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Guest Guest_Vivian_*

Losing A Spouse Is Not The Same As Losing A Parent.

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Guest Guest_Vivian_*

I've had many well meaning people approach me and tell me that they know how I feel because they have suffered the loss of a father or a mother. While suffering the loss of a parent is awful at any time it is so different. My father died when I was fourteen, but I had my siblings and my mother in which to hold on. My mother died this past summer (four months before my husband) at the age of 88 and although I miss her and will always love her, she lived a full life.

Losing ones spouse changes your every day life. It changes your identity to a great extent. Assuming this was a good marriage (and if you are on this site it was good despite any ups and downs one might have had) you find yourself mourning that which has died in you..the secrets confided, the dreams shared.

Unfortunately it is a feeling one cannot know unless one has walked in our shoes. Vivian

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Everyones shoes are different, and while you may feel your loss is more significant and your grief is worse because it was your spouse, some people may have different lives. Some people put thier lives on hold to care for thier parents and thier parents are thier lives and the most important people in thier lives. Every loss is different, unfortunately it is a feeling one cannot know unless one has walked in our shoes.

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Guest Guest_Vivian_*

I'm sorry if my words offended anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent; I know that loss, as I said I lost my father when I was a teenager and I my mother passed on earlier this year. I only meant that the loss of a spouse or partner, in general, means the loss of someone with whom one shares the greatest intimacies on a daily basis. Let's face it grieving is grieving it is not a contest of who should be grieving more or less but sometimes it is better for someone to simply say I'm sorry for your loss than to try to equate one loss with another that is different in nature.

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Vivian,

I fully understand what you are saying. I lost my father when I was 23 and my mom passed away 5 years ago at age 94, I was then in my late 50's. Then I lost my husband of 46 years Oct 2004, and my life drastically changed. He was my other half. I loved my parents deeply but their passing did not change my lifestyle, I grieved and then went on with my day to day life like my 4 grown children are doing now which is the right thing to do, but my life is forever different now, my whole purpose and looking to the future are gone, I just exist now and try to be whole again. Losing a parent although is also a painful journey, unless you suffer the loss of the love of your life you cannot really know that pain and emptiness.

Until you have walked in our shoes you do not know !!

Grace

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Dear Ones,

I want to add my voice to this discussion, by gently suggesting to all our members and visitors that it is pointless to compare the magnitude of one person’s loss with that of another.

Is it harder to lose a spouse than a parent? Would losing a child be worse than losing a spouse? Would a sudden, unexpected death be harder to accept than a long, slow, painful one? And which is worse: loss of a leg, or loss of an arm? Would you rather lose your eyesight or your hearing? Your home or your job?

These losses are neither better or worse, harder or easier, one from another – rather, they are each different from one another. There is not a person among us who can answer any of these questions honestly unless and until that particular loss has happened to us, and even then, it would be different for each one of us, depending on our own individual circumstances and the meaning we attach to what we have lost.

Grief is not just confined to losing a person through death.

Intense feelings of loss can come from the ending of a marriage by separation or divorce.

A move can produce feelings of grief.

A rape. A job loss. Loss of a body part or body function.

Financial loss. Loss of dignity and respect.

Loss of a pet.

One of the most difficult counseling situations I ever had involved Jonathan

whose seeing-eye dog of ten years, Angel, died.

Angel was Jonathan's live-in partner,

his dearest family member,

his closest work associate,

his trusted servant,

his most faithful friend,

an actual extension of himself,

a literal part of his being -- his eyes.

When Angel died,

all of that was lost.

- Douglas C. Smith, MA, MS, MDiv

I believe that one of the greatest benefits of these online discussion forums is that, by posting, reading and responding to the messages written here, we'll all come to a greater understanding of the grief that accompanies all the different kinds of loss we may experience in life, and we’ll learn to be more caring, accepting and tolerant of one another. Here in this warm and caring place, we recognize that grief is neither a contest nor a competition. For every single person here, at this moment in time, our own loss is the worst that could happen to anyone. We are not here to pass judgment on the strength or legitimacy of anyone else’s grief. Where there is loss, there is grief. Pain is pain. Only you can know the special place in your life and in your heart that was occupied by your loved one, and you are the only one who can measure just how much you have lost.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Vivian, I have not posted for a while on this site but felt I had to respond to your post. I am 10 months into this journey. I also lost my mother three months before my beloved Gene. I have finally gotten to a point where it no longer angers me when someone says they know how I feel because of the loss of a parent. I miss my mother but never really had the time to mourn loosing her. My husband was fighting for his life even as he was at her funeral. I remember my Mother's gentle smile but have not shed many tears for her. I also lost a child 39 years ago...a loss that tore into my heart. Loosing Gene to CHF ripped out my heart and soul, my being. I know just as there are different kinds of love there are different depths of loss. For me as for you loosing my husband is more pain than I ever could have conceived was possible. Gene was always there to catch me and stop me from falling....my soft spot to land...his love healed all my heartaches. Loosing Gene is not a heartache...it ripped my heart and soul out of my life. All that's left is this incredible hurt..this emptiness day after day...this longing for Gene.

I am sorry to find anyone here who has any loss in their lives. I simply wanted to let you know Vivian that I know exactly how "you" feel right now. And I came to realize what Marty posted a few months ago:

I Need Your Help with a Question

For everyone hurting from loss, I wish a day of peace.

Always Gene!

Always!

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Guest Guest_Deborah_*

I felt I had to reply on this topic even though Marty has tried to set the record straight with her explanation. No this is not a competition. Yet I felt the need to express my feelings. I think for those of us who have lost spouses some of the difficulty lies in the fact that those who have not lost spouses but have lost a parent, grandparent, etc. seem to respond to our grieve as if they know what we are feeling, WHEN THEY COULD NOT. And that sets off a feeling in me (I can only speak for myself) that they don't understand the enormous pain and shock I am experiencing, and that brings a feeling of being so alone with this grief. I have to say that I spoke with a friend today who has not been there for me since Larry died in November (telling her I just didn't know if I could continue to live) but during our conversation she said its normal for you to feel like not living, your JUST GRIEVING, and if you had a LIFE is would not feel so bad. That one statement clarifies for me that she does not understand, nor cares to, because if she did she would know that my LIFE and DREAMS and LOVE died November 16th. Yes I had a life, now I don't.

I don't mean to belittle losing a parent, I lost my father and my grandmother. I loved them dearly, and will miss them forever. But I had a life to step back into and carry on. That is the difference. Neither good or bad, just horribly different. Thanks for letting my express this. I just wish I could let it go and breathe again.

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Guest Guest_Vivian_*

Deborah: I am having very similar feelings. For the longest time my brother would say, "I know how you feel; that's how I felt when I lost Mandy". Mandy was my brother's cat and although I know that he was truly devastated when he had to put her down, this remark caused me a great deal of pain (of course he would prefice it by saying, 'I know it's not the same...' Again, sometimes the best thing to be said is "I'm so, so sorry for your loss" and leave it at that.

I feel so badly for you Deborah, I wish there was something I could say but I know that the only words that would bring you comfort now would be for someone to tell you a mistake was made and that Larry would be returning.

Today was not a good day for me, but I am going to try my best to get through tomorrow and I hope you'll do the same. Vivian

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Hello to each participant of this discussion,

This is certainly a touchy topic to discuss – and views will vary from person to person depending on the loss that they experienced. I have been one of the most fortunate people on this planet. Death – real death - that has effected me so deeply and in a sustained fashion – has not reached me until I lost my life partner – my soul mate – the one I shared my everyday existence with each day. Other losses in my live – four grandparents – two cats – and one dog were difficult – but they pale in comparison to the loss of my partner. And the loss of our Dog (Dusky) during the course of Jacks illness ranks second in difficulty – ahead of other losses in my life – cats and grandparents. For me that has been the order of grief. Yes - the Dog (Dusky) a more devastating loss than my grandparents. For me personally it has been - the emotional attachment – and fact that I lived with the person or pet – that has reflected the severity of the loss. I have some strong opinions on the worst kind of grief – and they are probably opinions that have been shaped by my recent loss – and I will share those “opinions” at the end of my reply.

I believe there are factors to a loss that determine your reaction severity of the loss – and the factors end up shuffling the “deck of grief of cards” - which can place unlikely losses in the you’re most sever – top – category. For me the amount of devastation is determined by the emotional attachment to the person or pet lost – AND whether or not you physically live your everyday life with the lost loved one. Generally speaking – in most cases that would probably mean that the loss of a spouse is probably going to be the more devastating – BUT - there will be exceptions. I can generalize that the loss of a Spouse is most devastating – but I can’t say for certainly because I do not know all the specifics.

Perhaps although you live with your spouse – there is no love between you – BUT - across town you have two parents and a grown child for whom you are extremely and emotionally attached – even more attached that the spouse you live with. In this instance probably the death of the parent or child would be much more difficult. But I also believe this will be the exception rather than the rule – but that is just my opinion. Although we can say “generally speaking” – we can’t define and categorize the severity of the loss with absolute certainty.

Perhaps someone has already lost a spouse – and now has lost a son or daughter. My neighbor lost his wife 8 years ago. His son – who had always lived with his parents and was 44 died three years ago. I’m not sure which was more devastating to him. I could guess that it was the loss of his wife – but I am not certain. Perhaps the devastation of these losses – at this point in his life – are equal – I don’t know – and can’t judge another’s loss. I can apply what I know of his losses and assume – but only he can determine the devastation level.

Perhaps the person suffering the loss has no spouse – and only has parents – then a parental loss may very well be the most devastating thing possible – to them.

However - For me - Once you throw a caring and loving relationship into the equation – living together and sharing your everyday lives together – emotionally attached and inseparable as one – then the loss of that other half of you creates a loss that is difficult for people to fully comprehend – unless they have experienced it – at least in my mind. In this instance – if some one else is looking at you – with their loving spouse still existing - and by their side – and attempts to compare the loss of a parent to the loss of your spouse – to me – the comparison is lost. Apples need to be compared to Apples – and Oranges to Oranges. I think this is where we all sometimes seem to lose our way – Comparisons are nearly impossible here – at least not based on the type of loss.

Someone who has not lost a spouse – a communion of souls - cannot know the devastation that type of loss represents – comparison to a lost parent is lost on me. For me personally – I would have rather lost any other person or pet in my life – grandparent, parent, son, daughter, pet or any other relation or friend – anyone - than to have lost my partner and soul mate – Jack. I know I do not have a choice – but if I did Jack would still be walking this planet. And I would be grieving another’s death. I guess that is why we are not left in control of lives and who dies.

For me the loss of my partner – my soul mate – is the most devastating life loss that I could have experienced – or ever will experience – I cannot imagine another loss ever comparing to this one – at least - not for me. Someone else may have a different life experience – which will make the situation different – and therefore - “shuffle the deck of grief cards”. I can accept the “shuffling of the deck of grief cards” – but have difficulty having someone comparing a loss - other than a spousal loss - to mine. It may be just as devastating – in its own way and severity – but it is not the loss of a spouse.

In the end – I think those of us who have lost a spouse (partner) have the most difficult time understanding comparisons made to our loss by individuals standing before us who:

1. Still have their mate (in a strong and loving relationship) and compare some other loss they have experienced and relate it as “knowing” what we feel.

2. Expect us to be “over with the process” – or – “further along” – when they have no idea the devastation caused by the loss of half of you.

Anyone’s loss is crushing. All I know - is for me – I have been – and am now passing through - the worst loss that has ever have touch my life.

If we dare to compare – let it be a comparison of - the emotional attachment to the lost love – and to the intimate living agreements that existed between ourselves - and the one lost. That rather than the one lost (spouse, parent, son, daughter or pet etc) may be a fairer comparison – but even this may breed nothing more than opinion. I can only imagine the deviational loss and grief that is to follow for the young son of the now deceased Christopher and Dianna Reeve. The loss of two parents – at the age of 13. I cannot comprehend it – dare I compare? I don’t believe I can - but I know I share what Vivian stated - and that is “Losing ones spouse changes your every day life. It changes your identity to a great extent. Assuming this was a good marriage…you find yourself mourning that which has died in you…the secrets confided, the dreams shared. Unfortunately it is a feeling one cannot know unless one has walked in our shoes”. I walk in these same shoes – and this I can compare.

Love to you all,

John – Dusky is my handle on here

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I don't think we need shy away from discussions like this, contentious as they may become. To me, that's all part of the 'hiding' of grief and grief subjects in today's society and it doesn't serve us well to have to hide any of our feelings....as long as we aren't telling others that their feelings aren't allowed, or that they're flat-out wrong. We can gracefully disagree, yet still state our own opinions.

All I have to add is that Dusty/John made some very good points, and to me, he hit it right on the head by suggesting that the quality and importance of the relationship to your own self is the basic measure in how devastated you will feel, along with the amount of time and intensity you put into that relationship....no matter who you lost. And, since every relationship affects different parts of our lives, the significance of those parts will partly determine how much we are affected and exactly how, again, no matter who it is who left that hole in our lives. The only way I measure my own losses, in the final analysis, is by the amount of inner anguish and pain I've experienced, always allowing for the fact that another loss yet to come may be even worse, for all I know. So, so far I only judge, personally, which losses were worst for me, as it doesn't matter what 'order' someone else thinks should apply. All I ever ask for is that my own 'list' be accepted as what it is, and not belittled. Good discussion, folks. Glad you all opened up for this.

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Thank you, each of you, who have written on this subject. It is touchy only because it is very emotional to each of us, regardless of what our loss is. However, when my brother-in-law told me he knew how I felt because he'd lost his parakeet a year ago...and then went on to say it'd been gone for two days (he didn't even lose it!)...I had a real hard time with that one. Now I know he was just trying to relate and he hasn't been through the loss of a spouse and can't possibly realize what he's saying, but...

With me, loss of a mother could never come close to the loss of my husband...my mother is nuts and she was extremely abusive when I was growing up, so I'm not sure how I'll feel when I lose her. So I can't begin to know what someone suffers who had a great mother that they were very close to. Yet I've also met people who lost a spouse that was nothing but a pain the whole time they were alive and they can't begin to understand what I'm going through because my husband and I loved each other with the greatest love known to man! So whatever your loss is, it's hard to deal with. However, I think I know what you meant, because the loss of your spouse is not only a huge loss but it encompasses every aspect of your life, while other losses may not affect some of those areas...for instance, your identity, your sexualilty, your marital status, your finances, your security, your reliance (they undoubtedly did half the work around your place, including some things you may feel ill-equipped to take over). They may be the person in your life that shared the child-rearing with you and best knew and understood you as a parent. They are the person you shared holidays with. You signed Christmas cards with that person, shared a checking account, assets, property. You slept with that person, night after night. You said good morning to that person when you awoke and kissed goodnight when you went to sleep. I don't know any other role in life so encompassing as this! It is not meant to compare, only to accept that the loss is tremendous and all encompassing.

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Guest Guest_Vivian_*

KayC: Thank you so much for expressing my thoughts so eloquently. You are exactly right. I didn't mean to compare it's just that, as you say, the loss of a spouse encompasses so many things. Vivian

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On 3/5/2006 at 10:47 AM, Guest Guest_Vivian_* said:

I've had many well meaning people approach me and tell me that they know how I feel because they have suffered the loss of a father or a mother. While suffering the loss of a parent is awful at any time it is so different. My father died when I was fourteen, but I had my siblings and my mother in which to hold on. My mother died this past summer (four months before my husband) at the age of 88 and although I miss her and will always love her, she lived a full life.

 

Losing ones spouse changes your every day life. It changes your identity to a great extent. Assuming this was a good marriage (and if you are on this site it was good despite any ups and downs one might have had) you find yourself mourning that which has died in you..the secrets confided, the dreams shared.

Unfortunately it is a feeling one cannot know unless one has walked in our shoes. Vivian

Thank you. I totally agree. I just lost my husband of 38 years and the pain I’m feeling now is unlike any other I’ve ever felt. Yes I grieved my father’s death but it didn’t consume me like this. 

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@MamaJ I am so sorry you also have experienced this tremendous loss...and also that you found this thread, it reminds me of some dear people.  Ustwo (Evelyn) who was going through her loss at the same time I was, Dusky (John) who later wrote "Finding my Banana Bread Man" and was so inspirational.  Maylissa who is still active in our Pet section, one of the "pet experts."  

This does affect every aspect of your life as I said in my above post, written less than nine months into my journey.  

This is the beginning of a journey for you that will be lifelong but it won't stay in the intensity it does today.  I know it's hard to fathom, but our bodies are amazingly resilient at adjusting to even the unthinkable...however, as you already realize, our lives have changed forever and a certain amount of this we live with.  I think of my husband each and every day and continue to love and miss him all these years later.  

I wrote this article at about ten years out and hope something will help you today, and some other things later on down the road as this truly is a journey of evolution.  One of the biggest helps for me was someone telling me to take one day at a time.  My anxiety was high so learning to stay in today helped me so much.  Later on I realized it not only helped me not to worry about tomorrow so much but it also had the added benefit of learning to live in the present so as not to miss whatever good might be in today.  I also learned that was something I had to look for, grasp, fully appreciate, which in so doing, changed me and my life.

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

 

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Vivian, I see you dear.  Your Loss is heavy and worthy of being heard/felt.  I never feel you are diminishing anyone else’s loss, you are simply expressing how you feel and that is your right.  I have been in my own shoes of loosing, my sister, my parents, my cousin, my grandparents, my best best friend in high school, many other family member, my most beloved pets and finally from one day to the next my support system: My beloved husband, all losses were felt and time healed but I did notice my husbands loss to be life-shattering, and I had to find a whole new way to heal this loss, it’s been a little over two years, and I can honestly say for myself, that I know how I felt.  We all have a loss that changes us forever and this one was the one for me, it changed me, transformed me, and I know now that we all have that one loss that does this to each of us.  Feel heard, I’m sorry you had to go through so much pain :( .  Many times people comment out of the hurt they are feeling and they feel the need to defend, but no one has been in your shoes, not even if you had a twin, so feel what you need to feel dear, for it is in that grief that healing takes place, one moment at a time...In joy and kindness

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I guess I am selfish.  I did not read through each post.  We have so many different feelings.  We have had so many different mates, parents, children, but when we lose one, the grief is personal.  That is really why we come here.  We get to "know" each one and their loss is understood.  

I lost Mama 10 months after Billy.  Mama had Alzheimer's and we had really lost her a few years before her little burning ember in that magnificent brain of hers died.  Born at another time, I would not be here, nor any of mine.  If she had been a part of a feminist movement, she might be the head of some big conglomerate.  She always told me that the line between insanity and genius was a thin line.  Mama walked that line and sometimes clung on after falling off.  I am 77, and I have come back "home" actually to seem closer to Billy, but I found forgiveness for my mother instead.  Yet, still I have not cried for her.  The tears I have cried for Billy would fill up a bayou.  

I was the one that was sick for so many years, I was supposed to go first.  Then I figured I had some reason for being here.  Probably needing forgiveness for not honoring that commandment of honoring your father and mother.  My heart still is almost flat lined toward that, but they did everything they could for their two girls.  Mama had anger toward her parents for holding her down, not allowing her to have her full paid scholarship because the other children in the family did not have the same chance.  She did the same with me, but even without understanding, I am grateful to her and my dad for allowing me to live without "want."  Some things in the present would be called verbal and physical abuse, but I cannot say I am innocent myself of that and both of my children are right there, if and when I need them.  No questions.  So Billy and I did something right.  

So many different feelings.  Almost five years after Billy has been gone the idea came to me to call an acquaintance that had been a neighbor and a classmate at one time and ask her a question.  (I think I need not to be left alone with my thoughts), and on my trip home I got rid of that idea.  What did it matter now?  

I didn't cry for my mom or dad, and yet I knew love, I never wanted for anything, I was not actually abused except verbally.  I grew up in a time of spare the rod and spoil the child and also "children should be seen and not heard."  This was how they were brought up. 

I have come to appreciate my parents and my husband and just await for when my trials are over.  I do not want to be any trouble for my kids and hope I have it all taken care of.  My "famous" moving boxes, well they can just throw everything away, unless they want to keep it.  

I was always timid about testifying in our Baptist Church.  I was not allowed to use my fingers, just audible.  I actually do not talk much.  I write plenty.  Too much.  Word salads.  Hold the dressing. 

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5 hours ago, Conscious Mourning said:

Vivian, I see you dear.  Your Loss is heavy and worthy of being heard/felt.  I never feel you are diminishing anyone else’s loss, you are simply expressing how you feel and that is your right.  I have been in my own shoes of loosing, my sister, my parents, my cousin, my grandparents, my best best friend in high school, many other family member, my most beloved pets and finally from one day to the next my support system: My beloved husband, all losses were felt and time healed but I did notice my husbands loss to be life-shattering, and I had to find a whole new way to heal this loss, it’s been a little over two years, and I can honestly say for myself, that I know how I felt.  We all have a loss that changes us forever and this one was the one for me, it changed me, transformed me, and I know now that we all have that one loss that does this to each of us.  Feel heard, I’m sorry you had to go through so much pain :( .  Many times people comment out of the hurt they are feeling and they feel the need to defend, but no one has been in your shoes, not even if you had a twin, so feel what you need to feel dear, for it is in that grief that healing takes place, one moment at a time...In joy and kindness

Thank you for sharing that.  You are right, I have had many losses in my life but my husband was the hardest, no comparison...second hardest was my dog ten months ago as I live alone and he was my companion and perfect for me, I miss him tremendously, it reminded me of the feelings I went through losing George all those years ago.  When it's someone that affects your everyday life, it's very hard hitting, it affects your hopes, dreams, future, everything.  Different losses hit different people differently.  I've heard it said that the greatest loss is your own, true!

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Losing yourself on top of everything?  Yes, truly the cherry on top.  And not a good one.  I miss me that I knew for 60; years.  These last 4 have made my only companion a stranger, me.   I see sparks, but not a compete person.  It’s like I live in several different worlds.  It’s an awful feeling.  I’m glad you have Kodie.  Tho he’ll not erase the triggers or painful memories.  Those we will carry forever.

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No, nothing erases those...

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On 3/6/2006 at 12:05 AM, Guest Guest_Vivian_* said:

Let's face it grieving is grieving it is not a contest of who should be grieving more or less but sometimes it is better for someone to simply say I'm sorry for your loss than to try to equate one loss with another that is different in nature.

I don't think we really get our feelings hurt on this forum.  We have had people that were really drowning in their own grief and did not want to see anyone else's grief, but I think we all understand them.  I think you mentioned two years your husband had been gone.  At two years I had not been able to notice the changing of the seasons yet.  There really is such a thing as "widow's brain" and you can find it on line by just entering the words.  You don't quit missing them, sometimes it is harder on anniversaries, and so many anniversaries.  One year you will see the autumn leaves changing again.  One year you will see the daffodils, the apple blossoms, the fluorescent greens of the new leaves and you wonder where they have been.  Life goes on and like Rose Kennedy said, we do form some scar tissue over the wound, but it drops off easy.  Mine is not easier because we completed so many of life's plans; at 54 years married, we still had new plans.  The ones who did not get to complete life's dreams, the hurt is no easier or worse.  It is our own.  Believe it or not, I would have liked 54 more years, or would have liked to start back on day one.  I would not have done anything different, even the hard times made us who we finally were, and he was the best friend I could have ever imagined having.  No comparison's of grief.  But, at the same time, we on here grieve with you and we understand.  We cannot take the burden of grief away, but God must have had something to do with me finding this group three days after Billy left.  I had 50 morphine pills and knew a place no one would find me for a long, long time.  I was so selfish.  All I thought was my kids and family could grieve us both together.  I have to say, we are not thinking clearly for a long time, and cannot say we will ever feel whole again.  My friend remarried.  He had a heart attack on the honeymoon.  Both were in their 60's.  She took care of him from 12 to 14 years and he left at Christmas.  Her grieving came in mixed grief.  She had remarried two years after her first husband left.  Now she suffers double grief and had to have heart valve surgery she ignored taking care of her second husband.  

It is all different yet it is all the same.  We hurt along with you, and we understand.

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Your in a fog.  After nearly five years, there are things I do that I still do not remember doing or saying.  My granddaughter is young and she actually is very gentle with me, but sometimes the things I do and say are a joke.  I do not mean them to be a joke and when I laugh along with them/her, I do not suffer.  The fact that this brain fog came on at the same time Alzheimer's and senile dementia arrive is simply a coincidence.  Mama had two wrecks, both her fault.  No one was hurt, but my sister followed her home from the mechanic and she drove the country road on the wrong side.  Yep, time to take the keys.  We are vulnerable because of our age, I will be 78 in August.  I do have to gauge some things by "would I have done this at 50?"  Strangely, this works for me.  I will not argue whether I said something or not.  Billy and I had quit doing that, we both knew there was no need to argue whether he said it or didn't, and vice versa.  

Am I sharp minded?  Well, sometimes I am.  Are there things I do not understand?  Sometimes I really do not remember and know I should.  My biggest problem is to remember to do something and forget before I get to the room I'm to look/retrieve something.  That has been going on for years.  

Staying quarantined has put pressure on domestic violence, everyone is becoming a type of agoraphobia we are not used to.  Knowing age is against me, I certainly wear a mask.  My immune system has nearly flat lined.  My exercise level has reached a stubborn place.  I have a sit down bicycle, no reason not to use it, and maybe a sort of death wish might make me not care as much about myself.  I shower, but I don't want to.  That is different.  I need to get rid of these boxes, but like a child, I don't want to.  

So mine is cynical age changes, my missing Billy (but actually, I handle paying my bills, taking care of business very well. ) I do not know what tomorrow brings.  Neither do you, him, her, they or them.  Hopefully we wake up and just keep going.  I wish the best for all of you and have such empathy for everyone who has lost their mate, their loved ones, their fur babies.  We are not in a contest...........except something called "life and living"..........or not.  

Oh, and quit getting your feelings hurt by some ignoramus that will understand your feelings one day, sad but true, unless they go first.  If a sister or in-law is cruel sounding, just ignore them, feel sympathy for them, and learn to stay away from them.  

widows.jpg

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Wow, excellently put, Marg.  I’m so tired of thinking I’m doing something wrong when I take.a good look at things, I’m battling so many not in my control and letting it get to me.  Especially  things  said to me that are hurtful or ignorant.  But I don know how to turn it off without having someone that used to be able to step back and change my perspective because they truly loved me and had a clearer view.  I can thnkto myself how Steve would turn things around, but I can’t BE him to do it.  I’ve trued many times.  Not even my counselors have that much power.  I knew ofthe line from a song saying 'without love, where would you be now?'.  Right here.  Alone, afraid, not trusting my decisions more, exagerating some things, downplaying others that need more attention because I’m burnt out.  I hate living in this fog that never truly lifts.  I can be so proactive dealing with insurance or banking, but I miss feeling inside a completeness.  I don’t take any pleasure from my wins or knowledge gained because I don’t really care in this world I now live in.  I wish I could find the right words beyond I just don’t want to live like this and I see no way to change it.  It all goes back to having lived two thirds of my life with someone now gone.  Now ive added another five years without and say yeh, I did it.  The engine is running, but it’s stuck in neutral.  

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55 minutes ago, Gwenivere said:

engine is running, but it’s stuck in neutral.

It's still running Gwen.  Your not in neutral.  You are very proactive with your doc visits and possibly you have the same reason we all do.  They are not here, but Billy said enough times, "I am you and you are me" and I sure miss that part of me I cannot see anymore.  But, even though I cannot see it, we were taught well.  

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I don't know where you found that, Marg, but it's perfect.

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