As I read everyone's posts I can feel your pain and anguish...I guess I am still living it too.  For those who have had multiple losses, my heart breaks for you and all of your losses.  You are all so strong for continuing on.  It has been 26 months for me and so much of what everyone mentions I am still feeling.  I have a hard time with people trying to compare my loss to their trivial drama.  One person in particular has one self-pity party after another and is constantly whining to me about how horrible his life is.  At first, I tried to be sympathetic, now I simply tell him everyone has issues, it's all in how you handle it.  I had one of the moms of one of my daycare kids try to compare my loss to a divorce (and she has never been divorced either), needless to say I wasn't very pleasant in my response...there is NO comparison.  I have had people say things to me that were so far off the mark and I would just try to remind myself that they really have no clue as to what they are talking about...they have not lived this life.  What these comments do for me, is to make me very aware of what I say to others who have lost loved ones...I try not to say things that are insensitive.  I suppose I probably do without realizing it, only because I sometimes speak (or type) without thinking...things just come out.  So, if I have offended anyone at any time, I do apologize. 

There are so many things that still get to me.  I am so jealous of couples holding hands, especially older couples, because we were to be that older couple one day.  I feel so cheated and our kids have been so cheated, especially our son who was 13 when Tom died.  There were so many things that he had yet to learn from dad and it really stinks that he will never have the special time that every teenage boy needs from their dad.  I did have someone tell me today the Nick (our son) is a really good boy...and that I have done a really good job raising him.  I really didn't do it alone, after all he did have Tom for those 13 years, so something must have rubbed off, but I have really tried hard to keep life in perspective and keep Nick moving forward in a positive way.  It was really nice to hear that Nick is the boy I always hoped he would be.  We are grandparents to a one year old baby girl and she is being cheated out of having her grandpa to love and spoil her...and I feel cheated out of playing Grandma and Grandpa as a team, but Lily will know who her Grandpa is through pictures and stories.  I think of all the future plans we had and how they will never be...sometimes it is hard to envision the future when my whole future was filled with Tom.

I am like so many of you, I still have all of Tom's things.  I haven't moved them and have no intention to do so any time soon (even his toothbrush is still in the holder).  Even though he is no longer here, he is such a part of my life and this house I cannot eliminate him from it...I know he is not coming home, but I think I still live our life like he is just away at work.  He worked for the railroad and spent a lot of time away from home.  I now realize that his working away from home was getting me ready for this new life; it has taught me a certain amount of independence.  No matter how long Tom is gone I still feel very married.  I still wear my rings and probably always will.

I have just realized that in the past 26 months I have not stayed away from my house for more than a few hours at a time and I am about to take a big step for me.  I know that in the beginning I intentionally stayed home.  Even when I was invited to go places, I couldn't bring myself to be away from our home, but as time went on I was doing it subconsciously, not realizing I was staying here because it was comfortable and easier than having to do something without Tom.  Well, this weekend will be the first time I have actually stayed somewhere besides my own bed...I know how silly that must sound, but it feels like a huge thing right now. 

After losing Tom I decided I had to do something to become financially independent (something I have never been, I was always well taken care of by Tom)...I had been an in-home daycare provider and stay at home mom for the past 10 years, before that we owned our own meat/grocery/deli store...I haven't been in the real workforce since 1997.  After Tom, I decided to go to college and earn a degree in Medical Administration.  This weekend I will graduate with a true degree, something I never thought I wanted or needed until this new life.  I have been so blessed (I know, how can I say that when I have lost my Tom) I not only made the decision to go to college, but I was lucky enough to earn a full scholarship by sharing our story, I held a 4.0 and was on the dean's list each semester, and then, I was also featured in the LA Times, again because of our story.  I do feel blessed for being able to get through school, it wasn't always easy, but it was a great distraction sometimes from the pain I was going through.  Taking classes gave me something to focus on besides myself.  Now that it is time to graduate, I am taking a BIG STEP and going to my graduation where I will actually spend two nights away from home (our kids will be there for moral support).  As pathetic as that sounds, it feels huge to me...like it is one step toward my newfound independence and maybe a small part of moving forward.   

 

I wish everyone here peace and comfort to ease the hurt...hugs to all!!

 

I thought I'd share the links to my essay and the LA TIMES article: 

 

http://www.elearners.com/careerstimuluspackage/scholarship-recipien...

 

http://onlineblog.bryantstratton.edu/following-tragedy-one-mother-f...

 

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Marlena, I wanted to say a big Congratulations to you!  This is a wonderful accomplishment.  And all of the steps involved in getting you to your big day.  I truly hope you have or had a wonderful time at your graduation and that it was very special to you.  What a beautiful memory and of course Tom is, and I mean, is! so proud of you!

I work in healthcare, it can be very challenging but fun too, so I hope you find your place where you will be happy.

As for your other comments.  Just the other day I opened the local paper and there was a rather large ad in the memorial page.  It was from a wife/mother who had lost her husband (he was a fireman) and had a young son.  It was so touching and expressed just what we all feel and to me, it is only those people who have lost their spouse that can understand, truly.  Yes, don't the small things in people's lives that they worry about and complain about, I just shake my head over it all.  I feel exactly the same way Marlena, I will always be married to my Jack (39 yrs) and will never take off my rings, I live my life with him in it, every day and I embrace it totally.  We too are expecting our first grandchild!  June 25th or before.  Now I did do something I haven't done before, and that is I had my 'cards' read.  The lady was very intuitive and spiritual.  She said I had a guardian angel with me at all times (asked if I had recently had a loss), of course I cried.  She said I am being loved and taken care of, and since my husband had promised me that well before he passed away, I nodded in absolute agreement.  She encouraged me to become creative and think of butterflies, because in Greek mythology they mean freedom, and I know that Jack has that freedom now, of from pain and anxiety and stress and he is just free to love and be happy.  As for our grandchild, my hubby predicted this, saying to me, as he lay on the couch, "honey, you will be so busy with the pitter patter of little feet soon" and that that was my job now, to be the best grandparent for us both.  I intend to fulfil that to the best of my ability and I very excited!

I think you will succeed and find contentment and you will continue to parent your son, and you are right, he has his dad in his soul and heart and he will be the son and the man that his father will be so proud of!

 

Hugs,

Carol

Suzanne,

Thank you for your kind words and so much support. 

I think I've come to realize that we all end up where we are meant to be, whether we like it or not.  That is why you were right by your Danny's side through everything when he needed you most.  Why we end up being left here, alone, is the mystery part; I'm not sure I'll ever understand.  I keep trying to remind myself there is a higher plan.  I may not understand it and right now I don't even like it very much, but one day it will all make sense.

Congratulations to you, too!  It sounds like you deserve Kudos for being brave enough and strong enough to go on your retreat, especially without letting your boys know you were doing it.  I think that is something to celebrate!!  That is a really big step.  Each in our own little way are finding ways to do things we never thought we would (or could) do.  It's almost bittersweet to start developing that small amount of independence.  We know we have to do it, but we want to do it without letting go of our loves.  I think it's great that you went!  Consider it one step on this journey of our new lives.

Take care and lots of hugs,

Marlena

 

Suzanne said:

Hi Marlena,

For you to have gone through school and obtained your Degree and special Director's Award and maintaining a 4.0 average and staying overnight and for accomplishing all that you did after your spouse passed away is such a tribute to you and the love you obviously shared with your husband you really deserve all the special attention you received with your children by your side.  This has been a huge step, and I am so happy for you.  I really don't think I could have done all that after my husband passed away.  I received my Associates, had a few clerical positions but being unable to work, I think God needed me to use the skills I learned for the time I ended up having with Danny, being his nurse so-to-speak, his secretary, his caretaker etc.  Now that I have gone through losing him I honestly don't think I could have done what you did.  The news stories about you and your essay are so moving.  I know I don't know you very well personally, but in the midst of your grief you have even come on legacy to give and receive support from others so I just wanted to let you know how remarkable, compassionate and intelligent you are as well as being a great Mom and one super lady. 

I also have had others compare my sorrow to divorce and separation from their spouse.  As someone else mentioned here that they really don't understand, but then again, how could they?  So, I try so hard not to let it bother me, but it still does.    

Last month I went on a retreat and I also felt a sense of independence for having spent a weekend in a hotel and sharing prayer meetings and meals with basic strangers.  I don't know what got into me.  I can't believe I actually did that.  Without Danny?  In my own small way, not to be compared with your accomplishments, but I have a sneaking suspicion that God and Danny had a little something to do with pushing me into going away and not even telling 'our' 2 sons until I got back.  Their Mom never did anything like that before, and even though they're in their 30's, I surprised myself and they were more surprised when I told them 2 weeks after I came back, which was when they asked me, "What's new?"  LoL

But, just to let you know, I believe God is with you and is blessing you, and whatever your endeavors, you already are fulfilling His plan.   Congratulations on everything.  Take care.

God bless,

Suzanne 

 

 

 

Carol,

Thank you!  It was a great graduation weekend!  I like to believe Tom has been by my side through it all.  I have no idea yet where I will end up or what kind of work I will find, but I believe it will all fall into place when the time is right.

39 years is amazing, those are the kind of love stories I love to hear about.  We made it almost 25 years and I am so proud of us for that.  I cannot imagine letting that go. 

Congratulations on your soon to be grandbaby!!!  It is hard to be grandma all alone, but it is a joy at the same time.  You will love being Grandma and just think of all the stories you will have to share about Grandpa. 

That must have been great to have your cards read.  I have never had my cards read professionally.  I have been to see John Edward twice (that was awesome) and have been to an intuitive medium three times and she is really good at what she does.   It had to have been very comforting and validating to know you are never alone and always surrounded by love.  It is especially comforting to hear that our loved ones are content, happy, and pain free where they are.  As much as we miss them, at least we know they are doing alright.

 

Thank you again!

Hugs and blessings,

Marlena

 
Carol Kayser said:

Hi Marlena, I wanted to say a big Congratulations to you!  This is a wonderful accomplishment.  And all of the steps involved in getting you to your big day.  I truly hope you have or had a wonderful time at your graduation and that it was very special to you.  What a beautiful memory and of course Tom is, and I mean, is! so proud of you!

I work in healthcare, it can be very challenging but fun too, so I hope you find your place where you will be happy.

As for your other comments.  Just the other day I opened the local paper and there was a rather large ad in the memorial page.  It was from a wife/mother who had lost her husband (he was a fireman) and had a young son.  It was so touching and expressed just what we all feel and to me, it is only those people who have lost their spouse that can understand, truly.  Yes, don't the small things in people's lives that they worry about and complain about, I just shake my head over it all.  I feel exactly the same way Marlena, I will always be married to my Jack (39 yrs) and will never take off my rings, I live my life with him in it, every day and I embrace it totally.  We too are expecting our first grandchild!  June 25th or before.  Now I did do something I haven't done before, and that is I had my 'cards' read.  The lady was very intuitive and spiritual.  She said I had a guardian angel with me at all times (asked if I had recently had a loss), of course I cried.  She said I am being loved and taken care of, and since my husband had promised me that well before he passed away, I nodded in absolute agreement.  She encouraged me to become creative and think of butterflies, because in Greek mythology they mean freedom, and I know that Jack has that freedom now, of from pain and anxiety and stress and he is just free to love and be happy.  As for our grandchild, my hubby predicted this, saying to me, as he lay on the couch, "honey, you will be so busy with the pitter patter of little feet soon" and that that was my job now, to be the best grandparent for us both.  I intend to fulfil that to the best of my ability and I very excited!

I think you will succeed and find contentment and you will continue to parent your son, and you are right, he has his dad in his soul and heart and he will be the son and the man that his father will be so proud of!

 

Hugs,

Carol

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