so happy. He was only 54 and loved life. He told me before he died how much he loved me and he died in my arms. I am so devastated. I am 44 and I feel like my world has ended. We didn't have children together but I am close to his daughter. We loved life so much I just can't bear the pain of losing him.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have just lost my wife 3 weeks ago and the funeral is this week.i can't stop crying all the time please help me

Unknown said...

I lost my husband two weeks ago. We had been together almost 22 years. I can't get past the overwhelming sadness and despair that has taken over my soul since he passed. He had suffered from liver disease and cancer. He was gone 2 months after being diagnosed. I don't think I'll ever be happy again...I try for our son's sake, but inside it feels like my heart has been ripped out of my chest. Before this happened, I rarely ever cried. Now I cry, sob, several times a day. Don't know when, or even how, this pain is ever going to end. He was my soul mate, my best friend, the love of my life. I'm 45 years old. Assuming I live into my 80's...that's a long time to have to go without him.

devastated said...

I have sons and grandchildren but they do not fill the empty place in my life.

Anonymous said...

I have four children, two under the age of five. I lost my husband whom I have been with for over twenty years, ten days ago from pancreatic cancer. He was my entire world and I don' know how I will be able to go on without him. I am just devastated and I just want him back. How do you go on? How do you get through the day? I hold on everyday to my children and tell myself I must be strong for them but honestly, I am just falling apart.

Anonymous said...

I lost my husband of 37 years 3 weeks ago an expected death due to cancer, I find screaming and ranting help me, life is unfair and I cry and shout because he and I have suffered an injustice. I hope I will be ok for my kids friends and parents, and hope that by letting it all out I can remember the good times and not avoid memories and photos.

Anonymous said...

My husband passed away 12 days ago unexpectedly. Can't stop crying. When I am not crying I walk around like a zombie. The living dead. I want to be dead. It hurts so bad. I have told my family and friends who were with me to go back home as I just want to cry like a baby without inhibiting my tears. We were only together for one year and had so many plans for the future. I cannot get out of this dark hole. I sit huddled up and wear his clothes every day. I don't go anywhere because everything reminds me of him. Can't listen to music because it reminds me of him. I miss his smile, his voice, his laugh, his hugs, his kisses. I find myself reaching out my hand and crying for him to touch me just one last time. I cannot believe he is gone. Please help me!