Janet Angelone's Comments

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At 2:20pm on December 12, 2017, David Wishart said…

I'm too long winded for this sites character limit on grief....so I had to break up my letter again ....read first post first then the next one and maybe my rambling will make sense Janet.

Thank you again and Im so sorry you feel all these things too.  Its the risk of loving so completely John and I told eachother.  Loving so deeply was worth it I now tell myself alone.

Sorry if I am spreading pain, it's not my intention 

David Wishart x

At 2:13pm on December 12, 2017, David Wishart said…

I understand the widower on Facebook....I'm in the same place.

Janet I will give it some thought .....I tried last night but failed even sleeping....not a wink...some nights are completely without sleep and all the others I sleep exactly thirty minutes at one go....wake.....hours pass....and another thirty minutes sleep

Like my ability to reason and recognize faces this is also broken in me.

It's interesting that others experience this because my doctor, as sweet as she is.... seems to have no understanding of real grief.  

She has a wife.....can't she identify with the possibility?  Or do they not love so deeply and completely?  I think it's the latter.  I think few people will ever be so fortunate in like and love to know this depth of grief.    

Oh I know what you are going through because I lost a parent or got divorced..... actual things said to me by unrecognizable faces while at the grocery or my doctor...... Grief is grief is another insulting one.  No.... grief is not grief.  If you can casually roll that off your tongue like it's some axiom ......you have no idea how deep grief can go.

But you can't say that so you stand frozen in the grocery store trying to figure out who's saying this probably unintentionally hurtful "words of comfort".....the last one could not even tell her teenage daughter "give me a minute this man's husband recently died".....no she let her near adult daughter repeatedly interrupt with demands she buy her this or that while Mom pretended to be sincerely upset about John's death and my well being.  

I'm frozen but wanting to run...and all that comes out is thank you.

John and I met when everyone around us were dying.....later many of our straight sporting friends died windsurfing, kiteboarding, swept off a mountain by avalanche, hit by cars cycling, slid off mountain without ice axe.....it goes on and on.....

Even without having shared so much loss I think John and I (and I learned this from John) just have loving happy empathic sympathetic spirits.  Giving and helping when we saw a need is just who together we are.

"I see my mother is talking to this man with tears in his eyes and on his cheeks ....this is the right time to demand mother buys me some Christmas trinket near the checkout registers"

I think I will go back to shopping just before closing again to avoid all that.....I showered for that!?

John will tell me ....or tomorrow's appointment will tell me if I should try the Zuckerberg route or not.  Why does the one safe sexual minority grief site in all the world have to be on Facebook? 

Sorry for the rhetoric ramble 

Our anniversary is the winter solstice.... December 21st

I'm too long winded for even a simple poorly designed website....no! You can only grieve in 5000 characters or less

 I will break this in two like I did the last time.....I hope you are doing a well as you can and I'm so sorry for your pain too......thank you for taking the time to share and also reach out Janet.

David Wishart x

At 2:13pm on December 12, 2017, David Wishart said…

Dear Janet,

Thank you for taking the time reach out to me again and to offer me a taste of what just might be on the Facebook page.

Tomorrow I will drive the sixty three miles to Portland .... seventy by the time I get to my doctor's office....all in hopes they have come up with a live human option for me ....be it a group or therapist or whatever.

And yes I also cry all the way....I pass many wonders in the Columbia River Gorge on the way there and back and two brake my heart at the same time they give me a degree of comfort.

First I pass a basalt monolith that is shaped like a giant left hand palm facing out towards the highway.....John did not need to ask what i was doing by holding my right hand up to the window every time we passed what we named "the hand of God".  He knew what I did every drive in and back from Portland.  Even before the cancer I always prayed giving thanks for us meeting and to all our ancestors that made our meeting possible....and as gay people we know our ancestors are not all blood relatives.....there were so many more people animals plants lives that eons that made our meeting possible.  I prayed for them to be blessed and watched over as I asked God and then to please bless and watch over my John.....even passing it in the dark I never miss giving thanks and asking others be helped or blessed.   John always said a quiet "thank you," to me or an "I love you too" at this moment in our journey..

Next came "John's waterfall".  During the winter it can become a cliff face of massive ice..... during the dryest part of summer the water coming over the three hundred foot cliff doesn't reach the ground.... if it's windy it evaporates in a wisp...... magic.  John loves this waterfall and did long before we met....of all the waterfalls it's one we bet most people don't even notice....it's his it's ours and I have to pass it now alone.

I wanted to let the man who admitted to not showering daily anymore know he's not alone.....we too had a home business and now without John or any visitors what's the point....I find I bathe when I absolutely must make an appointment or when I can force myself ... thinking I might feel better.....like that man fortunately I'm not a naturally very smelly guy.....but this is completely new to me... we woke....we bathed ......we laughed and worked together and we went to bed......even if that day included chemo or transfusions that was what we did together....never apart.  Never.  

I bathed and took pride in my appearance exclusively for John.  

Since I'm alone in our studio ....when I can manage to be out there alone.....what's the point in showering every morning?  

I understand the widower on Facebook....I'm in the same place.

Janet I will give it some thought .....I tried last night but failed even sleeping....not a wink...some nights are completely without sleep and all the others I sleep exactly thirty minutes at one go....wake.....hours pass....and another thirty minutes sleep

Like my ability to reason and recognize faces this is also broken in me.

It's interesting that others experience this because my doctor, as sweet as she is.... seems to have no understanding of real grief.  

She has a wife.....can't she identify with the possibility?  Or do they not love so deeply and completely?  I think it's the latter.  I think few people will ever be so fortunate in like and love to know this depth of grief.    

Oh I know what you are going through because I lost a parent or got divorced..... actual things said to me by unrecognizable faces while at the grocery or my doctor...... Grief is grief is another insulting one.  No.... grief is not grief.  If you can casually roll that off your tongue like it's some axiom ......you have no

At 6:35pm on December 11, 2017, David Wishart said…

Dear Janet,

I'm sorry for having worried you.  I've had several bad day back to back where I can't stop panicking over how much I miss my husband and happy spirit John.  

Also I've avoided this place in particular because like right now while I'm signed in.....I'm the only person signed in here in the entire world.   I can't believe that.  I can't be the only gay widower on the entire west coast Pacific time zone....it's 4:10pm on a Monday, John died on a Monday and I'm alone here on this site.

I think I'm going have to brake John's wish that we never join Facebook.  I'm reluctant but feel trapped....so I've been going back and forth asking John what he'd want me to do.

Even with the few seemingly very lovely loving people I've encountered here this place is making me feel even more isolated.

I'm hanging in here, I even went to the grocery today in the middle of the day instead of waiting for just before closing.....I fear our small town grocery now because I've been struck easily confused by my husband's death and I will literally be grabbed by someone who liked or loved my John....and maybe myself too.....and I will not be able to recognize them immediately.  It's very upsetting.

I summoned the courage to go during the daylight hours and only had one encounter like that.....a store owner we helped get going by consignments of our designs being for sale in her newly opend shoppe.  

She grabbed me and said my name and was tearful .....and I had to say I'm sorry but since John's death I'm easily confused and I don't recognize you.  It's the strangest thing but the upset is two fold....one I know something has broken in me, I'm missing half myself, and second it hurts having to console this person who wanted to have a cry in the store.

So today was just the one.....it hurt but  managed to get groceries and out of there without completely breaking down....I cried in the car.

Hood River, Oregon is a smaller town....an outdoor sports town that's doubles in population every summer we'd guess.....but you either know everyone directly or are only once removed from knowing them....so it's a blessing and a curse.  The blessing is there are a lot of people who casually know us but there are a lot of people who feel the really know us and want to cry to me....have me console them essentially.

Just one today....I went early when I believed few people would be there but with the holidays coming the place was packed.  

Not recognizing acquaintances I should easily recognized combined with them crying is just too much and brings in grief in a wave or paniced loneliness.

Which brings me back to why I've avoided this only place here I've found so far.....it's lonely here.  

So

Janet,. In a few days when I feel more together, and I have John's permission, I may be asking for help on how to join Facebook and try and maintain some degree of privacy and not being sucked in or marketed to.

I'm again sorry I've worried you with my silence, and thank you for your kind offer

I hope you are doing as well as you can be doing

Sincerely,

David Wishart x

At 8:44pm on December 6, 2017, David Wishart said…

Oh my point about John's writing, he wrote too well of me which make me miss him more....he wrote one phrase over and over in his letters and journals to me....in various forms.....but the most common way was he'd just matter of fact end a section talking about how much he loves me and misses me even if he was only apart for an hour at a laundromat.....he wrote how he couldn't wait to get home to me  saying ...."together Dave and I make one".  We called eachother Johnny and Dave.....to the outside world we were John and David.

Janet we were not fearful people we just had strong political and social opinions regarding Mark Zuckerberg and horror stories on Facebook..... politically we got rid of our television when Bush 2 was elected....that's quite a few years ago now.  We switched to streaming what we want and sourcing our news via Oregon public radio and the various online newspapers....so we are not luddites ;-) 

Facebook seemed to us like a huge time suck with no real benefit.  

Way too long winded explanation as to why I'm not thrilled to join Facebook.....but....I need something.... anything....some kind of community and socialization....and I've not found anything even in Portland.

Enough of that what brought you to Yakama?  Did you two live there at one time.  I've not spent much time in Yakama.  Our summers here in the gorge can't be beat.....windy....sunny....no rain .....no bugs.....and long long sunny days.  It's the winters that are difficult.  Rain....and last winter was really a bad one....we usually don't have that much snow but last winter it built up to feet upon feet.  Made drives to Portland for chemo and transfusions very difficult but we managed.  I'd take a hundred more bad winters if my Johnny were still here to make me laugh taking pictures of me trying and failing to keep the car and drive clear.  

Now I am blathering

Can one join Facebook and maintain some degree of privacy and not get sucked in to nonsense?

I need help like all of us here but there may only be comfort in company.  Together we made one and we all are missing half of ourselves.

Hope I've not exhausted you or caused you more pain.

Sincerely,

David Wishart (my Johnny asked and I accepted his name and this gives me great pleasure)

At 8:43pm on December 6, 2017, David Wishart said…

Dear Janet Angelone, 

Thank you for reaching out to me and I'm sorry for your lost of your beautiful wife. 

I have still not figured out exactly how to navigate and use this site. It's very cumbersome feeling to me.  However grief has made me much more easily confused and what was simple has suddenly become near impossible. 

Where can you read others stories? The first thing that popped up was a request to make a blog so I did.  However I notice very few people have a blog on thier profile so I can't read the life story that brought them, and us here

Asking one and having them relive and retell their story feels like I'm opening fresh wounds and there's enough pain in our world.

Perhaps I need to try the Facebook group.

There is a problem though.  My husband John and I had strong reservations and opinions about that sort of social media.  I think it would upset my Johnny if I joined Facebook unless there is a way to join without getting pulled into all the marketing and what we had believed to be a huge waist of time that we could spend together in the real world....not online.

So I'm apprehensive about joining Facebook and frankly haven't a clue how to join or how to set privacy settings to minimize all those negative aspects that kept my husband and I from ever considering joining.

It was not some paranoia, our reasons, it was more why? Why join this mega company and give the world access to your person?

Unfortunately I may have to go against my husband's wishes and join but I know nothing of FB and how I might join and keep some privacy yet also share in a more viberant (sp) community.

Trying to find a real physical group has proved shockingly impossible.  When my husband and I met everyone we knew were dying of AIDS and grief support groups were everywhere for the gay community.  It's good there are not these groups anymore but it's been a real shock that in the entire state of Oregon there is not one sexual minorities grief support group.

I'm rambling.

How does one join Facebook and maintain some personal privacy?

To answer your questions we live in Hood River, Oregon.  The heart of the Columbia River Gorge.  Mount Hood is visible from the front door and Mount Adams (in Washington) is visible from the back door.  Across the river from Hood River, Oregon is Bingin Washington and White Salmon Washington.  

John and I met in the early days of windsurfing, he worked in a sail loft by day and created furniture by night.... we enjoyed our outdoor sports while building our upholstery furniture design business.  

Our studio is an out building next to our home and so far it has been impossible for me to be in our studio working without him.  While he was sick for the last five years he would keep me company and coach me ... assisting when he could....but right to the very end he wanted to create and make gifts for others.  He is a very happy spirit and we taught eachother so much making eachother better men.  He wrote and left his private journals out along with some letters to me ...for me to find and read.  In all our years I never read his private journals they were his private time....we lived and worked together and were never apart for twenty five years.....most couples work outside the home so I did the math.....we had as much time together as a typical employed couple married at least 35 years....and that was ignoring commute time.  So we were very lucky in love as we never could get enough of one another's company.

I cried today in the car ....I didn't drive I just moved it as I had taken on my first furniture project since he died.  His handicap tag st

At 11:24pm on November 19, 2017, David Heggi said…

Hi Janet,

I tried to send an email to you ,but the delivery failed (missingyakima@yahoo.com?

David H

At 7:22pm on February 11, 2016, Barbara Rieger said…

Hi Janet,

You are very welcome. I appreciate your kind words about my sharing my experience. If I may offer a bit of advice about your friends trying to understand your situation I think it's best for you not to bother. People that have not experienced the dreadful pain of your loss will not understand your feelings. Even if they do people are busy living their own lives. I suggest checking out other people such as the gay men who have recently lost their partners. I feel empathy for anyone who loved and no longer has that person here with them. Truly, I get it because as I said love is love. I've lost so many people I love in my love and the numbers keep going up. It's only been 4 months for you and if you cry and scream it is normal and certainly understandable. Love is love yet many people don't have compassion or empathy for others. Your friends don't want to say anything because sometimes people just know how to react to a person after they have lost the love of their life. It can be value-able to be involved in something you enjoy doing. Focus on something to take time and help you keep going. You will enjoy yourself again, you will laugh, you can be happy. Your partner will always be with you; she lives in your heart and you may even be able to feel her presence at times. It's all normal in my opinion. Thank you for responding and just be yourself. I wish you live long and prosper. Yes I was a Star Trek fan. LOL

Sincerely,

Barbara

At 11:12pm on February 10, 2016, Barbara Rieger said…

Dear Janet,

Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your partner of 21 years. I understand what it is to lose a loved one. The pain you feel is real unfortunately, I have experienced and still do at times. It's all normal as to how you feel. As far as who is there for you believe me no matter if a friend calls every day to help you not to cry it is still being without the love we had and now lost. I am a member on loss of a child. My only child/son Joe was taken by a drunk driver. It will be 6 years ago this coming April 5th that the police rang my door-bell. They were very kind and so were so many other people that are friends or even acquaintances and people from our past. Friends of my son I never knew existed and I met one 5 years after his passing. He sent a beautiful basket of flowers that my husband took home. His friend who visited was a fraternity brother and married his college sweetheart. This may be strange that a married straight woman is responding to your post. However, as far as I'm concerned love is love. And that is the size of it. Rev. Robert Schuller of the famed Crystal Cathedral had a book signing. My son Joe and I went to see him. I have a photo of them shaking hands. This man was important to me as the Pope is to Catholics that practice the faith. Unfortunately, Rev. Robert Schuller passed. I had a photo of him and I but gave it to a friend who told me about him. She never saw the photo and can't get the negative made over of me and him. Indeed, I understand what you said about your grief being beyond anything you ever experienced before. No matter who it is that we lose there is a different grief for each one. I believe you are doing better than you realize. Nonetheless, it still is difficult during many various times for us. I was always curious and had a really good friend who was my age and gay. When partner 20 years younger left taking my friend's china and other valuable I hugged him as I would any other friend. I truly understood his feelings. It's been many years ago he left the job and I wish he would telephone me again. We had a fun and special friendship that I will never experience again. I kept on doing what I did before the tragedy in my life and I continue even taking on a couple of other position. They are all volunteer work but it helps me to focus, gives me things to do and I'm with different people. I have some terrible issue going on now and if my son were here I would not be dealing with it. It's a long story and I don't think you need to hear about my nonsense in my life. And as I've heard many times "And this too shall pass!" If I pass before the issue gets resolved that would be fine. But I do truly have a zest for life. All I can say is to keep on keeping on. I understand how you feel about never moving on with another human being. However, my point in mentioning Rev. Robert Schuller is to tell you that when I got up to meet him I hugged him. I said to him that I love him. He said three/four words to me that I will never forget. He said, "Everyone needs love!" I was married to another man that was the biological father of my son. I changed jobs as I had to place my two year old baby in the nursery. I met a nice man younger than myself and we dated after my divorce and we got married. That was over 40 years ago. I hope I've helped you in even one small way. Now I really need to go and write my article and decide what photo to place in the newspapers. Then hope they actually put it in. I only have until the 15th of February to place it and then my garden club meeting is in March. Nonetheless, I felt I needed to try and help you even if it's one tiny word. And to let you know that people do care about other people. This person does!

Regards,

Barbara

At 10:24pm on February 3, 2016, Care Johnson said…

Janet, I'm so sorry to hear about your partner!!! I lost my BJ after 35 years and am still coping as I approach the 7th anniversary of her death. Keeping busy is the best thing, but that is more difficult now that we're a bit older (I am retired on disability), but that doesn't mean that's it for us! Go out and try those passions you never had the time for: ride a snowmobile; run thru the rain with no coat; stimulate your body and mind with all those things you always said you wanted to do but....well, push that butt out of the way and go for it! 

I got more involved in caregiving: I had been a nurse's aide when I was young; my mother was 100% disabled after a stroke so my BJ and I brought her home to our house and took care of her until she died; I took care of my beloved, of course; more recently, I've been caring for my aged father (age 97). At the same time, I've found ways to travel some (not as much as I'd like, but with limited income and caring for ppl you can't get away as much), take much longer walks, spend more time with my hobby of playing the piano, taking occasional classes in Alternative Therapies...recreating "me" after "us". It's not easy, but you know that already...

Namaste,

Care

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