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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

Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Michele Jul 21, 2019. 5 Replies

Finding the new normal

Started by Sharon Kinsey. Last reply by Frances C Younger Jun 24, 2019. 12 Replies

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Comment by Marsha H on November 10, 2013 at 3:24am

Patricia ...  It is so nice to hear from you and this forum and the members have helped me so much through the pain of grieving.  It makes us realize we are all normal in our grieving and helps us down this unknown road of grief.  Losing a spouse is much different than losing a parent and there is no book of instructions as to how we handle our grief.  It's baby steps and we are here to help you all we can.

Hugs

Marsha

Comment by Marsha H on November 10, 2013 at 3:18am

Dear Barbara ...  I know just how you are feeling having Christmas without Chris.  Please take some time alone and think of this my friend, 'What would Chris want me to do.'  From how you describe this wonderful, loving and caring man I think he would want you to continue tradition because he's put so much effort into making beautiful hand-crafted gifts for the family.  He wouldn't have taken that pains-taking time to do so if he didn't love to see the smiles on members of the family's faces when they opened his gift.  Now that this will be your sisters last Christmas, personally, I feel you should try your best to have one last traditional Christmas for her and her son.  Our spouses loved and taught us so much about giving and as hard as it is for us we should take what we've learned and give to others in time of need.  Here is a little story that happened to me:

On Christmas Day 2003 my mother was in a nursing home slowly dying and she had dementia so was in and out of either recognizing or not recognizing us.  I decided to give her one more last Christmas and invited my brother, wife and my mother's two grandsons.  My brother picked her up at the nursing home and my mother's eyes lit up at the tree and decorations and a little normalcy came back for just a wee bit.  She had a good time, but it was so difficult for all of us at the time.  I went into the washroom on a couple of occasions to have a cry and then get myself together again. When my mother was leaving to go back to the nursing home she came up to Ernie and I and said 'thank you so much for having me into your lovely home.  I had a good time.'  I could hardly contain myself from bawling right there ...  I was a stranger to my own mother, but, I was so glad I did give her some joy in her life and one last chance to have all the family together away from that nursing home.  The end result from giving of ourselves through our own pain is the look on the faces of those around us.

I decorate inside, but like you Barbara, Ernie use to put the outdoor lights up and I haven't bothered because I can't do it myself so I just put a wreath on the door.  That's just fine.  The magic happens inside the home close to loved ones caring, loving and giving the biggest gift of all at Christmas ... time for each other and seeing smiles on the faces of those we love.

I also give to the food bank instead of buying gifts for family although we buy some small gift to open. I still have my two little dogs and myself and on Christmas Eve I go through the same tradition as if Ernie were with us still (perhaps he is.  Who knows.)  Although I don't feel up to it and my emotions are all over the place I am going to force myself to have my brother and his family over a couple of weeks before Christmas as well as best friends of mine and another couple.  I'm doing it not just for myself, but in the memory of Ernie. 

Your husband was a wonderful man and in your heart he still is and I feel the same about Ernie.  I see his tools as well in the garage where he put them.  I still have his work jacket on the hook in the hall and I don't know if I'll ever move it.  Who says I have to.  To me right now and if it were possible the best gift I would want is to have my beloved Ernie sitting with me smiling and hugging me and opening our Christmas gifts to each other on Christmas Eve, but this is the best I can do.  So my dear friend, have the tree and decorations and brings smiles to the children and hopefully your sister and perhaps consider going on a trip in January which is generally a downer of a month for most and you'd probably enjoy the trip more then. 

I hope I have helped you Barbara.  You can do it girl!  I will say prayers for you to give you strength.

Big hugs

Marsha

Comment by Patricia on November 10, 2013 at 1:17am
So many have written very succinctly about the things I find I can't explain to others. I was a couple for 45 years and in but a moment I'm not.
Comment by Patricia on November 10, 2013 at 1:10am
I'm finding that it helps knowing my feelings aren't unique
Comment by Carol Kayser on November 10, 2013 at 12:29am
Dear Stacey, that is wonderful news!! So happy for all of you:)

Hugs,
Carol
Comment by stacey on November 9, 2013 at 11:09pm

I want to thank everyone for the positive thoughts and prayers my moms biopsy was negative and she's going to be just fine.

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on November 9, 2013 at 10:52pm

Helen and Marsha -- I was wondering what to do about Christmas -- feeling that I just couldn't bear to go through it without Chris, yet worried that this may be my last Christmas with my sister and wanting to make it special for her and her son.  Before we learned of my sister's cancer diagnosis, my oldest daughter and I had talked about taking a Christmas trip.  But, I really don't want to leave my sister, now that we have had this devastating news.

Last week our church decided that we would host a Christmas dinner, as well as providing Christmas food baskets for the needy -- and my whole family, both daughters, my sister and the granddaughters all got excited about participating in serving at the church Christmas dinner -- so that's what we plan to be doing on Christmas Day.

My granddaughters have always looked forward to helping me decorate the tree and the house for Christmas and while I know it will be hard for me, I just can't take that away from them -- so I guess I will be doing that, as well.

Chris always did the outdoor decorations with the girls and put the lights on the tree for me -- I don't think I will do outdoor decorations this year -- but, again, it will depend on whether the girls want to do it.  I won't take Christmas away from them -- I lost a husband, but they lost a grandpa and they are only 11, 13 and 15 -- still young enough to need Christmas.

For the last few years our family has focused on hand-made gifts.  Year before last, Chris made wooden jewelry boxes for all the girls and women, and game boxes for the boys and men.  Last year, even as he began to be ill,  he made wooden serving trays with fitted coasters inset with different colored tiles, for each household.  He always took such loving care in making each gift.  

Chris made lovely furniture, too.  Our house is filled with wonderful pieces he made -- the desk I am using right now, he made for my mother --

I went into his workshop today to get an outdoor extension cord for the leaf blower -- it is just as he left it with all his tools and bits and pieces of wood -- I can't bear to have anything there moved or changed.  It is a place that is so totally "him".  He loved creating beautiful, useful things from wood.  It was his talent and his passion.  And, I loved him so much, for all the beauty and love that he brought into my life.  I love him, still, and always will.

Comment by Jan on November 9, 2013 at 10:29pm
It's been 7 months since my husband died. I have two older teenagers. A son and daughter. My daughter doesn't want to have Christmas this year so we decided to go to San Francisco It's a trip we had wanted to take as a family my husband wanted to see Alcatraz. So in his memory we will go on this trip and spend time together just the 3 of us. I feel like a coward for leaving town and not having Christmas. The thought of having Christmas with him missing is just too much for me.
Comment by Marsha H on November 9, 2013 at 3:14pm

Helen ...  for years I noticed that especially Christmas Is a very tense and emotional time for anyone, but for those of us whose spouses have passed away it can cause horrific pain.  I see all the Christmas decorations and Merry Christmas signs and feel even more empty inside and sometimes the tears flow or, I just seize up inside and pretend it doesn't exist.  Ernie and I for 45 years ... 5 years we went together and almost 40 years of marriage) had our own private little Christmas on Christmas Eve and we loved it.

The first year Ernie passed I wasn't going to put up a Christmas tree because other than a couple of girlfriends visiting per usual no one saw it.  For some reason I decided that I was going to continue the tradition and I have so far.  I find for some reason this year is a little harder, but I'm digging in my heels and I'm going to have two couples over a week or two before Christmas for a small buffet and try to get back into some type of routine.  For many they don't want to celebrate Christmas and that's OK too  It is up to the individual to decide what is best for them and if they choose not to celebrate Christmas then they shouldn't and it doesn't make a person abnormal.

Love & Hugs

Marsha. 

Comment by Helen Duncan Hutchinson on November 9, 2013 at 12:30pm

Janice   Just read my most recent post and you will realise that even after three years the fog remains and the pain intensifies.    Don't believe anyone telling you you "should be better" by now as if you had flu or something.   You are just doing what we are all doing especially at this time of the year.   Hugs because we all need them  just now

Marsha   You keep us all going and without you and your sound common sense, I guess many of us would have gone under.   Bless you.

 

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