It's been almost 9 months since my husband passed unexpectedly from a heart attack.  I thought I was doing so well and getting a handle on my grief but after doing some therapy work to overcome anxiety, it suddenly dawned on me what part of my problem has been. 

I kept having panic attacks every time I would start to go through my husband's things and the very thought of getting rid of anything that belonged to him would make it worse and raise my blood pressure.  I thought at first it was because I was associating getting rid of these things as getting rid of him.  But then as I began to work through the panic, it all of a sudden dawned on me that the real reason was that by getting rid of his things (down to even his toothbrush or deodorant), I had to admit that he was never coming back...something my mind has not wanted to accept. 

So, this is where I am at and what I am trying to deal with right now...along with trying to overcome panic attacks.   I'm frustrated with myself because I feel I should be long past this...perhaps it's normal?  I don't know.  But hopefully now that I've come to realize it, I'll be able to move beyond it.

Views: 1199

Replies to This Discussion

Dee ...  Of course you help me.  Sometimes when we are grieving we forget that we are helping others and they are certainly learning from us regarding grief which is a part of life whether we like it or not.  I am so glad I have helped you if even just a little bit.  My shoulder is always here for you to cry on.  I believe through our grief we make kinships from others on this forum because we are all in the same boat. 

 

Whether a therapist or whoever helps us in guiding us through the grief we are experiencing if they have not lost a spouse then they can't feel the pain.  Through research and even in the Bible, I have learned that grief is necessary which, to any of us seems cruel and shouldn't be a part of life.  You know your children the best and if they have a few happy moments then I agree with you, but do believe when you know the time is right sit down with your children and ask them what their thoughts and feelings are regarding losing their dad.  The reason I say this is they may well be hiding their true feelings to keep you happy.  They sound like really good kids and they are probably trying to remain strong for you.

 

Oh yes, me the turtle!  LOL  I am like you and sometimes I want visitors (mainly only my girlfriends or family) and sometimes I don't.  There are times I feel anxious and I have no idea why and other times I almost feel like I have my old out-going personality back.

 

From what I have experienced regarding my grieving time half my friends thankfully are most understanding as is my small family, but the other half haven't a clue; don't want to understand (I sent a great email with a link with info on grief to everyone of my friends as to the do's and don'ts regarding what to do or say to the grieving person and how that person feels) so there are no excuses here as far as I can see.  Some are not interested and others are lazy and boy, do you ever know who your true friends are.  Ernie and always gave 110% to many of our friends when they had problems and it's sad to realize that some are not there for me now, but hey, it also makes life easier for me as I can keep my good friends and make new ones.

 

You are so right when you say none of us will ever be the same person we were before; not even in our younger years.  Now finding out who we are is the hard part.  I still feel even though my heart is tearing apart and I have my cries, that laughter is the best remedy even if it means poking fun at myself.

 

Dee, your husband has been there and has seen the new grandchild.  My girlfriend Sue told me when her daughter Colleen had her first baby (a boy) she saw him several times looking over at the same place often and gurgling away and reaching out and Colleen felt a presence and said 'that's your great-grandma.'  I do believe our loved ones know what is going on and just because we can't see them doesn't make it's untrue. April 27th is one year since Ernie passed away and that will be hard.  You can count on me to be here for you in May or any other time Dee.  I know I am lucky I have known Ernie for 45 years and been married almost 39 years, but, as you say it still makes it difficult for any of us to lose our spouse and know we should have had longer with them.  I try so hard to understand why there are so many horrible people out in society and are living, but people such as our spouses who were wonderful and caring people are taken away from us.  I really struggle with the 'whys.'  Of course there is no answers and never will be.

 

Some people don't understand at all even if they have lost parents to death that losing a spouse is extremely hard and it rocks your social life all over the place.  For those that feel I should be over my grief I have simply put them on the back burner for now.  Yes, I've heard it can take 3 or more years to have some type of life for yourself and look ahead to some sort of future even though your spouse will always remain your true love.  It is one difficult journey for all of us.

 

I always feel like this during holidays and I do go where invited and thankful for the invites, but sometimes it is difficult to look around and not see Ernie.  Still, most invites are fun and I force myself to go.  I am going to my girlfriends and her husbands on Saturday for dinner and then going to my brothers and his wife's place for dinner and my nephews will be there.  I promised to bring dessert.  Ha, ha.  I need the fattening up.  Making Creme Brulee.

 

Laughter is contagious and I have a very quick wit like my brother and I enjoy making people smile or laugh even though inside I sometimes feel so sad and feel the pain will never leave, but since laughter is contagious I try my best.  If you don't laugh, you'll only cry.  I am busy during the weekends, but sometimes feel lonely.  I am fortunate that my sister-in-law comes most Fridays and my girlfriend Sue comes on Saturdays.  I know how lonely the nights can be, but even then I try to keep busy.  I am working on a big family album to give to my brother so he can hand it down to my nephews ... memories of all the fun we had and memories of the ones that have passed away.

 

Every so often I pamper myself with a bubble bath or a facial even though no one is here to appreciate it but the dogs.  Ha, ha.  Because I have lost a fair amount of weight Sue and I went out and I got myself some spring clothes (nothing too expensive) but I needed something to fit my scrawny body.  If you see something that acts and looks like a plucked chicken whiz by your house ... that would be me!  

 

As I said, all of us on here are heroes in our own right and we are all stronger than we think and I am beginning to learn that is part of the journey .. we learn, no matter how tough the lessons are.  I am so happy you are realizing you are a strong and vibrant woman and one day you will be surprised that your life will be a little happier and you will have so much to look forward too.  I worry about my age to some degree and want to start living, but taking it easy and getting through the grieving process in a healthy way and not rush myself, but time is slipping by so fast.

 

Big hugs

Marcy 

Marcy, I'm glad I was able to say something to help you.  You have already said many helpful and encouraging words already and this post just adds to it, thank you!

Yes, grief is grief and something none of us wish to experience or have to endure. 
I have had to hide a lot of my grief from my children.  I have had therapists and books say NOT to hide it from them but if they are actually laughing and having fun, I do not want to bring them down at that moment by my flood of tears. They are teens so they already know I'm sad and miss him but I do not see the sense in making them sad when they have actually found a moment of happiness.  

I like how you classified that...being a "turtle".  I believe that's perfectly normal.  Sometimes I want to be around people and other times I just need to be alone with my thoughts and feelings.

I have been quite patient with people even the ones who say and do the most insensitive things.  I bite my tongue but try to get away from them as soon as possible.  People do mean well but as you said, they often don't know how or what to say.  I agree, they should stay silent but often feel that's the wrong thing when it can sometimes be for the best.

As much as others and even our-self may want it, we will never be the same...we are forever changed.  I've tried to be the former me but it's just not possible no matter how hard I try.  My experience has changed me so my task is to make sure it changes me for the better and I do not become bitter.

April is hard for me merely because my husband just had a new grandbaby born that he doesn't get to meet...so right now it's a mixture of sorrow and yet joy as we welcome the new addition to the family.  The beginning of May will be rough because that's when it will be 1 year.  

While we are thankful for the years we had with them but we grieve for the years we will not.  My husband passed just shy of our 19th wedding anniversary...we thought we had a lifetime.

It is astounding that people think it should be that easy and that quick to recover but I've had people who've been through grief tell me it takes about 3 years to really get through it...that doesn't mean grief ends after that but it takes about that long just to be able to adjust and begin to function more normally. 

That is a tough decision and only you will know what is best for you concerning the holidays.  For me, I wanted to be around people as much as possible just to get my mind off my grief for my children's sake.  For me, the weekends are always very busy but the evenings and nights are rough.

That is funny!  It's good you can find things to smile and laugh about...and that you are pampering yourself. We deserve it after the ordeal we've been through and are still going through.

I am learning that...that I'm stronger than I think.  You hang in there, too. 

((Hugs)) to you, too.

It will be 8 months on Saturday since my husband passed away.   I've also been experiencing a feeling of panic and anxiety when trying to go through my husband's things.  I just moved in January and it was a terribly traumatic experience.   My family was so helpful.  My sister came and packed up my husband's things since it was too painful to go through them right now.   My sister has been through this and told me to just "be" where I am right now and not try to be brave or get on with my life.   It is comforting to have her advice and love.   She understands the emotion having gone through this just 6 years ago herself.   Just keep loving me through this is all I ask.  

Sandra ...  Welcome to a wonderful group of people going through the same emotions you are at different stages in your grief.  I am so very sorry you even have to be on this forum, but, it is a lifesaver.  You are so lucky to have your sister for support and that she has gone through the grieving process as she will know what you feel even if each individual goes through grieving differently.  Sometimes people who are grieving put off getting rid of their spouses clothes (my husband Ernie died last April 27th) and I waited a little and gradually got rid of his things.  I still keep one of his big jackets and a bath robe just so I have something to cuddle when I feel down.  Other people move almost immediately; send off their spouse's clothing to Good Will and that is good too.  I have learned not to make rash decisions even at this point in time and it will be almost a year since my husband died.  Your sister is so right when she told you to just 'be' where you are right now.  You can't rush grief.  You certainly have the love and support from me even though we have not met, but all of us on here have a kinship and what is wonderful about this forum is you can just say what you feel like without anyone ridiculing you.  You will get through this even though you feel your heart will never heal.  Cry if you want too and take time out for you.

Big hugs (because you need it)

Marcy



Sandra Mansfield said:

It will be 8 months on Saturday since my husband passed away.   I've also been experiencing a feeling of panic and anxiety when trying to go through my husband's things.  I just moved in January and it was a terribly traumatic experience.   My family was so helpful.  My sister came and packed up my husband's things since it was too painful to go through them right now.   My sister has been through this and told me to just "be" where I am right now and not try to be brave or get on with my life.   It is comforting to have her advice and love.   She understands the emotion having gone through this just 6 years ago herself.   Just keep loving me through this is all I ask.  

Marcy, you wrote:
"....There are times I feel anxious and I have no idea why and other times I almost feel like I have my old out-going personality back."  

I'm glad you shared how you've been feeling...it helps me (and I'm sure others) realize we are not alone.  This is exactly what I've been going through but couldn't figure out WHY I was feeling anxious.  I am learning it is a normal part of grief. CS Lewis wrote "No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.  I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid; the same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness..."

I agree...laughter is the best medicine.  We need to allow ourselves to laugh and find joy in life as we grieve...and we need to learn it's ok!   That's great that you are allowing yourself to laugh!

I hope you had a joyous Easter!  Creme Brulee sounds delicious! 

Sandra,

What you are feeling is normal and your sister is right.  You may not be ready to go through your husband's belongings.  Take your time. 

I'm so sorry you had to go through more trauma by having to move after your husband passed. I am facing that within the next couple months (by then it will be over year since he passed) but it's bringing back panic that I had thought I was almost over.  I think it's because I am having to do this alone and the burden for trying to provide for our children is now solely on my shoulders.  

We are all here for you ~ you are not alone.  ((hugs))

Sandra Mansfield said:

It will be 8 months on Saturday since my husband passed away.   I've also been experiencing a feeling of panic and anxiety when trying to go through my husband's things.  I just moved in January and it was a terribly traumatic experience.   My family was so helpful.  My sister came and packed up my husband's things since it was too painful to go through them right now.   My sister has been through this and told me to just "be" where I am right now and not try to be brave or get on with my life.   It is comforting to have her advice and love.   She understands the emotion having gone through this just 6 years ago herself.   Just keep loving me through this is all I ask.  


Hi Dee ... like an angel you flutter through this forum giving us all so much hope and caring and for that I thank you.  I know 'the fear' factor you are talking about.  I think we are simply anxious because we have to suddenly make a new life for ourselves whether we like it or not and get to know our own strengths which is certainly not an easy task for any of us.  If I didn't laugh or poke fun at myself I would cry.  Oh yes, still have the odd cry every so often and will continue to do so for awhile, but am getting better.  I have lost a great deal of weight and have gone to doctors and been tested inside out.  I just saw my Internest today and he is so kind and wonderful.  Almost all the doctors I'm seeing now are the same ones my husband has seen and it's like having the same nightmare happen all over again when I went through Ernie's terminal illness.  I am super thin although I eat like a mac truck driver so more blood tests coming up.  I am so very sick of seeing doctors and don't really have much faith in them, but I go before I completely disappear from sight.  I am really just depressed over my weight loss more than grieving for Ernie and I am eating the same as I did when he was alive.  My body is changing in strange ways that really make me anxious.  The Internist said I was not abnormally depressed, but wants to put me on an antidepressant because it will make me gain weight.  I don't do well on antidepressants, but took the prescription and will have to think whether I should take it or not.  I asked for a nutritionist to help me get more calories into me and the Internist is going to get one for me, but it's a 3 month wait!  Blast!

 

Hugs 

Marcy  
Dee W said:

Marcy, you wrote:
"....There are times I feel anxious and I have no idea why and other times I almost feel like I have my old out-going personality back."  

I'm glad you shared how you've been feeling...it helps me (and I'm sure others) realize we are not alone.  This is exactly what I've been going through but couldn't figure out WHY I was feeling anxious.  I am learning it is a normal part of grief. CS Lewis wrote "No one ever told me grief felt so like fear.  I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid; the same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness..."

I agree...laughter is the best medicine.  We need to allow ourselves to laugh and find joy in life as we grieve...and we need to learn it's ok!   That's great that you are allowing yourself to laugh!

I hope you had a joyous Easter!  Creme Brulee sounds delicious! 

Thank you, Marcy, for such kinds words of encouragement...I really desire to help and encourage people.  That's why I'm looking into grants and scholarships so I can study to become a grief counselor.  You'd think experience alone would be enough but they require a degree.

You wrote:  I know 'the fear' factor you are talking about.  I think we are simply anxious because we have to suddenly make a new life for ourselves whether we like it or not and get to know our own strengths which is certainly not an easy task for any of us.  

That is so true!  I realized the same thing last night.  All of my life, someone else has been involved in every decision I've made...first my parents, then my husband.  Now, every decision (not just for myself but also my children) rests heavily on my shoulders.  I am now solely responsible for providing for their every need. 


I'm not a nutritionist and I'm not a doctor...and definitely not downplaying the possibility there may be something wrong...but I've learned from reading up on grief (and from experience with my own health) that grief can manifest itself in physical symptoms yet there will be nothing wrong that the doctors can find.  Your body, your mind, and your emotions are all under a lot of stress from the grief.  You may need more calories than what you are taking in...especially if you are more active than you were before.  I'm wondering if reliving the nightmare you went through with your husband's illness coupled with the fear that something is physically wrong with you too could be causing your body to burn calories faster?

I would encourage you (if you're not already) to keep track of your activities and write out everything you eat in a book until you see your nutritionist....they usually want you to keep a log of your food and beverage intake so they can detect any problems.

Another thought: GNC health stores sell protein powders you can mix into a shake that is supposed to help you gain weight if you drink it on top of your normal calorie intake.  My husband would do that because he was so physically active, he needed the extra calories so he wouldn't lose too much weight while working.  One of the workers there could possibly help you find something that will help up your caloric intake until you can see your nutritionist.

Hope you find answers and feel better soon  ((Hugs))


Hi Dee ... Well you certainly deserve it!  You are a better woman than I am for getting into grief counseling.  I have had enough of grieving; looking after my health and I'm going to go into another direction (but then that is me.)

I know it's difficult for you to realize you have others depending on you, but it is fortunate for you in a way as it takes your mind of yourself for a little while.  I only have my dogs (wasn't blessed with children) so I have to be on my toes and keeping busy.

I understand about grief and how it can make you feel, but I have been making strides; eating much better (although I agree I'm probably not getting enough calories into me) and the worry is my health of course.  They found a 6.2 cm cyst on my left ovary and I see my specialist again on May 11 and I am very worried about that. I know that caregivers forget about their own health while concentrating on looking after their loved ones so it doesn't surprise me I am having health issues.  I have no choice, but to worry Dee as I am eating, but keep losing weight and it is depressing me.  I am very thin.  There is a 3 month waiting list to see a nutritionist here and I may have to pay for one.  I simply need help to get on the road to recovery.  I am busy in the garden; walk my dogs alone or with a friend; go out with girlfriends, etc., and although I still have my odd bad times missing my husband I am willing and able to get out and make a life for myself, but frustrated that I simply can't gain weight so yes, I think there is a problem healthwise for me.  I am not a young girl any longer and time is of the essence to live to the fullest so I do feel stressed and anxious to get on with my life.  I found out that Soy products are not good for people with cysts whether they are non cancerous or not and my Internist told me that was true, so oooops, no more Ensure or Boost for me.  I also have Acid Reflux and have been asking and asking for an Endoscopy and my Internist was shocked I haven't had one, but so far hasn't sent me for one.  I feel like I am always going up a mountain and never quite reaching the top.  We always must be careful we just don't brush off certain symptoms because we are grieving.  I can only say in all honesty I am over-whelmed and tired of doctors.  My GP knows something is wrong with me as he use to practically getting the National Guard to retrieve me to come in for a physical and I'm not a pill popper either.  Ha, ha. 

You gave me some great tips Dee and I appreciate it.  I hope things are going better for you.

 

Hugs

Marcy

Thank you, Marcy, for such kinds words of encouragement...I really desire to help and encourage people.  That's why I'm looking into grants and scholarships so I can study to become a grief counselor.  You'd think experience alone would be enough but they require a degree.

You wrote:  I know 'the fear' factor you are talking about.  I think we are simply anxious because we have to suddenly make a new life for ourselves whether we like it or not and get to know our own strengths which is certainly not an easy task for any of us.  

That is so true!  I realized the same thing last night.  All of my life, someone else has been involved in every decision I've made...first my parents, then my husband.  Now, every decision (not just for myself but also my children) rests heavily on my shoulders.  I am now solely responsible for providing for their every need. 


I'm not a nutritionist and I'm not a doctor...and definitely not downplaying the possibility there may be something wrong...but I've learned from reading up on grief (and from experience with my own health) that grief can manifest itself in physical symptoms yet there will be nothing wrong that the doctors can find.  Your body, your mind, and your emotions are all under a lot of stress from the grief.  You may need more calories than what you are taking in...especially if you are more active than you were before.  I'm wondering if reliving the nightmare you went through with your husband's illness coupled with the fear that something is physically wrong with you too could be causing your body to burn calories faster?

I would encourage you (if you're not already) to keep track of your activities and write out everything you eat in a book until you see your nutritionist....they usually want you to keep a log of your food and beverage intake so they can detect any problems.

Another thought: GNC health stores sell protein powders you can mix into a shake that is supposed to help you gain weight if you drink it on top of your normal calorie intake.  My husband would do that because he was so physically active, he needed the extra calories so he wouldn't lose too much weight while working.  One of the workers there could possibly help you find something that will help up your caloric intake until you can see your nutritionist.

Hope you find answers and feel better soon  ((Hugs))


Dear Brigitte.  I have just read (re-read) a post of yours (above).  Your words have touched me as I am doing the same things, still doing them with my dear husband's belongings.  Jack's watch is on the dresser, as with his wallet, his cologne, and all the cards he wrote to me over the years, which I have framed.  In the closet are some of his clothes, his work uniform which I kept, downstairs in the closet are 3 of his jackets.  I often take the sleeves of them and just smell and touch them, knowing he wore them, I feel closer to him.

I was just thinking today it has been 20 months now, 20 long months, but I am coming through the fog, one small step at a time.  I dearly miss him and love him more now even, if that is possible.

 

Yours words I found most comforting Brigitte and I hope you are doing well in your own journey.

 

Hugs,

Carol

Dee, it has been almost 8 months since my wife passed and I haven't given any of her clothes or personal items away. I did the same thing Cynthia did, I put her clothes away in the closet and her dresser. I didnt feel bad doing that at all. Since she was dealing with cancer, she had her medicines in the bedroom. I did bag those up. I don't know that there is a right time to do this. I think it has to be when we're ready to do that. As for denial.....  that could only be said by someone who hasn't lost a spouse. Those of us who have lost a spouse, we know its just part of the grieving and eventually letting go process. Don't force yourself there if you're not ready.

My problem is dealing with family and some of her friends who want to sort through her clothes. These people were asking me this right after the funeral. I dont mean picking something out for sentimental reasons, either. I'm talking about coming here and going thru her closet picking out things. They claim that my wife told them they could do this. Funny thing, if they really knew Deb, they would know that eventually she would want them donated. Some people could be cold. I'm not ready for that yet and I told them so.  Has anyone had to deal with this?



Marcy, you wrote:

Hi Dee ... Well you certainly deserve it!  You are a better woman than I am for getting into grief counseling.  I have had enough of grieving; looking after my health and I'm going to go into another direction (but then that is me.)

I don't know about being a better woman because I am going through counseling...for me, it was such a shock that I needed the guidance to get better so I could help my children through also.  I, too, am tired of grieving.  It's getting better thankfully.  It does affect your health negatively so I've been trying to take better care of myself, also.   That's good you are, too.

I know it's difficult for you to realize you have others depending on you, but it is fortunate for you in a way as it takes your mind of yourself for a little while.  I only have my dogs (wasn't blessed with children) so I have to be on my toes and keeping busy.


I do count myself as blessed...I hope it did not come across as complaining in any way.  They do give me reason to take care of myself and get through each day. 

I understand about grief and how it can make you feel, but I have been making strides; eating much better (although I agree I'm probably not getting enough calories into me) and the worry is my health of course.  They found a 6.2 cm cyst on my left ovary and I see my specialist again on May 11 and I am very worried about that. I know that caregivers forget about their own health while concentrating on looking after their loved ones so it doesn't surprise me I am having health issues.  I have no choice, but to worry Dee as I am eating, but keep losing weight and it is depressing me.  I am very thin.  There is a 3 month waiting list to see a nutritionist here and I may have to pay for one.  I simply need help to get on the road to recovery.  I am busy in the garden; walk my dogs alone or with a friend; go out with girlfriends, etc., and although I still have my odd bad times missing my husband I am willing and able to get out and make a life for myself, but frustrated that I simply can't gain weight so yes, I think there is a problem healthwise for me.  I am not a young girl any longer and time is of the essence to live to the fullest so I do feel stressed and anxious to get on with my life.  I found out that Soy products are not good for people with cysts whether they are non cancerous or not and my Internist told me that was true, so oooops, no more Ensure or Boost for me.  I also have Acid Reflux and have been asking and asking for an Endoscopy and my Internist was shocked I haven't had one, but so far hasn't sent me for one.  I feel like I am always going up a mountain and never quite reaching the top.  We always must be careful we just don't brush off certain symptoms because we are grieving.  I can only say in all honesty I am over-whelmed and tired of doctors.  My GP knows something is wrong with me as he use to practically getting the National Guard to retrieve me to come in for a physical and I'm not a pill popper either.  Ha, ha. 

You gave me some great tips Dee and I appreciate it.  I hope things are going better for you.

Hugs

Marcy

I really hope they can find answers for you soon.  That is concerning that you are getting thinner and not gaining. 

((Hugs)) to you!  Hope you are feeling much better soon!

Carol, you are the second person I've heard say that this week. "I dearly miss him and love him more now even, if that is possible."   She lost her husband soon after I lost mine and we were discussing this very thought...so true!  I feel the same toward my husband. 

 

RSS

Latest Conversations

Fran taylor is now a member of LegacyConnect
15 hours ago
Robert Pulliam updated their profile
Friday
Profile IconRobert Pulliam and Michelle Roman joined LegacyConnect
Friday
Profile IconKaren Miles, Crystal Mckenna, Le Anne Steinberg and 1 more joined LegacyConnect
May 10

Community Guidelines

Please be respectful of others. For more information, read our Community Guidelines.

Follow Legacy

© 2021   Created by Legacy.com.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service