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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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Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 14, 2013 at 12:08am

Thanks Diane C.  My mind keeps going back to last Christmas and the fact that we didn't have a clue what the new year was bringing.  Chris had started to feel bad around Thanksgiving, but his symptoms were so general and vague -- and he kept up with his usual activities until after Christmas -- but looking back, now, I feel guilty that I didn't know something serious was going on.  

I guess I am glad we didn't know it would be our last Christmas together -- we are facing that with my sister, now, and it's so hard to keep things natural when we have that kind of diagnosis hanging over us.  I pray for strength, wisdom and grace, every day. . . for all of us.

The two oldest daughters did the outdoor decorations today -- lights, evergreens and red bows, candy canes and wreaths -- they did it the way Chris would have done it, but they couldn't figure out his electrical system, so they had to make up their own.  It made me cry a little, as I knew it would -- it was his special thing to do for the holidays.  I didn't help -- just went outside to see the effect and told them what a great job they did and that Dad would be proud of them.

I haven't finished my Christmas shopping yet and want to get it done before I run out of steam -- I have been so tired lately -- all I want to do is sleep -- if I sit still for five minutes, I fall asleep.  As long as I keep moving, I am okay -- but I am low on energy.

The weather is another problem --icy roads terrify me and Chris always did most of the winter driving, coming from Canada he was accustomed to ice and snow.  I got out yesterday -- for the first time in a week -- but we are supposed to get more ice and then more snow tonight -- and with the low temps, its hanging around a lot longer than usual.  I don't mind being stuck at home as long as I have enough supplies -- but I worry about my girls driving out there on ice and snow.

 Funny, Carol and Diane mentioning about light bulbs -- since Chris passed it seems every light bulb in the house has taken a turn at burning out -- one by one -- it seems I barely get one replaced when another goes out.  One of the last chores he did was to get on a ladder and replace the garage light.  I remember, I was going to do it and he wouldn't let me get on the ladder.  

I miss him so.  Not just the things he did -- like Christmas decorations, driving in the snow, or changing light bulbs -- but his caring heart -- he cared for me, so much.  I was so lucky to have him in my life.

 

Comment by Carol Kayser on December 13, 2013 at 10:42pm
Dear Diane C. So nice to hear from you and your kind words. It's so good you have your house back the way it should be. I can understand your not wanting to put up decorations, you have been through enough this year.
Aren't you lucky to have that nice young man help you out. Funny you should mention about light bulbs. Two in my hallway just went out and I'm not going to be up on a ladder changing them! Have to wait for the son- in-law!

So glad we can share here our feelings over the holidays, it means a lot:)

Hugs Diane,
Carol
Comment by Diane C on December 13, 2013 at 5:51pm

Hi Mac,

Sorry to hear that you are having a rough time right now. But, I was glad to hear from you. Just know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers too. I think a lot has to do with the time of year. It is so hard for us to get through these holidays alone. I just hope they pass quickly, which they do. I think the anticipation is worse than the actual days.

Know that you are thought of here on our site often.

Hugs to you Mac!!!

Comment by Diane C on December 13, 2013 at 5:45pm

Hi Carol,

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. It is so darn hard for us, when we get news of someone that has been given that diagnosis. And yes, it does bring up so many emotions and memories of the time we spent going through our ordeals. You will find the strength to help her, I know you will.

But I am so glad to hear that you are in a better place this year. That gives all of us who are grieving hope that we will end up in a better place too with time.

Take care Carol, you and your friends will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Hugs!!!

Comment by Diane C on December 13, 2013 at 5:33pm

Good job Barbara, I am impressed that you got your tree and decorations up!! I know how hard that was for you to do that.

And, I am so proud of you Marsha with your 2 buffets this season too. I know how hard that is to do alone too. But I think it just goes to show that we are moving ahead a little, a baby step at a time.

I am not having a tree or any of my regular decorations this year. I am just getting the house back together and it is already the 13th. I have a couple things I would like to put up, but it just isn't going to happen. I think I will go out tomorrow to see if I can find a 4 ft. tree to put on a table, but I am not going to get any ornaments down either. Kind of a bummer year in that aspect. But it is what it is..... The contractors came back today and everything is finally done. They are doing a little side job for me now, but that is not part of the tree falling on the house. I had some ice damage a few years ago, and it left a crack in my ceiling and the wall between my skylights. They made me a deal I couldn't refuse... ;0) 

I will be having my family over on Christmas Eve for the evening. We are just going to have an array of appetizers and finger foods. My Mom usually has that holiday, but she will be 80 in January and I told her I really would prefer to have it. It gives me something to do and keeps me busy. She understands completely, she has been widowed for 25 years. It will be an easy evening, so I am looking forward to it.

I was busy today trying to put a photo album together for my mom, of pictures of my brothers and sister, from all of our Christmas family photos, from the past 50+ years. I had just gotten the pics last year from my Dad. It was hard, because I had to go through some recent pictures too (25+ years). But that is going to be my goal next year, to get some scrap books put together.

They are calling for 6+ inches of snow for tomorrow. Katie's boyfriend came today and got my snow blower set up, and he even cleaned out my driveway. He replaced light bulbs in my garage and did a couple of other little things on his way home from work this morning. I am very lucky to have him as part of our family.

Sounds like we are all busy right now, trying to keep ourselves busy. That is a good thing, and I hope everyone can keep up the pace and not get too worn out. Take it slow and remember we are here for each other.

Hugs to all!!

Comment by Marsha H on December 13, 2013 at 3:45am

Hi Barbara ...  I am so proud of you that you put the Christmas tree and decorations up even though it was encouragement from your granddaughters.  I know our spouses would want us to.  I've put a Christmas tree up each year since Ernie passed away.  I decorated a little more this time because I am having those 2 separate buffets (one this Saturday) and seem to have things under control, but it brings so many memories back of Ernie helping me getting prepared.

We seem to be on the same wave length because I just put a picture of Ernie out (framed) only a couple of weeks ago and I'm glad I did.  I couldn't bare to look at a picture of him before that.  It must mean we are making some progress.

Ernie use to put the outside lights on as well, but I haven't done that since he passed away and I can't do it by myself.  I have a pretty wreath on two outside doors and that's as good as it's going to get.  I was thinking that when Ernie passed away it was if the neighborhood did as well.  Once the houses were all lit up and sparkled this time of year and other than one or two other houses in our neighborhood there is nothing.  This is due to old neighbors passing away or more renters than home owners.  Sad. 

You be careful Barbara and don't slip and break a hip!  I am thinking of getting those slip rubber slip-ons with spiked soles that you pull on over your boots and they are for ice.  Good thing to have when it's snowed then the rain comes and it freezes. 

I constantly talk to Ernie and even more so this time of year and no, that does not make us crazy! 

Memories for sure!

Bless all of you and here is hoping for a better 2014 for us.

Love, hugs and blessings

Marsha

Comment by Carol Kayser on December 13, 2013 at 12:34am
Hi Barbara, good for you for doing that. So glad your granddaughters were there to encourage you too. I love that you took your picture of Chris and have framed it. How special! I can see you didn't want to disappoint your granddaughters and you should be proud:)
I have my little tree up and a few small decorations around. My daughter
has our large tree in her house so I still get to see it and enjoy it.
Awww your cul-de-sac does sound quiet now. There isn't the pressure to do lights when the neighbors don't!
Where my sister lives they see deers a lot. It's always so neat to see them. Maybe your Chris sent you a sign:)

Hugs,
Carol
Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 12, 2013 at 7:25am

Well, I got the Christmas tree and house decorated with my two granddaughters.  It has been a tradition since they were little girls, for them to come and help decorate the tree.  They are 11 and 13 now, but I could see the disappointment on their faces when I mentioned that I didn't know if I wanted a tree, this year.  So, they came and we did it and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  They recognize all the ornaments -- and, I had put aside the little ornament that Chris and I bought for our first Christmas together.  After the tree was all decorated, I picked it up in my hand -- and Jaymie (the 13 year old) said, "Grandma, I saved you a place for that one."  I didn't think she had noticed when I put it aside.  But, then, we put it on the tree, together, and it was alright.

Then, my daughter found a box of old photographs, last night, and we were going through them together and found a picture of Chris wearing a Santa hat and smiling his great smile -- we remembered that it was taken on our first Christmas in this house, that Chris built.  My daughter suggested that I put it in a frame and set it out, to remind everyone how Dad would want us all to be happy and enjoy the holiday.  So I did.

We haven't put up any outdoor decorations.  That was always Dad's job and he had his own secret system for the lights.  My daughter keeps saying she will do the outdoor stuff -- but I really don't care if it gets done, or not.  There are only 6 houses on my block, and only one family, with children, have done outdoor decorations -- the rest of us are all widows or widowers, with one vacant house, where our friends used to live, and have now had to move to assisted living.  Kind of sad down here on our little cul de sac, now.

Looking out the window over my desk, I see a deer in our driveway.  That's something Chris and I always called out to each other to come and see.  He loved to watch them.  He always kept the bird-feeders full, too -- so I tried to get food out for them, during our recent snow.  I almost slipped and fell on the ice -- and I could hear him scold me -- "Don't go out there!", he would say, "Let me do it!"  But, I got them filled, at least once.

Memories.

Hugs, prayers and love to all. 

I find myself talking to him a lot, recently.  

Comment by Carol Kayser on December 12, 2013 at 12:25am

Dear Marsha, how comforting your words are to me, thank you, as always.  Life takes these twists and turns and it is definitely not fair in any way.  I didn't mention that we both had two children, they two sons and we two daughters.  They are all within 3 weeks of each other!

I have many good and fun memories of being friends with them.

I am sure your phone calls with Elaine were such a blessing, and if we can give of ourselves to someone else we too feel blessed.

I'm just grateful to be able to help my friend.

Love,

Carol

Comment by Marsha H on December 11, 2013 at 2:31pm

Dearest Carol ...  I am so very sorry to hear about your friend's husband's end stages of colon cancer.  Life often feels so unfair to so many individuals.  The Christmas Season is going to be difficult for your friend and her husband, but I never have to guess that you would be there for her to support both of them.  It's a shock to be two couples doing things together and then it can all fall apart at anytime and that is why we have to treasure every second of every day with family and friends, but then I know I don't have to tell you that.

Earlier in 2013 Ernie's cousin Elaine (also a friend of mine) had kidney failure and she made the decision to pass away at home.  Because of her decision it made some family members angry and her friends stopped coming to see her, but so soon after losing my spouse I understood why she had made this decision and we had many phone calls together (she lived in the Interior) and I was surprised I was the only one she would talk to.  We talked about death and the choice to die with dignity.  I am had  mixed emotions, but respected her wishes and embraced every moment we had together over the phone.  Sometimes we'd laugh and sometimes we'd cry.  It was not easy on me as the flood of memories came back that I'd gone through with my sweetheart, but, to give of one's heart and 'lean on me' is the greatest gift one can give to another and I'd do it all over again.

You are blessed to have family and of course your sweet little Abby and know you will have a wonderful and joyful Christmas and here's hoping 2014 will be much kinder to all of us.

Love & Hugs

Marsha

 

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