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Since I lost my wife Rene'e on Nov. 30th 2018, I have known I would have to face a number of difficult first.

All of those significant first days in our time together, and all of those same dates re-lived, only this time so very painfully obvious of the incredibly overwhelming, tormenting, unending great sense of pain of loss without her.

The first anniversaries of the day we met and the day I proposed.

Sunday 8/18/19 was supposed to be Rene'e's 50th B-day. I remember last year when we celebrated her 49th B-day together, I was picking on her because of her upcoming 50th B-day. She did not seem to be amused until I said "just watch, next thing you know, Joshua will be married and you will probably be a Grandmother", she definitely got a kick out of that one because she couldn't imagine that her son would ever get married and have a child making her a Grandmother in only one years time. All she did  was smile and say  "No way". I smiled back and said "Yes way".

At the arrival of her would be 50th B-day, I sadly realized that she would be 49 forever. I told her happy 50th B-day just the same, and then the tears started.

The next big difficult first day after the anniversary of her B-day, will be our first wedding anniversary which will be coming up soon. I knew that going through these difficult "first day without her" anniversaries would hurt. But, I could not anticipate just how bad it would really hurt until the day itself arrived and I realize all over again with great finality that she is gone.

That is all that these days seem to mean to me. She is gone.

One these significant days worth remembering, all I can do is try to imagine the happiness I used to feel, when she was still with me.    

 

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My heart is with you in this painful time.  Every one else’s too.  I’m not going to say this to make things worse, please understand. But that realization of finality will hit again and again.  Grief has so many triggers inside us and from the world we shared with them.  We get thru the days.   For some it is finding a way that is a little less painful by some ritual or something that brings a calm, others crumple to thier knees in agony.  I won’t offer advice because I know we are all unique and the last thing we need is that.  But you aren’t alone.  We are here to listen and understand with the utmost clarity, sadly.  I do remember the happiness.  Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts.  There just is no knowing from one day or hour to the next.  And it is all a word I have become to hate......normal. Our new normal which really sucks.  

You said something quit profound about age.  All our lost partners will be forever their leaving age.  I’m now older than Steve was.  That is not right.  Not right at all.

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Johnny...

...yes my heart too is there right with you as i am absolutely dreading this coming Christmas as last Christmas i said to my Richard  this Christmas i am getting a tree, a small artificial tree and we will decorate it, and so i-we did, we both very much enjoyed seeing a tree again, after not putting one up for the past x amount of years....I had said to my Richard " i want a Christmas tree this year as i dont know if this will be our last Christmas together..." well my words have come true...it was-it is, my Richard died suddenly at home sitting in his armchair 11th April of a heart blockage..

We had 20 years together, we had met in later life, Richard passed away at age 74, i am 68...oh how i keep having flashbacks to the day we first me...I remember the day like it was yesterday... even the clothes we were wearing, identical military style macs, even identical in colour, a beige..I had just parked my car, he came walking towards me..

Yes the anniversaries...same as my last Birthday, my Birthday fell on the one Saturday a well known tv and world renowned psychic was doing her one night show at our local theatre, well my Richard was never into anything like that but i bought a couple of tickets all the same, guess just for the one off experience, well she never came over to us, nor picked up on what was soon to come, yes, although i-my Richard never knew it at the time, he only had 20 more days to live...

They do say the getting through the first years anniversaries are the worst...but each year there will always remain that anniversary, and we still have to get ourselves through it...

Johnny, it breaks my heart that your Rene never quite made it to see her 50th..

 

Jackie..

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Johnny,

I close my eyes and I can remember the way I felt when George held me...the best feeling in the world.  A feeling I haven't felt for over 14 years.  So perfect for me, our marriage was not without its challenges but I was amazed at how easily we fit our lives together, I will forever treasure those memories.  And now I'm going through the same pain all over again with a dog with perky ears and a smile that lit up my world!  I hope one day the memories with him will bring me a smile, but right now my heart is so broken I can't imagine ever feeling whole again.  It's weird how love can leave so many holes in us.  :(

Your Renee was gone way too soon, just as my George was.  We didn't meet until our 40s...and he'd just had his 51st birthday...his last...when his spirit flew from here...all too soon.  I'm trying to learn to do old age on my own, not an easy feat, but always always, I have his love with me, it carries me.

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Remember the memories, hope for tomorrow, but try to live in today.  Christmas will take care of itself.  I also can't imagine putting up a tree without my Arlie here to look at the lights, he loved it, he was so much a part of my life, but I'll have to worry about that then, right now it's enough to do today.

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Kayc...

...i too remember with great fondness my past Christmases with my three darling dogs...I had always put a Christmas tree up and surrounded the bottom with one for each dog a soft squeaky toy and an edible treat, all wrapped up of course...This was my main enjoyment of the morning opening the dogs presents and watching the fun...

...It pleases me that we have so many dog lovers - dog owners, past and present on our forum..

...My Richard always knew his place, that the dogs came first before him...I always had told him, "  Richard, if ever our smoke alarm goes off, i would grab the three dogs leads and get them outside our home, and leave you to deal with yourself, " i think he believed me too...

Jackie..

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Gwen, KayC, and Jackie,

When I hear you all speak of the greatest love, the love that defines the happiest days of each of our lives, my thoughts resonate with yours.

The new  normal definitely sucks.

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I am crying again as it is just breaking my heart that all four have gone and i will never see this ever happen again, ...i love you all, my Richard, my - our Petra, Megan, Benji...i am missing you all so much... my heart s broken..

Jackie, your partner, your mistress... and now your master has joined you...I dont want to be the only one left...oh how i am hating this now empty life...

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On 8/25/2019 at 6:05 PM, Johnny said:

The new  normal definitely sucks.

Johnny:  The first time I heard the "new normal" at a Griefshare meeting shortly after my husband passed, I knew I would never want to get comfortable with that new way of living.  After over 4 years, I still have not accepted my "new normal".  I doubt if I ever will.  After 51 years of a normal life with my sweet husband.  Just can't yet.  And yes, it definitely SUCKS.  And, Jackie, I agree this empty life can be unbearable some days.  Dee   

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I’ve gotten to hate that phrase.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to use the word normal again.  

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All of us have this new normal, whether we wanted it or not. My new normal is minus husband, minus dog, it's nothing like it was.  I keep trying to make the best of it, but it keeps going downhill.  Into that new normal you can throw in pain and infirmities. This isn't a country where they regard the aged.  Often forgotten, left alone.

At the senior site, the manager just informed little Mary, 93, that she can't come without someone with her, in charge of her.  WTH!  I only hope the manager knows she may be writing the script for her own future, one day when she loses HER husband and HER kids move far away and HER palsy worsens.  The way she's treated people, there will be no one wanting to take charge of her.  What is Mary supposed to do, stay home and vegetate?  I'm so upset!  Senior Services has been contacted...I hope someone does something with this manager, although they haven't yet, even though she's run off 2/3 of the people.  Mary has a ride with Senior Services, and all of us look out for each other.  If she needs anything, we'll be there.  Why should she care about Mary?

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A doctor I used to work for used to say that.

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I lived a normal life until 2009.  This life in no way will ever feel normal to me.  No matter what I do it either glaringly reflects what was lost and changed or has created.new ways to approach what was familiar, habit, safe and fulfilling. I’ve had 10 years since Steve’s diagnosis and almost 5 since his death.  I have not felt an ounce of normal in all that time.  Adjustment and adaptation are the closest words I can find.  I’ve already been told some things I do are not normal by non grievers.  I’m just surviving in a situation I cannot change.  That is my acceptance when I’m not doing well.

New normal makes me want to scream as I hear them outside of here in various ways (how are you handling your new life?  What?  What life?!) now and don’t want the experience I had to cast a shadow on that.  So I am often shut down or a person to fix.  I resent both.  I appreciate the people that let me be the me I am now.  Like always, my humble opinion.  Everyone is doing what is right for them and I respect that.  

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Gwen...All...

...i hear you, my life now is nothing " normal " my " normal " life is now in the past...and believe you me, i am so scared of my " new " future...I am not even sure with the way things are going, my stress level ( everything concerning the loss of my Richard that i have done, am still doing )  and my PP-MS, i am even going to make it...a future...nor am i even wanting one, just everything has been getting me so down..I post on an American seniors site, have been a member for ten years, and they keep pushing this " stay positive " word " they dont entertain, they avoid " negative " postings...well this is so bugging me...Of course we want to keep " positive.."  but try as we might, life - situations,  still doesn't turn out in a " positive " way...we cant stay positive all the time..

On this seniors site over the ten or so years, we have lost so many valued members, our forum site is just a shell now, same longstanding members but, we have lost so so many... Many endured a long battle, ( yes this " stay positive " word was often used, ) others a sudden death, others just fades away and stopped posting, where we had just found out they had passed away some time ago...I was once on their card making team, producing and posting on our forum Birthday - Condolence - Bereavement - Anniversary cards, but the team disbanded several years ago due to health issues, hospital commitments etc...they just gave up one by one due to not having the time, our forum was once such a thriving and fun forum, now it is just a shell, baring in mind i am still one of the youngest, with some members in their 70' 80' and 90'...Even our dear moderator, the lady who set up out forum recently passed away, although she had not posted for some time, she had also set up another forum...christian site...this too has become a shell.

Sadly also the forum had to start up from scratch when we had lost everything, a three or four years ago by Pat our founder (  just recently deceased ) and we had to start all over again, so lost many of those cards and photos of our now deceased long standing members, team leaders and moderators...along with those, were their obituaries..their life..their large photo to remember them by, in their younger, healthier and happier day..

I know in this world, nothing good lasts forever but, we never see this day coming, it is always a long way away, we dont even worry or think about, but boy, does it reach us sooner than we imagine...

As for me, i am going through this " fight or flight " period...the do i have the stamina in me to carry on, what is the end result i am aiming for...or do i now want to give up and just rot away, my MS is causing me more damage...to be honest, where i am living, if i was to rot away, no one would even know, as no one even cares to come check up on me..I am alone now and i will be just as alone when i am dead...Richards ashes were sent back home ( 140 plus miles away ) by his sister, age 83 to be with his brother and both parents at their local crematorium... i shan't even be with him, nor who is going to release my three dogs ashes with mine, Richard was to do this as i was meant to go before him, this was how it was meant to be..

Four and a half months now ( 11th April ) since i lost my Richard and i can hand on heart tell you, there has not been one day i have not cried...

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So many times I have wished we all lived closer so we could be there for each other.  Jackie, I'm really sorry you have no one there, it just feels so wrong.  Yesterday I was telling my sister (on the phone as I can't be in her smoke-filled house with my allergies and Asthma) that I worry no one will find me for days when I die, they won't even know the day of my death.  It's a weird feeling.  

Gwen you described it aptly...I, too, used to hate the term "new normal" because it felt anything but normal.  But I no longer resent the term, knowing it's how they describe what we're living now, perhaps they could have given it a different more apt term, like "aftermath" though.  Something that wouldn't cause such a physical reaction in those of us going through it.

Going through this recent grief of my dog I have noticed physical reactions, my BS is through the roof, I keep catching myself holding my breath and have to remind myself to exhale.  I had an outbreak of canker sores I haven't had in years!  My hip starting hurting, never had that before.  My arthritis is hurting even with this 104 degree weather.  It seems any way it can affect me, it has.  And my house is way too empty, way too quiet, all purpose gone, all joy gone with it.

It feels like I am stuck in Groundhog Day, as Mitch once described.

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I absolutely do not agree with this new normal at all.

I was alone before for a very long time (20 years) and I never felt alone like I feel now. This alone is different kind of alone.

Before, I was alone and I had hope, hope that I could find someone who loved me the way my wife did.
With her I finally felt happy and had everything figured out. I had purpose. I had a life for us imagined as we were just getting started, and I gave thanks for her presence every day.

Now I have none of that. It's all gone.

This is a strange normal. A normal that should never have happened.

I think it's more like facing your worst nightmare, a nightmare you can never wake up from, more than anything else.

 

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Yes i too was alone until we first met in later life, our 40's and 50's, then we had 20 years together, now i am back to being completely alone again, this time i do not have my health, i have PP-MS..Oh yes, i am going through the worst nightmare of my life...

Thank you Richard for the years you have provided for me, and still providing for me even after your death...Sorry i am now crying again as i type...i so want our life all back, you, me and our three dogs...I am missing you all terribly...Not one day since 11th April i have not cried...I just want our old life back...I am so lonely and so frightened of my future without you in it...I need you, i want you..i love you, always have, always will....Mommy is missing you too, my Petra, Megan and Benji... Benji your master is now with you, please give him a kiss from me...he was always giving his mug with the print of your photo etched on the side a kiss, he tried to do this in private but i caught him doing it...I know how much he was missing you, i always had told him you was his favourite dog but, he always said to me, all three are his favourites...he would always deny that you was, but i know you was deep down...maybe because you was the only boy, he just had that special bond with you..as my Megan had that special bond with me, now my Petra had that bond with the pair of us although originally she was my dog before we set up home together, she loved us both...

Oh how i miss you all, i so wish we could all be tucked up inside our old house again...just the five of us, in our younger and all healthy days..Oh just to come downstairs, open that door, and see three happy to see me waggy tails...then the first morning cuddles and kisses...

Jackie..

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9 hours ago, Johnny said:

I think it's more like facing your worst nightmare, a nightmare you can never wake up from

That's how I'm feeling about my dog.  And I went through this already, 14 years ago...I gradually, ever so gradually got used to it, but you never reach the point where you think it's okay, where you agree with it.  It's the hardest thing in the world, and seeing all those around STILL with their spouse, wow.  It's hard.  Why them, why not us?  No answers.  And I'm irritated with people that say I should just "trust God!"  What a pat answer!  What a cliche!  As if I'm somehow NOT trusting God because I miss my husband!  They have not a clue what babble they're spouting, they still have their husbands!

9 hours ago, Johnny said:

I had a life for us imagined as we were just getting started

That's how I felt.  I had a 23 year marriage before George...he didn't love me, he didn't want me talking to him, he didn't sleep with me the last 15 years!  It was NOTHING like my marriage to George!  With George, we were inseparable, we poured our hearts out to each other, we were always holding hands, cuddling.  We loved each other.  And to have that ripped away just as you were getting started, well it seems beyond grievous.  We had just put our lives together, how could it be unraveling so quickly!

7 hours ago, Jackie - Richard said:

Oh how i miss you all, i so wish we could all be tucked up inside our old house again...just the five of us, in our younger and all healthy days

This tugs at my heartstrings...

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KayC said "We loved each other.  And to have that ripped away just as you were getting started, well it seems beyond grievous.  We had just put our lives together, how could it be unraveling so quickly!"

This is really a very very hard thing to deal with. I think it has all to do with realizing just how much I lost with my dear wife Rene'e no longer by my side.

A whole different life of happiness spent together that can now only be imagined. What could have been if only she were still here.

I remember what life felt like then when I see pictures of us together. It reminds me of how happy I was.

I made it through my one year wedding anniversary somehow. I only remember that I was hoping nothing bad would happen on that day because I was hurting so badly that I would not have been able to deal with it unless I had no other choice. The one year anniversary of her passing away is still to come. It will come on this Nov. 30th next month. I am trying to prepare myself for this day as best I can.

I have not posted recently because I am trying to deal with the unexpected death of another family member. My youngest step brother was killed in a hit and run motorcycle accident. This just happened on Sep. 28th. I am having a difficult time grieving his passing away because I am still grieving the loss of my wife. My mother was there for me when my wife died and now I am trying to help her deal with the death of her step son. The hardest part is that he was only 44 years old and leaves behind a son of 23 years and a one year old daughter. I still can not believe he is gone. I just saw him and his daughter while visiting my mom only two weeks prior to his demise.

Sometimes I just don't know what to think.

Although I did not eat the wedding cake on the one year wedding anniversary, I did wake up one night afterwards and sleep walked into the kitchen on auto pilot and took the cake out of the freezer and ate some of the icing without even thinking about it or giving it a second thought.

I guess if you eat while sleep walking is that considered sleep eating? 😊  

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Johnny:  So sorry to hear of your recent loss of your step brother -  another loss so soon after losing your Rene'e.  My thoughts and prayers for you and your family.  Dee

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Oh Johnny, I am so sorry!  I had noticed you weren't posting but lots of people "go missing" for a time and I understand that, sometimes there's just nothing to say.  For him to die so young and leave behind his family, it's so unfair.  I've never gotten over the "why do some people get to live so long and others die so young?!"  

Glad you got through your anniversary, that's always a hard time, at least for me it is, no matter how many years goes by.  It was our anniversary when I get bit by a foster dog four times, Saturday.  We never forget that we "should be out celebrating with our spouse" instead of whatever else is going on in our lives.

I don't even remember what we did with our wedding cake, but knowing George he probably ate it.  ;)

I am so sorry for your family, it has to be really hard for his wife and kids.  It's really hard because his little girl won't even remember him.  So awful...

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