Jump to content

Here's My Story


Recommended Posts

On October 7, 2009, we learned my husband had stomach cancer. He was seen at two university cancer hospitals and both prognoses were grim. He entered Hospice in November 2009. I cared for him at home while he devoted his life to making my life easier after he died. He upgraded all facets of the house and barn, sold a lot of his toys, taught me accounting on the computer and relented to taking two short trips with me. He died May 19, 2011.

In December 2010 I felt I was having a nervous breakdown and sought help. I learned I had anticipatory grief and started to learn about this grief process. Soon after Rich's death, I dove head long into learning about grieving, in hopes of getting this over as soon as possible, LOL. If it were only that easy! I have now completed a Hospice based grief support group that lasted 6 weeks, and felt I suffered another loss after that program ended. I have read four books on grieving that have helped. At last I was able to concentrate enough to read a book!! The four books were "Getting to the Other Side of Grief", "This Thing called Grief", "On Grief and Grieving" by Kubler-Ross, and "A Complete Guide for the Bereaved, The Mourning Handbook" by Helen Fitzgerald. Okay, so now I know all the stuff I am supposed to be doing, but I am having trouble doing them.

I used to be into gardening, cooking and baking, big time. Not any more. I have no appetite and no interest in cooking. I do have a small garden which is nice. One of the projects Rich did for me was to fence in a much smaller area for my garden so I was not faced with a huge garden area that I did not need. I know that rest, proper nutrition, and exercise are so important. I also know that I am supposed to be gentle with myself. Can't do it.

I know I am making positive progress because I am not nearly so sad as I was two or even one month ago. I guess I am coming up on my three month anniversary of Rich's death, something that I haven't been keeping track of. What I am acutely aware of is Rich's birthday is next week, my first first. I have made plans to visit Rich's brother and Mother on his birthday. It will be an eight hour drive to get there and I think I have enough powers of concentration to make the drive, as well as a GPS :D Of course Rich always drove us there so this will be my first time navigating on my own. It will be the first time I will have seen his brother and Mother since he died. Oh, another odd thing, Rich donated his body to the local medical college so there was no funeral. Back to the birthday, I am surprised how hard it is just thinking about his birthday. Scheesh, what will Christmas be like?

The only thing I can do well, and I do this REALLY well, is to cry. And I am so happy to learn of all the benefits of crying. Anyway, howdy and thanks for listening.

Beth

And I don't know where this Salley thing came from :blush:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HI THERE,

SO SORRY FOR YOU LOSS, I LOST MIKE 5/9/11 AT THE AGE OF 45, SO I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH AND WHAT YOU ARE FACING......A VERY WISE PERSON ON THIS SUPPORT SYSTEM ONCE TOLD ME AS I WAS FACING HIS B-DAY AND OUR ANNIVERSARY IN THE SAME WEEK, THE ANTICIPATION OF THE DAY IS MUCH WORSE THAN GOING THROUGH IT......HIS BDAY I SET OFF BALLOONS FOR HIM AND HAD A BDAY GET TOGETHER FOR HIM AND ME AS MY BDAY WAS DESTROYED WITH HIM BEING SO ILL, 6 DAYS BEFORE HE DIED. I TO USE TO LOVE TOGARDEN AND CARE FOR MY HORSES FOR OVER 3 MONTHS HAVE HAD NO DESIRE TO DO SUCH.......BUT FOR SOME REASON AFTER A HELLISH DAY ON THE 3 MONTH ANNIVERSARY.....I AM FEELING BETTER AND FINALLY FEELING PHYSICALLY UP TO "TRYING" TO ENJOY THESE HOBBIES. WE HAVE NOT HAD MEMORIAL FOR MIKE OUT WEST, HIS FAMILY HAD A SMALL SERVICE BACK IN INDIANA, BUT AGAIN HAVE HAD NO DESIRE TO DEAL WITH THAT YET, IT WILL COME IN TIME,HAVE DECIDED THAT I WILL PLACE SOME OF MIKES ASHES ON EACH VACATION I TAKE, WHICH WE LONGED TO DO ON HIS BUCKET LIST, BUT SADLY HE DIED BEFORE WE WERE ABLE TO DO ANY OF THOSE DREAMS...........

I APPLAUD YOU FOR GOING TO HIS FAMILY FOR HIS BDAY, AM SURE IT WILL DO YOU ALL SOME GOOD! BE CAREFULL DRIVING! DAVE

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Beth

I am glad you came to this forum but sad you had to. You will find all of us accepting, understanding and supportive. You are so new to this journey....I know it is hard to be gentle with yourself but you will in time. I guess taking a day at a time is the best thing you can do now. I too devoured a bunch of books on grieving and they helped a lot. I still read them on some days. I hope you keep returning. If you go the the What I have Learned topic...all of us have chimed in there and it might be helpful but right now your goal is just getting through these days....and you will get through them.

Peace and welcome aboard

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Dave and Mary..

Our 35th wedding anniversary would have been August 20th and Rich's birthday is August 22nd. I find it quite odd that I am not concerned about our wedding anniversary, we always made a point of doing something fun on that day. But I am really torn up over his birthday. And thinking about his Mom. She is 84 and not dealing well with her sons death. Her attitude has improved remarkably since she knows I am coming to visit and that makes me feel good. I am also visiting Rich's brother who was very close to Rich and was a big help to us throughout Rich's illness. He is a doctor and called often and visited a lot, especially at the end when Rich was no longer mobile.

Mary, I have read the thread, What I have learned and all the links posted in that thread. It is a great topic. Has there been a thread started on how to go about re-creating ourselves as a single person? I haven't even begun to think about that, mainly because I do not know where to start. I am 60 years old and could live another 20 to 30 years. I feel so lost, not knowing how to think about my future. It has only been three months since Rich died and I am blessed to have the means to take my time to figure all this out. I have a beautiful place to read and think, but I never imagined I would be here alone. We had the next 10 years planned.

Beth

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beth,

I am so very sorry for your loss. My husband died on 1-13-10, very unexpectedly of a massive coronary, no symptoms, no warning. Don't know which is harder,sudden or expected, the end result is the same, they are gone.

I applaud you on learning as much as you can about this grieving process. It is different for each of us, we all struggle at our own pace, and I don't really think there is a right way or a wrong way to grieve, just whatever works for each of us.

My husband's birthday is Friday, and so this week is hard for me. He would have been 64. I feel I have made progress, and after over 19 months life has moved on. I will miss him forever, but am able to move forward somewhat in my life.

This is a great place you have come to for support, I am just so sorry for the reason you are here. The same reason we are all here. I have received a lot of help from this site, as well as from some really close friends and family.

Slowly I have developed a new "normal", whatever that may be. I think learning to be alone just happens over time. I do stay busy. I am actively involved in community theater, we both were, and I have continued with that. I am retired now, and volunteer 1 day a week at the arts council office. Miss him every day, but over time, have begun to develope the new "me", who feels joy, happiness, who laughs and enjoys people, but always with that underlying sadness of missing Mike.

Take care of yourself, I think you will find in most of the "grief" books, that is very important, eating right, sleep, some exercise. I still have a lot of trouble with the appetite, and have lost about 20 pounds. Good the weight is gone, but first time in my life I lost weight without trying.

Praying for you on this journey none of us wanted to travel.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beth, I so understand the "new normal" struggle. I am 71. Bill and I used to joke about living long long lives together (because we could not imagine living without each other) and then going to the woods and sitting beneath a tree and die there together.

Now I am alone (very alone...no kids and grandkids, family like my friends else have), 71 years old. My mom was 99 when she died. I could live that long so I have to figure it out but I have learned to be patient, if I have not learned anything, on this journey. I fiddle around with things. I KNOW I must have meaning in my life. I don't count on joy except perhaps the joy of a lovely flower or symphony. I take watercolor lessons and a group of us paint together, that is brand new. I took our Golden Retriever back to obedience when Bill's death set him back dramatically (probably mostly because he was mirroring my energy). But what to do with the rest of my life...not a single clue.

I just know I can't and won't spend it on things that do not matter and not much matters since Bill died. When the worst has happened, how important are most (not all) other things? I am committed to my spiritual journey, nature and people. So I hope to help others in a meaningful way....no clue what that means yet. I have done therapy for close to 40 years but feel too empty right now to do that well though I use my skills to help friends as they go through their own crises. It is never too late to go back to school...even at 71.

I have come to think that figuring out "the rest of our lives" takes a great deal of time....and as long as it is in the back of our heads and hearts it will somehow just pop up on the horizon someday...just the way Bill popped into my life 36 years ago....when I was convinced I would be alone forever and had let go and accepted that.

Peace,

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Beth,

Like all the others before me, I to am so sorry for your loss. I lost the LOVE of MY LIFE, Pauline, to end stage MS. She suffered many years. I always was there for right to the very end. I feel your pain, it is so new for you. I go to my local hospice meetings, through our VNA. I try to attend 1 meeting a week, sometime 2. I like these meetings because they have no set time limit on the number of weeks. I see people who have come in from the 6 week programs, and they still need a lot of work on their grief. I am so fortunate to have them. I have made a very good friend in Harry through these meetings. When I was sick an in the hospital. He was there for me just a phone call away. It makes you feel so good when you make a friendship out of our terrible loss of our SOUL MATES.

Like Mary, Pauline could never have children, so it is just me and my dear friends. Pauline's best friend for about 28 years. Not a day goes by that either Donna or her husband Greg calls me.

I have nursing classes set up through the Career Center as soon as I have my health back. I pray that the C-DIF is my last set back after Pauline's passing. It has been one thing after another.

Whatever you do don't give up or give in. Right now just one day at a time. Everyone's journey is different and at your own pace until you find your new normal. God has plans for all of us. We do not know what that will be, but rest assure He is guiding you now. After all you have made to this place HOV. Mary and a few others have really helped me out a lot in the early days of my grief. They all hold a special place in my heart and prayers

God Bless, you Beth, May He, bring you peace into your broken heart, and comfort your soul.

Dwayne

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Beth

All the questions that you ask yourself are shared by all of us. How to go on alone? What am I going to do for the rest of the day, or the rest of my life without them? What about the future we planned?

It took me six months off work and mostly time spent just staring into space and crying while thinking about these questions before I had enough resolve to even begin the process of building some semblance of a life again.

I'll think of you on 22nd August - also a sad day for me, as it's the two year anniversary of my husband's sudden death.Just know that you will miss him, like every other day, and that eventually the day will be over and somehow you'll have gotten through it.

As for re-creating yourself as a single person - it's hard because every facet of your life is woven with shared memories that make 'a new you' pretty hard to find. Yesterday I had a really bad crying time for an hour because a doorknob had come loose. It made me remember how, when we were building the house, that he had waited patiently while I looked at hundreds of doorknobs and then had laughed at me for choosing a plain white classic ceramic style. I laughed at the memory and cried at the loss of sharing even those simple and fun things with him.

I've found it helpful to give myself lots of time (without pressure) to just be able to get through the day and do the normal things in life - friends/family/go out/look after the things that weren't my jobs before etc. It took me a year of solid effort to even get close to that - no enjoyment but I did them. Nights were terrible but I survived.

This year, I have concentrated on looking after myself, getting fitter and going back to the things we liked to do as a couple and to my own interests. I'm making good progress and even enjoy aspects of some days. Nights are mostly OK and the really bad times stay for shorter periods of time.

All I'm trying to say is that in reality, it may take a long time to get to a place where life can be regarded as good again. The important thing is wanting to get there - because from what you've written of Rich, I can see that he would want that for you too, just as my husband would for me.... Susie Q

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Beth: As you can see, these people all know what they are talking about, and each one of us has our own tragic story to tell. The loss of my beautiful Wife, Wanda, came on June 4th, a little over two weeks after your loss. I still can't imagine how any of us survives this. Some of the people are young enough (that's a sad part too) that they may have 20-30 years to live yet, and will have to figure out what the new life is all about. In my case, my dear Wife was going to be 77 in November, and I'm turning 78 on the 30th of this month, and as a man (who by all rights should have gone first, but I believe God was sparing my best friend this pain), I probably don't have all that long to go. You just keep living day to day and trying to do your best that very day, not worrying about the rest of your life. Long-range plans, to me at least, seem impossible at this point, just one day is all I can handle. Every one of our friends here has made a great point, you just keep getting better and never worry that you are crying too much or that breaking up in front of anyone is terrible. Just be you the best that you can. People, like at Church and the neighbors, ask me "how are you doing?" and the only answer I have is "I feel like I'm just as good as I could be under the circumstances". We don't know what tomorrow will bring, and if it brings problems we just have to take care of them one at a time. In the last 5 days, I've had to change out all the smoke alarm batteries because a couple of them started beeping; 4 light bulbs in the kitchen went out and I didn't even notice it until one of the kids came in and asked me about it; the light on my flagpole went out and I had to take it apart and replace the bulb; and, today I picked up my glasses and the earpiece on one side just fell off. Each time these things are happening I figure I'm being tested right now, how much can I take and how will I handle it. Well, one of our kids just left a few minutes ago and I'll be darned if one of the porch lights isn't out too. I think, and this may not work for everyone, I might go nuts except that I talk to Wanda every day and at bedtime every night. If I'm in the kitchen trying to get me lunch or something, I always see her handiwork, how she fixed the cabinet, etc. I'm still sleeping on the couch in the living room every night, I just can't make it to the bed. Every one of us is in a place we ddn't want to be, and while we're all in this together, I still think each one of us has to figure out what works for us. Some people want friends around, I prefer the phone, and the one thing I'm forcing myself to do is to go to Church every Sunday, hoping that is one place that will help me break out of my funk quicker than other places. I feel so bad when I read some of the stories, but there's nothing any one of us can do except keep trying to help the rest with some words as best we can, and try to make ourselves better each day. I think every one of these people is right on track to being better, but no one is without challenges. To all of us, I say 'keep fighting to get better each day', and while we have so many good memories, we can't bring our most beloved best friend back, so we have to get strong enough to represent both. My Wife and I over the past years said it takes both of us to make one good person, and now I feel like I'm only half a person. Prayers to all of us!!

Earl C

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...