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I lost my dear wife of 28 years on Oct. 25 after her battle of 7 months with cancer. She was 46 years old and she fought so hard even though none of her treatments helped her. I was so horrified watching her dwindle away from a beautiful healthy woman down to nothing. I feel like I have such a huge hole in my heart and it hurts so badly. I think of her illness and I cry, I think of the good times and I cry.

We have a 20 yo son who is about to join the military and I will be left alone in our home. I think loneliness is about to set in and I am not sure what to do next.

The day after she passed, all I wanted to do was get everything out of the home that reminded me of her sickness. Now, I want to remove her clothes and most personal belongings because when I see them, it hurts so badly. Is this normal? I don't know and feel so confused and empty inside.

Have any of you joined a local bereavement group and found it helpful? The only thing I take comfort in right now is the fact that she knew our Savior and she is resting in His arms now and not hurting anymore.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Ken

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Ken, I'm so sorry for your recent loss. I lost my husband of 34 years on July 4th, 2011. I,too, still avoid some things because it is too painful. This is a wonderful group of people, many of whom have much wisdom to pass on. I hope you find some peace in this moment. Love, Pam

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Ken , so sorry to hear of your loss, I lost Mike almost 6 months ago at the age of 45, I understand your extreme pain! I also understand your desire to cleanse the house of anything that reminds you of the illness..........and of anything that reminds you of your loved one.....felt the same at about week 2, in fact had arrangements made for Goodwill to come the next day, was going to start new! I woke up that day and called and cancelled and still have everything left, as he left it.....I really encourage you to wait, on getting rid of her belongings.....for awhile, you will know best when that can be done.....

A bereavement group can be so valuable! The support and encouragement from others that are going through the same as you is a lifesaver! And of course this site has saved me! When I feel the worse, I just cant wait for the next meeting and need immediate support...this site is filled with amazing people that can provide that.

Please take care, Dave

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Dear Ken,

I am so sorry for your loss. October 25 was the 8 month passing of my wife Pauline. We were together for 33 years. She had MS, so it was a very slow process over many years. No one can, tell you what is right or wrong, because we all grieve different, and in our own pace.

I started going to my local Hospice group meetings, as soon as I could. I believe it dose help, when you can talk with other people, who are going through the same thing as you. I try to go every week. The hospice I go to has group meetings in 3 different city and towns near me, so I go to the closes ones. They are run by the same counselor, who I feel very comfortable talking with.

I welcome you to this amazing place here. There is a lot of people, who can help and heal your broken heart and soul.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Ken:

Please accept my condolscences for your loss. This sounds so cliche but we really do know your large loss here; as we have all been through it in some way and we are still here. This is a wonderful support system and I could not have made it without this site. I lost my husband to cancer after 18 months the of cancer. First it was throat cancer we thought we beat, only to have sinus cancer invade him four months later. It has been 7 months since he passed. It has not been easy and this grief journey is not for the lame. It will take you on all kinds of twist and turns. Just remember you do not have to do anything but breathe. The rest will take care of itself eventually. I also wanted to get rid of the personal things as the pain was too great. But, I am here alone (our son lives 4 hours away) and I just didn't have the energy or motivation to do it. I am glad I did not, because now the photos and some personal things bring me comfort. You will go through lots of emotions and for me, I decided with the help of my grief counselor, that I will not do anything for a year. With that commitment to myself it has made it a lot easier to rid myself of all the anxiety I was having about decisions.

My hearts goes out to you. May you find some comfort in knowing that we are here for you to vent, cry and express yourself when needed. We are all good listeners.

Blessings

Becky

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Ken,

I'm so sorry that you lost your wife,I'm sorry your son has to leave so soon too. You are at the right place. Everyone on this forum is very kind and understanding, as we've all been there.

After only one week, may I suggest that you don't get rid of her things, instead maybe just put away in boxes the things on her dresser/nightstand and bathroom things.Anything to do with her sickness would probably be good to get rid of.

Before my husband passed he told me to pack up the winter clothes (even before he was gone) and give them to the homeless shelter. I hated doing it but followed his wishes. The rest of the belongings were slowly put in boxes and stored or given to Salvation Army. Now, at almost 2 years, I find I can go downstairs and get a box out and decide what needs to be done with it.Yet there are probably many people that haven't touched a thing of their spouses. You have to decide what's best for you, but like Dave said, I also encourage you to wait.

As for going to a bereavement group..yes it was a great help to me, it was a 13 week class where you saw a video then went in small groups and discussed the video plus many other things.Then you answered questions from the book if you felt like it, again it helped me alot. Also finding this site and being able to talk/read how others were coping was helpful.

Please take care of yourself Ken, make sure you're eating properly, drinking enough water and sleeping as much as possible. This journey is not easy and doesn't end quickly, so you really need to look after yourself.

Lainey

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Thank you everyone for the kind words of encouragement and advice. I think my game plan for now is to pack up her clothes and personal items in boxes and hang on to it for a while but store it out of sight. Her sister and niece are about her size and they can have whatever they want of her clothing and after awhile, I suppose goodwill will be getting a call. Our home was setup just the way she wanted and it just feels awkward now. I suppose I need to redecorate and rearrange things.

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I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my husband of 36 years on 10/10/10. We had been together from the time I was 15. So often it comes up when is it a good time to pack up your loved ones things and I believe that is very much an individual choice. As far as the things that come with being a caregiver to someone with cancer I think those of us who travelled that road would agree that those reminders are not happy memories. My children intuitively knew it was something their mom would not want to look at and had them removed by the evening of my husbands passing...and I am very grateful they did. Within the first two months I had given to my children and friends things belonging to my husband that held shared memories with each person or had meaning for each of them. His clothes were also packed up within those first two months, I kept some special things, his leather jacket was given to our neighbours son who my husband was like a second father too, other items were given to friends and then the rest to a nearly new in our town where someone I know got use from them. For some the belongings bring comfort but that was not the case for me, opening the closet and seeing his clothes brought me to my knees sobbing. My husband was not his things...he was the wonderful laugh, the kind and caring man, the love of my life, my best friend, a mentor to all and I will always have and carry him not his things with me in my heart and mind. Each of us must do what is best for us and neither is the right or wrong time..it is just our time. There are wonderful people on this site who will help you travel the road none of us wanted to...take care.

Sally

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Ken,

I am so sorry you lost your beautiful young wife. I wish life weren't so unfair! You ask if it's normal to want to be rid of her clothing because it reminds you of her and it hurts...everyone grieves differently and how they handle things are different. I would say, if that's how you feel, get rid of them, but not ALL of them. Tuck something away for yourself and something for your son (have him pick something)...maybe a bathrobe or favorite dress or shirt, something that seems intimately her...put it away in a back closet...you will know it is there and can visit it when you want to, maybe it'll be a while, but it'll be there when you need it. I wouldn't rid your place of everything of her, I'm afraid you might regret that and once it's done, it's done...but if you want to pack up some things and store them in the attic where you don't have to be hit with constant reminders, that's up to you. Of course you don't need everything, so it's fine to part with some things too if it helps you. It's what YOU feel comfortable with that's important, but just remember, once it's done, you can't change your mind or undo it.

I have gone through period of putting pictures up, taking pictures down (right now they're up), it's whatever feels easiest to you...at times they seem a comfort, at times they're a painful reminder, it depends on what you're going through at the time.

It is a tremendous comfort to have an afterlife belief and knowledge of where your loved one is...not everyone on here believes the same way and I can imagine it must be hard when you think life ends at death and there isn't a reunion.

There are many here who belong to grief support groups, usually if you contact hospice they can direct you to one. There aren't any in my local vicinity so I never joined one although I did get grief counseling. My best help has been here on this site though, this place is like a wonderful family and we welcome you.

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Thank you kayc. No, I wont get rid of everything personal. No photos will be going and her wedding dress and a few other items of clothing will stay.

I am faced with a strange situation right now... My wife's mother moved in with us after her husband passed away 13 years ago. She lived with us for 10 years and then she passed away suddenly almost 3 years ago. My wife refused to get rid of - or change anything in the room that her mother stayed in. I guess she just wasn't ready to deal with her passing, but I finally convinced her right before she got sick to take some of her clothing out of the closet and at least make that room feasible for guests that might want to stay with us. So, that is what we did. Just the minimum of what we could get rid of to make that room a guest room again. Now I am faced with not only her mothers belongings in dresser drawers, ashes in an urn, photos, etc. But also facing my wife's things as well. The only immediate living relative my wife has left is her sister, so she will be getting the bulk of her mothers belongings, (and I suppose) many of my wife's things if she wants them.

My wife was somewhat reluctant to let go of things and I guess she was even a borderline hoarder to some extent. I think that is part of the reason I want to get rid of things quickly. Not only do I see my wife, but I still see her mother throughout my whole house.

They were inseparable when her mother was living, and at times it caused pains in our own marriage. Her mother was a very jealous and possessive person with my wife and it caused us many problems along the way in our marriage. At one point, I felt like our home wasn't ours anymore because she was there and taking charge of things...And my dear wife let her do that to some extent. I loved my wife every ounce of my being and I couldn't kick her mother out on the street. She couldn't support herself when her husband died, so I had no choice but to take her into our home.

Before her mother died, I told my wife that we need to try to get her mother to see how she was hurting our marriage. When we confronted her mother, she denied everything. She blamed us for our problems and couldn't see how anything she was doing was hurting us.

One morning on my way to work, I prayed to God to let me regain control over my home...Three days later my mother in law suddenly died! That was a huge blow to me and my dear wife even blamed me when her mother died in the ER that day. Thankfully, later she apologized and said she didn't mean saying that.

So, that is part of my story and I guess part of the reason I feel the way I do about wanting to get stuff out of sight. Sorry for babbling on. Thank you all for listening to my rant and my prayer is that we all will get healing and become whole again after losing a loved one. It is such a hard thing for me to deal with.

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Dear Ken,

I for one have not touch or moved, or have gotten rid of anything yet. For me things are different. I was the soul care giver for Pauline for over 11 years, that was when I took six months off work to give her 2 IV treatments a day. After that I very rarely worked 40 hours a week. Before that I was working 45-48 hours in 5 days. I never worked on weekends, although they asked me many times to. I always made it clear the weekends were for my wife.

I feel a peace in my home surrounded by all of Pauline's things. She had an eye for interior design. Everyone that comes in here has said it looks like a home you see in the magazines. It was her eyes, her telling me what went where, but we did it together, always. So I find my home a place of peace. I really like being home alone and surrounded with all the things she made into our home. I still have all her clothes, I will probably tackle that next summer, but not now. Her sisters have already wanted to get into her jewelry. I told them no not now. Pauline did not want that, she told me. See with MS, ( Multiple Sclerosis ), it eats you away bit by bit over many years. They first seen MS in her by her eye Doctor, he could see it on the optic nerve. When she told her neurologist, he just let it slide. It would be another 5 years before the diagnoses was confirmed. 1993, so we had years to talk about anything and everything, about what would happen as the disease progressed, and the end. What she wanted. In a way it was better that way. I never wanted to loose her to MS, but knew we had no choice. I know where she went in spirit and soul, and she waits for me there. It is not easy by any means. But do what makes you and gives you comfort. That is what I have done and it helps heal the soul, and the very big hole that was left in your heart.

Keep coming back, and tell us anything you are going though, because we have all been where you are at now. Best advice, take care of Ken, eat healthy, even if you do not feel like eating. Get plenty of rest. If you have to go see your DR. for help. I thought I was ok, until it wasn't. I got into an accident, that's when I knew I needed help. My DR. put me on some medication, that has really helped, to get the chemicals in the brain evened out. I sleep much better, I eat more healthy and exercise every day. I have came from the despair of grief, back to what I call the land of the living again. I wish you well Ken.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Ken S,

I truely feel your heartbreak and emptiness, my wife Ruth passed 02/14/10 and even as the time has healed parts of me there is still a big void without her...I'm no expert here by no means but I wanted to give you my thoughts on the clothes and personal effects...

I with the help of a dear friend Brenda who has now become my best friend and love cleaned Ruth's closet out early I'd say 1-2 months after her passing, I can't remember as it's a fog...I kept a few pieces of her clothes like her wedding dress and 1 or 2 pieces of her favorites outfits, if you do this I would recommend not getting them cleaned as they contain there precious scent, my friend Brenda had her husbands clothes dry cleaned and now regrets it as she has no scent left, I also would not recommend giving her clothes to family members as it will be pretty upsetting to see them in her clothes, Brenda made that mistake as she gave some of Glenn's shirts to a neighbor as they were about the same size and now at times she see's him wearing them and it's very upsetting...other items such as jewlery and other items I have kept they are packed and placed in a special room I have in my home, I have four bedrooms in my new home and one is dedicated to her items...she also had an extensive collection of crystal and some limited edition plates, the crystal is still packed from the move but Brenda has decorated the top mantle above my kitchen cabinets with the plates and silk green ivy, it looks beautiful, so fitting almost as if they were made for there, the crystal and curio cabinet is set to be reassembled soon, I took pictures before I moved so I could get it back just the way Ruth had it set up.

On the positive note it gave me the closure and acceptance needed to start the healing process, I do not regret it at all, but we must all move at own pace and do as we see fit to make "US" feel good no one else matters at this point "YOU" must feel good about it.

I have a shrine set on her favorite credenza in the living/great room it contains pictures, her Urn and a few special ceramic and crystal angels topped with silk greenery and lily's, I spend many a day in front of that area speaking to her and at times I even hug her Urn...take it slow there is no rules or guides for this grief thing just do as you see fit but ensure you don't make choices you may regret if in doubt pack it away as you've done. Concerning your home, Yes take it slow and make it your's now, re-decorating will allow you to heal and you need to create your owncomfort zone...I started doing that in "our" home but when I found out I'd have to move I stopped, it is now done and in progress in "my" new home.

You have found a great place here with many different outlooks, opinons, and thoughts, many have helped me along the way and there is much needed understanding here so keep posting and we will all be here to try and ease the pain of this journey none us of wanted to take....

NATS

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Ken,

Wow, you have been through a lot! I hope you realize that when your wife spoke like that to you after her mom died, it was the grief that was talking, not her. Please try not to give it another thought.

Interestingly enough, I watched a Dr. Phil show on the subject last night, and he told the wife "You handle your people" and the husband "you handle your people" and he told them if anyone was not supportive of their relationship or a negative to their marital relationship, they needed to distance themselves from them (including parents). It's something a lot of people don't see when they're in it, and esp. if that parent has been controlling of them all of their lives, they're used to it and afraid to stand up to them.

I would say to make the house what feels comfortable to YOU, what brings comfort to YOU! After all, right now, it's about you...your wife and her mother are gone for now, and it's you that is living there, so it should be whatever brings you comfort. If you want to box things up and put them in the garage until your sister-in-law can come go through them, that's okay too. It may be hard for her to come right away as some people need time/space before they're up to that. As for the hoard, it's just stuff...if it's not a real personal item, what can it hurt to let it go? A person can't keep everything. I had the hardest time cleaning out my husband's trailer when he died because everything in there was HIM! He lived away during the work-week because of the distance to his job, so he stayed in a trailer and everything in there had been selected with him in mind, I can't begin to tell you how hard it was to clean that out. The other trailer we used for camping...I think I still have a couple of his shirts in there...it's hard for me to go in there (and it's six years later) because that was something we did together and enjoyed so much and it's gone now. I know I need to but it's just tough. Sometimes don't you wish there was someone else that could deal with it all?

It's all fresh for you now, so the best advice I could give you is just be extra understanding and patient with yourself, you've had a huge blow, you need all of the gentleness you can get!

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Ken, so very sorry for your loss. You have received some excellent advice, and comfort from some very special people here on this site. I lost my husband very suddenly on January 13, 2010, and joined this group in April, 2010. The advice and support, not to mention comfort, I have received here has helped to keep me going. I don't post real often, but read the posts almost every day, and usually there is a thread going on that speaks to what particular grief moment is going on in my life that day. You are so very new to this journey, and I am so very sorry that you have to be here with us, but you will receive much help and comfort from the people who post on this site. We are all at different places in our grief, but we all understand the numbing loss that you are experiencing. Thinking of you today.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yesterday was a tough one. Not only was it exactly 3 weeks since I lost her, but it would have also been her 47th birthday.

I did end up joining a Grief Share group last week and it has been a tremendous help. Everyone there knows what I am feeling because they are feeling the same things too. It's kind of a strange thing, but we all bonded in our grief.I would highly recommend it to you all.

I do have a question for the other widows/widowers out there. Have any of you been hit on since your spouse has passed away? I have been hit on 3x now and it totally freaks me out! I'm like WTH people! My wife has been gone three weeks and I am sure not looking for a new wife right now. People can be so insensitive sometimes and I just don't get it.

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Ken, yeah, it happens, and yes it's extremely insensitive, esp. so soon! I remember being invited to an old friend's place (I'd known him for 30 years) a few months after George died and he hit on me and I left there in tears and had an accident with a deer less than a mile down the road. I guess all I can say is he just viewed me as "available" now and since he'd never experienced loss (he'd never married) he had no clue what it was like. I would just tell these vamping women to back off, your wife JUST DIED! Tell them if you're ever interested YOU will let THEM know.

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