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 Thomas L. Trolia yesterday. 8 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 Mark Jackson on October 7, 2013 at 10:19am

Well first day back at work. I'm not looking forward to it, but as I was told yesterday life must go on. I just don't have the get up and go I used to have. Nothing has the same meaning anymore. Well here go's. 

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on October 7, 2013 at 6:55am

Many thanks to Diane C, MikeF, Marsha H (for the link, too), and Jane P -- all angels. 

Comment by Jane P. on October 7, 2013 at 4:17am

Hello Everyone,  I just needed to share this with all of you.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

What Do Angels Look Like?

Like the little old lady who returned your wallet yesterday.
Like the taxi driver who told you that your eyes light up the world, when you smile.
Like the small child who showed you the wonder in simple things.
Like the poor man who offered to share his lunch with you.
Like the rich man who showed you that it really is all possible, if only you believe.
Like the stranger who just happened to come along, when you had lost your way.
Like the friend who touched your heart, when you didn't think you had one.
Angels come in all sizes and shapes, all ages and skin types.
Some with freckles, some with dimples, some with wrinkles, some without.
They come disguised as friends, enemies teachers, students, lovers and fools.
They don't take life too seriously, they travel light.
They leave no forwarding address, they ask nothing in return.
They are hard to find when your eyes are closed, but when you choose to see, they are everywhere you look.

So, open you eyes and count all your Angels — for you are truly blessed!

Comment by MikeF on October 6, 2013 at 9:06pm

Hi Barbara:

Rest assured you are not losing it.  What you are experiencing is normal.  Six months is still such a short time.  There is so much that has changed. 

It is hard to explain to people how the loss of our spouses also means the loss of a life that we expected would last for a lot longer.  The hopes and dreams, the way we did things together, the things that made us most connected with life were also lost.  The language of grief is so difficult.  Sometimes every word seems to be loaded with meaning, other times it is nearly impossible to find the word that expresses what I am feeling. 

Comment by Diane C on October 6, 2013 at 7:07pm

Hi Stacey,

Sorry to hear that your 1 year anniversary is tomorrow. It is a tough day to get through, but I know you will do ok. Just remember we will all be here for you. That is probably why you have been getting upset lately too. You are subconsciously thinking about it. I have found that the stress and anticipation of the day is usually worse than the actual day. So I hope and pray that it is the same for you too.

Glad to hear that your Dad is going to help you out with the car and then in return you are helping him. That is great news. Sounds like a win win situation. Good luck with your counseling session next week too. I hope it is everything that you are hoping it to be. I will be thinking about you tomorrow and saying a prayer for you tonight.

Comment by Diane C on October 6, 2013 at 6:59pm

Hi Mac,

Wow snow!! Today we were at 80 degrees and the next weeks forecast is for 70's and sunny. I am so glad that the weather is going to be good this week, so hopefully they will get the roof on this house and close me up before our snow hits. Today and tonight we are having some heavy rain and storms rolling through all night. Not much sleep for me, that's for sure. The weather never bothered me before Rich passed away either. But now when we get our first snow, it will depress me too that he isn't here to see the first snow fall, especially if it is a pretty one. I use to love fall, it was always my favorite season of all. Now it just means winter is close behind and I have lots of leaves to pick up, so that doesn't make me happy. Nothing will ever have the same meaning it once did for us. We just have to learn to reinvent ourselves as Marsha says. Good to hear from you Mac, as always.

Comment by Diane C on October 6, 2013 at 6:47pm

Hi Barbara,

What a beautiful story about the way the funeral director left the bed when they came to pick up your husband. Absolutely very touching. Thanks for sharing that with us. I completely understand your feelings about the sewing room. You feel so close to him when you are in there. And it is great that you have a private room that you can feel his soul with you when in there. I am sure he is visiting you when you are there.

I understand what you are saying about being short with family and friends. I have done it too.  But thankfully everyone has understood that I was in the deep depth of grief at the time these situations happened. And Marsha is so right about the grief that you experience is so different than the grief your daughters experience. We raise our children and then they go off on their own journey. We plan on staying home with our spouse and grow old together. We have many plans for our future with regards to retirement and all that goes along with those dreams and plans. Then our lives are changed in a matter of seconds, when a spouse gets a fatal illness diagnosis or dies unexpectedly. I really don't think anyone who has not been in our shoes truly will understand our grief. But hopefully they will understand what we are going through. It is so nice that your friend has come to stay with you too. I am sure she understands that you are deep within your grieving and you are not losing it. Hang in there Barb and know that we are all praying for you!!

Comment by stacey on October 6, 2013 at 3:37pm

Well, tomorrow is 1 year and I'm really getting upset about lot of thing lately. I also have a bit of good news I'm about this close from getting me a new car my dad is helping me and in return I'm also helping his credit. Which is a good thing so yay! And one more week until my new grief consinling  

Comment by Marsha H on October 6, 2013 at 2:30pm

Hi Mac ... I too use to like the first fall of snow when my Ernie was here as he did all the driving in it (not that we get a lot or snow or some years we don't get any.)  We would get so excited waiting for that first fall of snow and now I dread it as I don't drive well in it. 

Don't be afraid to ask your eldest daughter once a week to take you to visit your grandchildren or to simply get out of the house.  Don't consider yourself a nuisance to your children.  I looked after Ernie's parents and my own and my father had a stroke and I didn't mind one bit.  Staying in the house all the time is not good for anyone even on the best of days.

I think of you often Mac and wish I could be there to visit you or bring you to my home and it frustrates me we are all so strewn across the world. 

Love & Hugs


Comment by Marsha H on October 6, 2013 at 2:25pm

Barbara ...  I know how you feel and we all seem to go through these different stages of grief and you are in the 'anger mode.'  I still can get angry because I miss my husband so much.  I can snap quickly at family or friends, but always apologize like you and try to express myself as best I can and that's all we can do.  Eventually the anger will subside so don't worry.  You are lonely, feel deserted in many ways, miss your husband and it's difficult to go on without them.  Most people with spouses fear the future so we have a double whammy.

Looking back at my parents passing away I grieved to a degree, but have never felt the pain like losing my husband (a big difference.)  Your daughters miss their dad and love you, but don't understand you have lost so much and were looking forward to many more years with Chris.  One evening when things are quiet set up a time when you can sit with your daughters and try to explain your feelings and the difference between their grief and yours ... they have future and spouses and you are trying so hard to recreate yourself.  We are so much alike as I do what you do (have no children) but two dogs and I do the tasks you are doing. but my social life is small in comparison to what it was when my husband was alive. It leaves us feeling we are on another planet and trying to fend for ourselves.  Even if we get together with family or friends it's not the same as when our spouses were with us.  I get days where I wonder why I'm bothering to do things around the house and don't have the energy to have groups of friends over.

I loved your story of Chris making your sewing room and you go there obviously because you feel close to him and that's so normal.  I am a believer our spouses are close to us in spirit and do visit (some may not agree.)  I've had too many experiences not to believe in this.  I do understand that you finished those quilts and finally finished them off and without knowing it you did it as a labor of love and in memory of Chris.  I have done many things like this with the gardens that Ernie loved.  I was driven inwardly to do it.  Chris is around you in this special sewing room he made for you and that's why you are drawn to it as I am with the gardens.  I also enjoy being in the den I had created for him for 'head space' and feel him around me.  It is such a loving gesture by Chris to have put your quilt up on the wall and also loving the quilt you made him and I do believe his spirit is in that sewing room so when things get tough for you I hope you continue to go there and perhaps start making quilts (a labor of love.)

It is also normal that when some people make remarks to comfort you it is easy to become agitated and 'entitled to grief' is very common and your friend is right.  She is reminding you that 'let the tears flow for however long it takes and there is no time frame to grief.'  It is far better she said this than expecting you to get over Chris long before it's time which some people on this forum have been told as early as six months after their spouses death.  I know family and friends try to find the right words, but sometimes they come out the wrong way and it's difficult for us to have patience.  I bite my tongue rather than lash out as best I can.

Here is a link I had posted explaining grief and I hope you print it off and give it to your daughters.  It explains how spouses feel when one of them has passed away.  With all our grief we have to try and educate family and friends as best we can.

Big hugs (because you need it)




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