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Hi, I’m new here. I’m also new to grief like I’m having now. My wife of 35 years is gone.

On October 1st last year, she left me We were having a fun day until around 4pm. I went into the bedroom to get something (I forgot what it was now) and then I went back into the living room and I thought she fell asleep on the couch, like she’s done a million times before...but this time, she didn’t wake up. I shook her and told her to wake up. I couldn’t believe what happened. I was talking to her just a few minutes ago. I called 911 and they got to my house fast. I watched them work on her.. but no good..she was gone. I can’t explain to you how devastated I am over this. My wife, my best friend, my love, has left me.  My life has changed in a second. I am so lost without her. I’m told that I have to move on, but I’m finding that very hard to do.

Well, that’s my story. I thought a place like this would help...so here I am.

Joey

 

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I’m so sorry for your loss.  Especially the suddenness your Margaret was ripped from you.  We are a mix of expected and unexpected.  The result is the same.  Half of our self dies that day too.  I don’t know who is telling you to 'move on', but I hope you will see here that grief is a forever journey.  To be expected to be over it and especially in a little over 5 months had to have come from people that have no experience with this.  You haven’t even hit all the firsts without her.  Special days the were yours and hers.  You had the holidays, and those are big triggers for pain.  This community has people that have experienced everything and can, hopefully, help and assure you that all you feel is valid.  I know they saved me and I had years to what I thought was preparing for my loss.  Until it happens, there is no knowing what it feels like.  I wish you didn’t have to join this 'club', but since you have, there are many here to listen and share.  Marty has created a safe place to be who we are now and trying to figure out how to continue with such a massive void that will never be filled.  We all have different timelines and journeys.  We share the same heartbreak.  💔

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I'm sorry, Joey. 

I lost my wife, Annette, 10 months ago today. It feels like it's been 10 years. She was only 49, but had many health problems and I know she is in a much better place. 

I make it through, one day at a time. It's hard to try to find my new identity, but I am trying for her. I get through the day with a lot of music and some help with the folks here, who are kind enough to let me vent about my new reality. 

There's definitely folks here who are better "greeters", but I certainly can sympathize and understand what you're going through, so I hope it helps to know that you're not alone in this grief journey. 

James

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Joey:  The sudden loss of your spouse is so tragic to read.  I hope as you spend time reading and sharing on this grief forum you will begin to find some peace and comfort.  You are correct when you say your life has dramatically changed within a brief second.  Losing our spouse/partner is definitely not an event that we can just get over and move on.   We each walk a different grief path and you are entitled to walk your path, your way.  I hope you have family or friends close by that will help and not judge your feelings.   The best advice I learned after losing my husband is to only take one day at a time and try not to look any further than the day we are in.   Dee

 

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Joey, I am so sorry!  I hope it helps to find a place like this where others "get it."  We won't tell you to move on, there is no moving on from this, only trying to learn to live with it and that takes much time, more than the people who would tell you that can possibly realize.  It took me years to process my George's death, years more to find purpose, and more years yet to build a life I could live, and then Covid came along with its social isolation and destroyed it overnight.  Life becomes a before and after from their point of death.

We welcome you here and want to be here for you.  I do hope you have caring family and friends nearby.

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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I really want to thank all of you for your kind words and advice. 

Can you believe that the two people that told me to move on are my doctor and a grief counselor? My doctor knew how close my wife and I were. I can’t believe he said that. That’s when he made the grief guy call me who told me the same thing. He call’s me twice a month and should be calling me tomorrow. I’m going to tell him that I don’t need his help anymore..I’m doing great. I have to lie about it. That’s what he wants to hear from me.

I really want to thank all of you for letting me vent.

 

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I am so sorry that you were told that, I mean, move on to what? 

There's a show that my family watches- The Unicorn- that makes me so angry at a visceral level. The premise is a widower who is pressured by his "friends" to start dating again. So, based on the commercials, he's going out with at least a couple of women. I can't ever even think of doing that. I'm married to Annette still. Such a heartless, ridiculous show. 

I liken life now to a waiting room. I waited for Annette a lot during doctor appointments and hospital stays. So, I just need to fill time and wait until I can see her. Doing this during a pandemic makes it harder, much harder. I'm lucky I have family to live with, though sleeping on my childhood bunk bed is not how I imagined 51 to be. I just want to do Annette proud. I talk to her every morning, and it helps me clear my head and keep connected... somehow. I know she hears me. 

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Joey...

First of all, I feel for you. I've been (and in some ways always will be) where you 're at. You found a good place here. There's lots of people here who just try to be helpful and supportive.

A big piece of advice from my "for what's it's worth" department...don't listen to those that are telling you to move on, or to get over it. Nobody really understands this grief crap unless and until they have been through it first hand. And if they have, they wouldn't be telling you to get over it. Right? We all get over it at our own speed, as we want to, when we want to. Some get over it quickly. Some never completely get over it. I think I probably fall into that second category. My wife and I were together for 41+ years. I'm into my 6th year now without her, and I still miss her physical presence fiercely. I still talk to her picture every day. Maybe there's something wrong with me, but I honestly don't think I ever want to completely get over her. We were too much a part of each other.

Grieving is a journey. It's a road bent and twisted like a pretzel, full of potholes and speedbumps. Things will get better for you in time. Time heals all wounds. Allow yourself to grieve, and even to hurt. If you don't you will never be able to look back and enjoy the good memories. I treasure those memories. They are all I have now.

One foot in front of the other...

Darrel

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5 hours ago, Joey56 said:

Can you believe that the two people that told me to move on are my doctor and a grief counselor?

I’m truly shocked!  Doctors are no experts in grief, but knowing you and simple human sympathy should come into play.  They may not get the magnitude, but better to offer compassion than that kind of advice.

A counselor saying that is not a grief counselor.  A true one would never say such a thing.  I think there are a lot of social services using the name but aren’t specialists as this person obviously proved.  If they were indeed a true grief specialist, I’d still definitely steer clear.  Just my opinion, but I wouldn’t lie to them.  I’d tell them how unhelpful they are.  This is a very fragile time for you.  No reason at all fo you to appease them.  Maybe ask for someone else or just cut that avenue off and find someone else if you feel you need it.  I have a great one that has walked with me for years.  A time I know I can be the raw me.  

Great picture.  You look like a great couple!

 

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Welcome, and I am sorry you have joined the club that no one wants to join. 

I want to emphasize what Gwen says about telling the unhelpful "counselor" how badly he's comported himself so far.  "Move on"?!  How smug and insensitive! 

10 hours ago, Joey56 said:

I’m going to tell him that I don’t need his help anymore..I’m doing great. I have to lie about it. That’s what he wants to hear from me.

That's absolutely up to you.  In my professional opinion, he may have an inaccurate idea about his own "counseling" skills and he needs a hard reality check.  Right now, though, you're in pain, and you are not obligated to conduct sensitivity training for hopelessly inept "counselors."  It hasn't even been 6 months for you.

If you do seek out someone else for therapy or counseling, just know that no one is ever "stuck" with any therapist, counselor, doctor, social worker, or anything else for that matter.  If their style is off-putting or insensitive, then walk away.  They'll find out soon enough what it's really like.

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On 3/17/2021 at 7:40 AM, Joey56 said:

Can you believe that the two people that told me to move on are my doctor and a grief counselor?

I'm sorry they're so out of touch in their own professions.  A doctor isn't trained in grief, a grief counselor should be.  Keep in mind that experience is the best teacher, even his/her book learning is deficient.  I cannot imagine our Marty ever telling someone that!  She KNOWS!  Also, not everyone who has lost a spouse is equal and the same in their experience.  Some are NOT as affected as others, because their loss is not the same as ours.  Just because two people are married on paper does not mean they were soulmates or close.  I know, I was in a bad marriage for 23 years, he was controlling, showed no emotion but anger, very hard on us, not at all caring of me and the kids in the ways we needed so badly.  George was my soulmate, he adored me and I him, we were indeed each other's best friend, lover, everything to each other!  When I lost him, I lost everything.  It would have been the same for him if roles were reversed.  We have something to miss!  You don't "move on" from that.  Personally, I'd like to slap anyone who says that and I'm not a violent person!  They need woken up but I doubt they will.  I'd find a new grief counselor, but that's just me.  I don't see how one who could utter such nonsense could be helpful.  My first one was bad too, he should have stuck to drug and alcohol counseling, something he knew something about.  He told me "If Debbie died I'd have to move on."  Well she didn't die, they divorced a couple of years later.  Gee, I wonder why, with such "devotion" as that!  I dropped him.  I've been at this site for nearly 16 years and I have learned so much here!  I've saved countless articles on different aspects of grief, read the threads/posts, responded.  I could go the rest of my life and still be learning from you and the others here!  This grief is all encompassing!  You are very fresh in your grief, I hope you'll guard and protect yourself from anyone who would try to trivialize or minimize what you're experiencing.  You can't argue experience!  

You will never  hear us tell you to "move on."  I belong to another grief forum as well and the people there get it as well.  They're living it.

I'm just so sorry you had that happen.  Honor your grief not by discounting it, but by realizing how real and encompassing it is.  There is nothing wrong with our grieving!  There is only learning to live with it, learning to find our way through this the best that we can and recognizing that we don't all handle everything the same way.  I am diabetic and have been on a journey to put my diabetes in remission, and am doing that.  I'm a moderator for a diabetic group online and one of the things I've been learning is that what works for me may not work for everyone, and vice-versa.  We share what works for us, we explore those avenues, we continue to learn, and do what works best for us.  I will be learning about that for the rest of my life as well!  That's something more tangible and definable than grief as we can see physical results, weight loss, normal blood sugars...but grief is harder to define and measure as we're all so unique and feelings are very much involved.  It's hard to get it across to others who have not experienced it.  And we don't wish it on anyone.

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Thank you for sharing this picture of you and Margaret!  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I believe it, I see her spirit...it's so hard when you have seen their zest for life and then it's just pouf, just gone!  How can that be?  I used to wonder that about my George.

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I really want to thank all of you here. Reading all of your posts makes me feel so much better than my doctor and grief counselor. 

My doctor (for some reason) is going to have a psychiatrist call me tomorrow. I read his notes. He has a portal, and I can see what he writes about me. I wonder why he wants that? To be honest with you, I really just want to be left alone at this point. I’m finding a lot of peace in the forests. I love to hike, so I’ve been doing that more now. I’m retired and don’t really have a schedule to keep.

Thank you all again for being so kind to me.

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19 minutes ago, Joey56 said:

I’m finding a lot of peace in the forests.

I, too, find so much in nature.  I live in forest country with a year-round creek roaring on my property, I love the sound of rushing water, seeing the deer and sometimes elk come to feed, or a stray fox running through my backyard.  I can do without the cougar and the bear seldom show themselves but even they are neat to watch, along with the owls and doves I love to enjoy.  There is something about the woods that brings me peace and restoration.  

You don't have to talk with a psychiatrist if you don't want to.  You alone have the power to heed what the doctor advises and not to if you don't agree with it.  I don't view grief as "something wrong with us" but a normal grief response to what feels like an abnormal life occurrence we're being called upon to live with and adjust to!  Don't let them tell you otherwise.  I doubt they've had the experience and read a thimble full of what I've read and listened to over the last 16 years.  Sending you thoughts of comfort and peace...

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Grief was described like a Bobber in a wavy waters.....you have Ups and downs, and they come out of nowhere...Grief is a part of life and you never get over it, you Cope and learn how to live with it....Do work on concentration, I was scatter brain for about a year.....take care

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Joey, my story is similar to yours. There are two widower books I'd like to recommend, along with related websites for widowers. "Widower to Widower: Surviving the End of Your Most Important Relationship" by Fred Colby, and "The Widower's Journey: Helping Men Rebuild After Their Loss" by Herb Knoll. The other thing I am learning via this journey, reading, and attending a grief group, is to expect people to say things that aren't helpful, for whatever reason. Let it go, and grieve as you need to, there is no wrong way or right way, only your way. Find safe people, and learn to be a safe person yourself. Hang in there. Peace.

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Excellent article, Marty!  To me, sending someone to a psychiatrist so early on is like implying there is something wrong with you because you're grieving...totally inappropriate!  Going to a grief specialist is different, we can all use some help in direction and understanding, but we do NOT have something "wrong" with us because we are grieving!  Our grief is normal under the circumstances we've been thrown into!

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Hi Joey, I wanted to pop in and send love to you.  The photo of you and Margaret is beautiful.

Grief for me softened over time.  It never leaves us, but for me it softened.  I think your commune with nature is a wonderful thing!  It helps to quieten the "monkey mind" and reminds you that you are never truly alone.

When grief comes, take a deep breath, lift your head and walk through it.  I learned not to try to stop it.  You have the strength of Source within and all around you.  

Each of us is different in our journey.  No right, wrong, or timeframe for anything.  It's your sacred path.  Do it your way.

Talk to Margaret.  She hears you.  The physical body dies but the light that is our soul is always here.  Just on another vibration.  

Shirley

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On 3/16/2021 at 3:54 PM, Joey56 said:

I’m told that I have to move on, but I’m finding that very hard to do.

Joey, it will be six years in October since Billy the Kid left.  I turned my back on him when he reached for me.  I told him "No!"  You see, I was not going to let him go.  He did not listen to me.  He left anyhow, and I should have been holding him.  I believe it was Joan Didion, (I might have this wrong), was at the dinner table with her husband.  I thought he had died at the table but he went to sit in a chair, and he was gone.  No warning.  They had been to the hospital to see their daughter who had been put into an induced coma because of flu-pneumonia, and I think hearts just do finally break.  About eight months later, this daughter passed away also.  Joan Didion is a small, frail woman who is 86 now.  After Billy left, I would go out in the RV so I could be alone.  I screamed into a pillow twice.  Oh, I won't do that again.  That hurts.  I found that when I cried so much I would reach a point I had no breath, I could have just let go, it felt so right, just don't breathe.  No pain, just forget to breathe.  Maybe my daughter knocked on the door, family always around me.  I would not have it any other way.  I went off on one of my favorite things to do, when I had cancer, to contemplate the beauty of the hills and forests, NOT TO THINK, just drive.  The first time I did this after Billy left I cried so hard I would have to pull off the country roads, no traffic, that I love, have always loved, to just drive.  

Heading toward six years this autumn, I still feel I will hear him walk through the door.  If I fall asleep in a chair, he visited me often.  One time he kissed me on the forehead.  On his wooden urn I taped his last note, he was going fishing.  It says "I love you, be back by noon."  He wrote it in a red Sharpie.  Still gives me a pause.  

Not everything helps.  My daughter and granddaughter are going to go through the 15 big plastic topped "buckets" I threw together when I left that house where the quiet was the loudest noise I had ever heard.  We had plans made "in the air" for years that which ever one was left would continue the RV traveling with the other's cremains.  I could not travel ever again.  In fact, I could not fish ever again.  I could never go back on any track we had gone on in 54 years except to come back to the "home" we had grown up in, the Louisiana Parish he grew up, was born on the southern border, I was born on the northern border.  Maybe 40-50 miles long.  He would have never lived in an apartment, I found that was something I had to do.  I wanted to do.  I was compelled to do  things that the two of us would not have done together.  It hurt too much to follow "our" paths.

Years just make you know "I'm next" and I guess there is really no fear.  I will tell you, one day you will notice the changing of the seasons, one day you will see beauty in things you never expected to see them again.  It is a mellow beauty.  I found some help in reading books by people who had lost their spouse/partner.  Martin Short wrote his story and in words I could feel him talking.  I still have not quit talking to Billy.  My granddaughter said if he answered he knows it would scare me to death, (It would), so he does not answer.  Martin and Nancy continued to have cocktails on the patio after she left.  He would carry on conversations.  Finally he would say "Nancy, where are you?" and that would be when she quit talking to him.

We each devise our own "present" to fit our own "now" and though the wound will not heal, it will (as Rose Kennedy said) develop scar tissue that can be ripped off at any moment, to grow again.  My heart is with you.

 

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