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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

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Comment by Charles E. Nelson on April 7, 2020 at 7:40am

Thank you Mary Jane and Sara,

Colin's Mom, Betty Ann, went quietly to her reward yesterday. Besides now confronted with navigating the current awful situation of making arrangements for a distanced service and burial, Colin and his wife Nancy have Diana, Colin's older sister now living with them. Diana is mentally challenged, and it fell on him to find a way to explain to her that Mom wasn't coming home from the hospital. My heart breaks for him as I write this - he told me years ago that he thinks of me as his second Dad, and I see him as the son I would have loved to have.

The following is what I wrote for Steve to post for me on Colin's Facebook page, since I myself am not a member there.

Colin, I agree with you that your mother would wish to surrender her ICU bed and ventilator to another patient once it was certain that she wasn’t going to recover. The best example of her thoughtful and generous spirit I can remember comes from a long ago gesture she made toward me.
I had seen a beautiful ceramic Nativity set she had hand painted at your home one Christmas. I admired it and shared with her the fact that when I was a child the modest Nativity that my mother set up each Christmas was her very favorite Holiday decoration and how much I wished that I had that set now after having lost her in 1983. Betty Ann asked if I had my own set at home, which I didn’t. The next Christmas I was overwhelmed when she made a gift to me of that lovely large set she herself had painted – her initials on the bottom of each piece. When I protested she said she wanted me to have it to remind me of my own mother – that she would make another set for herself. I have this set still, and every Christmas when I arrange it I am reminded of not only my own mother Colin, but of yours – the generous kind woman who through her gift to me showed her clear understanding of not only the true meaning of Christmas, but of the command to love thy neighbor as thyself.
Colin, your mother will always be remembered with fondness and love as the sincerely kind woman she was. God bless you and give all of your family peace.

Love to you all, and please stay safe

Chuck

Comment by Mary. Jane on April 6, 2020 at 10:47pm

Chuck, I am kind of stunned about Colin’s mother having COVID 19. This is the first REAL person I know of, who isn’t just someone on the news. Until now, it was as if I was watching some long TV drama..on every channel..but unreal, just the same.

Now, it is real. Hard to wrap my head around it..I am so sorry..for you, Colin, his mother, I dunno, what to say.

Comment by Sara Murphy on April 6, 2020 at 9:54pm

Chuck...I'm proud of you making it to the 5 yr mark.  That was no easy feat especially while suffering a devastating loss.  Larry is proud of your accomplishment and continues to watch over you.  I agree with you that since this crisis started, talk and images of alcohol are everywhere.  It's overwhelming on Facebook.

I'm so sorry that Colin's mother is suffering from this virus and about to lose her battle.  I'm sending you a tight hug, maybe Steve can pass it to you from me.

Love you guys...….and all my Legacy family

Sara

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on April 6, 2020 at 3:39pm

Wow Mary Jane,

You will never know how much your post means to me, especially today. A few hours ago Larry's son Colin called to tell me that his mother who is on a respirator in NJ with Covid is being removed from life support later today. Since that call my mind has been filled with memories of her and thoughts are forming for what I will write about her as a personal memorial. I am feeling a bit adrift at this moment, and Steve is calmly watching as I go about things, ready to help with a hug and a shoulder to cry on when the time comes...and it will.

Thank you dear friend for such encouragement, for just as I earlier told Colin that he was strong and he would get through this, now you have done the same for me.

God bless us all, and prayers for all around the world who are in mourning for loved ones lost to this pandemic.

Love, Chuck

Comment by Mary. Jane on April 6, 2020 at 12:42pm

Ohh, Chuck..that is wonderful. I could not give you any praise higher than the feeling you have of wonderful self pride, and worth! You deserve it! Five years seems like a milestone..4 is almost there, but FIVE means you have MADE it! You don’t have to be afraid any more..as you have THIS anniversary.Somehow, the next years seem to come easier, once you have crossed the 5 year mark. I bet you are really proud of yourself..and you SHOULD be! You have earned it..you did it for YOU..and THAT is HUGE! You stopped drinking when YOU decided it was time..not because someone else wanted you to stop, but YOU made the decision. And you stuck with it for FIVE YEARS! And now, the self worth you are experiencing will stay with you forever. People, who aren’t alcoholics cannot understand. You cannot quit for ANYONE ELSE, no matter how much you love them, and how hard you try. It never works out. You can only quit because YOU wanted  to..which is why this will be forever. 

Well done, my baby brother!

Comment by Jeanette McSherry on April 5, 2020 at 5:07pm

Dear Chuck - I applaud you for being brave enough to put forth the effort to chance your life. I can only imagine Larry looking down and being so proud of you and so happy that you have found a wonderful man to make this time in history bearable. I invite everyone on the forum to join many of us every evening in prayer for our first responders, those on the front lines, those in government and media and those already suffering from this terrible thing. We always include those in nursing homes, the elderly at home, those who have lost their spouses or significant others and those suffering from anxiety and depression in our prayers. And to add just a little giggle -- every night Sugar Bear (my six foot husky) joins Jim and me in our prayer - reminding us to pray for all the poor unwanted animals out there who have been abandoned because people are afraid of getting the virus from them or can no longer care for them.  In good news - a family member (a young man) got the virus and has recovered after two weeks. We are praying his husband does not contract it. I have been unable to contact him although I have tried. For Jim and me we are staying safe and using the dogs (and cat) for our entertainment. Our prayers are with you all.  Love Jenni

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on April 5, 2020 at 4:38pm

Thank you Deborah - your words of understanding and encouragement are very much appreciated - 

Love, Chuck

Comment by deborah peck on April 5, 2020 at 12:01pm

Chuck, I loved the way you felt safe here and how honest you were. I was thinking yesterday how horrible this must be for people with severe depression and anxiety and then it dawned on me how many people in abusive relationships were now in real danger. Im very proud of you for all the hard work it takes to remain sober but you are still doing it, Im sure Larry is very proud of you and understands that you couldn't help it, you have a sickness and he loved you and you have so many good memories. I think now that life has slowed down it causes many of us to reflect on our lifes, past and present and hopefully to realize we cant change our past behavior but we can change what we do in the future. So much love to you and keep up the good work

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on April 5, 2020 at 11:47am

To clarify - Larry wasn't experiencing Liver failure - I just saw how that could be confusing the way I wrote it - sorry

Chuck

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on April 5, 2020 at 11:45am

Dear Mary Jane (and everyone)

Yes, this is our safe place - and so I am availing myself of that security now. You see, today is a rather important milestone  for me...5 years sober. I honestly don't remember how much if any of the events surrounding this I have shared here before. My sobriety was not by choice - I was taken by ambulance to the ER with Larry experiencing liver failure with multiple organ involvement. I was intubated and placed in an induced coma for 2 weeks. During my withdrawal I experienced delirium tremens, or the DT's leaving my with encephalopathy which affects my moods, balance, memory - all kinds of fun stuff. Of course I am now living with cirrhosis and have my liver checked regularly for signs of deterioration, disease, or cancer to which I am now more susceptible. Life is not what it was for me, but that I have life at all is a miracle. It was during that period in 2015 that I lost my beloved Larry, and my feelings about my health, my alcoholism, and my relationship with and loss of Larry are all so confusingly mangled together that I don't expect ever to be able to completely sort through them. one day all I can think of is the way my drinking affected our life and what he must have endured, the next I'm remembering how much fun and life we shared for 32 years - emotional gymnastics for which I should be well equipped but don't always navigate well.

since this crisis started I am daily seeing on TV people sharing recipes for cocktails, discussing online drinking parties, and even major personalities drinking on camera as a joke about how they are coping. For me, this can be upsetting and not at all funny. Only Whoopy Goldberg has been clearly reminding viewers who have addictions to seek help and reach out as their anxiety grows along with their memories of how they would have been behaving in the past. God bless her for that. 

I plan to write out something in the way I did when I first joined here, but am busy making protective masks for Steve and I as well as some at-risk friends, so that is taking priority right now. I just wanted to say how much being here has saved me in more ways than I could ever express - I didn't join AA or attend meetings, and thankfully have never wanted to start drinking again - but I know enough from family experiences that I am will always be one drink away from disaster, and for me death. 

Please all of you be safe, mindful, and aware of how much we all mean to each other - here, and to the world .

Love to you all

Chuck

 

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