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8 hours ago, MarkM said:

I'm having a really rough time today.  I pretty much didn't sleep last night and it took everything I could muster to get out pf bed.

MarkM:  Sometimes just getting out of bed is all we can do.  You did it and went to work even though you struggled.  Take that one step forward and the next hopefully will follow, one minute at a time, one hour at a time, and one day at a time.  Please know you are not alone.  Dee

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I don’t know where you work, but 2 weeks seems a very short time to return and be a functioning worker after this huge loss.  I could go places but I was in shock mode and depended on routine to carry me thru, no new challenges.   Just walk the dogs, empty the house of medical supplies, try and remember to eat, a whole change in daily living.while fending off too many offers of help that overwhelmed me.  I kept my contact with people minimal as I was not me anymore.  It took months for the shock to wear off and true mourning to begin.  I used that time to get stuff done I knew I’d not be able to handle when the reality and emotional dam broke.   

I know you had time to 'prepare', but that did not help me for the reality of it.  It was all imagination til the real thing.  People don’t understand that.  Yes, we know it’s coming, but there is no way we are truly prepared. It’s done, over, never going to see, feel or touch them again.  Steve passed before I got there and they asked if I wanted to see him which I declined as that ravaged body was not my guy.  It was the outcome of barbaric teatments that tortured him.  I had years of watching decline.  The images I want in my head are of the healthy and wonderful man I knew.  I threw out every picture taken in during his battle.  

I think it’s great you’re finding outlets with murals, music and other creative pursuits.  Steve didn’t want a memorial beyond his buddies getting together in his studio to play music, have pizza and beer which we did.  It’s now such a blur to me as I was I was a 'together' host.  It’s amazing the things we get done in the beginning.  

I guess it’s that things are so fresh for you that I hope you get get enough 'me' time to sleep, cry, scream, whatever you feel when you feel it.  There’s no outrunning it, pushing it,.  There are no rewards for putting on a tough face.  Your whole life is forever changed.  The 1st year is tough with all the firsts alone.  Bdays, holidays, special days you had with her.  Like everyone here, your journey and when the toughest times hit will be unique to you and triggers along the way.   Seeing something you forgot about you shared, never going back to that favorite restaurant, getting mail addressed to them, etc.  

I’m at 5 years, have always known I was self sufficient when needed, but I’m having a terribly hard time as I need him now as he needed me.  I can now get angry at him for leaving me to handle everything that increases complications we would have had or shared.  I was his caregiver, he never had to worry about anything but his fight.  I need help and have to hire out everything from a rehab bed.  I don’t have him to visit me.  Know the dogs are living as they always have.  I love him more than ever but I’m angrier than ever.  They say you can only truly hate the ones you love and I am finding that to be true.  Others disappoint me as they weren’t my partner.  

I don’t know if this makes sense.  I’ve been locked away from home for almost a month so I babble to fill time, but I want to try to add some info from my experience.  

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Kay, Dee and Gwen are all correct.  These are early days for you and it's going to be like this.  Everything you're describing is normal, natural and understandable, and I'm sure we all relate to it and remember it vividly.

I do want to thank you for your remark about Susie trying to alienate you in hopes you would give up being her caregiver.  I never thought of that particular perspective.  Without going into detail, I kind of wonder if this is what happened to me. 

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Gwen:  I firmly believe you make a lot of sense.  You always seem to know what to say to explain what this miserable way of learning how to live without our soul mate involves.   I agree especially that two weeks is very early to be thrown back into a work environment.  It is my hope that Mark's employment allows a reduced work load.  Dee 

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Gwenivere, sadly I only got about 5 days off of work, not counting the ones I spent with Susie.  I lost my composure a couple of times today in front of customers and felt compelled to explain why.  Everyone has been very understanding with the exception of my boss.  He's in his own little world, but that's whole different story.  

Though I had told myself over the years that there would come a day, it didn't matter, there was no preparing for it, especially when the end game came so quickly.  I got to see Susie the day before she passed and in at least some way, conversed with her, which I count as a blessing.  The next day, for all accounts and purposes, she was moving onto the next life.  I will keep all her photos, even including the ones where she is ravaged by disease, but I will always think of her as I met her.  That is the mind I knew, up until the time that cancer had done it's damage. 

I will pray for you to find peace in your life.  I'm sure that Steve would have never wanted you to suffer so.  I'm sure also that he watches over you and wants you to find contentment.          I realize nothing I can say will bring that about, but the good Lord can provide anything we need if only we ask.

Last night I was pouring through old computer files, from a drive that once belonged to her.
I found a folder entitled "Feelings", that was nested in among photos of me and, a few writings and copies of our first correspondence.
Within that folder I found a file named "Belonging".
Clicking on it I found lyrics to an old Bread song I don't recall ever hearing.
Look it up on Youtube, It is beautiful.
It was like finding buried treasure and it warmed my heart.
I will learn it and play it just for her.

Belonging
By Bread, Sung by David Gates.

I wanted love so very bad that
I could almost taste it
And so I gave my all to you
And hoped you would not waste it
I laid awake the whole night long
And wondered was I wrong
But when you woke and touched my face
I knew that I belonged

Belonging to someone I find is very necessary
The load is lighter on your mind
When someone helps to carry
And even though I'm strong enough
To make it on my own
I would not even care to try
To live my life alone

For if I lived my life alone
With no one to belong to
There'd be no one to pledge my heart
Or sing my song of love to
My melodies would soon dry up
And the words would leave me too
It all would come to pass if I
Could not belong to you

I wanted love so very bad that
I could almost taste it
And when I gave mine all to you
I knew you would not waste it

65040003.jpg

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Susie is beautiful and left you an amazing gift with the song. The envelope came to you when you needed it.  I have not had that experience except the CD Steve made me for my car.  Even in this hell, there can be miracles.  Same as you, I couldn’t say the final goodbye.  I always left at night saying I’ll see you tomorrow.  Never could say goodbye.  Did not want to.  I’m so glad you found her gift to you.  ❤️

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12 hours ago, MarkM said:

Everyone has been very understanding with the exception of my boss.

I am so sorry.  I was fortunate to have the most wonderful understanding boss and he had someone speak to the employees about what to expect and how to handle it, before I returned to work...I was off two weeks although I did come in earlier to do payroll.  Work was a good place for me, very supportive, but doing my job was hard, my brain wasn't functioning and my emotions were run amok. 
 

 

12 hours ago, MarkM said:

It was like finding buried treasure and it warmed my heart.

I'm glad you find comfort in music.  It's had the opposite effect on me so I'm glad you can treasure it.  Your wife is very beautiful!

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On 1/30/2020 at 10:06 PM, Gwenivere said:

Susie is beautiful and left you an amazing gift with the song. The envelope came to you when you needed it.  I have not had that experience except the CD Steve made me for my car.  Even in this hell, there can be miracles.  Same as you, I couldn’t say the final goodbye.  I always left at night saying I’ll see you tomorrow.  Never could say goodbye.  Did not want to.  I’m so glad you found her gift to you.  ❤️

Thank you, she is beautiful and she was beautiful on the inside as well.    Besides finding the song, I've been going through old mini disc recordings of duets we used to do, hearing her pretty singing voice, her laughter and remembering the context has been a wonderful reminder for which I'm thankful.  I would have been ok with being there when she went, but as it turned out, I gave that day to her daughters since I had her to myself the day before.  I honestly thought I would get another, but it was not to be.  At least got to say goodbye one last time and let her know I loved her.

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On 1/31/2020 at 8:54 AM, kayc said:

I am so sorry.  I was fortunate to have the most wonderful understanding boss and he had someone speak to the employees about what to expect and how to handle it, before I returned to work...I was off two weeks although I did come in earlier to do payroll.  Work was a good place for me, very supportive, but doing my job was hard, my brain wasn't functioning and my emotions were run amok. 
 

 

I'm glad you find comfort in music.  It's had the opposite effect on me so I'm glad you can treasure it.  Your wife is very beautiful!

You were very fortunate.  I would have left this job years ago, but I was afraid to rock the boat and lose my ability to provide for Susie.  I may consider reinventing myself to the extent that it is possible.  All I know is that now it's horrible to be here.  My boss happens to be one of those people I mentioned before, who bury their grief and allow it to turn into anger, or some other destructive emotion.  As a result, his empathy for others leaves a lot to be desired.

Thank you, I thought she is very beautiful as well.  The first time we met, my heart skipped a beat and I just knew thre was something special about her.  I was blessed to have gotten the opportunity to spend about a third of my life with such a lovely woman.

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Grief presents many choices of how to be handled.  Your boss has picked, IMO, one of the most destructive ones.  It can’t be outrun, hid from or ignored for long without taking on an even uglier face.  As you said, he now loses empathy and that is one of the very few 'good' things that come of this.  I now have a deep honed understanding and can honesty say I understand.  I may not be able to know the pain of losing a child, but I can understand death and the gaping hole it creates.  I can understand the tears.  The despair.  The unique need for each person to process and adapt to a forever change.  How they will never be the same unlike outsiders that think that will happen, sooner than later so they feel less awkward.  We represent a fear they don’t want to think about and I get that, I didn’t either.  I don’t have a choice now.  Only about how I approach it.  You are already thinking how you can adjust to living with something forever with you.  Not succumbing to the dark side.  As much as it is going to hurt, you will be much better off than your boss.  

I spent 2 thirds of my li with Steve too.  Longer with than without.  That in itself requires much processing and all my adult life was a partnership.  I don’t like being single.  Never will.  I’m still looking for purpose and meaning without him.  It was once so simple.  

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I honestly don't know which is worse, to have had your mate for 50 years and lose them or to have finally found "the one" and lose them all too soon.  They are just different, for different reasons, both hard.  

I hope I never have cause to know what it's like to lose a child.  I do in some ways as I raised my stepson his first three years and lost him when we divorced...his birth mom took him out of state and I had the pain of not know where/how he was for a few years.  That was excruciating.  And I've had three miscarriages of very wanted children.  Now I have two grown children and I can't imagine having one of them go before I do...it seems unnatural to us.  Don't even want to think about that kind of pain.  Losing my husband was the hardest loss I've had, Arlie was next.

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On 1/25/2020 at 9:25 AM, MarkM said:

Marty, I believe you are correct, with my role as caregiver behind me, I feel lost. 

Upcoming Program: Who Am I Now? Life After Caregiving Ends
 
The TAPS Institute warmly invites you to participate in this upcoming program. It is designed to provide comforting insight and inspiration as you walk along your grief journey or help others on their path.
 
Click on the "Learn More" button to sign up. Live webinars include a Q&A session, giving you the opportunity to submit a question to the speaker.
Who Am I Now? Life After Caregiving Ends
Live webinar
 
February 18 | Noon–1:00 p.m. ET
 
Caring for a loved one during a life-limiting illness can impact the grief reactions we have after the person dies. In addition to the expected reactions we anticipate, we may feel an acute sense of loss over the role that caregiving has played in our life, or even relief that intense caregiving duties are over. Join Dr. Bill Hoy as he discusses how we can effectively cope with the range of emotions that may occur when caregiving has ended.
 
Presenter: William G. Hoy, DMin, FT, TAPS Advisory Board Member
 
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On 2/3/2020 at 6:41 PM, Gwenivere said:

Grief presents many choices of how to be handled.  Your boss has picked, IMO, one of the most destructive ones.  It can’t be outrun, hid from or ignored for long without taking on an even uglier face.  As you said, he now loses empathy and that is one of the very few 'good' things that come of this.  I now have a deep honed understanding and can honesty say I understand.  I may not be able to know the pain of losing a child, but I can understand death and the gaping hole it creates.  I can understand the tears.  The despair.  The unique need for each person to process and adapt to a forever change.  How they will never be the same unlike outsiders that think that will happen, sooner than later so they feel less awkward.  We represent a fear they don’t want to think about and I get that, I didn’t either.  I don’t have a choice now.  Only about how I approach it.  You are already thinking how you can adjust to living with something forever with you.  Not succumbing to the dark side.  As much as it is going to hurt, you will be much better off than your boss.  

I spent 2 thirds of my li with Steve too.  Longer with than without.  That in itself requires much processing and all my adult life was a partnership.  I don’t like being single.  Never will.  I’m still looking for purpose and meaning without him.  It was once so simple.  

I know that Susie wouldn't want me to harden my heart and misdirect the grieving I feel for her.  I don't think either one of us could foresee the ramifications of her passing.  We knew the day would come, but chose not to talk about it too much, in favor of talking about the moment we were sharing together.  We thought we had more time, until it became apparent that we didn't.  The loneliness I feel now is hard for me to handle after never feeling loneliness for so long.  I actually had forgotten what it felt like, but now I remember all too well and on a level I never experienced before.  As I did when she lived, I feel I must be strong for her and carry on.  It's the way she would want it and unless the good Lord has different plans, I believe I will be around for some time.  Being single will be a challenge that I guess I will have to overcome.  I just try to imagine her being with me and it seems to help a little.  I have one of those digital picture frames that I've loaded up with all kinds of great photos over the years.  Seeing the random rotation of her smiles seems to help as well.  Life is an adventure and mine is just on a downturn.  I've learned over the years that the good comes with the bad and neither can last forever.

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On 2/4/2020 at 1:18 PM, kayc said:

I honestly don't know which is worse, to have had your mate for 50 years and lose them or to have finally found "the one" and lose them all too soon.  They are just different, for different reasons, both hard.  

I hope I never have cause to know what it's like to lose a child.  I do in some ways as I raised my stepson his first three years and lost him when we divorced...his birth mom took him out of state and I had the pain of not know where/how he was for a few years.  That was excruciating.  And I've had three miscarriages of very wanted children.  Now I have two grown children and I can't imagine having one of them go before I do...it seems unnatural to us.  Don't even want to think about that kind of pain.  Losing my husband was the hardest loss I've had, Arlie was next.

They say one of the worse experiences in life is a child passing before the parent.  I pray I never know what that is like.  My Daughter is all I have left, well, and my dog Sadie.  With our children having been grown, Sadie was like our child.  A little Pomeranian we got back in 2010 and if there were ever an emotional support dog, it has been her.  One of the hardest things for me to witness is her trying to process the absence of her "Mama".  Susie was Sadie's pack leader and like me, she's lost.  I used to joke with Susie, that "there is no life without Mama" and that applied to both myself and Sadie, when Susie wasn't around.  We're a pitiful pair now and I'm doing my best to help her normalize as I attempt to.  If I lost her now, I would break up in little pieces.

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On 2/5/2020 at 11:22 AM, MartyT said:
Upcoming Program: Who Am I Now? Life After Caregiving Ends
 
The TAPS Institute warmly invites you to participate in this upcoming program. It is designed to provide comforting insight and inspiration as you walk along your grief journey or help others on their path.
 
Click on the "Learn More" button to sign up. Live webinars include a Q&A session, giving you the opportunity to submit a question to the speaker.
Who Am I Now? Life After Caregiving Ends
Live webinar
 
February 18 | Noon–1:00 p.m. ET
 
Caring for a loved one during a life-limiting illness can impact the grief reactions we have after the person dies. In addition to the expected reactions we anticipate, we may feel an acute sense of loss over the role that caregiving has played in our life, or even relief that intense caregiving duties are over. Join Dr. Bill Hoy as he discusses how we can effectively cope with the range of emotions that may occur when caregiving has ended.
 
Presenter: William G. Hoy, DMin, FT, TAPS Advisory Board Member
 

Marty, Thank you so much for that guidance.  I am signed up and I very much look forward to the event.  I can't tell you enough how glad I am that I found this website and decided to become a part of it.  Years ago I had a wonderful therapist who helped me overcome a loss in my life that I was not equipped to deal with on my own.  You are that level of expert and you seem to know the very thing that I need to heal.  God bless you!

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I tried signing up for the webinar but it kept dropping me.  I’ll keep trying.  Having been a caregiver for 5 years and it ending 5 years ago, that’s a very significant amount of time that influenced my life.  Not easily, if ever, erased.  Thanks for sharing these extra opportunities to heal, Marty.  💖

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Mark, I don't know if you've read this article or not, but I hope there's something in it that will be of help with your Sadie.

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2018/06/pet-loss-supporting-your-grieving-pet.html

I know my little Kodie has been a huge blessing since I've gotten him nearly two months ago.  My life would not be the same w/o him.  It gets lonely enough living alone for so long.  I was blessed to have had George in my life, I realize all marriages are not what we experienced...we put each other first and it showed.  I know it takes immense work to adjust to "life without."

 

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On 2/7/2020 at 10:13 AM, kayc said:

Mark, I don't know if you've read this article or not, but I hope there's something in it that will be of help with your Sadie.

https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2018/06/pet-loss-supporting-your-grieving-pet.html

I know my little Kodie has been a huge blessing since I've gotten him nearly two months ago.  My life would not be the same w/o him.  It gets lonely enough living alone for so long.  I was blessed to have had George in my life, I realize all marriages are not what we experienced...we put each other first and it showed.  I know it takes immense work to adjust to "life without."

 

Thank you for the article.  There is a lot of good advice in it.  I'm going out of my way to keep Sadie's stress down and give her time to normalize, but it's a challenge.  She has onset collapsed trachea.  When she get's anxious, she starts to cough and it just goes downhill from there.  I honestly think if she had full knowledge of the reality about her Mama, she wouldn't last 48 hours.  I don't think I could take losing her too, so soon after Susie.

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I hope with all my heart that doesn't come to pass.  I never dreamed I'd lose Arlie and Kitty so close together, let alone it'd all be within the last few months.  

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