Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: on Wednesday
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.
Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Michele Jul 21.
Started by Sharon Kinsey. Last reply by Frances C Younger Jun 24.
Started by Bonny Jones. Last reply by Bonny Jones Jan 22.
Hello Robin. I am far behind on posts but I just read your plans for taking your mom on vacation in November, that is a wonderful and sweet gesture. I hope you have a lovely time and come back renewed. You and your mom have been through so much, you deserve to have a nice break away.
Dear Robin -- How wonderful that you can give your Mom the vacation in November, with you. We all know how important it is to do things with our loved ones while we still have them -- and I think it is very thoughtful of you to want to share this time with her, even though it was meant to be your anniversary trip with your husband.
May you share good memories and good times and return refreshed and un-stressed.
Just wanted to share with you on a blessing I got today. As some of us know when our spouses pass away some friends seem disappear for whatever reason and it is a shock (at least to me) and can be lonely. I have made a couple of new friends, but today was such a beautiful crisp, sunny day and I took my dogs for a walk on the dyke. Ahead of me was a lady coming towards me and when she got up to me she smiled and told me we'd met during the summer and she had been trying to find me ever since. She is the nicest lady and my age; still has her spouse, but was sad to hear that her 53 year old son passed away from a sudden heart attack (she has 2 other sons) but she's grieving and finding it difficult. We hit it right off and I gave her a ride home so we'll be getting together soon. It made me feel a little more like my life is taking shape in some small way.
Also saw my doctor today about the great weight loss I had and when I weight myself on my scales I'm 94 lbs, but he said I was 98 lbs today. I asked if I could have a radioactive dye thyroid test as the blood work-up for it is not 100%, but he said he didn't want to do that and he didn't answer me when I asked why so off for another blasted blood test. Is anyone listening? LOL He wants me to go on Celexa an antidepressant that will put weight on me, but I find that's just a Band-Aid. At my age I'm trying to stay away from as many medications as possible, but at the end of my rope so will have to bite the bullet.
Hi Mark ... I knew what you meant about your wife teasing you. I was a little stinker for purposely getting my husband to look for something difficult in the grocery store. He would come back and tell me there was no such thing and he was right! We'd have a good laugh over that one. I use to do all the grocery shopping, but one day he made the mistake of saying I spent too much on groceries (I got the essentials for us and we weren't into junk food) so I made him come with me so he could see how the price of food was going up and he never complained again. LOL
What a wonderful memory you have of your dear wife.
Robin ... How wonderful that is for you! I know people grieving want to try and hide it, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way and why should it! We loved and missed our spouses and their memories are so clear for us right now. It does get better with the tears, but when I feel like crying I just let go. I take a few minutes to catch my breath and then try to say something funny to take away any awkwardness with whomever I'm with. It's OK to cry and your grief is so raw. I am also happy to hear you have a good relationship with your in-laws. They too are grieving.
When some of us say on this forum 'we are stronger than we think' it's true so when a time comes where we don't cry it surprises us. You should be proud of yourself, but also, grief in early stages and even a few years down the road can bring a tear or two so don't let it make you feel you are going backwards if it should happen.
You seem to have a good idea of what to expect from grief to a degree (unchartered territory for most of us) and it's difficult to come home and not see our spouses, but you are expecting that. Eventually most of us get into a routine of being without our spouses which makes it a little easier. Like you, I try to enjoy the times when the tears don't flow.
I hope you have a great time on your vacation. Odd how some people who are grieving can go on a holiday and others prefer to stick it out in familiar territory for the time being and I'm one of those. My girlfriend and I are hoping to either go to Vegas or Hawaii next year and I sure hope I'm up to it as I could use a change of scenery.
Good thoughts and prayers coming your way Robin.
I should I maybe been a little clearer on my wife laughing at me. You see I'm a scatter brain, and I would forget my head if it wasn't attached. She always told me she thought it was cute. Sometimes while we were shopping she would send me off to get her a couple of things just to see if I could remember where they were. I'd do good most of the time, but sometimes I wouldn't. Both of us would just laugh and she would say it was OK, and she would show me were it was for the next time. Some times I think she would come up with different things just to make me run all over the store. She knew that I would try and do anything that she asked of me. Even though she was in a wheelchair we both knew that if you can't laugh at yourself your really in trouble. So it wasn't a bad thing. I can see her now, shaking her head and laughing with a big smile on her face. I don't think anybody took it as a bad thing, I just wanted to make it a little clearer.
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.
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.
Wilela ... we are a couple of little sneaks aren't we! LOL
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.
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