Chuck, I am so sorry for your loss and you now having to join us on the rollercoaster called grief. We seem to be a family on this forum since we all have something in common. We pass no judgements and offer our own experiences to help guide others in their grief. We are all in different stages of grief but grieving nonetheless.
Your feelings of not being with your mate at the end is normal along with your lists of first to be experienced. Sometimes in order to move forward it might be beneficial if you put your feelings in writing to Larry telling him your deepest feelings, explain everything to him as if he were sitting there with you. For some reason, this exercise assists in the grieving process because you are no longer holding in your feelings but you are able to express them.
When I went through my firsts I found the anticipation of the upcoming day was far worse then living those days. But for each occasion I did something special in my husband's honer, I inscribed on a balloon how much I loved him and missed him and sent it into the heavens. There is something about watching a balloon sailing into the open sky that just is comforting to me. I hope this little advise will ease your pain.
Many people do not understand our grief, it is extremely difficult to reinvent oneself when you have lost the other half of feeling whole but for some reason we find a way to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Grieving such as ours is a baby step process so take your time. Sending hugs, Jane P.
Hi Chuck. first let me say how sorry I am for your loss. I lost my husband Ken to cancer in March of this year. Shortly afterward came my birthday, his birthday, and our wedding anniversary. those days were hard but you do get through them. I am quite new to this website myself and haven't really done any posting. One of the things that has been helpful to me is knowing some other widows in my community. We talk about grieving of course, but many other things as well. Please don't blame yourself for not being there when Larry died, I am certain he knew that he was loved.
all the best, Jeanne from Canada
My heartfelt condolence to you. The death of a beloved spouse is one of the most devastating and scarring of all human experiences. You have come to the right place; here we understand what a monumental loss it is and can fully relate to the unspeakable pain and anguish you are experiencing.
I, too, lost my beloved husband Joseph to (lung) cancer in August 2014. He was the love of my life and I don't know if I will ever feel whole again. If I could, I would end my life today, but I can't bring myself to take my own life, hence I continue to "live'" on.
On March 15th Joseph would have turned 50. I am five years older than Joseph, so that he didn't even make it to fifty has been a huge source of added pain and regret. For a week or so leading up to his birthday, my was pain was totally unbearable, more so than usual.
To remember Joseph on his milestone birthday I organized a cancer fundraiser dinner at a local restaurant. 30 of our friends, students, and colleagues attended, and I raised $1300 that I donated to the American Cancer Society. In the end the dinner became more of a celebration of life than a sad event. Of course it was extremely hard for me, but at the same time it was also comforting to organize the fundraiser. I also bought a dozen red roses (we always gave each other roses on our birthdays and anniversaries) and opened a bottle of champagne with a few close friends and drank to his wonderful memory.
I intend to continue having a fundraiser for cancer every year to honor Joseph's memory. So many people know someone or have a family member who has/had cancer, so organizing a fundraiser for cancer is something many people want to take part in, and maybe will even help with organizing.
Also, I have established a memorial scholarship fund in Joseph's name. He was a professor of Philosophy and was one of the most beloved profs on our campus. By doing these things I feel that Joseph's legacy lives on and continues to touch the lives of others.
I can only wish you courage and strength as you face the first birthday of your beloved husband after his passing. Please know that I will hold you in my thoughts and will be sending you prayers and vibes of peace and healing. Hang in there!
My deepest condolences of the loss of your husband Larry. We do understand your pain. My husband Ernie died of pancreatic cancer April 27, 2011 in Hospice. I wanted to stay with him all night long the afternoon he was admitted from hospital to Hospice. He was adamant I didn't stay and I asked him 3 times as he was on medication for pain and I could see he was gasping for breath. I asked him several times if he wanted oxygen and he refused each time. Deep down I knew that he was soul weary and had given up and he had made his own decision to pass away on his terms. The hardest thing I ever had to do was give him permission to pass into a more peaceful place free of pain. I do believe he was hanging on for me. Like you, it still can haunt me every so often as to why he didn't want me there as we were so very close. Now I have come to realize while some terminal people prefer family around many prefer to pass away alone and others unfortunately pass away far too suddenly. I did study the dying process and there were different levels so whether you were there or not your beloved went so quickly he would not have known you were there or not. Please don't let it eat away at you because I do believe for at least awhile they are right there with us to be sure we are getting stronger and able to stand on our own two feet going down this horrific road of grief.
My Ernie was just 65 years old and I was 4 years older. He was a strapping 6' 6" tall man and seldom was ill. I would have never guessed he would have gone before me. He passed away before our 40th Wedding Anniversary that August and a special birthday for me in January the following year and I dearly missed him. I have to say for a year I was in shock and just went through the motions, but after that reality began to set in and although it's painful it does make us stronger and we grow from that. Like Jane P said the balloons are a wonderful idea and I do this on Valentine's Day and on our wedding anniversary. Trina also gave you some good tips to honor Larry. I honor my husband in a different way. He so loved to garden and had his special garden rockery which I keep up to this day. I also volunteer for a dog shelter, go to Bible Study once a week and do a whole lot of praying. Some days I feel I am almost healed from grief and suddenly something will remind me of my sweetheart and I still can have the odd good cry, but for the most part these episodes are growing further apart. I am learning little by little to embrace life as best I can.
I hope you keep posting to us because this forum and the wonderful members on it (I call them my angels) got me through very hard times and I don't think I could have made it otherwise.
We open our wings to you, to hold you close when tears come or your heart feels like it's coming out of your chest. We understand!
Big hugs (because you need it.)
My most heartfelt gratitude to you all who have accepted my, understand my feelings and fears, and are sharing your stories and suggestions for Larry's approaching birthday. I feel I may be able to face the day feeling stronger and definitely not alone. I now plan to purchase a blue balloon the day before and release it on Friday inscribed with my love for him and promise that I won't give up - something I was so fortunate to be able to say to him when he visited my hospital room the day beforehe passed. I cling to the memory of his smile and tears when he said to me "we're both going to get through this together" and told me he loved me for the last time. Something started to occur when I finally came home from the hospital - it was over a week before the visiting nurses would allow me to venture outdoors unassisted as I was using a walker and taking medications that cause dizziness. The first day I sat in the yard alone I was crying for him and from the sky a beautiful bluejay feather lander at my feet. Larry loved watching the birds at our feeder, and especially the bluejays since blue was his favorite color. I know how this may sound, but I know i my heart that feather was from Larry to let me know he was watching over me, and to this day I find feathers in the strangest places, and it always seems to be when I'm missing him so much I fell I can't go on. It's as though he's reminding me that I promised to not give up, and so finding this wonderful safe haven filled with such compassionate souls watching over each other is truly a gift for which I am grateful beyond words. I've told Larry I've found some friends to help me and I wouldn't be surprized if some of you find a feather from Larry saying "thank you for helping Chuck". Bless you all, Chuck
Chuck, welcome to the world of unanswered phenomenal occurrences. I could be sitting in church and out of nowhere minute feathers would just float by me, and it was summertime so there was no down to be found. Less then 2 months after my husband passed I had to celebrate my birthday alone but he made my day special because I found a birthday card he had ready to give me if he lived. Six months later it was our wedding anniversary and the first I would be celebrating alone I found a card he sent me over 24 years ago while we were dating (long distant relationship) and the card was entitled When The Time is Right We Will Be Together and inside he inscribed, when the time is right we WILL be together for eternity. So yes Chuck I do believe Larry is sending you messages all you need to do is believe.
When I first joined this group it was referred to as triggers and they can come in many ways and at any time. Some would tell stories of the smell of camp fires, a special song just playing out of nowhere, a few words just jumping out of a song, feathers dropping out of nowhere, butterflies.... Unless one has experienced a loss such as ours they will never understand the meaning of your feather and yes I do believe it was Larry letting you know he is OK. Hugs, Jane P.
Chuck ... I was literally awestruck about the Blue jay feather. The very day Ernie passed away I came home with a close friend who was my moral support, but I sent her home. I was in a daze and found myself walking out into the garden. I was standing there looking at a rose when a Blue Jay swooped down dropping one feather. Ernie also loved birds (his favorite were red-breasted Robins) and he could name off any bird that flew by. Without thinking I picked the feather up and kept it and still have it although it's lost it's color. I do believe that was Larry letting you know he was just fine and still around you giving you strength as it was for me. I have no children and a small immediate family and sometimes life can get very over-whelming. I would sometimes just cry out of frustration at not being able to get the help I actually needed a strong man to do and also missing Ernie so much and strangely enough the phone would ring and it would be someone we knew offering to help. I do believe that was Ernie knowing how much I needed the help. You are not crazy thinking that feather is from Larry. Ernie and I would have a special Christmas Eve together with our 2 dogs. The first Christmas Eve without him I was wrapping gifts on the coffee table and I looked over by the wall unit and there was Ernie smiling down at us with his elbow resting on the wall unit. He wasn't in solid form and it was like millions of bright stars made up his body, but he was recognizable. I wasn't afraid and smiled, but it's almost as if I expected it and I felt a warm sense of peace come over me. Then he was gone, but it proved to me he came around every so often to check in sort of speak. I don't care if people think I'm seeing things or it just doesn't happen because no one knows what happens after death. I do believe their spirit can linger behind to be sure for a short tie we are doing OK.
Believe Chuck that Larry is around. He will leave little signs here and there. It's not your imagination.
Charles E. Nelson said:
Oh my - Marcy and Jane P., thank you for sharing your beautiful stories with me - when I tell the friends and neighbors who are physically close by and check-up on me that I talked to Larry or felt him around me, and especially about the feathers, they smile sympathetically, pat my shoulder, and tactfully ask if I'm sure I'm taking the correct doses of my meds or if it was possible I was napping and dreamed it. Rather than get agitated I just smile and say that they are probably right - it was probably a dream. They leave assured I haven't jumped my trolley, and I sit quietly and wonder if maybe I actually have done just that. Thank you for showing me that I'm not alone in these experiences because I have always believed that love is the greatest most precious gift we are given in this life and transcends mortal boundaries. Although in our vows before the official who performed our ceremony Larry and I said 'til death due us part, I made everyone giggle when I said "and then some!" Then I smiled at him and said "oh you're not getting rid of me that easy - God help you, you poor fool - now you're stuck with me for eternity". He looked at the mayor and asked if it was too late to take it back, and that's when everyone burst into laughter. It was only us, two wittnesses,the mayor and her secretary present, but as we were leaving and thanking her for being willing to officiate for us(many local mayors had clearly stated they would turn away any same-sex couples who asked for a civil union), she said although it was a small ceremony, our love for one another filled the room and she thanked us for inviting her to be a part of it. Our 32nd anniversary was August 27, and I went out early and bought one perfect red rose for Larry -the florist in the grocery store kept asking if she could help me but I said I'd know the right one when I saw it. At home I placed it next to our photo in the living room and went out to the yard and sat talking to Larry for a while, then looked around at the trees and flowers and the sun just cresting the mountain behind our home. It was a beautiful day and I decided to carefully walk down our steep driveway for the paper when I stopped and looked up saying"really Larry? No feather today of all days - and after I went out just for your rose!" I went around the corner of the house, and there in the driveway - all by itself - shining in the single sunbeam coming through the trees - was one perfect 18 inch long wild turkey feather, it's beautiful irridescent colors reflecting the sun right into my eyes. It took my breath away - he was there with me showing me he still loved me even though we were separated for now. I keep it in my studio with my other feathers, and only show it to the few people who I know will believe in the enduring power of love as I do. I hope that just as I heal a little bit with each story that is shared with me, that soon I will be able to give some solace and hope to others who are just embarking on this strange path we all seem to share. I am soon 7 months along and while I am still terribly frightened and lonely so often, I can tell anyone who doesn't think they will survive their loss that you will and the friends here, of which I hope I am considered to be one, will listen with open minds and hearts, and as Jane P. so kindly expressed to me in my first reply, without judgements. Here you are safe - a beautiful feeling when you are wounded and need to heal. thanks to all, Chuck
I just want to reiterate what was said here by Jane, Marsha, and Chuck. People who have not endured the loss of their soulmate, their most beloved life-partner, do not have the foggiest idea that it is possible to feel their presence after they have passed. As Chuck put it, true love like the one that we had the great fortune of sharing with our beloved spouse transcends all boundaries, including that of death. Within a day or two after Joseph's passing I received signs from Joseph that I understood as him telling me that he is OK and that he is watching over me.
Fortunately for me, my family members are open to spiritual experiences and they always believe/d me when I tell/told them of my experiences. But many others who are not open to these spiritual and other-worldly phenomena looked at me with pity and concern when at first I told them about these signs. Very soon I stopped telling those people about my deeply personal experiences b/c they aren't capable of understanding. They are well-meaning and supportive, but these signs and experiences are beyond their level of comprehension. So Chuck, yes, Larry is sending you signs to let you know that he is around you even though you can't see him. Our dearly beloved departed ones continue to look out for us and they find ways of sending us signs that they know we will be able to know are from them.
What you say here Chuck is so true. We were among those very few who had the rare gift of a beautiful and deep love. And for that I am deeply grateful. Of course, I wish that Joseph and I were granted many more years than the 19 we were given, but that we did receive the gift of love in each other is something that I will always give thanks for. Not everyone is so fortunate.
Chuck ... Even grief counseling will tell you seeing or hearing things is your imagination, but I never bought that for a second. What do they know about the afterlife! I love the story you told when you were getting married. You write so well Chuck (like reading a fine novel) and have you ever considered writing? I think writing about your own story with Larry would be wonderful and give hope to others.
No one would ever judge you on here. Love is love and grief is grief with it's monogamous or a gay marriage and the truth is, no one has ever thought less of this on this forum. There is someone else on this forum (will leave it up to them to contact you if they so choose) who also has lost his husband. So no fears here my friend. Your pain of loss and grief is just as important. Never forget that.
How wonderful about the beautiful red rose and finding that feather from Larry and there you have it my friend, his spirit is still around you.
Believe it or not Chuck you have already started to help others by telling your story and we thank you for sharing it with us.
Of course you are a friend on here and I refer to them as 'my angels.' When one is down others come around with words of encouragement and you can almost feel the cyber hugs.
Jane is so right and we do not pass judgment on anyone here. Warm hearts reach out to each other as we all travel this sometimes frightening and lonely grief we each experience. It does get better Chuck so for now just keep posting your thoughts and you'll experience the healing from this forum.
Chuck, we all come here because we all have one thing in common 'grief'. As death does not discriminate either do we. We are all trying to put one foot in front of the other and when one of us falters there is someone on here who will lend a kind word of encouragement to pick you back up.
Unless people understand our loss they will never understand our phenomenal experiences. They feel for us but have moved on with their normal lives. We, on the other hand, are struggling to figure out how to live as one or how do you pick up pieces of our lives and start over.
I took care of my husband for almost 2 years and when he passed I felt as though I hit a wall at 200 MPH, my crazy life for those months just stopped. But before that we were more then partners we were friends we shared our world together and it just stopped. I hate every day of being here without him but I am and I need to make the most of what life I do have and do it for him and me. It is a baby step process so take your time and keep looking I am sure there are many more feathers to be found. HUGS, Jane P.