mbbh

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I am new here, new to a raw normal I didn't sign up for, widowed at age 47. I don't like the word "widow," yet it is descriptive. We were college sweethearts and he was the love of my life. My husband of 23 1/2 years, John, died after a failed attempt to repair an aneurysm. He fought and beat cancer and was as clear as he was ever going to be. Two months later a wellness scan showed a rare and complicated SMA aneurysm. No one in our home state had the expertise to tackle it so we went to Houston, TX where a world renowned vascular surgeon repaired the aneurysm. John developed a blood clot and we practically lived in ICU for 3 weeks after his initial surgery and 6 more surgeries to boot. He died with our son and I by his side on Nov 22, 2016.

I am lost. I thought I could handle this. I have done a grief group at Hospice, spoken publicly to try to make meaning, am in therapy, and nothing takes this pain away. I write. I read. I lean and I breathe. I fall apart over going to the mailbox. It isn't going to end, is it?

I am trying to deal with it as an absorption instead of a process to which there is an end. I don't know who I am now. We were "we," getting use to an empty nest when our son went off to college just a year prior. Now we are not "we," and empty nest holds new meaning. I don't mean to sound all depressing. It is simply where I am in this moment.

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My Dear MBBH-

I  am so sorry to hear you have reason to join our group.  The emotions you feel are so raw and so new.  Seven months is such a difficult time.  I understand you being there at this moment and will be there for a very long time to come.  It sounds as if you are doing all you can at this time.  Grief is such a challenge.  You wrote of "We" and, for me, that was a difficult challenge.  Since 1978 "we" were "BradnDeedo".  It's been nearly twenty-three months for me and I am just starting to learn how to become "Brad" again.  I can tell you this: It does get better.  Someday, you will realize you went an hour, a few hours, maybe a whole day without crying.  Someday, you will find yourself smiling or even chuckling for a bit.  Someday, you may even find a modicum of peace with where you are and where you are heading.  Until then, hold on.  Until then, understand that the sorrow will never end, but you will find a way to find a future without him.  

I wish you peace.  I wish you comfort.

Brad

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Thank you Brad. It is as if my world stopped as he drew his last breath. The thing is, the world didn't stop for everyone around me. I am glad that life goes on for other people and I hold a candle of hope that I will somehow put mine together. I won't say "back together " because just as I am forever changed because of John's life and love, I am forever changed by his death. I miss him especially this day that my son and I were to celebrate him, Father's Day. We talked about him, said we missed him and acknowledged how hard it is without him. It was sort of a tolerable day. That is as good as it gets sometimes.

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Mbbh,

T his is such a hard road  we are all on.  Please know we are here for you and will listen to you and truly understand.  My Al has been gone for 20 months and it is still so hard to carry on without him.

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Thank you Gin. It is good to be understood, though I truly wish none of us had to know what this is like. I am sorry you have to move into life without Al. ❤

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5 hours ago, mbbh said:

I am new here, new to a raw normal I didn't sign up for, widowed at age 47. I don't like the word "widow," yet it is descriptive. We were college sweethearts and he was the love of my life. My husband of 23 1/2 years, John, died after a failed attempt to repair an aneurysm. He fought and beat cancer and was as clear as he was ever going to be. Two months later a wellness scan showed a rare and complicated SMA aneurysm. No one in our home state had the expertise to tackle it so we went to Houston, TX where a world renowned vascular surgeon repaired the aneurysm. John developed a blood clot and we practically lived in ICU for 3 weeks after his initial surgery and 6 more surgeries to boot. He died with our son and I by his side on Nov 22, 2016.

I am lost. I thought I could handle this. I have done a grief group at Hospice, spoken publicly to try to make meaning, am in therapy, and nothing takes this pain away. I write. I read. I lean and I breathe. I fall apart over going to the mailbox. It isn't going to end, is it?

I am trying to deal with it as an absorption instead of a process to which there is an end. I don't know who I am now. We were "we," getting use to an empty nest when our son went off to college just a year prior. Now we are not "we," and empty nest holds new meaning. I don't mean to sound all depressing. It is simply where I am in this moment.

I am so sorry and feel your great sadness. Everyone here can relate in one way or another. We all GET it...all the ups, downs ( or should I say mainly downs.)

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5 hours ago, mbbh said:

...I am lost. I thought I could handle this. I have done a grief group at Hospice, spoken publicly to try to make meaning, am in therapy, and nothing takes this pain away. I write. I read. I lean and I breathe. I fall apart over going to the mailbox. It isn't going to end, is it?

... Now we are not "we," and empty nest holds new meaning. I don't mean to sound all depressing. It is simply where I am in this moment.

mbbh,

Welcome to the group none of us wanted to join.  However this is a great, safe, and wonderful place,to share, learn, and grow through your grief journey. Nothing does take the pain away.  Your grief is another expression of the love you have for your beloved husband, John.  It is a painful realization for me that now we are not "we".  The words, widower, single, are all painful reminders of what I have lost; we all have.  My wife and I were married 25 years; together almost 26 years.  It is one day at a time; holding on, hanging on and learning how to breath again.  You are not depressed; you are grieving and that is okay. The intensity of the pain will diminish and you will gradually learn to integrate the grief  - Shalom, George

 

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mbbh, I understand totally. My beautiful, vibrant other half Susan died 3/31 with no warning leaving me alone and traumatized after 47 years of the most loving marriage imaginable. I have great support but it can't do much about this pain. It's almost impossible for me to think about the love we had without just feeling the loss. Sharing with other walking wounded helps more than most things I try. Best wishes Tom

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3 hours ago, mbbh said:

It is as if my world stopped as he drew his last breath. The thing is, the world didn't stop for everyone around me. I am glad that life goes on for other people and I hold a candle of hope that I will somehow put mine together. I won't say "back together " because just as I am forever changed because of John's life and love, I am forever changed by his death.

This is one of the hardest challenges we face.  Watching the world continue on when ours has been shattered and brought to a halt.  As Brad said, it does ease a little, but it will never be the same. I'm at a little over 2 and a half years and still miss my Steve every single day after 32 years married and 37 together.  One thing we all here have learned is to insulate yourself from people that have not experienced this.  Once the 'understanding' runs out, they forget and will have tons if advice that can really get annoying.  People that care for us don't want to see us in pain, but they don't grasp the enormity of the loss.  They try and 'fix' us.  They mean well, but.....also, some will think there is a predetermined time line when you should be feeling better.  Ignore that too.  Many of us have learned we just don't talk about it outside here or with very trusted people.  All in all, only another who has lost thier partner can understand fully anything you feel.  

You asked if it will end.  I can only state my opinion and it is no.  You are forever changed and now, on top of this devastation, have to find out who you are now.  I've told everyone to stop waiting for the Gwen they knew because she is gone.  She's never coming back.  My essence is the same (morals, ethics, beliefs, favorite color, food and TV show), but the person who completed me is gone so that will change many things in me and already has.  Priorities, meanings and purpose all get redefined.  It will be a work in progress til I leave this world.  

I had years to 'prepare' for this, others here was sudden.  We all found one thing, the imagining bore no resemblance to the reality.  I'm so sorry you are here as I am for all of us.  I hope as you begin to feel even more changes you will find you can say them here and at least know you are not alone.  That keeps us going and this family here is always there.  The compassion here is truly a gift.

While I'm in a rambling verbal mood........'moving on' is another that gets my bristles up too.

 

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mbbh,

I am so sorry.  You are so right in everything you've realized and said.  No, we don't get over this.  It's 12 years today since I lost my husband, Father's Day, June 19, 2005.  I've learned, processed, adjusted, coped, worked on finding purpose and building a life for myself that I can live, and I've been working on it the entire 12 years.  Grief doesn't stay the same, it's ever evolving.  The intensity lessens, or we get used to it, one or the other, but each and every day of my life I miss him.  I've learned to appreciate what IS rather than focusing merely on what ISN'T but it is nothing like it "was" and now I'm growing old alone.  I was 52, he had just turned 51 when he died (heart attack), it was sudden, unexpected, a shock.  I remember all of my feelings like it was yesterday.  I didn't see how I could do life without him, but somehow I've made it this far, one day at a time.  I still have to do one day at a time, I can't think about more than today, right now, that's enough.

It helps to express yourself, at least it did me, and you have an audience here that "gets it", so I hope you'll feel free to come here any time, one or the other of us is usually on line or soon will be.

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Dear MBBH... Becoming "me" after losing Kev last year is an odd and foreign experience... I have learned only a person who has lost a partner can relate.

Everyone grieves differently...

So glad you found us.. this group of friends here are amazing..

Sending out love-

Marie

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Dear MBBH,

We all know where you are coming from.  None of us want to be here, but we are all thankful that we found each other.  I lost my husband on March 3rd of this year. It's been a scary learning experience, but I'm hanging in there, one day at a time.  Some days, it's one minute at a time, but I get through them.  This forum has helped me through some really trying times and issues.  I've opened my heart to everyone here and bared my story and soul.  Never have I been chastised or judged for my questions or responses.  It's comforting to know that we have each other to lean on when needed.  Welcome and feel free to share, cry, scream, feel...we're all going through it too and "get it".   

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I am also so very grateful that my friend told me about this discussion group. The concept that other people "don't get it" is real. I am glad some of those closest to me have not experienced what we have experienced. I believe in the goodness of people. I know we all have capacity for great evil, but we also have the capacity for doing great good. I think sometimes good intentions are just that: good intentions. But unless one has lost a spouse or a child or a life partner, it is different. I lost my mom 4 years ago on March 13th. At that time I thought I understood what grief would be like with another loss. I did not know that the next big loss would be my 51 year old husband of 23 years. We had spent 26 years together as a couple and were friends prior to that. Having spent 29 years knowing and love John, over half of my life.... Well, words escape me yet again.

Losing my soul mate brought with it the lesson that all loss is unique. Even among those who have lost a spouse like me, there are differences. So many factors come into play which makes everyone's experience his or her own.

That doesn't mean we cannot support one another and I am grateful to have found this sacred space where I can lend and received such support.

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16 hours ago, TomPB said:

Sharing with other walking wounded helps more than most things I try

Everything everyone said, that is your answer.  It did me no good to read that after 18 years, my grandmother said it felt like yesterday.  We have lost half of ourselves and unlike some of the lizards, we cannot grow that part back.  You have come to a place you can share any and every thought you have without fear of reprisal.  I call it verbal bleeding and I do that a lot.  I found this place three days after Billy left, or I doubt I would still be here.  I like to think he helped me.  I cannot add anything to what anyone has said, except you are in a good place now.  A bad place to have to be, but a wonderful place to talk out your feelings.  

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I am sorry for your loss...i became a widow just a few months before my 47th birthday...almost 2 years ago...his death was expected so it wasn't sudden...anyway, I still miss him..but eventually, at least for me, it gets better.  Just keep in mind we do grieve differently.  Doing what you are doing will help...your feelings about this are normal.  Anyway, praying for you...

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💓 a big hug for you along with my sincere sympathy.

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16 hours ago, Marg M said:

It did me no good to read that after 18 years, my grandmother said it felt like yesterday.

Remembering, dear Marg, that everyone's grief IS different, that doesn't mean should you make it 18 years after Billy's death that YOU will feel the same as you did at that moment of time.  It doesn't feel like yesterday to me, it feels like a million years ago.  I remember it, every detail, but it seems a lifetime ago since he held me, a lifetime since I had him here with me...it's been day in, day out, year in, year out.  Yesterday was 12 years.  The only thing that remains the same is my missing him, that goes on...

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There are some days Kay, some moments in time that Billy seems just a memory in my past.  I don't know how to feel about it.  Because at the same moment, I expect him to be back at any time.  Of course, that part of the brain is totally wrong about a lot of things.  I am glad he convinced me though, "don't remember my death mask" because the alive Billy that I knew would be so disappointed if I remembered something about him that terrible.  So, I get that out of my mind.  It is still there sometimes, but some of the things we both did against each other, they are still there, and he was nice enough that even if he remembered them, he never reminded me.  I would expect the Billy that is really not here, that he would appreciate my not remembering the misery.  

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33 minutes ago, Marg M said:

"don't remember my death mask"

That moment in time haunted me for the longest time.  I still remember it but choose not to focus on it.  All of our experience is a part of us, isn't it.

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I don't know if it is because this is so fresh that I can't help but remember the trauma. It won't leave my head nor my body. I meditate, which helps and I exercise... A lot. I distract, but trying to balance between distraction and facing/leaning into the grief is tricky.  It has become or is becoming an important part of me.

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Trauma! In the morning a Dr had told Susan she might have pneumonia but was in overall good health - I found her lifeless in the bathtub. That image....

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The images come unbidden, TomPB. I believe our bodies and minds try their best to make sense of them, but when they are overwhelming... they are overwhelming... Literally sprinting from the adjoining hotel to John's ICU room because he had the arterial bleed that took his life and pushing people out of my way until I could lock eyes with him.... the fear I am sure he felt was written all over his face. This and other images just do not go away. I think they will fade over time. I hope so. 

I am so very sorry for your trauma in both Susan's passing and in finding her in the bathtub. That must have been horrifying for you. You have my empathy.

MartyT, I have used guided imagery in the past and will take a look at the resources you suggested. Thank you! <3

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