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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.

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Grief so great it hurts

Started by Bonny Jones. Last reply by Diamond Jan 31. 13 Replies

Navigating Widow-hood

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Finding the new normal

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Comment by deborah peck on September 23, 2020 at 8:01am

I love this Chuck, its so on point

Comment by Chicago Beard on September 22, 2020 at 12:35pm

Well said Chuck!

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on September 22, 2020 at 11:30am

Thank you Steve for helping me post!

Love, Chuck

Comment by Steve G. on September 22, 2020 at 10:35am

Part 2 of Chuck's post ON GRIEF

How long we grieve has no universally applicable time frame, although society has always dictated everything from the wearing of black clothing to time taken away from social gatherings and work. When pressure to get past/through/over your grief is applied it not only causes great anxiety, but also it effects a further withdrawing into ourselves as we attempt to keep our emotions hidden from the world. This is unhealthy and damaging to our lives – period.
        Finally, I ask myself what the toll of my grieving has been, and will it always be something that robs me of happiness or pleasure. The answer for me is that I have not been destroyed but rather changed by my grief, and that alteration is permanent. Just as we are robbed of a certain child-like innocence in our youth after learning that Santa Clause isn’t who or what we believed, so are we now made aware of the impermanence of life and daily interaction with our loved ones. This is not the loss of love, but of the physical presence of the object of our love. For that reason, I feel that in place of what was removed from my life a new awareness of the importance and preciousness of the people and things still here has been made clearer to me.
        Loneliness, tears, and even anger that appear from nowhere unexpectedly no longer have the intense debilitating effects they had when my grief was new and fresh. I live with them as one adapts to having a limp or losing a finger or a limb. Life isn’t as carefree or easy as it once was, but I now allow my day to be interrupted without resistance when a song plays somewhere or a trinket appears in a drawer sending me into a moment of looking back into a past filled with images and conversations shared with one no longer by my side in this world. I am not apologetic for my sadness, nor do I insist on explaining my moods or lack of enthusiasm to others who ask me, “What’s wrong?” I mostly just smile and say that I’m fine, or that I am feeling a little tired. It is easier that way, unless my companions know me well and see in my eyes what is happening. Then blessedly sometimes they ask what I’m remembering and encourage me to share my thoughts. Those precious times have been and continue to be my times of greatest healing. Healing, because I am still hurt, and bear scars that remain invisible to most people. Blessed, because not only do I get to share my love with the questioner but feel their love for me as they listen quietly.
        The toll then of our grief is that we are changed importantly and permanently. The gift that comes with our grief is that we are changed importantly – and permanently. Period. 

Comment by Steve G. on September 22, 2020 at 10:34am

The following post was penned by Chuck.  His computer is acting up, so I volunteered to post it for him in two parts,..

If you want to comment please direct them to Chuck.

Part 1. ON GRIEF

        For some time now I have pondered the nature of grief – it’s sources, it’s progression, and particularly it’s toll. For me grieving has not been a process that has a timeline, nor does it seem to have an end. There are no stages nor are there uniform rules under which we are expected to behave according to experts. The advice and council from outside sources are the only things that seems to be universal. Everyone I know who are also grieving have told me they were instructed by someone how they were to grieve, intensity and duration always being the guideposts. Clergy, family, psychologists, and of course well-intentioned friends all feel justified and even obligated to ring in on this topic it would seem. Personally, despite their good intentions, the comments made have often done more harm than good. All their words eventually boil down to one idea – GET OVER IT ALREADY!
        Only those who themselves are going through the same lamentations and loneliness have truly been of help to me. Their words are always gentle, compassionate, and most importantly full of understanding of the fragility of my status, mentally and emotionally. The lack of judgement for my reactions to memories that are easily triggered by any number of stimuli allows me to believe that I am not abnormal, nor am I being self-indulgent. I am simply grieving. Period.
        Five years have passed since I first stepped onto this path I now tread after losing my husband, and while I still am confused and frightened occasionally by suddenly surfacing emotions, I have learned some valuable things that allow me to function. By listening to people that I know and adding their experiences to those I have witnessed throughout my life I know that grief over any loss is equally devastating and debilitating. Those who volunteer that an illness, age, or even familial closeness should or would have a bearing on the degree to which we grieve are being unkind and thoughtless. Even the suggestion that the loss of a pet isn’t on an equal footing with that of a person is at the least insensitive. We grieve for the loss of that which we love – period.

Comment by Steve G. on September 22, 2020 at 7:22am

Thank you Marsha,

Like every one else, I have moments of panic and a feeling of loss that does not seem to stop.  I find that writing about these moments helps, most of my stories are much to large for posting openly on any forum, so I save them to my lap top.  These are my therapy moments.

Chuck and I do get out when ever we can, safely.  Yesterday we opted to get our Flu Shots, which meant going to our local CVS pharmacy.  Everyone there knows us by sight and are just as anxious to engage in conversation.  Everyone is wearing a mask, the pharmacy folks wear gloves and 99% of the customers wear masks.  We order online for everything we need.  In our city of Arlington, every business has curb side delivery or shipping available.  So we stopped by Michael's (a store for crafters and Artists) and picked up our items that we ordered online.  Chuck has been working on his Halloween set, even though it is just for our enjoyment.  Sometimes he engages my help with ideas and layout.  For myself, I will begin this fall on my outdoor project of building a small deck in our small back yard. 

So life goes on, albeit differently than before.  We have a friend that stops by with anything from one of those complete meals you fix yourself or tin of muffins he baked.

Rings the door bell, walks to the end of our front walk, waves to us and leaves as we scoop up the goodies.

He used to stop by with his little dog for coffee and hours of chat.  We miss that interaction with others the most.

Life as we know it has changed and we cannot go back, we have to go forward and adapt.   

To all our Angels on this site, stay safe, be well and reach out.  Hugs and love to each and everyone,

Steve

Comment by Marsha H on September 22, 2020 at 4:29am

Dear Trina ...

You should never worry about posting your fears, anxiety or loneliness because we are all in the same boat. I'm one of them.  Covid is here and it's being treated differently than other virus' and suddenly our world is turned upside down; people wearing masks; some rubber gloves; standing in line-ups; cowering away from others for fear of contracting it.  We are all human and miss the hugs, smiles and not the distancing and fearful looks of so many people we see not to mention loneliness.  Those who have passed from Covid my heart goes out to and just like here where I live you can't even have a Celebration of Life or a Funeral. 

Do you have a pet?  I only mention this as my 2 dogs keep me sane and others who have pets say the same thing.  They give warmth and love to us when we can't receive it with humans.  I know you have to be so careful with your breathing difficulties, but could you go for a nature walk where there are fewer people?  You can order food to your door like so many here do here.  

I live just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and we aren't hit as hard as the States.  We are not as restrictive as the U.S.  We do wear face masks and more so with the smoke that blew up from the California fires another horrific and tragic event. 

I apologize for not answering your post or others as death does not take a holiday.  I know no one so far (a miracle) that has passed from Covid, but my dear girlfriend of 45 years lost her sister 2 years ago; then her husband last year in April and I've been helping her go through the tragedy of her 47 year old daughter battling cancer only to succumb to it in July.  The family had a private graveside service.  Now her only sibling; her 84 year old brother may have a cancerous mass on his bladder and my poor friend wonders what on earth is going on.   I often visit my friend and we do manage to have some laughs, but I know the look of a light dimmed in the eyes of those who have lost someone and it takes time to let them grieve.  I can visit her and we wear masks and stay 6 feet apart.  It is the large groups we are not allowed to have. 

I am trying to plan out this winter (going to be rough on all of us who get snow) to keep myself sane.  I am fortunate to have friends or family phone me every so often and some of the Bible Study Group members and am blessed with wonderful neighbors next door checking in on me.  I take the dogs to a park not far from me that has very few people there and also there is Kilby Park that is the same.  I go grocery shopping because I can see other humans and if lucky see a wave my way. 

I left a post awhile back with tips for Covid and by no means did I not take the U.S. seriously with the amount of people sick or dying from this virus.  It is good to get out for a short walk if possible and try not to listen too much about the virus on the media.  We have to try to reach back to our childhood when we were afraid of something and pull magic out of our hats and by planning out a routine that will keep you busy at home and with your doctor's permission mask up and go for short walks once a day. 

I too have my ups and downs with this virus and the world as we once knew it, but being 79 soon I'm a gritty old bag and I'm not going to let this manage my new lifestyle and just be cautious by wearing masks, rubber gloves or sanitizers. 

I hope everyone on here can feel free to speak your minds and we all know no one judges.  I am actually shocked more don't do so on this forum.  It connects all of us and we don't feel so alone. 

Love & Hugs and stay healthy & safe!

Marsha   

Comment by Marsha H on September 22, 2020 at 3:46am

Dear Steve ...

My deepest condolences on the loss of your dear friend Julio.  Thank you for sharing some of life of Julio which I found interesting and an honor to him.  I always feel in some conversations saying the name of a person we cared for or loved and then deceased keeps the memories and their legacy alive that we shared with them.  

I pray for you and Charles and that both of you stay safe and healthy.  

Love & Hugs

Your sis Marsha

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on September 21, 2020 at 10:10pm

My apologies  - I seem unable to copy the piece I wrote here - I will try again later some different way - 

Chuck

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on September 21, 2020 at 10:02pm

Dear Trina,

I want to thank you - for your thoughtful and loving reply to Steve, and for the way you so honestly and sincerely shared with us all your fears and anxiety during this nightmare in which we find ourselves. No, you couldn't offend anyone here with such candor. Rather you have given us all something with which we can relate as we experience our own losses and feelings ranging from sadness to outrage.

I saw how deeply affected by the loss of his friend Steve was as he told me of his passing and his story. I listened a few weeks ago as Larry's daughter-in-law told me on the phone how her husband cries in private over the loss of his mother in February. I read texts and emails from a new friend who was going down hard grieving for the loss of his sweet little dog Gigi who was his constant companion and like a daughter to him. My cousin brought me to tears a week ago describing the permanent rift between her and her sister  created after the loss of their father a year ago, and how she realizes now that she is grieving both losses equally. 

For myself, I guess my personal feelings of loss go directly to the seemingly insurmountable challenge of communication with those who have chosen to value political ideology over the value of human life. This from folks who scream constantly about right to life legislation and proclaim loudly from the rafters their worship of God and their belief in the Bible. Yet somehow they don't see the grief caused by the loss of 200,000 souls - sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, all remembered and wept over by their survivors. 

This feeling of anger runs through me now almost constantly like a low voltage current that buzzes softly in the recesses of my brain. I would scream and march and riot if I possibly could I think. I feel helpless and useless with only the sane dear loving presence of Steve to keep me from exploding. I feel so bad for you being isolated in this weirdly distorted country surrounded by mindless followers of ...what? A lie? A false prophet? I am sad that you are having physical reactions to this stress, but I also believe there are many many of us who are feeling the terrific toll all this insanity is causing. 

The virus is just that - a virus. Intelligent mindful behavior and adherence to common sense medical and scientifically based guidance combined with a sense of responsibility to all other people's health and well-being shouldn't be the exception or even debatable. What has happened to so many of the people in this country?

Anyway, I wrote the piece I posted last week but hesitated to post it because, like you, I wasn't sure how it would be received.  Now I just want to share it with you and all my very much loved Legacy family, because in some ways you all seem to be the last pocket of sanity I have in this world with whom I can honestly share my feelings - BLESS all of you for that!

Trina, stay safe and hold tight to all the good and beauty and love in your heart that you so generously give to us all here time and time again. Now feel our love flowing back bring you strength and peace.

Love and prayers always,

Chuck 

 

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