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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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Grief so great it hurts

Started by Bonny Jones. Last reply by Diamond Jan 31. 13 Replies

Navigating Widow-hood

Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Michele Jul 21, 2019. 5 Replies

Finding the new normal

Started by Sharon Kinsey. Last reply by Frances C Younger Jun 24, 2019. 12 Replies

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Comment by Helen Duncan Hutchinson on December 30, 2013 at 1:53pm

Mark and Melissa   You are not alone in finding your friends disappear in the mist once the funeral is over.   My only family 2 nieces and a sister, the girls were like the daughters I never had and I loved them dearly..  My sister , well we never really did get on but never the less when her husband died , Morley (my husband) decided we would take her on holiday with us every year and we did do for 16 years.   I think I got 6 weeks of support then the criticisms began about all the things I had done for Morley (where I put his plaque, the funeral tea was too elaborate (not my fault I only asked for a funeral tea, the memorial service was too elaborate, who did I think he was (did she think I paid all the people to be there, , he was a very eminent man in his field and had supervised dozens of student through their PhDs and a lot of them came from a long way away to pay tribute to him).   I did say some things perhaps I should not have in reply but have apologised (she has,'t) and I have not heard from her for three years and my nieces, one for three years the other 2.   They obviously did not love or care for me as much as I did then. I am now facing the decision to stop sending Christmas and birthday cards.    Some think I should and be the bigger woman (whatever that means) others think I am being totally hypocritical when I have neither seen nor heard from any of them for so long.   I still hurts my heart.   I raced home from my neighbours who kindly invited me on Christmas day and sure enough my answer machine was flashing - could it be one of the family - no chance, it was my  hairdresser (who had been so very kind and is now my next of kin and executor).   She has been like a daughter to me but she has a husband and a daughter so cannot be at my beck and call.   I would not expect that. All I am really trying to say to both of you is that many of us on legacy  have suffered the hurt of friends disappearing and families (and sadly pastors) not being there when you thought they would be,   We live in a selfish World now and today's generation are not brought up to care for the elders the way we were.   Keep coming on here and vent, we all have been there and walked in your shoes and we REALLY so understand the pain you are in - we are all still in the depths of despair.   I actually think after nearly 4 years that it will never go away.   All that happens is that you get better at not crying in public and better at putting a face on it.   I for one still cry every day for Morley and cannot envisage a day when I won't - so what.   In the main I do it in my own house tough I did have a bit of a melt down on  Sunday when I was visiting by best man and his wife.   They have proven to be true friends also and crying does not upset them.   He just said "cry it out sunshine, it will help and we understand".   How kind is that.   So you see there are still some friends who come up to scratch.   Lean on them.   You won't forget the hurt that the other not fulfilling their promises to you but a few true friends are worth their weight in gold.

Comment by Nicole Amato on December 30, 2013 at 9:55am

Barry, Susan, Helen, Lisa, Cheryl, Marsha, Barbara, and everyone,

Thank you all. Your messages were more comforting than you know. It's necessary for me to be reminded that in this new world where I feel so alone without my wonderful Tim, I am not alone in what I am experiencing. I pray for us all to find joy in the new year wherever we can. 

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 30, 2013 at 12:58am

Dear Melissa  -- No, you haven't lost it!  I often think, "How long will I have to go on without my Chris?  Please, Lord, let me go soon!"  

That's on my bad days.

On my good days, I  want to be here for my children and grandchildren -- but I just still want my Chris to be here, too.

It has been 8 months.

My oldest daughter moved in with me after Chris died.  Actually, she came to help me take care of him, and when he passed away, she went back to her home for 2 months to quit her job and wrap things up so she could come and be with me.

We also have "butted heads" a few times.  She is an amazing woman and I love and admire her -- but we are very different people and it has been sometimes difficult -- we are "an immovable object" and "an irresistible force" -- and you know what happens when those two meet???   But, in a crisis, there's no one I would rather have on my team.  And, I am going through the biggest crisis of my life, right now.

She may drive me crazy -- and, I may make her insane, but we are working on it.  Relationships are exhausting, and like you, I just don't have the energy for it, sometimes -- but, we keep at it -- trying, after each "head-butting" incident -- remembering that we love and respect each other.

Thanks for sharing -- it gave me an opportunity to vent a little too.

Hugs

BarbarI

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 30, 2013 at 12:16am

Mark -- I am so sorry for what you are going through.  I have had those moments, too, where it felt as though I was losing Chris all over again.

Friends think they know what we are going through -- but they really don't -- and I suspect, when they say they will be there for you, they are sincere -- but the reality is that most of them can only imagine (and not very well) the pain of losing a spouse.  They don't know what to say or how to act when they are with us.  

My pastor also offered help, as well, and did not follow through -- so I know how you probably are feeling about that.  In some ways it is really unforgivable for the clergy to leave us alone in our pain -- they are, after all, the people we expect to understand us and help us.

 But, frankly, I find that the people who really remember Chris, people who tell me stories about him, things that they remember from spending time with him -- these are the people who offer me the most comfort -- People say, "If you want to talk, call me."  But, I would much  rather just listen to them talk about their memories of him than talk about how much i miss him.  If I start talking about how much I miss him, I just end up crying -- but when THEY talk about him it is  life-affirming.  I am so pleased when the girls say, "Dad always (did, said)" or the grandchildren say "Grandpa taught me (this or that)" or friends say, "I remember when Chris .  .  ."  

At Christmas, my granddaughter who is now 21 reminded us all of how, when she was the youngest of our grandchildren, grandpa would always sit her on his lap and help her win the board games she played with her older sisters.  And, my nephew talked about when Uncle Chris helped him make book-ends in his work shop.  And, my daughter remembered the long talks with Dad.  Their memories remind me that he was many things to many people -- and that he lived a full life.

I know I am blessed to have children and grandchildren -- but maybe it would help you to talk to Cathy's friends, family, co-workers -- and just ask them what they remember most about her -- or ask them to talk about a specific memory they have of her.  By doing that, you may help them to know what to say -- how to really "be there" for you.

Just a suggestion.

Sending you hugs and prayers.

Barbara

 

Comment by Mark Jackson on December 29, 2013 at 9:29pm
This is the worst day yet. I feel like I've just lost Cathy all over again. It's our 34 wedding anniversary. I thought Christmas was a hard day to get though.
I think the worst is the people that said and I quote "Your not alone. We're here for you. Your not going to go though this by yourself", are no were to be found.I guess they didn't think I would really need there help. I think the loneliness is made worse by the fact that not only did I lose part of me, but I lost those who I thought were my friends. I guess they weren't. I guess it's me because even my pastor is to busy to meet with me. there has been a couple of time were plans to meet we're made and he had other things already planed for that time. I understand he's busy, but you think he would have his staff reschedule but no. He even promised to send me some pictures he has. That was over two weeks ago. So I guess it has to be something I've done. It's kind of funny, as I write this I got a phone call asking me if I can rekey the pastors new house for them as a house warming gift (I'm a locksmith). Cathy used to say "out sight out of mind. People only think about you when they need you to do something for them". I always tried to tell her it wasn't like that but I guess I was wrong.

I don't think New Years will be to bad, but Cathy's birthday is January 17, not a day I'm looking forward to. Does that sound bad. I'm glad she chose to be with me for 33 years. Just not looking forward to spending the day with out her. Well I've ranted enough for now. Everybody have a good New Years. I pray for everybody to have peace and comfort in the new year. Remember one step at a time.

Mark
Comment by Melissa King on December 29, 2013 at 7:45pm

Hi, everyone. I hope your holidays have gone better than mine. But, that isn't saying much, it probably couldn't have gotten much worse. 

My youngest daughter has left home, she is only 19 and really not ready to be out on her own, but she is too much like me. We butt heads constantly and I just don't have the heart to fight with her everyday since her father's death. I know she is dealing with horrible grief too, but man.. I am so tired. 

I couldn't make myself go see my husband's family for Christmas. I just stayed home, mostly alone, all day. I asked people not to visit. I always have the big Christmas get-togethers at my house since my mother's birthday is Christmas Eve, but I just couldn't do it this year. I asked my sister to take over and no one showed up. Is it okay if I hate them for that?

Today, 29 years ago when I was a teenager, I lost my older sister in a car wreck. This day is always hard for me, but, today I didn't have Ben to help me through it. He is where she is now and I am left here. I woke up with the thought, "29 years, I have lived 29 years since she died, please God don't let me live 29 more without him." Is that wrong? Have I finally lost it?

I guess it wasn't so bad, I have lived through it, after all. 

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 27, 2013 at 3:30pm

Dear Lisa and Nicole -- I don't know whether it is worse to have lost the love of your life so young, before you have had the chance to have years and years of being together and making memories -- or to lose the one you have loved and lived for, for so long.  Either way, it is a sorrow like no other.

I am so very sorry for your loss.  (Empty words, I know, but, please trust that all of us here on Legacy have experienced that loss and know what you are suffering).

I think, as young women, you may experience even more pressure to "get over it"  than those of us who are older.  And, I think it may be somewhat harder to watch as the world and your friends move on, even as they try to continue to show their love and support.  But, as many have said, here on Legacy, there is no timetable for grief.

 You have sustained a great blow to your heart -- your wound is raw and bleeding -- it feels as though you cannot possibly survive the pain.  But you will survive, little by little -- day by day.   You will sometimes  be hi-jacked by grief when you aren't expecting it.  A song, a place, a memory will take you back again to the awful realization that death is irrevocable --  but, remember . . .

 Sorrow shared is sorrow divided.  Joy shared is joy multiplied

Come here as often as you like and share whatever is in your heart.

Hugs and prayers

Barbara 

Comment by Marsha H on December 27, 2013 at 3:15pm

Susan .. What a wonderful post you left Nicole and it encouraged myself as well.  I too have found that by reaching out to others such as strangers we bump into have had to deal with a loss and are most understanding.  It encourages us to move ahead and realize that there are kind and wonderful people in the world that understand how we feel.  Although the road of grief is a rough road to travel I have found as months go by just how much I have to offer others and it does strengthen our spirit to help where we can as we've been helped.  I take the wisdom from my husband and 'pay it forward.'  Even through grief we are learning and, although we will always miss our loved one the heartache does soften as time goes on. 

Bless you for your wise words.

Marsha

Comment by Marsha H on December 27, 2013 at 3:08pm

Dear Nicole ... I am so very sorry with the loss of your fiancé at such a young age where death is a word that isn't in the younger generations vocabulary, but the future appears bright. My husband passed away of pancreatic cancer at age 65 in April 2011 and we had planned our future for retirement.  All of us ask 'why?'  There will never be an answer to that question. I know your heart is broken and you are in shock at the present time which many of us go through, but sudden death is the most difficult for our minds to accept.

For now hon, lean on family (Timmy's family as well as they have lost a son) and friends.  Choose one or two loyal friends you can count on to 'cry when you want to' or talk about Timmy and the memories you had together or simply to vent and get angry if you feel like it.  Decide on either grief group counseling or a one-on-one psychologist who deals with grief.  It does help, but, unfortunately no book of instructions came with grieving over the love of our lives .. our mates.  The journey of grief unfortunately, is a part of life and it does feel we are on a long, rough road wondering how we will deal with all our emotions and will we ever have a future.  We do!  Grief is different for every individual and each one goes through it at the beat of their own drummer.  This forum is a wonderful place to be and we are like family just venting off and on and also able to see how others progress forward to a new lifestyle without their mate.  No one judges the other here and when one person is hurting the angels on this forum come forward to offer comfort.  We all show the heartache we feel at times and always we get much support from others and great encouragement.  I hope you continue to come back Nicole so we can be here for you.  There are many young members (unfortunately) who have had their spouse pass away and although sad, we are all in the same boat no matter what age we are. 

Cry when you want to, talk to Timmy every chance you get because I do believe he is there with you giving you strength.  Try to sleep as often as you can, eat small meals during the day and drink lots of water (crying is good for us, but can dehydrate us.) I know all this seems pointless at this time in your life, but it is important.  Timmy would want you to hang in there as best you can and believe that he's there and pushing you forward.  Reach out to us, family and friends and you will get through this Nicole.

Big hugs (because you need one)

Marsha   

Comment by Marsha H on December 27, 2013 at 2:48pm

Dear Barbara ... I honestly think that family and friends feel because we grieve we've lost all our brain cells.  I've been angry at times over well-meaning family and friends suggesting I move or volunteer, etc. and basically said the same thing you have 'I reserve the right .....' but, quickly added I loved them and that if I need help I would ask and appreciate any help I could get.  I have a new Financial Advisor that is going to help me get into better shape financially even though most of the heavy duty things such as a new roof, house painted, garden cleaned up are done. Like you I'm capable of doing things on my own.

Yes, clear as a bell Barbara; I get the same thing from family and friends to do things I normally wouldn't do if Ernie was here.  I think they are trying to find ways for us to get back out into society and make new friends. I may just take on a house-bound senior like my girlfriend where you visit them, do their grocery shopping, etc., because helping others often helps ourselves and can brighten our spirits.  Other than that I'm simply mulling things over to see where my talents lay and go from there.  I have no idea why suddenly everyone feels we need to be helped down stairs, etc, or 'ooops, watch you don't fall.'  It makes me feel old and I use to do those things when Ernie was still here and much more.  I am half expecting to get a new wheel chair with helmet and a flag attached to it so you'll see the orange flag bobbing along before I even get where I'm going.  LOL I have made it abundantly clear I'm still intelligent and although I have my bad days I'm still very active.  Where I once was angry with them for any suggestions I just smile and say 'thank you, but no thank you.'  I guess they may see that as a sign of stubbornness, but so be it.

Glad you busted out and vented Barbara.  Sometimes we have to do that just to remain strong and assertive.  However, now I know that the people who surround me and love me are grasping at straws so they can once again see my smile (always smiled a lot) and get involved, but like you and Chris, Ernie and I had our own lifestyle and I don't want to change my lifestyle too much because part of me enjoys my own company, while I am also extroverted and when I feel like it I can almost be myself .. witty, making people laugh and almost feel human again.  Then there are days I just 'vant to be alone!'  I suppose to family and friends they worry about us and want the 'old us' back, but I remind them that I will be on my feet more and more, but won't be the same 'old Marcy' as when Ernie was here.

You have helped so many on here as well Barbara and we all keep each other glued together as far as what is normal grieving or the difference between being sad or depressed.  I talk to Ernie like you talk to Chris and it's a comfort as I'm sure they are watching over us.  It is healthy to go off into another room, cry or just talk to our loved one.  I do the same.  I feel by doing so our spouses are there to urge us on and give us strength even though we may not know it at the time.

I found this 3rd Christmas a little more sentimental and I had my cries off and on.  I had my private Christmas with my dogs at midnight Christmas Eve and hoped Ernie would be there in spirit and just talked to him.  I cried buckets, but suddenly peace came over me and I was OK.  I'm not leaving this world without a fight and want to keep the flame of Ernie's memory going and believe me I do.  My next battle is with my family doctor who always insisted my weight loss (have leveled off to a certain weight) was due to grief.  At first I bought it, but I saw him a month before Christmas and made it very clear I would always miss Ernie, but was only depressed a little over my weight loss.  He finally got the message. You hang in there Barbara and I'm proud of you for standing your ground!

Hugs

Marsha

          

 

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