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I don't think it was easier - just different. I spent the first year more or less in shock - at least at first. But that shock also gave me the adrenaline I needed to get a lot of things done. I also cried buckets of tears, felt panic stricken, terrified of the future and full of guilt from the past.

During this second year came the realization that my husband really was gone and that I was alone. Also the sheer magnitude of my loss really hit me. So in this way I guess the second has been more difficult. I've felt more exhausted now that the shock has subsided. I still cry, but not every day and not as much. I'm still scared of the future - but not in complete panic. I still feel guilt, but I try not to think about it.

The way I get through this is taking one day at a time. Even now. I'm not sure how things will be when I start the third year after the dreaded month of August. I think the worst thing now is the loneliness and the longing to talk with my husband. And I would like to feel joy again, if that's possible.

I'm sorry for taking your post to talk about me. How has your second year been? What is it like for you to start the third year?

Melina

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It seems as if year one was actually easier in a lot of ways than year two...anyone have this experience?

Year one was very difficult but much of it for me was spent in a fog so it seemed easier perhaps. I think that in year two we see what life is REALLY like, we wake up a bit...and the pain is huge. I can't say which is harder...they were different probably feels like year two was worse because i walked about in a fog most of year one. I am just today doing taxes and as I look back at year the second half of year one...I realized that I did not account for $2,000 in automatic withdrawals from my checking account. Lucky I keep a pad in that account....It was tough to subtract that out...but it shows how much of a fog I was still in.

Peace

Mary

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I've heard a lot of people say that. Perhaps because we expect it to be easier after the first year is done, then it's a rude awakening when it isn't.

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I think it was someone in the third year where I noticed a marked difference.

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The second year was sheer hell for me. I would not want to go back there.

The third year was strange for me. I still felt a lot of pain, but realized that it would end and I would survive to feel it again when I least expect the pain. However, I found myself having to learn to deal with anger.

It was a strange anger/frustration/self-pity mix. I was not angry at God or angry at Dick because he was not here, but just in general angry at everything because I was so darn tired of having to deal with all the crap over and over and over. The realization that this would be the rest of my life was so overwhelming.

As I progress through year four, I am dealing with accepting the cruel fact that I will never be able to discuss anything with Dick again. I still sit on the end of my bed and talk to his ashes in the closet, but I am accepting, that no matter how long I sit there or how long I talk, there will not be a response. It sucks!

Anne

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I am doing a little spring cleaning, and decided to do some further cleaning out of dresser drawers and closets. Still had several drawers with things of Mike's in them. Did not really give it a thought, just started going through drawers and sorting, and suddenly found myself sobbing over his "Ben Franklin" wig in the drawer from the musical "1776". He was a wonderful "Ben". We had such a good time doing plays together. I really thought I was past the time when I would double over with grief unexpectedly, but I was wrong. I am nearly 3 months into year number 3.

I am on day 3 of quiting smoking, and trying to cut back on eating at the same time, so I am just a basket case. I need to lose about 10 pounds, and have been not smoking for at least 30 days, before they can do some minor surgery that I am planning.

So far into year 3, cannot tell is is much different than year 2, which was really hard for me.

Like Mary, I think I was in a fog during year one, so thought I was doing all right, when I really was not.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Mary, it's the strangest things that hit us, isn't us? BTW, I am related to Ben Franklin, through his brother James. Just a bit of interest. :)

I still have things of George's tucked here and there, a book, a pocketwatch, a note he wrote me, his hat still hanging on the wall...just bits of him.

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Mary, dear, for what it's worth, I quit smoking a number of years ago (I still remember the exact day) and it took me exactly three weeks before I stopped feeling like a crazy person. I chewed Juicy Fruit gum until the inside of my mouth was raw, and I was not fit to live with the entire time. I kept telling myself that it takes three weeks to break a habit, and if I could just go for three weeks I'd have it licked. It worked for me, and I hope it does for you, too. I admire anyone who manages to quit smoking ~ non-smokers have no idea how hard it is to do. Nevertheless, I truly believe that if you really, really want to quit, anyone can do it. Since the day I quit, I've never looked back, never craved another cigarette ~ in fact, today the smell of cigarette smoke gives me a headache and I can barely stand it. And Mary, remember this: If you can survive the loss of your beloved husband, you can survive anything

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Mary, I so admire you quitting smoking and dieting at the same time. Whew!! I quit smoking in the 70s and tried three times...the third time worked when I walked into my therapy office one morning and saw a cloud at eye level, felt the phlegm in my throat and threw the cigarettes into the garbage can...never looked back. I agree with Marty that the desire is the key. You will do this...we have all been through tough tough stuff and cigarettes will not conquer you. You WILL feel better. I can hardly bear to be near a smoker now and Bill never smoked and was allergic to it so glad I quit before we married. YOU WILL do this. Do you have to lose the weight now? I wish you well....it WILL work. A local here who quit smoking runs around with a fake cigarette...I guess it helps her.

I will not be at all surprised if in year 3 (which I started last week) or in year 7 or 20 I burst into tears and succumb to deep grief. We will always miss our mates.

Peace

Mary

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Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful responses. I agree that the first year the adrenaline keeps you going. The second year is the realization that this is your life you are alone and it is exhausting. The daily tears are gone and the horrific sobbing of year one, yet for me those tears hit at the strangest times like when I need to figure out if I should buy a new washing machine or try to get buy on the one I have. I miss his knowledge, his warmth and being able to put my head on his shoulder. I guess in that second year you realize that is your lot in life.

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West, I think you are right, the realization really hits in the second year, that this is now your life. I think those sudden tears will always happen, maybe not daily as they once were, but for me anyway, the triggers are always unexpected. I think this is what people who have not lost a spouse do not get, I know I did not understand before losing Mike.

Kay I have attached a pic of Mike in costume as Ben Franklin. Ben is the one in blue coat and white vest. Interesting bit that you are related to Ben!

Marty and Mary, I wish I could tell you that I am doing great on the not smoking, but have not done that well. A friend that smokes came over, and my will power was not strong, so I had one of his. I think I am just going to have to ban smoking on my porch until I get this under control. Mary, I have considered the ecigs to see if they would help. I don't remember it being this hard to quit when I quit over 20 years ago. I started back after Mike died, just did not care what happened to me I guess, now I so wish I had not. You guys are right, however, if I have survived losing Mike, I should be able to do anything!

If I don't try to diet, or cut back on the eating while quiting smoking, I am afraid I will gain weight. I have already gained about 10 pounds from last year at this time, and really want to get it off. Have given up bread pretty much, and trying to stick to vegys, beans, and some sort of protein...eggs, some meat, and so on. Pretty Dull!! I agree that is it not real smart to try to do both together. I am more committed to the stopping smoking however, so will put that first.

Thanks for your input and help.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

post-13798-13337151918772_thumb.jpg

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Mary, the picture is really neat....a lovely treasure.

As for smoking...the time I quit was my third attempt. I think healing does not happen in a straight line...we backslide or it seems like we are backsliding. Like dealing with our losses, we just can not give up....you WILL get there but look what you have been through. I find everything more challenging right now. If you do plan to diet...I am doing Weight Watchers on line and every week 4 of us get together at my house, weigh in, share and chat about the ups and downs (these are all people who know where I am at). I took care of Bill for about 4 years and then since he died I have not cared if I ate or not so I have not eaten well. During care giving, people were bringing comfort food a lot or Bill and I (in early stages) would eat out a LOT as he loved to do that (of course he could eat anything all his life). So I put on weight that I am now wanting to shed so my energy might increase a bit. I have learned that writing down what I eat (I track on line on the WW site) and drinking water (with lemon in the a.m.) and having the right foods in the house, and walking Bentley daily all help. Even with that it is a challenge as I just want to throw in the towel on life in general so often. I do ok on it...I started Feb. 1 and March was a tough month for me so it was so so...but have still lost 13# since 2/1. Just a thought that might help. If I do not stick to some program...the weight does not go off and WW is easy. When my best girl friend died in 2002, I sat with her two days a week for 11 months or so while she was in Hospice at home (what a gift to me) and she said one day....that she wished she had not put so much energy into weight loss all her life because now the pounds were falling off of her with no effort". Her words remind me to go easy on myself...one day at a time....I do fairly well with that now but I have been and still am too hard on myself.

Maybe just let go of the 10 pounds and focus on the cigarettes and no smoking in your house/porch because you are still getting smoke from your friends' cigarettes and it is hard to watch/smell. I could not be around smokers for a long time and now I have no friends who smoke ever so that is easy. End of my sermon :)

Be easy on you. (I should talk :( but I do try.

Mary

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Dear friends,

The office/library is finally finished after polying the shelves yesterday. A couple more days and I will be able to put the books up. Today I get to wrestle with the taxes.

Peace,

Harry

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Dear friends,

The office/library is finally finished after polying the shelves yesterday. A couple more days and I will be able to put the books up. Today I get to wrestle with the taxes.

Peace,

Harry

Congrats on the project done...good for you.

I did my taxes Tuesday and discovered when I searched Quicken to tally the auto withdrawals for 2011 (3 insurance -Medigap, Car, Life) that I never entered them the first 6 months and $2,000 was missing from my acct. I carry a pad balance in that account and now I know why. It reminded me how out of it I was last year (and frankly still am far from functioning as I used to). I wish you the best with those taxes. It feels so good when you are done.

Mary

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Mary, and a very good likeness! :)

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Harry, your accomplishments never cease to amaze me. And Mary, yes, you're right, it does feel so wonderful to finally get taxes finished! I wonder, though, why they always have it due right after Easter, wouldn't you think they could wait a weeks so as not to take procrastinators away from their families' time?

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I really have lost my mind. That was supposed to be posted in looking for positives. How the heck did I post it here?

Peace,

Harry

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Well it sounded like a positive to me! :)

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  • 7 years later...

My husband Patrick, died 2 1/2 years ago at the age of 63. We were married for 40 years. I'm considered (so some tell me) to be a young widow since I was 60 when he died.

I'm writing because I want to know if others are also feeling what I've been feeling lately and if it's part of the grieving process. I sure have experienced everything others have shared. Numbness the first year - just trying to survive since I had never been alone in my entire life. He and I did everything together. Never even stayed alone in my house for one night without him since we were married! Crying seems second nature to me now.   The second year was difficult because I was exhausted from having to do everything myself and the reality started to settle in that this is my life and I will never see, talk to or hold or be held by him again. How could I go from being so happy to such despair. I know this is a part of life but my emotions are shouting , NO, this is not what I want right now!

Now, I'm heading into the 3rd year and I've noticed these past few weeks, a whole other level of sadness that's different than before. Maybe its because its a new season - Spring -approaching. I do remember reading somewhere that the change in seasons can also trigger grief because it brings up specific memories during that particular season of things we used to do together. I was out walking my dog (got her the day of my husband's service...given to me by one his family members) and I was aware of families being out and cleaning up their yards together, and I just lost it. I feel like I don't have that sense of belonging like I did. Not only that, most of the people who were support people, have dwindled out of my life because they think I should be over it by now. Therefore, the sense of isolation can be very overwhelming. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Do you find support groups helpful? I went to one Hospice Support group meeting and came home feeling more depressed than when I went! I'd rather do things together.... and chat...walk...shop... eat.... laugh and cry together. I would so appreciate any insights if others had a harder time going into the 3rd years. He died, Feb. 16, 2017. 

thanks all, Love and Blessings...

Sue

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I lost Mark on March 22, 2017, so I'm right there in the thick of it with Year Three.  The "whole other level of sadness" is also one of my observations.  It doesn't hurt like hell the way it did in Year Two, especially around 18 months, but it's now a softer, long-lasting "blue" feeling that rises and falls in intensity.  It feels like a tide that comes in and then recedes.  I notice it more when it comes to figuring out what I am going to do with my life now.  For example, we were going to re-do the kitchen but that was his domain, and the very thought of dong more than painting the walls sends me into anxiety mode.  I do not want to deal with contractors coming in and out of my house, or take their calls about this doohickey whatsit, or that thingamajig doodad., or be forced to make choices about colors, styles, models, appliances, etc.  I need to think about it and talk it over with someone I trust.  I'll sell the place, first, before I put myself through this.

The dwindling of support is a real thing.  Everyone has moved on with their lives and they think you should, also.  i was in a restaurant recently observing who came in alone, or in an odd-numbered group, and wondering which of them were widow/ers.  We seem to don invisibility cloaks, I've noticed... 🙄

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On my other site they were talking about this very thing, Spring triggering grief feelings, maybe because the things we always felt and did together...now we cannot enjoy the start of the season together.

You mention that you went to a grief support group that left you feeling worse...sometimes that happens.  Maybe try another group?  I thank God the one I lead isn't having that affect on people!  I wouldn't want to make people feel worse!  The whole point is so people don't feel alone in their feelings and maybe learn something that helps them, we try to have a positive note in there somewhere.  I have seen people grow and become more adapted as the months have gone by and friendships develop as well.

Feeling isolated isn't good, I try to get out on a regular basis, but I noticed when I went through a horrid storm this year, that the worst part was the isolation (vehicles buried behind snow, no snowplows, no electricity, no water, food went bad, no phone, alone).  It was too hard to walk in the snow, it was so deep, frozen cold so I couldn't even shovel it.  Had George been with me I would have felt entirely different about it!  These are the times it is hard to be so alone.  Also, when I am facing a medical challenge it is hard to do so alone.  For me I have found it helps to have someone to talk about it with, even if just a phone call with my sister or a friend.

In the nighttime when it feels things are closing in on me (I have GAD - anxiety) is my hardest...I tell myself comforting scriptures and remind myself that things look better in the morning.  Nights can be long.  I just got my doctor to renew a sleeping pill I'd had years ago, still waiting for it from the pharmacy.  I've learned how essential sleep is to our overall health and outlook.  Sometimes it's good to recognize when we need help.

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I'm a month into yr 3. In a way yr 2 was worse than yr 1 since I wasn't simply stunned and was more conscious of the horror, but I can't really say that anything was worse than yr 1, when my world ended. Now I think I'm actually having longer periods of "OK", then I flash back to thinking its all fake to be pretending to have an OK life without Susan, or grief over what I'd taken for granted. . I'd been writing my thoughts and feelings a LOT and now have less motivation to write. Maybe I'm even getting used to living alone. Maybe I'm making some progress reaching Susan's spirit. I have another appt with Cindi the Psychic next month.

My counselor says let yr 3 be the year of action, whatever that means. Making changes.

Where is this going? What is the point? I really don't know my own mind. 

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Michael passed March 3, 2017, so I'm now into Year 3.  Year 1 was a horrid blur of a year of "firsts",  constant tears, and fear of an unknown, scary, lonely future.  Year 2 saw the ebbing of tearful episodes and the finding of my own feet. It took a long while,  but it was a rude awakening that he really is gone and this is definitely my new normal.  I've tried to make the best of it.  Friends and family have helped tremendously.

With the start of year 3, I've become very aware of the quick passing of time.   I'm suddenly feeling antsy, like I'm on a short timeline to get things done.   I have made my arrangements for my cremation.  I'm currently in the process of redecorating and remodeling parts of the house.   There isn't anything telling me that I'm on a limited timeline.  I'm only 52 and I haven't received any dire news from a physician or anything.  I've just been very aware of the circle of life lately.  Case in point,  I'm still blessed by having my mother still with me.  She is celebrating her 76th birthday today and I can't help but realize that my time with her is short.  That breaks my heart.  I've lost so many people already in my life, including my soulmate, that the thought of losing her is too much.  My attitude is usually positive and bright, but this one thought just haunts me.  

I know Michael would be proud of me with all the accomplishments I've made and how far I've come, since he's left.  I've grown as a person, become stronger, and more confident.  But I know that I'm still apprehensive with making decisions and really stepping out of my comfort zone.  I think if we all give ourselves time, we can accomplish anything.  None of us are stuck in our predicaments.  We all have choices, whether it be a choice to make a change to our surroundings or just maybe change our attitudes.   Choose to finally accept what is the truth and unchangeable.  

Bless you all!

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