I lost my husband, my best friend, and my soul mate, Iancu Ciubotaru, a few months back. I am at a breaking point and I don’t know how to go forward. I know grieving is a difficult process for anyone who loses a loved one, but every second feels like torture for me and I just can’t imagine a day where I wouldn’t feel as lost and lonely as I do right now. I am seeing a bereavement therapist and she told me it would be good to express my feelings in written word so I’m taking the opportunity to do that here.

I met Iancu when I was only 17 years old in Wyoming. I never knew enjoyment or passion before quite like I did once I was with him. The first few months were magical and they were the happiest moments of my life. Iancu was a dare devil, an adventurer, and a charmer. Within 1 year I was officially Mrs. Iancu Ciubotaru; Betty Ciubotaru. My husband and lived in Wyoming for our entire lives; Iancu owned a small plumbing company and I took care of the house. I gave birth to our first child, Stuart, about 2 years after we were married. Stuart immediately had health problems and Iancu and I were constantly taking him back and forth to the hospital until he passed away only 9 months after he was born. It was a tragedy; no words can describe how either of us felt. But Iancu was there for me; it wouldn’t have been possible for him to have any more thoughtful than he was. He was my rock and he got me through it. Three years later I gave birth to our 2nd child, Mitchell Ciubotaru. The three of us were the happiest family you could ever meet. I know some people just say that. However, I truly mean it! Mitchell and Iancu were my life and as Mitchell grew up, we didn’t even consider having another child because we never felt the need. I always believed that neither of us wanted to take the chance that another child would have health issues. The strange thing is we never even discussed it, but it was perfectly fine.

As Mitchell grew up he made the Ciubotaru family proud. Iancu and I put everything we had into raising him the very best way we could. He was our only baby still around and we always wanted him to know that we would do anything for him in the world. He was an excellent student and he received a partial academic scholarship to study architecture at Carnegie Mellon, where he finished on the dean’s list!

Mitchell was very dedicated to his work; he worked for the same architecture firm in New York City for more than a decade once he finished his degrees. We visited him regularly and he came back for every Thanksgiving and Christmas; he never missed a single one! Although Mitchell was an exceptional son and a very successful man, he never was very social and he never really had a girlfriend. He and Iancu would fight sometimes about whether or not he’d ever get married. Iancu would give him advice to meet women and Mitchell would just get upset. When Mitchell turned 30 we visited him for his birthday. He told us at dinner that he was gay. Iancu is the greatest man I have ever known, but he did not handle it well. We only had one child and we wanted grandchildren; I think what made Iancu upset more than anything else is that Mitchell’s sexuality almost ensured that we would not continue the family with another generation. I always had a feeling that Mitchell was gay and it didn’t bother me, but Mitchell did not talk to his Father for almost 2 years. That was a dark time for me; these were my two guys! It just killed me that they couldn’t speak because I knew just how much they loved each other.

Eventually Mitchell and his Father made up, and after a year or so things went were good. Mitchell brought his boyfriend to the house for Christmas and he and Iancu actually hit it off since they were both avid hunters.

My hand is starting to shake at this point because the rest of the story will not be enjoyable for anyone. Mitchell’s boyfriend left him and Mitchell became very depressed. He continually told me he was fine, but I knew something was wrong. One day I received a call from a hospital in New York. Mitchell tried to take his own life by swallowing pills. A neighbor heard him fall and called the police. Mitchell died in the hospital 12 hours later. I wouldn’t wish the next year’s experience on my worst enemy. It was unimaginable. When Stuart passed, Iancu was my rock. He didn’t crack; he just stood by my side and cared for me. But this time he couldn’t hold it together and he totally fell apart. You’re not supposed to lose all of your children; that’s not the way things are supposed to work. Unlike with Stuart, now I was the one taking care of Iancu, and he began to get sick as well. Iancu didn’t exercise or eat healthy and he had heart issues. I think losing both of his sons did a number on him as well. I lost Iancu recently and I just don’t know what I have left or is left for me. I’m empty, I’m dead inside, and I don’t feel like I can do it anymore. I have a few friends who spend time with me, but I fear that they can no longer stand being near me because of my current state.

Every day I think about my boys. I think about happy times. For a few minutes I’ll enjoy reliving the moments in my brain, but then it always comes to a thunderous end as I realize that I’ll never share another new moment with anyone I love ever again until I die. What can I do? I’m supposed to play bingo and scrabble? I just feel like my life was 8 chapters long and full of many happy moments, and now the final two chapters of my book and my life will be blank. Why should I continue on in the blank pages of my life?

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m suicidal; I’m not and I will never be. Iancu knew he was on his way out and he told me I must never do anything like that and made me promise him since he couldn’t bear the thought of losing Mitchell and me in the same way. I will continue on, but I just want to know how I can move on without every day seeming like a month. Does anyone out there know what I’m going through? Does anyone have any advice for me?

I’m sorry if this was depressing, but I had to write it. In any event, thank you for reading.


Betty Ciubotaru

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