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My wife Brenda


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My wife Brenda & I both got sick with covid the third week of January.  We weren't very sick for awhile.  I was joking how we were kicking covids ass.  Honestly, I have had colds that were worse than this.  But as I got better, she got sicker.  I called the ambulance Sunday night, 1/31.  She went on a ventilator that night.  Even though I was also sick, I couldn't go see her.  The doctors kept telling me that she wasn't getting any better, but I still though she would be okay.  I did a video conference with her on Thursday 2/11, telling her that I was okay.  That she didnt have to worry about me, that she needed to fight this hard and concentrate on getting better.  They called me at about 4 Friday morning that she was gone.  Now I am left without her.  We have been together since we were 16.  We moved in together in 1981 and were married in 1983.  Everything I have done as an adult has been with Brenda.  We have been a we for so long, I dont know how to be a me.  She has gotten me through all the bad things.  Now I have the worst thing in my life and I dont have her to get me through it.  We werent perfect.  We had bad times just like most people.  But we were perfect for each other.  I dont know how to go from here.  It all seems so hopeless.  We were just starting to talk about retirement.  Now I have nothing to work toward.  I have times when I want to just lie down and die.  I have times when I am afraid I will die from a broken heart.  I have times when I am so afraid to think about the fact that she will never come home again because I dont know if I will recover from the grief.  I am lost and confused and have never felt so alone.  I have a good support group, but they dont understand.  They are trying.  We dont have any children, just lots of pets through the years.  My strongest reason for getting up everyday is that we have 3 cats, Oscar, Felix and Smokey, and she would kick my ass if I didnt take good care of them.  After almost 42 years. I just dont know what to do.

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I am so very sorry for the reasons that brought you here to us, my friend ~ but grateful that you've managed to find us. You are not alone, even though we know it feels that way. Here you are among kindred spirits who understand how it feels to lose a soul mate ~ and if your reason for getting up everyday is simply because you feel responsible for Oscar, Felix and Smokey, let that be enough for now ~ because we understand that, too. ❤️

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I am new to this group. Although I have been a widow for almost 5 years now I too was married for over forty years. My husband was the only person I have ever dated or been with. the same for him. we were each others firsts. When he died I thought that I would die also, I begged God to take me too so we could stay together. I knew nothing of life except what I experienced as a couple. I can only tell you that it does indeed get easier, I can't say better, but easier. I have not gone to bed one time since he passed without having a discussion with him. I tell him about my day and ask him about his, it is a ritual now. I feel as if we are still side by side. I talk about the past and about the future and what it holds for me/us ultimately. All of the sacrifices that we made for each other can not be for naught. I owe it to him to carry on as best that I can. I try to do things in his honor, things that if he were alive he would be doing. Volunteer things and the like. You will find strength thru others and thru the memories of your wife. Try to do at least one thing that you weren't able to do the day before and continue that action day after day. Just one thing more. Routine will take over and you will begin to start a new path for yourself. You will never forget the time you had with your loving wife but there will come a time when her loss will not haunt you. A time when the good memories of the past will be there but also dreams of a new future will start to slowly bloom. Take your life one day at a time, do not look to far ahead it will overwhelm you if you do. There will be days when you can only manage one hour at a time. That is ok too. God Bless

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Just wanted to say I’m sorry you are in such pain.  Your timeline is about the same as mine.  Met in the mid 70’s, married in 83, losing him in 2014.    38 years, more in my life than out of it.  The loss was incomprehensible.  I’m glad you found the forum.  The 'family' here understand everything you feel now and what will unfold for you.  I’ve not seen one emotion not felt by some or everyone here.  Not having been a month yet, the shock is devastating.  Share as much as you want, there is always someone listening.  Others are much better at welcoming people to this horrible club.  The advice above to take this a moment at a time is a great plan.  It’s normal to look ahead and see nothing worth being here for.  I struggle with that at 6 years still.  Not saying that to discourage you, but to point out I made it to 6.  I still have to push myself and look harder for meaning.  Volunteering is great and did that til the pandemic and I physically can’t right now.   But that is not something to consider yet.  Seems odd to say welcome.  I wish you didn’t need to be here, just as I do for everyone else.  But since we had these losses of the most important connection, it’s so good to have people that truly get it.  And we do.  It’s even more lonely when you don’t have anyone that has experienced this.  

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DHC:  The loss of your dear wife, Brenda from the Covid virus is so tragic.  The advice of not to look too far into the future is a hard bit of advice, but one day at a time is all we can handle after losing the most important person in our life.  You are so early in your grief it is overwhelming and frightening to believe your Brenda is no longer with you.  As Marty shared, you will find this Grief Forum to be very supportive.  Even though we each have a different story, we understand and feel your grief.  It's good that Oscar, Felix and Smokey are there with you.  Warm thoughts, Dee.  

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@DHC I am so sorry you lost your wife in such a sudden shocking way all too soon.  My husband also died a sudden unexpected death, five days after his 51st birthday, on Father's Day 2005.  They wouldn't let me be with him when he was dying, we were ALWAYS there for each other and I fear he may have felt abandoned as he was in so much pain he wouldn't have been cognizant of the nurse forcing me out and locking the door behind me.  They were working on his heart, the last time I saw him he was in acute distress, his eyes literally bulging out.  I was the one that called it to their attention.

To me, nothing is harder/worse than the initial shock of losing him, I didn't see how I could do another 40 years without him, I didn't see how I could survive one WEEK without him!  I didn't see how the sun could continue to rise and set, how people could continue on about their lives, didn't they know that the greatest most caring person ever had just died!!!

This is what I've learned in the years since, in a nutshell, I've learned from these forums/posts from people like you, I've learned so much from Marty and her articles, books, my experiences.  Everyone's journey is unique so not everything will be applicable to everyone, but this is just thrown out there for things to consider either now or on down the road...this is not a stagnant journey, but one that is evolving.  It has a beginning but not an end, but I promise you the intensity will not stay the same over the rest of your life.  We are amazingly resilient even when we don't think so.  Complications like health/disability can set us back, and I'm not relishing the growing old alone part but it's here nonetheless.  I so appreciate this place and everyone's supportiveness and we want to be here for you as you go through this.
 

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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11 hours ago, alwayssad said:

I am new to this group. Although I have been a widow for almost 5 years now I too was married for over forty years.

We welcome you as well and I'm glad you found your way here!  Everything we posted for original poster is for you too!  :wub:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm new here and your story hit me hard. Same thing here. Met in 1982, I was 16. Spent every moment with my husband and we were just retired 3 years ago and planning our golden years together building a house in another state. Then covid hit us. We both got it hard and 5 days in we both started feeling better. New years eve we spent talking for hours about the future and how much we looked forward to 2020 being forever forgotten. Said goodnight. Just 4 hours later he was being transported by ambulance because his oxygen level dropped to 60. I couldn't visit but we texted each other. He was progressing slowly but then on January 11 he suffered a major setback and was ventilated. He had 2 cardiac arrests and his organs started shutting down. The doctor told me my only chance to see him before he passed was if I made the decision to take him off life support because he didn't think my husband would survive another arrest and neurological issues were very likely affected.  So I did get to say goodbye but it was the worst thing I've ever had to do. 

I can't think about the future. It feels like I'm dying if I think about that. The worst pain right now is the guilt. Why him and not me? I have all the comorbidities they talk about. It makes no sense. Covid sucks and I haven't had a memorial for him yet because of the restrictions so there's that guilt on top of everything else.

 

Anyway, not trying to depress anyone, but just know there are others in this club. I'm sorry for all of our losses. I hope we all find a way to cope. 

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@Tbob66  I welcome you to this site, although I wish there was no occasion for being here.  I am so sorry for your loss.  To lose someone so suddenly is so hard...my husband died almost 16 years ago, he'd just turned 51, it was sudden/unexpected and he'd looked in perfect health.  These seem to me to be the hardest times to lose someone because of the restrictions.  I'm glad you got to text some...
I never got to say goodbye because the hospital threw me out and locked the door behind me while they worked on him.  No matter how we lose them, it's the hardest thing in the world to go through.
You are right in not being able to think about the rest of your life...I was 52 when my husband died and knew I could easily live to 92 with my genes, I did not see how I could do the whole "rest of my life" and the thought sent me into a panic.  

Some things on this list may be of help to you now, some on down the road, so I hope you will keep it and check it every few months as this is an ever evolving journey.  It helps to come here and read/post with others that "get it" and are also on this journey.

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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Thank you for the list. I've printed it. I find myself feeling just completely hollowed out inside. Our plans unfinished and goals gone now. 

I do read the forum though. I feel I don't have a lot to share right now as far as posting goes. I appreciate everyone posting their experiences because even though it's an awful club to be in, it helps to not feel so alone. 

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And that is okay.  We're here whether you're writing or not.  

I want to list these articles too since we're in these Covid times still...

COVID-19 and Grief
Covid times
Covid in grief

COVID-19 Grief Guide

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