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Bereaved Spouses

A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.

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Comment by Carol Kayser on Thursday

I wrote a little earlier of my daughter attending a funeral service with her life long girlfriends, for one of them who lost her father.  The family has 8 grandchildren and one of them, Malcolm, who is 12, was inconsolable.  My daughter was extremely comforting to him as they have a special relationship.  The bond was so strong between the grandkids and the grandfather. 

She also said there were about 350 people there at the service.  This gentleman was well known in the local community.

This brings me to think about now that the preparation and the service and the reception are over, things will become, for the moment very quiet and still for his wife, for this is what happens.  There is the wonderful show of support and love and then people move to their daily lives once again, leaving the family to try to understand their loss and how they see their lives without him.

Because Melissa lost her father only 4 years (almost 5 now) ago, this was an emotionally wrenching service for her, she came home exhausted and drained.  She just wanted to wrap her arms around her own daughter and feel the love re-energize her. 

Children are a true gift from God and I hope that the grandchildren can provide love and comfort to Monica in her time of grief.

Thanks,

Carol 

Comment by Carol Kayser on Thursday

Dear Robert,  so sorry for your loss.  Many of the angels here have already written and given their advice and words of strength.  It is very true that over time you will find solace in the love you shared and it will bring you strength.  Right now it is literally a second at a time for you but you will find your own self, it takes time however.  All you can do is breath slowly and enjoy tiny moments and come here to express your feelings.

 

Sending hugs,

Carol

Comment by Marsha H on Thursday

Dear Robert ...  I am deeply sorry for your loss and everything you mentioned has happened to most of us.  We are in shock, then slowly reality sets in and then the true grief begins.  I know grief is torture and it feels as if your heart has been ripped out of one's chest.  My husband had a lengthily illness, pancreatic cancer and passed away April, 2011.  Although I knew it was a terminal illness it just never sunk in I would lose him.  Our parents passed away and we grieved, but soon got on with life, but the loss of a spouse is far greater and I for one didn't expect that.

I too come home to two dogs, but I leave the radio or TV on just to hear a human voice.  So-called old friends slowly go their own way and that can hurt as well because none of us have done anything to deserve it, but they just can't cope with us grievers.  This forum and all the angels on it saved my life and I couldn't have made it otherwise.  I wanted you to know that no matter how close you come to thinking you aren't going to make it you will.  The first year I was in shock and was like a robot doing daily things (I'm retired) so it was even harder.  In year 2 I decided it was time to either sink or swim and I choose to survive because I promised my husband I would be OK.  I had two sets of guests over for BBQ's and 2 buffet dinners before Christmas.  Did I enjoy it?  Not really.  I felt like the odd person out and I just couldn't seem to laugh along with the rest, but put my other mask on and just smile.  I also want you to know that you will make and the agonizing pain of grief slowly ebbs as time goes on although you will never forget your spouse.  Life will begin to change for you and you'll be reinventing your lifestyle.  Just keep venting on this forum and we'll get you through some of the tough spots and it's also wise to seek grief counseling and share your grief.  It helps.

May I suggest that you might think about keeping your spouse's ashes until your time comes or, keep the ashes until you have decided what you want to do with them.  You don't have to rush.  I the first year you shouldn't make any big decisions. 

We are here for you my friend and know that all us realize truly what you are going through.  It does get better.

Big hugs (because you need them)

Marsha H

Comment by janeo on Thursday

Robert I'm so sorry for your lost. Sending prayers and hugs

Comment by Trina Mamoon on Wednesday

Barbara Sullivan,

Thank you so much for your words of hope and resilience. The night before my darling Joseph passed, I asked him how I will go on w/out him, how will I live for another 25-30 years without him by my side. Joseph told me that I will do the good works and live for my family. That helping others will bring fulfillment and purpose to my life. And Barbara, that is what you say too. Death of your soulmate, your beloved life partner is one of the most, if not the most devastating, life event a human being can experience. In this cruelest of the cruel of all punishments, undeserved by any of us, there is opportunity for "spiritual growth, a deeper understanding of life and death, a strength we never knew we possessed, freedom from the fear of our own mortality, and compassion for those who suffer," all this is so true. As irrevocably devastating our experience is, there is a lesson to learn about compassion and spiritual growth. That is exactly what we do here on this forum: share our grief and reach out to others so that in some small way we can bring them some comfort and consolation in our time of darkness and heartbreak. 

And Pete Bronson, you are so right about why friends and family shy away from the likes of us. It's because we remind them of mortality and that the their turn will come too. They just don't want to be reminded of the bitter truth of the human condition. Bereaved people like us are like a thorn in their side. Just because we are facing the tragedy that was visited  upon us, they think somehow we'll hasten their tragedy! How sad! How uncharitable!

Sending you all prayers and wishes for peace and healing.

Comment by Cynthia Murphy on Wednesday

I had to seek out a counseling group to attend and I believe that is what helped me. Yesterday was the 20 month anniversary of my husband's death. He was 56 years old. He died in my arms at home, just the two of us along with God. Several things I had to learn... who am I and how to create a new life because the old me no longer existed. I was no longer a wife, caregiver, half of a couple. No people don't understand when they haven't lost a spouse and it does scare them because they know it could be them next. I was married 38 years and that's how I defined me. I had to remember what I liked to do, go, see, and hear. I changed my diet and lost 68 pounds, changed my wardrobe, started going out with friends from high school, and finally dating again. Is it hard? One of the hardest things I've had to do. Necessary? Yes, 100%. Grief can consume you till you become just an empty shell with nothing left. I sat here waiting to die after the initial shock wore off. I was suicidal a year ago. Does it still hurt? Of course. We all grief for what we have lost. I think that is healthy but it has to be in its proper place so we can acknowledge it and move on. I can't imagine our love ones wanted us to remain in a state of limbo just waiting. My husband insisted that I find someone to be with. He was thinking about my future. I didn't want to honor that as it was easier to live in this awful pain. I am in love again. He lost his first wife and a son. How sad that being widowed causes us to forget that we are stronger than most, survivors who can recover, help the next person over that hurdle. We are believers in life. We have experienced that.

Comment by Steve on Wednesday
Robert,
Your story hit home for me, for I too have lost the love of my life, my soulmate and best friend. Mark passed away while sleeping, his life and mine were as one. The sudden shock of loosing someone that close is horrible and terrifying at the sometime.
Even if you know it's going to happen or not, none of us are prepared for this.
There is no timeline for grief, not steps to go thru and little understanding from family and friends. It took me some time to understand that part, I felt no one cared for me or wanted to be around me. I happen to believe to believe that our loved ones are still near to us. I do not remember the days following his death, somewhere in my mind I could hear him telling me to reach out and get help. I finally did and landed here. Each time we share or vent we are not only helping ourselves, we are helping others in ways we don't realize.
Mark passed away during the thanksgiving holiday, then came Christmas, January 19th was his birthday, so the past 8 months have been a lot of firsts.
The Angels on this forum are priceless and a God send, I wanted to end my life I thought I was having a mental breakdown.
I took each new day one day at a time read everyone's post some offered links, suggestions, or simply what they did.
I am not the person I used to be nor should I be, we have experienced a life changing event and each of us move forward without much effort and at a pace we are comfortable with.
Just please know that we are here for you and that you are not alone and that you will get thru this!
The kindest most compassionate folks on earth are here for you.
Sending you a big hug because you need one,
Steve
Comment by Pete Bronson on Wednesday

Robert I am sorry for your loss. Know you are not alone and are with a group that understands from first hand experience here. This group has been a great help to many including myself. 

I lost my wife Rose of 30 plus years to cancer in 2010, it was sudden, just over 3 months from diagnosis to her passing. She died in my arms in a hospice ward of a local hospital and it has been a downward spiral since then for me. I failed to get help for several years until health issues compounded to the point I became hospitalized. The doctor and nurses treating me recognized my psych issues and helped me get the help I needed. I wish I could say it gets easier but from my experience over the almost 5 years I have been alone it does not seem so. I wish I could say my family and friends we had as a couple have been supportive but they haven't, we remind them of the pain and suffering they will eventually have to face themselves. We, as survivors, learn to adapt to this.

Do not hesitate to seek out counseling and/or a local support group, the longer you wait the more difficult it becomes to the point it can become disabling. Do not wait until you can not function, I did and am now struggling to find my way back to some kind of normalcy in life. The journey will most likely be a bumpy one, dealing with the loss of a loved one is not something any of us are prepared for.

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on Wednesday

Dear Robert -- I am so sorry for your loss.  I understand so well your sense of the purposeless-ness of 'going on' without your partner.  My husband passed away from cancer in April 2013.  One year later, in April 2014, I lost my brother to cancer.  And, in January 2015, I lost my sister.  

My husband was the love of my life -- my heart and soul.  To say that I miss him, every day, does not even come close to expressing what it is like to go on without him -- but with the help of friends here on Legacy, I have somehow managed to get through the awful pain.  Now, after 2+ years, I am less apt to dissolve into tears at the mention of his name -- but, recently, I woke in the middle of the night, crying for him in my sleep.  The pain never really goes away -- we just learn to live with it.

Jane P. mentioned 'baby steps' and that is so very true.  One of my baby steps was to have something planned for each new day -- some reason to get up in the morning and face the day.  Whether it was just a chore that needed attention, or a big event -- just something that gave me a reason to get out of bed.  

Friends and family do not understand our grief -- they truly believe it is something we will 'get over'.  Forgive them.  They just don't know.  And, be prepared -- grief does not travel in a straight line -- it circles back, time and time again, so that you will feel you are back at the beginning -- hi-jacked by grief, as one of my friends told me.  

Losing a life-partner is one of the most devastating events in a lifetime -- yet, if we allow it, it can bring a powerful experience of spiritual growth, a deeper understanding of life and death, a strength we never knew we possessed, freedom from the fear of our own mortality, and compassion for those who suffer, as we do.

Sending you hugs and prayers for peace.

Barbara

Comment by Trina Mamoon on Wednesday

Robert, my deepest sympathy and condolences are with you. The love of my life, my husband (of 14 years, together 19) Joseph, succumbed to lung cancer on August 4, 2014. It is an understatement to say that this has been the roughest, toughest, and the hardest year of my life. I had been through some tough times before meeting Joseph, but the pain of losing a beloved spouse is not one that one can fathom until one has experienced it oneself firsthand. 

I have been fortunate to have the love and support of my family, Joseph's family, and our friends. But I am the first one in our entire circle to have lost a spouse at a relatively young age. Those others who had lost a spouse, like my mother, they have passed, so i am the only one now in this situation. Joseph was 49 and I was 53 when I lost him.

Even the loving people are sometimes insensitive, it's because they have absolutely no clue as to what I am experiencing. And I can't blame them; until I became a widow I didn't know the extent of the heartbreak, the loneliness, the despair, and purposelessness that a bereaved spouse/partner feels. The heartbreak is beyond description.

Every single day since last Aug 4th, I have wished and prayed for my early death. The suffering and crying were much more intense even about two months ago. Now the pain is more tempered and the tears quiet. But I still pray everyday for liberation, for relief, to be let out of this miserable existence that now is my new life after my darling's death. So I empathize with you fully. I hope that over time your pain will lessen some and you will find some measure of peace. I still haven't reached that point. Hopefully, in a year or two I will get to a point when I will stop praying for my death. That in itself would be a big relief.

Peace be with you!

 

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