We started dating Oct 17 1998 and we never were apart. We were married Jan 17 2004. He was the one who completed my sentences and the one who understood me. We were two old fashioned people who agreed on many things. This was the second marriage for both of us. His first wife died and I was divorced. He has 4 children and I have one. Between us we have 9 beautiful grandchildren with one on the way.
He was 60 and we were starting to plan our retirement. We bought a small place in Florida. We were enjoying a week here and there and we were suppose to start spending our winters there as soon as I was able to retire. That is all gone now. The love of my life died May 27 2012 and I do not know what to do. I returned to work just to keep my days busy. The nights and mornings are horrible. Since it has only been two weeks, friends and family are trying to fill my weekends. I just can't bear the thought of living life without him. I feel so alone. Angry sometimes but mostly hurt.

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Dear Camille,

I am very sorry that you have to go through this -- and for the loss of your best friend and spouse.  I too lost my husband in 2009.  It is hard to believe that it will be 3 years in July that my beloved Douglas died.  I worked for 2 years after his death to fill my days but determined that it was not working out well for me.  I still came home to an empty house, my heart was broken into a million pieces, I woke up alone and went to bed alone.  And the weekends were the worst!  Does it get better?  In time and I know you have heard that from just about everyone.  I was so tired of hearing that I wanted to scream (and did when I was alone).  But the truth is this:  Your heart will always have a little piece missing -- it will not be the same as it was before the death; you will always love your spouse and miss him but it will get easier to get through the day as time passes (I promise); the pain that surrounds your heart like a vice will loosen its grip in time and you won't have that intense "I can't breath moment" every day; you will still cry as time goes on but you will discover that your crying spells don't last as long nor are they as intense; you will one day be able to listen to a favorite song and smile (with a tear or two on your cheek); and the best part is you have memories that are still with you.  Those did not disappear!  I hold onto my memories that Douglas and I made for 33 years.  I cherish all of those 33 years.  I retired last year (finally) and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to have him here to travel with, enjoy the grandkids with, to do all those silly things we talked about, etc.  He is with me in spirit and always in my heart.  Douglas's birthday is June 28th and he would be 65.  I am having a birthday party with friends and family.  We will celebrate this wonderful man who influenced the lives of so many people -- from my daughter (his step-daughter), the grandkids, friends and other family.  We will play his favorite music, have his favorite cake, and talk about all of the memories he left all of us to share and keep forever.  Do I still cry?  You bet!  His birthday is June 28th, our wedding anniversary is July 9th and  his date of death is July 17th.  He was a gentle spirit and a beautiful man -- and that is a memory I don't ever want anyone who knew him to forget!  You will get to this point, Camille.  It has only been two weeks.  Don't rush your grief and don't let anyone else tell you to "get over it" -- it isn't something you get over.  The first year is the toughest because you will go through all of the "firsts" without him -- first Christmas, Valentine's Day, etc.  The second year was easier and this third year was even more easy.  Not a smooth sail by any stretch but easier to accept.  I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.  You found this site like the rest of us -- for the support and understanding.  Until you have experienced the loss that we have you really don't get it -- although friends and family will try.  Don't be too harsh with them--they are doing the best that they can.  Oh, and anger is just one of many emotions!  I used to hit my mattress with one of those plastic baseball bats and scream and cry and curse anyone and anything I felt was at fault for Douglas dying.  Your husband would want you to continue with the plans you made.  They may have to be modified, but he was still a part of that final retirement plan.  Enjoy the memory!




Dear Carol,

There is no greater pain than to lose a spouse (and best friend).  And like you I found it hard to believe that I would one day feel semi-normal.  My life has changed--how could it not after the death of my husband.  But I see it as a positive thing.  I can't begin to list all of the new things I have discovered or tried.  I registered this week at the local community college and am going for a 2 year degree in pharmacy tech studies.  Whoa!  Family has asked, "Why, are you planning on going back to work?"  My response:  "I'm not sure why but it feels right for me and I want to do this."  I already have a BA and MA and they served me well when I was in need of a career.  I retired last year and retirement includes new adventure!  Douglas always encouraged me to do what my heart dictated -- and that has not changed.  So, pharmacy tech it is.

Trust me when I say that their is a rainbow at the end of the path of grief.  And that rainbow is a reminder that our spouse was watching over us as we started down that path and reached the end.  I believe that Douglas is still with me, guiding me, pushing me (even when I resist), and wants me to experience life to its fullest.  What he was put on Earth to accomplish he did and then some.  Me, I'm still working on that -- he always was ahead of everyone else.  I love him and always will.  I have found peace and acceptance in my heart that Douglas has moved on to the next stage of the "great plan" whatever that may mean for each of us.  He and I will be together again, of that I am sure.

Keep the memories alive that you and your husband made together.  No one can ever take those away!

In peace and love,


It will be a month tomorrow and I miss him more and more each day. The pain I think is growing instead of decreasing.
Carol, thank you so much for your words. It will be 3 months on the 14th of this month that my Joe has been gone and the weekends are still tough. I was at a 4th of July concert and fireworks show yesterday and they played taps for all the vets who had passed. It took me right back to Joe's memorial mass and I never would have dreamed I'd have that reaction. You're right, the firsts are horrible. But, I'm not crying every night anymore and I'm starting to remember the fun times and remember him as he was before the cancer. I pray for everyone on this site to find the words and peace that they need to help them get through the days.


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