It has been 9 months since my beloved husband of 25 years, Allan, passed away of 6 different types of cancer and emphysema at 59. Although cancer severly ravaged his body (he used to be a muscular 210 pound bear of a man and probably didn't weigh 100 pounds when he died), was in constant, excruciating pain from the bone cancer and discomfort with breathing issues from the lung cancer and emphysema, he wanted to live no matter what and he endured his agony with overwhelming opptimism. His love for me was unconditional, something I probably didn't deserve, but I know I'll never find another love like his. I thought I would be on the road to healing by now. I don't know if it's the holiday (his favorite) or just celebrating my first Thanksgiving and recently turning 50 without him, but I still feel overwhelmed by my grief and still spend most days crying. I have read on this forum that going to the grocery store is something we all hate. Seeing something my husband would have loved or standing in line with nothing to do but think makes me start to cry. I'm sure people who know what I'm doing think I'm a freak. I couldn't stand to be in the house we shared for 22 years by myself as I was so lonely. So I moved in with one of my sisters, her lazy husband and 2 young kids. It's much too overwhelming for me, now I regret my decision and am looking for ways to escape.  I too don't want to burden friends and family with my constant sadness and I put on my happy face, laugh and joke, and tell people I'm doing okay when they ask. I can't talk about my husband with my mom because she's afraid I'll start crying so she cuts me off. My best friend died of cancer 2 years ago, so the only one I have to talk to is my other sister, but she's busy in her MBA program and working her 2 jobs. I see that the nights are the most difficult for everyone, and I thought I'd be the same, but by the time I get to bed, I'm so exhausted I fall to sleep within minutes.  I've been taking care of people my whole life, and my husband's illness was a 24/7 job for a year, but I was glad to be there for him. I was glad to have been holding him in my arms when he drew his last breath telling him that it was okay to go and that I would be okay. I thought this would be time for me to heal, but my family still turns to me when they need or want something. I'm just so exhausted all the time. I thought my family would be a source of help and support but they often seem to be more of a burden. I force myself to get out of bed every morning and get the things that need to be taken care of foot in front of the other...every day, hoping that soon a day will come where I don't dwell on how much my husband suffered, all the ways I could have been a better caregiver for him when he was sick, all the mistakes I made as a wife and how I didn't deserve his devotion and love. I miss him so much, our daily conversations, routines and rituals, his deep voice, his wicked sense of humor, holding hands as we walked to the movies, the grocery store, or down the mall...I miss his love and I miss being loved by him. I talk to him all the time like most of you do to your spouses, and the other day I asked him what I'm supposed to do with possibly 30 years left of my life without him. I hate this new life and I want my old life back.

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Julie, Christy, Cindy, Debbie, and Ellen. All of your words to one another are so profound and uplifting. Thx for sharing with one another so we can all benefit. I too understand the original gut renching tears. I am at 9 months and it is better. It still hurts alot and I never know when I will have a spontaneous melt down. I remind many friends and family to continue making memories as often as possible because as we know, it can be over in a blink of an eye. As hard as it often is to see other couples still holding hands and loving one another, let them be reminders of the great loves we had and try to allow yourself to feel blessed that you have those wonderful memories. Remember, lots of people just exist together but we lived and loved to the best we could in the time we had. We each have those moments of regret, those little anger spurts from being so tired and overwhelmed, but our loved ones did know that and didn't blame us so don't let it get you down. We all did the best we could. Hugs to all of you wonderful dear friends.

Kathy, thank you so much for your uplifting words of support and gentle reminder of what to be grateful for. Sometimes, buried beneath my grief I forget to remember the wonderful times and that there are still things in life to be grateful for even through all this gloom. I looked at the picture of your husband sitting in his chair smiling. He looked happy passing on his cherished items to family. My husband also wanted certain family members to receive certain things, but he wanted me to pass them on. I just found the flag that draped his father's coffin and gave it to his oldest sister. She was very grateful. I've tried to give something to each family member. You are a true inspiration. Thank you for the hugs and I wish you peace, comfort and strength in the time to come.


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