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That was the day a very special little girl was born in the small town of Longview, Illinois. Population: 200. Around that time a young man of 14 from the suburbs of Baltimore had just finished 8th grade and was nervously looking forward to high school. What were the odds that these two people from different worlds would one day be soul mates, husband and wife...

That little girl, Tammy, made me a very happy man. She was the best part of my life and being without her has been unimaginably hard. 

Tammy lived half her life dealing with horrific medical ordeals stemming from her systemic lupus. Long before I met her, doctors were telling her parents that she may not survive a particularly virile infection. An infection so bad that they thought her leg would have to be amputated. Thankfully, it didn't, but she went through a touch and go surgery where they had to "re-wire" veins in her leg. She always was a fighter.

Time and time again in my life together with Tammy, we were both fighting to keep her health. But just when things seemed fine, she would collapse or hemorrhage or be in such pain that her very strong prescription meds wouldn't touch. Off to the emergency room we went. So much time spent in hospitals, doctors waiting rooms and rehab facilities. And every time we were told that Tammy might not make it. She beat sepsis and cardiac arrest and severe kidney and lung infections, cellulitis, and much more. My Tammy's will to live was strong and my love for her was unending. She had many surgical scars. She called them her "battle scars" and she didn't let them bother her. Her attitude and outlook on life was amazing and so positive. She was full of life and love.

I've never had anyone love me like Tammy did. She made me feel like some sort of superhero. She was funny and sweet and I loved to make her laugh. Loved being with her. Loved being in love with her.

Tammy would have been 48 tomorrow. She would have had a full "birthday week". That's how they did it in Tammy's family.

Tomorrow will be hard for me. Every day is hard. Yet, I know I was blessed when Tammy came into my life and she will always reside by my side, heart and soul, forever and always.

Love you Tammy! All the way to the moon and back times infinity.

Mitch

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DITTO!  - Shalom

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Thanks for sharing some more of your life and love with Tammy, Mitch.  I wish that the story had a fairytale ending.  But, somehow I don't think your story is over yet ❤.

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When you read something like you and Tammy's story, or George and my story, it makes you believe in fate...that we were fated to meet and love and we were destined soul mates from the planning of our births.  When I think of the odds of our meeting, what we went through in life in preparation for each other, it blows me away and especially when I consider how we connected from the beginning.

Happy Birthday, Tammy.  And my dad, he was also June 10, so was my parent's anniversary.  

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Happy Birthday Tammy, I know today will be difficult Mitch, but I'm sure she is sending you her love.  Hugs, Joyce

 

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Thank you for all your kind thoughts. Tammy truly was the best part of my life. She gave me her unconditional love and she gave my life meaning. Now alone, I struggle with exactly those two things. The lack of love and trying to find meaning in an existence that often feels meaningless. No amount of household projects, praise at work from customers or other accomplishments really mean all that much. After about 5 minutes of pride and satisfaction, it all kind of feels like "whatever". "Now what?" is kind of how life feels. I guess it's how grief works. After all, this isn't the way life was "supposed to go". Me and Tammy were supposed to grow old and gray together. We had so much more life to live and love to give.

It still feels like this is some sort of bad dream.

But, it's real. All too real. Too lonely. Too empty. Too sad. And yet, every day I wake up hoping for a good day. I guess I do still have some sense of optimism even though life feels pretty bleak.

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15 hours ago, mittam99 said:

Thank you for all your kind thoughts. Tammy truly was the best part of my life. She gave me her unconditional love and she gave my life meaning. Now alone, I struggle with exactly those two things. The lack of love and trying to find meaning in an existence that often feels meaningless. No amount of household projects, praise at work from customers or other accomplishments really mean all that much. After about 5 minutes of pride and satisfaction, it all kind of feels like "whatever". "Now what?" is kind of how life feels. I guess it's how grief works. After all, this isn't the way life was "supposed to go". Me and Tammy were supposed to grow old and gray together. We had so much more life to live and love to give.

It still feels like this is some sort of bad dream.

But, it's real. All too real. Too lonely. Too empty. Too sad. And yet, every day I wake up hoping for a good day. I guess I do still have some sense of optimism even though life feels pretty bleak.

Michael did the same for me.  He loved me like no other ever will.  He gave his love to me openly, unabashedly, willingly, unselfishly, and completely.  We had plans and dreams of growing old together.  We loved to make each other smile.  

  Now alone, I struggle with the "what's next?" too.  There's no desire to find someone else. I had my soulmate.    I'm not suicidal, but there doesn't seem to be much more to look forward to. That's a pretty sad thing to think, being I'm only 50.  But, I dont think I'll find someone who will love me like he did, nor do I want to.  I've had my Prince Charming.  

I wake each day to the drone of routine life, without excitment or happiness.  I try to find the good in each day, which helps to keep me going. 

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I feel much the same as both of you.  

7 hours ago, Mike's Girl said:

I try to find the good in each day, which helps to keep me going.

I still employ that, it was lifechanging for me as it changed my focus.  I've never had to work so hard at my attitude and focus as I do now!

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20 hours ago, Mike's Girl said:

I'm not suicidal, but there doesn't seem to be much more to look forward to. That's a pretty sad thing to think, being I'm only 50.  But, I don't think I'll find someone who will love me like he did, nor do I want to.

...I wake each day to the drone of routine life, without excitement or happiness.  I try to find the good in each day, which helps to keep me going. 

  We just don't know what is ahead for us.  I felt the same way.  I was 59 when my beloved wife, Rose Anne, died.  I was in shock for a long time.  I could see no hope or future and never expected anything to improve. Gradually, working through this grief journey, I began to see little bits of change.  This year, after almost two years, my childhood passion for flying was rekindled.  Although, it all seems so impossible, just the dream of flying has sparked  a HOPE for the future.  I never expected it.  And then I wrestled with how can I be Grieving and Hopeful at the same time!

You see, none of us knows what is in our future.  We can only see the PAST and NOW and then PROJECT that to our future. We all have a future with hopes and dreams but it sure doesn't FEEL like it now.  It is good that you look for the good in each day.  That will help prepare you for the better day; someday; TOMORROW.  Shalom, George

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15 hours ago, Mike's Girl said:

I dont think I'll find someone who will love me like he did, nor do I want to... 

I wake each day to the drone of routine life, without excitment or happiness.  I try to find the good in each day, which helps to keep me going. 

To your first point, I feel exactly the same.  I had the best wife. It was the love of a lifetime and as much as all us humans need love, I know my life from here on out is going to be mostly alone. I simply can't fathom being with someone else for a variety of reasons.

Regarding the second point, it's so important that you do just that. Trying to find the good in each day because no matter how tiny those positive moments are, they do help us cope. And coping skills are surely needed in our grieving world.

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20 hours ago, iPraiseHim said:

And then I wrestled with how can I be Grieving and Hopeful at the same time!

We can have a myriad of emotions at the same time, all of them valid because they are separate issues.  I've learned to carry my grief inside of me but it's not always the dominant thought, once in a while something good happens that takes the spotlight, and that is good.  I got to see my daughter the other day and hugged her, and it felt really, really good!  It doesn't obliterate my grief or my missing George, but for just a moment it can be front and center stage and that's not only normal, but desired!

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23 hours ago, iPraiseHim said:

And then I wrestled with how can I be Grieving and Hopeful at the same time!

George I think we all wrestle with that tug of war of opposite emotions. After all, we lost the world we thought was forever when our beloved soul mate died. Early on in grief, hope definitely doesn't spring eternal. It's a struggle to even motivate ourselves to get out of bed. And down the road when some sense of hope does creep in from time to time it just feels wrong. The feeling of are we somehow "disrespecting" the memory of our beloved passes through our mind. How can we be hopeful or smile or laugh or God forbid have a moment of happiness? That's just how our brain works  early on in grief. Grief has our thought processes all jumbled up.

With time, and with mighty effort, I think we begin to realize we need to have an existence that is more than just a griever. Don't get me wrong, the pain of the loss we've all experienced will stay with us forever. But, as Kay once told me, we need to "co-exist" with our grief. It's another one of those balancing acts in grief that's easy to say on paper but much harder to achieve in reality.

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On 6/10/2017 at 0:43 AM, mittam99 said:

That was the day a very special little girl was born in the small town of Longview, Illinois. Population: 200. Around that time a young man of 14 from the suburbs of Baltimore had just finished 8th grade and was nervously looking forward to high school. What were the odds that these two people from different worlds would one day be soul mates, husband and wife...

That little girl, Tammy, made me a very happy man. She was the best part of my life and being without her has been unimaginably hard. 

Tammy lived half her life dealing with horrific medical ordeals stemming from her systemic lupus. Long before I met her, doctors were telling her parents that she may not survive a particularly virile infection. An infection so bad that they thought her leg would have to be amputated. Thankfully, it didn't, but she went through a touch and go surgery where they had to "re-wire" veins in her leg. She always was a fighter.

Time and time again in my life together with Tammy, we were both fighting to keep her health. But just when things seemed fine, she would collapse or hemorrhage or be in such pain that her very strong prescription meds wouldn't touch. Off to the emergency room we went. So much time spent in hospitals, doctors waiting rooms and rehab facilities. And every time we were told that Tammy might not make it. She beat sepsis and cardiac arrest and severe kidney and lung infections, cellulitis, and much more. My Tammy's will to live was strong and my love for her was unending. She had many surgical scars. She called them her "battle scars" and she didn't let them bother her. Her attitude and outlook on life was amazing and so positive. She was full of life and love.

I've never had anyone love me like Tammy did. She made me feel like some sort of superhero. She was funny and sweet and I loved to make her laugh. Loved being with her. Loved being in love with her.

Tammy would have been 48 tomorrow. She would have had a full "birthday week". That's how they did it in Tammy's family.

Tomorrow will be hard for me. Every day is hard. Yet, I know I was blessed when Tammy came into my life and she will always reside by my side, heart and soul, forever and always.

Love you Tammy! All the way to the moon and back times infinity.

Mitch

Seems like we have some stuff in common - my Jo was ill for all of her life from heart and heart-related problems, we were in and out of hospitals often, and she had surgical scars...yet she was always so positive and glad to be alive, especially with each birthday!  It was stressful...and yet would I have swapped any of it for being with someone else without all these kinds of issues?....no, not at all. I feel that her inspiring attitude to stuff has been partly transferred to me and gives me strength to overcome those really dark moments.

Thankyou for sharing this beautiful post... though you may not believe it, it was actually a great help for me personally to read.

And 'full birthday week'...yeah, that sounds familiar to me too!

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2 hours ago, Dr Lenera said:

Thankyou for sharing this beautiful post... though you may not believe it, it was actually a great help for me personally to read.

I'm glad what I wrote helped. At this point in my grief journey, if I can touch someone in a positive way, well, that makes my day. It's also important for me to share my life with Tammy with others here. I need to keep her memory alive in that way. She only had 45 years on this earth and much of her life was so very difficult. Everyone who knew Tammy, loved Tammy. People loved being around her. She had a joyous spirit.

If my words about Tammy and our life together soothe anyone's pain even in a small way, that means Tammy is still touching people's hearts, even today.

Often times I've noticed that many others who have lost their soul mate only briefly touch upon who their soul mate was and their story. It could simply be that for them it may be too painful to discuss. Or maybe they are just very private people. It's all about what's right for YOU. For me though, I have to talk about Tammy, Sure, sometimes I write the stories of our life and tears are streaming down my face. But, seeing her name on that page and knowing others are "getting to know" her, means the world to me. Telling the world about my Tammy has definitely helped me progress in my journey.

Mitch

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I finished the first coat of stain on my deck today and it is really starting to look nice. And of course I had a moment when the tears started to well up. Looking out at my nearly done russet brown deck, I was overwhelmed with the thought of how much Tammy would love the new look. And how proud she would be of me. And of course the pain and realization that she isn't here to enjoy it hit me hard.

Tammy had been so sick those last few years. All our effort and time was spent trying to get her health under control. Everything else took a back seat and the house maintenance was neglected. Now, I have time to try to fix things a bit. But it's so bittersweet. Sure, things are looking nicer but I want Tammy here to share in the positive changes. Alone, it just drives the point home that I need to find happiness by myself. I somehow need to learn to take pride in things I do for myself. And I need to learn that It's not selfish to pat yourself on the back once in a while for a job well done. Believe me, staining a big second story deck with stairs is a huge project for a 62 year old man. I paced myself but I pushed to get it done.

On another note, I felt good about something that happened at work today. A customer of mine was ready to leave but I could tell something wasn't quite right. She was standing there with a blank look on her face and then took a step to move and I could see she was wobbly. I asked her if she was "OK", and she said "yes". As she went to take another step, it was clear she wasn't "OK" and I told her to take my hand and I walked her over to a bench to sit. Got her a glass of water and I had someone stay with her until she felt better. Thankfully, I think she was just a bit dehydrated. It felt good to be able to help someone when they were in need.

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You are a true gentleman, Mitch, and I'm sure that lady appreciated your kindness. As for staining that big second story deck with stairs, I hope you'll accept a pat on the back for a job well done from all of us. Not nearly the same as its coming from Tammy, I know ~ but we're still proud of you, dear Mitch, and we think you're terrific! (How about sharing some pictures of that deck?!)

Image result for so proud of you

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I have similar feelings about some of the yard work and barn clean-out I've been doing Mitch.  When I see the improvement I wish Gord was here to enjoy it.  In some ways I feel some satisfaction in getting tasks done but it just reinforces that I am alone.  

With your deck freshly painted I hope you are able to treat yourself to a comfortable seat or lounge chair that you can recline on and enjoy the fruits of your labour.  

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5 hours ago, Widowedbysuicide said:

I have similar feelings about some of the yard work and barn clean-out I've been doing Mitch.  When I see the improvement I wish Gord was here to enjoy it.  In some ways I feel some satisfaction in getting tasks done but it just reinforces that I am alone. 

Marita, obviously losing our beloved soul mate has changed our lives in countless ways, and none of it for the better. All we can do is try to adapt to it and make the best of it. And it's no small task. But it's our only life and no matter how miserable it can feel we must strive to find happiness and some sense that life is worthwhile.

The thing that hurts about our accomplishments in this new life is that they just don't feel as meaningful. In the past, our beloveds would share in them and we could see the gleam in their eye. The smile on their face. It just made us feel better about all the hard work and drudgery we put in. Now we put in the same hard work and get the same result, but there is only brief satisfaction and maybe a glimmer of pride. Then it's back to trying to figure out what we can do next to survive the loneliness and emptiness.

I guess we just have to find a way to put a positive spin on it. We are accomplishing things. We are pushing ourselves. We aren't just laying around in utter misery even though that would be much easier. Are we living the life we want? Living a life filled with love? Well, no. But we're doing the best we can and Gord and Tammy would be proud of us.

Even though they died, that love we shared will always be inside of us. Nothing can ever take that away.

Mitch

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Mitch and Marita, I for one am proud of you both!  I'm not getting much done around here but am helping out a lot in the church & community and that makes me feel good inside.  Yes, I think they'd be proud of us!  I hope you take Marty's post to heart:
 

12 hours ago, MartyT said:

 

Image result for so proud of you

 

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2 hours ago, mittam99 said:

Even though they died, that love we shared will always be inside of us. Nothing can ever take that away.

Mitch

♥️ Thanks Mitch, it's so true.

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Ok Marty, here are some pics of the deck. You have to put it in context. This is a 30 year old wood deck that was never stained before. It was in bad shape. Gray and severely weathered. I don't have a "before" pic but it looked awful. The difference after sanding and staining is huge even though the wood is far from perfect. Once I put the furniture and grill back, it will look even better.

 

deck2.jpg

deck3.jpg

deck4.jpg

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