Hello again everyone. I hope this finds you all doing well, or at least coping to the best of your abilities.

This holiday season was difficult at times without Tina. I didn't have the heart to decorate at all. Thankfully I was able to leave the area and be with family for a week. As hard as the holidays were, now that they're over I feel even more dismal. I feel like I need little breaks over short periods of time to look forward to to effectively cope. I feel like I'm nowhere close to moving on. It's been almost a complete month since she died. Every time I think of how long its been I both can't believe its been so long and can't believe so little time has passed.

I went to see a grief therapist once and she told me not to try to "drive around" my grief but to face it head on. As an introvert, this is both difficult and confusing. She told me to let myself cry and reach out to others but I find this difficult. Whenever I talk to others, as helpful as I know they want to be, I know the discussion makes them uncomfortable. I know that listening to me makes them think about losing their own partner - I think that idea is a nightmare for everyone. It's also difficult for people to know how to react to other's grief. I like to be around others as a distraction right now, but there are very few people with whom talking has helped.

I've gotten to a point where I'm constantly being reminded of Tina unintentionally and its taking my breath away each time. For example, Tina was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and we were watching the BBC series Sherlock together. All of a sudden, I'm seeing references to Sherlock all over TV and elsewhere. Has anyone else gone through this? How did/do you deal with it?

Anyway, I do hope that everyone's been able to enjoy the holidays.

Best,

Katie

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Hi Katie

Every thing you are saying, every thing you are feeling..they are perfectly normal.  Your therapist was right on the money when they told you to feel your grief. Do it.  I do it all the time at home.  I am an introvert too, but did go home for a few days for Christmas, and had a good time.  I never bothered to tell anyone that once everyone had left and/or gone to bed that I broke down and cried myself to a fitful sleep.  This is just the way it is, how it is going to be, and who knows for how long. Take your time with it.  You will find many times that at the least likely moment you will be reminded of Tina.  It could be in public, and if the sadness hits, just go with it.  I cant tell you how many times I have wept in the grocery store, when I would pass items that Mike particularly liked.  I go to a different store now to do my shopping, and it helps.

I pray every night. I give thanks for my blessings, and I give thanks for having had the chance and opportunity to know and love a man like Mike.  He was always the strong, quiet type.  What I wouldnt give to feel him again, touch him, or just smell him.  He was, and is, an amazing man.  He took a part of me with him when he left, but I hold on to the hope that we will see each other again one day.  I extend my hand to you if you would like to talk.  I am available.  I will be praying for you.

Paul

Katie,

Those little vacations from grief are sometimes needed in order for us to breath and take stock of "who we are".  Becoming yourself again takes time.  It's one of the biggest lessons I had to learn.  For so long it was, Barry and Christopher.   Now, it's just Christopher.  We have to learn how to be alone, but not alone. Does that make sense?

I have met many people who didn't decorate for several years after they lost their spouse.  Whether it was because it was something they did together, or they just don't "feel the holiday spirit".  And that is totally okay!  You need to make your way through all of those special days they way you feel most comfortable.  One of the things I did was to celebrate each special day in a big way.  This helped by creating new, happy memories on those days.  I honored the original reason that made those days special, but I didn't allow myself to be consumed by the loss of what made those days special to begin with.

The first year, after Barry's death, flew by and before I knew it I was marking the one year anniversary.  Time seems to go all wonky when we're walking the path of grief.  For some it goes by quickly and for others it seems to drag on.

Don't try to force yourself to "move on".  It will happen eventually and without any effort.  We have to allow ourselves to properly grieve for the one we lost.  If we're purposely trying to forget them or rush into another relationship, we're not honoring them or our time with them.  Based on my own experience, I agree with your counselor.  If you feel like crying, go ahead and cry.  Just don't get lost in the tears.  It's important to recognize what brought them on and acknowledge it.  I'm at a year and a half since Barry died and I still cry.  Usually it's brought on by a special song that he picks out for me right when I need it most.  

Reaching out to others can be very difficult.  We don't want to be the "wet blanket" at gatherings, so we often keep to ourselves and avoid others.  We have to "tell" others exactly what we need, that way they know how to help us.  If you need someone to just sit with you, tell them exactly that.  Once I started telling people exactly what I needed, I was shocked at the number of people who came out of the woodwork to fill that position.

Those reminders are going to pop up all over the place.  Songs, places, tv shows, etc.  There were a few shows that Barry and I were watching when he died.  Like you, I couldn't continue watching them.  I just didn't have the "passion" for them any more.  It was many months before I could pick them up again.  I started accepting all the reminders and the happy times that made them special.  Usually, it will make me smile.  

If you ever want to talk, please feel free to contact me.

Katie,

I am sitting here watching the Big Bang Theory, a show Rob and I watched nightly, I was unable to watch it for the first six months after he died.  Believe me I know where you are, in so much of what you say.  I too don't want to burden others with the sadness I feel, and find it difficult to talk to others about my grief.  All I can tell you is that time will soften things.  It keeps hurting, but it hurts differently. 

I head home tomorrow from the holidays with my family, and going home is still the hardest part.  You don't have to be close to moving on, and don't feel that you should.  You are on your own time schedule, and your own path.  I just reached the 8 month mark on Christmas day and things are easier, but not easy.  As long as I am not paralyzed in my life in another year I'm not going to worry.  You could experience a roller coaster of emotions, and they are all fine.  When you need help just ask, and when you want to be alone, be alone.  Most importantly do what you need and don't worry about if it is right or wrong.  You will cry when you are ready to cry.   Rob died in April and I finally completely broke down on election night.  When the election results were announced that we could be legally married in the state we live, and now it's too late for us.  You do what you need and don't worry about a time line.  There is nothing prescribed, there is no set path and no set way to do this.  Find your peace in time.

Jerry

Hi Katie & others,

I'm so glad to hear this topic, though sad for you. My partner of 12 years passed away only a week go from pancreatic cancer. I'm only 54 & she was only 55. I'm reaching out to this online community for support, and Katie, I totally get the reminders thing. Even though I'm a therapist & my training tells me all the logical neuro reasons for this, when I'm in it none of that matters. I'm so raw & devastated, walking around in a daze half the time. I cry when the tears come but I don't force them. I question myself but I'm getting support to stop questioning myself. This is all new territory, a trip into a land I didn't buy a ticket to. I'm so pissed at cancer. I just want Cindy to come back, to come walking through the door with her gorgeous smile. I know you all feel that way. It is good to hear of people a little further along in their processes. Thanks for being here & sharing both pain & strength - thanks to all.

Kamala

Katie:

Try not to be so hard on yourself. It's only been one month. My Tina passed away in March & I'm still grieving. It was so hard at the holidays as her birthday is Dec. 26th. My parents are very elderly; both with dementia & in an institution. My brother, his wife & I went & ate with them on the 25th. It's like watching two people you love die in inches. It's my one saving grace about Slim [that's my nickname for her] that she didn't suffer as her aneursym burst. We had known the diagnosis for 4 years &, at the time, it was inoperable.

 

I see my psychiatrist once a month. Of course, I've been seeing her for years as I have chronic pain & she prescribes the meds. But, she's there for me.

 

And, then there are our two dogs who are my true saving grace.

 

So, one step at a time or, if necessary, one minute at a time.

 

Peace,

Nanc

Thanks Nancy,

I actually feel one of the blessings in all of this is for me to TRULY commit to not being hard on myself. It is something almost everyone tells me to work on & to my credit, I have made a lot of progress. Cindy was very strong in this department - telling me not to be hard on myself. I now feel like I need to truly embrace not being hard on myself with every fibre of my being. More kindness, less ego, less agenda, more love.

Thanks for the reminder. I will keep coming here to receive the wisdom & the blessings.

Kamala

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