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 and even worse days

Started by Patricia Huett. Last reply by Richard Gordon Jun 1. 4 Replies

Bad day

Started by David Heggi. Last reply by David Heggi Apr 10. 4 Replies

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Comment by Rebecca Aughenbaugh on January 8, 2018 at 11:28am

Hello Everyone. 

I am new here. So please excuse me interrupting your thread. 

I have been feeling so sad and helpless for quite a while now. 

I meet my husband Jim in 1992. He was American. Stationed at RAF Mildenhall UK. He was 26, and I was 21. It was love at first sight. We moved in together after a week. Engaged four months later, pregnant a month after that, then married 3 months later. We had moved from the UK to California.  

Everything was great, except nearly dying having our son!!.

Life ticked on until 1998. Jim was so ill. I took him to the ER, and the Doctor said he probably had an ulcer. I don't know why but I said it wasn't that and could they do tests. A few days later we were called in to be told  Jim had stage 4 Colon cancer, and a grapefruit sized tumour in his colon. Jim had chemo, and surgery. It seemed as if all was good. We had a couple more years of happiness and living life. At his 2 year check up we were told the cancer was back and had spread. It was terminal. I took care of him at home. He had a couple of big surgeries to remove tumours, and began chemo, he wanted to be with us as long as he could.  He was quite weak, but wanted to work one day a week to keep our medical. A few weeks later I received a phone call that he had been found on the ground of a parking lot and had had a massive stroke. When I saw him he was paralysed on one side, and couldn't speak.He did regain full movement. But couldn't speak properly, and didn't know what things were and called. He seemed to know who I was, but not his son. He was about 13 mentally they thought. He had therapy and got a little better. We were given 6 months to a year. Jim passed 18 months later at the age of 36. I was a widow at 31 with a 9 year old son. I had taken care of Jim at home. So he died in my arms. I kissed him and lay there with him until I had to let them take him. I remember something strange happened.

After Jim was taken, I had gone upstairs, and on the floor was a photo negative strip. It was four negatives of our wedding day. I had no idea how it got there, as the negatives were all in a completely different place. I didn't know what to think.....

I went to view Jim in the coffin before he was cremated. I kissed his lips and said goodbye. The funeral was lovely. So many people came. He was so loved and respected.

Up til then I had been so busy taking care of him, then the funeral. I had already grieved for the 18 months that I knew Jim was going to die. So I just pulled up my bootstraps and became mum and dad to our son.  In 2009 we moved to the UK. I married again to a man who was a closet alcoholic and very abusive. I divorced him and carried on with life. I dated someone for a year or so. But none of them came close to Jim. I have been single 3 years now. And my son is happily married living in London. 

I just can't stop crying and wishing Jim was here. I keep remembering little things about our life together, that I had forgotten. I cry most days, especially when I see friends cekebrating 25 plus years of marriage, and wish that I was too. I want to wake up and have my American GI next to me. He would be 51 right now. Still so young. 

So that's my story.

I hurt. I am lonely. And I miss my husband so much, the pain hurts my heart. I just don't know how heal. I don't think I ever will. 

Comment by Marsha H on January 8, 2018 at 4:17am

Mary Jane ...  I agree with David.  Even though you don't like the feeling of remembering that dream so vividly throughout the day believe it or not it the beginning of healing through your grief.  When looking after a spouse who has a terminal disease until the end of life or even sudden death of a spouse our brain blocks out the painful part which enables us to appear strong for them and try to encourage and be there for them the best we can.  I believe every single person on this forum at one time or another has questioned themselves as to whether they did enough to try and save their spouse; what could I have done better, did I do everything possible.  As humans we sometimes feel we can control situations and many we can, but death know no age and is relentless.  Now you are have those panicky dreams because you are growing stronger and realizing that there was nothing else you could do.  Our spouses knew we loved them and did the best we could and they loved us.  

My dream was being in a unique little shop with Ernie and he appeared as he did in his 20's.  It must have been the late 1960's (hippy era) and I went into another room to look around.  When I came out he was standing by this pretty hippy girl with is arm around her waist, look straight at me and said he didn't love me anymore.  Of course, like you when I woke up I was so upset and that dream lingered with me throughout the day and I thought of it often after that.  Then I realized for some reason that when Ernie passed away I felt somewhat guilty as if I hadn't done enough mixed in with he didn't feel I did enough and abandoned me through death.  After that I started to heal and realized how much stronger I became and yes, he loved me and I loved him and it still is the same feeling.

Comment by David Heggi on January 7, 2018 at 10:16pm

Mary Jane,

It was a dream of complete helplessness; the same you felt Bob when Bob was alive.

I think, as a nonprofessional, that it is a good thing you are beginning to remember what your mind had blocked out as a kind of survival mechanism. Maybe you don't need it now, and can handle the memories.

Comment by Mary. Jane on January 7, 2018 at 9:30pm

I don,t know if this is a good or bad thing, but I am strting to remember my dreams. Last night..(I will give you the very short version..) I had driven into an underground parking lot...I had BOb with me...he was alive, but had cancer, and I knew I HAD to get him medical care...suddenly our car was gone..someone told it. BOb was beside me, in a sort of canvas bag...and I was frantic. There were lots of people, who were trying to help me find my then I was hysterical...cuz I knew Bob would die unless I found the car and could get him medical that point, I woke up..knowing it was too late. As hard as I tried to save him, he had died anyway. As I awoke further, the dream wore off, but the feeling of complete helplessness hasn,t left me all day. 

I also noticed tiny bits of simple memory are starting to return..I wonder if that is a good sign or a bad one?

Comment by Sara Murphy on January 4, 2018 at 9:26pm

Hi Chuck,  I just read your reply about visiting if I need a break from the cold and I'll tell you what.....after the 15 inches of snow we got today followed by another brutally cold weekend ahead, I would be on the first plane out if planes were actually going anywhere.  Don't be surprised if I take you up on the offer at some point in the future.

Comment by Marsha H on January 4, 2018 at 5:42am

Dearest Chuck ...  When too many changes hit us often we can become panicky or second-guess ourselves.  I know, I've been there before.  I was raised as a city girl, married at 22 to my first husband and we were hardly married when he was stationed up North to help build dam.  I was young and in love, but when I saw the wilderness, lots of dirt, heavy equipment, found out there were over 4500 men and only 400 women I cried for days.  I was so lonely, but eventually got a good job with Hydro and made Confidential Secretary.  I felt lose and lonely at first, but the people there were so very friendly.  Before long I was pulled apart by the city life and the wilderness life.  When our contract was up and we had to come back to Vancouver there was such a huge surprise party for us and I bawled my eyes out knowing I would miss all of them so very much.  So, my friend, Texas is a good place and if it doesn't work out as Steve says there is that 'exit.'  Nothing is stationary unless you want it to be.  Love is too strong to keep you both apart.  

I have met many Texans when Ernie was building yachts and not one was unfriendly.  They seem alive, full of fun and mention a party then you'd better get your dancing shoes on.  LOL  

I also suffered from panic attacks very badly back in the late 70's and the way I got over it was 'the exist.'  I was in control of my own destiny so my dear brother, realize that and you'll never have to use that exit.  

You have made me laugh so often when I've been down and I thank you for that.  Knowing the difficulties that you have been through yet help us all even makes you more precious to me.  I think of you often.

I would like to suggest you keep a journal of your adventures and again I say you have such a fantastic knack for writing where people can't stop reading your posts that I do feel you should write a book.  You'd be fantastic!  I can see as well that Steve has a similar talent so why not write a book together.  I'll buy it!  

Love you both lots my brothers and think of you often.

Your Sis Marsha

Comment by deborah peck on January 3, 2018 at 11:05pm

Dear Steve, I made my girls all pillows out of Gregs shirts, they loved them . You  might try doing that instead, although it was really hard cutting up some of his shirts but well worth it when I gave them away. but for now you guys need to try to enjoy each other and not go crazy trying to do everything at once, love Debbie

Comment by Steve on January 3, 2018 at 11:14am

Hi Debbie,

Thank you so much for your kind words - I admit that I am a little proud of myself too for doing all this without messing up the whole process...I'm not known among those who know me well as someone with a logical or business-like mind - more the opposite in truth.

The quilt is absolutely beautiful, and what an incredibly loving gift to have! I have saved a number of Larry's shirts, and some of his ties - he was such an old-school kind of guy, and wore suits and ties to occasions where these days people show up in jeans. I have some ideas of things I may attempt to make, but now I wish I had saved more to do exactly the same thing! Thank you for sharing that photo - if I make anything (once there is a room cleared enough to set up my sewing machine) I will share it here with you.

Stay warm, and as yo feel Greg's arms around you know that he is in fact doing just that...

Love, Chuck 

Comment by Steve on January 3, 2018 at 11:00am

Dear Mary Jane,

Thank you dear friend - you complete get my feelings about Christmas while staring around at my life in endless boxes and feeling like nothing seems familiar or like home - yet. Every so often Steve approaches me with a look of apprehension holding the pieces of something that didn't survive the move intact. I imagine he hopes I won't either get angry or burst into tears, but actually I just take a quick look, like some form of triage, and either say it can be fixed or pitch it. The only two things I truly cared about getting through this crazy experience without being broken is us!!!

We do plan to take our time as we unpack, although once Steve, bless his energetic heart, get's a bee in his bonnet about finding something in one of those endless boxes I might as well give up on talking him out of it - I'm much lazier, and "Fiddle-de-dee - tomorrow is another day" has been my mantra stolen from Scarlet O'Hara! His work ethic does shame me into getting up and starting to attack those boxes holding my studio stuff, or my doll collection, which so far has held no "surprises" - fingers crossed there.

I too saw the beautiful full moon overnight on New Year's Eve - our smoke detectors decided to malfunction and go off waking us and forcing us to disconnect them - don't worry, we're going out today for new ones to install for our safety.

I do so hope that you do really take from my move some inspiration about your own possessions and facing moving some day. It sounds corny and trite, but please believe me that if I can do it, then you can also - and if you need any boxes, we seem to have a few around that you are welcome to!

Love, Chuck

Comment by Steve on January 3, 2018 at 10:40am

Hi Sara,

You are so sweet to say such wonderful things about my "courage" - I see myself as more of the "cowardly lion", although I do quote Dorothy often these days when walking into new places, saying to Steve "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!" You're right, and thank for reminding me that the people I meet don't have the first hand experience of grieving a spouse, so say what is meant as kind and sympathetic things. I am quite pleasantly surprised that when I say "my husband Larry" nobody yet has even batted an eye or hesitated for a second. A few "northern" friends worry that I have stumbled into some backward place where I will be treated unkindly, or worse. So far, that is not my experience at all, and short of wandering into some biker bar by mistake, I think Steve and I are as safe here as we would be anywhere.

I know it's awfully cold where you are, and hope you stay safe and warm as this brutal winter persists - if you need a break, jump on a plane and come visit - our door is always open to family!

Love, Chuck


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