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One Year Coming Up


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In a week it will be one year since I lost my husband. I can't believe a whole year has passed. The first few weeks I actually doubted I would make it this far. We had nearly 30 years together - my entire adult life. Though life doesn't feel as horribly desperate, impossible and "I can't go on" as it did in the first few months, I still miss him every day. Each day there is something that will remind me of him - things we used to do, places we'd go, plans we'd made. Each day I'm made aware that the future will be dramatically different.

I'm 53 and at this point I don't think I'm ever going to meet anyone else that could become an important part of my life. I rarely even meet any men, let alone single ones - so hooking up with someone is pretty unlikely. I have no interest in internet dating either.

This sounds really pathetic and defeatist, but right now I feel like I'm just hanging around to be here for our kids, waiting until it's finally my turn to die. I'm not exactly depressed - just not enthralled by life. I don't feel I have anything to look forward to.

I should add that I tend to log on here when I'm feeling down, so my posts are usually pretty depressing. Sorry. Those times when I'm feeling better and more optimistic, I try to avoid things and people that will remind me of grief. I notice that as long as there are people around me - and right now I've got four young people living at home, temporarily - then life is okay. Not great, but okay. It's good to keep busy, to talk to people, to have people around me that laugh and joke. When I'm alone - (the kids are all out doing something today) - the grief is like a smothering blanket. My kids have to fly the nest, and I have to get used to being here alone with the dog after work each day. But how?

Anybody else feel like this after a year? I'm hoping that this too shall pass.

Melina

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Melina,

I can only speak for myself, and, for me,it has gotten somewhat better with time. I still miss my husband terribly, and always will, but life has moved on. The first year is filled with all those "firsts" and they are really hard. Somehow, and I am not sure how this worked, on the anniversary of Mike's death I found a peace. I dreaded the day so much, but when it came I found a peace, or acceptance that I had not expected. I like to think it was his spirit nudging me to move on. I still grieve for him, and still have some really bad days, but not like I did during the first year.

I am 65, nearly 66, and live alone. My children are all grown with families of their own. While they are wonderful support, especially my daughter and her family who live here in the same town, it is the loneliness that gets me down at times. My answer, and it seems to work for me, is to stay as involved with other things as possible. My husband and I were very involved in community theater and the arts council. So, I have stayed very involved in those things. I have wonderful theater friends who have been my rocks throughout this past 18 months.

I guess we just have to find a new "normal", as the old one is gone. We had so many plans for retirement, but those plans were for the two of us. Now that I am retired, life is not what Mike and I planned. I understand the "just hanging around, waiting for your turn to die." I feel like that at times, I think that is pretty much how most of us feel sometimes. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this journey none of us wanted to make.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Melina,

For myself I think the first year was the worst. Some people are surprised to find that the second year was harder for them but I think that's because it takes longer for some to have reality set in and realize they aren't coming back, and some prolong the process by staying in denial. Some try to sleep or drink the time away, but their grief is still there when they wake up. So the timeline is individual for all of us. But for me, surviving all of the "firsts without" was quite a feat. I didn't know in the beginning that I could or would survive it and I know I sure didn't want to or feel like it.

My grief was complicated by having a discovery of great magnitude shortly before George died that we had not fully worked through yet, and it was much more difficult to do so after he was gone and couldn't help me with it...it took me until about the third year sometime to fully process it and accept the whole of the man in reality and love him for who he was and accept his weaknesses along with all that was wonderful in him. All of this took great effort. I made the huge mistake of remarrying 1 1/2 years after he died...I had not fully grieved, was not in a position to make any such decision, and when I look back I realize I was frantically trying to rebuild my life and I was preyed upon and conned. HUGE mistake! Not that everyone who gets involved with someone is making a mistake. There are some that have happy endings but for me, I wasn't in a good state of readiness to be making such a decision, I was clearly in a fog with no clarity of mind. I wish I could take all that back, but there is no Control-Z in life. Ahh well, my life can serve as a warning to others if nothing else. :) I'm 58 and alone and most likely will live that way the rest of my life for I have no interest in dating, I've learned my lessons. There is no "George" out there. And I don't want to settle for less just to not be alone.

You ask if you ever get used to being alone...yeah, somewhat, but not completely. I do okay some days, I'm pretty independent, I like making my own decisions and yet there are days I am lonely and feel overwhelming "in this alone". Being out of work is hard as I'm alone and have more time on my hands, although this broken elbow makes everything take three times as long so although I don't get much accomplished, time passes with the struggles of each day. When I feel like I can't take being home alone any longer, I take my dog for a ride to the park and out to Subway to split a sandwich. :) It gets me out of the house and seems to help. Or I call a neighbor down to beat me in Rummy. Or go visit my friend and just have a cup of coffee and visit. I come on line here, I stay in touch with my sisters. Any interaction helps. My kids also have their own lives. I never hear from my daughter, she doesn't even check up on me. My son is extremely busy and even though he's here a lot, he's not "here"...he shows up at night to eat and go to bed, leaves in the morning so if it wasn't for more cooking, dishes, laundry, and his dog to walk, I'd hardly know he's here.

I'm glad you mentioned that you don't feel as frantic as you did at first, I think that's an important observation...we are progressing, it's just hard to see when we're in it.

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Dear Melina,

I cannot speak of a year yet. On Monday the 25 was 5 month anniversary of Pauline's passing. I had the operation, and in the recovery room as they woke me up I remember seeing Pauline's face. Healthy and Happy. It was a gift form God, she was my Angel that day. I have always said the true loves of our lives never leave us. I feel her around me all the time. I do not mind being alone in our apartment. It brings me great peace when I am home. I still have all the firsts to go through. I know God will help me through these times ahead of me. I go to church twice a week and I try to get to a hospice meeting at least one a week, through our VNA. I get a lot of support, and I meet Harry there, he has became a good friend I can call on any time. As soon as The DR gives me the ok, I will start my nursing classes. I am 56 and full of life and ready to give back through nursing. I have not been in a classroom sense 1973. I will not give up or give in to the grief. I still have bad days, but 2 great friends in Donna and Greg. I help Greg every week, even when I had the Foley in for almost 6 weeks. I was still there for them, because they have always been there for me.

Like you I do not see anyone in my life again, they would just not be MY PAULINE.

God Bless you, please try to stay strong, and never give up or give in. It is ok to come here and tell us your troubles you are having in your life. Always remember the good times you had with your husband. He is still with you today. Someday soon I pray you all get the gift God gave to me. To be able to see Pauline Healthy and Happy is a true gift from God.

Dwayne

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Melina,

My heart goes out to you... I sit here trying to imagine myself getting to that much time. My husband passed May 27th, it must be really tough when the first anniversary comes? Each month around the 27th I can't help myself but think of saying our goodbyes at the hospital... that last week was just awful for our family.

I am 58 now. I was 10 years single when I met my husband, we have been married 9 years, together 12 years. My daughter (28) and her boyfriend have moved in with me so I am not alone in my house which I do appreciate right now. Our house is not paid for so the extra money is helping me and it is helping them. I am hoping this is temporary as it is not healthy for us as we are all used to our own living quarters. But I am very grateful for the company as I would not know what I would do with myself right now if I was absolutely alone at night with myself... with my thoughts... with my grief.

I do know I have to deal with my grief, I do want to be happy again. My husband was a great role model for me. We talked a lot of many problems when it came to work situations and he was great at giving me advise. He managed a shop and worked in one place for 30 years... who does that now days? Managing people gives a person experience, he helped me with insight into my job and the people I have to work with. I miss his feed back and his being my sounding board. I guess what I am saying is I could spend the rest of my life grieving over my loss and give up. But my husband would never forgive me... that was not in his plan, he did not live his life that way. Should I? I'm not sure what all I have to do to work through my mess but I have to find myself again, I have to find my happy place again. I don't even know how to go about it yet but I guess that's how I found myself here...

Don't give up on life... don't get bitter. Surround yourself with light and know that when you try the right people walk into your life at the right moment.

Peace to you.

Deb

redesign08.blogspot.com

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Thanks Mary (and Mary), Kay, Dwayne and Deb,

I do try to keep a positive attitude in my daily life (even though it doesn't show up here), but grief always seems to find me in the end. I don't cry every day and I have more control over my tears. But I still cry - sometimes it's just a few tears, other times it's like a dam breaking.

Sometimes I just feel sorry for myself and think - "why me?". Then I remember what Kay said once: "Why not me?". Then I try to think about all the other people in the world who have lost people who mean everything to them - there are a lot of us - most of whom are less fortunate and who don't have a place to live, have no food to eat or to feed their children, who live in fear of their lives in war-torn areas. Not that I'm glad there are others out there in pain - but it makes me feel less alone, and I feel I owe it to everyone else going through this struggle, to keep going.

I just wish I knew how to live the rest of my life - however long that will be. If I take one day at a time, one event at a time it's much easier. It's strange how true that is - that taking one day at a time helps. But sometimes you have to think ahead, and then I panic. I wonder how long I'll be doing that - panicking about being alone.

I'm starting work on Tuesday after four weeks of vacation time, and this is the first time I'm actually looking forward to starting work again. I wonder how long my life will be this way - just trying to get through one day at a time, feeling pleased when evening comes, having put another day behind me. Life once seemed so short. Now it feels long. I just hope that at some point in the future - it will feel good, that I'll feel happy to be alive, that I'll enjoy being here again.

Sorry for rambling. I looked back at some of my earlier posts and was shocked to see over 400 of them. I joined this group the day after my husband's death. I suppose it's become sort of a journal for me, with the exception that other people can read my journal. I can see I'm not as frantic as I was to begin with, but there is clearly a roller coaster "pattern" to my posts. I guess that's all we can expect for now.

Thanks everyone for being here for me on this journey.

Melina

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Melina,

I won't repeat what I shared in my email to you but I do share so much of your pain and confusion. You are not alone as you approach this anniversary and your "rambing" as you call it is welcome here and I believe as each of us share however we do that...it opens the door for others to share. I am returning to see my grief counselor next week as I am pretty much a mess as I attempt to sort, cry, try to figure out life, grieve and so much more. Physician, heal thyself is not working. I need someone else to walk with me. So many here do that so well and I know no one can take Bill's place or respond to me as he did but I also see that I need to return to grief counseling for a while. Know that we are all here with and for you. I am glad you are returnina to work. July had to be a long month for you. Peace, Mary

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Mary,

I'm sorry things are so tough for you. I think maybe another round of grief counseling is a good idea. As you wrote, you might be around here for another good twenty years. So finding some comfort and direction in life will be important.

Like you, the sheer depth of this grief is unfathomable. Half of me has been torn away, and wounds of this size will probably take a very long time to heal. There will always be a massive scar. But hopefully we'll manage and even find some happiness.

Melina

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I should also add that I've been seeing the same grief counselor for nearly a year now, and I have no plans to stop seeing her. Maybe some of us need counseling longer than others, but I'll be going until she kicks me out.

Melina

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Dear Melina,

I have, people who go to my hospice grief meetings, that have lost there husband, 4,5,even 10 years ago and they still come to help others and for others to help build them up again. Everyone's grief journey is different and at their own pace. They keep moving forward. It is very hard at times. Yesterday I was on the top of the mountain so full of live after seeing Pauline's face as I awoke from the surgery. I had 2 home pies delivered yesterday morning, One for the friends next door, who looked after my little dog ,while I was away. The second I took up to Greg and Donna. Of course Donna works late on Friday at her hair salon. Greg and I enjoyed a piece of pie out on his deck. Then I got a phone call from Pauline's brother. By the time he was done lecturing about Dad and the calls I had with him the last 2 days. I was beaten down and in tears. He said being with Pauline through all the years was my choice. I said NO it was GODS choice because, the odds of us meeting are to great in numbers. I always believed God brought me to her. When we meet it was like we had knew each other for ever and where we meet. Pauline being from Fall River, Massachusetts, me raised and born in the high mountains of Colorado. That day in a small town in Kansas was just a turn in the road for me. But God opened up the heavens and made it rain so hard we could not work any more. My friend Dave when we got to that junction asked if I would like to have a beer and shoot some pool. I said fine with me. Who was attending the bar was Pauline. As we talked the connection was immediately, and so our life began. God knew Pauline would need me in her life as she became ill from the MS. I was always there for her. I put her first above anything and everything. For 33 years I had this gift from God. I still do now. She is around me all the time.

I just hope you can know he never left you and he along with God, will get you through these hard times in you life. I believe this with every fiber of my being, I have seen it. A lot of people who have lost the love of their life, do not get the gift God gave to me.

God Bless you Melina, I pray God, will heal your heart, comfort your soul, and give you the strength to keep moving forward, and know God still has more for you to do in this life you have, some day he will revel his path for you to take just like he has done for me. I ask this in the name of JESUS CHRIST, Amen

Dwayne

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Melina,

I am so sorry I got mixed up. PLEASE FORGIVE ME. I do not think I have every seen your husband name before. When I saw the mistake I came back and corrected it but I was to late as you had already read my post. I am truly sorry about my mistake. There is a lot of people on here sometimes it is hard to keep track in my mind who goes with who. Again I am sorry. :(

God Bless

Dwayne

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Hi Melina,

Thanks for your note and kind words. Yes, the sheer depth of the loss is huge. I contacted the grief counselor. It costs me $95 every time I see her so I really need to keep it in check but there are times in this trek that I just need to bounce things around. Making the decision led me to journaling on where I am and as I did that I started to remind myself that in my opinion the pain I have is pretty normal....considering the loss...and I know you understand that. It also helped me to just get clear so I am as clear as I can be when I meet with her. So just that decision was helpful. I doubt your grief counselor will kick you out but the picture in my mind is pretty funny.

I spent today with a friend, did some shopping and had the best pizza in the USA. Just got home and am tired having about 4 hours sleep last night. 3am seems to be a popular time for we night crawlers.

Take care now. Peace, Mary

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Dear Melina,

Thank you for your kindness, Yes I am doing ok. I got a call from Greg this morning around 10:15. He was in a little panic. He had heard something on his deck, scratching at the door. The poor guy by the time he got into the power chair and out to the kitchen, where the sliding door is. He seen his cat all frazzled up. He looked out at the dog pen, where he saw the gate open and no dogs. Donna's son lives with them, and they are his dogs 2 pit bulls. I scanned the neighborhood before I went to the house. Their neighbors were having a party with a lot of kids. I spoke to the man that set up some of those air fun games the kids go in and bounce around things. Then I went to the front door of the house, introduced myself and he did not take the news to kindly. One of Donna's friend that knows the area very well drove up, and we searched for about 1 1/2 hours, no dogs to be found. I went up into Greg's house and Donna's ex called and asked if the dogs were in the basement. Sure enough they were and safe. Those dogs were so sweet. I walk back to the neighbors and told them the dogs were safe in the basement. They were relieved. As I walked back to Greg's I saw something shinny, it was my hub cap I had lost about 4-5 weeks ago. So all in all it was a great day. I feel fine, my spirit is on the top.

How are you doing today? I hope and pray you are well and getting in a better place in your mind. My heart goes out to you. I only wish I can be of some help for you. We are all here for you and in our prayers every night.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Melina,

Is Friday the first anniversary? I am thinking of you...Mary

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When I got to the one year mark last March....and also to our silver anniversary in June...I found the anticipation was harder than the day but I planned the days well so I was busy. I hope this becomes true for you. It is a marker in time...I think that first anniversary was the biggest so far (over Christmas, anniversaries etc) but not the hardest. I am thinking of you this week. If you want to Skype, just whistle. Mary

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I had mixed feelings when I hit the one year mark...it was horribly hard in that I relived the day and thought of him continually. Being as he died on Father's Day, my kids are always with their dad on that day and other people have their private family celebrations so I always face his death anniversary alone.

But the positive note was I felt a certain triumph in having survived one year and knew I'd never have to repeat the year of "firsts without..." THAT was good!

My prayers will be with you on Friday, Melina.

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Hi Melina. I feel a kinship with you, in that our anniversary dates are so close. My year will be in October and this month marks the serious downfall of Buck's health before his death. My son played football two years ago, but didn't play last year -- there was just too much going on. He wanted to play again, so he attended his first practice yesterday. I was overwhelmed with the grief that Buck was not there, as he had always been, to stay for the practice. I didn't have him to talk with and had to reunite with the couples that we met two years ago. It was all I could do to keep the tears away. But I did get through it. The people there had no idea that Buck died, and were shocked to hear. Reliving it wasn't as difficult as the first few months.

I am also 53, and although Buck and I had not been together as long as you and your husband, he was the very best man I'd ever been involved with. It's ironic that he was the one that was taken away. I finally met someone who was good for me and my son, and he's gone. I still have difficulty with the enormity of it all. I can relate to possibly never being with anyone else -- no one could ever be to me what he was. He was such a mixture of everything I needed in my life. And he was someone I could really depend upon. I do come in contact with men from time to time, but they're either already married, involved or looking for someone younger, or at least it appears that way. We are at a very complex stage in life....too young to be old and too old to be young, which is another reason I felt fortunate that Buck and I found each other. It was like, I had one last chance and I finally made a quality choice! Then it was snatched away!

So, I suppose I'm where you are; here for my kids, but as for me? Just awaiting to die, as well.

I suppose this could be perceived as depression, but I'm not really depressed anymore....just sort of resigned.

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Thanks again Mary - I may just skype if you give me your skype address, and if I can figure out how to work it.

Thanks too, Kay. It's true, I won't have to do the "firsts" again at least, even if I'm not looking forward to the "seconds" either.

And Marietta - I know we were going through the first stages of grief around the same time here. One of the hardest things for me has been seeing and hearing about my sons' grief. My youngest was 19 when his dad died, and still a kid in so many ways. He's going off to college in a month, and it hurts that his father won't be seeing him off, the way he did with the other three. Just writing this brings tears to my eyes.

I'm doing okay, and I know I should feel thankful for many things - but I still feel cheated out of the life I wanted to continue living.

Melina

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but I still feel cheated out of the life I wanted to continue living.

It has been a long time since I've actually felt the feelings of feeling cheated...I do remember having felt that way, it's just been so long since I've had so strong an emotion, so I guess I've gotten used to the fact that things are the way they are...I don't know at what point that occurred, I didn't notice it at the time. Eventually we accept the unthinkable given enough time.

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