Was asked by my grief counselor to write a letter to my husband. I thought maybe I would do it on here as this is a great place to release....Maybe others are feeling the same way...Maybe I am just crazy....Probably a little of both. Here it goes..
Sitting down to write you, I have found it hard to verbalize everything I have felt since you have been taken from me. I think back to all that we have been through in the past year, and I am exhausted. I am physically beat, mentally beat and emotionally destroyed. When you first were diagnosed, I immediately was terrified. Knowing what this darn disease can and does do to families, I really struggled between showing you the hope that you needed and the experience of what I had known. But with that, I felt like I was very unfair to you. Jumping to the worst conclusions, encouraging you to fight even when all of the docs told us that this battle was going to be close to impossible to win, I wish I had given you, given us, more time together. More time away from the chemo, away from the hospital, and more time with just us as a family. I feel like I let you down. I let our family down all for the idea, the hope that we too, could have our miracle. Yet, that miracle was not to be. I feel very blessed to have been there with you during your last moments on earth, yet that is a time that I cannot get out of my head. Every time I close my eyes, I relive that. I don’t just remember….I truly relive it. I am back in that moment and I feel the loss, I feel the pain, and again, am paralyzed with the loss of the one person that meant more to me than anyone on this earth. I laid with you for hours after your passing, not being able to move; not being able to let you go. I truly feel as though I didn’t get up from that bed either. Sure, my body eventually had to be removed, just like yours but everything that made me me did not get up from that bed.
Everyone tells me that I need to let go of the past and move on with what I have in front of me. I cannot change what occurred in the past; I cannot alter history; I can only take what I have learned from it and move forward. Yet, as much as I know that in my head, I am just not able to do that. When you entered my life, I was brought into a realm of being that I never dreamed possible. Not only did I find the person that made my life complete, I found my best friend. You are so many things in my life. Losing my best friend, my confidant, my lover, my live in comedian…I don’t know how to continue without that. I know that I need to pray to God for strength. I need to pray to him for guidance. But that is so very difficult to do when I just cannot see how any of this is for the best. I find myself praying every single day to God, not for the things I should, but for him to take me too.
I look at our kids…our beautiful kids, and instead of seeing how much of you lives on in them, all I see are ways that I am failing them. I made a promise to you to keep them happy and safe and I can’t help but think that they are so much better off without me guiding them through life. I am not living, I know that. I see them struggling in dealing with the loss of their superman and I don’t know what I can do to help them. I am so consumed in my own thoughts that I can’t tell them it is going to be okay. I can’t tell them that we are going to be fine. I don’t believe that. You know me. I am as straight a shooter as you can get; A tell it like it is type of person. How do I look at them and tell them we can do this? All I know is that I cannot breathe when I think about all that I have lost. I try so hard to put them first. I know I have to put their feelings ahead of my own. But in doing that, I push down everything I am feeling—which just exasperates my own problems. I don’t know the happy medium.
They miss you so very much. You were the one who really knew how do take care of them. I can feed them, clothe them, give them the basic things they need, but that is not what they really need. They need you. You knew how to give the best hugs; you knew how to calm their fears. I can barely get moving during the day. I see how they are when they are with their cousins or their grandparents. Then I see how they are with me—they need something more. I cannot give them what they need. So to think that they are better off without me—I see it so very clearly on a daily basis. And then the prayer comes even stronger. Every night, yes every night, I pray that I don’t wake up. I don’t know how to stop those thoughts. There is nothing in my daily life that makes those thoughts stop. Do I want to go along like this? Do I think you would be proud of the way that I am dealing? No, and for that I am so very sorry. I feel like I am letting you down yet again every single day. I can’t escape the fact that you would be so disappointed in how I have gotten along since you left. I am so very sorry for everything.
Along with these thoughts, I feel so very angry. I am angry that God took you from me. I am angry at myself for encouraging you to take all those treatments and I am even angry at you for leaving me. That is the one for which I am most ashamed. How can I be angry with you after you did absolutely everything you could to stay? Against your better judgment, did everything the docs recommended, everything I asked of you, everything you could. Yet it was not enough. It makes no sense to be angry at you but I am. You promised me 80 years. We promised each other 80 years yet less than 12 years later you are gone. It took me so very long to open my heart up to anyone. I had been immensely hurt and had shut myself off to the idea of love. Yet you awakened something in me that I thought was lost forever. I am so very glad we got to share what we have but I can’t help but feel shortchanged. I knew when we met that my life was forever changed and it has been. I wish I could just be grateful for what we had, remember the good, let go of the hurt but I am too tired to fight. I feel like I have lost everything good in me. I have lost all sense of who I was. I used to be someone that would argue both sides of the Mobius strip. I had the confidence to know I could accomplish anything. Now, my fight is gone. I have used up all of that during your illness. Fighting with the nurses, the docs, myself, you…I feel like I have fought my last fight.
Our son told me the other day…he said, “ Mommy, I can’t remember the last time you smiled. I didn’t know that someone can forget how to smile”. Boy, that kid is wise beyond his years. That is exactly what happened. I forgot how to smile because I can’t see things worth smiling for. The light that you brought out in me is gone. I want to be a person you would be proud of. I want to be the mom that the kids need.
Almost everything that has every meant anything to me has been taken. I don’t know why. I wish I knew why. I just think that if I shut myself down to those things, to not care, not feel….this won’t happen again. Yes, I have had many ask me why I still wear my wedding ring. The only answer I have is I am still married because I am. I made a promise to God and to you to love you and be your wife until the day I die. That is a commitment I do not take lightly. My love and commitment remain, so the ring does also. I get so very angry with those that ask me those things. Why am I wearing my ring? You must move on, open your mind and your heart to allow love to come into your life again…These are all things I have heard so much and it is everything I can do to not just yell. It seems like everyone thinks they know best yet none of them have been in my shoes. In our shoes.
To say I miss you doesn’t even begin to express my thoughts towards losing you. I miss the way you look at me, the way your hand felt in mine, the way you would hold me. I keep looking at the door at the end of the day—waiting for you to come home. I keep thinking that I have to yell at you for not calling for being late. Yet you don’t come walking through that door…and my head knows you never will. My heart, well, all I know is I need you to. I need to feel your arms around me. I need to see you look at me, to see that sparkle in your eyes. I need to hold you and love you. I honestly have no way of knowing how I am going to exist without you. You showed me how to really love. You showed me how to truly give all of myself to someone…..and that is what I did, I gave everything to you….now that is gone.
You will forever be in my heart, in my mind, and in my soul. All I can do is exist in this world, wanting to be with you. I pray we will not be apart for long.
All my love always,
Thanks Tess, I was wondering how to release this timebomb inside, and you have provided that avenue, well the start. I wish I was as brave as you. I cannot get past the first sentence because I cant breathe. I will say to you that you can smile, I find myself smiling at the memories, althought I start crying right after sometimes.
I hope you find the comfort you deserve. Lose yourself in your kids, you will find him there<smile>
That is the most beautiful letter I ever wrote. I share your pain also - but my Justin was taken away from me after almost 5 years of marriage and he was only 51.
It has not even been 10 days since that dreaded phone call. He is not was my soulmate, lover, confident, best friend and so much more. I love and miss him so much. I would always tell him how much I loved him - always.......... Its so hard.....
Tess, reading your letter I found myself feeling I had done the writing myself. My husband passed away in the exact same way and I find myself with all the same feelings and thoughts. The only difference being that my children are older (in there 20"s) and they really dont need me anymore. They love me and want me around but dont need me. They have both left home now and I am left alone. What I"m trying to say is enjoy having the children to take care of. They come from the love you both shared, the only real thing left of that love. I know everyday is hard but the best way to honour your love is through the children. My kids said to me one day, cancer took dad from us dont let it take you to. I still cry everyday and pray everynight that this might be my last but with time I do have the odd day when i enjoy life again. I wish my children were younger so I could be with them everyday. Your husband would have wanted that so do it in his honour. I feel your pain, Hope life gets a little easier we all deserve to be able to smile .
Tess, that is a beautiful letter, one I will at some point be able to write myself.
I lost my Bob on Sept. 17 at home after a long battle with disease, my God, I knew it would be hard but never imagined it to be so cold and solitary. He was everything to me, and we both balanced each other out. Soulmates, lovers, best friends, confidantes...we were supposed to be the "old couple" on the porch talking about the neighbors! We were supposed to ride to Sturgis, go scalloping, or just watch westerns on tv. We were supposed to get 20+ years, not just shy of 10! We were truck drivers and were hoping to team drive again, then he got sick. He could not even ride with me due to mobility and medications, I had to keep working and would get home every chance I got to be with him. Near the end I came off the road and was with him every day and at the end. I promised him I would be all right, now I am not so sure.
Does the "emptiness" ever ease off? Does the crying stop "sneak attacking"? Am I going to start forgetting? That scares me more than most things, that and what if I can not find him when it is my turn? I miss his voice, we were on the phone together 20 hours a day. I do not have anyone to tell my day to and he can not tell me what he is watching on tv. I miss his smell, his beard, and his laugh. I have his hair though, he told me to cut his ponytail days before, but I could not bring myself to do it until after. In that respect he finally gets to ride with me.
As for our rings, I do not plan to ever take it off, and I am thinking about having his sized to fit me so both will be together.
Tess, that was the most beautiful letter. It took me a long time to read it because my eyes were filled with tears.
I just lost George on Sept 5 so my grief is very raw and I cannot see past it. I did really good that first month and then it all hit me on our anniversary, Oct 3 and I have been crying constantly ever since. He had cancer too. I didn't encourage the chemo but I let him make all of his own decisions, even though I questioned the quality of life he would have. Near the end, he chose the whole brain radiation and I think that is what ultimately put things over the top. I so much wanted him to just stop the treatments and enjoy life but he was so determined to live. I guess the guilt is something we always feel, no matter which direction we encouraged or supported. I feel like I should have been up front with him about the prognosis but he had chosen to try to beat this darned disease and who am I to take that hope from him.
I ache with your words, Tess. Forgive yourself and go easy on yourself. Don't ever let anyone tell you what to do or when to do it. Only you know how you are feeling and what is right for you at a particular point in time.
As far as wedding rings, wear them as long as you feel married. I, too, plan to wear our rings forever. I married him until "death do us part" so I will wear them until my dying day. Ignore tactless people; they don't know when to mind their own business. Someone actually asked me at the visitation if I was going to date again. What the h__? If there is anything I've learned through this whole experience, it's what NOT to say to someone who is going through this process.
My prayers are with you, Tess, and all who are hurting.
Beautifully written and healing. I am in the beginning stage of writing a book about my experience with the illness and death of my dear Douglas. Will keep all of you posted!
Tess, what a beautiful letter. My husband, Neal, also had cancer. From the time he was diagnosed we only had 5 short months. This Saturday, October 15th will be 1 year without the love of my life. Neal also went thru 3 sessions of chemo and could not take anymore because of the side effects, which for him might have been a blessing in disguise. We were married 40 years 8 months and had made all kinds of plans for the future. Like Deborah, we were going to Sturgis, travel to all the places we wanted to see, sit in our rocking chairs and laugh alot. But we got to do none of those things. This last year has been a blur for me. Only recently has it really hit me that he will not come home from the hunting trip I pretended he was on. With that knowledge of reality a deeper sadness, lonelyness and darkness has set in. We have 2 sons who are grown with their own families so I am alone in our home. Try to put all of what energy you have into your young children. They need you more now than ever. I have some guilt about not being there for my boys because I have just been so devastated myself I could not comfort them with the loss of their Daddy. As far as rings go, I do not plan on ever taking mine off. My vows said until death do WE part, and I will wear mine until I die and go to meet Neal.
Thanks for writing your letter here as your words are universal in this terrible thing called grief. HUGS
Love you Tess~ Your words are our words, or maybe I should say, they are my words. I feel this way also. But fortunately perhaps, I do not have small children who depend on me, only my stepson who is now 13 yrs. My heart breaks that he had to go live with his mother after Larry died- he did not want to go. He told me everytime I saw him for the first few months that he wanted to live with me, but I guess he realized that wasn't going to happened & quit saying it. My heart breaks. I cry so frequently that as much as I wish he could've stayed with me, I felt maybe he was better off going to live with his mom. Legally, I had no say in the matter. But let me say this: even though I miss Larry 100% I still find pleasure in seeing the blue sky, feeling the crisp night air & gazing at starry nights from my deck and enjoy playing with my 19 month old grandbaby. I feel like everything was better with Larry, the good & the bad and somehow I feel almost as if he is in me & I owe it to us both to seek the good things in each day...
Tess, your children love you and you cannot be replaced. Can you imagine how devastated their lives would be if anything took you from them? If you haven't seen or talked with someone about this you should. You owe it to yourself & your children to have the ability to smile on occassion. Open up your heart to the love that remains in your life. I am praying for you and yours~ Hugs, Christy