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  I joined this group soon after the death of my husband and I am just now finding my way back.  It's been close to 6 years now and I still don't feel much better. I'm ok, an try to keep busy, I feel more alone and forgotten most of the time.

Some say its gets better but I don't think so. It's just more of the same, day after day.  I don't have much family left and very few friends. How does one keep going when you have tried all there is to do?  I tried the dating sites and that makes me feel worse.  I was married 40 yrs and kinda set in my ways and not even sure if I want to begin again at this age.

Is anyone else in the same boat?   What have you done after your 5 yrs of widowhood?

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Well, I'm no where near 5 years yet - only 53 days.  I can't imagine living with this loneliness for over 5 years, but realize that I probably will.  My heart aches for you. I am left completely alone from human companionship, as it sounds like you pretty much are.  When I try to keep some human contact in my life - it's always like just going through the motions.  I know that the connection we had is not something I will find with other people, no matter what I do.  But I feel like I have to keep reaching out, even when I don't get what I'm looking for - it's something - even just hearing a voice helps (sometimes I only hear them and never listen to what they are saying), then again in other times - being around other people magnifies my loneliness.  I hope that you find some support and peace by coming back here. They have been very helpful to me.  I want to share this little poem I wrote about what I think my husband wants.  I felt very strongly about it at the time. Sometimes now, I don't feel that way - it's too painful.  But it's on my heart to share it with you today, I hope it gives you some peace and encouragement to smile.

                                                I'm Free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free.   I'm following the path God laid for me.  

I took His hand when I heard Him call, and turned my back and left it all.

I found that place at the break of day, and could not stay another day.

I’m at home now, release me, let me go.  I have so many things to see and do.  

I gave to you my love and you can only guess how much you gave to me in happiness.

I thank you for the love you've shown, but now it's time I travel on alone.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow.  I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.

My life's been full, I've savored much.  Good friends, good times, a love one's touch.

So grieve for me awhile if grieve you must, then let your grief be comforted by trust.

Though you cannot see or touch me, I'll be near - and if you listen with your heart, you'll hear

All my love around you, soft and clear.

Lift up your heart and smile with me...God wanted me now - He set me free.

 

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Oh my heart reaches out to you both!  Your loss is still yet so new!  My wife chose suicide December 25, 2003 so has been quite a long time.  I remember it taking a very very long time for me before I felt like I could exhale (breathe again.)  There are no rules, right or wrong ways of grieving.  It matters not what others say or think, how you should feel or not, for it is not their journey, it is not their loss.  However long it takes till you feel you can exhale (breathe again) is alright for that is the time you need.  

What I can share about my journey is that what helped me most was to not sit alone with my pain and become isolated.  For when I did it seemed to magnify my pain and my loss and seemed like I was carrying Mt. Everest on my shoulders.  When I reached out and shared my pain, my experience it seemed to lessen the weight of Mt. Everest on my shoulders.  It helped me feel less alone with it.  I shared a great deal here on these discussion forums during the acute time of my journey through grief and for me it was a life saver!

One tool for me that really helped was my painting and my writing during the times I was not participating here.  It gave me an outlet to express my pain.  The painting in particular for me was helpful in those times when words just could not seem to come out of me, but they sure came out in my paintings. I think of the ocean when I am grieving and I imagine the waves and when it is storming the waves are huge and seem to come out nowhere in the gusts of wind unexpectedly, the waves are not so huge in calmer weather and sometimes there are none at all.  And one thing I keep in mind is that all waves eventually reach shore and dissipate.

Keep hydrated, try to get plenty of rest, and nourish your body as you can.  For it is like going into battle this journey of grief and you will need the strongest suit of armor you can muster.  For me now I feel only warmth, and loved when I think on my Melissa.

The reason I came back here again I talk about in the Anticipatory Grief discussion.

I can assure you this is a safe place and I encourage you.

Blessings, Carol Ann 

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me-alone,

You joined here all those years ago but didn't post?  I'm sorry, I wish you'd reached out all those years ago, I can't imagine not having this place to go through it with, I've been here nearly 12 years.  I am so sorry for your loss, it is something people can't begin to understand unless they've been through it too.

I think when people say it gets better they're remembering the horrid shock of the day we lost them...nothing seems as horrific as that...and considering the adjusting we've done.  In time we don't cry as much, we're not as shocked about it, there is instead a day in and day out missing them and learning to live alone and make all of the decisions.  Getting used to holidays alone, no one to talk over your day with, no one to make sure you got home safely, no one whose eyes light up at the dinner you made, no one to cuddle with, etc.  That part goes on and on the rest of our lives.  But no way do I think today is as bad as that first year, there aren't even words for that.  I guess it's all in how you look at it.  But then I have done a lot of grief work and that is totally essential for processing my grief and for my own personal adjustment.  I saw a grief counselor, I've read books, articles, read and posted here on a daily basis, done art therapy, wrote letters to George, talk to him, have done things to memorialize him, and started a grief support group.  I have been an active participant in my healing process.

40 years is a long time.  I wish I'd had even half that long, but whatever time we get is never long enough when we have a wonderful relationship with the love of our life, our soul mate.  I felt gypped that I didn't get longer, but now instead of resenting the time I didn't get, I cherish what we did get to share and it sustains me for the rest of my life.  No one could top George in my heart and mind, not even come close.  I haven't tried a dating site for many reasons, first because I seriously doubt I'd find someone I click with like I did my George, I don't particularly like dating, and I'm not convinced they're that safe...they're for someone else, not me. ;)

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9 hours ago, sunstreet said:

There are no rules, right or wrong ways of grieving.  It matters not what others say or think, how you should feel or not, for it is not their journey, it is not their loss.  However long it takes till you feel you can exhale (breathe again) is alright for that is the time you need.  

How could anyone say it better?  So much in only two lines.  

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14 hours ago, me-alone said:

Is anyone else in the same boat?   What have you done after your 5 yrs of widowhood?

We have several members who've passed that 5-year milestone, my dear, and I'm sure you'll hear from more of them.

Just recently our own Anne (enna) addressed your question in a thread she started, Changes I'm Making: As I Approach the Fifth Year Next Month Without My Jim.

You may find this article helpful as well: Bereavement: Doing The Work of Grief 

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Thank you all.  The reason I didn't come back was I was in another forum that was pretty lively at the time, I even meet the Admin. and other widows for lunch.  I then lost interest or something happen so I left.  I have been to many groups, and counseling, grief share, everything and place that is local , and nothing seems to really help. I guess I just want my old life back even though it wasn't perfect or like it should have been.  Now after this long it almost seems I was never married, it feel like its always been this way.  I didn't know what I had until I lost him.  Yes, I do agree with what Kayc says,  it is better in some ways, not quite as hurtful  but it still hits hard some days. In some ways it feels worse.  They say the 5th year mark is a killer and it is!  Maybe because we know now there is no turning back or bringing back. We are just stuck with what is.  I really do hate this new normal, its not normal at all.

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18 minutes ago, me-alone said:

I really do hate this new normal, its not normal at all.

In case you're interested, I just happened upon this insightful article about the so-called "new normal" ~ a term we use so often when speaking about grief and loss: The New Normal

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1 hour ago, me-alone said:

They say the 5th year mark is a killer and it is!  Maybe because we know now there is no turning back or bringing back. We are just stuck with what is.  I really do hate this new normal, its not normal at all.

I am halfway into my 3rd year and if it wasn't for the word 'normal' to describe everything I have, do and will feel, I would have checked out of life a long time ago.  It's my tether to validate bearing the unbearable day after day, week after week, month after month.  Sometimes it is hard to hear because it is so alien to anything else I've ever experienced.  I was talking to my counselor about why I am obsessed with thoughts of my husband being gone and feeling so unmotivated by anything I do, find even the smallest things major efforts.  She said it's another phase of seeing this is really, really REALLY real and normal.  I thought I had been thru that but apparently it can intensify, return or just find another way (maybe triggered by some new event we have to take on alone and I have several) to tell us there is never going back.  I absolutely abhor the pain of it, find it hard to believe it is normal, but I cling to that word.  How can it NOT normal to feel your life is forever changed losing your dearest friend and knowing you will never see them again in your life?   Years of memories and things you possess that you did together?  Plus many of us are now facing our own health problems alone when we were there for them.  It's terribly lonely not to have someone to lean on.

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15 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

I am halfway into my 3rd year and if it wasn't for the word 'normal' to describe everything I have, do and will feel, I would have checked out of life a long time ago.  It's my tether to validate bearing the unbearable day after day, week after week, month after month.  Sometimes it is hard to hear because it is so alien to anything else I've ever experienced.  I was talking to my counselor about why I am obsessed with thoughts of my husband being gone and feeling so unmotivated by anything I do, find even the smallest things major efforts.  She said it's another phase of seeing this is really, really REALLY real and normal.  I thought I had been thru that but apparently it can intensify, return or just find another way (maybe triggered by some new event we have to take on alone and I have several) to tell us there is never going back.  I absolutely abhor the pain of it, find it hard to believe it is normal, but I cling to that word.  How can it NOT normal to feel your life is forever changed losing your dearest friend and knowing you will never see them again in your life?   Years of memories and things you possess that you did together?  Plus many of us are now facing our own health problems alone when we were there for them.  It's terribly lonely not to have someone to lean on.

Again, Gwen, you've said something profound here.  "if it wasn't for the word 'normal' to describe everything I have, do and will feel, I would have checked out of life a long time ago.  It's my tether to validate bearing the unbearable day after day, week after week, month after month.  Sometimes it is hard to hear because it is so alien to anything else I've ever experienced."

Given our new set of circumstances, this is now our "new normal".  Is it any wonder that everything should feel different to us!  Everything important in our world has changed!

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Now that I am going into year 5, I see it will never be the same.  Not even close.  All I am is older and facing that alone.  I see couples older than we would be (in our 60’s) and have such envy.  Ones still holding hands really tear me up.

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On 4/24/2017 at 4:52 PM, Gwenivere said:

 Plus many of us are now facing our own health problems alone when we were there for them.  It's terribly lonely not to have someone to lean on.

Amen, Gwen. I know some of us have more serious problems. All I had was the flu after Christmas, but it was my first time sick since losing Susan and it was lonely and terrible. When you're ill there's nothing like knowing that you are the #1 priority of your loved one (who is #1 for you), and having had that for 48 years it's a shock to be without it.

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Tom, I went through that too last month, God it seems a year ago!  It IS hard being sick and all alone.  George and I always took care of each other.

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3 hours ago, kayc said:

Tom, I went through that too last month, God it seems a year ago!  It IS hard being sick and all alone.  George and I always took care of each other.

Yes. Not having that person to care AND having memories of what used to be.

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