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Bereaved Spouses

A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.

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Survivor Guilt?

Started by Vickie. Last reply by Barbara Sullivan Aug 24. 5 Replies

widowed at 46 I feel so alone

Started by melissa lyons. Last reply by Donna G Aug 24. 1 Reply

Newly Bereaved

Started by Dorothy Facciponte. Last reply by Theresa Wimann Jul 29. 25 Replies

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Comment by Adrienne Gruberg on March 30, 2012 at 1:16pm

Gail -

I can totally relate to your post. Last Monday was a year since my beloved Steve lost his battle with lung cancer. He was diagnosed in 2005. A six year battle with a couple of good years in between. We lived together for 26 years and were married for 5 1/2. I guess he had to be sure! The couple of good years were unfortunately not enjoyed by us since his mother moved in with us (at 90) with lymphoma and I was caregiving two cancer patients. Thankfully, after a 2 1/2 year battle, she passed before he did. That would have been too much for anyone to bear. But after caring for two and then one, with total commitment and intensity, their passing has left me both empty and full.

I don't know if time will heal the feelings. I know I did everything I could and have absolutely no regrets. The emptiness lingers. He is everywhere. I got a dog after he passed, and she has saved my life. I waited two months to make sure I wanted the responsibility, and she is the best companion.

Steve and I were connected at the hip, both before and after his diagnosis. What keeps me going is knowing that I had something so special, so amazingly unique, that having had him in my life is enough. But missing is too weak a word.

I knew while he was waning what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and I am now building a website for other caregivers. We are the invisible patients. I don't think the one year anniversary of his death would have been even vaguely bearable had I not begun this new work.

I think you'll find that writing is cleansing and soothing. I feel Steve with me constantly, but never more than when I'm writing.

Try to take some comfort in the fact that you have something wonderful to grieve for. You had that special connection. No one can take that from you. Jean is no longer suffering. The disease can't hurt her anymore - so she won the battle.I find comfort in that too.

Comment by betsy toombs on March 30, 2012 at 9:48am

Hi Debra

I know just what you mean. I am lonely also. It has been 1 1/2 yrs since my husband of 32 yrs died. Last fall i moved into a new house(i just couldn't handle being in the old one)November of 2011

I might just as well be all alone, my sister or brother haven't been here yet.(what is left of my family) My daughter lives a hr away and hasn't been here except to get Xmas presents and my son is an alcoholic who doesn't do anything  unless it helps him.

I thank God for my 2 jobs because i would have lost it long ago if not for them. I still don't know where i am going or what i want to do with the rest of my life!

Weekens are the hardest because everyone is couples doing something.

I go to a support group which is really helpful and a therapist

Comment by debra l. johnson on March 30, 2012 at 9:34am

Good Moring to all!  Iam So Very Lonly I Just about can't stand! & Have no clue even how to Start? After losing 2 husband's By My Age of 57 is so AwefulAfter Losing Curt! Iam @ a Loss of word's or Thing's to make me get out of this self pity, depression!All My Kid's & His are grown! & It's seem's Like the empty nest symdrom is start all over again! Iam Glad I Dont Drink! But Iam so lonley & Loss! I dont belong to anyone! First Time in my Life No Single Friend's ! Iam No One's wife! & N

Comment by Vee on March 30, 2012 at 9:03am

I did find something that did help me with the insomnia in "Woman's World (April 2, 2012 issue)," a grocery store checkout magazine.  Honey is a natural sedative that triggers tryptophan in the brain and prevents the release of cortisol, a stress hormone.  It soothes your muscles, and helps us to unwind and also can prevent leg cramps.  The article says you can take a spoonful of honey before bed.  To induce calm, drug-free sleep add it to a cup of tea or milk.  Be careful if you're allergic to bee stings or you're diabetic; check your blood sugar, if you are, to make sure your sugar is not too high.  I like to get a brand that has the honeycomb in it.

 

The second thing I saw was getting a box of passionflower tea.  It causes a sedative effect within minutes and eases anxiety.  If you get it loose, it says to steep 1 tsp. of the dried herb in one cup of water and strain.  I use tea balls.  They suggest that you can also buy it in bags from some healthfood stores.  

 

I'm trying these now, and this week it has helped me to get some rest.  The rest has helped to clear my mind some.  My body needs rest.  My disclaimer is I still miss Lawrence.  But with a good nights sleep I'm able to get through my days and not feel so physically drained.  It does not end the grief/mourning or the struggle, but it does help me as a person.  Do with it what you will, but I thought I'd share it.

 

Blessings and hugs all! 

Comment by Vee on March 30, 2012 at 8:49am

Tatjana, thank you.  I'll keep that in mind on Sundays.  See, I learn new strategies from every one of the posts.  I will definitely try yours, because every Saturday evening I dread Sunday, a day I used to love.  You are two weeks ahead of me.

 

I welcome great strategies such as Tatjana's.  I try to learn something by reading and rereading these posts; they are truly my lifeline.  Hopefully, this will help me make a few more stitches on my new life garment, Tatjana.  One day I'll have a new garment to slip on, and I'll be able to fully rejoin the living, but I'll never forget that old garment, I couldn't possibly, because that garment meant so much to me as did my beloved Lawrence.

 

Blessings, peace, and the power to move forward to all of us!

Comment by Tatjana Kowand on March 29, 2012 at 11:35pm

Vee...

My day is 'Wednesday'...that's the day I have to come to terms with as Michael transitioned 14 weeks ago on a Wednesday. I remember my oldest step-daughter saying to me that she hated Wednesdays and didn't know how she would ever get through one again...I told her that we would just put one foot in front of the other every day, wake up every morning and do it all over again until one day we realize that it's actually Thursday and Wednesday was just another day, and we made it through. She wasn't sure if she believed me and to be honest, I wasn't too convinced myself, but it has happened...not every week, mind you, but it does happen and that's one of the ways I know we will all make peace with this.

God bless you and everyone here...HUGS to ALL!!

Comment by Vee on March 29, 2012 at 7:55pm

Carol, you really hit the nail on the head.  Tatiana is right, it's the loneliness.  Despite my resolve to move forward, this lady is so right, and so are you.  I take my hat off to your grandmother, that she lived through the loss of two husbands and here I'm whining about one.  My goodness, 11 children?  Girl, you've got some resilient genes in there.

 

The evenings and the weekends are horribly lonely.  I've got to findsomething to fill at least the weekends with.  I am committed to doing something at least one day over the weekend unless the weather is too rainy.  I don't know what it is yet (laugh).

 

As for Sundays, which is the day I came home and my world crashed around me, I'm going to try to find a way to come to terms with Sundays.  Again, I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm determined I will not let depression destroy me.  I have people who depend on me.  I have people who love me.  I have people who I've mentored watching me to see if I can walk the walk after talking the talk.  I absolutely will not let grief/mourning become a drug for me.  It would be so easy for me to just drop out of life, but what would that say about me?  I'm going to honor Lawrence by fighting a battle he tried to win but couldn't.

 

I wish all of you peace, prosperity, and possibilities.  For all of those who are battling health issues along with loss, I keep you in my prayers always.  As for my friends here, you know I've got you before the Lord at all times.  Shannon, we miss ya!  But we know you're doing the work to pull yourself back up.  For all those that just started on the path, this group is the best thing going.  When I started with this group, I started coming back to life.  We may all fall off the wagon every now and then, but the people here are the strongest, most understanding, heads-on-straight group I've ever come in contact with.  People share and give each and every one of us the strength to face another day.  We are here for you.

 

Again, thanks to all who pray for me as I struggl.  I've added a whole sleeve now to my new "garment" of life.  It's taken me the whole month of March, but I've finally at least got a sleeve.

 

May you all have a blessed evening.  Hugs to all!

Comment by Carol Kayser on March 29, 2012 at 2:52pm

Dear Vee, that is an amazing story you have shared.  My grandmother, who lived in England, did something very similar as she had 11 children to support and had lost 2 husbands. Such strength she displayed to her family, and took such good care of them all.  I think perhaps women of those past generations were so incredibly strong we should be very much in awe of them.  Their strength, the strength of my own mother, and the incredible strength of my husband helps me to find my own inner strength most of the time, though not always.  I often find myself feeling pretty sad and lonely, the lonlieness is the worst, as Tatiana says, missing the emotional and physical closeness is devastating.  I express it a lot, but the inability to share those intimate details in your life with the one person who was there to listen, to hold you, to kiss you and say "it's okay dear", without that deep comfort from them, anything else just doesn't seem to make much of a difference, no matter how lovingly it is put forth.

I find my coping skills are just not great anymore.  So many things I would do now I can't be bothered.  I also get frustrated so easily.  My patience with people wears very thin sometimes and I get really tired. 

That's not to say I don't try, as we all try!  I think we are very brave and strong and determined people, who will find those ways to make a difference in our world while we are here, as God has a purpose for us all, we just need to recognize it.  People still need people, need to feel the love from one human being to another.  We are all in this together.

 

Hugs,

Carol

Comment by Gail Evans on March 29, 2012 at 1:54pm

Thank you so much, Tatjana, for your caring and thoughtful words, and for your virtual hug!  Blessings, Gail

Comment by Vee on March 29, 2012 at 1:22pm

I can say ditto to the loneliness.  For those who prayed for me, I made it through to quote Marvin Sapp's song, "My Testimony."  Do you know what I discovered yesterday sitting around the table looking at my colleagues?  They don't get it!  I could see it in their faces and their eyes, they want the old Vee back.  Not possible right now, maybe never!

 

What I realized driving home was I have a 600-pound gorilla on my back called "mouring and grief."  When I get up every morning with the part of Lawrence that I have left, the part that loved me and I loved, the 600-pound grief/morning gorilla jumps on my back.  That's what is dragging and weighing me down.  Every time I try to rise above it, it adds more weight.  As my physical body diminishes with the weight loss from wrestling with my grief or mourning, the gorilla gains weight and weighs me down even more.

 

I realized yesterday that as I've shed pounds and shed my grandmother, my parents, my two cousins who were like my sisters, my best friend, and now Lawrence--this grief/mourning gorilla feels it can trounce me.  I WILL NOT let it.

 

God blessed me with a man who loved me completely and spent the last 8 years showing me that love.  I cannot and I will not let this gorilla destroy all that. 

 

What I also realized is that all of my departed loved ones, my colleagues, and my escape mission from grief throughout the years have defined me.  Now that I'm not using anyone or anything as my barrier to pain and grief, I've got to do the work to define myself.  It's something that I don't want to do, because I was so happy when all these people--especially Lawrence and his love--were there for me.

 

Now I have to define myself for myself, by myself, and for myself.  The 600-pound gorilla has got to go.  The best example I had of that was my own mother.  My mother went from her parents' home to the home she created with my father.  When my father died, my mother cried every day for five months.

 

Then, one day this strong woman who had been a fighter on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, who had raised not only her children but nieces and nephews, who was the caretaker for her mother in her declining years, and who was now a single parent had to dig down deep and find a new purpose, a new meaning for her life.

 

She went back to ground zero, and ground zero for her was her farming background.  She went out and got a couple of acres of land and started growing vegetables and fruits.  She surrounded herself with life.  I went kicking and screaming, but soon realized it was her "way out," her way back into life.  She continued to garden and give away fruits and vegetables until her health declined right before her death for nearly 40 years.

 

To educate her child and help support us both, she bought a green Packer truck and sought contracts to remove trash.  Yes, I said trash.  My mother who detested dirt founded a trash company.  She hired people nobody else would hire.  She supported herself and me.

 

What is the meaning of this, my friends, we all have to find our ground zero.  We all have to push ourselves to not necessarily go into gardening or founding a company, but we've got to find something that gives meaning to our life.

 

Do I still struggle?  Do I still cry?  Do I still get hot, hopping mad?  Do I feel the universe has landed me an unfair kick in the pants?  Do I miss Lawrence every moment of every day?  Do I feel put upon?  Do I laugh sometimes hysterically because I think this is the most painful joke ever in my life?  Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes!  But just you wait, one day soon this gorilla is going to get TKO'd!!!

 

Blessings and hugs to all!

 

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