Skip navigation |
Because family life matters

Shattered dreams – and hope for the future

When a partner dies without our shared dreams being fulfilled, our dreams for the future are shattered.

Shattered dreamsFor each and every one of us, life is full of dreams. As children, perhaps we dreamt of being a famous footballer or a TV star. As we grew older, perhaps we dreamt of a successful career or the day we would meet that ‘someone special’. And when we did meet that person, the potency of those dreams increased because they were now shared – perhaps dreams for a family, the house we’d live in or the holidays we’d take. Perhaps they were dreams of security, a joint purpose in life and thoughts of enjoying retirement together.

When a partner dies without those dreams being fulfilled, our dreams for the future are shattered. They were ‘together’ dreams and seem to make little sense now when there is no more ‘together’.

Renewed hope for the future

Usually following a bereavement there are a host of practical things that we have to concentrate on in order just to survive. On top of that, there’s a complex set of emotions that we have to deal with after losing a partner early in life. With so much else going on, it is sometimes difficult and even painful to stop and reflect on our lost dreams – on what might have been on the journey we were taking together.

Yet if we are to make the most of the ‘different journey’ we are now taking, we must try to find the courage to acknowledge the loss of our dreams. Coming to grips with shattered dreams can often open up the way for us to dream new dreams and gain renewed hope for the future. How might we begin to do that?

  • Share your shattered dreams with someone who will understand and empathise with your story. Your dreams were part of your identity and you need to know that they were valid.
  • Are there parts of your lost dreams that can be adapted and built into the future? Perhaps you can still achieve some of what you planned together – your partner would be proud of you!
  • Grieve for the dreams that cannot now become reality.
  • Dare to believe that new dreams are possible and, in time, can even be as exciting as your lost ones. They will help as you seek to build a new life and a new future.
  • As you begin to dream new dreams, share them with family or friends you can trust. It’s always good to reality-test dreams with someone – but make sure they’re positive, hopeful people.

“Hope is not optimism. Optimism tends to minimise the tragic sense of life or foster the belief that the remedy to life’s ills is simple. The hoping person is fully aware of the harshness and losses of life … Hope is the sense of possibility, in despair and in trouble, it is the sense of … a destiny that goes somewhere, even if not to the specific place one had in mind.” – Finding Hope Again, Roy W Fairchild