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His Name Was Fred And He Was Just Here.

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I spend a reasonable time with family and others who knew Fred very well. I notice that they don't bring up his name. When I say something like, "If Fred was here he would have ...", they will give a nod, a sympathetic smile or gentle touch to my shoulder. I don't need comforting at these times; in my eyes I'm merely saying what I'm thinking. I would welcome some stories that they could share about his life with us. It seems like they are trying so hard to protect me that they are disrespecting Fred's existence. In all situations, I still feel like Fred is close by and a part of my life even though he is no longer living his. Have any of you experienced this?

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I know exactly how you feel. It's been a little over 4yrs since my beloved Gene left this world. It's still difficult for some members of family to hear me mention Gene's name....it's like they are so uncomfortable that they don't know what to say. But you know what.........I don't care. I talk about him all I want to and just ignore their ackward silence. I need to hear his name....I need to talk about him and they just don't understand.....they can't understand. I have learned to give myself permission to cry when I want to, to talk when I want to, to smile and laugh when I want to....and I've learned not to feel I have to hide my feelings because I might make someone uncomfortable. I can cry when I want to, talk about Gene when I want to, and even smile and laugh without feeling guilty. It's a hard journey. Along the way I found that I don't have to appologize for grieving. You talk about Fred........our husbands touched people's lives......it's memories that everyone can choose to be part of and the more we speak the more comfortable they will all become. Keep on talking about Fred......they are listening....they just don't know.

Always Gene!


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Double AMEN

I've even asked can we light a candle or some little ceremony that would let us remember him and nobody seems interested. If things were at my house I'd do it anyway, but since no one is comfortable coming here any more I guess that will never happen.

I've been told that we all grieve in our own ways and I have to accept their way. I can do that but when is someone going to accept and acknowledge MY grief. I know that may sound selfish but only my friends I have made through my grief support group do this. His family especially has always been, if you put your head in the sand it isn't happening. Sorry folks, it did happen and he is dead and never coming back and my world as I knew it has ended and I am VERY sad and you people don't help.

Thank heavens for this group and my "live" group or I'd be in the loony bin.

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Firstly let me tell you I am sorry for your loss. Secondly, I am two years and four months along in this horrible nightmare now called my life and this is a subject that burns into my very soul. I don't post anymore but I do check in from time to time. How can we not want to talk of them? They lived, they breathed, they walked the same earth each of us do and death should not erase those years. Here is something I found that helped me to explain to those who can never understand.


The time of concern is over. No longer am I asked how I am doing.

Never is the name of my partner mentioned to me. A curtain descends.

The moment has passed. A life slips from frequent recall.

There are exceptions … close and comforting friends, sensitive and loving family.

For most, the drama is over. The spotlight is off. Applause is silent.

But for me, the play will never end. The effects are timeless.

Say Will to me.

On the stage of my life, he has been both lead and supporting actor.

Do not tiptoe around the greatest event of my life. Love does not die.

His name is written on my life. The sound of his voice replays within my mind. You feel he is dead. I feel he is of the dead and still lives.

You say he was my partner. I say he is.

Say Will to me and say Will again.

It hurts to bury his memory in silence.

What he was in the flesh has now turned to ash.

What he is in spirit, stirs within me always.

He is of my past, but he is part of my present. He is my hope for the future.

You say not to remind me. How little you understand that I cannot forget.

I would not if I could.

I forgive you, because you cannot know.

I strive not to judge you, for yesterday I was like you.

I do not ask you to walk this road. The ascent is steep and the burden heavy.

I walk it not by choice. I would rather walk it with him in the flesh.

I am what I have to be. What I have lost you cannot feel. What I have gained you cannot see.

Say Will, for he is alive in me.

He and I will meet again, though in many ways we have never parted.

He and his life play light songs on my mind,

sunrises and sunsets on my dreams.

He is real and he is shadow.

He was and he is.

He is my partner and I love him as I always did.

Say Will to me and say Will again.

(This poem was rephrased and based on the book “Saying Olin, to Say Goodbye” by Donald Hackett.)

May we all find a measure of peace in the midst of our pain. Speak of him and to him as often as you wish.


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Hi Fredzgirl,

Have you tried talking to them frankly about this? Not in any kind of a mean way, but to just let them know that it does NOT upset you to talk about Fred, and that as a matter of fact, it comforts you. And for them to know that even if you drop a few tears at times when talking about him, you still WANT to talk about him.

Perhaps sometimes it may just take us actually telling people how we feel about this? Because it sounds like their intentions are to be sensitive to you, but they just don't know how to.

I've noticed that my daughter accepts my tearfulness, but it seems to upset my daughter-in-law to see me become tearful. I was giving some of John's things to my two older grandsons the other evening as momentos and it brought me to tears, of course. Telling each of them how much John loved them and how happy he would be for them to have this particular item. Actually, the boys seemed to accept my tears better than their mom did! (And I am not talking about sobbing or anything like that. Just tears running down my cheeks.)

My sister's youngest son died unexpectedly two years ago - as a young adult - and I know that she always seems very happy when I call her on the phone and say "Hey, I wanted to call you. I was really thinking of J______ a lot today. I was remembering the time we went to ____________, all of us together." And we will then recall the day or the event and it seems to make both of us happy to talk about him.

Best of luck with this one Fredzgirl. I hope you can bring them around. I think you will be helping them (and yourself) a lot if you do - whether they know it or not.

Take care,


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Oh yes, I have a dear friend who will spend time with me and never once bring up Tom's name or ask about how I am doing. I believe that she thinks she is protecting my feelings and I appreciate that she cares about me. I do, however, feel like a leper at times when I am with her...we can just hang in there and hope that some day our friends will recognize that we need to tell and re-tell our stories.

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I was taking a walk with my daughter today and I talked to her about my feelings on this subject. She said she didn't realize that she was doing that. It opened the conversation up and she told me how she thinks about Fred almost every day. She always called him from the grocery store when she couldn't find something, for example. And she told me how her 4-year old talks about Poppa Freddie and asks when he is coming back home. Those things did choke me up a little but I composed myself because I didn't want to stop her from talking.

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Dear Fredzgirl,

I was just at a funeral for my aunt over the weekend and saw my cousins ex that I hadn't seen for many years. I was telling him how Bob and I always enjoyed seeing him. He apologized about Bob and said that he just never knows what to say. I believe that is so true in most cases. A lot of my friends don't say anything because they don't want to say the wrong thing that will make me sad. Surprise...how do you "make" someone sad when they already are?

We don't really know, do we, until it happens to us. Some may never get it, but those that do may need that permission from you that it is okay, so keep talking. This seems to be the stage where address books are re-written. We tend to lose contact with those that are more willing to forget than recall the love that meant so much. Unfortunately, we have become experts and I feel it is up to us to teach those that just don't know what to say.


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Oh, yes, Fredzgirl - right after Joe died, I got the hugs, the condolences, even the tears. Then it seemed like he fell off the face of the earth. It was very lonely and painful for me, because when I brought up his name, I could sense the uncomfortableness, so I retreated. My lovely employees, both with us for 4+ years, both who loved Joe, both who went through his cancer and death - they wouldn't let it go. They brought him up constantly, and I felt very comfortable talking about Joe with them. We started doing it, easily, with customers who also knew and liked Joe. And then people would bring him up, funny stories. It took quite a while, but I came to realize that not only did they not know what to say, but they were remembering him as well, and it was difficult. Our grief is so all emcompassing. People haven't forgotten Fred. Bring him up, you need to talk. This is not a time to worry about what people think - do what you have to, and try not to internalize it like I did. Hugs to you! Marsha (P.S. Suzanne - thank you for this beautiful poem - I needed this as well)

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I remember when my dad died 28 years ago, my mom told me it meant so much that I'd talk about him, she said most people act like he never existed, she needed that validation that he existed and was important to others as well as herself.

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