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DebiW

Personality changes after husband’s passing

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Since my husband’s passing a little over a year and a half ago my personality has changed. I am more anxious, out spoken and have trouble sleeping. I seem to dwell on the bad times with my husband instead of the good. I think it is too painful to remember the good times. It is much easier to be mad at him. Is this familiar behavior for others?

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DebiW,

There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Each person experiences in a unique and different way and yet we all still grieve and miss our beloved.  It helps to understand that your feelings are okay and acceptable.  I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat, felt anxious and at times even had difficulty even breathing.  Nothing in my life prepared me for this. Earlier, my mother, brother, and best friend died(several years earlier), however my wife was there to comfort and console me. 

My beloved wife, Rose Anne, And I were married for 25 years and her sudden death was "Shock and AWE" to me and my way of life.  Fortunately, I found this safe place and wonderful, kind people who listened to my story, cared, and shared.  They gave me wonderful suggestions of how to deal with some of these issues and a pathway to work through grief.  

Debi, most of all, know that you are not alone.  People in this community truly care and understand your loss and profound grief. We are all here to help you like others have helped us through this process. - George - Shalom (Peace)

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Thank-you George for your response, and I am very sorry for your loss.

My biggest concern is I feel I am not honoring my husband’s memory by being mad at him. I feel guilty. But, you are right there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Thank-you for reminding me of that. Blessings to you! Debi

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Hello Debi, it is Jackie here,  I am glad at last you found your way to joining this forum...Yes since Richards passing, i too have had a go at him for keeping things to himself, he was a private man who would not want to worry me, well too late because he has, he is now gone...I have also now seen some of his emails that he had sent to some members of his family  when telling them that he was due at some point to have open heart surgery that he was telling them, nothing for them to worry about, by trying to play it down that he was not worried, and telling them " it was just routine nowadays," but i know he was, and so was i worried...Yes i am angry with him that he never listened to me a year or two ago when i kept telling him, " that's a nasty cough you have, " i would mention it to your doctor next time you go..but of course he never did..also i had kept telling him more recently that his face was losing his glowing colour, that it was becoming very pale, but again this was ignored for some time...If he had just listened to me, just maybe he would be here now...Yes anger is all part and parcel of going through our bereavement process...

As for the bad times, there were many but for me, i am more focusing and crying now over our good times, yet when my Richard was here, it was all our bad times, and the bad things about him but now since his death, i have gone completely the opposite way..maybe i am realising now, too late of course, just what a good person he really was, and just how much i really did - do love him, and how much i now appreciate him for knowing deep down how much he truly cared for me...again too late to tell him this face to face...but it wont stop me from telling him this over and over again, i just hope and pray Richard can hear me, up above in our Gods safe hands..then let me know that he knows this, so as to put me out of my misery...I am still awaiting on a sign from him as i know i shan't be at peace until i receive it...

Debi, i believe it is more the anger of them leaving us, but they did not leave us, they were taken from us, it was not our hubby or partners fault..they did not want, nor ask to go...

Jackie.....sending you a (( hug ))

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I have a lot of anger with myself...I am now often laying across my Richards bed, rubbing my hands across his pillows and crying and talking to him...My anger is with myself and God, asking why am i the only one left? am i being punished for the bad person i have been? as i know i have not been a nice person...is this my punishment?...God did not need to punish Richard, he did nothing wrong...why did God have to take him away from me, it should have been me who was to go first, not him...

It wasn't that too long ago, i had Richard in my life for 20 years, three darling dogs, my-our fur babies, now one by one they have been taken from us-from me, now Richard has been taken from me, i am the only one left, and i dont like this one bit...this was not the way this was meant to be...

Jackie...

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On 8/9/2019 at 6:29 PM, DebiW said:

I am more anxious, out spoken and have trouble sleeping.

That's pretty normal in grief.  I learned to stand up for myself because the one who used to have my back is gone.  I had to get help for my anxiety and sleep.  It doesn't always do the trick but it's better than nothing.

I also had a time where I felt angry with him for abandoning me.  I know with my head he didn't but we're dealing with feelings and they don't always have to make sense.

I wrote this based on what I'd found helpful in my journey and I hope something in it is helpful to you.
 

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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On 8/9/2019 at 11:57 PM, Jackie - Richard said:

I have a lot of anger with myself...I am now often laying across my Richards bed, rubbing my hands across his pillows and crying and talking to him...My anger is with myself and God, asking why am i the only one left? am i being punished for the bad person i have been? as i know i have not been a nice person...is this is my punishment?...God did not need to punish Richard, he did nothing wrong...why did God have to take him away from me, it should have been me who was to go first, not him...

It wasn't that too long ago, i had Richard in my life for 20 years, three darling dogs, my-our fur babies, now one by one they have been taken from us-from me, now Richard has been taken from me, i am the only one left, and i dont like this one bit...this was not the way this was meant to be...

Jackie...

Oh sweet Jackie, my heart just hurts for you reading this.  You're not being "punished", although I can see how you'd feel that way...we look for reasons when there are none...we all die, it doesn't seem to have rhyme or reason, my George was the most caring person I knew and he died so young, he looked so fit and healthy.  Life is unfair.  John 9 talks about a blind man and Jesus was asked who had sinned, him or his parents, that this should be...Jesus told them neither.  I don't know why some of us seem to be singled out for hardship while others seem born with a silver spoon in their mouth.  It just is.  But I assure you this has nothing to do with you, it just affects the heck out of you.  I too have had tons of loss, and there seems to be no end to it, but it's nothing I did.  Our lives sure change with this.

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On 8/9/2019 at 7:27 PM, DebiW said:

I feel I am not honoring my husband’s memory by being mad at him. I feel guilty.

Our grief is ever evolving, this is likely temporary, it was for me and I haven't heard of anyone staying mad for the duration.  Guilt is common in grief, it's as if we're going through all the what ifs in an effort to find a different ending, but there isn't one. You're not responsible for this.
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/12/grief-and-burden-of-guilt.html

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2012/03/guilt-and-regret-in-grief.html

I can't talk you out of your feelings, feelings are just there, neither right or wrong, I felt in my own journey that they were just there to contend with.  Since you're feeling this way, maybe you could write him a letter and tell him what you feel guilty for and ask him to forgive you.  Just the act of writing it out can be cathartic.

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Thank-you for the support and advice Jackie and Kayc.

Jackie you know how badly I feel,  I wish this had never happened to you! You know I will keep in contact. But, I feel overwhelmed talking about this. My feelings are that I just want to delete this topic and my account. Nothing personal to anyone. I just feel I need to do this. How do I do it?

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Debi, my dear, you say that you feel overwhelmed talking about this, and I understand your feeling as if you want to delete this topic and your account as well. While I am certainly willing to do that for you, I hope you will consider staying here with us. You don't have to share anything further with us unless and until you feel ready and willing to do so. I can assure you that, for many of us, being mad is easier than feeling sad, and that may be what is going on with you now. The thing about grief is that it changes, and how you are feeling now is not how you'll be feeling days, weeks and months from now. The trick is to lean into whatever it is you are feeling and allow yourself to face it and sit with it, because it takes more energy to bury our feelings than it does to acknowledge and experience them. It also helps to know that feelings are not facts. We simply cannot help what we feel. We can, however, exert some control over what we DO with our feelings. As long as our feelings aren't causing harm to ourselves or to anyone else, we are wise simply to allow ourselves to have them, knowing that sooner or later they will pass. And if we feel stuck in what we are feeling, it helps to share them with someone outside ourselves, because doing that can help us to look at our feelings more objectively, without judgment or reproach.

In any event, if after giving it some careful thought, you still want me to delete this thread and cancel your membership, all you have to do is ask. 

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Debi...

...i am sorry you became a member on my recommendation but now feel you need to delete your account...I so wish you will change your mind and stay...

Jackie..

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Thank-you Marty and Jackie for the support! I will keep my account and posting. I’m just not ready like you said. Thank-you for understanding. Jackie don’t feel bad, this a good group. I will post again sometime! ♥️

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Debi..

..this is a relatively new forum to me also..but it is here for you as and when...good to hear you haven't been frightened away for good...I do think bereavement forums like this help with dealing with our now mixed up emotions...helps us to unburden them..let off steam...basically to do whatever it takes..

Jackie..

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Debi,

14 years ago my husband passed away on Father's Day.  I was blindsided!  He had just turned 51.  Shortly after I found this forum, and it literally saved my life!  I have learned so much here over the years!  It helped not only to express myself and know I was heard and understood, but to know that my feelings were normal was also validating.  it was ordinary people going through the same thing that made all the difference...that and Marty, with her vast supply of information, it all helped.  Having connection and support with others here...I did not know where to start, this gave me some direction.  I got a grief counselor, he wasn't any good, but was the only one in town...I got more from here than anywhere.  Marty has a one year course that is also available for new grievers.

I've posted all of my thoughts and feelings here...I know that can seem vulnerable but you can choose any username you want and thus be incognito...I've never had any problems with it all being out there.  We want to be supportive of you.  You can be here at your pace, and post as little or as much as you want.  It has been helpful to me to have an account of my journey that I can look back on and see the changes later on down the road.  I know my George would be proud of me.  At first I couldn't see anything but my own misery and fear, but years later I can see some silver linings to having been on this journey...still, none of us would choose it if given a choice.  But at least there's a silver lining, I've grown in confidence and learned so much about myself after 14 years of living alone, on my own. 

We welcome you and hope you'll choose to stay.

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