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I’ve noticed several times people have said the 5th year was the hardest.  I entered that last October and it’s so true for me.  I know every day, week, month and year are extremely hard.  I’m just wondering why certain time frames are like walking into a wall and you get trapped for awhile.  There’s always that feel it won’t get better and I find myself withdrawing more from life again.  I’ve had some extra help with physical challenges taking away things I did to distract myself for a bit.  I’m still distracted, but by how bad I feel myself now.  It’s like a viscious trap.  I’m so disheartened I am alone as I watch the world shrink of what I can do.  It’s hard enough getting older, I just never imagined it would come so soon with his leaving.  We used to sit at the table and fill our medicine boxes for the coming week together.  Not a fun activity, but sharing it made it something we could laugh about messing up the other person when they were trying to count.  I went to bed crying one night wishing I didn’t love him anymore.  Wishing I never had.  That I had been a loner so this was not unusual to be facing challenges alone.  All it did was make me love him more.  Therein lays the problem.  My love keeps growing and the planter is too small.  I don’t even remember feeling this bad when I accepted he was gone forever a couple of years ago.  So why now?  Rhetorical. I think it is because no matter what I do, I’m not creating memories or sharing life. I don’t matter to someone any more that I could disappear and it would be noticed I was gone.   I thought when I accepted his death I would turn a corner and find other reasons to wait out my life.  That isn’t happening.  It has for some of you with family to fill a bit of the void.  It’s also not helped.  I just keep sitting here on this deserted island watching a vast ocean of things we could be doing but have no appeal for me alone.  My new hobbies are maintaining my oxygen in the house and car, trying to fill vulnerable hours when I never needed an iPad because I was content with my books and our nightly routines and I didn’t know the names of so many drugs and medical condition the TV has taught me.  They say you don’t know what you had til it’s gone and that is so true.  So off to our power nap time to then eat dinner alone as I have for years now.  Wait for sleep and do it all over again waking to the big question in my mind...why?   I cannot envision a life without him in it anymore.  My quit smoking support group has a term for when you want to give up trying called No Mans Land.  I’m living the grief version.

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I can honestly say that for me, having a family isn't enough...driving a five hour round trip once a month with added stress of snow possibly beating me home and the race against the dark ensuing is a stress, and it's too short a time into the glimpse of family life to make a real difference, instead it serves to show me what I'm missing the rest of the month.  Be that as it may, I'm doing it again tomorrow.

I like how you put it, Gwen, that the love keeps growing but the planter is too small...I've never heard that analogy but it's fitting.  It's true, my love for George continues to grow in retrospect, as I see all the more how precious he is and our life together, it only makes me appreciate him all the more.  Not that I didn't already know, I did, but there's something about the absence that makes you REALLY realize it!

One year, five years, ten years...it's all still trying to make it without them here...

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I get it about the planter. We had a wonderful marriage but now I'm constantly thinking of thiings about Susan that I didn't appreciate enough or took for granted. So in losing her I've learned how to love better than I did when we were together, and it's painful that I can't use those lessons with Susan. 

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1 hour ago, TomPB said:

So in losing her I've learned how to love better than I did when we were together, and it's painful that I can't use those lessons with Susan. 

I feel the same.

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I feel like we finally got it right after a separation in the 90’s and miss the years we had a marriage better than I ever knew could exist.  Guess that explains a lot since we almost split up over things that we.came to see were trivial compared to what was in our hearts.  But I understand what you are saying, Tom.  I’ve lost over 4 years of still learning to love better and make us better.  We had problems like everyone, but we learned respect and communication that made those times quickly dealt with so we could get back to our happiness.   It was amazing being in a relationship with no defensiveness.  Learning to talk, hear and be heard without the stuff that complicates getting past them.  I had to unlearn being passive aggressive that my mother taught me very well.  He had to unlearn anger that scared me and shut me down.  It was amazing.  

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On 1/31/2019 at 11:48 PM, Gwenivere said:

I’ve noticed several times people have said the 5th year was the hardest.  I entered that last October and it’s so true for me.  I know every day, week, month and year are extremely hard.  I’m just wondering why certain time frames are like walking into a wall and you get trapped for awhile.  There’s always that feel it won’t get better and I find myself withdrawing more from life again.  I’ve had some extra help with physical challenges taking away things I did to distract myself for a bit.  I’m still distracted, but by how bad I feel myself now.  It’s like a viscious trap.  I’m so disheartened I am alone as I watch the world shrink of what I can do.  It’s hard enough getting older, I just never imagined it would come so soon with his leaving.  We used to sit at the table and fill our medicine boxes for the coming week together.  Not a fun activity, but sharing it made it something we could laugh about messing up the other person when they were trying to count.  I went to bed crying one night wishing I didn’t love him anymore.  Wishing I never had.  That I had been a loner so this was not unusual to be facing challenges alone.  All it did was make me love him more.  Therein lays the problem.  My love keeps growing and the planter is too small.  I don’t even remember feeling this bad when I accepted he was gone forever a couple of years ago.  So why now?  Rhetorical. I think it is because no matter what I do, I’m not creating memories or sharing life. I don’t matter to someone any more that I could disappear and it would be noticed I was gone.   I thought when I accepted his death I would turn a corner and find other reasons to wait out my life.  That isn’t happening.  It has for some of you with family to fill a bit of the void.  It’s also not helped.  I just keep sitting here on this deserted island watching a vast ocean of things we could be doing but have no appeal for me alone.  My new hobbies are maintaining my oxygen in the house and car, trying to fill vulnerable hours when I never needed an iPad because I was content with my books and our nightly routines and I didn’t know the names of so many drugs and medical condition the TV has taught me.  They say you don’t know what you had til it’s gone and that is so true.  So off to our power nap time to then eat dinner alone as I have for years now.  Wait for sleep and do it all over again waking to the big question in my mind...why?   I cannot envision a life without him in it anymore.  My quit smoking support group has a term for when you want to give up trying called No Mans Land.  I’m living the grief version.

It's always a comfort of some sort to hear someone else name what you feel and feel so alone in.  You did that by saying 5 years was worse still.  It's been 3 and 1/2 for me and I feel like I'm dying.  I keep thinking I will.  Can't imagine what is keeping me alive.  I have stress up the whazoo, am depressed a lot, lots of anxiety; my eating and drinking habits have gotten worse...what is keeping me here where I don't really want to be.  There must be some hope in there that I don't see or feel.  I am so tired of missing, feeling alone, dying to be touched with love, on and on....I think I've been in  no man's land for 3 and 1/2 years....Cookie

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On 2/3/2019 at 5:04 PM, TomPB said:

So in losing her I've learned how to love better than I did when we were together, 

Tom, this is exactly how I feel.  I embrace this enlightenment!  The only difference is that I don't think about the "what if's," again, as I can only move forward.

I have recently moved from a state of grief, to one of acceptance.  I still miss Stephen, but I can think of him and our times together with joy and a smile instead of pain and tears.  I have also picked up my first non-self-help book (serious sci-fi is my thing) and am enjoying.  I haven't read a book since Stephen transitioned almost six months ago.

And at the end of the day, I don't move into a shock or surprise that I haven't grieved for him.  Or thought of him every single minute.  I know he's busy, and I've got living to do.  He certainly wants that for me.

I've moved on to another level spiritually again.  My heart and soul are coming into sync, and I'm feeling more love and grace and gratitude.  I step lighter these days in that my feet don't feel so heavy carrying my hurting heart.

I wish moments of the same for all of you.

~Shirley

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Shirley, my counselor wrote that once the most intense grief passes there is often a state of deep sadness, and I think I've entered it. I'm not deeply sad all the time, but I go from being OK in my current life to being hit with the thought that it's a fake life, nothing is real without Susan. I'm feeling very strongly that I repeat the same grief thoughts and feelings endlessly and I'm sick of listening to myself, which is why I've been less active here.

Coming up on V-day, where Susan geve me a Heart she knitted on our last, in 2017. Cards say hope for many more, and she had a month and a half to live. This week I'm going to the annual mtg of the org where Susan was active on the Board and I established scholarships in her memory. Wed is a dinner for the first awardees. Will be hyper emotional.

I like sci-fi too. Recommend "The Expanse" on Amazon. Best to all, TomPB

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6 hours ago, TomPB said:

Shirley, my counselor wrote that once the most intense grief passes there is often a state of deep sadness, and I think I've entered it. I'm not deeply sad all the time, but I go from being OK in my current life to being hit with the thought that it's a fake life, nothing is real without Susan. I'm feeling very strongly that I repeat the same grief thoughts and feelings endlessly and I'm sick of listening to myself, which is why I've been less active here.

I don’t know if we are experiencing the same thing.  I know I can be sitting here in my usual state of feeling just blah.  I’m just existing.  Then something will shift and I am gripped by intense depression and want to curl up and disappear.  A fake life is definitely something I can relate to.  I know I have accepted he is not coming back.  I’m noticing they do happen at predictable times by paying attention.  It’s always when we spent time together like dinner, our once TV or movie time, going to bed and trying to fit with one dog that always got there first.  It’s trying to fill times that are engrained in me for years.  4 years of his being gone is long but short too.  It’s like I can still hear him in my head or see him doing what he did.  When things go wrong he tended to I really got hit with the reality.  Some I can figure out, others not.  But basically it’s I am existing, but not really living life.  Does any of this sound the same?

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I relate to what you're saying, Tom...the intensity of grief lessens as we begin to adjust, but then there's just this type of sadness for lack of better description, that we carry inside of us, it's always there, lurking just below the surface, so no matter what we do, we can be laughing, smiling, with friends, but we also carry this sadness at the same time.  Grief never leaves us, it just changes form in how we carry it or what it looks like.

Thinking of you and everyone else here as Valentine's Day approaches.  For me it's just depressing.  George and I always celebrated Valentine's, it's hard watching the rest of the world celebrate and knowing for yourself it's a thing of the past.

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Valentines Day has only become a trigger now because the TV is on so much.  All the commercials for 'stuff' for your sweetheart.  It wasn’t a special day for us.  Now it’s making me think of him because of all the ads.  Not the stuff, the couples.  I think one year I drew a heart on a post it and left it on his mirror.  

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9 hours ago, kayc said:

...Thinking of you and everyone else here as Valentine's Day approaches.  For me it's just depressing.  George and I always celebrated Valentine's, it's hard watching the rest of the world celebrate and knowing for yourself it's a thing of the past.

Thank you, Kayc,

Valentines Day was very special to us since I proposed to Rose Anne on Valentine's Day and we planned to get married one year later.  That was changed to December 9th, because we later decided that we wanted to be married before we bought our home.

On our last Valentine's Day together that we celebrated was a wonderful weekend of remembering and enjoying all of the special times we shared. It was such a blessed time... I had no hint or inclination that she would suddenly die just two days later while I was away at work.  It was such a shock to find her.  Now,  four years later, the shock and awe has finally wore off and I have learned to accept and deal with each day as it comes (most of the time).  I still have my moments of grief, and pain.  Life is very different now.

I still get aggravated by all of the commercialism of Valentine's Day,  yet I cherish that we were able to celebrate 25 years of incredible love for each other every day we were together.  I plan to be busy working or doing something to keep myself busy as this too shall pass! - Shalom

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Somehow visiting a gravesite is just not the same as sharing a special moment, kiss, or dinner so I will do none of them and treat it as just another day, like so many other lonely ones now. Was listening to one of my "Kitaro" cds while running errands today. Beautiful music, but sad at the same time as I remembered a concert we attended many years ago. Almost 6 years and the sadness never ends.

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Gwen, I thought that was so touching, your putting that on a post it on his mirror.  That's the kind of thing we did for each other, but it's very poignant your doing that when he's gone...who knows, maybe they can see what we do.

George, with all of the meaning Valentine's had for you and Rose Anne, you will most definitely be in my prayers Thursday.  That's hard.  I tend to try to distract myself (keep busy) on those hard days too, just to get through them.

Incidentally, if anyone is wondering how to handle Valentine's Day, here's some articles:
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2011/02/grief-rituals-can-help-on-valentines.html
https://www.refugeingrief.com/2017/02/14/valentines-day-youre-grieving/
https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-to-survive-valentines-day-grief-1132537
https://whatsyourgrief.com/grief-and-valentines-day-2014/
https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2012/02/08/coping-with-grief-on-valentines-day/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beautiful-grief/201202/what-do-about-valentines-day
http://widowchick.blogspot.com/2014/02/single-on-valentines-day-and-box-of.html

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12 hours ago, KarenK said:

Somehow visiting a gravesite is just not the same as sharing a special moment, kiss, or dinner so I will do none of them and treat it as just another day, like so many other lonely ones now.

Almost 6 years and the sadness never ends.

Karen:  Anymore, for me, all of those special moments are treated as just another lonely day with never ending sadness.   I do try hard though to remember the sweet memories and force a smile in my heart for a few minutes each day, but it is so hard at times.  Dee

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I also have the great sadness more now than in the beginning.  It morphs into anxiety or depression....don't know why that happens.  Wish I could move forward better.  Want to enjoy life but it just doesn't come.  I do enjoy moments but the sorrow always comes right back and it is very heavy....trying to ignore Valentine's day....very hurtful watching ads with all the couples.  Hugs to you all.....Cookie

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Valentines Day always is an excuse for an outing for me.......We were always great ones for the Holidays....St Pats day next(all excuses for Beer)

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I gotta laugh,, Kevin.  I’m surprised Steve didn’t think of that as he loved his vodka.  🍸

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Found a new way to embarrass myself, neighbors asked if I'd be interested in going to play Shuffel board ...I said yes, even though its been 40 years since I played.....I lost all three games I played but "won " the losers prize($4).....Lots of fun and met a whole bunch of new people....It's on my Tuesday schedule as a reoccurring event now...Still in deep freeze up here, another 10-12 days then its over.....below Zero for the high

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Kevin, you are really showing your age now(lol). When I was growing up, we lived in mobile home parks. All of them had a shuffleboard court. Of course, only old codgers played shuffleboard. And little kids, like me. Glad you met some new friends and had a good time. Hope it's an indoor court.??

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Hey, I'd take the loser's prize!  :D  I'm sorry it's so cold, I can't imagine it continuing that long, I shouldn't complain about the Pacific Northwest, it's not only beautiful but most of the time the weather is moderate, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, no sub-degree temperatures, just the dreaded snow in February!

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This is an odd phenomenon for here in the PNW.  Usually snow is December or January.  And nothing cripples the city.  No refuse pick up in weeks.  Still don’t know when.  More snow predicted next week, but very minor with higher temps.  It’s at that ugly phase now.  Dirty from traffic.   No postcard beauty.

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Last year my hard month was February also.  I always feel relieved to get a milder January because I practically live at the church in January, trying to get all of the year end stuff done...a bookkeeper's hardest time of year!  I feel grateful for a mild January this year too, it was hard to get everything done I needed to in between winter storms, but I made it!  Now to get through February!  They predicted an inch last night, inch today...nope!  I woke up at 4 am to the heaviest wettest sludge, about 3" so far and it's really putting it down!  Lord knows how much I'll end up with but it's back breaking type snow to move.

I'm sorry you don't even have garbage service right now, Gwen.  I guess they're hearty trash haulers here because they still came out.  I had to haul my loaded trash can up my driveway, normally they come down into the driveway to get it, but they put out notice to have it on the street during snow, so even though I shoveled my driveway, I complied.  It's hard for them to maneuver the pathways in snow with turning around, etc.  One thing I did one year they couldn't pick up, I put all of the paper garbage in my shop and only put the icky stuff in the can...I only have one can and no spares.  That way less attraction for mice or wild animals.

I hope there's soon an end to this!

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Just back from Austin TX and ABQ NM. On 2/13 I went to Austin for the annual meeting of the org with which I'm making my primary effort to make Susan remembered. It was an incredible high with so much love in the room after I spoke. Everyone agreed tht Susan was with us. Then on V-day I went to AA and showed my Heart that Susan knitted for me on our last, when we had no clue that she had just a month and a half to live. A guy at the mtg was grieving his mom who had been murdered on V-day so we bonded over that.  

Then to ABQ to stay with a woman friend who I thought of as a possible new partner. Long story short, looks like not happening. We did some nice things but she kept her distance in a way I had not expected and on Sun I had gone from the peak to the trough of the wave. I'm OK now but unsure what next with this relationship which is important to me. 

Then Mar coming, my big month. 3/1/17 we left for our last vacation and Susan was going up and down the hills on the island like a teenager, 3/31/17 she departed this world and left her 🐼 behind to navigate grief world.

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It's so hard to fathom how she was doing so well...and then wasn't.  Same with George.  Or at least he didn't let on just how badly he was feeling, still going on hikes, helping friends move, etc.

About your lady friend, I'd have a talk with her, it's the only way to find out what she's thinking.

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