Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: 9 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 Mary. Jane 10 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.
You are most certainly well into your path of healing from the things you have said, and i am happy that this is happening for you. Your description of your therapy session, and how your feelings were all over the place reminded me of a diagram a young lady posted here over a year ago. She had just lost her husband and was raising a 1 year old son while confronting her grief - she displayed such courage and grace in such a tragic situation that she became a sort of role model for me, and probably others here as well.
I am attaching that diagram,as her sharing got so many replies from us all saying how accurate it was. You and other newer members may find it appropriate and agree it fits you also. (Hello, Gretchen - if you are reading this I hope all is well )
As Steve wrote to you, he and I found ourselves in the completely unexpected place of growing close to one another through our efforts to support and comfort each other in our grief. Whatever comes your way, it is my belief that Ray will have a hand in it, and wants for you nothing but happiness and to love and be loved.
Keep thinking the way you do, and know that in doing so you are undoubtedly becoming a role model for others here just as Gretchen was for me.
Have a peaceful day -
Thanks for your inspiring comment Steve. I am so happy for you and Steve and wish you both a love that will grow with each day. From what I've read of your comments here I don't think there is much I can tell you that you don't already know. The knowledge we have all acquired through our individual experiences will serve to make us stronger, but I know what I have learned since Ray passed away two years ago is that I can't sit in this house and wait for things to happen or someone to find me. It's extremely hard but I'm making myself live again. Sometimes I feel the things I do are contrived with the only purpose being to show others that I'm doing something not because it makes me happy. This has to change and it will. Thankfully the Lord has made me strong and maybe a little stubborn, so I have confidence in me...Lol...and I'm going to hold Ray deep in my heart while trying to make space fr someone else. Hugs to all
Thank you for sharing that lovely story about finding the phone with Greg's voice on it - what a wonderful gift, and I hope you have a way to save it permanently. I agree that your hearing Greg say "honey, hun" was his letting you know that indeed he is close to you, as I believe he will remain always. I feel in my heart that our loved ones watch, protect, guide us every moment, and I derive great comfort from that. I now completely understand the stereotype depicted often of people talking to their deceased loved ones, because I now fit that profile. I do make an effort to not be obvious in certain situations, but if I forget and then catch someone looking at me with a puzzled or suspicious expression I just smile, nod and go on my way.
I want to share with you something that occurred during the first few summer after losing Larry. His family and some of our friends were running several garage sales during that summer in 2015 to help pay back property taxes and raise money to get me through the next winter, as I was left in a dire financial situation. I was still frail and ill, and emotionally couldn't bear the idea of sitting in a chair in the driveway watching strangers going through and haggling over items Larry and I had acquired together over 32 years. I stayed inside, only poking my head out occasionally to inquire if anyone wanted coffee or a sandwich. I had just done so when Larry's son pulled out his phone and told me he had saved the last message Larry had left for him, then pushed a button and suddenly I heard Larry's voice for the first time since losing him. I felt like I had been sucker-punched in the stomach, but managed to quietly ask if he would please send it to me if possible attached to an email, or somehow record it for me. He told me he would try, but apparently was unable to find a way. I made my way to the living room before dropping into a chair and hearing a sound come out of me that was frightening - I never even suspected that a human could let out with such a howl of despair. A daughter-in-law was going to the kitchen and ran in yelling "Chuck, what's wrong?! Are you hurt?!" One look and she immediately fell to her knees and grabbed me in a tight hug, not letting go until I was quiet and breathing normally again. Then she pulled back, her face wet with both of our tears, and just said quietly "I know."
Just over a year ago something miraculous happened, similar to your experience. There is a door in our TV stand that is opened only by pressing on the hidden latch. We had stored video tapes there until out collection grew too large, eventually converting to DVD's. I had forgotten about that space completely, and while dusting I pressed on the spot that opened it - I felt like some sleuth in a mystery movie, and began taking out the tapes. One was simply labeled "Barbecue" in my deceased brother's handwriting. Bill was the family videographer, and we all complained that wherever he went he had his blasted camera on capturing us in our least flattering positions and most awkward moments! It was a running joke that mostly what he recorded were annoyed people holding up their hands shouting "Bill! Stop it!"
I put the tape into the player, and saw that he had titled it with the date and occasion, and remembered the family reunion Larry and I hosted in 1993, 9 years after moving here. Bill arrived early and recorded our preparations, family arrivals, and the events of the day complete with sound and the quiet narrative of his voice describing each scene. He was actually a good film maker, and that day he outdid himself.
I sat there unmoving for over an hour, stunned and dripping with tears, as I watched Larry and I scurry about setting out food and chairs, all the while exchanging quick questions and directions in our familiar shorthand- "Ice?" " Bag - trash can – end of table.”
Deborah, finding that video was truly a gift from God, and I know Larry guided my hand so I would discover it. I had resolved myself to never hearing his voice again, and here we were, younger, busy, and undeniably happy as we entertained in the home we had made together. There is one especially poignant section where Bill gave the camera to a cousin and the recording showed Larry, Bill, Lucille, his wife, and myself all sitting together eating and talking, Bill and Larry teasing each other as they always did. I haven't been able to share it with his Larry’s family , although I offered to make copies for them. They seem disinterested, the reunion being of my family, and thus none of them were present - sadly our families didn't mix.
So Deborah, I thank you for reminding me of that find, and know exactly how precious such a treasure is for us - we are indeed fortunate to have these gifts.
Its so great to read all of the finding love stories, Its way to soon for me to even think about wanting another personin my life, only 3 months have passed by. But I know when my first husband passed I went to work in a bank and did not date again for 2 years and Greg kept coming into the bank I worked for and asking me out, I turned him down sooo many times until he finally shoved a paper at me and said write down your phone number and I did and as they say the rest is history and we enjoyed 25 years of love before he passed in May .I don't know if I ever want to chance meeting someone again and risk losing for the third time again, it would petrify me. I'm so happy for all of you that have though and that you post your love stories for everyone to hear and Marsha you will find another love it just might take time, good luck to all of you
It amazes me the comfort I feel from catching up on the posts here. The similarities of our stories, the caring responses from others.
Melanie fought colon cancer from June 2013 until October 2015. there were many scares along the road. times I thought she would not recover but she had alot of fight in her. She would often tell me that she wished she could meet the woman that would help me raise our children. I even caught her talking to single women she knew checking to see if there might be some interest. I would shake my head in disbelief and tell her I had no idea what I was going to happen after she passed. About two weeks after she passed I went to the ER I was having trouble breathing. they decided to admit me and later figured out it was bronchitis. They put me on the same floor that Melanie had spent months. Most of the nurses and aids were still the same. I recognized them, I looked familiar to them until I said her name. I spent three days in that room retelling the story of her passing multiple time. crying most of the time. Most of my family and friends didn't even know I was there. I sat in quiet misery alone and wishing I could still hold her.
After i got back home i would force myself to go to work. I am lucky in that my job allows me the freedom to move around the plant. there are places I still go when I need to be alone. My co-workers are nice enough and they tried but none of them had been through what I had. That year the company Christmas party was at a local restaurant and spouses were invited. I wasn't planning on going but was talking on the phone with one of Melanie's best friends and she offered to go with me. It was an enjoyable evening and our friendship has grown ever since. Neither of us were looking for love but we have found it. We can sit and share stories about Melanie. She has held me on numerous occasions when all I could do was sob. At her daughters wedding she made sure the DJ didn't play the Christina Perri A thousand years song that I would sing to Melanie and still makes me cry.
thats all for now. Thanks for reading.
Big hugs to all and God bless.
here is the song
I too found myself drowning in sorrow and memories that I could not control after Mark had passed. My biggest fear was being alone, during my life there were very few times I ever lived alone. Facing the emptiness and being alone was a huge challenge for me and had it not been for my job and our dog Bella I am not sure I would have been able to cope. I knew I needed help right away and yet I was paralyzed with fear, thank God I had friends at work I did not know about. They rallied around me with an understanding and caring, something I had not counted on. This helped while at work and at night I would get home and all the emotions were there waiting for me. With little notice from me things in my life were changing and I was being driven by a force pushing me to look for help, this is how I found Legacy. The pushing did not let up, I knew that I needed something more, I remembered my youth and memories of attending church with my grandparents flooded back in. It would take another 6 months before I could push myself into looking online for a church. Growing up gay was hard enough, attending church knowing that you would never be accepted was even more difficult. So, I resisted, and the more I resisted the harder it became to ignore. I went online and found two churches in Dallas that were LBGT run and not just friendly. I attended both, the first one greeted me with a feeling of 'when can I get out of here' and the second one I was greeted with 'wow, I am home'.
This helped me find a balance in my life that I was missing, it also led me out of my hermit style life to attend functions with others (none of whom had lost their spouse) and feel almost normal again until I had to go home to my apartment. The same feelings and emotions were still present. Almost a year would go by before someone came to Legacy that I could really identify with, another gay man that had lost his husband. We became friends online and one day we exchanged personal email accounts. He was a little more open and shared every aspect of his life and I could also share my life with him feeling comfortable to discuss anything. I found someone I trusted and yet I did not want to rush into anything and as I resisted I felt I was being pushed again to move forward. There is a lot more to this story and some of the family on this site are familiar with the details leading up to mine and Chucks first face to face meeting, but that is another story for another time. Bottom line, we each found each other in the most unassuming way possible, for me, it was proof that anything is possible. Today I am writing this post from New Jersey, Chuck and I are busy trying to sell his home and relocate to Dallas/Ft Worth area.
Yes, you can find love again, funny thing is I was not ever expecting to find it, especially in this venue where we post to help each other through our grief. Chuck and I love each other very much and yet we still love our dear departed spouses too. I often say that our relationship is not just the two of us, it includes Mark and Larry and of course dear Bella.
I think you are doing fine Russ, therapy can help, posting can help, keeping an open mind will lead you in the right direction that is right and tailor made just for you dear brother.
Take care and God bless...
Dear Chuck ... You are so sweet and kind and as usual put your words so well that it brings tears to my eyes. I am so happy my story brought back some fond memories for you and I loved your story. Sometimes miracles comes out of the strangest of places such as little boy and his dog. I guess I was paying attention for a change. Often we are filled with grief, fear and fear of change that we don't always see the real miracles around us.
I hope all is well with you and Steve and I think of both of you often.
Love you more my little brother and hug Steve for me.
Russ ... I am so proud of you for getting the therapy and believe it or not when you walk away with more questions than answers that's when the light bulb goes off and it did with you. No matter how much we grieve for our spouses we ache to be loved again. I am in the very same situation you are. Ernie who I will love all my life has been gone almost 7 years and I want to love again, but it's been very evasive for me and difficult to meet single or widowed men. My niece is putting my profile together to go on a dating site, but I'm leery of it as it's all too foreign for me and call me old fashion, but I prefer meeting a man the normal way, but that's too difficult in today's world filled with technology so I will also share my adventures as to whether someone finds me intriguing enough to go out on a first date. One should never feel guilty they are cheating or dishonoring their spouse when they choose to date once again. I know Ernie would have dated with prodding from friends and family so why not me. I have been very lonely and feel I'm missing out on too much life so I can sure connect with your feelings.
I am not one to be a stickler as to how long a person should wait to date once again, but I have to say one is not mentally over their grief and hasn't had a chance to come to the reality of it so I figured a year to a year and a half for myself. I never thought it would go on this long. LOL I suggest perhaps you just take baby steps and if you should connect with a female keep it a friendship at first and go from there. You need a little more time to get through your grief. Step out into the sunshine my friend; volunteer at something you like, take up something you like possibly photography, writing or whatever you are interested in. Remember, Russ, what you are going through now is very normal so just keep doing what you're doing and the pieces fall into place.
Big hugs (wish I could give you a hug personally) and God bless you.
Dear Russ, I think its wonderful that you want to find love again it is a testimony to the love the two of you had to want it again. I think therapy will bring up a lot of confusing thoughts while you go thru it, its meant for you to examine your feelings and deal with them so my thoughts and prayers are with you on this journey. I too post on here things I cant say to anyone else as no one else understands the depth of our pain and how confusing it is to figure out our new life. everyone has to do what makes them happy
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