Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: 1 hour ago
This might be a rough time for many of you. Do what you feel you need to do to get through it. Remember, someone is here almost all the time to talk to you.
Started by Corey. Last reply by Marsha H Feb 14.
Started by Tiffany Phillips. Last reply by Sara Murphy Jan 27.
Started by brenda may. Last reply by Marsha H Jan 12.
There is weak sunlight filtering through the bare trees on the hill to your back, and your indistinct shadow stretches before you on the ground - one shadow hand resting on a snow shovel while you pause listening to sounds that are simultaneously familiar and strange.
For 32 years you have experienced this shared ritual of clearing the long steep driveway and parking area at the top, your section being the upper portion and his the curve and lower part. Confronting light powder or wet heavy slush, you both bundled against the cold and went to your places to perform this necessary task with an almost military-like strategy, dividing the space into quadrants and tackling areas by carving out patterns that facilitated removal efficiently and quickly.
When you would pause the sound of his shovel on the driveway carried to you, the top of his coat and hood just visible above the snow bank indicating how much he had yet to finish. That sound and the sight of him working became part of the tapestry of your lives together – a winter ritual as soothing as it was tiring. Over the years it took you both longer to complete your work, and there were more frequent rests needed, but together you met the challenge feeling proud of your teamwork.
Now you stand here again hearing that same sound, seeing that same coat and hood now being worn by another, and your thoughts turn to the unbelievable and almost frightening unpredictability of life. Last winter you wondered if you would ever make it to spring, feeling something inside you disappearing – dissipating like morning fog - more rapidly with each new lonely tear-filled day. Then you had trouble standing for very long, walking was still a challenge, and the idea of having the strength to even hold and lift a shovel seemed preposterous.
You watch the hooded shape move in the same patterns that you have seen countless times before – but the dance is now being performed by a new partner who has found his way to you. The birds watch you both from the trees loudly calling for more seed, no doubt thinking that the only logical reason for you being out in the cold is to feed them. The sun silently moves west as the shadows shift forming new patterns in those places yet to be cleared of last night’s snow, and you bend again to your work silently thanking God for this quiet moment, for this simple day and this familiar ritual – but mostly for letting you get to this place of calm and healing after the seemingly endless hours and days of sadness and pain. You never thought you could feel good again, and now you pray that others who are grieving will find their ways through the dark times to someday also see the amazing beauty and rightness in the unsuspected patterns that make up their lives. Suddenly the sun breaks through a cloud throwing one brilliant beam on the snow in front of you before fading away as quickly as it appeared, and it occurs to you that the sunbeam is like our time with our loved ones – here for too brief a time, but blinding in its purity and leaving behind the echo of one simple word – hope.
I join all the family here in saying how sorry I am for the loss of your husband. I lost my husband Larry in April of 2015, and it was 7 months before I found Legacy after being urged by a close friend to connect somehow with people who would be able to understand my feelings. I truly believe coming here saved my sanity, and possibly my life.
Everything you have said about the feelings of loneliness and pain resonate deeply with me, and I was also unable to focus on even the simplest of routines. My energy was completely drained, and friends around me felt helpless seeing no way to grasp the totality of my despair. You have said you are now facing the after-holiday void wondering how to survive this early part of your journey along a new path - one I wish you didn't have to follow. I can only say that having this safe accepting place where we can say those things we withhold from friends and family, for whatever reasons, got me through some hours and days that were unbearable. I'm afraid that there will be events, holidays, and just small unexpected reminders that will seem to be traps ready to undo you ( watch out for Valentine's Day - that one really threw me as I wasn't ready to turn a corner in the store and be faced with row after row of hearts and love messages). Those are times you need to know you can come here and share your thoughts and find support and the most sincere compassionate souls I have ever known in my life.
I send my prayers that you find some peace this weekend and come back to this caring family as often as you need - there will always be ready hands reaching out to help you navigate your path and steady you should you stumble.
Thank you everyone for the welcome to this horrible group. I have family around who are wonderful and they try to help but no one knows this hell unless you've lived it. Today was my sons 9th bday and it was so incredibly hard (my husband has only been gone for about two months so all of these firsts so close to his death are killing me). All the stupid things like putting up the streamers for my son, are killing me. I think the first few weeks, I was in shock and numb and then the holiday came and I had to just push through it for my kids (5 and 9) but now with everything slowing down, I'm finding all the day to day activities nearly impossible. My kids goto bed and I try and do stuff around the house or read or watch tv but I can't seem to focus on anything. The pain and loneliness is absolutely unbearable and I just can't ever see it getting better. We had so many plans for our family and my dreams are shattered. I can't talk to my family like this bc I don't want to upset them, as they are hurting as well. I know it will get better in time but I just don't know how to make it in the meantime.
Virginia ... HAPPY NEW YEAR and I pray you have a great 2017 and grief takes a holiday. I have also recommended this site to others who have had loved ones pass away and pray they do come here. While on this subject I was just 'out of it' when Ernie passed away and although I had family and friends around me at the beginning they were beginning to get on with their lives and I felt so very weary and alone. One night on the computer while answering emails from far away friends I decided to Google grief and I know I was guided to Legacy and made many friends. It made me feel not so alone and I could just pour my heart out. Chicago Beard was the first to answer my post and it lifted my spirits knowing someone cared and then I began to make some friends on the site. I admire each and every member on here and know the journey of grief is difficult. This site Steve has provided is the best on the website as I've looked out of curiosity. I hope and pray the newcomers will keep coming here so we can all help them through the rough days.
Take care my friend and so glad you popped in as you gave much of yourself to help others on here.
Harold ... Thank you so much. Sometimes I'm wondering if I'm just rambling on. LOL I was thinking of you at Christmas (it's the truth) and Diane's death. How I know how that tears your heart out. For the first time since Ernie's death 5 1/2 years ago the snowy weather caused many to cancel events and I found it a more difficult Christmas in 2016, but I just kept moving, had a good cry, got angry at myself and just got busy around the house. I have been getting better at realizing that although grief is tough there are others out there that are lonely, heart-broken and fearful of what the future holds and things could be much worse for me. Legacy has saved me so many times. I feel I have true family that knows how I feel.
What you are going through Harold is very normal. I found writing down in a notebook my feelings really helped. It made me come to the realization that it just didn't happen I met Ernie, but was meant to be and that goes for all of us. I realized that I had been blessed many times over being married to Ernie and as they say, 'it's better to have loved than never loved at all.' You bet it hurts missing our spouses, but just think what our past would have been like without them. I now realize how much Ernie left behind and taught me; strength, wisdom, selflessness, being loved unconditionally and I take what I've learned from him and pay it forward. I also tell those I care about how much I love them more than I once did. I hold onto the hope I will one day see Ernie once again. I know Diane is around you and I know from what you tell all of us about her that she wouldn't like to see you unhappy. So my friend, cry when you want to, but reach out to something you are interested in and volunteer or teach a program of sorts to help others. I am helping at a dog shelter placing dogs in new homes and I'm also thinking of volunteering to help those in either hospital or hospice without family members around or no family members to pass away with someone there instead of passing away alone. If there is a good thing about grief it makes us take stock of ourselves and think of others around us or some we may meet while out that others have problems too. This makes one feel less lonely and each time we help someone the heart stays stronger and the spirit soars. Just keep taking those baby steps Harold and when it's time you will get to this point and find where you fit into life again.
Deb, thank you for your kind post and the kind compliments. I am happy that 2016 was a little better for you and that 2017 is even greater for you. I just keep taking those baby steps too. Volunteering to help others helps to forget about yourself even if it's just for a little while.
Yes, like some of the others I have come a long way through the war zone of grief. I am one stubborn Scot/Irish which certainly comes in handy. LOL Grief is such a green eyed monster coming out of shadows when you least expect it, but now I am beginning to know how to handle it a little better. Oh yes, still have my cries every so often and still can feel pretty lonely, but I keep dusting myself off and getting back in the saddle again. I feel each day we all survive is one more day that makes us stronger.
Well said to Corey, I say myself in a lot of things you said. Why me what did I do wrong, putting the I'm OK face on, when you feel like crap. Christmas and Diane's death is the last first I have to go through. I won't lie it's been kicking my Ass big time, my emotions are right on the surface doesn't take much to get me crying. I think the idea of it being a Year the 29th of her death is just so hard to accept. It just feels like it is so real, you can't hide from it or kid yourself. Not sure what is going on but all I can do is roll with the punches and grief the best I can.
Corey ... My deepest condolences of the loss of your husband. I am so sorry you have to come onto Legacy, but you've come to a wonderful place full of wonderful, understanding people; some in the same predicament you are in and others older, but one thing in common we all grieve the same. No one judges another and it's a wonderful place just to say what is in your heart and often times you get very wise advice from many on here.
My husband passed away in 2011 at age 65 of pancreatic cancer and although I knew in my heart (so did he) that it was terminal we fought the battle, but lost the war. He was always healthy, 6' 6" tall and I would never have guessed he would have passed as we planned for our retirement years. We weren't blessed with children and most of his family passed away as did mine. He has one sister living not far away and a brother in New Zealand and I have one brother not too far away, but a very small immediate family.
I know that feeling only too well of fresh grief and it's as if we are walking on a cloud and a mist keeps getting in our way. Waves of grief come without warning and tears keep flowing. We are forced to wear 'two masks' one when we are trying to be strong for loved ones in our family or when working and the other when we are in the privacy of our own home. We can't quite comprehend what really happened and we come up with 'why my spouse and why me, did I do something wrong to deserve this hell?" I certainly felt that way. At first I didn't want to talk on the phone, kept the blinds closed for peace of mind, refused to answer the door, but after awhile I realized I couldn't keep doing this. I joined a grief group and I hope you will consider it. I began to think a little straighter.I realized I wanted to make Ernie proud of me as he wouldn't want me to be unhappy. Legacy is a wonderful place to come at all hours to express your fears or if you're having a tough day or night and everything is confidential.
I will not lie, it was tough going at times. Long time friends just didn't seem to know what to do with me so I was no longer invited to some events they had and some just drifted away. I was very hurt as Ernie and I had been there for them when they had serious problems, but I had to accept it. Within the year I began to realize those around me were grieving for Ernie, but also they go on with their own lives. It wasn't easy to make new friends either as I was already retired. Ernie and I were socially active with friends and I was very extroverted, so it was difficult for me to be alone on my own. Now, after 5 1/2 years I have learned a lot about grief, try to help others and I walk taller and stronger now. I realized I was much stronger than I ever thought I would be. You bet every so often I have tears in my eyes thinking of Ernie and he took a piece of my heart when he passed away, but then I dust myself off and just keep going. Also in time the intensity of missing your spouse becomes a little more bearable although you will never forget them.
I decided within myself to take baby steps, cry when I wanted to and nap when I needed to. Grief can drain the very life out of you. If you have family perhaps have someone in the family take your children for a day or even a weekend so you can have time to yourself and reflect on what has happened. Don't hold back in asking family for help. The 'whys' or 'if I only did this or that' often comes into many of our heads, but the truth is, there is no answer and we did what we could and sometimes there is just no warning when a spouse passes away.
We are here for you Corey so just reach out.
Sorry for your loss, it will be 1 year the 29th of this month. We were both older 64 years old, second marriage for both of us. If your like most your emotions will be all over the place, don't let other people tell you what to do or feel. Unless they have gone through it they don't have a clue. Let your feelings and emotions go where they need to go. It must be especially hard for you, having to deal with your own feelings and your kids also. The pain never goes away but you learn to deal with it differently with time. I still hurt and will cry some but, it's not as all encompassing and quite as draining as it was at 2 months. It sucks but like it or not it's what we have to live with. The best advice is post on here often, people understand here and just want to get through and help others get through the pain and grief. I can guarantee you whatever you post you will not be judged. I wish there was a short cut I could give you, it just take time.
My heart goes out to you right now.
On the 13th it will be 2 years since my husband passed away. He had turned 39 in mid December, I had our only son at the end of the month and then 2 weeks later he was in an accident on the way home. It's been a rough 2 years, but this site has been one of the main things that has helped me get through - you can come here whenever you need and we all understand your pain.
I'm like you - not really religious, and after what happened, i went even farther away from my how I was raised.
As for advice... The main thing is to take it one day at a time right now.
People will say some stupid things thinking they are trying to be helpful. It's hard, but try to remember that they have no clue what you're going through. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is just nod and move on to another subject when that happens.
Cry when you need to. The shock will eventually wear off and the grief will come in waves - some days you may feel like you're taking steps forward, then other days it will hit you like a brick wall. Come here and get your frustrations out.
And like Deb said, take some time for yourself. I'm still trying to learn how to do that, but it is definitely a sanity saver!
Know that you've found an amazing support group here!
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