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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.

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Navigating Widow-hood

Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Michele Jul 21. 5 Replies

Finding the new normal

Started by Sharon Kinsey. Last reply by Frances C Younger Jun 24. 12 Replies

Grief so great it hurts

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Comment by Charles E. Nelson on May 4, 2019 at 2:24pm

Dear Marsha,
My friend, your pain comes through and is felt by us all. The sad confluence of so many losses is enough to break, or at least bring to our knees, even the strongest of us. You, our Angel, have been such a source of strength and support for countless members of this uncommon family – now it is your turn to accept some strength and support from we who love you so dearly.
I am writing this piece for you – the very first thoughts that crossed my mind when I learned of your ordeal. I pray that it helps…

An Uninvited Education
You were raised in an environment that placed a high value on education. The training of the mind – the acquisition of knowledge and skills – were encouraged and expected. A lifetime of following this path has brought rewards, challenges, and sometimes failure – but always the search for answers and solutions has guided you.
Now, after losses and heartaches have become so numerous that they weigh on your heart like an immense boulder, your view has shifted. Education is less defined now as knowledge pointing you toward advancing your career, broadening your horizon, or expanding your possibilities. It rather is the small lessons learned step by step as you haltingly navigate this uneven path life seems to have determined for you.
It all started with an explosion – a bomb dropped on you that brought immediate unimaginable devastation – the loss of your beloved. Everyone recognized the impact this had on you. There was an outpouring of sympathy and compassion from many sources, all appreciated and accepted with gratitude. Then, as time passed, the support seemed to be quietly evaporating like a puddle of water in the street once the sun appears following a summer shower.
Few, if any, saw how the shock waves from that bomb that continued to come months and years after the event faded from their thoughts. Those shock waves continue to this day, in the form of other newer losses, each bringing their own grief and sadness. You finally found yourself taking comfort from the most unlikely sources – the song of a bird, the soundless passing of a wild deer – even the seemingly weightless small chipmunks that came to sit in your hand eating your offering of sunflower seeds. Shunning the clumsy attempts by humans encouraging you to “moving on”, you found a gentle connection with these speechless creatures who seemed to recognize and share your grieving. In observing them, your new education had begun. They face dangers, predators, and uncertainty every day of their existence. Still though, they display a calm and steady understanding of those things in this world that truly matter. Even when one loses a mate, and appears to be searching for the companion that was just there by their side the day before, they still go on with their life. This lesson, so simple for them, is the one you seem to keep relearning again and again.
The skills needed now to get through each day no longer come from courses, books, or lectures. They come from nature, and from others who know your painful journey from their own experiences along this path, and from inside yourself. Mostly, you have learned that there is more strength and resilience in your spirit than you have ever dreamed you possessed. Finding that reserve, and tapping into it when needed, is the most important lesson for you now – and you are going to be a willing student in this most important step in your continuing education.

Comment by Deb on May 4, 2019 at 2:16pm

Dear Marsha, Hardly ever post but I was so moved by your post and others that I had to enter into the conversation.  I am so sorry for your loss of your dear little Tootsie. Reading your post brought me to tears feeling your pain. I know all too well what it's like to lose a pet and the 2 men who loved me are gone, as well. 5 years ago, I lost my partner of 33 years very suddenly and then got together with another man who passed away in February after a long illness. Losing those who loved us and whom we loved is so terribly painful. This morning I looked into one of the drawers that my latest partner used brought me to tears remembering how happy we were — And, now he's gone, too. Life just isn't fair! I live in a condo that doesn't allow pets so having a pet to love isn't an option. I'm so glad you still have your Booker to love you and for you to love in return. I'm not able to volunteer at the humane society as I'm only here for 6 months of the year and they need commitment for a year at a time.  

Sending love to everyone in this group who are feeling the same pain that I know all too well. Love, Deb 

Comment by Steve G. on May 4, 2019 at 1:19pm

To my dearest Marsha, words nor tears can express the sorrow I feel for your loss. Each time we experience a loss, be it human or pet, the grief that we have pushed down and tried to move away from comes haunting us again. Only those of us on this site understand it all, it’s as if life has thrown a grenade at us hurting those we love so dearly and yet we survive and we ask ourselves “why”. I know your loss all to well, reading your post brought all my memories of that one evening when I lost my Bella. It was late in the evening when I noticed that she had not eaten or taken water during the day while I was at work. When I got home she got up and wanted to go out, so we did, but she turned around and headed back for the apartment. She laid down looking up at me and wagging her tale. I went for treats and she ate one and left the other one. It was later on that evening while watching TV she tried to get up and could not. I thought about calling for help to get her into the car and as I was passing that thought through my head, I noticed that she was starring out the glass doors to our little walled in patio wagging her tail all the while. She suddenly sat up using her front legs and started winning wagging her tail faster, looking out at the dark patio and then back at me. I knew at that moment she was waiting on me to do or say something. I opened the doors and she just tilted her head at me and laid back down. I went over to her and sat down, she put her big paw in my hand and looked at me. So, I laid down beside her on the floor petting her head and telling her it was ok, she could leave me now and join Mark. I fell asleep on the floor only to wake up and discover that she had passed on, she and Mark were together again.
Somehow, I found the strength to wrap her up in her quilt, picked all 85 lbs of her and get her to the car. It was 2:30 am now, I looked online and found a 24 hour emergency vet not far away.
The attendants there were kind and took over getting her out of the car and comforting me at the same time. When they asked me what I wanted to do with her ashes, I asked if they could send them to NJ where I was moving to in just 3 days. They arranged everything for me, when I got home I was numb and ready to start crying again, but I had to clean up her bedding and the rug, so I started cleaning. Exhausted, I sat down on the couch and fell asleep. When I woke up I felt so alone and grief started up again, so I forced myself to continue packing. Posting on legacy helped, talking to friends at church helped, but the drive north was lonely and lovely at the same time. Bella was around 80 something in dog years, she knew it was time to leave me and she knew I would be OK.
I think back now and wonder, did she know that she could not make the trip, did she see Mark waiting outside for her? Absolutely, without any doubts, dogs and cats are very intuitive and they take more care of us than we give them credit for and they do it with unconditional love.
I hurt because you are hurt, I cry because I know the loss.
Just know that my love for you and everyone on this site is unconditional and we are all here for each other.
Hugs from your lil brother Steve

Comment by deborah peck on May 4, 2019 at 1:17pm

Marsha, I am so sorry about your baby as pets truly are our babies. when my little yorkie passed away I was heart broken. They become a part of our family and lives and the grieve is real. please know I am here for you and you can email me anytime

Comment by Mary. Jane on May 4, 2019 at 11:22am

Oh God, Marsha...you have no idea how saddened I am to hear of this deep loss of Tootsie. My biggest fear is my beloved kitty Rudy will die. If there is anything at all I can do for you by emai, phone or letters, please email me. U have my virtual shoulder to cry on as long as you need it. However...I honestly feel that although she isn,t there in person, she, and Ernie are still with you. Listen for the sounds of her little feet, feel herbcuddle next to you. I am serious, and I don,t care how I sound...before we had Rudy, we had Buddy..another kitty..for 11 years. We had the grace of knowing he only had about a year to live, as his kidneys were failing...and I knew, when it was time, He would tell me. Our animals DO communicate, we just have to pay attention, and learn how to “listen”. 10 years ago, when Buddy died, HE lead us to Rudy..too long to tell here, but I wrote a story about it, and it was actually published in TULSA PETS, a local monthly magazine..ANYWAY...Buddy had a routine..every night, he would jump up on my side off the bed, from the end of the bed...and he would sleep ON MY FEET thru the blankets. This was his nightly routine. My feel we’re warm, and Bob moved too much, so his heavy weight was always on my feet. He always jumped up the same way..so after we got the very active kitten Rudy,  for the first year when Rudy was a kitten, Rudy slept in our laundry room...as he was awake all night, a very active kitten..so we created his own bedroom with bed, toys, food etc..so we could sleep. 

Meanwhile, every night, I SWEAR I could feel Buddy jump on the end of our bed. There was no weight on my feet, but I could feel the way the bed would creak, and his the movement of his little paws. This went on for years, as Rudy grew, and learned to play by himself at night..but I STLL thought I felt Buddy jump up in that special way every night. Fast forward, about 5 years...I NEVER told Bob about this, as I thought he would think I was nuts..but as time went on, I didn,t feel Buddy jump up any more...and Rudy wouldn,t sleep with us cuz Bob wore a C-pap and Rudy was afraid of the air..so he never slept with us...ANYWAY...one night I casually mentioned that I used to think I felt Buddy jump on the bed every night after he died...and Bob got this look on his face, and his jaw dropped...and I exclaimed “I FELT HIM TOO!!!” All those years I never told Bob I felt Buddy every night, cuz I thought he would think I was nuts..and he never told me for the same reason. 

But we had both felt that Buddy was with us for at least 5 years after he died. 

My loongg point is,Tootsie is still there..just in a different realm and if you open your heart, you will notice. They don,t leave us until they feel we are ready...and, I know you don,t want another little dog...but if you are meant to have one, Tootsie will be the catalyst who will connect you with a new sweet animal. I know with all my heart that Buddy found Rudy for us..the amazing thing..is Rudylooks IDENTICAL to Buddy...I will email you the story and picture...it is only one page long.

so, my heart is so sad for you, and when it is Rudy’s time, I know I will be devestated...but Rudy can see Bob!!  I KNOW IT!  So Tootsie is with Ernie, and they are still with you. And, if a little animal shows up at your front door, they sent it...I know this with all my heart. And, that heart is breaking for the pain you must be in now...but I promise, in time,  it will get better...remember, you are loved, and love NEVER DIES!

Comment by Marsha H on May 4, 2019 at 3:16am

April 27th was the 8th year of Ernie's passing and although tears come to my eyes I am able to smile at fond memories.  I thought this year would be no different and I planned to celebrate as usual.  Firstly I received a phone call from a friend whose husband has not been well for sometime and she called to tell me that at 12:30 AM on April 27th he had passed away peacefully, but unfortunately she was not informed until after his death.  I was in the middle of consoling her when my 16 year old little dog Tootsie let out a sound that I had never heard before and even my friend could hear it.  I looked over and she was half on her side on the carpet and I had to tell my friend quickly Tootsie needed me.  Some how I just knew my little one wasn't going to make it as I drove to the vets and the vet confirmed it was her time.  My vet is a wonderful and compassionate man and he gave me as much time as I needed with my little white angel.  I knew Tootsie had stayed on past the time she should have to help me through my grief of losing Ernie (she really missed him too as she was his little girl.)  The vet gave her a heavy sedative and I held her close to me and thanked her for being there for me and the best gift I could do was let her go and hopefully her 'poppy' was waiting for her.  It was a peaceful procedure and she looked peaceful, but I was a mess.  I was amazed that most of the staff at the vets hugged me and even 3 ladies in the vet's office with healthy little dogs rushed over to hug me.  Once again I was in shock, disbelief and my heart broken.  How did I explain all this to my other little dog Booker as Tootsie was his partner in crime.  He is grieving as well.  Then I went through the anger stage; Ernie and I couldn't have children and our pets were our children and one by one they were leaving me; first Ernie, 5 months later our cat Molly and now Tootsie.  I feel as if I haven't got much left in my soul from losing so much in what I feel is a short time.  Now I just keep busy and love Booker as much as I can.  We try to 'walk off the sorrow' but that's only another reminder.  I know I will get through this yet again, but so angry that I keep losing those I love.  My friend's husband was a wonderful man and we were fast friends and I feel sad as well over his passing and how strange he would pass away on the very same day Ernie did.  Two different emotions I was dealing with.  The house feels empty even though I have Booker here who sticks to me like glue.

Thanks for letting me vent.  

Comment by Marsha H on May 4, 2019 at 3:00am

Dear Deborah ....  It's beautiful!  It' so lush and green and so peaceful looking.  What a fine job you've done and great would be so proud.

Hugs

Marsha

Comment by deborah peck on May 3, 2019 at 8:12pm

thank you Chuck, I figured he was always looking out for us so the lighthouse is representing the fact that I know he still is

Comment by deborah peck on May 3, 2019 at 8:11pm

Steve I am so glad the tree came back, what a wonderful sign from Mark

Comment by Steve G. on May 3, 2019 at 1:53pm

Very beautiful and peaceful looking Deborah.

When I decided to place Mark's ashes in a planter with a small sapling of Crepe Myrtle last year, I was unable to move it inside the nights we had below freezing temps in the teens.  I was sure it did not survive, so I place some pansies around the bare sticks that was his tree, and decided that if Mark was happy (along with Bella's ashes) then it would come back.  Which it did, and it is growing ever so fast with all the spring rain.

Glad that you made it through Greg's birthday and that you are doing as well as possible.  

Take care dear friend and know that we are all here for you anytime.

Hugs

Steve

 

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