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It really is a constant battle; managing grief.  I'll find things that seem to work but everything is temporary.  Fortunately the terrible times are also temporary.  For me, the more I distract myself, the greater the intervals between melt downs.  Keeping in mind what works for me, works (kind of) for me.  I find reflecting daily of the positives of the day is helpful, others have found it more painful.  I find travels and doing things I haven't done helpful, others find those activities compound the loneliness.  Deedo left a letter where she stated she wanted me to grieve for a short time (yeah right!!) and to find companionship.  That  makes it easier for me; but the companionship, while wonderfully distracting and allows me to wallow with someone who really does understand, also creates an acute awareness of the void that still in my heart. But again, what works for me, works for me.

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The truth is, it's not over after the first year, it won't be after the second, or the third, or ever.  BUT, we do adjust little by little to the changes in our lives and hone our coping skills, and we build a life for ourselves we can live, and yes, even find purpose.  It took me years, but it takes what it takes.  I have the rest of my life to figure this out!

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4 hours ago, mbbh said:

I am beyond depressed. I am physically ill all the time. No matter what dr I see, they say, "compromised immune system." Well duh...

I do all this stuff to get better and nothing is enough. I want him back. I need him back.

That's the thing. We all try our best... do the "right" things. Yet, ultimately none of it really changes our "quality of life". What quality, right? It's living, yes, but it often feels like living in some sort of purgatory. We're waiting for something good to happen, but when?  And from what I've learned in this journey, this may be as good as it gets.

In March it will be 3 years without my sweet Tammy. The days turn to nights and when dawn breaks it's just another day of emptiness and longing. I wish I had the answers to soothe all of our aching and broken hearts. At least we're here for each other and in a small way, it helps, right?

Mitch

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31 minutes ago, Marg M said:

Some times I irrationally get angry at him for leaving, and I know he could not help it.  I know we cannot live forever, but somehow I thought we would.  

I don’t think it is irrational.  I had so much anger at Steve for a long time.  When I get really worn down I sometimes go there, but it has drastically shifted to the true culprit - cancer.  Now when I find myself angry at Steve I see all he went thru to survive or buy time that was so hard on him.  But also I lay in bed late at night sometimes wondering how he could leave me to this anguished existence.  Grief so messes with our thinking.  I struggle just to stay rational a lot.  I take things personally that aren’t.  Nothing is the same anymore without him.  That is an anger I don’t know if I will adapt to.

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We hadn't given it a lot of thought, we never dreamed he would go so soon!  51 to me is still so very young and he LOOKED so healthy!  His weight was perfect!  How could he just have a heart attack and DIE!?  We'd had a couple of abstract discussions about "what if" but you can never really know what it's like until you're there.  I thought I'd be strong, I'd always been strong and I'd been through a lot...I had no idea, this shakes you to the core.

Mary Beth,

I'm sorry you're hurting so bad.  I wish there was something any of us could say or do for you.  Is there at least anything the doctors can offer for your compromised immune system?

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Life has not always been easy for any of us.  I had inoperable cancer and MD Anderson did what they could for me.  I escaped, for some unknown reason.  I do attribute it to prayer from someone who was a better Christian than I was/am.  

Our immune systems are laid bare for any opportune illness that comes along.  We have no strength to fight it.  

But, I had read a quote by William Saroyan that hit me square in the face.  Everybody has to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case. Now what?  William Saroyan. (Statement to the Associated Press, five days before his death. (13 May 1981)).  

And, that is how it is.  Now what?  We exist.  If we are believers, we pray for strength.  I have strange things about  religion when I pray.  They say to fear God, they say God is love.  So, I think of my dad, I feared him, yet strangely, I loved him.  Then Jesus is love.  So was Billy.  So I talk to both of them.  Somehow, I feel they understand me.  If this sounds strange to other people, I am strange............it is comfortable here.  

I do not fear my forgetfulness.  I think some of it is still grief fog.  It does not bother me.  My granddaughter, daughter, son, sister will ask me "don't you remember?"  To remember, I have to "think" and I honestly do not want to "think" so I tell them "I don't remember."  Hey, I do not care to "think" hard.  I am fine.  Thinking, remembering is what hurts.  I avoid it.  Don't worry about me saying that, I don't think it will last long.  

Definitely word salad.  No dressing.

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Thanks everyone. Kayc, I am on a multivitamin and taking antidepressants. Thry help some and I am grateful for that.

John was 51 as well. I was 47, now 48. We had the rest of our lives together. Just like all of us here. I am just so tired all the time. Doctors have suggested a leave of absence. I do not have the financial means to do that for very long. I know there are lots of others who do not have that luxury to be able to take 6 months off or even 2 weeks. So I do not mean to sound ungrateful. Somehow I have to gain a new perapective as I navigate the new norm of this life. I just don't know how.... He was my rock... Like many of us here...

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I don’t know what would have happened had Steve not died.  We didn’t really have dreams, per se.  we just lived.  We’d both be in our 60’s and facing typical aging problems, BUT we would be together.  I can’t say I thought about having major health problems long ago, but I know that I wouldn’t have found them to be as immensely looming with my partner.  The problems I have and finding treatment have me wondering why? Sure, the pain relief would be nice but I’d still be here alone in the world.   I’ve had short times of eased pain and I’m just as miserable.   So I’ve tested that theory.  They cannot solve that.  

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Susan and I had given almost no thought to the next stage of our lives. We had only had a financial review for the first time in 2016. We thought a little about sailing more and spending more time in our favorite summer place, Ptown. I was not thinking of retiring and Susan was thinking of slowing down professionally but remaining active professionally and maybe getting active politically. We had no plan for one of us dying.

Susan at least escaped the long illness that so many have.  I never had to see her in any form but beautiful and vibrant. OTOH it's painful beyond expression that we didn't even get to say goodbye. I really hope I can go quickly like she did, since the prospect of a long hospitalization without her by my side is horrible.

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20 hours ago, mbbh said:

Thanks everyone. Kayc, I am on a multivitamin and taking antidepressants. Thry help some and I am grateful for that.

John was 51 as well. I was 47, now 48. We had the rest of our lives together. Just like all of us here. I am just so tired all the time. Doctors have suggested a leave of absence. I do not have the financial means to do that for very long. I know there are lots of others who do not have that luxury to be able to take 6 months off or even 2 weeks. So I do not mean to sound ungrateful. Somehow I have to gain a new perapective as I navigate the new norm of this life. I just don't know how.... He was my rock... Like many of us here...

I take a supplement called SAMe that helps elevate mood, also helps joints and liver function, all three which help me.  I actually noticed a difference almost immediately after I began taking it and as with anything, my doctor is aware of everything I take.

I took two weeks off work, but came in after just five days to do the payroll since there was no one else there to do it.  It was hard to focus, let alone do my job, but in a way it helped me when I went back to work because my boss and coworkers were so supportive and it helped occupy my mind at least part of the day and feel useful.  Unfortunately, my job ended within months because the place went out of business, it was the beginning of the recession.  Looking for a new job with so much competition was very stressful, knowing I was on my own and no husband's income to cushion the fall.  I literally had two weeks unemployment left when I finally landed a job, but I lost a job three times during the recession, so unfortunately had to go through hard times alone.  You learn how strong and capable you are when you have to be, even though you FEEL anything but.  My daughter learned that this year too when her husband up and left her after about 17 years together, leaving her to pay all the bills on her own.  I felt so proud of her for the young woman I found her to be!  She did it, and I burst my buttons.

Mary Beth, I'm glad you're getting professional help, I hope it's someone trained in grief.  Yes, it might be of help to have some time off work, but for some of us, if we want to keep our home and food on the table, it's not always an option.  I'm glad you're part of us here, at least we have each other to understand and care.  (((hugs)))

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12 hours ago, TomPB said:

OTOH it's painful beyond expression that we didn't even get to say goodbye. I really hope I can go quickly like she did, since the prospect of a long hospitalization without her by my side is horrible.

We didn't get to have that "last talk" either, I wish so much that we could have, I would find comfort in it, but I've had to go by what I knew we might have said if given a chance.  I, too, can only hope I go quickly, as I don't want to lose my independence or be a burden on my kids or use up my assets in long term care...I would dearly love to be able to leave my home for my kids to sell and hopefully get it paid off before then.  That is my goal at least.

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Mary Beth,

I'm sorry you're having such a bad time.  I've learned to ride the waves, grief is up and down, no warning, sometimes seemingly without sense.  Hang in there, survive today, then tomorrow get up and do it again.  Along the way, from time to time, there will be good moments...embrace them.  (((hugs)))

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My husband, John, also said he wanted me to be happy and live life shortly before he died.  I also think "yeah, right" and feel angry at him for not realizing how hard that would be.  But, of course, I'm glad he didn't have to experience this.  Distractions do work to do just that--distract.  I am always left with the reality when the distraction is over and it feels like I am on a treadmill.  Exercise has helped me the most, but, unfortunately, I had knee arthroscopy a month ago, and it looks like it will be a while before I'm back up to speed, and sometimes right now I wonder if I will get there.  Has anyone else here had knee arthroscopy?  I thought it would be a quicker recovery.  Maybe I'm just impatient.  I am impatient with all of this that's for sure.  I tell myself there could be worse things.  People have much worse physical difficulties, but at the end of the day I can't take a long walk right now and it's killing me.  I am a baby I guess.  Hanging in there....Cookie

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Yes, Cookie, for what it's worth, I have had arthroscopic surgery on my knee, and I can tell you that it took at least eight weeks of supervised (and what I considered to be quite intense) physical therapy three days a week plus at-home prescribed exercises before my knee felt any better. I've had a number of surgeries on my bones and joints over the years, and I've found that forcing myself to exercise and to keep walking as much as possible (first with crutches, then on a walker, then with a cane) was the best thing I could do to promote healing and get better. I know it's hard, and I know it hurts ~ and you're most certainly NOT a baby. Certainly "it could be worse" ~ but what difference does that make? This is YOUR body, your knee and your pain, and you've every right to feel whatever you are feeling.  

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