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That’s interesting that covid has entered your dreams.  Hasn’t happened to me and hope it doesn’t.  I did misunderstand, I though Annette did try coloring seeing your mom would trigger it.  I’ve had dreams of being with someone else, but enjoyed them because they felt alive and loving.  But they were the feelings I had with Steve.  

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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

The one year mark in May is fast approaching (it's actually rather slowly approaching). It's like a dark cloud that's claustrophobic and fills me with dread and making everything come back- the emotio

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At least I seem to consistently have dreams where Annette is at least around, in some way. I was so sad that for so long she wasn't anywhere in them, like she didn't matter to me- which is the complete opposite of reality.

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I’m surprised I don’t dream of Steve more, but he’s not a factor in my day to day doings physically anymore.  My brain seems to replace him with people I’ve seen in life now or on TV.  Actually can’t think of the last time I had a dream about him.  They were plentiful the first 2 years.  Guess it makes sense as he’s not an active part of my life.  As you said, tho, he is the biggest meaning I ever had or will have.

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I don't recall the last time I had a dream with George in it but he is in my thoughts every day.

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Same here.  What’s interesting to me is the dreams I feel intense love, attraction, safety, warm, trust, happy, even pain if there is discord are the exact way I felt them with Steve, just a different character as there is no interaction between us anymore.  I don’t feel bad about it as it really makes sense.  Pretty much all of my very few social connections have changed or vanished in 6+ years.  That’s the hard part.  If ever I could use those, it would be now.

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Some days I feel like I'm betraying Annette for even being alive. We were a team- without her, what am I doing? I don't like living without her, I really hate it. I don't like myself without her. And if I hear about Harry and Meghan on the news anymore, I really will jump off a roof. 

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I really feel for them.  I cannot even imagine a marriage that really isn’t private.  So odd that family is called The Firm.  I think of that movie with Tom Cruise and how similar it sounds.  I can’t imagine having everything we did known or scrutinized by others and having to adhere to guidelines.  Give me anonymous regular life any day.  That’s what I’ve wanted back since October of 2014, actually 2009 when we got the cancer roommate we never invited.

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We do for the most part.  I usually do, but this was illuminating. Also that Megan discussed mental turmoil that she became suicidal.  When 'celebrities' bring that out, I think it helps lots of people possibly look for help.   I give her a lot of credit for that.  

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I guess that's what really chaps my hide. What does she have to be suicidal about? This is when she should say I have a husband who loves me and a child and I ain't hurtin' for money and I don't care what anybody thinks. I find her totally insincere, saying she didn't know about the royal family when there's pictures of her in front of Buckingham Palace and supposedly she was a big time fan of the royals. 

It is just so frustrating. My life now is just like waiting for Annette at a hospital, waiting to be allowed to see her. I have vending machines and TV's and my phone as distractions, but I'm bored and I'm antsy and I just want to see her. 

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We haven't walked a mile in her shoes.  It's hard to understand someone else's mental disorder, that's one reason they feel they're suffering alone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if this is a normal part of "The Process", but I've been really having thoughts lately that maybe if Annette would have been with someone else, maybe she would still be alive. 

It seems crazy. We always joked that if she had stayed with her old boyfriend, she could have had all the weed she could handle for free, for her RA (he was a little bit of a pothead). I just have so much guilt and doubt. I know that I spent too much on music, when I should have been buying her kale salads or something. 

She would always tell me that I worried too much- now I see that I didn't worry enough. I was always bugging her about drinking more water (she had kidney disease, and her unstable kidney function led to her blood sugar crash that was the reason...), and maybe if I didn't bug her, she would have drank more on her own. She was stubborn and could be contrary when provoked. I just have so much guilt and I hate my life now, and I feel like, well you big dummy, you deserve it. 

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James, we can drive ourselves 'round the bend with such circular thinking.  I've done it, too, and it's fruitless and only makes me feel worse.  All we can do is recognize that we, and they, made the choices that were made, and we lived with the consequences of those choices, whether or not we were aware of that.  The difference is, now we are aware of those consequences, but only by hindsight.  And we know that hindsight is 20/20.

 

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I agree with Kieron, such thinking can drive us nuts and serves no healthy purpose.  If it had been anyone else, she would not have been as happy as she was with you, she loves you and does still.  We do what we know to do at the time.  And it's complicated by THEIR will as well as we cannot control them, what they eat, don't, etc.  My George also died of diabetic complications, I didn't allow sugar in the house, we attended diabetic classes, I cooked healthy as I was taught at the time.  Since that time I have learned that our medical community does not teach us correctly and it adds to the problem.  It is NOT our fault!  We cannot judge ourselves or others by hindsight we did not have at the time.

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Thanks, Kay. I apologize to Annette, because when I talk to her, I always apologize and I'm sure she's tired of my guilt trips. 

How do I get to the place where I don't feel guilty about even thinking of having fun, of enjoying something without her? I just feel like since we were a team, I should just wait until we're together until I can have fun. I have a friend who wants to take me to a baseball game or something, once we're vaccinated, and it scares me to put myself out there. Will I ever be ready? The pandemic is providing cover and excuses, but it won't last forever.

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On 3/19/2021 at 7:44 AM, kayc said:

it's complicated by THEIR will as well as we cannot control them, what they eat, don't, etc.

That is the crux of it.  We aren’t responsible for all choices made.  Steve had his own mind and I had input, but ultimately things were his decision.  The magic was working out the best thing to do at the time together.  I don’t look back as anything being a mistake because we did the best we could weighing our options.  We have to keep in mind we are also dealing with so much stress that is life and death.  They were times much more serious than picking a restaurant or movie.  Making the best choices we could and trying to make any time very meaningful.  What haunts me is some options we were presented with showed limited caring by some doctors.  Mistakes they made and thank gawd I caught.  It’s an the most important job being a caregiver.  The times Steve thanked me mean the world to me.

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2 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

What haunts me is some options we were presented with showed limited caring by some doctors.

That's exactly it.  And in the heat of the moment, it's like your field of vision narrows and all you think of is survival or well-being of yourself or the person you love.  I'll never stop wondering if the human mistakes that doctors and nurses made, under pressure, under bad staffing conditions, under poorly-trained or equipped situations, etc. negatively affected the outcome of what happened 4 years ago today.

I can't get over how the angle of sunlight right now takes me right back to those awful days.

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nashreed, I read an article similar to the one Marty posted, early in my grief, it helped me a lot in realizing it's not only okay to smile or enjoy ourselves but to be coveted!  It means we're healthy and adapting as we need to!  And you betcha they'd want us to!  Even while they'd be the first to understand our struggles and pain.  We NEED something good in our lives, something to smile about, no matter how fleeting!  Something to look forward to.  I think that's one of the reasons this last year has been so hard...we've had very little joy in our lives, isolated and alone.  All the more reasons this place has become such a godsend for us all!

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Yeah, Kay, I was thinking (talking to Annette) this morning about it. If it wasn't for the pandemic, me and my brother would have gone to a few concerts by now, gone to Disneyland... I don't know if I would have been up for that. I seem to be getting more and more isolated as time goes on, and I could use the distraction of going out now more than ever, but I don't have a choice. It sucks that its been dictated to me how I have to grieve, when I may have been helped so much by having the choice to participate if I wanted to. 

Was your first year a balance of "fun" and being withdrawn? I keep thinking that after May 16, I might snap out of this funk- maybe after a year it will have set in. I've already accepted my fate of being alone, but that I will have done my "penance" and will feel better about being social.

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8 hours ago, Kieron said:

negatively affected the outcome of what happened 4 years ago today.

I’m so sorry about the anniversary.  Even that word sounds odd.  To have added a date to our new lives that is a dark, the darkest one is so cruel, as we live that reality every single day.  Hugs to you.  💖

 

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And I am still dreading my "anniversary". I'm sorry, Kieron.

I am just sitting here thinking, I don't want to go on another day without her. I'm sick of this pointless, meaningless life. My Mom only cares about me because I came out of her, but she doesn't need me. Nobody needs me. On the weekends, the few "friends" I have are doing things- living life. I see happy people on Facebook, and I want to become a Monk and disconnect from it all. I've got nothing to look forward to- I'm so bored. I could do the same things (surfing, listening to music) and not be bored, because of Annette- her presence made it interesting. Being able to tell her dumb little tidbits off Facebook, making her laugh...that's what I lived for. There is nothing to live for now (My Mom doesn't get my sense of humor at all).

And to think it hasn't even been a year. I really just want a nice heart attack and to go quick. I hate the weekend.

 

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12 hours ago, nashreed said:

I keep thinking that after May 16, I might snap out of this funk- maybe after a year it will have set in. I've already accepted my fate of being alone, but that I will have done my "penance" and will feel better about being social.

My first year was survival only.  I did all the legal stuff, got thru the holidays, even found a lot of things to make the house look better I had put off because Steve was sick.  I’m amazed looking back How I did stuff almost casually.  But I also had times of tortuous breakdowns.  Crying so much I couldn’t even speak.  Screaming myself to sleep.  
 

When the year anniversary hit, I sent out a group message and got lots of support.  People thought I was doing so well.  That’s when the isolation starting hitting.  I’d have to remind people I was still in grief.  I couldn’t give them a timeframe, many expected that over the years.  I still hear you must be used to it by now.  Well, I’m used to being abandoned and depressed.  Feeling I don’t matter as a special someone.  That my interest in life has waned to a very low level.  That what would once give me pleasure are basically gone.  Some are coincidental along with his death, like volunteering and the dog park.  I’ve found a couple other things to do, but I really wish I didn’t need them as they will always feel alien to my way of wanting to live.  I’m just desperate for human contact and often get weary of it now.  I keep pushing myself because it’s too easy to get sucked into utter isolation.  Just using the computer for contact.  I also realize I want more from people that knew us.  Just to feel they care.  They show me in other ways, but I know it would make them uncomfortable if I wanted to cry.  Now at 6 years, I really have to be careful, they didn’t get it at 5 years, they certainly don’t now.  
 


But they are all good people.  Mostly stay in touch, just not as frequently.  Their lives continue on so I listen more now and have little to add about my life.  Had 2 women from the community center call last night to see how I was feeling after my vaccine.  A resident from the nursing home call to thank me for some goodies I dropped off for him.  A guy coming by next week to take Mel in to get her nails trimmed.  I just wish I could be more engaged.  A lot is my physical limitations too.  If I wasn’t always in pain it would make a world of difference.  
 

I don’t know if this helps with your question.  I can only say, for me, one year was starting the real journey, the totally emotional side.  I was not prepared, thought it would be better too.  For some it is.  Your circumstances, personality and emotions will design your journey.  I feel pretty confident saying that at a year it’s not better.  I was hoping that too and have read everyone’s stories here about that mark and it’s not a finish line, obviously, but just a marker along the marathon.  It’s a pivotal point tho.  Where I feel the real challenge began inside of my heart.  

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I just go through so many slight highs and low, low lows. Sometimes I think I'm doing better and then the weekend comes and all my triggers get triggered.

Then, I stumbled upon an article about a musician who is almost 30 into life with ALS. He can only communicate through his eye movement. I can't even imagine. Makes me feel like a schmuck for complaining. If he can keep going...although I didn't see mention of a spouse. His support system is probably (hopefully) outstanding. 

But Annette was everything to me. The more I go without her, the more I realize how incredible she was, is.

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Comparing is rarely, if ever, helpful.  We live our reality, they live theirs.  Both are as valid.  I don’t feel less valid when I see someone struggling more, but I can feel empathy for them.  I won’t invalidate myself as that makes it worse.   They may have better support or a personality that handles things differently, and as you pointed out, not be carrying the loss of a partner.  Grief is self centered.  But not in a bad way.  It’s about how we survive along with other challenges we now face alone.  I see handicapped people all the time.  I feel a kinship.  As Kay once pointed out, we can’t know, nor can they, unless we wear each other’s shoes.  

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