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I know this is probably going to sound weird and should be obvious.  I've come to see I didn't truly know how much I loved Steve til I lost him. So much time spent on the usual reactions and I know them like a book.  It just hit me one night that I actually had not seen the depth of that love while fighting the grief demons.  It's so strange to actually know now the depth of it having passed so many stages that kept leading me to more and clouded the 'oh, so obvious' that I missed  seeing it over 2 years.  I used the phases as reasons I didn't know if I could go on without him.  But it wasn't them, it was him.  So obvious yet I didn't see it. 

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I understand.

So, If I love my BF more, what to do with the fact that he is never coming back?

His influence in my life seems to be vanishing cause ithas been so long since the last interaction. It is just me, now.

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3 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

 So obvious yet I didn't see it. 

Gwen, I have gone over 54 years in my mind.  I have remembered times that I could not stand Billy, and I guarantee you he could not stand me, but for some reason we could never call it off.  One time we separated but saw each other every day.  Over those 54 years I went through stages of despising him, knowing he despised me, so angry I think I could have stomped a mudhole in him, but he felt the same about me.  We have even left each other over the years and got a few miles down the road and came back.  There were so many emotions, so much fun, so much love that there was no leaving, even if tempted by someone else, and we were.  It was not the ideal, totally romantic marriage, but it was the stubbornest marriage I have ever seen that turned out to be my very best, my only ever, true loving friend that I am so lost without.  But we went through every emotion in the world and looking back, I wonder sometimes how we made it.  Mainly because no one else could put up with him or with me like our combined , totally, compelling life.  I was him, he was me.  No, I am him and he is me, where ever he is.  And that is why the doc gave me the antidepressant that nearly killed me.  She asked me "Okay, after you get your granddaughter started in life, what about you?"  And I looked at her and told her the truth......I -- don't -- care.  

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3 hours ago, scba said:

I understand.

So, If I love my BF more, what to do with the fact that he is never coming back?

His influence in my life seems to be vanishing cause it has been so long since the last interaction. It is just me, now.

Ana,

You are right in that the love continues.  My life is different now than with the constant physical presence of my beloved wife. Yet I have realized that our hearts have joined and she is a part of me and my personality.  I choose to remember all of the good times and wonderful memories of our  life together. 

My hope is for all of us to find our path forward. 

We can not change what happened but we can change how that affects us.  I will always love my wife.  I am learning how to move forward on this path to the future my creator has for me.  I am learning to accept her death and the lessons I am learning about myself and people.  I cherished every day I had with Rose Anne and never took a day for granted. Death still hurts yet I still have hope that life will improve. 

I am grateful for a place to share these thoughts with people who care and understand.....  Have you looked at the name of our group?

Grief HEALING Discussion Group

Shalom

 

 

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Dear Marg and George, I understood what you mean, that your partners are now part of your personality. I wish I could say the same. Although rationally I can say, sure he is part of me too, I don't know which part or which aspects of him are in me. And what is worst, I have nobody to tell me that. I wish, selfishly, that someone tells me, gives me a clue. I need external validation in this. Ok I have to discover that too by myself. I wish some discorveries were made easier. 

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George, your answer is perfect.  

11 hours ago, iPraiseHim said:

Ana,

You are right in that the love continues.  My life is different now than with the constant physical presence of my beloved wife. Yet I have realized that our hearts have joined and she is a part of me and my personality.  I choose to remember all of the good times and wonderful memories of our  life together. 

My hope is for all of us to find our path forward. 

We can not change what happened but we can change how that affects us.  I will always love my wife.  I am learning how to move forward on this path to the future my creator has for me.  I am learning to accept her death and the lessons I am learning about myself and people.  I cherished every day I had with Rose Anne and never took a day for granted. Death still hurts yet I still have hope that life will improve. 

I am grateful for a place to share these thoughts with people who care and understand.....  Have you looked at the name of our group?

Grief HEALING Discussion Group

Shalom

Marty, I'll look up the link, I never thought about it before!  Sometimes we miss the obvious...

Ana, I don't think of my George as part of my personality, but he's part of me in that he's with me, inside of me, I carry him around, I reach inside for him.  I can no more explain this than the man in the moon, but it's there, ever present.

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Marty, 

I just have to say, I appreciate that article and I like how you explained that healing is different from curing.  Healing is what we're all working on, it's continual, isn't it. :)

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2 hours ago, kayc said:

Ana, I don't think of my George as part of my personality, but he's part of me in that he's with me, inside of me, I carry him around, I reach inside for him.  I can no more explain this than the man in the moon, but it's there, ever present.

The way I see this aspect is that a marriage is a melding of two lives and personalities into one. Over time we take on the traits and personalities of our spouses. We find ourselves using the same phrases. Having the same interests. Having the same sense of humor. Eating the same food. Its not true for everyone but Lori and I were very different in our personalities on 04/01/17 than we were on 07/02/03. That's just my take on the subject and I hope it gives you some insight.

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I think being part of each other meant that nothing you said or did around each other you would only be comfortable doing or saying the same thing to yourself in private.  We ended each other's sentences, we would hear something said and look at each other, because we knew we felt the same, or we knew we had to get the hell out of there because one of us was going to say something to another person we would regret.  After 54 years, we knew what we were thinking sometimes even before we thought it.  It was like being comfortable by ourselves, only with someone you loved being with.  We could lay beside each other reading for hours, sometimes sharing the book,  and touch, just to make sure the other was there.  I dreamed of him fitfully this morning and can remember in my dream thinking.......this is not real.  So, even my subconscious sleep dreams knows he is gone.  The world is dreary this morning, it is raining and I have to go over to that washateria.  I should thank God I can still walk though and get it over with, it is the only exercise I get and with medication, I slept almost 10 hours.

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21 minutes ago, Marg M said:

 After 54 years, we knew what we were thinking sometimes even before we thought it.  It was like being comfortable by ourselves, only with someone you loved being with.  We could lay beside each other reading for hours, sometimes sharing the book,  and touch, just to make sure the other was there.  

That resonates with me in a big way. Lori and I could do and say things around each other that we would never dream of in public or even around close friends. We too would just reach out and hold hands on the couch for no particular reason. Never had to say a word. I guess I am in  a "little things matter" stage or mood this week because it's those little things I am missing so much right now. 

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13 minutes ago, Eagle-96 said:

it's those little things I am missing so much right now. 

Eagle, I wish I could say the little things become smaller, unfortunately, mine have become larger.  I tell them to Billy when I am in the car alone.  I do this when I am alone because I remember my cousin (my age) saying my aunt talked to her husband (my long gone uncle) when she was mowing the yard.  She talked to him like he was standing beside her.  Mike (my cousin) thought she was ready to be "put away" and at the time, I thought it was just sweet.  My cousin still has his wife, but if he loses her, he will remember our aunt talking to her long gone husband.  It happens.  

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Sometimes I reach over with my right hand, when I am driving, and put my hand on my large purse and imagine it is Billy's leg, like I would do when we drove anywhere.  See, we can say anything on this forum..............and I do.

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Healing is a holistic concept that embraces the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual realms. Note that healing is not the same as curing, which is a medical term that means ‘remedying’ or ‘correcting.’ You cannot remedy your grief, but you can reconcile it. You cannot correct your grief, but you can heal it. ~ Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD, in Understanding Your Grief

Oh Marty, you used the words of my hero, Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD.  I certainly do not know this man, and he may be a hermit living in a cave with long unkempt hair and beard, but he talks to me.  I read him each day.  (that I can remember to).  His book is by my left hand at the computer keyboard at all times.  

And, I still think Rose Kennedy got it right, not in her own words this time, but time does not heal all wounds, but she believed it provided scar tissue to cover the wounds.  Sometimes that scar tissue is as thin as tissue paper.  

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Alan is one of my heroes too, Marg, and when he talks, I listen! He is truly one of the giants in the field of grief and loss. I had the honor of meeting him after one of his presentations in Phoenix, AZ a number of years ago. I consider him to be one of my mentors, and I think I have just about every book he's ever written. He is one of the first in the field to challenge the "medical model" of looking at grief as an illness that needs to be fixed, and is noted for his concept of "companioning" (rather than "treating") the bereaved. He's not a hermit by any means; he holds grief retreats and training sessions at his Center for Loss and Life Transition, not only in Colorado but all over the country ~ at least, that's what he's been doing for the last 25 years or so. I understand that (like the rest of us) he is looking toward retirement (his wife just retired from her practice as a physician), and has announced that next year will be his final year for offering his 4-day training programs. 

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12 minutes ago, MartyT said:

I understand that (like the rest of us) he is looking toward retirement

Well, we still read C.S. Lewis' book, so you and Dr. Wolfelt will have left us a wealth of information that might calm this savage beast of grief, if not conquer it. 

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I still don't think George and I blended personalities, but rather complemented one another, we were great together.  We felt the same as each other about most things so finishing each other's thoughts or sentences was easy, but we still maintained our separate personalities.  Alas, that's one of the reasons I miss him so much.  He had the spontaneity I lack, but I am very stable and responsible and he appreciated that about me.  We were just a perfect match. 

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Kay, Billy and I drug each other out from under our parents supervision (although Billy's mom did not supervise Billy).  I spent the night with his folks when we went to get our marriage license.  I did not know those folks.  THEY USED AN OUTSIDE TOILET, how was I supposed to get along or "hold it" the length of time I was with them.  I forgot, my folks had a toilet until I was about three.  And Billy told me that his folks would not approve of our sleeping together.  Oh well, we only had to wait three days.  So actually, Billy and I were little kids together, then we played at being grownup, then we were staid, honorable old folks together.  I liked the last one best.

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I woke up today too early because these darned 'revelations' keep hitting me.  I've told the very few people in my life how hard it is to find a reason to keep going in life.  The reactions are all pretty much the same...we would miss you. I know what they mean.  They'd be sad but as I am not that 'person' in thier life, they would carry on as all of Steve's friends have.  My one cousin and very few friends would not be affected as they are not losing that someone that makes life fulfilling and special.  We never had kids and our parents are long gone, but those are different griefs all together.  There would not be anyone to truly mourn me and that makes me feel even more lost without him.  Where I volunteer,  a staff members wife  died suddenly.  I knew what he was walking into stepping on this path.  His life is now changed forever.  We all talked ahout how horrible he must be feeling, but I felt except for me being the only widow there, that I was more impacted by the news living in this change he faces.  There was more talk about when he will be back at work.  

Rhetorical questtion, but how do you come to accept that your being here or not doesn't impact anyone beyond a bit of crying maybe and remembered now and then?  That you don't make life a special thing for someone as our partners made ours?  Like most couples, we never had to think about it, it just.....was.  When we lost friends and family we were together to process it and, like those around us, carried on in our full life together.  We may have talked about if that happened to us, but it hadn't.  We were just sad they were gone which brings me around to the original feeling.  Whose life do I make a difference to now?  Whose life is complete with me in it?  We all want to feel special in that way.  I know two loners in life, but that is how they have always lived.  It isn't a feeling they have and never will.  They are content.  They don't feel alone.  I've tapped thier brains, but it hasn't helped the way I lived wanting that connection.

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18 minutes ago, Gwenivere said:

Rhetorical questtion, but how do you come to accept that your being here or not doesn't impact anyone beyond a bit of crying maybe and remembered now and then?

Gwen, I wrote a whole lot and reread it.  You would have had to have a spatula to scoop up this word salad when this poem says all I wanted to say.  This fixation with life and death has always been here.  Gwen, you mean something to someone.  If not to someone around you, you mean something to us on this forum and I just wish you meant as much to yourself. 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne wrote that in 1624.  So, this rhetorical question has been here since the time of man.  Dear Gwen, I have no answers.  I do have my family so giving advice would be lame on my part.  I know the old me (I mean the younger old me) would be sitting on some bar stool when I should be in church meeting people.  My gay daughter and her transgender partner have found a church that accepts them and both are happy as a lark.  I'm not ready to go to church yet.  I hope I live long enough that I will go back again.  You, as a former Catholic, I think you probably know more about religion than I do.  I have two rosaries that are beautiful, but I don't know how to use them.  I feel closer to heaven just having crosses all around me.  But, the stupid things I do, they would be criticized by real religious people.  

My sister wants to be by herself.  So did my mom.  I have had my life so I am gonna slide out of here very quietly, if I can, when the time comes, but I no longer am going to help it along.  And, I do not know your health situation, I do not know your ability to go out and be around people, and I don't know if you are like my sister and prefer to be alone period.  She is going to write a book, that is what she is trained to do.  

Dear Gwen, we have come to care for you very much.  Actually we are all in the same boat and no one wants to see anyone jump out of the boat on their own volition.  

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3 hours ago, Marg M said:

Therefore, send not to know

For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne wrote that in 1624.  So, this rhetorical question has been here since the time of man. 

Marg,

Thanks so much for this. My Dana was the Editor of the John Donne Journal (Academic) at NCSU when she was working on her Master's 1983-87. The influence she had on me then has lasted my whole lifetime, and when we re-connected last May, our love re-ignited and it was almost as though the intervening 32 years didn't happen. She was delighted that I had made much of my own way with editing and writing (technical, sure, but careful and sure just the same).

More to your point, yes we do matter. And at this time, we matter the most to the rest of us going through this same agony. And Gwen, you, Marg, Kay, George and all the others have definitely helped me on my journey. I am still heart-broken, will be lonely for the rest of my life, and miss Dana every single day, but the sharing of our burdens that happens here has helped me beyond any measure.

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