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Last night I went back to our family support group. They break for the summer and it has been 10 weeks since we last saw one another. It was so much different than last August when I came back. Last year I was approaching the one year mark of my husbands death and I was still in the depths of despair, dissappointment, longing for him, constantly crying, unable to focus, struggling to go to work, struggling to take care of my kids, violent nightmares, barely eating, consumed with guilt, financialy scared out of my mind, angry at all the couples, angry at god, and absolutely exhausted at trying to find a way out of the pain. I must say that this year I realized that I felt peaceful. I feel like the crazy bipolor emotions are gone. I don't know if that makes sense or not. But at the one year mark I was so lost and confused and my emotions were on a constant roller coaster. I felt like I was stuck in hell, a crazy person. I often described my grief as feeling mentaly insane. If one more person told me to be patient and rest and eat I think I would have exploded. But this year as I sat there listening and sharing I realized how much better I felt. I can't say that I am feeling Tony the Tiger great! But I can say that I am not anxious. I am not thinking about Mark's death 24 hrs a day, I am able to set goals, I can be with friends and not feel like everyone is uncomfortable around me.

I am so hopeful that the worst of this nightmare is behind me and that perhaps the three steps forward sixteen steps backwards will be more like 10 steps forward one step back. I'm almost afraid to feel good. I'm afraid it might stop or I might slip back and I don't think I could go back to those horrible days and survive them again. I feel like I am coming out of a pitch dark forest and the sunlight is blinding me. The meadow is too large, too green, too wide open. Sitting here at the edge of the forest and the meadow I feel like I need to be careful. I'm still scared that I can't make it through life without my guy holding my hand and yet I know I have to take those steps alone. Well, now I've managed to overwhelm myself again. I wish there was an easier path. Cheryl

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Cheryl,

You have made progress and for that I am so happy for you! This is hard every single day and although some days I don't dwell in the grief, I still have difficulty watching couples I knew when Buck was alive...still together...still living their lives even though mine will never be the same. I still envy them and try to be genuinely happy for them. But I still struggle with "Why me". The new normal is something I must accept, to do anything less is unrealistic....is it not??

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Cheryl,

Glad to hear you're progressing...sometimes when we're in it we don't notice but it's there all the same.

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Cheryl, I think you are doing great. Nothing about this is easy, but look how much you have progressed. We are all soldiering on, that is all we can do, learning our new normal, and making a life that is not exactly what we once planned it would be. Love your analogy of the bright green meadow and the dark forest. I think that sums it up very well.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Cheryl

Thank you for this post. In a few weeks it will be two years since I also lost my husband - it happened suddenly so the shock was enormous.

I am finally starting to believe and feel that I can have a life of sorts - with happy times in it but I know I will never again feel 'fulfilled and happy' like I had.

This time last year I was a walking and talking cardboard cutout of myself. People thought I was doing OK but it was all just putting on a show that I could only manage to maintain for short periods of time before the meltdowns in private. Now, I can function pretty much for the whole day - still have the meltdowns but I have the confidence and experience to know that those feelings of intense pain and panic will pass with some sleep (eventually).

My feeling is that I am finding a way to incorporate him into my life so that he is here with me still. I am slowly starting to understand what the books say about building a different kind of relationship and feeling his presence rather than his absence. I don't like it and I don't want it to be this way, but stabbing myself in the heart every minute of every day wasn't working for me either and I'm guessing the survival instinct, with different mental processes, just starts to kick in with time.

I know he would desperately want me to find a way through this nightmare, so I am trying. I was the last person that thought any real recovery would ever be possible but kind people on this site kept telling me in the early days that healing, in its own time, could start and that I needed to keep an open mind on that. It was good advice.

Looking back has made me realise the struggles that I continue to have and I too am overwhelmed by the prospect of the years ahead without him...but I am oh so very much better than last year.

Thank you for reminding me to assess my progress from time to time so that I might see how much better I am feeling and to give me continued hope for the future....Susie Q

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Boy, it sounds to me like you've crossed a bridge I hope to come to some time in the future. I'm only 2 months into this process, so I can't see any future headway, but I think it sounds like you have a real future. Your Husband would, just like my wonderful Wife would, and I know you already know this, want you to be strong and do your best. I don't have that mad at God feeling, and I'm forcing myself to go to worship as much as possible even though it's so very difficult to sit there without her, to sing the hymns, to say the prayers. But, I do know that she is in Heaven wanting me to get through this. I have all that hard road you've already traveled yet to go into, but I know you have it harder because you have kids to raise where mine are already adults that try to comfort me. I wish you well for the future, and I certainly hope that your progress continues. I, too, see couples and wonder why when I see some of them not even happy with each other, why did I have to lose a gem. Please look forward to better times, and know that there are others that are facing tough times too. It's not fair, but we have to do our very best to go forward...and it sounds like you're making it work. Please continue!! Earl C

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I too find it almost unbearable to think of possibly 20,30 years without Harv. It's especially painful when I see elderly couples together who appear to be still in love and so comfortable together. That was supposed to be us! I do love that you are learning to feel your love's presence and not just his absence. You've also given me hope. Love and peace, Pam

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I just try not to think of all those years ahead. When I do, that is when I get overwhelmed. I can manage to think about a day, a week, or two at a time, even a month ahead, but when I think of all those years ahead without Mike, it is just unfathomable. Those that tell us one day at a time have it right, I can do a day. Mike has been gone 19 months, and I find myself doing pretty O.K., most of the time, but this week I have had a lot of SUG moments. It may be because this coming Friday is Mike's birthday, he would have been 64. So incomprehensible to me that he will never be 64! This time last year, it was worse, so I have progressed, just a step at a time, a day at a time. But I miss him so much, I don't want to be alone, but I don't want anyone but Mike, so there is my catch 22.

As for feeling his presence...when I am at the theater, where he performed so many times in our community theater productions, I feel him very strongly. He loved acting, and I can walk into our theater and just feel him. I am not alone there, others say they feel him there also.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Cheryl,

One of the things that helped me was one of the things you wrote.

Feeling good. That to me, was the start to finding my way back.

In me at first, it made me feel guilty. But I knew Ruth would not want me staying where I was and I realized I could not stay in the dark place I was or I would never be able to function in a normal fashion. Which would do me no good or our three kids. To be blunt, I was trying to live my life with my dead wife not Ruth. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone but me.

I will never fully understand or get over why she gone. I would have done or given anything for it not to happen.

But I have found my own way and I hope all of us in here have found or are working to find their own way out of this.

I would love to find out who to talk to about life sucks and life is not fair and get that fixed..... LOL

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Cheryl,

Congratulation on the big improvements that you have made. It gives all hope for a brighter future for all of us.

I know when I saw Pauline's face in recovery, just that alone has greatly improved my out look and brighten my life. Nothing will keep me down any more. I wish you all could have that experience. To know absolutely that she is HAPPY and HEALTHY. After all I have been through the last 2 weeks. I am again on top of the moon. I refuse to let anyone or anything to keep me down. Do I still have tears for her from time to time, YES I do, but more tears of joy that I had TRUE LOVE with Pauline. I hold the good times in my heart, and not dowel on her sickness. After God gave me a gift in her and in return, all I had to do is love, cherish, and give her the very best I could as the MS ate away at her.

By the Grace of God I am where, I at today. I pray that you all find that peace in your heart and soul.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Brian,

Hey, that's MY motto! (Life sucks and then you die). All joking aside, it does have sucky parts but there's some good parts thrown in there too, although the really great part is gone (with our spouse).

To all of you,

You're right to not look so far ahead that you get overwhelmed, I learned early on to try not to think about "the rest of my life", it was too much. But now I can think of it and not feel overwhelmed or scared, I guess I'm used to being alone now, I don't always like it but sometimes I do, but still, I'd trade everything to have George back with me.

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Brian's reply to Cheryl struck a cord in me....Can anyone explain why it is I feel guilty if I start to feel happy???..It's awful sometimes...not always but it just hits at the oddest moments...anyone else have those feelings at times??? It makes me very sad and takes the good feeling away in the blink of an eye...Because I am here and he is not??? Trying to overcome it...sure not what Bill would want for me...a guilt trip...Carol

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I don't feel guilt if I have a good time somewhere but I feel fear or sadness as if my life with Bill takes a step back in importance. I know better but human as we are...those feelings surface. Bill will be the love of my life forever and I know I will miss him forever. I also find that I can grieve him and miss him now and also enjoy some good times here and there even though in those good moments...he is clearly in my heart and on my mind. I think the guilt might flow from the thought that having a good time means we don't miss our beloved...but we all know we do and always will.

Mary

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