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What Are The Danger Signs?

Guest Vic

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My wife of 38 years died a week ago today. We were married on the third date, it was truly love at first sight.

From the beginning we realized that loving and being loved was the most important part of our relationship. We wanted to be together 24/7. No outside clubs, or separate vacations just be together and we were. We developed into almost one person, I would think it and she would say it. She died after a 13 month battle with metasized colon cancer. She was stage four when we found it. Every day for 13 horrible months I got up saying this cannot be, I grieved every day during this terrible battle. Now she is gone and I am still grieving only now it is for a terrible loss. She was my life. I am trying to stay busy and that helps. But this pain of her loss is so great I wonder if I can endure for my children and grandchildren.

Are there some danger signs that I need to be aware of that my grief is overwhelming me?

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I am so sorry for the loss of your wife. I know that nothing I say right now will make it any easier. And yes, sometimes it seems overwhelming. You just have to get through one day at a time, baby steps. You have to allow yourself to grieve. I know you don't want to hear that things will get better. You don't want to get over it. Just get through it.

This is a good place to come whenever you need to vent. We all know, as no one else knows, what you are going through. We know what it is like to lose your best friend and lover. Just know we are here for you. Welcome to the club that no one wanted to join. Again, I'm so sorry for your loss.

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Vic, I am so sorry for your loss...so sorry to find you here where we all share our pain. Your journey has just begun and you're probably still in shock. Many of us have watched our loved-ones suffer before the battle was lost. But knowing and facing reality are so different. You will grieve and go through emotions you've never known. Here among "us left behind" you can shed tears, scream, vent, tell us about your wife, say whatever you need to say...we all listen...we all understand. It has been nearly 10 months since my beloved husband had to leave. People here push through their grief to reach out to everyone who needs support...just a voice in the night sometimes.

For now you will live your life one moment at a time and sometimes it will feel like existing, not living. I truely am so sorry. There is always someone here for you to lean on. There is nothing you can say that is not understood here. There are no warning signs...we each travel this road differently...we all have the common pain of loss.

My sincere wish for peace and good memories are with you.

Always Gene!


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It is a pain like no other you will ever experience. As helpless and hopeless as you may have felt during your loved ones period of illness – the unfolding grief process makes one wish to have those helpless hopeless days back.

Although you feel torn apart at this moment – please know that within this site are caring people who really do care and understand the depth of your loss. The best any of us can hope for is to take each day – each hour – one at a time. You must pass through the pain and actually experience the pain to be able to emerge from it – and – you will not actually recover from the loss – you will learn to life with the loss - and learn how to incorporate the loss into your life as you move forward.

Eventually you will learn to find that special place in your heart that belongs only to your wife – reserved for her and no one else – and you will slowly move forward – you will survive – and you will be a better person for having made it through this grief

Some things that have helped me were the following:

1.Started various projects to help memorialize my lost partner. Anything you can do to help carry the memory of the person you lost – forward in meaningful ways – will help you heal. Here is a list of a few things I did.

a.Establishing a Scholarship in his name at his High School in Michigan.

b.Planting two trees in memory of our love in a park in Fountain Hills Arizona.

c.Made potpourri from the roses at his memorial service with the scent of his cologne added.

d.Had Book Markers made and inscribed with a message that signified one of the primary bits of his personality – his ability to Live Life In The Moment.

e.Established Christmas Traditions so that his Granddaughters will have a way to remember him

f.Having a Bedspread made out of all his old shirts and pants – that some day will be given to one of his Granddaughters – in memory of Papa Jack

2.Visit this grief site often – there are good people here who truly understand.

3.Talk about your loss to everyone and anyone who will listen to you. Surround yourself with people who are willing to listen to you – and will allow you to tell and retell the same story of your loss as often as you wish to do so. Hang on to whomever the people are that are willing to listen – they are the truest form of Angles on this earth.

4.Be prepared to lose some friend about one month after the death of your loved one – for some reason the many people who may have surrounded you for the time during your loved ones illness – for some reason seem to vanish about at the one month mark. So many books point to this as what usually happens.

5.Be prepared to have the death of your loved one “re-write” your address book for you – there will be a natural loss of some friends along the way. The good news is that you will also gain some good new friends. This all seems to be a natural part of the grieving process.

6.It is ok to cry – don’t be afraid to do so – whenever and as often as you wish to. You have every right to cry. Many people are afraid to see you cry – they don’t know what to do when you cry – but always remember it is normal and natural. You feel this way because you have lost the dearest part of you. The pain you feel is normal. You are also in so much pain because your love was so great. The depth of your pain matches the depth of your love – they go hand in hand.

7.If you like to read – read everything you can about grief and the grieving process. I have read over 40 books since the death of my partner. I am going to provide that list here for you. There is a wealth of information to help you through this process – so if you read please do so. Here is the list:

Grief Bibliography:

Surviving the death of your Spouse - Livinson

Care giving * - McLead

Grief’s Outrages Journey - Caplan

Life and Loss - Deits

Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul - Canfiled/Hanson

Wherever your go – There you are * - Kabat-Zinn

Unattended Sorrow * - Levine

Surviving Grief and learning to Live again * - Sanders

The Mourning Handbook - Fitzgerald

Healing your grieving heart - Wolfelt

Life Lessons * - Kubler-Ross/Kesler

How to go on living when someone dies * - Rando

A year to live * - Levine

Letting go with love * - Connor

The dying time * - Furman/McNabb

Companion through the darkness * - Ericsson

Don’t let death ruin your life * - Brooke

A time to grieve * - Staudacher

Too soon old too late smart * - Livingston

The art of Forgiveness, Lovingness and Peace * - Kornfield

Grieving mindfully * - Kumar

When your Spouse dies - Curry

Five good Minutes - Millstine

Healing After Loss * - Hickman

The Power of NOW * - Tolle

Gay Widowers – life after the death of a partner * - Michael Shernoff

A Journey through Grief - Alla Bozarth

When Bad things happen to Good people - Harold S. Kushner

The Grief Recovery Handbook * - John W. James & Frank Cherry

Ambiguous Loss * - Pauline Boss

The Precious Present * - Spencer Johnson

Life after Loss * - Raymond Moody & Dianne Arcangel

Writings to heal the Heart * - Susan Zimmerman

The Grief Recovery Handbook * - John James & Frank Cherry

When Bad things Happen to Good People * - Harold Kushner

Stillness Speaks (have not read yet) - Eckhart Tolle

In Lieu of Flowers (In process of reading) - Nancy Cobb

I hope some of what is listed here helps you – always remember that on this site

you have a constant list of friends who care and understand.

John - Dusky is my handle on here

Love you Jack

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Guest Guest_Deborah_*

Vic, I just joined this site when I lost my Larry in November and I have asked that same question about warning signs. I have a hospice counselor that I meet with every two weeks and I have asked her several times, do you think I am in trouble because my thoughts are scaring me? I did not want to continue to live and still struggle with that thought. Its not that I want to die, just that the thought of spending the rest of my life without him seems impossible. I just wanted to tell you that you most likely are feeling normal but horrible feelings of grief and we ALL understand. I hope there is some comfort for you in seeing the fast and loving response of the other people on this site. They have all in their own ways, each been a LIFE saver. Just keep writing and we all will keep helping.

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Babekat, ustwo, Dusky and Deborah--

Thanks for taking time with me. Today was just a terrible day. I still work part time even thought I am retired and I got nothing done. The pain just seems to go throughout your body, everything hurts, you can't focus. I am still hoping all of this is a bad dream--which of course it isn't. Over and over I think how can I make it without her and do I even want to. My grandkids are in from their asignment in North Africa and they just get on my nerves. I really can't focus on them other than get angry when they rip and roar through the house, which upsets my daughter. Them being here is not helping, 3 kids under 5, someone is crying every minute of the day. I am sure I will miss them when they are gone. But right now they are too much. that sounds terrible for PAPA to say.

Dusky -- you were talking about memorials to your loved one. It seems my whole house is a memorial to her. Every antique or nic-nac has a story about us, and all of our travels.

The friends thing will not be much of a problem. We had a few but we were very selfish with our lives all we wanted was to be together. We both worked for the public so were were usually peopled out by the end of the day or weekend. The few good friends we have had over the years just disappeared during the cancer treatments---but strangers jumped in to help everywhere it was amazing.

I do feel better when I read this site and realize I am not alone in spirit, but oh how I miss her gentle hugs and sweet perfume. She has always been my angel.

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Guest Guest

Hi Vic. My heart goes out to you for the loss of your wife! I lost my beloved husband, Charlie, 16 months ago. It does get better as time goes on and your loss is so new and raw....I am truly sorry! I say that it gets better, but yesterday was a bad one. I am in the process of "cleaning" out the garage and yesterday it really hit me. There is so much stuff in there that belongs to him - things I have no idea what I'm going to do with, so I was frustrated and not even sure where to begin. Needless to say the tears started flowing (gushing would be a better word). I cried and moved things at the same time. I live in Arizona and we moved here from Alaska, so I have a lot of winter things (snow ski's, heavy jackets, mountain climbing gear) that I have no clue what I'm going to do with. Some days are just better than others.

Grandkids....ah, yes I know what you're saying. I have 3 and their ages are 3,5 and 7. They can be a handful when they are little! I know you just want to be by yourself. My husband and I were pretty much "homebodies" and I'm usually happier being at home by myself.

All of us here want you to know that you are NOT alone. All of us are traveling on the same road, some just a little further ahead than the others. Know that we are here to "hold your hand" and help you down this painful road that NONE of us want to be on...... We're always here - just a click away!! Come here often.

My thoughts are with all of you!


(Charlie 6/10/58 - 11/16/2004; I love you Dear!!)

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I am so sorry you lost your wife. It is a painful and lonely walk but having this forum helps a great deal because we aren't alone. What emotions you share, we have shared, what you go through, we have too. It's going to be hard, but try to find some activity, some person/s you can be around, a pet, something that helps you feel some sense of purpose, not so alone. They are right, things will change, friends will disappear, but so will some new ones appear on the horizon too. Try and look for something good in each day, no matter how small...it's a lot about focus. And vent, this is a safe place to let out your feelings. We care.

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I really am trying to stay busy and that helps. but anxiety attacks early in the morning drive me out of bed. Here is a little verse our hospice gave to me. I like the message.


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Patti and Kayc,

Your thoughts and insights are really appreciated. I am in the process of giving all of her clothing away. I really want others to enjoy her stuff. she had so much. Of course my daughter and daughter-in-law enjoy the diamonds and jewelry and that makes me feel good. My daughter-in-law was wearing a pair of long earrings I gave to my wife on our honeymoon in Mexico City. She looks very much like my wife at that age and seeing her in those earrings was a wonderful sight.

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I am glad you find joy in seeing others be able to enjoy her things. My George was always thinking of others, he'd give the shirt off his back to someone in need, literally. When he passed away I gave all of his clothing, shoes, wallet and sundries to a transitional halfway house for young men getting out of prison and trying to reenter society...they had nothing but the clothes on their backs so they were very grateful. It sometimes feels a little weird seeing someone else wearing his things, but I knew it was what he would have wanted and I'm very glad I did that. He had a lot of very nice clothes and I knew he wouldn't want them to go to waste. To the brother who asked for his coin collection "to remember him by" (which was stolen during his memorial service) I offered the hospital bills if he wanted something to remember him by...of course, I never heard from him again. :) I don't know if you experienced anything like this or not, but there were some who were literally grabbing for his things and I grabbed back...but to those in need, I freely shared, it's how he would have wanted it.

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Guest Guest

Cleo was an only child so we really have had no family problems over things.

The women got all the clothes and jewelry they wanted. I did take 6 large trash bags of clothes to Salvation Army today. It was sad to pull many of the items from the closet that I have seen her in over the years. I will be seeing her outfits all over town.

I am busy most of the time. Even though I have many hobbies and interests it is very difficult to focus. We have travelled the world. We literally did everything together. What I am missing most today is the total security we had in our relationship. We constantly nurtured each other to try new things. I suppose their will be a day when I feel secure in myself again as a person and not as a partner. Right now the sadness, and sense of loss is just about overwhelming.

We are dog people. Every dog that died took us years to get over, if we ever did. I am sure losing my Bride, will bring never ending sorrow.

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