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Second Year...not Easy


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I am down with the flu/crud for the 3rd time since Bill died 15 months ago. I know my immune system is shot after the last 5 years and the grieving is wearing it down even more. Of course when one is sick the world really looks bad so that is where i am today...fever, coughing, feeling crappy...then the pain is worse and the aloneness is worse. I look back on these months and see 3 rounds of crud, 2 broken fingers, torn rotater shoulder muscles, constant fatigue, a river of tears. I was told that the 2nd year might be harder than the first. In many ways it IS harder...different but harder. I am fully awake to the reality of my life now and not liking what I see. I have no clue what I will do with my remaining years. I dabble in lots of things but all are empty....mere distractions. I guess i just need to focus on getting my body healthy which is hard to do right now, and figure it all out later. I know all this but living it is a different ball game. I could rattle off all my answers. Big deal. Neighbor stopped in with enough soup to last me a week...how nice of her. Even brought popsicles...and all I can think about is that Bill is gone....forever. I will never see those blue eyes again. My best girlfriend (also dead) told Bill once she could swim in his eyes. He never forgot it. :)

It is hotter than Hades here...heat index is rising quickly and warnings are out as the heat index will be around 111 this week. For us here in Wisconsin, that is hot.

Just needed to vent a bit and know someone who gets it hears me. People tend to think, I believe, that 15 months after Bill died, I should be fine. I will never be fine but hope to be better than the last 15 months or 5 years. I hate the word should. A few who have had their share of pain do not feel that way so I am grateful for them.

Year 2 in a nutshell: He is really really gone. I am really alone. Sadness reigns. Thanks for hearing me.

Mary

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Mary, dear, I hear you, and I know when they read your post, other members will hear you, too. Your post reminded me of something I read just recently in a book written by a mother who was her daughter's primary caregiver throughout her ten-year battle with brain cancer. Nine years after her daughter's death she writes, “When I think about what I really needed at this time I would have to say that I needed someone to hold my hand and give me a hug. I needed someone to say something wonderful about Katie. I needed to hear someone say her name out loud. I also needed someone to tell me that while I would never be the same again that I would make it.”

You won't be the same without your precious Bill either, Mary, but I know you will make it through this ~ and I hope it helps to know that I am holding you in my heart this minute, and sending you a virtual hug.

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Dear Mary,

I don't know if this will help, but my grandfather always told me illness was our mind and body's way of telling us to stop moving and start thinking and addressing the things that are at the root of our pain. I find when I ignore the things that matter I am sick in a hurry.

When Jane was in the hospital, someone told me that this was god's way of getting our attention--to remind us that there were things we were pledged to do. It seemed a bit extreme to me--and still does. But Jane's death has forced me to rethink my priorities. I will never entirely recover from losing her. But her death does not remove the things that need to be done in the world while I am here.

Every day I wake up afresh to the fact she is not here. Every night I resist going to bed because it is such a strong reminder that she is not here. In between--especially this week--the week we first learned she probably had cancer is next week--can't wait for that--I find myself weeping at odd moments: mowing the lawn yesterday, driving myself home from the mall I went to to escape the memories--bad mistake there because we used to walk there so frequently in the winter and summer--reading your post just now. But I keep hearing her voice telling me to keep moving forward--to keep trying to do what I am supposed to be doing. Otherwise everything she went through was for nothing.

Of course the heat you are dealing with does not help matters either. Make sure you are drinking enough. Make sure you are eating enough. Try to read--or watch a movie. Make it a comedy: Norman Cousins argued laughter was good for the immune system. Illness is depressing to begin with. In our state it gives us too much time to think about what we do not have. That spouse is not there to do an nursing--or help us laugh at the germs floating around in our systems. And that hurts like hell as well.

I don't know if any of this helps. But we are here for you to vent to--and to try to buck you up when you need it. Hang in there.

Peace,

Harry

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My Dear Friend Mary,

I know that grieving takes a toll on the body, just as much if not more than care giving. I cared for Pauline for so many years, so many ups and downs. I thought I was in good health. Going 24/7 for many years caring for the love of my life, my soul mate, my best friend, my wife. But after God took her in heaven and took away her pain. I thought I was still doing ok. Until he said Dwayne you need to slow down and take care of yourself. I was so sick for the third and fourth week after she passed. I could not even get up and stay up. Even now I still have the Foley and need surgery to fix me up again. By the grace of God he has put 2 very good friends in my life. I give back to them every day I can help.

Grief is a very hard thing to get through in one piece. No doubt it takes a toll on the body especially when we loose the one we loved so deeply like we both done. You have helped me so much on here, I only hope I can do the same for you. You will see Bill again and those blue eyes you miss so much. Just as I will see Pauline again. They are waiting in Gods Kingdom for us when he calls us up. I believe with all my heart and soul we will be with them again.

Mary I pray for you, For God to comfort your broken heart, heal your soul, and for your health to get better.

God Bless you, I hope you can feel my "HUGS", we all need, your friend

Dwayne

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Oh my god the second is worse!!!!!! I am in trouble then..........doing better at this today guess it was the full moon yesterday that got me down.......PLEASE take care of yourself!!!! Dave

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Dave, it is, FOR ME, very different and very painful. I don't know how to say it. Maybe worse is the wrong word...but it is extremely difficult for ME. That does not automatically apply to everyone. Marty, Thank you for your kind words, for the virtual hug and your confidence in my survival. The quote is SO right on. It is exactly how I feel. I question whether i will ever thrive or feel joy again at this point. Yes, I am a different person. Dwayne and Harry thank you for your support. YOu guys always come through. Thanks to all of you. I found a good article about year 2 and that also helped. I will see if I can find it again tomorrow and post the link. Thank you, all of you. Mary

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Mary,

You are stronger than you realize. You amaze me with all that you are doing in the face of such grief and mourning. You are running circles around us younger folk! But Mary now you are run down, tired and sick...... and your husband died. Of course the grief is feeling worse than usual. Enjoy the soup, take the time to cry alot and rest. Grief is taking it's toll and it's time to give in.:(

I have to tell you that I can relate to your feelings about year 2. I was so relieved that I had made it through year one. All those firsts were over. But year number two has been hard in a different way. Instead of surviving you have to figure out what the hell to do with your life! There are times when I wished I could still be numb and just wait for the next day. But by year number two you know that it's time to figure out something. I am one month away from finishing year 2. Sick of crying, tired of grieving and still missing my guy. But I have seen big changes in the last 3-4 months. I actually have a list of things that I want to do these next 12 months. Last year at this time I didn't have a clue. I still have grief waves and somtimes I swear they are worse than ever and I think this is becuase they come less frequently. I call them my crazy days. I recently had an entire day when I didn't get out of bed, except to pee and cook for the kids. I'm kinda proud that I can give into the pain enough to not do a damn thing.

Please know that you are right where you need to be in grief. You are trying so hard to do the work and it is paying off. Just not as fast or as clearly as you'd like. Remind yourself of the things you are doing. The journaling, the reading, the crying, the rituals of grief. Go back and read what you have written. You will be amazed at how far you have come. (((((Hugs to you!!!)))))

Cheryl

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A friend of mine, who lost her husband 12 yrs ago, who has been great support just called we spoke of the second yr her comment was the same as yours, the second yr was worse for her.....after she got through all the first of the first yr she was prepared for something better the second.....but it was worse....she keeps reassuring me that we all go through this different.....and that it does get better, her comment was you will never get over what has happened you just learn to cope better....BEST WISHES! Dave

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I don't know if the 2nd year is worse - on what type of scale would I measure this on? I've gone through the devastating - can't get out of bed, sobbing until my heart can't sob any more... I truly cried my eyes my eyes out (which can be done,my tears no longer have the integrity they once had and my vision is just blurry = thank God for artifical tears - they work, but not 100%) The reality is that I'm here. My Michael is not. I have to figure out who I am now. When Michael died it took a long time to realize that I deserve to be happy - that HE souldn't want me to be sad forever... Our loved ones are gone, but I believe moving forward that they are there in our "everydaY" helping us move forward and in doing so only want the best for us - health - happpiness -joy. It is still hard, but I'm trying... Yes it all is hard, but through our own happinesss from the love we shared - we hope we gain some peace

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Mary

I agree that being sick magnifies the loss - so alone when our defences are down, even when friends are family are around.

Nearly finished Year 2 myself and although I have some feeling of needing to get on with some kind of life somehow, I don't really know how to achieve that. At least it's a big improvement on where I was last July.

Today we should be celebrating my husband's birthday - I decided not to let a major slide happen so I've been out with friends. I didn't mention it and nor did they. Facing the evening alone now and feeling the tears building. Didn't really think I'd get away with it.

I hope you are feel better soon. I guess we just have to keep trying to make something worthwhile out of the time we have left - the only way to do that is to get up tomorrow and try again....Susie Q

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Dear Friends...all of you,

Today is a bit better emotionally...the waves of grief. Physically I have a way to go. I am sorry if talking about year 2 being harder...made it more difficult for you. I think it is different and i think we expect it to be easier. Everyone is different. This article was something that helped me.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/grief-healing-and-the-one-to-two-year-myth/

I want to say that on the same page to the left are other links to grief information and they are a bit outdated. Kubler Ross's 5 stages are outdated. She never intended them to be for the grieving but for the dying and I am not sure they are accurate anyway. She was a pioneer and without her this forum and so much more would probably not exist. She brought death out of the closet. She lived near me for a while.

In this article the two words that jumped off the page for me was "profound sadness" as it says so well how I feel. I hope you find the article helpful. Be in the now...you can not know what year 2 will be like for you until you get there. Thank you all for your kind words, your support and your love. It feels so good to let my hair down from time to time. I tend to hold a high expectation up to myself because I have been helping people through life as a therapist for almost 40 years. I remember the leader of my grief support group telling us that when her dad died she looked in the mirror and said to herself that she should be handling this better since she is a grief counselor...but alas we are all human and granted the tools I have help some but until one actually loses a beloved spouse...you do not know how you will respond.

My friend is coming over to help me with my publication...the printer has a new program that packages this publication...and my friend has experience with it. She is also bringing Culver's custard. I am doing a lot but I have not seen clients since well before Bill died. Not sure where that road will lead. I always remember telling clients that recovery from trauma can be a 2-5 year journey...guess I was right.

Thank you again...once I get my new website for my publication up I will share the link. My geek and i are re-doing the site. Thanks again. Dave, remember it is different for everyone.

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Mary,

I don't think "should"s should apply to grieving...each person's journey is unique to them and we can't expect someone to be at a certain point at a given time. We can speak from our experience but need to recognize that we all vary. I think it's good that we all recognize this even while others don't get it.

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Kay, I totally agree with you. We ae all different. The second year can be harder and the definition of harder is up for grabs. Thanks, Kay

Marty, I posted the piece. I read the one you just recommended and found it thought provoking...I have been able during this traumatic time to help others in pain (eg 2 friends going through painful divorces and another who lost her mom). I guess it just comes naturally to me to reach out to others. And now I am more able to let others reach out to me. Lots of life lessons.

Mary

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Marty, I re-read the article you posted on Sunday. This time I let it all in....I like the reference to left-brain and right brain...it all makes sense as new neural pathways develop. Our MD at Mayo was an expert on this and helped a great deal when Bill's anxiety got high and he would obsesses. He taught him mindfulness, a long time ago, and Bill calmed down instantly. Sadly only months later he was no longer able to use that but it worked when he could. I have always believed that one of the biggest benefits of therapy is the storytelling to someone who is not judging and who cares. I so admire the couple who listened to these parents and listened and listened. That is what we need most as we grieve, I believe, because no one can fix this...just make it easier.

I also thought back several months to the time when I realized how angry I was when someone who visited me listened to me for a while with love and then proceeded to tell me about their pain. I wanted to scream at them, "Don't you know this is about me, not you." I have come forward from that place and have found myself able to be compassionate again and use this pain to walk with others...so that feels like progress. I tend to do that naturally but now with more empathy.

A friend has been a rock for me (took Bill to doctor appointments when I could no longer move, understands how long this takes, and has had me over to dinner many times. All of this tugs on the desire I have to be there for others who are grieving. Not ready to do more than I am right now (helping friends in pain, listening) but somewhere inside is a longing to make this path easier for others just by understanding. Another friend who has really come through was over this weekend helping me with my publication (she packaged it for me for press). She said that she always leaves me feeling better or with insights...even though I am in such pain. I know I listen to her.

You do a great job of being there for all of us. Thank you, Mary

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Mary, dear, you are a treasure, and your natural gifts come through in everything you post. Your path stretches out before you, and I have no doubt that eventually you will find new and important ways to use your gifts to benefit others, based on your own experience of significant loss. In the meantime, remember those famous words from the Gestalt era of the 70's (Fritz Perls maybe?): Don't push the river ~ It flows by itself.

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Don't push the river ~ It flows by itself.

Don't remember if it was Perls but I do have a book with that title...from the 70s. http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Push-River-Flows-Itself/dp/0939266474/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311001484&sr=8-1 (Seems like yesterday. Time flies.) Still down with this bug but better. Thanks, Marty. I do need to remember not to push that river. :)

My close friend used to get in my face-smiling- when I started pushing and sing "Row row row your boat-GENTLY down the stream". That was years ago before I even knew I was pushing.

Peace, Mary

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Dear Mary,

You have helped so much on here and I am thankful for the help you give and keep giving. I talk all the time about you and just knowing that you always say to me the right thing to lift me back up. I say I have this wonderful friend on HOV, who has always been there for me.

I thank you form the bottom of my heart, I only hope I can give you back even a little to what you have giving me.

How are you doing now? You are in my prayers every day along with many here on HOV.

God Bless you, the Lord will bring peace to your broken heart, comfort your soul, and like Pauline, Bill is watching after you also.

your friend

Dwayne

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Well, three days of confinement ( due to the creepy crud flu) with minimal contact with people shows me just how much I need to get out and about. I do enough of that, sometimes too much, but these three days have shown me that I need to continue to do so. My software consultant was here yesterday for a while helping me. She is also a good friend. A couple of phone calls and that sums up my contact with humanity over 3 days. Awgh. I can pretty much handle one or even two days (if the waves of grief do not wash in at the same time) but 3 is over the limit. I am grateful that I feel good enough to go out tomorrow even if it is just to the post office for mail and the General Store for coffee and contact. Small towns are great when it comes to contact because I know if I go to the GS someone will be there that I know or drop into any of the shops and chat with friend/owners. Thanks for all your support in this, my latest crisis. I am sure there will be more. I can count on that.

Peace,

Mary

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Mary,

How are you feeling now? Are you over the flu? (forgive me if I missed an update)

Kay

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Thank you, Kay. I am better. 3 days alone in the house is driving me out tomorrrow. Still coughing bit I feel human...well as human as any of us can feel :) Mary

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