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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.

Peace

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Bad day

Started by David Heggi. Last reply by David Heggi yesterday. 2 Replies

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

Need Advice:Grief and Chronic Fatigue

Started by Kaela Roster Federle. Last reply by Kaela Roster Federle Sep 25. 27 Replies

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Comment by Sara Murphy on July 16, 2017 at 5:40pm

Chuck....As usual, well written.  I can feel the anguish of having to go through yours and Larry's possessions and give you much credit for finding the strength.  It's certainly gut wrenching and not easy but luckily you have Steve by your side to go through it with you.  Since he's already gone through this exact thing, he knows how you feel.  Take a breather whenever you need. 

Sending you a big hug.

Sara

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on July 15, 2017 at 11:58am
Hello Family,
I wrote this today about how I'm feeling preparing for moving - I though some of you might relate...


Too Many Boxes

Boxes used to be such simple practical things that you never gave them much thought. They were wrapped with colorful paper for Christmases and birthdays. They housed record collections, or holiday decorations, or winter clothing during the summer. Admittedly they took up room in closets and were impossible to find when you wanted something specific – but they were just there…not really noticed.

Now all of that has changed. Boxes seem to represent the ways your life has become altered and strange to you. Some are small – too small – to contain the invaluable and sacred contents inside. There was the deceptively heavy one covered with the embroidered white cloth handed to you containing your husband’s ashes, which you topped with a single red rose before watching it be placed into his grave. Smaller still is the leather one containing both of your wedding rings, now hidden away in another silver jewelry box.

Other boxes loom immensely before you, stuffed with a lifetime’s worth of collected photos, and clippings, and programs from performances attended in what now seems another dimension and time. Opening them and sorting their contents feels like performing open-heart surgery – one slip-up could result in you weeping on the floor powerless to stop, until you drag yourself to a place to lay down for the rest of the day.

There are old wooden paint boxes from your student days at art school, smeared with oils colors on the handles and empty except for those dreams of landscapes and portraits they promised, still entombed in their turpentine-scented sarcophagus.

Everywhere are stacks of cardboard boxes bearing handwritten scrawls describing their contents – his, announcing “work stuff”, or “tax returns”…yours, proclaiming “art supplies”, or “doll clothing”. These you approach with a numbness that shields you from the terrible reality that none of their contents matter anymore, belonging to a life no longer relevant once lived by people no longer living.

Boxes fill your days, and haunt your dreams, labeled “donations”, “for sale”…or “for the dump”. But the dreaded boxes that you can barely stand to face, whose weight and proportions fill you with anxiety and trepidation, are the invisible ones you have carefully and methodically constructed around yourself, separating you from other people, and the outside world…and the future. It has taken a lifetime of disappointments and losses to put you deeply entrenched in those boxes within boxes, from which you never wanted or expected to emerge.

But boxes are only as strong as their reinforced seems – strip off the tape, dissolve the glue, and pull out the staples, and they open up freeing the contents to spill out into the space around them. So you pray every day for the courage and strength to escape those self imposed prisons, supposedly shielding you from more pain, but in reality only holding you captive with your pain in isolation and sad solitude.

One day you may finally escape those suffocating boxes for good – with resolve, and perseverance…and God’s grace. Then maybe you will return to the days of seeing boxes as conveniences – utilitarian contrivances whose purpose is to make life easier. They will aid in storing that which you wish to keep, and in discarding that which no longer suits your needs. They will be especially useful in transporting your necessary possessions to your new location – and your new life. They will be your friends, helping your transition away from the past, rather than weights chaining you to it.

They will become just boxes again.
Comment by Mary. Jane on July 11, 2017 at 4:04pm
Never mind...I read the reviews, and decided on "A Dogs Journey" instead.
Comment by Mary. Jane on July 11, 2017 at 3:42pm
Hey kids,,,I really need an opinion on something. Has anyone here read the book Option B, about a woman who's husband died, and how she dealt with the aftermath? I need to get it in large print, and b4 I plop down 25 bucks for a book, I was wondering if it was worth it? Thanks
Comment by Mary. Jane on July 8, 2017 at 5:40pm
Thank you all for your kind words. The night before Bob died, he took my hand, and said very kindly "Thank you"? I was stunned. I asked him for what? I don,t remember his answer..I think he said for everything. The next morning, after the hospice nurse had gone, he was very adjetated, so I put a cool wet cloth on his forehead. The nurse had to Catheterize him that morning...he HATED being catherarized...more than anything. His breathing was very labored...it seemed he was struggling to breathe..maybe I mistook the expression on his face, maybe he was trying to breath and it was too much. He wouldn,t use the oxygen machine..he,d just rip it off. That is why it was so easy to hear his loud breathing through the baby monitor, and when it stopped it was very noticeable.
I rushed into the living room and he was gone...with that horrific expression on his face. I made a sort of hood with his blanket, leaving his nose and mouth uncovered, in case this wasn,t real, so he could breathe...and called hospice. I remember the hospice nurse telling me over and over if he died to NOT call 911... I DIDN,t understand why Untill I heard Steves story about the police coming and grilling him when his loved one died, and only then did I understand why hospice said to call them.
And, that was it. My beloved Bob was dead. The funeral home came, and wheeled him out, and that was the last time I ever saw him again. I gave the funeral people some other clothes to dress him in, as I wanted the shirt he died in. It was his favorite shirt, and I have it stored in a plastic bag..it had just been laundered, .he had just put on on that morning, after his bath, and sometimes I open it as I can still smell his scent on it. I keep it in the small carryall I take to the tornado shelter, as, besides my cat, it is the only thing I wouldn,t want to loose.
And just like that the man I had shared my life with for nearly 49 years was gone.
Comment by Marsha H on July 8, 2017 at 3:13pm

Sara ...  It was wonderful to see your post and I missed you!

Hugs

Marsha

Comment by Marsha H on July 8, 2017 at 3:11pm

Dear Big brother Steve ...  Thank you for the compliment and I do my best.  For some, seeing their loved one that doesn't look peaceful after they pass away it's a shock and leads them to believe their loved one passed away fearful and in pain.  I blame the medical staff because nurses see death all the time and should explain to the living spouse why this is so that they will have some peace. 

Even in comas the loved one can hear and that's why they suggest to the spouse, family and friends to talk as if that person were awake.  I had a male friend who was in a coma for 8 months and all of us just talked to him normally, played some of his favorite music and eventually when he came out of the coma he told us he heard everything.  Of course Mark heard you very clearly.  I did give Ernie permission to pass on and as you know it's the hardest thing we had to do.  You want them to stay, but don't want to be selfish so 'when you love someone set them free.'

I am so sorry about your sister's passing, but, the death process starts days before they actually pass and they seem to accept it with peace.  I am so glad you both could say how much you loved each other.  It's true and I do believe that when our spouses passed that someone close to them comes to them softly and when it's time 'guides them home.'  I know when Ernie was close to death we said our goodbyes and I told him not to be afraid.  He looked peaceful after that and seemed to drift into a world of his own (preparation of passing away.)  Their business is finished here on earth and they can pass on to have another life without pain, I do believe deep in my heart they stay around us in spirit to give us strength through the grieving process and once we have strength to move on the visits become less and we are left with memories.  I still talk to Ernie, say goodnight to him and I sure wish he was here most of the time.

Your post to Mary.Jane was with love and caring and the truth of this journey of grief we all must go through.  It was encouraging and peaceful.  We just didn't drop on earth and were created and we are born, live and pass away.  It's the circle of life.  It may not be fair and there are always so many questions we may never get answers too, but like you I've learned to take many wise things Ernie said to me and go forward with love to help others.  Each one of us whether new to grief or awhile into grief carry that torch and we help each other get through it.

Lots of love my dear brother

Your sis

Marsha

Comment by Steve on July 7, 2017 at 10:54am

Marsha, you have such a calming way of putting things into perspective, as I watched Mark pass on his expression was one of someone asleep, his eyes were closed and the noise of his breathing just stopped.  I found great comfort this morning reading about how hearing is the last sensory our beloved has when moving on.  That means that he heard me asking him to stay and not leave me alone and possibly heard me when I gave in to his passing admitting out loud to myself that he was no longer suffering and in pain. 

Your post also brought me back to my sister’s passing, she was under in-home hospice care and a few days before she passed while I was sitting by her side, I looked at her and with tears streaming down my cheeks I said to her “I don’t know what to say”, she reached over and grabbed my hand and said, “I know, I love you too”.  Silence filled the room again as I sat there and cried, she then shared with me; “I will be fine and so will you, I saw our mother last night standing at the foot of my bed smiling down at me, she looked exactly as I remembered her, and now I am not afraid of dying, I am ready, I know everyone I love will be just fine, then she fell back to sleep.  I sat there for a time and as I sat there I became calm and a peace came over me that is hard to put into mere words.  I have that memory, one that I visit often, especially those days I feel down and wishing Mark was still here.

Mary Jane, I believe that there are more things in this life and the hereafter that we have no clue about than there are points of light in the evening night.  I embrace the thought that energy is not something that goes away or dies out, it is however, for lack of a better description, recycled/renewed into something more wondrous far beyond our understanding.  Just as in grief, we move forward at our own pace and we gain understanding and purpose that is tailored for each of us.  I have studied various religions and the one thread they all share is “Love” and a request that we treat others with the same love we enjoy with those around us.  Coming to Legacy for me is my way of sharing my love with all of you, and in doing so I am finding out that I can have compassion and love for strangers that I find along the way down my path.  When I found Legacy, it too was by accident (or was it), I too felt worse sometimes when I would read and respond to posts.  For me, I found my grief was drilling down into my soul and letting me grieve for all those in my family I was close too.  As a young man, I had chosen not to allow myself to grieve; eventually, all those feelings surfaced and I began to address them and still do even today.  So, my dear friend your feelings are normal, having doubts, feeling bad reading posts, second guessing, all normal.  I for one, find your posts most uplifting and think of you as an awesome person and good friend.  Sending you many hugs today, just because I can and because you need a few…:>)  

Comment by Michael Smith on July 7, 2017 at 8:30am

Mary Jane, I to can feel really sad when reading the stories of other people on here. But it is the encouraging replies that keep me coming back and raise my spirits.  

Melanie started having seizures the 23rd of October and was unable to communicate after that. We could tell the end was near so family was gathered at our house. at roughly 10:30 PM the 27th she yelled out 'let's have a party' We looked at each other and didn't know what to think. two hours later she spoke her last words 'Happy birthday' it was the 28th and our middle son's 18th birthday. Needless to say we were all in shock when we realized what time it was.She had spent 5 days without communicating with us but came back enough to wish her son happy birthday.

When her heart stopped her expression didn't change. I know she was watching us those last days. 

On another note my son and I had a good time and we both can't wait until we can see each other again.

Love 

Mike

Comment by Sara Murphy on July 7, 2017 at 7:57am

Hello again my Legacy family.  I've been going through withdrawals.  Something happened with my hard drive and I haven't been able to access any websites in a week.  I especially missed Legacy as my family here are the only people who understand so I'm glad to be back.  I haven't had a chance to read and catch up but I will soon.  Just know I've been thinking about all of you.

Love,

Sara

 

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