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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I am so sorry for your loss Karen.  Your words sound like I could have written them, I lost my husband eleven months ago and I feel incomplete and empty.  I miss him so much and miss the strength that he gave me.  I feel for you and hope it helps that there are people who understand, who are living the feelings you have every day.  I don't know how to get rid of the emptiness, I try to fill my days with activity but at the end of the day I am still missing the most important person in my life and I become sorrowful.  Hang on to your memories and when they make you smile be grateful for it is a good feeling.  Hugs and tears.

Karen:

Early after losing Molly, I envisioned this void you describe as a huge hole in the road and my grief work as shoring up the sides of the hole and building bridges across it.  Shoring to allow me to get close to the hole without fear of falling in and the bridges to allow me to cross the hole.  This hole will always be with me, but with the healing that comes with grief, I should be able to co-exist with it.

I have come to seeing the building of bridges as building stronger relationships with friends and family to reconnect me with the world.  Very much like you described your relationship with Ed, Molly was my connection and without her I have felt adrift.  After 32 years of marriage and 35 years of friendship, our connection was so ingrained and second nature that I lost the sense of how to really build the strong relationships.  Discussions in my bereavement group and thinking back on how Molly and I bonded, it is now clear that to build the strong relations takes an investment of emotional energy. 

I have come to see the shoring up the sides of the hole as working on the "would have/should have/could haves" so that I come to a sense of peace with life that we had together.  We did not get to grow old together but what we had was good and needs be celebrated for what it was, and not regretted for what it was not.

Nothing ever fills that void. It becomes smaller as we fill ourselves with other things but nothing replaces that shared love. My husband was my soulmate. Nothing and no one can replace him but as I go about my life, living our shared values, the pain of that void seems to diminish.

Mike,

thank you for sharing your experience.  I'm glad you were able to envision, if not a solution to the void, a way of co-existing with it.  I'm usually very good at seeing a problem or obstacle and envisioning the solution for fixing or removing it, but so far I haven't been able to do that.  I think I'm still wandering in the fog so to speak and often fall into that void. I will keep your words in my mind and try to envision it as you have.  I have, however, come to the same conclusion as you as far as the need for strong new and existing relationships to reconnect me to the world.  I have felt disconnected and I am working on those relationships to keep me tethered.  The problem is that I am often so emotionally exhausted from grief that I have little energy to spend on those relationships.  I know what I should do, I know what I need to do, but the truth is that I am often paralyzed by sorrow.  But I keep trying and I always expect that tomorrow I will be stronger and I'm sure one of these tomorrows I will be.      
 
MikeF said:

Karen:

Early after losing Molly, I envisioned this void you describe as a huge hole in the road and my grief work as shoring up the sides of the hole and building bridges across it.  Shoring to allow me to get close to the hole without fear of falling in and the bridges to allow me to cross the hole.  This hole will always be with me, but with the healing that comes with grief, I should be able to co-exist with it.

I have come to seeing the building of bridges as building stronger relationships with friends and family to reconnect me with the world.  Very much like you described your relationship with Ed, Molly was my connection and without her I have felt adrift.  After 32 years of marriage and 35 years of friendship, our connection was so ingrained and second nature that I lost the sense of how to really build the strong relationships.  Discussions in my bereavement group and thinking back on how Molly and I bonded, it is now clear that to build the strong relations takes an investment of emotional energy. 

I have come to see the shoring up the sides of the hole as working on the "would have/should have/could haves" so that I come to a sense of peace with life that we had together.  We did not get to grow old together but what we had was good and needs be celebrated for what it was, and not regretted for what it was not.

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