Tonight I managed 4 hours of sleep. It was good uninterrupted sleep but I find myself awake at 4am
Much of the problem relates to 20 years as night nursing supervisor but I never hsd trouble sleeping on my nights off before Al died
Now I find I can't fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
I feel safer if I sleep from 5am to noon

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I guess we just take it in very small steps one at a time. Often I just don't want to gp forward without Al with me. He too focused much time focused on making life comfortable for us ad I was still working.

Dear Loralynn -- It has only been a month since your husband died -- and, I can relate to every word you wrote -- though, my Chris has been gone for 8 months.  You are getting through, one day at a time, just like all of us who have lost our best friend, our love.

You are so strong -- though I am sure you don't feel strong.  You have managed so much -- taking care of John through his last illness -- managing the memorial -- taking care of the business end of things.  

I have struggled these 8 months to accomplish what you have done in only one.

But, I know and understand, sometimes it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and doing what needs to be done -- almost on automatic pilot, is how I see it.  As we go along, coping, somehow -- others don't see that we are falling apart, inside.  We appear to be stronger than we feel.  

Chris and I were together for 20 years -- we both have children from previous marriages -- but, all our children were adults by the time we met, and it was just us -- together. Like you and John.   We shared a wonderful 20 years -- and he was my world, my purpose and reason for living.  I have felt -- as you said -- that I don't want  to go on without him -- don't know how to live without him. 

Loralynn, you and I were blessed to be loved, cherished, by good men.  As you said -- many go their entire lives and never know what it is to be loved that way -- thank you for reminding me of that.

I hope you will come to this forum often -- your courage inspires me.

Sending hugs and prayers.

Barb


Dear Barbara,  It feel so good to be heard and understood.  Today is another gorgeous Autumn day here in the Carolinas.  The sky is a brilliant blue, there are just enough clouds to make the sky seem bluer by contrast.  And the trees are wearing their brightest colored leaves, showing off to anyone with eyes and heart to see God's artistry in nature.  This is just the kind of brisk Autumn day that John would say,  "Lets go for a drive today"  He'd grab his coat, I'd grab my sweater.  He'd fuss that I was going to catch cold.  I'd tease him that I didn't have to 'catch cold' all we had to do was open the door and the cold outside would "catch us".  With a grin, He'd say something like "Okay Eloise, let's go but don't come pouting to me when you don't feel well"  Eloise was my mother. She died in 2003.  John loved her dearly, and he loved the quirky little things she'd say and often told me how much he thought I was like her.  I loved hearing it and at times only wished it were more true. My mother was a sweet, selfless woman who always put my father, my sister and me before herself.  Our happiness was hers. 

I did the same thing when Momma as my mother grew sicker and weaker, first at home and then when Daddy simply could not physically take care of all her needs any longer, at the nursing home .. i fully expected her to get better and return home one day.. soon.  John ever so gently tried to get me to see how ill she was and as she grew sicker he would say more often, "lets go to Georgia and see Eloise."  He did all that he could to make certain I would not feel as much guilt as I could have had he not prompted the last few trips.  John had cared for his mother when she was dying of cancer years prior and he just seemed to know Momma didn't have much longer to be with us.   But not me, 'head-in-the-clouds' as John would tease me..  forever the optimist I was positive she'd be back home again with Daddy... one day very soon.  

I hurt when my mother died and I missed her.  Probably not as much as I would have had I still been living close to her when she died, but I did miss her..  still do.   But the grief i dealt with when Momma died was nothing, a slight bruise on my emotions compared with the all consuming, devastation I feel every morning that I wake up and John isn't laying next to me... every night when he no longer reaches to take my hand before he falls asleep, every day that I no longer get to hear his warm, sexy voice...  my heart aches with a yearning no thing and no one living can fill.  

Well, I hear he telling me.. 'come on honey, first things first, please get working on choosing a medigap plan, take care of the business of living, sweetheart. "

You said something about me having accomplished so much in a month...  John is to be praised and thanked for making it all so easy.  A couple of years back he firmly insisted that I make a list of all the places I would need to notify if he died, put a star beside those he knew I would need a death certificate for and over the last couple of years he has had me add different things to a folder in our filing cabinet that I labled "After Life - LIfe insurance policies, important need to know info, Wills, etc..."  I couldn't write the word Death on the label even then.  

Thank you again for hearing me and understanding.

Loralynn

Yes, there's an emptiness no one living can fill. For us it was 45 years and I tend stumble as I try to walk forward alone. It's hard to get up and do just for me.

Loralynn -- Love the photo!  

Do you know how amazing it is that John left you that list????  

Chris did something similar -- not with the paperwork, etc, though.  He just wasn't good with those things -- and he knew I could handle all that -- but he left a folder with lists of the house and yard jobs he performed on a regular basis -- he even drew a sketch of how to safely position the ladder to change the light bulbs in the fixture over the stairs, a reminder to disconnect the garden hoses from the outdoor faucets and wrote how and where to buy new tires for the riding lawn-mower.  I can't tell you how many times my daughter and I have gone to that folder -- and each time, I cry, remembering how he loved me and took care of me and our home.

You and I were so blessed and lucky to have such wonderful men in our lives.  

I can tell from the photo that John adored you -- and he has such a kind face.

My mother lived with us for the last six years of her life -- and Chris was devoted to her.  The first Christmas after Mom died, as I was unpacking some of her favorite Christmas decorations, I started crying -- and Chris came to me and put his arms around me -- he held me and said, "I miss her, too".  

While Chris was with me, he saw me through the deaths of two brothers and my mother -- but I never knew the kind of pain that I am experiencing now with the loss of my dear love.  I now understand when people say things like "crazy with grief", "inconsolable", "grief-stricken" -- these words have meaning now in my daily life.  

You went out, in your chair, to the grocery store -- do you know how I admire that courage, Loralynn?  I have been suffering a kind of agoraphobia -- just now beginning to be able to go out,on my own, in my car -- just now beginning to be able to be with people other than my children.  

You are brave -- you and others on this Legacy site have helped me so much.  I think the most important thing is knowing that I am not losing my mind, I am not alone in what I am feeling and thinking.  I was so isolated -- 

Thanks, again.


Dear Barbara, 

I'm laughing at myself right this minute.. I can even hear John saying something about how 'anal' I am... I'm wondering how to move my comments to you, to another 'discussion' since I'm doubting I'll have anything to say about sleeping.. but perhaps I'll plug something in so as to fit the theme.  See, its true, a place for everything and everything in its place, LOL. 

Yes we are indeed blessed to have men who loved us so much and did all they could think to do if something happened and they died first.  John being 18 years older than me, always insisted he would go first.  As usual he was correct, he'd even been trying his best to tell me for a little over a year that he didn't think he had long left.  In fact before he left in the ambulance to go to the ER he told me he did not think he'd be returning to our home again.  I was SO sure it was just depression talking. But once again he was correct, he usually was whenever he made statements regarding what he thought or felt.  Why, just this once couldn't he have been wrong.  They say when you go through the process of grief at some point you deal with anger.  I have nothing to be angry with John about except perhaps being right...  actually in truth the only person I am angry with is myself, for not believing him and being a better, more supportive wife.   A close friend of over 50 years of John's tells me not to beat up on myself..  "If you'd known better, you'd have done better"  I keep thinking somehow I should have known. He did and he did try to tell me.  

Glad you like the photo of John and my momma. :)  Yes, he does have a kind face.  And towards me he was very seldom anything but kind.  Oh, he wasn't a saint.. who is, and we had a few 'heated discussions'.  But when it came to me, John never held a grudge and I'm the kind who forgives almost as soon as the 'discussion' is over, sometimes before.  I use to say " He's not perfect, but he's close enough to perfect for me."  I know I was dearly loved and I know there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for me, if there were any way he could do it. 

My father wrote me yesterday and he told me to hang in there, that time would eventually dull the pain.  I suppose it will, but right now I can't imagine how. 

Barbara Sullivan said:

Loralynn -- Love the photo!  

Do you know how amazing it is that John left you that list????  

Chris did something similar -- not with the paperwork, etc, though.  He just wasn't good with those things -- and he knew I could handle all that -- but he left a folder with lists of the house and yard jobs he performed on a regular basis -- he even drew a sketch of how to safely position the ladder to change the light bulbs in the fixture over the stairs, a reminder to disconnect the garden hoses from the outdoor faucets and wrote how and where to buy new tires for the riding lawn-mower.  I can't tell you how many times my daughter and I have gone to that folder -- and each time, I cry, remembering how he loved me and took care of me and our home.

You and I were so blessed and lucky to have such wonderful men in our lives.  

I can tell from the photo that John adored you -- and he has such a kind face.

My mother lived with us for the last six years of her life -- and Chris was devoted to her.  The first Christmas after Mom died, as I was unpacking some of her favorite Christmas decorations, I started crying -- and Chris came to me and put his arms around me -- he held me and said, "I miss her, too".  

While Chris was with me, he saw me through the deaths of two brothers and my mother -- but I never knew the kind of pain that I am experiencing now with the loss of my dear love.  I now understand when people say things like "crazy with grief", "inconsolable", "grief-stricken" -- these words have meaning now in my daily life.  

You went out, in your chair, to the grocery store -- do you know how I admire that courage, Loralynn?  I have been suffering a kind of agoraphobia -- just now beginning to be able to go out,on my own, in my car -- just now beginning to be able to be with people other than my children.  

You are brave -- you and others on this Legacy site have helped me so much.  I think the most important thing is knowing that I am not losing my mind, I am not alone in what I am feeling and thinking.  I was so isolated -- 

Thanks, again.

On the topic of sleep disturbance, I've had so many I'm not even sure where to begin the discussion of them.  David was my fellow.  We'd been together a fairly short time for what most people here describe, almost three years.  Still, I only sleep in our bed when I have to get up for work.  Even last night I chanced it on the couch.  Of all the places in my home that feel emotionally "heavy," that bedroom is not one of them.  It has never felt more bare and empty.  I think that is one of the primary reasons for it serving only practical purposes anymore.  Even if I manage to sleep there, it is mostly fitful sleep.

Like another gentleman mentioned, the couch is a better alternative, though impractical.  Furthermore, I've been sick with bronchitis this past week, and I have numerous dreams at night about David.  As pleasant as that seems, it alarms me, it shakes me to my core and causes my pain to spill out of me in tears, sobs and sorrow.  Tomorrow makes a month since he's gone. 

I know this type of loss is very different--I really do get that.  I was very close to my grandmother and lost her when I was 17; far less for my dad, who died when I was 29.  At 36, I feel thrust into an added layer of mid-life crisis, one we never saw coming.  Rebuilding a conception of self totally eludes me.  Fortunately, we had planned to move and that takes place next month.  I know the grief counselors tell you know not to make major life decisions for a year and all that, but I'm not convinced.  I don't want to live in this home without him. 

For years I've tried to maintain very strict sleep hygiene, with the exception of occasional naps.  Now, all the hygiene in the world won't help me to keep from dreaming of him.  They aren't nightmares, just dreams.  Last night I had a vivid dream that we were talking and I insisted we go out and watch the sunset.  He wanted a Coke before we went out.  They're totally pleasant, almost as mundane as our everyday life.  But, that is what makes them so terribly painful, knowing those moments can only come to me in the dream form here on out.

I have the deepest reverence for those you of you spent decades with a spouse and must now go it alone.  I cannot fathom the depth of your loss.  I feel as though my own were enough to nearly wipe me off my feat.

KBS

Patricia, I am a night person, always have been. Going to bed before midnight just wasn't in my vocabulary which bothered my husband. We were married 38 years and he never got used to it. I found that I did my best work lated at night when there were no distractions. I spent my four years in college sitting up until 2 a.m. writing my papers. I thought I might as well get it right if I was having to pay for it. I could sleep 3-4 hours a night and get up and go to work with no problem. Now I dread going to bed. My husband passed away November 28, 2013 at home. I started sleeping on the sofa but the dog kept bothering me. She was used to sleeping on the bed with him laying on my side. She would not go in the room either. I try to go in the room every night but I wake up almost hourly and that is exhausting. I also wake up between 6-6:25 a.m. which is the time frame which he passed in our hallway. It is disturbing to do this so I find myself setting my alarm early to move past this. I asked David one night to show me a sign that he was ok before I fell asleep. The next morning I heard the alarm going off and looked at the clock-it was after 7 a.m. and I knew I would be late for work. I ran throught the house to let the dog out before getting in the shower. I realized halfway through that it was still dark outside but still worried about being late for work. I let the dog back in and went to get my cell phone from the bedroom. I checked to see if it was charged and the time was two hours off. I had to turn on my t.v. to find the correct time. Yep, my alarm clock was off. I figured this was his way of telling me he was ok and play a joke on me. I thought about going to the doctor for something to help me sleep but decided not to get hooked on a pill. I also sleep with lights on in the other rooms more for a security thing than anything else.

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