Bereaved Spouses

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

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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.


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Bad day

Started by David Heggi. Last reply by David Heggi Nov 22, 2017. 2 Replies

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Started by denise. Last reply by Marsha H Oct 25, 2017. 4 Replies

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Comment by Sheri Dettman on April 21, 2017 at 9:54am

I haven't been here in a while but I still think of all of you. I'm coming up on 8 months since Bill died and all of your comments ring true. I was very scared in the beginning of being alone at night. That has gone away and I set my "stay" alarm at night. The rest of the fears and concerns are the same. I still talk to Bill every day, several times a day and ask him to look out after me and to help me make good decisions. I still cannot believe that this is my life and that he was taken from me. Charles, your piece below was beautiful. We just try to keep breathing and put one foot in front of the other and do the best that we can. I finished reading Healing After Loss and have started it from the beginning again. I have a girlfriend that I have become very close to as she lost her husband 3 months before Bill died. We went on a trip to St. Martin together and are going to Maui in a month. It's good to get out of the area to see that there's life going on outside of our bubbles. It's helpful to have someone who has been thru it to talk to and do things with. But mainly they understand when you are having a hard day or week or month. It doesn't get any easier, we just learn how to adapt. I pray for all of you what I want for myself. Peace. I had it with Bill and I hope to one day have it again.

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on April 21, 2017 at 9:32am


I’m here more than I am not…


Dear Larry,


            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.


Comment by Charles E. Nelson on April 21, 2017 at 9:29am

Part 2

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…

Comment by Sara Murphy on April 21, 2017 at 9:28am

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 :)

Comment by Steve on April 21, 2017 at 7:03am

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. 

Comment by Marsha H on April 21, 2017 at 5:51am

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.

Comment by Rolland Wood on April 20, 2017 at 6:05pm
Mary. Jane. No not me, fear left me completely. I felt drained of all emotion besides grief and anger. I became reckless for a time, engaging in behaviour that was foolish and uncaring, not worried if I met the Grim Reaper myself. I felt that I had been unfairly deprived of my beloved wife Janice by cruel fate. And dared fate to take me as well, but it didn't happen, I know not WHY. Rolland
Comment by Marsha H on April 20, 2017 at 3:16pm

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.



Comment by Mary. Jane on April 20, 2017 at 11:29am
Note: my certain unmentionable fear has ALWAYS crippled everything I did, since I was a little kid, but now it's magnified by a zillion, rendering me helpless to do stuff I really need to do.
Comment by Mary. Jane on April 20, 2017 at 11:26am
Ok I have a question. After your loved one died, did you become FEARFUL? Of everything? I did a bit of research, and I guess it is common for people who have lost someone they cared deeply for. My fears are ridiculously irrational, magnified by a zillion. I am so afraid my kitty Rudy will die, I check his breathing while he sleeps about every hour..and he has an occasional anal gland problem, and I check his "tush" all the time...and that is just one of the many fears I have. Tornado warnings send me over the edge, I keep a backpack filled with things I don,t want to loose, if I survive..lock of Bobs hair, the shirt he died in, medication, batteries for the shelter, and I keep Rudys carrier filled with a lease harness, his food. I have ALWAYS been afraid of one particular thing which I am to afraid to I do NOT want anyone to share their stories if they have the same fear, and it has been suggested I try hypnosis for this fear, but since Bob died, it CRIPPLES everything I do. Have YOUR fears magnified since you lost your loved one? I even had a sign from Bob saying "IT WILL BE ALLRIGHT" but that was awhile ago, and lately, it's like I am slowly "Waking up" from a very long horrible dream, and all of this is real.

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