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My wife Tammy has been gone just over three weeks. I know I'm very early on in my grief and the tears, the what-if's, the emptiness etc. are all to be expected. And the fact that I loved her more than I've ever loved anuone and she loved me the same make this even tougher.

I am alone in my grief at home, I do have some friends I talk to on the phone who allow me to vent which is good... Unfortunately, what's left of my family (2 sisters) don't really seem to quite understand the extent of my loss. And Tammy's family has been distant and cold towards me.

I haven't been able to go back to work yet. I work in a retail environment where I'm expected to "put on a happy" face for the public but I just don't think I'm up to it. I also deal with many people who know me (been there over 20 years) and I don't think I'm ready to deal with the constant "what happened?" questions. So for now I'm just trying to live with this "new life" I now have. More like "new reality", I guess. It doesn't much feel like living to me.

The few times I've gone out in public, have not gone well. Opening up a new checking account at the bank felt like pure torture. I told the woman at the bank I was opening a new account because unfortunately my wife had just passed away. I thought she'd get the message to be gentle on me. Instead I got a constant sales pitch, trying to get me to purchase other items. I almost ran out of the place! There was an empty chair next to me and all I could think was "Tammy should be sitting there and all would be good". A trip to the grocery store was no better. People were smiling at me and I did my best to smile back but it felt weird.

I've never had these type of issues before. Anxiety almost to the point of panic attacks simply from being out in public. It even felt odd drivng around in my car. And when I did get home I breathed a sigh of relief, until I realized Tammy wasn't upstairs.

I talked to someone on the phone who told me a funny story... I got off of the phone and turned to my left to tell Tammy the story until I realized her side of the bed was empty. Bottom line, I'm not myself. I know it's to be expected. It's only been a short time. I know I will never be the same; I know my life is different but... how do I ever overcome this feeling of not being myself and the world being an uncaring, scary place?

I miss my Tammy, I need her so badly...

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It might help to have someone at work brief people before you go back to work, I had someone do that, they let them know what to expect and how to handle it (me). It really did help and it was nice being in a place where people genuinely cared. We don't expect people to understand who haven't been there, but just knowing they care means a lot. It also helps to have a ready answer to the question you know will be coming..."how are you?". You could answer, "As well as can be expected, thanks." It's hard to know if being in public would be a welcome diversion or something too hard to handle, without trying it. You might want to try a part of a day and see how it goes, maybe make your return gradual instead of throwing yourself into 40 hours a week right off the bat.

I think feeling anxiety is pretty normal with grief. It won't last forever, but it does happen especially in the early months. Forgetting she's gone and having it hit you again with full force when you turn to tell her something or hold the door for her or answer the phone expecting her to be there, occurs more in the early weeks until it's indelibly etched into our brains...they're gone. I'm sure the timeline varies from person to person.

I'm sorry Tammy's family isn't supportive, it's impossible to understand, especially since you'd been her caregiver, the love of her life, her everything! I've given up trying to figure out people sometimes. My husband's family was not there for me either, and I'd been everything in the world to him! It's like I was irrelevant, invisible. George would be very disappointed in his family and friends if he knew. He knew how his family was, but I think he'd be surprised at his friends. I guess when it comes to death, nothing surprises me any more.

I know you miss your Tammy, I'm so sorry. (((hugs)))

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Thanks KayC. Your replies are always so understanding, thoughtful and caring.

I'm in the process of setting up an appointment to go to counseling. I have a list of 10 people my insurance recommended and I think I found the one I'd like to see. I'm calling Monday to make an appointment.

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Good for you! If they don't turn out to be the right one, keep searching. A good grief counselor can be invaluable! My first appt. I think all I did is bawl!

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I feel your pain and am still having problems after over four and a half years. I would like to help as I am alone most of the time and would be a good listener. I have had to cope after being with the love of my life for 56 years.

May God give you strength.


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