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My name is Carah (timeless) I lost my husband, Chris on April 9, 2009. We have been together almost 28 years. He died of throat cancer. He was diagnosed the end of April 2008. I felt helpless when he was struggling so with the pain and I could not help him; could not FIX it! But now I feel even more helpless. I miss him soooo much! I keep thinking life isn't supposed to go on. I cry unless I can distract myself, and that is hard to do. I have gotten next to no sleep, because I'm afraid to go to bed. That's when I think of him the most and I cry so hard, I can't breath.

I know they say you aren't supposed to make any major changes or moves for the first year after losing someone you love, but I can't stand my apartment. He's EVERYWHERE. And every turn of my head makes me cry. Every little thing I see reminds me of him. You don't spend years with someone without accumilating A LOT. He wished to be cremated and his cremations are here in this apartment. I want them here, but I don't either. And when I do get out (and now back to work), things come up and I want to tell him about it, but he's not physically here to tell. I find it hard to describe how I feel. Pain, just lots and lots of pain. My chest hurts all the time. My stomach hurts all the time. I feel so very lost without him.

My husband collected things; monkeys, John Wayne memorbilia, etc. Now, I have to forcibly make myself not buy things when I see them for his collections. The first time it happened, I broke down and had to go home. I cried for hours after that. Most of the time, I don't know what to do with myself. Nothing is fun. Everything irritates me. Chris always had the TV on, and do mean always, 24/7. I never turn it on. I can't.

And falling apart is not an option for me. We have a 10 year old son. I have to be there for him. He's taking it better than I am. He keeps busy with school, his video games, playing, reading and his TV. Nothing works for me. I just don't know what to do. It hurts so very much.

Carah

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Welcome Carah and I am so sorry for the loss of your husband Chris. I know that feeling really well of being afraid to sleep. When Larry first died I couldn't go up the stairs to our bedroom. For days I laid on a couch downstairs with our two dogs and watched the sun come up in disbelief. When I finally had to go into our room to get my clothes I would close my eyes and literally feel my way around, get what I had to and then run back down the stairs. Even at over three years now for me, the dogs and I sleep in the bed but we stick to one side. Sometimes during the night I still reach over hoping to find Larry with us. You are so early in your grief, the pain and emotions will feel overwhelming. I hope you will find some comfort from the wonderful people on this site who know EXACTLY what you are feeling and how impossible it feels to survive.

I know you feel that you have to hold it together for your son. So let yourself share your feelings, anger, frustration, sadness with us. Someone is listening and cares here. Deborah

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Carah

I am so sorry for your loss. Right now you just need to concentrate on breathing in and out. Next week you can take another step. Most of us here have gone through the sleeplessness. At first I couldn't go to sleep and then I'd go to sleep and not be able to go back to sleep. In my instance I know the more sleep deprived I got the more emotional I got.

A lot of the people on this site have been unable to sleep in the same room that they spent as a couple with their dearly departed. Some sleep on couches, in chairs, have to have the TV going, on their side of the bed, on your own side, etc. There is no right or wrong way, just your way. I have to sleep where part of him was so I sleep across the bed so my head is on his side. I lay his pillow next to me as if he were laying there beside me and I talk to him as if he were there.

Yes, going to work helps distract you, but you still have to come home. Don't be ashamed to show your son that you have emotions. I'm not saying that you have to fall apart all the time in front of him, but if he knows that you have these feelings he may be more open to express himself if the time comes. 10 y/o is kind of a strange age because you are still a child but old enough to understand what is going on. He may be occupying himself with all of these things because he is in denial right now. It's just hard to tell.

Just keep coming back here to express yourself and if there is a grief support group near you, you may want to think about joining it. If your friends or family are supportive, talk with them. Maybe they could do something with your son and you could have a good old fashion meltdown once in a while.

If all of his "things" bother you maybe you could try boxing up a few of them or have someone else do it. If you didn't see quite so many things maybe you wouldn't be so overwhelmed. I still have trouble going by a men's department in a clothing store knowing that I'll never buy him another shirt, dress pant, jeans, etc. This probably doesn't bother some people but it does me.

I wish you luck in this journey and feel free to talk with us.

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Carah,

I am so sorry to hear of your husband's passing. You have come to a great place to share, blow off steam, drench your keyboard in tears, and vent anger and hurt. These people are the greatest and each of them has been where you are--just in differing scenarios. You are right that your 10 year-old seems to be taking it better than you. Children have an amazing amount of resiliance. It's why so many of them can go through terrible trauma at a very young age, and act as if they have a fairly normal life. As adults, we all wish we had this resiliance (and their energy)!!!!

Don't be afraid to talk to your husband. I talk to my lovely Julie all the time. I lost her 13 months ago and I still hear her voice and long to tell her things that happen to me at the office or in my travels. I find it cathartic to talk to her and to curl up with her pillow at night and imagine me holding her close and sniffing her skin or stroking her hair. To those who have never experienced the loss of a spouse, these may seem strange our counter-productive. For me, they have been like my own little therapy sessions.

Crying isn't bad. It isn't an indication of weakness, and it isn't a signal that you are 'losing it.' We've all already lost 'it' with the 'it' being the love of our lives. Now we all must discover and get comfortable with, a new sense of normal in our lives. This can take quite a while, but be sure it is on YOUR time, not someone else's.

Take care and do post as often as you feel is needed.

SD2

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Carah - - I have just read the other posts that are responding to yours and there is not much more I can say. I totally understand how you feel about your apartment. My husband and I brought my mother into our home and cared for her for four years before she died. She passed away in her own bed with me, her only child, right by her side. After she died, I saw her everywhere. Everything she had touched, seen or heard made me cry. I aked my beloved husband if we could sell the house because I couldn't stand these constant reminders - - not happy memories, just reminders of a life that I had so loved who was now lost to me forever,

My husband was so understanding. We sold our house right away, in fact so fast that we had to rent a house while we looked for another. Just as we were moving, my husband became ill. That was a little over four years ago. He died on January 6 of this year. I know they say don't do anything for a year, but I keep all the shades closed and just sit in this house as if it were a cave that provides shelter. Nothing more, no good memories, no gardens we shared together, nothing but memories of his illness and suffering, IT is not yet four months, but today I made an offer on another home. It is much smaller, so I will have to give away a lot of our furniture and "stuff," and really downsize. That's when I think some of the darkest days will occur. Days when I have to say goodbye to things that were part of him. Of course, it will also be hard movong into somewhere we have never been together. I feel like I have been with him my whole life and this is all so strange and empty now.

Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing.

Kathy

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dear carah, i am soooooo sorry for your loss, i lost denny just 5 days before u lost chris. i feel and felt alot of the same feelings you're having. the not being able to breathe caught my attention...gosh did i have that problem!! i have also returned to work and sometimes find it hard to cope with the real world, i know denny would be proud of the baby steps that i've taken to try and get a grip as i call it. not a minute of the day passes without memories of him running through my mind. yes i still cry alot, i do mean alot, but i did laugh the other day when i was trying to do something that he would normally do for me, because i could see his handsome face beaming with pride when i managed to get that nail straight in on the deck!!!! i understand your pain and feel the same as u do, but coming here to read and post have helped me through many many hours of gut wrenching grief!! keep coming here and tell you feelings because someone here has always helped me back up when i was sure i was down to stay. we feel lost now, and i do mean that...but maybe there's a way back. your son...bless his heart, may God be with you both and you have found a place where caring people will help you in any way theycan to get through this horrible time in life.....write and keep writing carah sending you a big hug.....((((((carah)))))))

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Carah, I thought I would add to what you wrote. My Chris also collected things, & I find myself seeing eagles & wanting to buy them for him. Little things like driving by the Big & Tall store that he always shopped at makes me cry (My Chris was 6 ft 8, and he always complained about finding pants that fit!). He was also cremated, & I have the urn in the bedroom. Sometimes I find it comforting because he is with me. Other times, I want to cry. I had a very difficult time sleeping (I am an insomniac to start with, but it got worse after Chris got sick, and even worse after he passed) & I bought new bedroom furniture (a set that he and I had looked into buying after I graduated from nursing school, but never got the chance to buy together) & now I actually sleep a little better. Some people need to keep everything as it was before they lost their loved one, others need to change things, and some (like me) need to change things but still keep part of their loved one in the setting (which is why I got the furniture we had chosen, but hadn't bought). You have to do what is right for you, not what people say is "what you are supposed to do/not do". We are both dealing with everything on the exact same time schedule, but what works for me may not work for you. Just keep posting & venting & talking to everyone here, which is what I am doing. I have found that, even though it has only been 3 weeks tomorrow, reading what others say does help! These people are wonderful, & have lots of good advice. You just have to decide what is right for you in order to deal with your grief & allow you to heal & be there for your son. Chris & I didn't have children together, but he has a 15 year old son from his first marriage, & while he doesn't live with me, he knows I am always there for him. And my four adult children all considered Chris to be their dad, so they are dealing with the loss of a parent, & worry about me a lot! Just be there for your son & let him know that you are ready to talk if he needs to.

Terre

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Welcome Carah

I'm very sorry for your loss. You've had some replies already so I'd just add that it's natural for you to feel scared to go to bed. After a while you may find comfort from your shared bed ... I do now, but initially for the first four weeks I had to sleep with my sister-in-law or my friend. Now I sleep with my two dogs in our bed.

I too have many reminders of Cliff who died on January 6th. Someone suggested boxing your husband's collection up and I think that's a great idea if you are okay to do that ... I know that when I joined this forum one of the "oldies" advised me not to get rid of anything in the early days, and I am so grateful for that advice. I haven't got rid of anything and almost four months on, am very very pleased that I didn't. But we are all different, and of course, you must do what is right for you. I just don't want you to do anything now that you will regret later, which is why I really liked the "Boxing up" idea so much.

One day at a time, one step at a time.

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I want to thank everyone so much for your words of encouragement, consolation, advice and the many suggestions. Three weeks today, I lost the love of my life. It still feels as if it were yesterday.

On the 'boxing up' some of his things. I went through hell just doing a handful of his clothing to make room for Jake to put some of his away. I don't want to box anything up. I'm afraid to move anything of his, or put it away. It's as if I really am saying good-bye. It's as if I don't care enough about him to keep his things where they are. Does that make any sense? And, yet, here I am, looking around and bawling because so much of him is everywhere. The only thing I got rid of immediately was all the paraphenalia of his sickness. THAT was easy!

I feel soooo lonely. Even with people around me. I snapped at my mother yesterday because she didn't texted me to ask how I was doing. I told her I felt abandoned all over again. She felt so bad, but yet, when people do call, I don't really want to talk. Again, such mixed emotions. I did apologize to her. It's not her fault I can't seem to make up my mind what I want, or how I feel. I know many have suggested I talk to Chris as if he were right there. I haven't been able to do that. Not yet. I remember a little journal my grandmother has in her nightstand. It's all letters to her husband, my grandfather, who died on Chris's birthday in 1981. That's how she talked to my grandpa after he died. There are entries in there over several years. My mother got me a small journal to do the same. It's blank. I haven't been able to start it yet. It still hurts so much and I am still angry at him for leaving me. I need him so badly and he's not here to take care of me.

And then there is the weight of Chris's decision not to tell his mother that he had passed. He didn't want her there (things had changed between them during his illness) and told me not to tell her when he died. I am so torn between thinking she has a right to know, and following his wishes. I do plan on cutting all ties to his family, including his mother. His family has brought nothing but pure misery to us since...forever. And to top that off, Jake's biological mother is married to Chris's youngest brother. And if they find out he is gone, they will be swooping down here to take everything away from me, including Jake. I will get off my soap box on that one...

As silly as it seems, when I first entered my introductory post, I sat there waiting for replies, holding my breath. I was not disappointed. Everyone here has been so kind and caring. My mother and I start group grief counseling next Thursday (exactly a month since Chris left me :( ) I hope it works. I don't really like talking face to face with strangers about something so intimate as the death of my love. I would go to the one on one counseling that Hospice provides, except the counselor had hours I can't make.

Again, thank you all for listening to me ramble. It does help a little to get things off my chest. I did make a doctor's appointment to see if there is something that can be done about my sleeplessness and anxiety.

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Dear Carah Im sorry for your loss and I do understand how you feel.I lost My love 30 months tomorow and its only last week that I slept in our house and bed.I never thuoght I would be able to do it .All thi time I was sleeping almost every night at another house.My brothers my son or with a friend.The second year I spend most of the time with my son after I got very ill not taking care of myself.I have strted feeling better and more strong and 2 weeks ago Ihave lost my mother so sleeples nights are here again.You have to give it time you can depoend on us here and get help from all friends of this site no one understands better than people who sufering the same loss.Im sorry to welcome you here.Your far away friend TENY

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Timeless, you need to do what is right for you and at the time that is right for you. I remember that three weeks after losing my husband I was still numb, and was living on pure adrenaline. Heart was banging so hard in my chest that I thought I might have a heart attack (and secretly hoped that I would). As well as feeling numb, I felt terrified. The only thing I can compare it to is being three years old and losing sight of my Mom in a supermarket (but that the feeling goes on and on and on). The sheer terror and horror of it all. Your whole world as you know it has disappeared and this is an awful awful awful time for you. I will say that my counsellor has really helped me and I found it good to speak to someone who does not have a vested interest emotionally, which enabled her to be completely objective. I am surrounded by Cliff's stuff and some days I cry when I touch it, other days I smile and it gives me comfort. We are all different. Do what you want to do. All I would stress is don't do anything too quickly that you may regret later, but it doesn't sound like you are going to.

Take care of yourself and keep talking on here.

(By the way if you don't want to write letters in a journal you could try writing a blog about what you are going through. I am and it helps me.)

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Dear Carah,

I am deeply sorry for your loss. I just want to say that i and many people on this forum know exactly how you feel. Even though it has been just over 2 months since Marc died I still feel hopeless, continue to cry everyday to the point where I can't breathe and just don't know how I will make it through life without him. I can't distract myself either because he is constantly on my mine. i have sleeping problems too. I continue to wake up every 30 or 40 minutes and have a hard time falling back to sleep. When it first happened I was unable to fall asleep at all so my sister called my obstetrician since i am pregnant and he said all I could take was tylenol pm which didn't do a thing for me. Maybe your doctor can prescribe you a good sleeping pill so you will at least get some sleep. Believe it or not you need to sleep now more than ever, it is important because your body is going through so much in dealing with this kind of stress.

You mentioned that you keep thinking that life isn't supposed to go on- thats so crazy because I think that every single day. When Marc died the whole world and life should've stopped but it didn't and I hate that so much. It doesn't feel right that life continues on without him. You also mentioned that your son is taking his father's death pretty well. I'm not an expert or anything but maybe he is in shock or numb, and i agree with Mary Linda that he could be in denial as well and that you should show your emotions to him and talk about it so maybe he can open up to.

All I can say is that the people here on this site are really supportive and are truly like a family. So it is a good thing you found this site. It especially helps that we are all in the same boat- that we have lost the loves of our lives. Take care.

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Carah - I'm sorry for your loss - and apologize for being so late in answering. The first thing I did was throw all Joe's medications, any memory of the sickness, into the dumpster, and I mean the day after he died - I hated looking at it. This is your timeline - only yours - and you need to do only what you can, when you can. I'm at 10 months, and Joe's glasses and earring were sitting on the kitchen counter for 6 months before I moved them. His sandals at the front door I moved upstairs last week. You are not dishonoring his memory by moving, or not moving, any of his things - in reality, this is about your feelings. And if your sleeplessness continues, I would suggest consulting your doctor for a mild sleeping pill. I take mine, not often, but you need your sleep right now. And BTW, I started a journal, but it was probably 2 months after Joe died that I could really gather my addled thoughts about me to start it. Just to let stuff out. Please keep posting - Hugs, Marsha

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Dear Carah,

I'm also sorry you had to join us, but you won't find a more compassionate group of people anywhere. When my husband died, I sounded just like you. I couldn't sleep, reminders of him were everywhere and he was nowhere. I was so angry that he "left" me and my children were 9 and 10. That wasn't quite two years ago and now my son is 11, so if you want to talk more about that, please do.

I went on a quest to complete all of his projects. I built shelves, repaired doors and anything else we ever talked about fixing. Then I read all the books he read and I never was able to find the time. I wanted to be close to him, to talk to him, to share the things the kids were doing. He used to tell me I had sleep apnea, so I even made an appointment to look into that. Being alone, with young children, it is really important to take care of ourselves. The pain you are feeling is like none other. Please be patient with yourself and accept any help that is offered.

Take good care,

Kath

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