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Don't try to eat the elephant in just one sitting, my friend. If you try to do that, you will choke. Go at it one small bite at a time, and take no more than you can digest right now. As we've said re

Well, she may not have known how.  I don't recall the manner of her passing (sorry), but I do know that it takes a lot of energy for the person who is dying to communicate verbally.  Even if she had w

I can't say enough nice things about Hospice Of The Valley here. We became involved with them the day Ron was sent home to die. A nurse was by his side as soon as we arrived home in the ambulance and

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So, after 8 months of being without my angel, and trying to keep a connection with her, I feel like my ability (or inability) to process and grieve might be formed by how I handled the other deaths that I have experienced.

I never knew my father. He left my mother in 1974, and I have absolutely no memory of him whatsoever. I've seen pictures of him (he looked like a 50's greaser) and know that he smoked a pipe and loved music (that's where I got that from- I got nothing else from him that I'm aware of). I found out that he died in 1999, after my mom was informed (because he never paid child support and was "hiding") a year later. I felt nothing obviously. I never knew him so I didn't mourn. I maybe mourned the fact that I never had a relationship, and wondered why he never tried to make contact (although I'm sure my mom made it clear that he was not to). Besides, I had my Grandpa! He was my father figure, and he was great. He spoiled me. Always had cool 70's toys to play with (even though we were pretty poor and living in a mobile home and on food stamps).

He passed away in 2001 at the age of 90. I was living out of state and hadn't seen him for several years. When I found out, I was sad- but I didn't cry. I felt bad, but he wasn't a part of my life, and Annette was starting to really be affected by RA and her low vision. I had an assistant manager job and I just didn't ever think much more about it. And that's terrible. He was great. He actually gave hugs and was so cool... but I just couldn't deal with it. And that makes me feel terrible now, because he deserved better and I have a lot of guilt about that. I think that kind of informs my inability to grieve- the block that I have. 

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If you feel as if you've never mourned the loss of your grandfather ~ or the loss of the dad you never had ~ or any other significant person or event in your life ~ then please know that it's never too late to do the work of mourning, my friend. And if you don't know what I mean by "doing the work," I invite you to read this article, including the additional ones listed at its base: Bereavement: Doing The Work of Grief

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I’m personally finding the pandemic bringing up a lot more instances of loss I’ve been thru.  My parents, relatives I was very close to, friends, pets, my health and activities.  There’s not enough things to fill the time we are forced to be alone now for us without families.  Even some of those are getting on each other’s nerves.  I’m not used to how much the TV is on, but too much silence gets to me too.  I was channel surfing the other night and wondered why one was running Outbreak.  Who wants to watch a movie about a pandemic?  I’ve watched reruns of movies and some new to me ones.  It feels such a waste of time, but what do you do?  I’m not artsy crafty or have any passions driving me.  Anyway, James, I think it’s the sheer amount of time the pandemic and grief combo combined that’s a bad mix that sends our minds to places we would normally not be so hit hard about.  My mom has been gone 30 years now and this is the strongest yearning to talk with her I’ve ever had.  I can understand about your grandfather.  I don’t feel guilt tho.  Just want my mom to tell me I’m loved.  All the others too, but she’s on my mind for some reason most right now.  Then Ally, our dog.  Steve is always there.  He’ll never fade from that burning desire.

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I understand, Gwen. Y'know, I can honestly say I have no interest in seeing another movie in my life. I just don't have the attention span, or patience. I like documentaries or game shows. It's amazing how many lousy movies I watched in the 90's. They just bored me now. My Mom is watching NCIS: Wherever, and I listen to music. I can sit and listen to albums with rapt attention, no problem. It's amazing how songs can bring back memories: good and bad. I've been listening to a lot that Annette didn't like, because hearing her music is hard. 

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8 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

 I’m not artsy crafty or have any passions driving me.

I'm hoping mine comes back someday if/when my hands allow, I miss having something enjoyable and creative!  Still have all of my stuff waiting to use or get rid of.  To get rid of feels like giving up hope...

I think that has changed for me some too, nashreed.  I just didn't watch movies last year at all and I used to enjoy them.  Maybe it's my attention span or that I've been so busy doing what I have to do, by the end of the day I'm too exhausted, that and I go to sleep sooner and my puppy wants attention.

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It's so hard to keep Annette's memory alive in a world that's moved on. Her sister doesn't text anymore- she has a busy life, but it was nice when she would share stories from their childhood. I have to remind myself that there was this beautiful soul who had a hard life, but had good times too. I loved her as much as anybody could love anybody. 

I have a friend who has been texting with me who lost her husband two years ago. I mentioned that I'm just a bitter old man now, and she said something to the effect of "Well, you have to stop that". It's easy for her to say when she has her own business, children, extended family and a new relationship. I have nothing. No prospects of a job because of not only the pandemic, but just my mental health is not able to handle it. I wouldn't even know what to do. My field of work is obsolete (retail music store manager), and I couldn't do it anymore anyway. I had to quit retail because of the panic attacks and agoraphobia. 

It's just hard living when you don't even have a choice but to live. If offered death, I would gladly take it. I honestly have no point anymore. I hate to be negative on here, because it's helped me a lot, but I just am tired of it all- the emptiness. My family literally is driving me insane and I just want it to be over. I'm not suicidal, because I can't do it. Just venting. I hope you all understand. 

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I understand,  we all have or had dark thoughts.  Those are bad enough and tough to live with, but not being able to express them is worse.  I’ve thought of suicide. I look at it differently tho.  I just want to go to sleep and never wake up.  Not as actually making that happen.  That scares me.  Actively causing it.  But I am tired of this body and daily repeating rituals for no meaning.  All the solutions offered me that involve intense recovery to do what?  Sit around here alone?  There has to be motivation to make this living fulfilling and I have none.  I get told if I get rid of some pain I may find it.  I know there aren’t any guarantees, and maybe that’s true, but I haven’t figured out how to do the procedures sanely to find out.   Yes, I’d love to be rid of this horrid pain, but I have no one to help and that brings me back to the abandonment I feel about Steve.  Lately I’ve been feeling how he really hurt me by leaving.  I know he didn’t have a choice, but you don’t think rationally all the time.  I’m not right now.  I’m sad he hurt me.  Left me here to fend for myself when he always had me.  

Got a call today about the major, major back surgery after telling them this involves arthritis and vascular issues too. They want me to come in for another in person evaluation.  I can hardly walk to my mailbox.  Plus the scheduled it for early AM.  (I don’t do mornings) Now I have to call to change it and ask how to get in there.  TMI,  but I also have digestive issues I have to know are resolved before leaving the house.  

So this is a mess.  My point was, after all the above is I totally understand your feelings.  As I have panic and fight agoraphobia, I know how hard that is and people don’t get it at all.  They think we’re just overly nervous, not that it is an actual psychiatric disability.  They need to spend a few days living with it to understand.  Plus adding stress makes it worse.  In 34 years of it, it’s never been as hard to live with as it is now.  Even when Steve died it wasn’t this bad.  It’s the combo of that continually, other huge losses, the pandemic isolation and my body breaking down combined.   You lost Annette, had to move and now are with your family that isn’t emotionally supportive.  We’re both in panic hell.

can you get counseling and meds?  That is the only thing keeping me sane.

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Thanks Gwen. Y'know, against my usual modus operandi, I talked to my doctor about more meds when I had a phone appointment this week. He prescribed Lexapro. It's for my sound activated triggers, like for brats outside setting me off. Even things like plate scraping, and chewing and my moms habit of picking at her nails/nail polish set me off, make me angry, and it's getting worse. I'll pick it up tomorrow. It's $60 (grrr). It's no fun for anyone, and I don't want to make my family miserable. There's no hope for me, but I don't want them to suffer. 

I have done counseling on and off for years. I don't do Zoom (nobody needs to see my fat face on their computer) and I know what the "answers" are. 

I should be happy. It's a new era in America. And it makes me so sad, because Annette hasn't been able to see it. She would be so happy. That's really what makes me depressed. 

Gwen, please don't be mad at Steve. It wasn't his fault. He would have done anything to be with you still. I know Annette didn't want to leave me, but her body gave up on her. She's free, she's happy, but she misses me- I know that. 

Music keeps me sane. Literally, it's all I have to look forward to. For two hours I can play CD's and forget my crappy lot in life. That's how I get by.

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4 hours ago, nashreed said:

He would have done anything to be with you still. I know Annette didn't want to leave me, but her body gave up on her. She's free, she's happy, but she misses me- I know that. 

That’s where I stumble.  I don’t know if he misses me.  I don’t know if he is happy.  Those are the mysteries of death for eons. I do know he did everything he could to extend his stay.  It was me that told him to stop the treatments that were making him so sick for so little added time.  I didn’t want him to spend them so ill from that, but doing his music with his friends which he loved.  And he did.    

I hope the meds help you.  Won’t even get into costs but to say you got off relatively cheap for what they charge for antidepressants.  Is Lexapro available as generic yet?  I can’t use the generic so have to pay a lot for brand. It’s a bummer they take weeks to kick in. Hang in there.  I do hope they give you some solace.  

I’m not a huge fan of Zoom, but I’ve adapted to it as I prefer seeing my providers faces.  I may not look great anymore, but I don’t sweat it.  I just look old and tired.  I don’t even remember what I looked like with my long hair down anymore.  No use for lipstick with masks now.  I figure I’m doing good that I dress entirely, not just from the waist up.  🙂

 

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Thanks Gwen. I even have anxiety just talking on the phone, let alone being seen. I kinda like not being seen by anybody. I can actually express how I feel in text form, where spoken word fails me. 

Yes, the Lexapro is the generic. I can't remember its name. I have Medicare. I'm signed up to get drugs in the mail now, but of course can't get anti-depressents through the mail. There was a mixup and I haven't been taking a couple of prescriptions for a week or so. I've been feeling crappy, so that's probably why (not feeling ill, just off). 

I have always known that Annette would go to Heaven, or the good place. Even when I doubt my own eternity, I know she's there. Even before we were married, I just always knew. I can't explain it. I've never had a doubt. She knew she wouldn't live a long life and she was always right. She was really something. I am so lucky to have known her. I just don't even like or get along with people. She was a saint just putting up with me. I have to be good, so I can see her again. I just hope I don't have to wait long. 

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14 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

. They want me to come in for another in person evaluation.  I can hardly walk to my mailbox.  Plus the scheduled it for early AM.

They always schedule everything for THEIR convenience.  You get the illusion of picking the time of your appointment, sometimes, but mostly it's for the convenience of everyone else.

 

13 hours ago, nashreed said:

have done counseling on and off for years. I don't do Zoom (nobody needs to see my fat face on their computer) and I know what the "answers" are. 

James, you do know that you can turn off the video on any video call, and just do audio, right...?  Even if you know what they're going to say, and you expect the platitudes and empty words from the counselor, would it not help to get things off your chest verbally?

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I can actually get my feelings across much easier on this forum. Words and especially my craptacular voice, let me down. Thanks for your concern. I feel better today...until something sets me off. Discovered yesterday the rotten brats on this street have a trampoline now. I wish they'd go back to school already. They're certainly not learning anything at home. 

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19 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

 It’s the combo of that continually, other huge losses, the pandemic isolation and my body breaking down combined.

Yep, that sums it up clearly.  I knew you would understand what he's feeling.  

Last night my sister and I talked about regrets and I told her I can't live with regrets because if I hadn't experienced the thing I did in my life, I wouldn't be the same person.  She disagreed.  I gave her a couple of examples so she could better understand what I'm talking about.  Besides, regrets do none of us any good.  I do regret pulling Arlie out of the doghouse to eat, I can't change it but I can learn from it and thus bring it to a positive rather than continually beating myself up over it, which I can be good at too. ;)  In that moment of sheer panic I wish I'd thought of HIS comfort (or discomfort) rather than my own selfish desire to keep him here.

1 hour ago, nashreed said:

I can actually get my feelings across much easier on this forum.

I'm glad this place is here, for all of us.  It's been a lifesaver this past year of isolation.  You asked Gwen not to be mad at Steve, well I ask you not to refer to yourself in a derogatory way.  We aren't all cookie cutter barbies and kens, we're unique and what matters most is WHO we are, inside, our spirit, our character, those things that make us US!  That's why when our spouses go through trauma or age, we love them perfectly because it's who they are that we love, not the starry eyed version of 20.  That doesn't last for most of us!

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4 hours ago, kayc said:

 I ask you not to refer to yourself in a derogatory way.

This is so important.  I spent years in therapy having this drilled into me and for good reason.  Self talk can be very destructive.  I know because I’ve been there and have to guard against it often.  There are times it is true, but mostly I will devalue myself at times when it isn’t me, it can be circumstances or a person and I take it on as truth.  There’s a big difference between constructive criticism and cruelty (be it by another or us to ourselves).  

James, this is just my observation so keep that in mind.  I truly wish you didn’t put yourself down so much.  I see how it has spread to your surroundings about kids being kids, for example.  Lots of sounds in a neighborhood and schools are the ones to blame they aren’t studying, but that’s beside the point.  I know you adored Annette, but you have put her on a pedestal that I feel is weighing you down more.  I did that initially with Steve too.  When I started seeing him as the imperfect being like we all are I could feel the negative emotions that are part of all relationships.  That is healthy and needed.  I mourn the real man, not my 'illusion' of him.  I hope you don’t take that wrong.  It’s so easy to forget the friction any 2 people experience if they are truly close.  The only people I don’t feel that with are ones I am not deeply invested in.  I’m hoping with time, you will see that your description of the 'perfect' times with Annette weren’t perfect when she was ill so much.  I say this being a caregiver for 5 years myself.  It was the job that I oddly missed because it created such an intense tie.  I went from 24/7 employment to zero, but it was medically.  Not the real life we loved. We always needed each other, but he so needed me then it made me feel over valued so when it was ripped away, it was intensely a huge trigger of shock and utter emptiness.  

Annette was not better than you.  She was Annette.  You are you, just as important.  You are equals.  She was strong in her ways, you are in yours.  If not, the relationship was not balanced.  I suspect it was as she helped you at work and you helped her at home.  

I make comments about how I look or sound or walk.  But I’m not a creature, I’m a human being with flaws like everyone else.  I’m not pretty anymore, but I’m not repulsive.  Like Kay, I just hope you will ease up on yourself.  If you don’t want to talk to someone voice, that’s fine.  Just have it be a choice, not because you are less than perfect.  

All deaths bring reactions due to their circumstances.  Sudden ones have their own hell for the survivor.  I just hope you don’t let your caregiving be the measuring stick of your relationship..

i hope I didn’t overstep my bounds here.  If I did, I apologize.

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i understand, Gwen. I certainly know all about the difficult times with Annette, She would have hallucinations, and to "talk her down", I had to be very mean, and it hurt. I hated having to be that way to her. She was very, very stubborn and she could be very obstinate. I truly do block that out when thinking of her. I remember the good times and the things that I miss, which is everything. If this isn't the place for total honesty, no place is: I even miss the smell after she came out of the bathroom. We joked about it- we had no filter. 

It all blurs together. I have a picture of her on my phone as the home screen, when she was young, when we were first going out. There's a song that goes "I've been looking so long at these pictures of you, that the pictures are all I can feel, that I almost believe they're real". So my memory of her skips around in time now. 

I just don't know what I'm going to do with myself, I just don't. It doesn't seem like I have any reason to live. My identity was her husband. That's gone. There's also the song "God only knows what I'd be without you".

 

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8 hours ago, nashreed said:

If this isn't the place for total honesty, no place is

oh, it is!  I certainly wasn’t trying to discourage that at all.  I was just hoping you would ease up on yourself.   It’s normal to just see the good times at first.  When time passes is when we often feel things we feel bad about, but we shouldn’t.  I lost my patience with Steve many times.  Comes with caregiving.  You said writing helps you the most and I’d never discourage that.  Anything to help your pain filled heart.

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So, not to make my grief story any more complicated, but.... My Mom and I were talking yesterday about her pregnancy for some reason, and she mentioned that she lost my twin during pregnancy. She got up one night to go to the bathroom while pregnant...  She had told me this before, but I kinda filed it away in the "Don't think about it" part of my brain. I was supposed to be a twin, and after looking online, there's actually a name for it: Womb Twin Survivor Syndrome. She couldn't remember how far along she was, I don't know if it matters. 

Appearently, there are symptoms if you were supposed to be a twin, like feeling loss, emptiness, like you don't belong on this planet, guilt.... I certainly do feel all this stuff, but maybe I would have been a weirdo without being a "lost"  twin. I have had dreams in the past where I haven't been myself, where I dreamt that I was female even....

It's just something I knew about and was interesting intellectually, but with the loss of Annette, it really has been amplified and magnified and now I have all of these thoughts at 6 am ... Is my brother/sister in Heaven? What would they have been like? This empty, hollow feeling of emptiness that I feel now with Annette gone, was really always there. I luckily don't like alcohol, and am scared of drugs or else I might be a mess :) I am addicted to buying CD's so that fills a need. 

I wasn't sure if I should start a new thread... And where? Hopefully Marty has some helpful info on this (paging Marty...)

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On 1/22/2021 at 4:20 PM, nashreed said:

to "talk her down", I had to be very mean, and it hurt.

There is a huge difference between being mean and being tough.  Sometimes we DO have to be tough for the other person's sake.  George never minded my telling him the hard stuff because he knew it came from a place of love and accepted it as such...he even said it made him feel he could trust me because I DID give him the straight scoop!  And he was right to.  You do not strike me as being mean in any way.

Kids being kids does not bother me.  I love hearing their squeals of laughter and play!  I thoroughly enjoy the neighbor's grandkids being here last summer, and the kids across the street on their trampoline.  They're sounds of life and laughter whereas my home is all too quiet.  It is not the kids that is the problem, it is your condition, and not to be taken lightly, it must be very hard to deal with.  I wish there was an easy answer.  :(

Oh wow (twin survivor), that must be hard too.  I wish you could get some therapy for that specialized situation, there has to be some help...somewhere. :wub:

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Thanks Kay. I will have to agree to disagree on the kid thing. There's a difference between laughter and "kids being kids" and constant obnoxious screaming and being loud because they have no parenting. I was a kid. I wasn't loud like these brats. I couldn't get away with that.  It's just like how everything has de-evolved- everybody is so much ruder and inconsiderate, not just kids. That genie's never going back in the bottle.

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4 hours ago, nashreed said:

I was supposed to be a twin, and after looking online, there's actually a name for it: Womb Twin Survivor Syndrome . . . Hopefully Marty has some helpful info on this (paging Marty...)

You are correct, James, that a condition known as Womb Twin Survivor Syndrome was identified by a British therapist and author Althea Hayton, whose Womb Twin organization provides information and support to womb twin survivors all over the world. If you've not yet explored their website, you may find its content relevant and helpful. See also Twindividual and My Work With Womb Twin Survivors  ❤️

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James, I'm sorry, I guess I misunderstood, I thought the sounds of kids outside hit you like chalk screeching on a blackboard, I didn't realize these kids were truly being obnoxious, so I guess I have nothing to compare it to, again, I apologize.  There ARE people who cannot tolerate noise, and I assumed that's what you were dealing with, I've known some, they don't go out around people, wear ear plugs, etc.  It has to be hard, because how can we get away from our environment?  Esp. when we're "stuck" living in a place not of our choice.

Marty, you are amazing, I figured you'd have somewhere to direct him to, I hope it helps, I really do!

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