Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: Jul 17
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 Bonny Jones. Last reply by Diamond Jan 31.
Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Michele Jul 21, 2019.
Started by Sharon Kinsey. Last reply by Frances C Younger Jun 24, 2019.
Jen S ... I see, I must have misunderstood. I am so thankful you are going there for a holiday and perhaps you can manage to do that every year or two. You are a wonderful mother to think of your children first while you are so raw into your grieving and I know Gerald is around you with all smiles and saying 'that's my girl ... I knew you could do it!' I have had the same experience (almost like mental telepathy) where I almost hear my husband's voice say 'go girl ... you were always the strong one.' I sure don't feel that strong now that my love has passed away.
Those were not friends to say such cruel things (and they will pay for those cruel words believe me) and you don't need them. You knew who you and Gerald were and how loving and kind you were and that's all you need to know. In my 2nd year of grief reality has struck me in the face and I too have had friends fade away, but slowly making new ones and also now I'm reaching out to old friends and some are coming back into my life. It's simply because they didn't know how I was feeling and didn't know what to do or say. I call it 'cleaning out my closet' and last year I gauged who were my true friends and keep them close to me (not a whole lot of them mind you) and cast the others aside because they took up too much energy and they were toxic relationships. Thankfully I have not had one person say a cruel thing to me about not like my husband or I, but those that knew me for so long realized if they even thought that and had the nerve to say it I would have ripped off their lips!
I too felt like I was hollow inside; wondered why my heart was even pumping or my legs carried me here and there; had nightmares for months after my husband's death and still can have them. I felt like my chest would explode. I didn't open my blinds; didn't answer phone calls with the exception of my brother and his wife and my one loyal girlfriend for fear they would worry about me. I couldn't stop crying and would lay on the sofa with a blanket over me. I ate to stay alive and was zombie-like. I felt tense being around people I didn't know that well or even someone knocking on my door. If a male came around I would start to shake. Go figure! I walked my dogs every day and my feet felt like lead and sure enough I would see couples walking hand in hand and I would burst out bawling. I started to wear sunglasses to cover it up. I aged over 10 years through this grief and lost a lot of weight (stabalized) even though I eat like a horse. I lost my confidence when I use to be a vibrant; joking and loving person and wonder where my emotions went after I lost my husband. I wondered why God even left me behind.
Things do get better Jen. This year I have decided to volunteer and get back out into society more. I am lucky to have my loyal girlfriend to do things with and that helps. I am painting the inside of the house and then some days grief blind-sides me and I just take it easy on myself. I try to go with the flow. I don't feel the guilt I once did of some unkind words I said to my husband as I was trying to fight the medical system; his specialists to keep him alive and get him home and the stress was horrific. My husband told me he knew I was doing everything possible. I know he's around me (like your Gerald) because I try to do a man's work around here and of course can't and end up sitting on the floor crying and suddenly a phone call comes in from my husband's best friend and he offered to help out. So, I do believe your Gerald and my Ernie are watching over us.
You're doing a great job Jen and don't let anyone take that from you! If you want to email me let me know. I'm up late.
Big hugs to you hon (we love ya on here!)
My husband, Rich, passed away 5 months ago, (8-1-12) of pancreatic cancer. I joined this forum on 11-22-12, and you were one of the first people to greet me.
Thanks for the kind words, |My situation w/is complicated as my only family ( 2 nieces and a sister) turned their backs on me I guess I had too happy a marriage for them (my sisters husband left her, though he did go back). She spent 16 years with me and my husband for holidays so saw what a happy marriage was) It started soon after his death when she criticised everything from his memorial service to where I was putting his grave stone and worse. So I have lost not only a soul mater but also a family and the two together has sent me spiralling back to the beginnings of the grief. My only wish is that I join him soon.Helen
Jen S ... What you are going through is very normal. When most of us first came on Legacy we were grieving (still are at different levels) we felt alone and afraid because the strongest and most loveable part of our life was gone ... our spouses. We were thrust into another world that felt desolate while we tried to fit in, but didn't quite make it. Family and friends came and went not realizing what grieving of a spouse meant. I, myself really didn't want to go on living and would have gladly gone with my spouse if it was legal. We unfortunately weren't able to have children; all the kids in the family were adults now and after my husband passed away in April, 2011 I felt so alone as we were so close and did so many things together. I was left with my small family of my brother; his wife and 2 nephews who made the odd phone call; my sister-in-law would come most Fridays and one loyal girlfriend who is a big part of my life and between that and Legacy and the angels on Legacy I was able to take baby steps into the future. Yes, going through grief is bleak, but each day; week; month and year we can get through it brings us closer to rebuilding our lives although we will never forget our spouse and the fond memories we had. I always remember the phrase 'tis better to have loved than to never have loved at all.' I began to feel so blessed I had my husband in my life for 45 years (married 39) and all those memories. He has left me with his wisdom; his love; strengths and laughter and I try to go on for him. I don't want his memory ever forgotten.
Like you I am try to get a future going for me and it's not easy because of my age (retired) but it can be done. I think it's wonderful you are going to move back to the town where your husband passed away and start a new life. Children are such a blessing. Routine is the key for us grievers because we had our routine with our loved one and we miss it so now we have to start all over again, but many manage to do it and so will we all. You are getting stronger! Keep a journal of every day and what you feel and then look back on it a few months later and you will see all those baby steps you took to stay strong for your children even though it's exhausting. Soon all that will go away and your strength will come back and you'll surprise yourself that you begin to see the light at the end of tunnel and begin to laugh again.
Helen D ... I know it feels like our husbands were the center of attraction, but in my second year of grieving I am beginning to realize that is simply not true. When my husband died in April 2011 I was angry because friends of 20 - 40 years seemed to drop away and I was left only with a little support from family which consisted of my brother; his wife and my 2 nephews (my husband and I had no children) and one true girlfriend. I was heart-broken and felt I was cast aside. What I didn't realize was that many of those friends were grieving too and that losing my husband made them face their own mortality. They simply were waiting for me to reach out, but how was I suppose to know that because I had never experienced a spouse passing away on me and I was in a complete fog the first year (2nd year it's facing reality.) So now I have started to reach out and getting a little more action from my friends, while there is still a few that are out of my life, but, it could be a good thing as I call it 'cleaning out my closet' to see who is loyal to the friendship they had with my husband and I and who is not. When you start to feel better (and you will) you will make new friends as well which is a healthy thing. Please don't think you are alone because you are not! For now counseling and this extended family on Legacy will help get you through the dark days and nights and many on here have gotten me through bad times when I had no one else to talk too. I've made many friends off this forum as well and for that I feel truly blessed.
Your grief is raw right now hon, so take those baby steps and when you feel stronger start reaching out to old friends and you'll be very surprised at good reactions you will receive from most. Clean out your closet! Keep the gems of friends and cast aside the disloyal.
Chicago Beard ... always nice to see you pop in and let us know how you are doing. I am so happy you're happy with your the lady in your life. I hope I am as lucky as you and have a companion in my future. Someone to share things with.
Boy, retiring in December and surgery in January; that's quite a mix for your and I'll be saying prayers that you get through your surgery and recover quickly. Please keep us informed.
Dixie ... you speaking of birds reminds me of my girlfriend who has Humming birds still coming to feast. I always thought Humming birds came in the spring and summer, but found out there is a breed that still feed through window. They are so beautiful to watch as the males come in such gorgeous colors (blast ... the females are a dull color. LOL) I bought my girlfriend 2 beautiful ornamental be-jeweled Humming birds for Christmas and she loves them and has each of them of different lamp shades. We get Starlings here (pests) as are the crows. Before we know it Robins will be chirping away pecking at the grass for grubs.
Dick ... I think you are doing very well considering your grief. It was just a few months after my husband passed that I gave most of his clothing to the Salvation Army (I was in a fog at the time) but, believe it or not I kept his old work sneakers he wore climbing around yachts he built. I even kept his work jacket; some sweaters, etc. I just couldn't part with them.
I too am trying my best to distract myself. My husband's best friend came and painted my ceilings and this Sunday I am helping him paint the walls in the living room. I've bought the paint and ready to go. I have girlfriends over; go out for dinner; movies, anything to distract me, but, as you say sometimes the mind won't let go and believe me I still have my cries. I have a terrible time putting out the last picture of my husband and I taken January 1, 2011 just a few months before he passed away. I have made a promise to myself to put that picture out on my b/d in a week and if it makes me cry then so be it and I'll get use to it eventually.
I think the reality is what makes us grieve Dick and we still do to different degrees and without realizing it keeping busy and being around other people is a start for our new future. I know it's not easy. We know the more we are out there and have 'two faces' as Jan P put it ... one sad when we think of our spouses and a smile on our faces when around other people can be exhausting. I am sure given time we will get to the point where our hearts don't hurt as much. It's the waiting game with grief and being blind-sided by it that distracts all of us.
It's wonderful to hear from you Dick and that you are trying so very hard and you're going to make it. Things may look bleak now, but I am sure we will all find our nitch in life.
Comment by Marsha H just now Delete Comment
Sue H ... I am so glad you have comes to terms with your mom. Your mom is grieving over the loss of your husband too and, this brings the bad word 'mortality' to mind for all of us including your mom and she's trying her best to 'kick start you' because she doesn't want to lose you. I know when you are grieving over a spouse it is so very difficult to see how others are grieving around you because they tend to cover it up and just want us to be our old selves and, in time, we will be close to our old selves, but never 100% complete because the love of our lives has been taken away. You have the right attitude re your support group; this forum and that one great friend (I have one too) and finding faith is all you need to get through the grieving. Grievers miss human touch and we can reach out and get it from a good friend or a hug from someone in a support group, but, we need to realize that family or some of our friends just can't deal with their own mortality and we remind them of that. They want the old 'us' back and are waiting for a perky phone call or a smile from us. You're healing all the time Sue and I can see changes in you already. When the grief blind-sides us we tend to forget all those baby steps we took to get us this far, but we are improving.
It's a bumpy ride, but I think for most of us (at different stages of grief) every day we survive makes us stronger whether we realize it or not.
Noticed your comment on my three years had really deprerssed you. I cannot say I am any better now but perhaps I can offer some hope. When my husband died I would say that after a year I was beginning to come to terms (if one ever really does), then my family pulled the small amount of support they were giving (one phone call a week), and from the start my sister was quite nasty with me, criticised the memorial service and the eulogy for my husband etc etc, several really nasty things which her daughters seem to have gone along with (in spite of all I did for all of them) and I think that threw me right back to the beginning and I have not been able to make progress since so if you have family and support, there is a good chance you will do better than me. I feel your pain and empathise with you. I hope you can manage to pull yourself out of it unlike me. God Bless (though I have enormous doubts about God at the moment). Helen
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