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I love this picture of her!  She is so vibrant and beautiful!  Oh Nash, my heart hurts for you, I know you're missing her.

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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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I just try to remember that there were good times- I did my best for her.

It's sad that for the past 20 years, she wouldn't have even been able to get into that position (RA). 

I appreciate the opportunity to share a photo of her here. (It's also my current Facebook profile picture) I have no one to talk to about her, but I just want to share what a kind, sweet soul she was (is). Unlike me, who's lazy and have no motivation, it broke Annette's heart when she couldn't work anymore. She was let go from her last job because she was having too many incidents of sleepiness and her being legally blind and all her health problems didn't help. She was still trying to get a job the last few months, even though she was in chronic pain and her BMI was over 60. I just want somebody to know that she was amazing and I was truly blessed to have had the life we had, and the happiness we shared.

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So, the month I have been dreading is upon me. One year is on May 16.

I wish that I could say that I can stop feeling guilt and be at peace on the 17th. I don't know. I have a lot to face these next couple of weeks. For some reason, I felt I needed to keep several voicemails from May (perhaps I knew), and I haven't played them since hearing them originally. And I will be taking her ashes to the beach and spreading them on the sand. To say it's bittersweet is an understatement, but I need to do something for her. I need closure on this year. I just need to ...not get over her, but get over the pain. 

I want both of us to be at peace. I will always love her, but I have to live without her until we're reunited. 

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I’m glad you have a plan for the 1st anniversary.  I only remember sending out an email to all our friends which was helpful as they still had sympathy at that time.  A year is.a significant milestone.  You’ve been thru all the 1sts.  The awkward feeling lost in all the familiar times.  
 

You’ll never get over the pain, I don’t even know if it eases or just becomes a part of  us.  It’s definitely part of my identity now.  Like you, I’ll never get over him either.  I’ve always wanted the pain to get easier.  If I really open myself, I see it hasn’t.  There’s just no way the impact he had on my life can be reduced.  I got to be better at containing it, but it’s always right there.  
 

 

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I'm glad you have a plan in place, that helps.  I'm afraid Gwen is right, we just don't get over this, but we can learn to live with the changes it means for our lives.  It doesn't mean it's ever the same again, we all know it's not, how could it be?  But we do begin evolving through this journey.  A lot of times people have done some adjusting/coping and don't even realize it because it's so minute as to seem imperceptible.  But when I look back on day one, the shock, the horror, and the ensuing months, feeling frantic/anxious, I realize I have come a ways.  Shoot, I'm not even "over" Arlie!  I moved the sympathy cards to "his corner place" in my bedroom where I keep some mementos.  I suppose that's "progress" but I don't feel it.  I still bawl over him and it's been nearly two years.  I will always miss him.  He was a once in a lifetime dream dog, but then, I'm feeling this about Kodie too now, just in a different way.  It reminds me of Marty's recanting how she lost her dog and didn't think she'd ever love another that much...yet she did and even surpassed it.  I don't think I'll ever love a dog MORE than Arlie, I can't compare though, they're very different, but Kodie has been just what I needed this last nearly 17 months.  I thank God I've had them both in my life.  I've had some wonderful dogs.

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It's been almost a year, and it feels like it's been so much longer. I feel responsible for keeping her memory alive. I feel its important that she is remembered. It's hard because my memory for just everyday life is lousy, and yet those are the things that I need to remember- the little jokes and the phrases she used and ....her. She was so unique, so one of a kind. 

I'm afraid of being accustomed to this new "life" of mine, because there's so little that makes me hapshapepy- that brings a smile to my face. I actually have had facial stiffness and rigidity because I don't laugh anymore. About a month ago, I was so close to wanting it all to be over with. I can see some light on the other side of this grief. I know hope and sorrow have to live together in my heart right now. I have hope for a future that is bearable, but sorrow for what I have lost. I realize that its affected my health to be a miserable man, and figure I better shape up a bit, because it would really suck to have to be in poor health, and still be stuck living for a couple of decades. 

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Okay, today my tall order is for you to watch something funny!  A movie, comedy routine, something! Laurel & Hardy?

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Well, that made me laugh! Not quite my generation :).

I find that in the morning, when talking to Annette, I will laugh at something that I say, or when I think of what her response would be. It only lasts a few seconds, but its something. I remember living to make her laugh, and then seeing how long I could keep her going until it was pee the pants time. 

I'm much too self conscious to laugh at TV, even with her. I will see if I can find some of our favorite 90's Saturday Night Live sketches. Those hold good memories. 

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Nash, probably not your generation either, but try some Carol Burnett show. Tim Conway and Harvey Korman usually had me in tears(the good ones).

May 5 is my D-day of 8 years. It will always be, but gets easier as the years pass.

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I have never seen The Carol Burnett Show, ever. It just totally missed me. I never watched The Brady Bunch, or some other of the 70's sitcoms- but I used to like All In The Family, Sanford & Son and more "topical" series. I will check out Carol Burnett on YouTube. 

I'm sorry about your "anniversary". Any tips to survive are appreciated. I am really just irrittable and sad and everything is making me upset. There's a dog that's barking that is really making me nuts (when I have to remove my headphones). 

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Karen, so sorry you are facing another milestone.  I thought they were getting a bit easier til I hit 6 last October. I am feeling the opposite.   I factor in so many med problems and being alone.  Also, more time without him as age has slowed me down and would have him too.  It would be nice sharing the time with him.  I’m always amazed I’m now older than he got to be.  I’ve always been 4 years younger.  Now I’m 3 years older.  It just isn’t right.  It’s factual, but not right.  
 

I only seem to laugh when engaged in conversation.  TV and movies might make me smile a bit.  I feel emotionally blunted being alone.  So aware I am alone.  One series of commercials, of all things, that can lift me are the dog Subaru ones.  
 

all in all, I haven’t had a true, good, pure laugh or feeling of enjoyment in over 6 years.  I don’t expect that will ever change if it hasn’t by now.  I had some the first few years when I was still fit and could do more.  When I had the 2 dogs to keep things somewhat as they were.  Losing Ally tore down the last of what I knew for decades.  Family.  Melody is my baby now, but she never knew 'dad'.  Had to go out and start his car and almost said to her....Steve’s car and went, no, it’s always been dads car and always will be. I wish the word meant something to her as it did all our other kids.  No reaction now.  Only to the question tone of my voice if I say ‘who’s here?' when someone comes by.  And that is so rare 
 

I'm glad for those doing better as the years pass.  Shows how differently this affects all of us.  Wish I could switch teams.  😓

Carol Burnett was awesome.  Her whole show.  My parents and I watched it.  Classic comedy not dependent on sex or swearing.  No politics.  Pure slapstick and neutral.  I loved the spin off of Mama’s Family with Vicky Lawrence.  Adding Tm Conway to Carol was genius!

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Gwen, I love the Subaru dog commercials! Puts a smile on my face.

Nash, I wish I had a list of "magic" survival tips. Somehow you just fight your way through the dark days until you see the sunshine. I didn't have much breathing room grief wise after Ron's death when I was slammed again by my daughter's death. That one almost hit me harder. Two days before she died during a coherent moment, she looked at me and said "I just love life". I'll never forget that and I guess I try to honor it by pushing forward. The life I knew is never coming back so I try to make the best of the one I have now.

I wish peace for you in your heart.

 

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Might try Red Skelton too.  The 60s had a lot of comedy.  Rowan & Martin.  My dad loved it, a little too slapstick for me but sometimes it worked.  Carol Burnett was amazing, an artist in her own.  Laurel & Hardy wasn't my generation either (just so you know) but we used to check out reels from the library and watch them, good to know what was there before official t.v. came along.  Great mimes...

I felt so glad that it brought you a smile, no matter how short lived!  That's how it is in grief, we take what little good we can get, no matter how fleeting!

Never found an article of tips on surviving our wedding anniversaries but this might be of help:  Special Days

Karen, my heart goes out to you as you face yet another one...it never gets normal or easy but not as bad as the first couple anyway.:wub:

 

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It's hard to believe that it's been five years this month, that me and Annette last visited California together, and four years later she would be gone.

We visited because her Mom was in the hospital from a stroke (she has passed too). Annette had only had her prosthetic less than two years, but was getting around and holding her own. I was so proud of her.

2016 was our last good year, when everything went right and we rented her dream home. We still had hope for an awesome future. 

This is the last photo taken of us together. Sorry about being in the shade. Her Dad isn't a good photographer. 

image.jpg

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I love this picture!  It shows the two of you together happily, just going about life.  I know it's hard.  Some of my favorite shots of us are candid ones, just happily living life together, maybe our expression isn't picture ready or our clothes the best, but you can see our love/comfort with each other and that's what counts.

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I love looking at the pictures of Steve and I when he was fit and healthy.  He was a commanding man.  I loved his muscular physique.  I’m wasn’t small at almost 6 feet, but I felt more dainty around him.  I liked it.  He was my protector.  Candid shots are always great, but I like our posed ones too we’d take for the family.  Have the usual after vow renewal with him behind me showing our hands with rings.  I look at that and see how handsome and strong he was.  How I got lost in those arms and chest.  The thick hair and blue eyes.  I was just sitting outside thinking about how we ate dinner every night and talked.  Making up each our plates with leftovers for the kids.  It was all so very warm.  I had to disconnect back to reality of paper plates and microwave meals.  
 

had a virtual grief support meeting last night about ,presence'.  Being in it.  Pretty much all of us found pain in it.  Hard to stay in it because of that.  How we instinctively look for outs.  It’s a hard place to voluntarily go.  People from 10 or more years still struggled with it.  Many wear still trying to figure out who they were now being alone.  Even with kids to raise.  They don’t fill that unique void.  Where we went when the issues of the day were settled and we could normally relax with that person that made our world.  That intimate partner.  I came away from this knowing I wasn’t alone in the feeling, but I am so alone.

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15 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

Many wear still trying to figure out who they were now being alone.

I've done that, long ago, I guess that's part of the acceptance process.  I had always thought I had to be Mrs. ___ to be of value, I needed that affirmation, that title.  I don't.  I am valuable, just me.  It took me much of my life to realize that, but it was good to learn.  I am me, whether alone or in a relationship.  I am valuable, just me.  I give myself my own feedback, positivity, what I need.  Does that mean this is my preference?  No!!  I miss those strong arms and chest!  I miss his smell, I miss his voice, I miss talking with each other, cuddling, I miss his spontaneity!  We balanced each other, were imperfect people who were a perfect fit!  It's up to me alone to figure out my journey, with grief, with medical, with day to day struggles, everything.  It's up to me to provide my needs.  No one else will do it.

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Well, I haven’t gotten this far without being able to rely only on myself.  I get that, but I also see I have neglected things without his presence.  I don’t feel as valuable.  I’ve lost many things that contributed to my whole self.  Just by existing doesn’t mean value or meaning.  I do admire the connections you made as we need that.  I lost mine like a domino effect starting with Steve.  As of now, I feel I only matter for paying for living in this life, taxes, utilities, food, etc.  now facing more payments for maladies which is like insult to injury.

Mine is loss of physical health in ways that prevent me from being involved in new things.  I see access to activities I would like to try but can’t.  The few things I have I’ve enjoyed are so limited.  I’d like to do more than sit in my car talking to the new women I’ve met.  Go on walks or shopping with them.  So that’s very frustrating.  There are things that would make me feel better if I could do them around my home.  I know I have limits now, but there are small things that make me feel so defeated.  
 

yes, I am a person.  My meaning has always been tied to people since I was born.  The joining of my deepest self to Steve is something that I did only once and see the consequences of it being severed.   I will never be whole again.  That’s how it works for me.  I even knew in unconsciously when he was here.  I felt how pretty much everything I did felt deeper for that connection, even if I was doing something without him.  He added more joy to that.  I was a volunteer.  I feel I was extra giving. because I had that extra love infusing into me.  I don’t know how to adequately describe it.

at the first session of a new virtual grief group we focused on presence.  Only one person felt they were OK in who they were now.  The rest of us were still trying to figure out who we are.  I know the Gwen of yore, but not this one.  Every day there are reminders of the changes that I haven’t found answers of how to adjust that is meaningful.  For me, it’s because there is so much.  If it were just mental, I’d be more focused.  I am overwhelmed trying to do this while bombarded with physical options and decisions.  So I just curl up at night in that wish this is something I will wake up from and maybe half my limits will be gone.  That would be all I need to feel some hope.
 

 

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11 hours ago, Gwenivere said:

Mine is loss of physical health in ways that prevent me from being involved in new things.

Me too.  I can walk, but my hands prohibit so many things I used to take for granted.  Life is much harder, I live with pain.  I discontinued the Ibuprofen because of it elevating my BP.  My BP is still too high.  But it's kind of a catch 22 because I'm sure the pain I live with affects it.

So we not only grieve our partners, the life we had, the future that was shattered, but our health and abilities.  And that complicates things!

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I can’t help but believe all the Catch 22’s I run into.  Stop one thing to ease this, it aggravates that.  I know it takes time to find balances (tho in some there may not be any), but after months to years I’m plain old worn out.  A few times I’ve been told I’d just have to live with it!  That doesn’t sound like better living thru chemistry to me.  I don’t know what we are supposed to do.  Say.....great, my numbers look good but I can’t function well or being miserable is OK?   Quality of life is vital. I lived long enough without it now to know that.  It was another day of getting up with indescribable pain and now feeling sick.  Hard to get motivated about anything.  Talk to my primary doc today for all the good it will do.  I’m already bummed out for the day from pain taking a couple pics of my lilacs.  Haven’t a clue how I’ll handle a shower and today Is a wash hair day too.   My hands aren’t as bad as yours, Kay.  But they are not as agile as they were.  I drop a lot of things from lack of strength.  The whole situation is just plain depressing.  Yet I keep being told to have a positive outlook, look for little things, yada yada.  Well, I see them, but they sure don’t help much if at all as this drags on.  

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I hear ya, Gwen. I know what its like to live with chronic pain. Annette suffered so much. I know how damn unfair life is. It hurts my heart that good people have to suffer. 

It's been incredibly hard to find any motivation to eat healthy and take care of myself, but through all her pain and limited mobility, she still did her best to make healthy meals for me. It wouldn't be right for her to have done that for nothing. She wanted me to take better care of myself. My body is really starting to tell me that I can't eat like crap anymore. My back is also telling me I should really be seeing a chiropractor, but I've been putting off because of COVID (having to wear a mask while getting the wind crunched out of you doesn't sound pleasant). 

Having a positive outlook is getting easier, it really is. The guilt is fading. I may be able to actually get a job at some point if the stars align. I need a new identity. My old one is gone. 

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My ability to grip things is going, some things no problem, but small things, it's like I don't have fine dexterity anymore.  And they stutter when I type, pretty bad, I have to try to catch and fix things before I post, I used to type perfectly.  I've lost my feeling on my knee too.  That's from the falls/injuries I've sustained, first at the vet's in 2017, then Oct. 9 last year.  I burned my finger and thumb a while back and did not even know it for hours because I have no feeling in it, from the chow injury last year.  Nerves can repair so who knows.  

15 hours ago, nashreed said:

Having a positive outlook is getting easier, it really is. The guilt is fading. I may be able to actually get a job at some point if the stars align.

So good to hear you say this!  

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One step forward, two steps back is the way it is now.

One week I can be positive and actually have some hope for any kind of future, and then the next week (as it approaches one year) I am sullen and withdrawn.

Seems like the neighbors around here know when I'm low, and when to push my buttons. If it's not the one side with the screaming brats and their inflatable pool making noise, then the other side has to be blasting their lousy La Cucaracha music. I was really hoping for some focus and peace and zen, but instead it's the fight against my misophonia triggers. 

Annette always joked that if I became a bitter, old man that that would give her the right to divorce me. And here I am, a crabby, bitter and sad (almost) old man. I fear that who I was with Annette- the caring, considerate person- is gone. 

I saw about how Elon Musk is so brave and courageous with revealing he has Asperger's. I still haven't been diagnosed, but I bet I would blow him off the charts. It doesn't mean squat unless you were brought up or are rich. Who knows what I could have been if I had had his opportunities. Nobody cares about the mental health of the homeless people I see driving around here every day. 

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15 minutes ago, nashreed said:

Seems like the neighbors around here know when I'm low, and when to push my buttons.

I think you know that’s not true.   But I understand feeling that way.  On my worst days I feel the irony of complications more.  
 

I know 2 people with Asbergers and they are not capable of the love you feel for Annette.  I’m no therapist tho.  One had no empathy to other human but was brought to tears when his dog died.  The other is Steve’s brother and while married and having a family, I’ve never heard him speak lovingly about them.  I know he cares, but it’s more sharing their accomplishments.  I’ve never heard him say he loves anyone.  Not his wife once.  Not even Steve and he was with  me for his passing.  I think he was sad, but it was very 'matter of fact' when it was done and he headed home.  Same with their parents and sister.  The only comment he made was he was surprised, as the oldest, he outlived them.  
 

I’ve heard the Musk name, but not familiar with his story.  I can’t see how money could change a mental condition beyond more access to therapy.  But my understanding of asbergers is it cannot be changed.  I was able to correct my friend in things he said that hurt me because he lacked that filter.  He respected that and why we could stay friends.  Most others just avoided him completely when he hurt them.  I haven’t seen him in a long time, years, as he moved, but imagine he is the same.  
 

like I said, I’m no professional, but the capacity to love that deeply I see missing in that diagnosis.  

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Well, I was just going by the symptoms online. Socially awkward- check. No filter- yes, I hurt Annette a lot by being insensitive. She was very gullible, and sweet and I was often rude- I got better, with her understanding. Unable to make eye contact or small talk -absolutely. But, again, nobody's ever diagnosed me. I wouldn't know how to go about it.

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