Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: on Thursday
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 Diamond Mar 29.
Started by Tiffany Phillips. Last reply by Sara Murphy Jan 27.
Started by brenda may. Last reply by Marsha H Jan 12.
Mary.Jane ... It is very normal for those of us who have had a spouse pass on to become fearful. We counted on our spouses to be able to discuss some fears we may have had in the past or go through on a daily basis as they made us feel safe and secure and suddenly we come to the realization they are no longer here making us feel safe and secure. Some people are fine if they have good support, but those who don't have the support have to fight through the fears themselves. Especially women who live alone fear of someone breaking into the house, there is financial fear as to whether we are making the right decisions.. Some spouses left behind may experience high anxiety to panic attacks or become depressed. This is not as uncommon as you may think.
I understand how you feel about your cat and the fear your cat may pass away because it stems from how your spouse passed away. My 14 year old dog Tootsie just had surgery for a cancerous tumor and although the tumor will eventually come back she had been doing so well previously to this I needed to give her longevity of life so I dug in my heels and got her the help, but I do know one day that the dread of having her put to sleep is coming. I thought about it a lot and I know I've been a good pet parent and that I just want to enjoy the quality of life she has left. It's tough after our spouses pass away that all of a sudden our mortality hits us square in the face and death knows no age. In time, this will pass and we will think of it less.
Tornado warnings would send anyone over the edge and that's extremely normal. I too have an emergency kit and planned out what to do in case of an emergency and very lucky to have good neighbors next door so that relieves me a lot of course.
Yes, I was very fearful after Ernie passed away knowing I had to make important decisions on my own; fear of home invasion, fear of being scammed in business, fear of dying alone or being put into a nursing home far too early for me, but eventually that fear dulled enough where I could really think of a solution to my problems.
I talked to my neighbors about keeping an eye on each other's place and they were more than happy to accommodate. I put light sensors out in the back of the house and also the front. I am sure to lock my doors and windows. I am also thankful for my dog Booker who is an alarm system in himself. As far as fear of making bad decisions in business I do my research and then I go to 'the know people' take notes, come home where it's peaceful and go over everything before I make a decision. I also check with family and friends for some good advice. As far as fear of dying in my home alone I rationalized it and I won't know anyway and if no one hears from me my family will eventually check in. The fear of going to a nursing home too early, well as long as I've got all my marbles I AM in control of that! I also have two friends where I've drawn up legal documents so that they have a say as to whether I should go into a nursing home. Fear of my pets dying, well, it's been 6 years since Ernie passed and I know it's the circle of life and no matter how heart-breaking it can be I have no control over it, but do have the control of loving my pets and enjoying their quality of life.
I wanted to let you know Mary.Jane and others that when I had gone into my vets I noticed 3 different people (2 with dogs, one with a cat) that had given their pets tick/flea capsules and had bad reactions to it. I go the old method of squirting it on the back of their neck and down a bit.
Harold .... What a wonderful up-beat post and thank you so much for sharing.
I wish I was more involved with my small immediate family and I try as I've always been the glue in both sides of the family, but since Ernie passed away everyone went on with their lives. I am a part to an extent, but not as much as I would like to be. A little is better than nothing.
Much resonated with me about 'regrets' after our spouses passed away and I certainly went through it myself and felt guilt, wished I'd said more of 'I love you' to Ernie. You put things into perspective and made me rethink how our marriage was. I'd known him 45 years and married to him almost 40 years and yes, there were bumps in the road, but we always sat down and talked about it or, if we felt we were losing our tempers we'd walk outside or into another room, but the few times we had it out over something we always ended up apologizing. I remember Ernie telling me often how lucky he was to have me because I was such a good listener and really could understand when he hurt over something in his life or when he was ill I was there fighting like a mother grizzly and almost always won to get him the best care. He always talked highly to others about me and I him. I was very ill shortly after we were married and he was there 100%. I learned a lot from my dear Ernie. His love, patience and wisdom and I reminded him of those traits many times and that's why I'd fallen in love with him. At times I'd leave funny little love notes in his lunch box and when he came home he'd have a big smile on his face. I'd forgotten all about that. The most endearing things he did for me were the simple things in life such as Ernie being out in the garden and he'd come in with a fistful of flowers, a grin on his face like a little boy and love in his eyes and hold out the flowers for me. That meant more to me than any expensive gift he could have bought me.
When Ernie became ill with pancreatic cancer we would talk, I'd research and call doctors, etc., and unfortunately, the medications they had him on changed his personality to a degree. The stress for both of us was almost unbearable at times and there were times I'd break down and get angry and those were the times I felt that guilt. I never cried in front of him, but hugged him, tried to keep a regular routine going and always give him hope even though both of us knew the initial outcome of his illness. Sometimes I'd be stern with him to get him up and moving and keeping in touch with his sister and family and some of our friends, but then came a time when he was just too ill. I look back and wonder if I pushed him too far. Because of the medications I wondered if he still felt that love for me as he once did and because of the side effects of some of the medications. Now I know nothing is perfect in any marriage and I was there never wavering. Our saying always to each other was 'I've got your back.'
You are so right about having to blame someone and at first it was the doctors, then God and finally it came down to me. Like you mentioned I finally realized Ernie must have known how much I loved him and did the very best I could. I had put myself 'up there' thinking I could control the issue as I had with a previous health problem he had and I had to let go of that idea and realize not everything is under our control. All this comes in time throughout our grief and we realize we are human and did the very best we could and our spouses knew it. We are all so very lucky to have had them in our lives.
Marsha and Everyone
I am doing better, I have a good relationship with my Stepdaughters, and my Grandsons and Father in Law. They have told me how much they appreciate keeping them in my Life. It helps me and them to get through Diane's loss, we all share a connection to her. I like most people have gone through a list of I wish I would have done this or not said that, regrets. I finally realized no matter how perfect the Marriage is you always can find regrets. The best advice I can give anyone is to stop beating yourself up over regrets, it's easy to do we all want someone to blame why not yourself. The most important question I have found is did your spouse know they were Loved, Wanted and Needed in your Life. I know Diane felt those things and I did too, if so I did everything I could. I'm far from perfect but Diane knew I Loved, Cared, and did my best, results varied from time to time, but not for lack of trying. Diane was the first Women I didn't have to question in my mind did she really Love Me. Diane would say she felt guilty because of the cost of her problems I had to work, had to do extra work she couldn't, and I couldn't do some of the things I would like to do. I would always tell her you didn't ask for the problems, they're not your fault I Love You of course I don't hold it against you. Those were her regrets and disadvantage for me. All those added up to nothing compared to the fact that I was Loved and knew she would always be there for me. If you can say that about your spouse then it goes both ways all the regrets you are beating yourself up over meant very little to your spouse they just knew they were Loved and could count on you to be there for them, That's what mattered to me the most and likewise for your spouse.
Dear Harold ... Thank you so much for thinking of my little Tootsie. I know in the scheme of things with grief a little dog may not mean much to some, but when they are part of the life you had with your spouse they are all you have connecting you to the deceased spouse. It's just another grieving process.
I know you and Diane made the right choice to do the surgery on your beloved pet. They deserve a chance if there is even a slim hope. I've owned dogs all my life and would never consider keeping a pet alive just for my benefit. It was just that Tootsie was like a puppy on Metacam for sore joints and had a good quality of life and I just couldn't have her put to sleep. I had no idea after the surgery how much work it is. I have a kennel for her, but let her roam free in the house during the day when I'm home and then back to the kennel at bedtime. She also has 4 medications to take and she's such a good girl. The problem is she's 25 lbs., of heavy weight and I have to lift her up and down a few stairs, into the car, out to do her business and I don't know how long my back can take it. She will get her stitches out a week this Tuesday so hope I can hang in there.
I also can relate to how you felt about Diane in the hospital and I too was in shock and actually void of all feelings of the possibility Ernie was going to die and I'm sure that's the way the brain works ... tucks it away so we can be strong for them. No matter how we prepare ourselves for the worst we are not prepared at all. I know Diane knew how much you loved her just as Ernie knew.
I truly hope you are having better days Harold and I know just how tough it can be at times. The trick is to keep busy and sometimes we can and other times we can't.
Marsha Glad to hear Tootsie doing better, we did the same thing with Diane's dog paid for surgery. They couldn't do anything for her but at least we knew we did everything we could.
Debbie Glad to hear your still smoke free, some say it's a worst habit to kick than drugs. Although part of you probably didn't want to do it glad you sold your last place at least it's one more thing of your list of things to do.
Mary Diane was on a Ventilator the whole time she was in Hospital. The first 12 days she was sedated, when she came to they were concerned about brain damage. She either couldn't or didn't have the strength to write, toward the end they moved ventilator to hear throat. It was very hard for her to say much of anything. When they told me the operation went bad I went into shock. I felt the same way as when she died (minus the crying). I was in a daze all the time, did things by routine, felt dead inside. Although the Doctors and Nurses Knew how bad she was, my brain didn't consider she might die. So no we never really got to say goodbye, I told her I Loved her she would smile or squeeze my hand.
Sara, You are right. It is bittersweet. I want him physically by my side at all times. If only wishes could come true . . . Debbie
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