Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: 3 hours 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 Kaela Roster Federle. Last reply by Marsha H 3 hours ago.
Started by Chris Sky. Last reply by deborah peck Sep 12.
Started by Andrew Berenyi Jr.. Last reply by deborah peck Aug 22.
I’m here more than I am not…
Tomorrow it will be two years since you disappeared. Two years ago I too disappeared. I don’t know to this day exactly where we both went, only that we didn’t go to the same place. I was frightened being alone without you. You were always the one who knew how to calm me down, and how to talk me down when I got too close to the edge. You saw me…me – not the face I wore for the world, or even sometimes for you. You recognized the me beneath it all, and for reasons I’ll never truly know, you loved me.
I loved you too. Did you know that? Do you know it now? I‘ve been away for what seems an eternity, and during that time I have been missing you more than I imagined a person could miss another. The silence has pounded in my ears until I thought I’d go mad. The emptiness of the house reflects the emptiness inside me. Every now and then I thought I caught a glimpse of you – in the birds, in the trees…in the sunsets I watched alone from the porch sitting next to your empty chair.
Then I began to catch glimpses of myself – in the music playing on the stereo, in the daylilies growing by the garage – in the reflection seen in the glass over the sink in the kitchen, vague and transparent, but there. I started to hear myself sometimes, to feel my body moving, and to realize that I was starting to think again. Sometimes anyway. Mostly I still wasn’t here, just like you weren’t here.
I talk to you, and more and more I tell you things I’ve been afraid to say. Today I want to say them…
I don’t know why I’m still here – why I lived and you did not. I’m sorry for that – it should have been the other way around.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you at the end – I should have been, but I thought it would make it worse for everyone else. I don’t talk to your children, because I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t talk to your sister for the same reason. I see your friends, and I try to let them know how much you loved them, but in their faces I see how much they miss you still. You were more loved than you knew. I hope you know now.
I’m sorry I didn’t do more to make you see the doctor when it all started – I’m sorry I wasn’t more there. I was frightened right from the first day you asked me to look at the sore on your ear, as if I knew it was already killing you. I wish I had fought harder.
Mostly, I’m sorry I said no when you wanted us to have a wedding – I was afraid you would be too weak, and the treatments would make you sick, so I said not now…later. I wish there was a later. I started disappearing even then.
Now there are times I seem more like my old self my friends say – but those closest to me know it is only when I’m here. I am not always here. I don’t know where I go still, but it doesn’t frighten me anymore like it did at first. I know I’ll be back, and my friends will be here waiting. My life will be waiting. I stopped asking why of everything. Mostly anyway. I don’t fear the future like I did, because whatever it brings can’t be worse than two years ago. I survived…and that still leaves me quietly wondering if there is a reason.
I will never stop loving you. I will never stop missing you. I will never stop wishing it was all a bad dream. But I guess there is this on the positive side:
These days, I’m here more than I am not…
Mary Jane......Yes, fear is normal but knowing that doesn't make it easier. When we lost our spouses, we lost a huge part of ourselves, we lost our support system, we lost the one person on the planet that we knew would always be there. Now that one person is no longer there for us to call and talk to. For me, I now see how scary life is. I never noticed before because I always had Ken by my side and together, we could get through anything. Honestly, we had so many more good times than bad times so life didn't seem so scary. Now, I no longer feel normal and no longer look at the world in the same way. Marsha mentioned all the big fears such as home invasion and dying alone. Then there are the other fears such as things going wrong with my house or what do I do when I need to buy a new car. These are things I always had Ken for but now I'm on my own. For now I just push these fears aside.....I don't want to focus on what I don't need to right now. You can keep coming here for support which will hopefully help dull your fears. I've also heard meditation is helpful for stress relief but I don't meditate so I can say for sure.
Steve...Wishing you a belated happy birthday. I hope you and Chuck celebrated. Maybe he baked you a cake :)
I too felt fear, there were several layers of fear. Mark passed away at home and having to answer all the questions that the paramedics hit me with, then the local police arrived and I had to answer all the same questions over, several times. I just wanted everyone out of our apartment so I could curl up in bed and be left alone. It took them all of 4 hours to get finished, then while I was alone I was over come with a whole new level of fear and loss, something I never want to experience again. My biggest fear was being alone and the future was looking rather grim. But, here I am 7 months away from my 3 year anniversary of Mark's passing. A lot has changed for me and I can say that the fear I felt then still lurks within my day to day thoughts just not as strong. Yesterday I turned 70 and those thoughts reared their ugly head and I found myself wondering about the future if only briefly, so I guess we will always retain those types of thoughts. Life changing events changes us forever and I think they make us stronger in some twisted way that we do not understand, we just learn to live with it as we continue through this life. I no longer am as fearful of the future, nor am I going to allow it to run my life, I maybe 70 but I think that my journey is still not over, it has taken a new course, one in which I find comforting and full of new adventures.
Rolland ... I did feel the same as you did and if I hadn't been in sheer shock when Ernie was in hospice and known he was so close to death I would have rather gone with him and that hasn't changed one bit for me, but here I am and I'm bound and determined to make him proud of me. I know it's not easy Rolland and I hope soon you will have a good life, but one thing for sure, Janice is your true love and always will be. Like you I have no idea why I'm still here after all the grief and stress, but as I said, here I am and I just put one foot in front of the other.
Hope you have a better day my dear friend.
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.
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