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Just Glad The Holidays Are Over

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Hello all,

I remember dreading Thanksgiving and everything that follows which defines the 'holidays'. My constant prayer was for it all to be 'over'. It's easier to deal with life without the reminders of how much Clint enjoyed all the holidays and he's no longer here. I don't want to spend my life in this state, but it seems that whenever I make a small bit of progress, I start crying all over again.

I changed my facebook profile photo. I had Clint's picture there since he died which has been a little over two months now. Various photos of Clint. My status statements were intermittent 'memorials' to his life and how much he's missed. It's funny that as soon as I changed the picture to one of myself, I received feedback from some of my friends who felt that 'now the mourning is over'. They actually congratulated me for coming out of my 'fog'! Can you believe that people think grief comes and goes that soon? Just because I changed the picture doesn't mean I've 'forgotten' him. Which brings me to the subject of making changes in our lives which are small positives. They don't mean we've forgotten our loves. I will never forget Clint and I'm sad he's gone. I don't like holidays and am dreading the future 'firsts' to come. Sometimes I think if I make any more 'changes', people will believe that the mourning is over and I've forgotten Clint. I can't stay in one place as a memorial to him and never move forward, can I? Is it even possible to expect much progress during this first year?

I am relieved the holidays are over. Maybe my life can get back to whatever normal means now.

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wmjsca, I think it's great that you're already in a place where you can change Clint's photo on your Facebook page. Your Clint has only been gone slightly longer than my Glenn and I haven't reached the stage where I could do that, yet.

This issue of others' expectations has recently been discussed in another thread. My brother phoned me last evening and when I said I wasn't doing well, he said, "What's the matter?"! I wanted to throttle him and say, "When your wife dies, you tell me how you're doing two months later, especially if it's on New Year's Eve!"

I think I've given up on guessing what my time frame should be. But, I've also given up on expecting leopards to change their spots. People are uncomfortable around us, and as we've all discovered, notwithstanding that we're the ones suffering, it's also up to us to be the ones to make sure that others don't feel uncomfortable. Unfair, but that's the way it is. I intend to just carry on and if someone I know needs a reality check, I'll be sure to tell them exactly what I think. And I won't be shy about it, either.

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This issue of others' expectations has recently been discussed in another thread. My brother phoned me last evening and when I said I wasn't doing well, he said, "What's the matter?"! I wanted to throttle him and say, "When your wife dies, you tell me how you're doing two months later, especially if it's on New Year's Eve!"

Dimcl: How many times I've had that same experience and I really wish I could ask them how they'd feel if they'd lost their mate? No one seems to understand how much life changes when your mate is just 'GONE'. As though you can just go 'back to life'. What life? All I can say is that I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

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Just a few days ago I was so miserable I thought I was back to square one, but it passed, sort of. It wasn't just Christmas that was hard, but having one of my other sons home. He's great - so it's not that - but he goes to school far away, and hasn't been here since the funeral. I suppose seeing him and dealing with his grief again brought it all back to me.

I changed my facebook photo back to my basic shot - a photo of me as a kid - after about three months. Before that I had photos of me and my husband together.

Sometimes I've wonder if, despite the temporary aftershock, I'm progressing too quickly. I still miss Thyge, shed some tears in the evenings, talk to him out loud when I'm walking the dog in the woods, wish he were still here and sense that empty spot where he should have been. We were talking about going to son nr. 3's college graduation this summer, and that empty, sad feeling filled me - thinking that this was a trip my husband and I had planned to take together. He should have seen his son graduate. He would have been so proud.

But still - I survived Christmas. My kids and I talked, watched movies, played games, went out for walks - and even laughed together. I'm exhausted, but I managed it all and even finished up a few projects. The fact that I did all these things and don't sob my heart out every day doesn't mean I love my husband any less.

I think when other people seem happy that we're not showing out grief as much, it's because they're uncomfortable around the "loud grief". It's hard to see other people in obvious pain and suffering. There's no point in being irritated with them. They can't understand. When I'm congratulated for my progress, I just say that I'm still very sad and still miss him terribly, but what can you do.

I think that experiencing this kind of grief first hand has taught me that there is no set of rules for grieving. My grief counselor told me that she's seen people who are completely devastated by grief for a couple of years, and those who have loved their spouses deeply but managed to progress very quickly in just a few months, to the point of even thinking about dating again. This is an individual process, and no one can tell us how we will react or cope. I hate it when people tell me that the second year can be almost worse than the first one. How do they know how my second year will be? And why warn me I'm going to feel worse than I do now? Maybe I'll be feeling much better. That's what my husband would want for our family and that is my hope for the new year - for all of us.


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It is curious how different folks respond to loss. My father loved his wife (my stepmother) a great deal, and when she died, he cried--one of two times I'd ever seen him reveal emotions of sadness in almost half a century. Several weeks after she died, he'd already packed up and donated her clothes, shoes etc. The speed in which he did this in no way reflected how much he loved her. Fast forward to 2006, and the death of my wife; It's 2011 & I still have everything--clothes, shoes, papers…everything. I loved and totally adored her, and as time passes, the 'stuff' does mean less than it used to. I think as the days and years cycle, I begin to better understand what some are able to process early in their loss. I think that what is more important, is that loss is dealt with and that the artifacts of those we loved aren't sent away as an avoidance of dealing, and just as importantly, aren't kept indefinitely for the same reason.

I believe you're right about obvious grief. People feel powerless to help, and it is very tough to see other people suffer. It's probably a chief reason that after a short while if you haven't recovered (in their view) fast enough, people become scarce. It's also the reason that they comment that "you're doing so well" just because your eyes aren't full of tears constantly, or that your grief isn't as apparent as it was previously.

Grieving is an extremely personal and individual experience. I think my father's handling of his wife's death might have interrupted his grieving process--I'm not certain at all that he allowed himself time to grieve, but he dealt with it in his own way and was not open to discussing it. Grief is no fun, but it's a road we have to travel. It's good that you realize that nobody's experience is universal--that there is no reason to believe that just because someone reports to you that the second year is worse, that it is the truth universally. If one person's experience were guaranteed to be reflected by another's--I'd have to choose someone whose wife is still alive and avoid the grief thing altogether. There is small solace in knowing that most people are just trying to assist you through this rough time. True, they often stink at it, but people largely have their hearts in the right place.

I predict that you will experience things as an individual--you ;), and that your grieving will proceed just as it does for all--differently, personally--your way. There is also the very likely possibility that in the future, you will be able to think of your husband, feel grief, smile a real smile, AND live happily, all at the same time. ~ Steve

~ Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~ Benjamin

Help me fight cancer? www.RockYourKarma.com

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