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So I just joined this forum the other day. I wanted to join a support group but because of Covid they have all been cancelled. There is no question I need support from others and this seems a place to start.

Rose and I were married for 46 years. We met my first day on campus. We were married 21 months later.  We have 3 grown children and 3 grandchildren. The kids call often but we can't get together very much these days. In 2010 she had breast cancer but came back strong. In 2017 she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. After months of chemo she had surgery which was considered a success. In the spring of 2019 the pancreatic cancer returned and we were told it was terminal. More chemo followed but she cancelled that to be healthy enough to take a trip to Disney to spend her last vacation with our daughter and her family. She toured all the parks in a motorized cart. Each day she and I would go to the park first aid station and she would rest for a couple of hours then back with the group. After we returned from the trip things went very quickly. She came home from the hospital on her birthday to hospice. She got out of bed on Christmas day to share a meal with family. 3 days later on 12/28/19 (her fathers birthday)  she passed away in her sleep. Like many others on here I can't believe she is gone. My head knows but my heart will not accept. I work full time but now live alone and I do mean alone. 

Some days I go to the basement and just scream. I've been mad at her for leaving me. That feeling never lasts long. I can't yet remember times with her and be happy. Those thoughts and memories just bring more tears. I have a journal that I write to her in everyday. Sometimes it's just to say hello and I miss you and sometimes it is longer trying to express my feelings. This time of year was her favorite and to honor her I have put up a tree and all her favorite decorations. It is so hard to see it all everyday but not see her.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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I'm glad you're here, it literally saved my life when I went through this 15 1/2 years ago, that's why I'm still here, I want to be here for others, if only that they can know they're heard by someone who "gets it."  We never forget as long as we live.

I am so sorry for your loss.  I'm also so sorry for all that she and you went through.   I feel my George is the fortunate one because he got to go on to meet his Maker and I'm the one stuck here with all of the struggles, but I try to view life as a gift even though I'm growing old alone and sometimes it can be pretty rough.  I'm glad you still have a job.  

I have a "Letters to George" file on my PC that I started after he died, it helps to express yourself.  And who knows but what he can see it?  

I still put up a tree and hang his stocking, I put his ornaments on the tree in the most prominent place.  He'd never had one until we met.  I gave him his first one.

I'm glad you had 46 years, we didn't meet until our mid-40s and he suddenly died just after his 51st birthday.  It was unexpected and a shock.  So not a LOT of years together, we only knew each other 6 1/2 years, but they were the best years of my life, we were soul mates and best friends.

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

 

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Hello Blucheese,

Thank you for sharing. I find that reading different stories about the loss of our spouses helps me along my path of grieving. I always welcome them, and know that you're not alone in the feelings of loss and anger and sadness.

This month is very hard for me, as my wife Annette's birthday and our anniversary are also in this month. I woke up yesterday bleary eyed and shell shocked. I can only lean on these fine folks, as I don't have any people in my orbit to commiserate with.  I wish I could cry or scream. I had a few brief moments early on, where I just let go, but I was brought up to be closed off emotionally, and living back with my family, I have gone back to those ways pretty quickly. I feel like now if I thought about her passing and all her pain and struggles too much, I could start crying and never stop.

It will be my first Christmas without her too. We will just have to help each other get through. We don't have a choice.

James

 

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I’m so sorry you are here because of why.  I feel that for every newcomer. It brings back my own pain and why I and everyone is here.  We never had kids, but I totally understand the quitting of chemo as I encouraged my husband to stop, he wanted to but thought he should try for the extra time tho it was robbing him off quality time.  He got a few months to enjoy time with me and his friends.  I don’t remember how I survived that mentally knowing what was coming.  You lived that as well.

 I’m glad you have family.  Having connection to her thru them, I hear, helps even if it is just limited filling of a huge void.  But it won’t fill that hole she and you personally shared.  I get angry too.  More so at nature than him now.  He had no more control than I did.  There’s more a frustration that I need help now that I have aged 6 years that I once provided for him.  It’s still hard for me to visit our happy times because I do-that alone.  Even stories I’ve told others catch up with me later of the pain they will be no more.  I once likened it to a book we were writing and had to suddenly end.  No more chapters.  No more adventures.  No more dreams together or sharing anything.  It was cruel and cold to be forced to to end it so abruptly after 44 years.  

To be surrounded by their essence but alone is torture.  I thought I was adapting until a couple years ago.  Triggers started popping up and after 4 years I thought I couldn’t be surprised anymore.  Last July I had to let our last dog together go.  She was my rock since his death and I’ve crashed so hard I haven’t recovered yet.  My once family is now gone.  I had to do that without him, something I’ve never done.  

I think I put up a tree the first year, I don’t remember from the shock.  That you have is a marvel.  The first holidays are so tough, tho you were both struggling last year.  I don’t do holidays beyond mustering up spirit to not drag people down.  Listen to their plans and joys then walk into our once cozy home to the darkness no amount of lights, candles or heat truly fills.  I tried to do them the next years but it made it worse,some it helps.  We’re all so different.

I’m sorry if this makes you feel worse.  Simply put, I understand and truly empathize.  I hope being here helps as being 'heard' by others so helped me beyond a journal no one saw.  I talk to him now and then, but the echo is too much.  I don’t know if you’ve thought about a grief counselor, but I have one where I can be the real person I am now.  A safe haven like here.  This is your journey and only you know what you need beside what we all want, to have them back.  My heart truly goes out to you.  ❤️

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Welcome.  I'm glad you found us.  I can't add much more to what was already said so eloquently.  Been there, done so many of the things you describe.  I also work full-time or as close as I can given pandemic issues, and the solitary echo in the house does get loud, doesn't it?  😞  Knowing that the conclusion of the first year is coming up, consider Kay's tips that were posted earlier.  Don't be surprised if and when aftershocks occur at about 18 months, give or take a few months since we're all different, and of course personal anniversaries and birthdays and holidays are thrown into the mix. 

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