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Picturing Your Loved One


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How do you remember your loved one, from a physical standpoint?

I’ve tried in vain to articulate this to my kids, and will try here.  
My wife had just turned 18 when I met her and we became a couple. She passed at age 46.  
So as you can imagine we watched each other evolve from young to middle-age.  

What I find extremely odd, however is when I reflect on her in my mind she’s not young, nor is sue middle age. She is  both..at once. I cannot explain it other than you know when you are with someone you don’t really notice the changes.  However if someone had not seen her from 18 to 46, of course she would have appeared different to them. To me however I just see her as her. All ages at once. 
Okay. I realize this makes little sense but if anyone else experiences this understand you are not alone.  

Finally, it might help to understand since her passing I have only been able to look at a few pictures of us (the ones we had in our room—which seem to span all the years) but absolutely no video (which in have hours and hours of)  Unsure if I ever will as all it will make me to do cry until I have no more tears. 

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That's fascinating- I thought it was just me. I met Annette when she was 17 and most of the pictures I have of her are from when she between 18 and 30. After her health started to take a turn and she had to start Prednisone for her Arthritis, she didn't like pictures taken of her. Of course, my memories of her are recent, and sad, from when she was heavy and so my memories and idea of her in my head are an amalgam of her from all of the time we were together. 

You're lucky to have videos of your wife- I only have one short little phone clip. I lost our wedding video and never told her. I have voicemails of her, but right now, it hurts too much to listen to them. I hope its just a phase. I love her voice. 

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8 hours ago, Sad_Widower said:

How do you remember your loved one, from a physical standpoint?

I always think of Michael as a young man during the 9-10 years we dated. Once married and his severe depression took hold he changed rather drastically, to the point I didn’t recognize him. Yes physically he was the same, he looked like himself but he acted liked someone else, a stranger at times, the ‘real’ him wasn’t on the surface. The 10 years we dated are precious memories, so that’s how I will always remember him.

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George was still young when he died, so that's how I remember him.  It's weird to think he hasn't aged in the years since while I'm growing old.  But honestly, I think of him as ageless, as we connected on a deeper level than superficial.

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Our stories are so similar.  When my husband and I first met and "coupled up" 22 years ago, I, too, was only 18 years old (I was 3 months shy of 19) and my husband had just turned 30.  My husband just passed a little under a month ago at the young and totally unfair age of 52.   He had just turned 52 a few weeks before he passed.  We had also just celebrated 22 years together not even 2 weeks before he passed.  I know exactly what you are talking about.  Since my husband and I were never apart for 22 years, I'm sure that neither of us noticed the physical changes in each other as we aged.  I was literally still a kid who had just graduated from high school when we first met and now I am 40.   Honestly, my husband always looked the same to me throughout the years.  Sure, he started getting some gray hairs as he got into his 50s, but who doesn't?  Aside from that, he still looked pretty much the same to me as he did when we first met 22 years ago, albeit a slight bit older looking, but not much at all.   Believe me, I have MANY pictures of us/him that go WAY back to when we first met and I don't see much difference at all in his physical appearance throughout the years.  Of course, he died at a very young age, so that may have something to do with it.

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My Annette was always the same to me, the same beautiful young girl with so much ambition and drive and I have pictures of her when we first met with her snarky little smile. 

One of the things I did after she passed was go through all of her photo albums (and dozens of loose "outtake" rolls in the old fashioned KMart photo lab envelopes), with photos all the way back to when she was a kid, and took photos of her photos for my phone. I was able to see the changes. In the late 90's, when her Rheumatoid Arthritis hit her, she was prescribed Prednisone, which caused her to gain weight, very noticeably in her face. I never really saw the dramatic change in appearance at the time, but she sure did, and hated those photos- never meant to be seen. I never ever got on her about her weight, and maybe I should have- but her mother and grandmother especially, were always telling her that if she lost weight she could look like her sister, and it devastated her and affected her entire self image. Her weight definitely contributed to her passing- her BMI was over 60. I just never pushed her and wanted her to be happy and enabled her by getting her treats. Nothing was better than making her smile. 

She always told me how much better I looked when I got older. I was so skinny and she liked the grey hair and gut that I have now. Too bad nobody else finds me attractive. I feel like such a heel for even thinking of another relationship. It's not going to happen- I wouldn't know where to start, but the emptiness really makes me long for someone, anyone. I'm sure even the hunchback older Mexican lady who runmages through people's trash for recyclibles is taken anyway. 

 

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I picture my darling soulmate in many different ways. At times, I think of him how he was when we first met, other times what he looked like recently, not that he had changed much, anyway. Then again, he  was only 57 when he left this world, and I had met him when he was 31. In any way, I  picture him constantly, I always have his beautiful, kind smile in my mind. 

 

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18 hours ago, nashreed said:

I'm sure even the hunchback older Mexican lady who runmages through people's trash for recyclibles is taken anyway.

James, I know you don't really want the trash lady, it's more like a connection with someone you are missing.  Value yourself and someone else may also.

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5 hours ago, kayc said:

James, I know you don't really want the trash lady, it's more like a connection with someone you are missing.  Value yourself and someone else may also.

THIS.  Yes, it's the connection, companionship, love, and comfort of having a life partner who is always there is what is missed.  You can't just fill that void with any random person.  You need to have a connection and attraction.   If you can't love yourself, then it's going to be EXTREMELY difficult for others to love you.  

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I absolutely realize this. That's not the point I was trying to make. The lady who digs through trash for recyclibles could be a lovely soul, but I'll never know. She's probably married (I am not attracted to her, to make that clear) and even if she wasn't, I don't speak Spanish and I don't know if she speaks English and I can't even look people in the eye. It's NOT because I have a low self opinion, but because of who I've always been- who I was before Annette and who I am again. You can't just change your personality, and even if I could, I have no way to meet anyone, even if it's just to meet someone to not be so terribly alone. Everyone is still in their "pandemic bubble" mindset it seems. Nobody wants to meet anyone. Everybody's got their people. If you missed the deadline (pre-COVID), sucks for you. 

It doesn't matter if I like myself, love myself or anything else. I'm in an untenable situation where I still have the mindset of the 18 year old that Annette saved from loneliness, stuck in a 52 year old body and I have to be realistic that I have nothing at all to look forward to. Life without love is not worth living- it just isn't. I applaud the folks here who have chosen to not ever have another relationship. I wish I was that strong. Of course, everyone here who has chosen to go it alone could probably find someone if they chose to, because they have their own house or means to offer someone. I was left a pauper because everything went to Annette's medical bills or my stupid hoarding. I never planned for a future without her. I can't save money to save my life, and that's just who I am and I accept that. I have to accept my failures. It also means I just exist through my days hoping they end soon and then I'm one day closer to death. 

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