Hello everyone, I hope you don't mind that I take a minute to vent a little.  I just "celebrated" my 35th birthday, the first one without my husband.  Before meeting him, I never celebrated this day.  Sure, life was fine, but I didn't view it as any day that was special.  Ted always made sure that we celebrated.  He made me feel special.  He always said that my birthday was a day to celebrate because the day that I came into the world, his life was changed forever also, he just didn't know it yet.  That was the day the person he was meant to be with started being.  Now I venture out into this world without him, without the person that made me whole and I am just so very lost.  I lost him 4 months ago yesterday yet it seems like just yesterday, in some ways, like forever in others.  I still have immense thoughts of guilt.  Wishing I would have done things differently while he was sick.  Wishing I could have taken away more of his pain.  Wishing in the end that I was strong enough to let him go, instead of insisting he undergo painful treatments that just prolonged the inevitable.  Through all of this, I truly have realized just how weak I am when I used to pride myself in being the "strong one".  I get up in the morning (I say that, but it is not like I really sleep) and just go through the motions.  I feel like I Have failed everyone, in every aspect of my life.  I just got back from a "family" vacation with the inlaws and left feeling more like a failure than ever.  They keep telling me I need to be strong for my kids, strong for the family....but I am just so tired.  Tired of going through the motions, tired of pretending that I am okay, tired of putting on this frong as though I know I am going to make it through all of this.  I am just so D*** tired.  They put together this big celebration dinner for my birthday, but how can I celebrate another year of being alive when the truth is that I don't want to be.  The one good thing out of this whole situation is that I have finally found a way to be honest with myself.  Through this site, and a work friendship I have developed ( I found out another person in my company just lost his wife to cancer also and we have become email friends, as we live very far apart)...I feel for the first time I can open up and be completely honest with myself and say things that I never would have before.  But in that discovery, I have realized the strength that I thought I had, the love for life that I had...is all gone.  The fight we went through with Ted's illness (through his chemo, radiation, Bone marrow transplant), all of my fight is gone. I used to smile, I used to laugh.  That is now gone.  Not the place I wanted to be when I turned 35.  Not in the plans that I thought we had together. I miss him so very much and don't know how to think about the future or another year of this.  I hear many of you, years down the road, still fighting the same emotions I have now....How do I do it for that long?  Just completely overwhelmed and TIRED........Thanks for letting me vent a little. 

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Oh Tess, isn't hind site awful...you can say I should have...why did I... I do it too. My husband used to talk about "survivor guilt". We do what we can, we make the best decisions we can, we fight the enemy right along with our spouse. Sometimes we win, and that possibility makes the fight worth while. In the end, when we are left alone to look back and analyze what we did, it all looks different.
grief takes many roads, and guilt is one of them. I don't know how long the pain lasts, I am fairly new to this process. I do know that it is an emotional rollercoaster. Take each moment as it comes. Don't "should" yourself or let others do it to you. Your children will survive this and so will you. take time. You have a big hole in your life. Give and receive hugs...hugs are good.
I started out wanting to send you support, but I realize now that I need this advice too!
I'm so deep in the guilt, and yet I tried so hard to make all the right decisions.  I cry and cry about all of it.  I've never felt such pain, so sharp and unrelenting.  I don't want to celebrate anything, and I mean I don't even want a bowl of ice cream because that was something for happy times.  I can't imagine someone throwing me a birthday party.  They meant well, but it was insensitive.  Only you know what you need, and sometimes you need to lock yourself away.  You will as urgently need company just as fast.  My Ray was my whole world, and now my world is empty.  I'm putting my right foot in front of my left and not thinking much further than that.  Stay alive.  Do the routine things, stay clean.  And I put a little vignette in front of me that has me dead and Ray alive, and I ask myself what would he do?  Would he be eating, watching tv?   Raking the yard?  Watering the plants?  What he would do, I can do.
Tess, I'm so sorry for what you are going through.  I understand not wanting to celebrate anything. It has been 2 months and 1 week for me.  My kids insisted I go with them on vacation.  I didn't want to go anywhere but wanted my kids and grandkids to have a good time.  They probably regret my going because I was not in a vacation frame of mind.  I just wanted to be home.  I agree, this pain is something that is like no other.  People think after a few months you'll "be over it".  This is sooo not true.  Take one day at a time and try and get through that.  That's what I try to do.  Granted, it doesn't always work. I guess we just have to tell people NO when they try and do something to cheer us up.  They don't understand that there is nothing anyone can do.  Hugs from us all.
Tess - I am so sorry for what you are going through and am going through myself. Having young children probably makes it that much harder as they look to you for answers you do not have. All you can do is your best. We all make mistakes and as Maggie indicated hindsight is 20/20. It seemed like the right choice at the time. There is a saying I like "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." There are no perfect people and if you had done what you believe you should have done you would be kicking yourself for not fighting to keep him longer. Do what you can to take care of yourself and your children. They are victims just like you are. Please give yourself a break as I am sure you did all that was humanly possible to help your husband.
Dear Tess, they did & you will do it, just as you said, by getting up in the morning day after day with little or no sleep and just going through the motions. You are so young still to find yourself in a stage that most people won't face until they are much older, and yet there are those here who are even younger. Elise is only in her twenties and now a widow with a young son. Each loss & the coping of each loss, is terrible & unique for each of us. Your in laws are suffering also & I'm sure they are concerned for you & your children. It may sound harsh but I'm sure they love you & want the best for you. The vacation & birthday celebration tell us that much. I never celebrated birthdays before Larry either but he always bought me red roses & took me out to dinner. To him that was the classic "I love you." This year, my poor mother kidnapped me, & we drove somewhere neither of us had ever been before, ate dinner, got a hotel room, went antiquiing & junk store diving the next day  & that was it. It was a distraction. I was not "happy" but I appreciated her efforts. Hang in there, you will be just fine. Hugs & best wishes today & every day.
Tess - I know this was written a few weeks ago but I am just reading it today.  All of the responses you have received are great words of wisdom from others facing this difficult loss.  It is okay to feel sad and not wanting to be strong some days.  I think we all have those days - my birthday was 11 days after my husband died I turned 54 (I keep thinking I am 55 though - but I won't be there until Nov.).  It was a blur and the last thing I wanted to do was celebrate my birthday.  I do think that you must be very much loved by your in-laws and family since they wanted to honor you on your birthday and encourage you.  People don't quite know what to do for us.  Heck we don't even know what to do for us some days right?  Yes, we do need to be strong but it isn't easy and adjusting to a loss of a spouse is so difficult.  I believe in time you will still miss your husband but the days where you feel so weak, heart-broken, not wanting to be strong will become less frequent.  In the early months you feel this pretty much daily and then as time goes on you have a few days of feeling stronger and the a bad day or two, etc.  The 9th month since my husband's passing was 8/5.  I have had a hard week again but I know compared to how I felt those first few months, I am doing better.  My counselor told me that studies have shown that we are on a steady decline (exhaustion, weakened immune system, etc.).  She said at six months we are at our worst and then we slowly get better each month there after.  I had pneumonia almost exactly 6 months from the day my husband died, I am currently dealing with skin cancer.  I am right there with the statistics.  Your feelings are completely normal for someone with a significant loss.  I think hearing those words from my counselor have been the most helpful thing for me on this journey.  The rest of the world really does not understand how hard this is and will not until they have to face this same journey.  Just know you are going to make it - you will get through this but it takes time.  God bless you Tess.


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