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.
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Georgia - HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUR LOUIE. I hope you did something special to celebrate. I know your heart is hurting during this special day. Hang in there hon.
It's been a while since I've been at my wife's Facebook page (if your spouse had a page, you can turn it into a memorialized page, just see their Help section). One of her former coworkers posted the following, "It's approaching summer and I can't help but think of you and your amazing zucchini cake!!!". It was a great memory to look back on. These are the things that make you smile, even when you don't think you can.
Dear Mary Jane ...
I am so sorry you are suffering in pain so much and if it were in my power I'd wave a magic wand to ease it. Yes, you are normal and going through a normal grieving process even though it's such a difficult journey. I felt so sad reading your post and it brought back memories of how I felt.
I was the same as you the first year and kept busy doing things to the house, doing crafts and making Christmas Centerpieces for special people in my life as well as entertaining guests. Before I knew it Christmas rolled around and out came the artificial tree with the trimmings and wreaths on both doors and one over the fireplace. I felt somewhat like Ernie was 'just away' and would be coming home soon. I wanted to keep things routine to make that happen. After that when reality set in I realized our brains do this to help us cope with this terrible loss. Once reality sets in anger rose up in me, tears kept streaming down my face, I became restless and angry at Ernie for leaving me and also angry at myself. Questions as to whether I was really a good wife and also could I have done more to save him. My head was whirling around with the good/bad in our marriage for no marriage is perfect. The other thing I realized about myself is I put Ernie on a pedestal as if he were a Saint and now realized we both had our flaws, but one thing never changed, we loved each other and I began to remember the good memories.
Oh yes, I thought of 'it' and not wanting to be here any longer feeling this deep pain. Yet, for some reason I kept on going in his memory and kept hoping things would change. They do change and as each day, month and year go by we do get stronger. I don't cry over Ernie as much as I use to and I will always keep him close to my heart, but now I have to try and reinvent myself and I'm still trying! Steve, Chuck and Trina pretty much said it all so you are not alone in your feelings Mary Jane. It's very normal. Now you are facing reality and it's the start of reinventing your life and it does have it's ups and downs. Hang on girl as we are always here with open arms for you. Just keep on doing what you do and post whatever you feel is on your mind because no one judges you and by doing that believe it or not you help others on here.
Love & Hugs
Dear Mary Jane,
Indeed, this place is very special - I described it to someone today as a holy place, not in a religious sense, but definitely someplace where there is solace, and refuge, and complete safety in abundance and available to all who find it. My dear friend, I am so sorry for the way these feelings and frightening thoughts are coming at you now. As Steve and Trina said, all of us here have faced these feelings, and when and how they appear is no more predictable than when they will leave. The thoughts you mention are possibly more common than we realize, being so very private and for some maybe even a source of shame or embarrassment. But I tell you, this is the family where we can speak our hearts without fear of judgement, rejection, or ridicule. I thank you for being open with us and letting us extend our open arms to you.
I have written about this incident before some time ago, but I will repeat the most important thing about this episode. I had been home from the hospital 2 weeks and receiving physical therapy 3 times a week from visiting nurses, as well as visits to monitor my vital signs and medications. Larry had been gone for exactly one month on the Friday before Memorial Day, and I had been informed that the holiday weekend meant there would be only limited availability of nurses in an emergency. I was feeling poorly all morning, and rested on the couch for a few hours until I suddenly felt nauseous, and moments later experienced a serious hemorrhage of my esophagus resulting in much blood loss. Once I was able to get to the kitchen table and the phone, I sat, shaking and dizzy, and stared at it from a few feet away for several moments...I don't know how long. Finally I called the emergency number, and the responding nurse directed me to stay seated and immediately call 911, and to not stand or try to walk under any circumstances. I sat there with the phone in my hand and felt all nervousness and fear leaving me , and a strange calm took its place. I slowly realized that all I had to do was...nothing. It would be over - the horrible loneliness, the constant crying. No one would know. They would think I fainted before I could call, Even God couldn't be mad, because I wasn't doing anything to myself...I was just sitting in a chair not doing something.
What made me place the call could be argued and debated forever I suppose...I can't honestly say I have an answer to that, except that I made a promise to Larry that I wouldn't give up. It was said the last time we were together. I won't go back on that promise knowingly for the rest of my life no matter what.
Mary Jane, I saw the future as a vast empty hole with nothing in it for me but endless sadness. I was wrong, and it was through the finding of this incredible source of support and understanding that I can now sit here writing this to you. Be strong, but when you can't do that, come here and share just like today - you not only help yourself in doing that, you are helping so many others of us who recognize ourselves in your post and feel less isolated and alone. Wishing you peace in your heart this weekend -
So sorry to hear of what you've been going through recently. As Steve so correctly says, all of us on this journey of grief have known/faced all that you are describing. My wonderful Joseph left this world almost three years ago (it'll be three years on August 4th), but to this very day every single day I am reminded of all the little things that he would do, or we did together. My family members and friends can;t understand how after almost three years I feel the same grief (it's not actually the same intensity, not at all) that I did on week one. I was telling Joseph's mother just the other day, that when you love someone like I did Joseph, you will grieve that loss for the rest of your life, for as long as you live. Like I said, the jabs of pain are nowhere near as intense or violent as in the first year or two, but the pain of loss is an everyday hardship that I face.
This past week I went to NYC to attend Joseph's brother's wedding, and needless to say that it was extremely difficult. But I wanted to take part in the wedding to honor Joseph's memory, and as difficult as it was, I feel good that I was there as his representative. At every turn I was reminded of him, his absence was very present.
What you are facing and feeling now is normal. When the person who meant the world to us leaves and we are left here to live on without them, all the little things and big things bring up associations, associations that are mostly painful, but can sometimes be happy too. Each time we remember them or mention their name, we honor their memory.
Hang in there, Mary Jane, and come back and post here whenever you feel especially sad and depressed.
And Steve, thank you for your heartfelt words, they were very touching. You, too, hang in there.
Hugs to you all, Trina
All of what you are saying is quite normal for anyone of us trying to deal with grief, especially raw grief. Some will process raw grief faster and some slower, either way we all have to process this as best we can. I spent some of my days just getting from one minute to the next, some days were easier some were not so easy. Just the thought of getting out of bed each morning became a huge effort on my part. I was still working and that helped me a lot on most days. This also worked against me in reverse, I would get to work and get busy and as soon as it was time to go home I would suddenly almost panic at the thought. Each day was different and the same all at once. I look back now and wonder how I was even able to function much less have a positive thought about anything.
I kept coming to this place and continued posting, the one thing I discovered, that no matter what I was doing or where I was my thoughts would always remind me of the day I lost my Mark. I kept to my daily schedule and I kept on posting, more than that, I was writing about what grief was doing to me and how it was affecting my life.
I found that writing about what I was going thru, writing about my life with Mark helped me more than I realized at the time. I wrote a lot more than I posted, I did find a church in Dallas and that too helped. The church is called Crossroads Community Church,. I remember the day I finally got up enough courage to attend, the moment I walked thru the doors I knew I had found the place where I was supposed to be. There are several LBGT churches in Dallas and a lot of LBGT friendly churches as well. The Sunday before I went to Crossroads, I went to a much larger LBGT church, I stayed for the entire service and I felt out of place and could not get out of there fast enough. At Crossroads, I found strangers that treated me as if we all had known each other for a lifetime. No one there had experienced loss of a spouse and yet they were able to reach out to me in the same way everyone on Legacy did. I cannot explain it and I would not even try. I just know that on our path thru this life people are placed into our lives for a purpose even though we may never know how or why, Legacy was first, here I found a lot of angels and a new family, Crossroads was second. Crossroads introduced me to caring folks from all walks of life and like Legacy they cared for me. I do not have all the answers, I just have my own story to share and I can offer this one fact, I am where I am supposed to be.
Please keep coming back to this place and keep on writing, at some point we all get to a place where we can accept life and move on down a path where we meet those folks placed on our path and who knows maybe we help them or just maybe they help us?
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