My name is Karen. My husband's name is Ed. Today marks 3months since he died of cancer after being diagnosed less than a year before. He was my strength, my best friend, the love of my life, my soul mate. My life without him is incredibly empty. I go through the motions. I get up, go to work, smile and show a brave face to the world, see my friends, take a class, carry on with the business of living, but without my Ed, I'm incomplete. I don't know exactly who I am without him. My friends love to tell me how Ive always been such a strong woman, they know I'll get through this. What they don't understand is that I was able to be strong only because Ed was always behind me, encouraging me, cheering me on, watching my back. The most awful thing is to know that there is no longer anyone in this whole world who loves me the way he did, who will watch out for me like he did, no one I can trust and depend on as I did Ed. The awful aloneness of it. I have two wonderful children who do all they can to support and encourage me, I have good friends, and I love them all dearly. But all of them together can't come close to filling the void Ed's death has created. No one, nothing fills it.

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So sorry for yr loss. But you've come to the right place
for solace. First thing I would suggest is u go to a Bereavement
class' if u aren't doing that yet. Preferably one specific to yr needs
Yr hospital can recommend one. There is a lot of good advice on here
fm everyone.....

DesertDove

Dear Karen  -- I am so very sorry for your loss -- empty words, I know -- words, I am sure you have heard hundreds of times over the last 3 months.  But, here in this Legacy forum, we all really understand what that loss means.  And we have each been where you are  --

I lost my Chirs, 11 months ago, to cancer.  Like your Ed, for you, Chris was my strength, my soul mate, the great love of my life.  As you say, nothing and no one fills the void his death created.  We lose not only the most precious person in our life -- but, the very life we planned and expected to live out with our partner.  We struggle to maintain something of the life we had -- but, without our partner it all seems so meaningless.  We have days when we try hard to go on -- and days when we just give in to the tears.  We are tortured by memories that we never want to lose -- because the memories are all we have left of them.   Day by awful day, we put one foot in front of the other, only because we didn't die with our beloved, though it feels as if we had.

Little by little, it gets -- not easier, never that -- but, less raw. less intense, less all-consuming.  We never "get over" our loss -- but we become this woman (or man) who has seen great sorrow, and it changes us.  I believe, for those of us who allow ourselves to truly experience our grief -- those of us who do not run from it, but stand firm as it threatens to swallow us up -- we are changed in positive ways.  We develop a depth of character, an understanding of life and death, and an eventual, not acceptance, but a coming to terms with our loss.

Finally, we understand that death is irrevocable -- we cannot put back what has been lost -- then, very slowly, we begin to try to see what is left -- what we can make of it -- 

You ARE strong , Karen.  You will come through.  It will not be easy.  It will definitely be lonely.  You will be, forever changed.  But, you will make it through.

I wish you peace and comfort -- and send you, Hugs!

Barbara

I am so sorry Karen.  I feel your pain.  I lost my husband 2 months ago in a tragic industrial accident.  I couldn't have said better what you said about how you feel, and I'm right there with you.  Lost in a silent world it seems.  The void is unbearable, and I don't think I have any words of wisdom or answers but I just wanted you to know that I share your thoughts and feelings.  The world is a different place now, and I don't like it without the love of my life.  Nothing seems to matter or feel the same.  Its like you're living the life of a robot and people are telling you things but the one person you need to hear from or talk to is the one missing.  You are so right about the void nothing can fill.  Even with all the people in my life who try to comfort me the most comfort I've been able to get from anywhere is the past few days on this website hearing stories of people in this lonely group we're now a part of. We're all part of a group missing our mates, our partners, the one we chose to grow old and spend our lives with.  I hope we get to talk more.  This site has somehow pulled together those of us who all share a common bond--a very sad one at that.  I admire those who seem to have regained some strength and acceptance.  I'm certainly not there but I admire those that are.  I hope I can figure out how to continue this journey that has become so sad and lonely and I wish you the best. 

Karen, I lost my wife one week short of our 32nd anniversary last April 15th,so we are on similar life paths. I will tell the next year is going to be tough, I am actually getting to the point of moving on with my life in real time.I know exactly how you feel with "going through the motions", but it is hard and the holidays and anniversaries will be tough.I have actually started to date a little bit and I know some people find that hard to do but it will makeyou heal better with the right person. I would encourage you to do what I did, one of my wifes Dr's suggested that I contact our local Hospice greiving counselors. It was the best thing that happened to me. After six to eight weeks of one on one therapy, my therapist suggested that I join the group grieving support group for an eight week period. There were eight of us and we realized in these sessions how much we each had gone through very similar feelings.It was an amazing group and after our "Graduation" we still meet independently once a month for dinner/disscusion. We even had one couple start dating each other towars the end of the meetings. I know we all have heard the term "Time heals" but it is true, but hold onto those wonderful memories of Ed and work towards moving on and finding new happiness. God Speed my friend!

JJ

Terry, I'm so very sorry.  To lose your husband so suddenly must have been such an awful shock.  Although I don't suppose any amount of time can ever prepare us for losing a husband or wife. For 25 years I was this person who shared a life and a home and a family and dreams and plans with another and now he's gone. I just don't know what to do with that.  My mind knows that Ed is never coming home.  But my heart still looks for him and listens for him. As you say, its like being lost in a silent world.  I thank you for listening and I wish you the best also.  

Terry Kent said:

I am so sorry Karen.  I feel your pain.  I lost my husband 2 months ago in a tragic industrial accident.  I couldn't have said better what you said about how you feel, and I'm right there with you.  Lost in a silent world it seems.  The void is unbearable, and I don't think I have any words of wisdom or answers but I just wanted you to know that I share your thoughts and feelings.  The world is a different place now, and I don't like it without the love of my life.  Nothing seems to matter or feel the same.  Its like you're living the life of a robot and people are telling you things but the one person you need to hear from or talk to is the one missing.  You are so right about the void nothing can fill.  Even with all the people in my life who try to comfort me the most comfort I've been able to get from anywhere is the past few days on this website hearing stories of people in this lonely group we're now a part of. We're all part of a group missing our mates, our partners, the one we chose to grow old and spend our lives with.  I hope we get to talk more.  This site has somehow pulled together those of us who all share a common bond--a very sad one at that.  I admire those who seem to have regained some strength and acceptance.  I'm certainly not there but I admire those that are.  I hope I can figure out how to continue this journey that has become so sad and lonely and I wish you the best. 

Hello Karen, on Sunday it will be 1 month I lost the love of my life, I feel your pain because so far I have not been able to stop crying since Feb 9th, not getting any easier, on the contrary for me, the longer the time the worse the longing at least for me, you are so right when u say that friends just can't fill the void we feel with our loss, I can't even begin to think of my future without my husband, we were married 33 yrs this past October but we were together for over 40, high school sweethearts, we have 2 wonder sons & every body tells me, u need to be strong for them, not realizing that they both can look towards a beautiful future with their respective others, my oldest is married & the youngest is getting married in July, but people don't realize that we have been left with the void u mentioned, I feel lost, like a piece of my heart has been cut away from my body, I am so sorry for your loss, how terrible that we need to meet thru this group that nobody would ever like to join, but glad it is here so that I don't feel so lonely.

Elvira Castellanos

  • Elvira, I am very sorry for your loss and I'm sorry I have no encouraging words for you. Like you, I also cannot imagine a future without my husband. It is still so unreal to me.  I keep expecting to hear his voice or see him when I enter a room.  And you are so right about our children having their own lives and futures and that is how it should be.  My children are very supportive and loving, but even they do not understand the depth of my sadness and loneliness.  As I read the posts of others on this site however I am coming to realize that there are others who understand the pain and sadness.  It's good to know there is a place where we are not alone in our grief and I think it's a good thing that we found our way here I wish you a peaceful night and I hope tomorrow will be just a little easier for us both.  

Elvira Castellanos said:

Karen, on Sunday it will be 1 month I lost the love of my life, I feel your pain because so far I have not been able to stop crying since Feb 9th, not getting any easier, on the contrary for me, the longer the time the worse the longing at least for me, you are so right when u say that friends just can't fill the void we feel with our loss, I can't even begin to think of my future without my husband, we were married 33 yrs this past October but we were together for over 40, high school sweethearts, we have 2 wonder sons & every body tells me, u need to be strong for them, not realizing that they both can look towards a beautiful future with their respective others, my oldest is married & the youngest is getting married in July, but people don't realize that we have been left with the void u mentioned, I feel lost, like a piece of my heart has been cut away from my body, I am so sorry for your loss, how terrible that we need to meet thru this group that nobody would ever like to join, but glad it is here so that I don't feel so lonely.

Elvira Castellanos

Thank you Barbara for your kind words. You have expressed so well how and what I am feeling and I have to tell you how good it feels to be understood! My friends and family try hard to help and I appreciate their efforts, but they really have no idea what this is like. I am trying to take one day at a time, waking in the morning and telling myself, just worry about today, you can do one day. I try to keep busy but there is no escaping the reality. I try to look at what my future will be and it is inconceivable to me that Ed will not be sharing it. The years that stretch out before me look dark and lonely. The most difficult time of day is at night when I go to bed alone and all of my thoughts and feelings and whys and what ifs plague me. I have come to dread that time. Sometimes I so long for the sound of his voice! Before he became too sick he would always call me during the day just to say hi. If I didn't answer he would leave a message. I found one of those messages on my cell phone and sometimes I will listen to it over and over so that I know it by heart..."hi honey. I just called to see what you're up to. That's all, nothing urgent. I love you." To say I miss him isn't enough to describe the feeling. I long for him, for his voice, his company, his smile. Thank you again for sharing your experience. I do so look forward to a time when this pain has dulled and memories can make me smile instead of cry.

Karen -- you wrote about "the years that stretch out ahead -- so dark and lonely".  I have felt that -- still feel that  -- and what I think is this -- we must re-make our future.  

We knew with some certainty what our future would be when we were part of a couple.  We had plans and dreams, spoken or unspoken, with our partner by our side.  We could imagine ourselves as empty-nesters, as retirees, as old guys and gals, together.  Together!  That was the one thing we could not imagine -- being alone.  

I have read here on Legacy about the need to re-invent ourselves, and, with just 11 months of "alone" behind me, I already realize the truth in what they say about that "re-inventing" business.  

When nothing makes sense without him -- when the old plans and dreams will not work -- without him.  I must begin, at some point, (not now, not yet) to imagine myself going forward -- alone.  As difficult as that may seem to me, now -- I clearly recognize that, without him, almost none of what we planned, together, will work for just me, alone.  And, I still mourn and grieve that future that we can never have.

It is only recently that I have begun to think about this -- and I have a lot of thinking to do.  

The positive aspect is that I finally recognize that I can, and probably will, go on, without him.  That's something I did not believe for a very long time.  Still find hard to believe on my bad days.

Anyway -- this is where I am, and I know there are those who have traveled this path before me -- and those who, like me, did not believe they would ever find this place.  I hope for words of wisdom and support from the former, and pray that it gives hope to the latter.

Hugs to all

Barbara 

Dear Karen ...  I am so very sorry for your loss.  All the words you resonated reminded me of how I felt when my husband Ernie passed away April, 2011 from pancreatic cancer. We weren't able to have children and I only have a small immediate family.  I found at first all our friends were there for me, but at the months passed many deserted me and I now only have a handful.  At grief counseling the members were warned of this. 

Ernie was all the things to me that Ed was to you.  Now I find it difficult to be as strong as I once one, have the confidence and vibrancy I had when he was here always encouraging me and making me feel safe. 

On Legacy we all understand what you are feeling.  The first year is a fog-like state, the second year for me the reality set in and I began to slowly accept the fact my dear Ernie was not coming back and going into my third year I have more energy and realize I have to move forward in his memory as he taught me so many good qualities and I want to help others because of it.

Grief seems so cruel to many of us, but, we do gain strength from it.  We can be in a roomful of family or friends and still feel lonely, but, even though some people don't like the term, time does heal the heart-wrenching loss of our spouses, but the memories and our love for them will never fade.  We first feel there is no future without them, but slowly we begin to reinvent who we are and life becomes more tolerable.

I am sorry you have to be on this forum, but you couldn't have come to a better place because everyone on here knows the pain you are going through and you can vent in posts without the fear of judgment.  We are here to hold each other up.  I don't know how I would have made it this far without the loving support of the members on this forum and I relate to them as my extended family and I hope you will feel the same and keep posting.

Hugs

Marsha

Thank you Marsha for your reply and for your condolences.  I don't know what I expected to find at this site, if anything.  I've kind of been just floundering, unsure of what was expected of me, unsure of what comes next.  I am determined not to be someone that others feel sorry for and feel they need to take care of and as a result, I probably hold people at bay and fail to ask for help when I need it.  Perhaps that is what drew me to this group.  It is such a relief to be able to express exactly what I am feeling and not feel judged or have someone smother me with their good intentions.  I am encouraged to know that I am not alone in what I am experiencing, that these feelings of anger and fear and the overwhelming sadness and loneliness are "normal."  It is an encouragement also to hear from those like yourself who have traveled further down the path and are surviving and learning to cope.  I have to say that you are not the first one here who has used the term "re-invent yourself."   I understand the concept, but for the life of me, I don't know where to start!  My husband was my anchor and our relationship was the center from which everything else emanated.  We defined each other.  Where is my center now?  What am I anchored to?  That's my big question - who am I now?   I'm no longer married although I still feel like Ed's wife, I'm no longer half of a couple, I'm nothing that I recognize any more.  I seem to be floating in a vast nowhere. 
 
Marsha H said:

Dear Karen ...  I am so very sorry for your loss.  All the words you resonated reminded me of I felt when my husband Ernie passed away April, 2011 from pancreatic cancer. We weren't able to have children and I only have a small immediate family.  I found at first all our friends were there for me, but at the months passed many deserted me and I now only have a handful.  At grief counseling the members were warned of this. 

Ernie was all the things to me that Ed was to you.  Now I find it difficult to be as strong as I once one, have the confidence and vibrancy I had when he was here always encouraging me and making me feel safe. 

On Legacy we all understand what you are feeling.  The first year is a fog-like state, the second year for me the reality set in and I began to slowly accept the fact my dear Ernie was not coming back and going into my third year I have more energy and realize I have to move forward in his memory as he taught me so many good qualities and I want to help others because of it.

Grief seems so cruel to many of us, but, we do gain strength from it.  We can be in a roomful of family or friends and still feel lonely, but, even though some people don't like the term, time does heal the heart-wrenching loss of our spouses, but the memories and our love for them will never fade.  We first feel there is no future without them, but slowly we begin to reinvent who we are and life becomes more tolerable.

I am sorry you have to be on this forum, but you couldn't have come to a better place because everyone on here knows the pain you are going through and you can vent in posts without the fear of judgment.  We are here to hold each other up.  I don't know how I would have made it this far without the loving support of the members on this forum and I relate to them as my extended family and I hope you will feel the same and keep posting.

Hugs

Marsha

Dear Karen ...  It is normal to flounder in the first year of grieving because most of us were just in a state of shock and disbelief. It is also normal not to be use to asking for help; it's foreign to us because our spouses were our rock, but eventually in time you will be able to reach out and ask for help with certain things you need help with and learn to keep your dignity intact and also your independence. At first I detested asking for help and did hold people at bay, but at the same time it led others to believe I was doing just fine in my grieving and I wasn't.  We never knew what true grief was until our spouses passed away and it feels as if we were sudden riding a Tsunami wave and tossed up on shore battered and bewildered.  When I finally learned to reach out for help with certain things that needed fixing inside/outside the house and was open about my feelings to family and a few loyal friends that remained by my side I felt much better. I reminded myself that my husband and I were often there for family and friends going through a rough time.  I am so glad you can see that fear, heartache and loneliness while grieving is very normal.  Grief comes in steps and each person is different in their grief.  There was no book of instructions we could follow to prepare us for this type of grief so it's important we reach out to those we trust. Into my 3rd year I can still have relapses, but not as bad as I have had them.  To re-invent oneself is not what I prefer to call it and what I did was take an hour of quiet one day, lay back and close my eyes and then go back to the time I was single before I met my husband.  He fell in  love with that person and little by little I realized I was still me, but I've never forgotten how my husband enriched my life and as I said before, my hero, my rock and we were extremely close for 45 years.  I won't say it hasn't been hard at my age (retired) to make new friends and eventually feel I would like a companion to just go out for dinner, walks, etc., but still don't know if I'm ready for that.  There are times I feel I have almost conquered this grief and times I feel very lonely and don't really know what life have to offer me.  I keep moving one baby step at a time. 

It is religion, the Bible and society that dictates that we are no longer married, but to me I will always be married to my husband as he was my life.  You can't love that intensely and just 'change things' as if they never existed.  I go on in his memory as I know he would want me to be happy.  For now you grieve, you will slowly begin to reach out to family and a few loyal friends and express yourself and still be able to hold your head high.  As much as I don't like the term time really is the factor and without realizing it little by little you will become a little more comfortable being on your own and eventually learn to enjoy life once again and there is a future for you.  I know none of this seems possible for you at this time, but it will happen.  For now let the anger out, rest, exercise, eat well and drink lots of water as crying can dehydrate you so quickly.  These seem like menial things, but they are not.  You will know when it's time to reach out for any help you may need. 

Hang in there hon, things do get better.

Hugs

Marsha 

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