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GIL

GRIEVING 15 MONTHS

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Gil, I welcome you here but at the same time I know that here is not where you want to be. I'm so sorry that you lost your mate and now find yourself here. Congratulations to you for finding this forum. Like you I wandered around keeping everything bottled up during almost the entire first year without my wife. I took her off of life support on New Year's Day, 2016, and didn't find this group until Christmas Eve of that year. Looking back, I don't know how I made it through that first year without that proverbial shoulder to cry on.

If you decide to become a regular here you will find that no one is judgmental here. We are all family here. Nobody understands this grief monster unless they have also experienced it. And everyone here has experienced it first hand. I am into my 4th year without my wife. I still have bad days of missing her terribly. We were married for 41+ years. Those years went by so terribly fast. Being involved in a good, wonderful relationship with someone is a beautiful gift that all of us here can brag about being a part of. But there is a price to pay for it, which brings each of us to this group. It's like a coin that has a beautiful side and an extremely ugly side. While our mates are with us we only see the pretty side of the coin. But eventually the day comes for us to turn the coin over and look at the ugly side. 

If you are so inclined, I encourage you to take advantage of this group. Bare your soul here as much as you feel comfortable with. You will find it to be therapeutic to get things "talked out". When you have time pick out some posts of members here. If you do, you will see that even though personal details will be different you also will see that the essential elements of this grief stuff are pretty much the same. You will see that 2 very commonly used descriptive words about grief is that it is a journey, or a process. Some here get over the grief at some point, while others don't expect they ever will. I feel like I am part of that 2nd category. My wife and I were together for 2/3 of my life. I just don't see it as being possible for me to ever get over her. But I can honestly say that by now I don't encounter as many speed bumps on this road my grief journey has me on.

My condolences for your loss.

One foot in front of the other...

Darrel

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Welcome to the club no one wants to join.  After 25 months into the journey I never signed up for, I still have bad days, hours and minutes.  Right now I am awake at 2:30 in the morning because I can't sleep for having had too much caffeine too close to bedtime.  This has given me time to dwell on his last days, and various what-ifs, the ol' woulda/shoulda/coulda.song and dance you're no doubt going through.  You're solidly in Year 2 of your journey, and it's very normal to have these bad days, "switchbacks" as I think it was Darrell that called them, where you return to ground you thought you'd already covered..  I'm always surprised by these pockets of sadness and tears I encounter every day or so.  But it will gradually grow softer in its intensity, even though you will never stop missing your partner.  ❤️

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GIL,

I am not surprised...it took me about three years just to process my grief and there is no "end" with grief, only adjusting, learning, honing our coping skills, and in time the pain diminishes to something a little more copeable.  I've learned to flow with it, it's kind of like a rollercoaster of emotions.  You might have a good or okay day and then be deluged with a very bad one and sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere.  Eventually those days become fewer and more far between.

I wrote this at about ten years...the single best piece of advice I got was to take a day at a time.  I hope something in this is of help to you...meanwhile I hope you continue to come and express yourself, it helps to get it out and know there are people here that get it.  I welcome you here, this is kind of like an on line support group and has become an extended family to me.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

 

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