It has been 9 months since my beloved husband of 25 years, Allan, passed away of 6 different types of cancer and emphysema at 59. Although cancer severly ravaged his body (he used to be a muscular 210 pound bear of a man and probably didn't weigh 100 pounds when he died), was in constant, excruciating pain from the bone cancer and discomfort with breathing issues from the lung cancer and emphysema, he wanted to live no matter what and he endured his agony with overwhelming opptimism. His love for me was unconditional, something I probably didn't deserve, but I know I'll never find another love like his. I thought I would be on the road to healing by now. I don't know if it's the holiday (his favorite) or just celebrating my first Thanksgiving and recently turning 50 without him, but I still feel overwhelmed by my grief and still spend most days crying. I have read on this forum that going to the grocery store is something we all hate. Seeing something my husband would have loved or standing in line with nothing to do but think makes me start to cry. I'm sure people who know what I'm doing think I'm a freak. I couldn't stand to be in the house we shared for 22 years by myself as I was so lonely. So I moved in with one of my sisters, her lazy husband and 2 young kids. It's much too overwhelming for me, now I regret my decision and am looking for ways to escape.  I too don't want to burden friends and family with my constant sadness and I put on my happy face, laugh and joke, and tell people I'm doing okay when they ask. I can't talk about my husband with my mom because she's afraid I'll start crying so she cuts me off. My best friend died of cancer 2 years ago, so the only one I have to talk to is my other sister, but she's busy in her MBA program and working her 2 jobs. I see that the nights are the most difficult for everyone, and I thought I'd be the same, but by the time I get to bed, I'm so exhausted I fall to sleep within minutes.  I've been taking care of people my whole life, and my husband's illness was a 24/7 job for a year, but I was glad to be there for him. I was glad to have been holding him in my arms when he drew his last breath telling him that it was okay to go and that I would be okay. I thought this would be time for me to heal, but my family still turns to me when they need or want something. I'm just so exhausted all the time. I thought my family would be a source of help and support but they often seem to be more of a burden. I force myself to get out of bed every morning and get the things that need to be taken care of done...one foot in front of the other...every day, hoping that soon a day will come where I don't dwell on how much my husband suffered, all the ways I could have been a better caregiver for him when he was sick, all the mistakes I made as a wife and how I didn't deserve his devotion and love. I miss him so much, our daily conversations, routines and rituals, his deep voice, his wicked sense of humor, holding hands as we walked to the movies, the grocery store, or down the mall...I miss his love and I miss being loved by him. I talk to him all the time like most of you do to your spouses, and the other day I asked him what I'm supposed to do with possibly 30 years left of my life without him. I hate this new life and I want my old life back.

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dear julie, i too, never dreamt it could be this difficult. i went through a divorce in 1996 and thought that was the worse thing that ever happened to me.no, i realize now that a death is much worse.i lost my husband within three months of being diagnoised with stage 4 lung cancer that had metasized to the brain.i do thank GOD that to my knowledge he only suffered a few days. i had constantly prayed that my husband wouldnt have to suffer and i guess in reality GOD did answer my prayers. neverless my heart is still torn up and breaking from the loss. my husband was a really good man that loved life and would have done so much better handling the situation if i had of gone first. dont be so hard on yourself by replaying the past. i believe each of us did the best that we possible could. i have a tendency to do what you are doing about having regrets but i try to get myself out of that mode quickly. i just cant seem to get myself out of the loneliness mode and depression mode.try to take care of you, instead of constantly taking care of others. it sounds like that is what you are doing and it is becomming a burden. i know its difficult because i know that i was so used to my husband being good to me, i didnt have to be good to myself. but now i no longer have my husband.i too, am constantly questioning , what am i to do with the time i have left, and at this point i dont know i only pray that GOD will show me. i too, hate this new life, but if i got my old one back i would want it to where my husband was cancer free.take care of yourself. hugs to you. cindy
Julie, I agree. i never realized anything could hurt this bad. I have lost both parents and 2 siblings and that was bad, but this is almost unbearable at times. I have had the same feelings of not being the best caregiver that I coulld. Everyone assures me that I did all I could and that he knew that, but the feelings still creep in. I miss taking care of him, and watching tv with him. I just miss everything about him. i also have thought about the years, if God is willing, that lies ahead without him and don't know how I am going to get through them. But right now I am taking it one day at a time and trying to be positive as much as possible. I know my old life is gone so I am trying to figure out what to do with this new one. May God bless and keep you.
Hello Julie, I just read your post & although our circumstances are somewhat different, our feelings are similar. Life is not very welcomed right now- I much prefer death at the moment. Family tries at times to help & sometimes they actually do, but for the most part they just make me want my husband back more so I wouldn't have to put up with them! I am one of those who has posted how hard it is for me to go grocery shopping- today I read where Elizabeth Edwards once collapsed in a grocery store isle after the death of her teen son upon seeing CherryCoke which was his favorite soda! As moms we know that the kitchen is the heart of the home so naturally we associate certain foods w/ those we love! I am sorry for your loss, I know 1st hand how painful it is to be alone after years of love, companionship & support. I hope you find a comfortable place to live that can be yours w/o stressing over your sister's family. I also suggest visiting a church/support group that will encourage you to get out & release your pent up emotions w/o fear of judgement... I went to a grp last p.m. against my will simply because a woman that has befriended me at church since Larry's death kept insisting. I am so thankful I went-the people were so kind hearted & all of them offered to lend an ear or shoulder any time! My prayers are w/ you- Christy
Julie, YOU ARE NOT ALONE....I feel your pain so intensely. I lost my love of my life Doug just 10 weeks today. As I read your blog, I felt it was some of the things I too miss doing with Doug. He was just 55 years old. I too have lost both my parents and a sister and non of the pain was this intense or paralyzing as the loss of my husband. The strength I find from the support on this site is phenomenal. I just try to stay in the moment. HUGS...help us grow stronger. I am sending you an Allan hug for I believe he is forever with you. Ellen~

Opened the picture for you Julie to share in Memory of Allan. HUGS. Ellen~
Cindy, thank you for your reply and for sharing part of your story. It helps to know that there are others trying to survive the loss of their spouse and to hear how they are coping. I'm happy that your husband didn't suffer (much) because it's a horrible thing to have to stand by and watch helplessly as they continue to be stripped of independence and dignity and as the cancer whittles away your once robust, full-of-life loved one. I sometimes look at the few pictures I have of Allan in the months after he was diagnosed and to see his frail, tiny broken body tears my heart out. A few months after Allan died, the wife of an ex-boss, who I've kept in contact with this past 12 years called to say her husband had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Within 2 months he developed a severe lung infection and died after a few days. She was devasted over the small amount of time they had after his diagnosis but she was also grateful, as you are, that her husband didn't suffer. She said they'd discussed that issue and he made it clear that he wasn't interested in suffering just to prolong his life a few short months as my husband did. Hugs back to you with prayers for strength, peace and healing.
Debbie, I feel that for the most part, I took care of my husband the way I would have wanted him to care for me if the roles were reversed, but there was one day where...I don't know if it was the combination of the brain cancer and the drugs, or the anti-anxiety that seemed to be doing the opposite of it's purpose, but he wasn't sleeping at night and after being up all day caring for him, after the 3rd night of him being up, cutting oxygen tubing, breaking his oxygen water bottle's spout with a wrench, opening the front door and leaving it, etc, etc, etc and trying to get him back in bed, I yelled at him. I was exhausted and didn't know how to make him go to bed and stay there. I hadn't slept in 3 days, but looking back I feel I had no excuse for yelling at him. I know that beating myself up is not making progress toward the healing process, but I feel he didn't deserve my melt down. I also lost my dad 12 years ago to cancer, I took care of my best friend for 6 weeks until she died of cancer 2 years ago, during that time I had to have my dog put to sleep due to cancer 10 days before my friend died and after my husband was diagnosed last year I lost 3 of my 4 cats in 3 months. It's been a horrible 2 years and I'm hoping and praying that I'm done with loss for a while. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing. I pray that you find peace, strength and comfort.
Ellen, thank you for the Allan hugs, opening Allan's picture and for your words of support. I think back of where I was 10 weeks after losing Allan, and I remember how painful life was that soon after he was gone. Now that I think about it, I realize my crying jags don't last as long nor are they as gut wrenching. I guess I have done some healing, but I'm no where near the place I thought I'd be by now. I'm sorry for where you are right now and the time you have ahead of you in the healing process. I wish I could take your pain away and that of all the wonderful ladies who have responded to my posting. I thought I was making progress, but I think the season has set me back a bit so I'm hoping that after the first of the year, I can get back on track to healing my lonely soul. I loved your pictures and anniversary card on your page. Doug was certainly a handsome man. About 10 years ago I started saving the cards Allan gave me for my birthday, Christmas, Mothers Day, Easter, our anniversary and he always wrote a paragraph expressing his love. I went through them all a couple of weeks ago and they reminded me how lucky I was to have been loved so deeply and profound. Allan's beloved uncle had told me at the funeral that he wanted me to eventually find another love, and I told him that Allan was one of a kind and there will never be anyone who will every love me as he did. I pray that you find strength, peace and that you never lose hope that you can eventually have a happy life until you are reunited with your beloved.
Christy, Hospice has sent me several letters to remind me that grief counseling is available, but I have been reluctant to go, but since you seemed to have benefited and it has provided some comfort to you, I may give it some more thought. I'm sorry that your husband's family is such a burden to you. It's the last thing you need to have to endure right now. Allan's oldest daughter and 2 sisters never liked me when we were married because of his ex-wife, but they actually came around after Allan was diagnosed. I hear from them regularly and even had dinner with his oldest sister last Saturday. I guess I've been lucky in that respect. Although, I thought I'd have the same problem you're having because after hearing that Allan was terminal they all told me what they wanted of the things that belonged to US. After hearing of their "wish list" Allan set them straight and told them that everything we had belonged to me and that they would get nothing unless I wanted them to have it. They finally shut up! I too have watched couples holding hands and have become envious that they still have each other. Sometimes I want to walk over to them and tell them to cherish one another because they never know how much time they will get and what the future holds. I watch them looking happy and in love as hot tears stream down my face. I'm so sorry you never got the chance to marry your wonderful man. I hate that life has regrets and that there are things we can't go back and change. Obviously life can be very short, so don't take and $&!+ from his family. You don't need toxic people in your life right now so I hope you can cut them out for your peace of mind and sanity. I pray that you find peace, strength and comfort and healing in the time to come.
Julie, I am so grateful for your kind and healing words of support back to me. I do appreciate you sharing how your crying jags don't last as long for you now and aren't as gut wrenching. I guess for me I wonder if it will ever end and how I will make it to the next breath. I just try to stay in the moment. Doug was my soulmate and the love of my life too. I hear and feel your pain at present but the hope you share also encourages me to know WE are not alone and that together the support is strenghtening. I hope the sunlight shines on your soul more. HUGS. Help us grow stronger. Ellen~
Julie Erickson said:
Ellen, thank you for the Allan hugs, opening Allan's picture and for your words of support. I think back of where I was 10 weeks after losing Allan, and I remember how painful life was that soon after he was gone. Now that I think about it, I realize my crying jags don't last as long nor are they as gut wrenching. I guess I have done some healing, but I'm no where near the place I thought I'd be by now. I'm sorry for where you are right now and the time you have ahead of you in the healing process. I wish I could take your pain away and that of all the wonderful ladies who have responded to my posting. I thought I was making progress, but I think the season has set me back a bit so I'm hoping that after the first of the year, I can get back on track to healing my lonely soul. I loved your pictures and anniversary card on your page. Doug was certainly a handsome man. About 10 years ago I started saving the cards Allan gave me for my birthday, Christmas, Mothers Day, Easter, our anniversary and he always wrote a paragraph expressing his love. I went through them all a couple of weeks ago and they reminded me how lucky I was to have been loved so deeply and profound. Allan's beloved uncle had told me at the funeral that he wanted me to eventually find another love, and I told him that Allan was one of a kind and there will never be anyone who will every love me as he did. I pray that you find strength, peace and that you never lose hope that you can eventually have a happy life until you are reunited with your beloved.
Julie, I had times when I also got irritated with Waymon. I always felt bad afterwards. i have a good friend who is still taking care of her disabled husband. I talked to her about this and she said yes she gets irritated at times too. i think it is just the tired human part of us reacting at that time. I know that I always felt that I had to be the super wife and take care of everything with a smile, but sometimes i think our bodies get tired and we react before we can think about it. Please don't keep beating yourself up about this. I am sure your husband knew how tired you were and understood completely. I am really sorry for all the pain and suffering you have had to go through in the last 2 years. I am praying that there are better days ahead for you.
Julie, thank you for your response. I am glad to hear that some family connections have actually improved for you over this- that's a blessing. Yes, the small group gathering Tues. night was truely uplifting for me. The hardest part was just making myself go! Your advice to keep my disatnce from Larry's family is the same as my dearest freinds & family, & I have been doing my best. It seems like a shame though- I know Larry would want us to be there for each other. It breaks my heart to disappoint him, but he would not allow them to take advatage of me /us if he were here, so I have to protect myself 1st. I pray that with each passing day you find peace & strength. Christy


Julie Erickson said:
Christy, Hospice has sent me several letters to remind me that grief counseling is available, but I have been reluctant to go, but since you seemed to have benefited and it has provided some comfort to you, I may give it some more thought. I'm sorry that your husband's family is such a burden to you. It's the last thing you need to have to endure right now. Allan's oldest daughter and 2 sisters never liked me when we were married because of his ex-wife, but they actually came around after Allan was diagnosed. I hear from them regularly and even had dinner with his oldest sister last Saturday. I guess I've been lucky in that respect. Although, I thought I'd have the same problem you're having because after hearing that Allan was terminal they all told me what they wanted of the things that belonged to US. After hearing of their "wish list" Allan set them straight and told them that everything we had belonged to me and that they would get nothing unless I wanted them to have it. They finally shut up! I too have watched couples holding hands and have become envious that they still have each other. Sometimes I want to walk over to them and tell them to cherish one another because they never know how much time they will get and what the future holds. I watch them looking happy and in love as hot tears stream down my face. I'm so sorry you never got the chance to marry your wonderful man. I hate that life has regrets and that there are things we can't go back and change. Obviously life can be very short, so don't take and $&!+ from his family. You don't need toxic people in your life right now so I hope you can cut them out for your peace of mind and sanity. I pray that you find peace, strength and comfort and healing in the time to come.

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