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Taking A Look Back

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Today I decided to take a look back on my posts.....from the beginning. I am including my first, which I posted 4 months ago - two months after my husband Jeff died:

Nine months ago my fiance Jeff (my soulmate, my bestfriend) was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. We got married, had a beautiful wedding that we managed to put together in four days and then three days later he started chemo and radiation. He responded so fantastically that at the end of June we were told that the tumor in his esophagus was gone. We were still cherishing the great news when on July 18th, Jeff went into cardiac arrest while we were watching a movie and died at the age of 45.

I was devastated to say the least.....the emotional roller coaster we had been on for almost a year was overwhelming. We were just finishing up his last rounds of treatments and were looking forward to enjoying some "normal" life that didn't include weekly trips to Dana-Farber. How cruel life can be!

Now it's been two months and I still feel lost. I think the worst feeling is that I don't feel like I belong anywhere anymore - not even home. I keep myself busy to the point of exhaustion so that I don't dwell on being so all alone. I never did alone well.....and I was lucky enough to have found a man who loved spending as much time with me as I did with him. We spent every minute we could together, and never tired of each other. Unfortunately as much as I enjoyed it while he was here, it makes now so much harder.

I have been to so many grief sights looking for something positive to latch onto, and I find this site to be so much more positive than other sites I've seen. I don't want to dwell on negativity, I want to grow, I want to be positive.....it's how we lived when Jeff was here, it's how he'd want me to be, it's how I want to be.

I know everyone grieves in their own way, but does anyone have any advice on how to stay positive while going through this overwhelming process?

When I posted this I was looking to grasp onto any little string of hope.....with the hopes that I would make it through this horrendous journey I had been forced into. I am so happy to say that I have found the positive ways to deal with things - in large part thanks to all of you and your advice and words of encouragement. I AM living my life, in a way that brings me happiness - and in the way that Jeff and I lived while he was here. I still find a reason every day to say that Life is Good.....and I think of Jeff smiling down on me when I think of all the reasons I have to feel blessed.

Not to be misunderstood - I miss Jeff every day, and there are still moments where the grief is overwhelming. I still catch myself in total disbelief that he is no longer by my side, but I've accepted the fact that he is not here with me physically. He'll ALWAYS be in my heart, I will always smile when I think back on all our wonderful memories, and I have the knowledge that I am who I am today because of everything he was to me. I am a better person for having known him!

I am hoping that by sharing this with you.....you will find hope that there will be happiness again. You may not even be able to register the idea right now - but you will look back someday and see how far you've come. Follow no one else's timeline.....just follow your hearts!



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Such a beautiful heartfelt letter to all. I'm so happy that you are finding the happiness you deserve. I'm betting that Jeff is looking down and smiling at your progress.

I have found that keeping myself busy has made this time easier to deal with and for the most part, I am happy. Of course I miss and always will miss Lars,but I am doing as he wanted.. getting on with my life.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, for some it comes sooner than for others, but I think we all will get there.


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Dear Tammy,

As I have said from the moment I met you I am inspired by your ability and willingness to see the positives and the beauty in each day, alongside the pain of loosing Jeff. It is such a testment to me of the love you and Jeff shared. I thank you from the depths of my heart for your courage and standing true to what brings you happiness.

I also find reason in every day to say and believe Life is Good, Melissa would have wanted that for me too. In fact, it was a daily ritual for Melissa and I at the end of each day to talk about what was good in our day. Even when I felt the crushing pain as I did last evening when I washed and waxed my motorcycle for the last time, in preparation to sell it, reflecting on all my bike is to me, how much it was part our life together, I still saw and felt the joy of earlier in the day picking my friend "Harley" a golden lab at the SPCA up to go for a walk with me around a local lake trail. I still felt the joy of watching "Harley" feel the freedom of being out of his cage and in nature and chasing the frisbee and looking at me when it landed in the skunk cabbage patch as if to say NOPE not going to get it now. The eagerness and happiness on his face as I fetched the frisbee with a stick lit up my heart. I believe we can experience the crushing pain of loss and still see beauty, goodness, hope in our day and life. I do believe though it is a choice. In this way Tammy I believe that you and I think alike.

There is joy to feel alongside the crushing pain of loss but it doesn't come looking for us. We have to make the effort to find it. Like last night when I was feeling such a crushing pain with knowing that was the last time I would ever wash and wax my bike and a symbolic letting go of Melissa all over again. I could have chose to be alone in my pain and suffer in silence. I decided to email a very dear friend and share my pain, and then chose to go and watch the sunset, come home and have a good soak in the tub and listen to Floyd Cramer..yeah I know it dates me..but hey I love his music, as I was in the tub I recorded my own voice and talked to Melissa as if she was there. Then before bed, I checked email and there were two from my dear friend, offering encouragement and support. My pain felt less and easier to bear. For myself, it is when I am inactive in my own healing that the pain feels unsurvivable!

So Tammy, yes, as for myself as always your posts inspire me and give birth to yet even more hope, thank you.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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Carol Ann has echoed what I have discovered. Shortly after George died, I ran across a Dragonfly refrigerator magnet...I believe it was placed in my path and the dragonfly was put on it to capture my attention. It said, simply, "Find Joy In Each New Day". That has become my motto. I began to LOOK for joy...as I pondered each day, I would look over it to find what joy there had been that day. Yes, it might be the joy on a dog's face as he caught a frisbee...it might be having to stop for a Bull Elk in the road, it might be stepping out on my back patio to see deer prancing through the yard. It might be my kitty climbing up on my lap to give me a "kiss". It might be someone letting me into traffic at rush hour. It might be the breathtaking view that is mine as I got on my morning or nightly walks with my dog. It might be someone holding the door open or smiling at me. It might be one of my kids calling to see how I am. Whatever it is, it is important that I recognize it as such, and capture the joy that is mine! There IS joy in this world...but we have to make a concerted effort to find and recognize it as such. We cannot expect life to ever be the same again. That time is past, but our lives are not over and a new and unknown future and present is here...and we cannot know how good it is until we have embraced and lived it.

It's true, we continue to miss the person we lost...I doubt there's a one of us who wouldn't trade everything to have them back, but that's not our option. So instead we go on and try stay positive...the Bible says whatever things are lovely, look on those things...I think that's the key...sometimes that's hard and we have to forgive and understand ourselves those down moments...nothing wrong with having those either, but try not to cut ourselves out of having good moments too.

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