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I Lost My Fiancé On August 14th 2004

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I am beside myself. I want to be OK with this because Margaret had lung cancer and she isn't sick anymore. She no longer requires the numerous medications that were for everything from pain to nausea. I should be glad for her but I miss her. I thought I had said everything I needed to say but now I feel as though I have more to say. I talk to her constantly even though I have always been a believer in Evolution over Creationism. I hope I've been wrong all of these years. I hope Margaret can hear me. I think I'm loosing it. I can't even look at a woman without feeling the need to explain myself to her. I don't understand how I could feel this bad. I've known this was coming for seven months but when she breathed her last breath, I was shocked and in disbelief. I just don't understand, I should be happy for her but I'm too caught up in my own grief. Its deplorable. And people keep congratulating me for being a good person because I stayed with her till the end. I just don't understand that at all. Why would I have left her??? I'm sick of their congratulations. I don't deserve to be congratulated for such a thing. They make it seam like it was a job. "Good job, son"! "Well done, Richard"! I can't stand it. I tell them but they just don't seem to hear me. Anyway, I spend most of my time at home. I don't want everyone to know how I feel. I don't want anyone to know how I feel. It isn't fair of me. I hope this goes away soon.

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My dear Richard,

There is probably no better description of the conflicting feelings associated with grief than what you have written here.

I hope it helps to know that what you are feeling is absolutely normal, even though you may feel at times that you are crazy or losing your mind. Normal grief engenders a confusing combination of feelings, sometimes completely opposite ones, all at the same time. Sometimes feelings are completely irrational, and they can lead to other feelings you may not want to acknowledge and deal with, such as guilt and anger.

As you struggle to make some sense of all of this, I think it’s important to keep in mind that such feelings are neither right or wrong, good or bad -- they just are, and it's helpful to acknowledge them, and then find ways to express them so they can dissipate.

You chastise yourself for being “so caught up” in your own grief – yet it seems to me that you couldn’t possibly be anywhere else right now. Grief is a process that takes place over a very long period of time, not something that can be achieved in a few days or weeks. And you’ve barely had sufficient time to recover from the exhaustion of caregiving, much less the stress of grief!

I hope you’re taking as good care of yourself right now as you took good care of your beloved: getting enough sleep, nutrition and exercise. I hope you're using this time to learn as much as you can about normal grief and how to manage it: reading articles and books about coping with loss; exploring Internet resources that offer information, comfort and support (such as you will find on my Grief Healing Web site); coming back to this grief forum whenever you have something to say and you need someone to listen without judging you or pressuring you to hurry up and feel better.

I’m especially struck by your comment that, although for seven months you knew your loved one’s illness was terminal and her death was coming, you were still unprepared for your reaction when she actually died. This is not at all unusual. Those in the caregiving role often think that they have already accomplished the work of grieving – that when death does come, it will be a continuation of the familiar feelings they’ve been having all along. After all, grief and loss are experienced throughout the course of a life-ending illness, both by the person who is dying and by the one in the caregiving role. I would imagine that you and Margaret began to grieve the moment you first learned that her illness was terminal. What caught you off-guard is your discovery that the work of caregiving may have ended for you when Margaret’s death happened, but your work is not over. Your journey through grief still continues. As you’ve already discovered, death brings a grief all its own, and now your mourning has begun anew.

Please know that you are not alone in your grief journey, Richard. We are here for you, you have our deepest sympathy, and our caring thoughts are with you.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Well, thank you Marty. I am going back to work tomorrow (Tuesday 8/24) and I assume this will help. I am reluctant to rejoin the rest of the world right now but I need to start somewhere. Maybe my interaction with so many people who have no clue what has happened, will bring me out of this. If not I will be lost forever. Margaret was a great woman. One I could never replace. I suspect it will be along time before I see her again. Or it will at least seem that way.



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  • 1 month later...

Well, it has been almost two months since Margaret passed. Sometimes, it still seems as though it is unreal. I still stare at the phone and think to myself that I should be able to call her number and talk to her. I miss her greatly but sometimes I find myself angry with her for things that are happening now. Situations that I feel that she may have known about. It's very distressing to me when this happens but I can't stop it, so it goes on. Still, I miss her presence, I miss her calling my lazy self and insisting that I get up and come visit, I miss the trips we took and the plans we talked about. I'm a truck driver and our children (her daughter and my daughter) are nearly grown. She told me once that she wanted to get her CDL and we could buy a big fancy truck and trip back forth, coast to coast, together. Lost dreams, that's all they are now. Nothing left but memories of her giving me one of those cute little smiles or a surprise hug as I walked by. She sat beside me the day before she passed and posed for a couple of photos with me. I was the only one who received this privilege. I must have been pretty special to her. I hope I lived up to her expectations, although I'm not sure that I did. Margaret elected for cremation, therefore I have no place to visit her except in my mind. Perhaps in my dreams but I'm not sure most mornings. Sometimes I wake up and believe that I dreamed about her but I can't quiet remember. I wish I had a definite place to go and visit with her. The house where her Urn is, is a far to busy a place to spend time. I wish there was more clarity, more certainty and more direction to my thoughts. I wish I could dream of her and remember the dream. A simple dream, one of us just walking, holding hands. We don't even have to talk, just spend time, even if it isn't real, it would do wonders for me. At this point, I can't even be sure if I am dealing her passing. Have I accepted her passing? I don't know. Sometimes I think I have and other times I feel as though it is looming over my shoulder, waiting for its opportunity to crush me. I don't know, I just don't know anymore. I have removed all of her photos from my home and computer, so as to distance myself from her, for now. Perhaps things will be more clear in another two months. I hope so. I will return then and let you know.


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