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.


Discussion Forum

Finding the new normal

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

Grief so great it hurts

Started by Bonny Jones. Last reply by Bonny Jones Jan 22. 12 Replies

Navigating Widow-hood

Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Bonny Jones Jan 16. 4 Replies

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Comment by Barbara Sullivan on October 17, 2013 at 7:35am

Mark -- The first time I shopped for food after Chris passed, my daughter went with me.  She dropped me off at the food store and left to run some errands.  After I finished shopping I sat on a bench waiting for her and watching the other shoppers -- it seemed every shopper was one half of a couple.  Oh, how it hurt to watch those other couples! Chris and I always shopped together. I looked forward to it almost like a date.  

I took it for as long as I could, then used my cell phone to call my daughter -- by the time she arrived to pick me up, I could barely hold back the tears -- as a matter of fact, I couldn't.  I just said, "Get me OUT of here!"  Daughter was alarmed and started to fuss over me, but all I could say was, "Get me out of here, please!"  By the time she got me and my groceries to the car I was shaking from the effort of holding back the tears - I cried all the way home.

Now, six months later, I can drive to the store, do my shopping and get myself home.  I still keep my head down (looking at my list, or the items on the shelves) and pay little attention to other shoppers.  I have started to shop at different stores and find I am actually buying different items, trying new products and while it is strange to see these things on my shelves and in my refrigerator -- it feels a little like a victory, as I look back and remember that first shopping trip after losing my Chris.  It never gets easy, but it gets easier. 

Much love and prayers for peace and comfort.


Comment by Marsha H on October 17, 2013 at 1:50am

Mark ...  I'm so sorry you had that bad experience.  My husband went grocery shopping with me and on top of that was on a wheat-gluten diet so every so often even to this day I can look at a wheat-gluten product and it reduces me to tears.  I can only imagine it's made more difficult for you being a man.  My husband would follow me around the store, but didn't pay that much attention, but most women know where everything is.  It's heart-breaking to realize our spouse isn't with us to do many things we once did together, but I found in my second year of grieving it became more routine and I can handle it a bit better.

Here is a tip for you to make it easier to get in and out of the store:  Make list and break it down into this:






Those are the main things and then just look at the signs down the aisle for the rest of the things such as tin goods, coffee, tea, etc.

Your wife isn't laughing at you, but is there in spirit and you should be so proud of yourself for even trying as quite often it's far easier to order a Pizza, Chinese Food or any type of fast foods.  Cooking for one isn't easy even myself and I just don't have the zest to get fancy like I use to for my husband so it's 'try to eat well, get it into my stomach and I'm done!'

Hope this helps a little.

Comment by Marsha H on October 17, 2013 at 1:42am

Wilela ...  we are a couple of little sneaks aren't we!  LOL



Comment by MikeF on October 16, 2013 at 10:45pm


I sorry you had such a rough time shopping.  It is as if we have to learn a new way of living.  Tasks that were done together are the hardest.  I have learned to keep my shopping trips short and always come prepared with a list.  Our local grocery stores have store maps and I use them to put the things on my list in the order of where I expect to find them in the store.  This helps cut down on the chaos.

I have found cooking to be particularly difficult.  It is not that I am not an OK cook, it is just that we'd always divide and conquer our cooking chores.  So I know only part of the recipes.  We had a list of our favorite foods to cook (two engineers, we had lots of lists) but for some of them, I have no idea which of the numerous books has the recipe.

People in my grief groups talk about getting into a grocery store and not knowing what to shop for.  It is as if all of the shopping they had done previously was geared towards what they liked as a couple or what the spouse liked.  They end up circling the store wondering what they want to eat.

We just have to learn how to do all of the simple things all over.  It is hard, time consuming work.  Give yourself credit for getting the shopping done and possibly learning some new things about your grocery store.  Small steps are what we strive for.

I am pretty sure that she is not laughing at you. My guess is that she is rooting for you to find your way though these difficult times.  Your shared experiences taught you a lot.  When you get stuck, try to ask yourself what she would do, or how she'd go about solving a problem.  If you are like me, just below the surface of grief is a memory about her or something she said to you that will help and make you feel less alone.

In closing. I'd like to quote Winnie the Pooh on this subject:

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together...there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”

A wise bear indeed.

Comment by Mark Jackson on October 16, 2013 at 3:46pm

Boy I can't believe how different even the littlest thing fell. I went shopping for the first time yesterday by myself. I thought run in get a few things and be out in a few minutes. Boy was I wrong! An hour and half later I was finally done. I will say there were a few monuments were I had to stop and concentrate on not losing it. I've been to this store a hundred times with my wife, but yesterday I couldn't even find were the cream cheese was. It seems she always knew were everything was. I know she was laughing at me. She used to tell me I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached. Boy I miss her so much.

Comment by Marsha H on October 16, 2013 at 3:09am

Carol ...  I can bet you were exhausted, but 8 PM bedtime?  Oh my girl!  LOL  I get my second wind usually.  Seriously, for some reason I find turkey dinners are so exhausting and trying to keep everything hot to go on the table and the mess after ... oh my!

To be honest I don't trust pre-stuffed turkeys.  Here is a tip for turkey or chicken stuffing in a hurry. Uncle Ben's stuffing (everything in it) cook it in a pot as directed and add a few Cranraisins.  Yummy!  My friends love it when I do that.  I've had more compliments on my stuffing and they didn't know I cheated.  LOL  If I decide to fill the cavity of the turkey or chicken I use the stuffing bags so I can pull it out and not worry about contamination while the turkey is sitting for a bit (I'm a worrier about food poisoning big time as I had it from Chinese food at a restaurant and it wasn't any fun.) 

You bet we have gravy failures so your daughter shouldn't feel bad about it.  Keep that Club House roasted turkey gravy and also roasted beef gravy handy as it is real gravy, but dehydrated.  It makes the gravy rich.  I use to make gravy with cornstarch, but for some reason got the lumps in it and spend more time trying to strain those out.  Men make better cooks.  LOL 

I am so happy you're using the parchment paper and you'll be pleased with the results!  No burned bottoms.  I use to use tin foil, but still got some burning on the bottom of what I was baking.  Chefs use only parchment paper and you can line cake pans or muffin tins with it as well.

Rest my friend and I'll talk to you soon.

Love and Hugs



Comment by Marsha H on October 16, 2013 at 2:58am

Barbara ...  The odd thing about grieving is the griever often doesn't realize just how strong they are.  I've found that out in myself. Just think of what you have dealt with and are still dealing with and that takes a lot of strength.  I am not telling you that you shouldn't have a good cry (often) or, feel exhausted because you will want too (in private) but you have the strength to hide your own feelings in grief while helping your sister.  Cry as often as necessary because it's the bodies way of releasing stress.  Soak in a hot tub with Epsom Salts (I always do this) as it soothes the muscles we tend to clench up while under stress.  Be kind to yourself in little ways. Remember, all of us have been where you are. 

While laying in that hot tub, close your eyes and go back in time to before you met Chris.  That's you!  I did that myself and slowly I'm beginning to find out 'me' was always there, but I got lost in the shuffle of life that most of us do.  It's not a bad thing, it's just that we tend to change our lifestyle when married.

What you are feeling is very normal ... we can feel like we are going crazy, become over-whelmed easily, just existing in a fog in life and don't know where we fit it, but it all does come back to a bit of normal when given time to grieve.  Don't worry so much about you not feeling like yourself when Chris was with you because from your posts you are a loving and caring person and that's all that counts when helping yourself, your sister and her son.  Even after 2 1/2 years (although getting slightly better) I go through the motions of life and once extroverted I've become quiet and my once witty sense of humor only comes out on occasion, but I know one day it will all come back and it will for you as well. Most of us are just putting one foot in front of the other and many of us have lost our spouses, but now you have the sad journey to help your sister so close to Chris' death.  Try to believe in the fact that Chris is there beside you keeping you strong.  I honestly believe that and have felt Ernie has and still is close to me when I feel I can't go on any longer.

You express your feelings just fine and even though there are miles between all of us it doesn't mean we can't help you out so please keep posting and lean on us.  Just let all your thoughts and tensions out on the forum because we don't judge anyone for we're all on the same journey and new chapter in our lives.

Big extra hug (because you need it)


Comment by Barbara Sullivan on October 15, 2013 at 10:42pm

Marsha and Carol Kayser -- Thanks for your kind words.  I don't feel nearly as strong or as good as you describe.  I still break down at odd moments -- just suddenly breaking out in terrible shaking sobs -- waking up to find my face is wet with tears. 

I am 16 years older than my sister -- she and I have not been close over the years, due mostly to the age difference, but we have also led very different lives.   I want to be a support to her and her son during this time, but I also am struggling to find my own "new normal" and I feel so strongly that I have to hold onto "me" or I will fly off into a million pieces -- I know I am not myself -- as I was before losing Chris -- and I am not even close to becoming who I will be, now that he is not with me -- so, I feel sort of disembodied -- outside of myself -- and just going through the motions -- I don't know.  I just feel that I am only capable of putting one foot in front of the other and doing what needs to be done, at the moment.  

But I thank ALL of you for being here -- I am grateful for a place where I can at least TRY to express my feelings -- and for people who seem to know what I mean.

Love to all of you, here.  

Comment by Carol Kayser on October 15, 2013 at 6:21pm

Marsha, thanks!  Oh yes, I was absolutely exhausted afterwards and plus i spent the next day cleaning/re-arranging/re-organizing, whew!!!  I couldnt keep my eyes open past 8:30 LOL.

Good to hear - I think we all have gravy failures!  I will take all tips I can on the gravy - Jack never used anything else but the drippings/flour and water and a little cornstarch but I think the turkey i cooked (it was one you don't defrost and it is pre-stuffed) and you just pop it in the oven) doesn't have as many juices and then Steph put in too much flour too!  Well it can only get better:)

You were smart about your crescent rolls!  Great idea - I know you wanted them to be perfect.   I will attempt to make some Christmas cookies to take to Whistler so I will take you up on the parchment paper!




Comment by Carol Kayser on October 15, 2013 at 6:15pm

Dear Robin, welcome here to this wonderful supportive group of friends. So very sorry for your loss and it is so new for you. As you can see by reading the posts, we are all on different stages of this grief journey but we all understand and can offer support and virtual hugs too.
I can just say small steps, take deep breaths and if you feel overwhelmed then just step away and take care of yourself. As Marsha says, I am sure you and your mom can do something after Thanksgiving and she will understand. Its the being together and sharing that is important not the actual day. Hopefully the rest of your family will step up for you.

I think you are making the right decision too, waiting a while until you visit the cemetery. I too believe my darling is with me in spirit and it certainly makes it easier to get through each day.

Come back often.



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