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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.

Peace

Discussion Forum

Struggling with reality

Started by Corey. Last reply by Marsha H Feb 14. 4 Replies

Nine days and a whirlwind of emotions.

Started by Tiffany Phillips. Last reply by Sara Murphy Jan 27. 12 Replies

My love.

Started by brenda may. Last reply by Marsha H Jan 12. 10 Replies

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Comment by Charles E. Nelson on Tuesday

Hello Mary Jane,

I just read your post - it appeared in it's entirety in my email notification received when someone joins or posts here. I don't know if all the members of the family get the same notifications, so if you reply to me by writing in the box at the top of this page then click on "add comment" everyone will be more easily able to converse with you. I was completely uneducated in the ways of online group communication until joining Legacy, but it is designed to be easy to post...if you have any trouble and anyone, including myself, will try to help.

First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss of your beloved husband. Cancer is also what took my Larry from me, after 32 years. I had a health crisis one month before losing him, and was in the hospital two floors above him when he passed in the ICU. It took 2 months for me to "stabilize, and another 3 before I was able to drive once I was home. I know what you mean about relying on everybody to drive me everywhere - doctors appointments, grocery shopping(which took forever because of my slow paced walking - I was so dependent and felt such a burden. Not driving at all, you must have found yourself faced with so many more obstacles to deal with, all on top of your grief! You have my utmost sympathy and respect for confronting your challenges. Hopefully your move to be with your daughter will give you some respite from this aspect at least. 

I completely understand your comments about downsizing and wanting to keep as much as you can...if it were at all possible I would have kept everything just as it was the last day Larry left our home, but now two years into my journey without him I wonder if that would have been healthy for me - I'm a bit of a pack rat, or "hoarder" as it is referred to now. Not like the ones I hear about from TV shows, but finding sentimental value in even the simplest of things. I hope you find the way to do this cleaning out that works best for you... I declined many offers of assistance because the most personal of things - Larry's clothes, books, papers - all meant doing only as much as I could manage before breaking down completely. Sometimes I could go for an hour, sometimes 10 minutes tops. Pace yourself, and try to allow the feelings to happen naturally, as I believe  they are healthy and nothing to be afraid of - I have never been afraid to cry, and now I see tears as just another part of my days, like brushing my teeth. if they upset someone else, that's their problem.

Your comment about buying small things even as you know you need to eliminate possessions is what truly struck a major nerve with me! I am doing the exact same thing right now, and each time I do I wonder why - now you have opened the possibility that this is a way of my coping with letting go of all the other things Larry and I bought together. Thank you for giving me something to think about there - I had never even considered that.

Please continue to post with us, as we are an uncommon family with as many different backgrounds and approaches as in any "real" family. Our common bond is our unconditional acceptance and understanding of what it's like to face the unthinkable - living on without our loved ones. Somehow we have to do it, and this place is certainly a most safe and supportive aid in doing just that. The friends you will find here are some of the kindest souls you will ever encounter, so Mary Jane, welcome to the family.

Have a peaceful day,

Love,

Chuck

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on Tuesday

Dear Harold,

You can't imagine how happy I am when I read your posts and hear in your words the tremendous strides you have made since losing your beautiful Diane. My friend, I wish you a very safe and pleasant vacation in CA, and just know that all your efforts and plans make Diane so very proud of you. As you have mentioned here before, you are finding strength unsuspected in yourself, as do we all in this family through our sharing and accepting each other, each struggling to find our way through this nightmare into which we have been plunged.

I pray that our experiences and posts are helping those just starting out in this journey, and comfort them with the knowledge that their fears and feelings are shared by all of us who have lost our loved ones, and we are here with open arms and understanding and support whenever they need to reach out to us. The caring angels in this family were here for me when I first joined, and continue to be here as I approach the two year anniversary of Larry's passing. Now it's our turn to do what we can, and watching the evolution of this miracle occur time and again, I am again convinced that there is something very sacred about this special place, and all the people who find it.

Enjoy your trip!

Love,

Chuck

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on Tuesday
Dear Debbie,

Thank you for your support - as always you make me feel understood and that I am not crazy for feeling the way I do sometimes.

Yes, Spring has arrived - everywhere but in our driveway, which is still ice-covered having not been plowed or shoveled out. I am still restricted from exertion and lifting by the doctors orders after my surgery, and it's way too much for Steve to do alone. We're into the start of our second week of "Stranded...The Movie" starring two older gentlemen showing definite signs of cabin fever!!!You'll laugh, you'll cry! Which one will crack-up first?!

I applaud your slowing down - it's so difficult to do, especially if you have obligations to family, job, etc. - but our healing and adjusting is benefited by any times we can "unplug".
I too have been having many dreams of Larry, and this is a bit surreal for me because I actually didn't have many at all during the first year and a half. Perhaps it's being triggered by the fact that I am also sorting through things trying to let go of the many years of stuff with which we had managed to fill the house. Much of it is easy to donate, but every now and then some small insignificant object threatens to derail my equilibrium,sending me reaching for the tissues again and spending the rest of the day on the couch. I accept that this will always be so, because my love for Larry will always be here in my heart. At least I have learned that these intensely sad times are not going to last forever the way I feared they would when I was so fresh in my grieving and anguish.
Happy Spring back to you my friend, and please continue to do what's working for you now...you are a comfort and an inspiration to us all Debbie.

Love,

Chuck
Comment by Harold McKinstry on Monday

Hi All

I have been taking a little of everything and have been trying to incorporate it in my life.

Deb I have been trying to slow my mind and body down also to adjust to life's new reality. Like it or not it's what I have to work with, need to find some kind of Life and happiness without Diane.    Chuck your comment about stopped looking frantically for something I thought I wanted or needed to be happy, only then would I slow down and realize that often the miracles, large and small, that surrounded me were not only enough, but actually a wealth of treasures I had been overlooking all the time. That hit home with me, it's not something I do or finding someone else, but just getting my head straight so I can see the world around me as it is and know what I want and need in Life.

I think I mentioned that I joined a Gym and workout 3 times a week, I feel good and am proud of myself for doing it. I realize I have the Gift of good health and want to do what I can to keep it. This Wednesday I am taking a week's vacation and going to California to visit my son, looking forward to it. This Summer plan on doing some Camping with my Grandson, and going to visit cousins of Diane's we hit it off and enjoyed there company. He is a scuba diver and wanted someone to dive with, I haven't dove in 30 years but plan on diving with him. They live in Indiana and have a place on a lake, me and Diane always had a great time visiting them. It might feel a little weird going without her but am willing to try it this year. My New way of thinking is to try new things or even old things and see what feels comfortable and figure what I want and need as I go along.  

Comment by Deb S on Monday

Chuck, I LOVE your posts! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Your observation of your friend comparing the loss of her relationship via divorce to your loss strikes a cord. I've also had people make the same comment. On occasion, I offer my 2 cents as a former divorce attorney, as someone who has been divorced, and as someone whose spouse died. There is no comparison. As my sweet husband might say: it is like comparing apples to oranges!  Perhaps it is a good thing that you did not have the ability to respond to your friend that day. Given time, she will know the difference. Until then, your 40 year friendship is preserved albeit with a newfound realization and understanding that she just doesn't "get it".

Happy First Day of Spring! Hopefully, your NJ temps will make Steve comfortable until the two of you decide to seek a warmer climate on a full time basis.

BTW, I am trying to intentionally slow down and give myself time to adjust to reality. I continue to dream about Bob every night. I am going through many of his work papers now. It is bittersweet and therapeutic to review years of work calendars which memorialize our work and personal schedule. I am ready to part with the work portion but am holding on to the personal history. That works for me right now. 

Love, Debbie

Comment by Deb S on Monday

Chuck, I LOVE your posts! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

Your observation of your friend comparing the loss of her relationship via divorce to your loss strikes a cord. I've also had people make the same comment. On occasion, I offer my 2 cents as a former divorce attorney, as someone who has been divorced, and as someone whose spouse died. There is no comparison. As my sweet husband might say: it is like comparing apples to oranges!  Perhaps it is a good thing that you did not have the ability to respond to your friend that day. Given time, she will know the difference. Until then, your 40 year friendship is preserved albeit with a newfound realization and understanding that she just doesn't "get it".

Happy First Day of Spring! Hopefully, your NJ temps will make Steve comfortable until the two of you decide to seek a warmer climate on a full time basis.

BTW, I am trying to intentionally slow down and give myself time to adjust to reality. I continue to dream about Bob every night. I am going through many of his work papers now. It is bittersweet and therapeutic to review years of work calendars which memorialize our work and personal schedule. I am ready to part with the work portion but am holding on to the personal history. That works for me right now. 

Love, Debbie

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on March 16, 2017 at 9:33am

Hi Sara,

I am feeling like you...Spring can't come soon enough, and poor Steve, who grew up in Florida and lived in the South all his life looks a bit like a caged animal, pacing around looking out the windows at the snowed-in driveway, asking himself what on earth he's doing here in the cold!!! We will address our final location once he helps me close Larry's estate and sell the house, but you can be sure it won't be in the snow belt.

Thank you for parsing our my meaning in my somewhat cryptic post - I suspect it may have been a bit confusing when I tried to explain my friend's complete lack of understanding of who we are on Legacy, and how we interact and offer support for each other. She actually said that day that she and I were in the "same boat" - me grieving for my lost love of my life Larry, and she for her failed marriage. I don't mind telling you that I it's a good thing I was so tired and emotionally drained by that moment, or I would have lit into her in a way the likes of which she had never seen over our 40+ years of friendship.

It has always been the case  for me that when I stopped looking frantically for something I thought I wanted or needed to be happy, only then would I slow down and realize that often the miracles, large and small, that surrounded me were not only enough, but actually a wealth of treasures I had been overlooking all the time. Sounds a bit like Dorothy at the end of "The Wizard Of Oz" I know, but none the less true.

Be safe, my dear friend, and keep warm - soon this snow will be but a memory as we move on to another season of rebirth and renewal - I pray that it is for us all in this family also another step toward our finding peace and an equal renewal of our will to go on, even in our grieving.

Love,

Chuck

Comment by Sara Murphy on March 15, 2017 at 10:08pm

Tiffany......It's so hard when our friends and family get back to their own lives, a little at a time.  They have no choice but at the same time, we can't understand how the world is still turning when our worlds have stopped.  Nothing makes sense anymore.    I'm so sorry his mother is adding to your grief.  I understand she is grieving too but she can't just assume ownership of his stuff.  I don't know you're situation other than you hadn't gotten married yet but I think maybe it's time to put your foot down if she asks for anything else.  You may not realize right now that you'll wish you had kept a certain something down the line.  I agree with Mary Jane.  This is about you and you need to do what's best for yourself. 

Comment by Sara Murphy on March 15, 2017 at 9:57pm

Hi Chuck.....Yes, we got a little more than a foot of snow with this latest storm.  2 blizzards in 1 season so I'm ready for spring now. 

I have to say I don't get the comparison your friend was trying to make between Legacy and a dating site.  I've never used a dating site but I don't imagine there are any group conversations and connections at the level we connect here.  I see dating sites as superficial such as with the unrealistic photo you mentioned.   I do hope your friend finds happiness but money can't buy happiness so I do suspect she'll need you again.

I'm happy that you and Steve get to walk through your journey's with each other.  To have someone who truly understands your grief I think is key.  I'm no where near ready for another relationship but if the day ever came, for me it would have to be with a widower.  I would need someone to understand that Ken is my end game.  He is the soul I'm looking to reunite with.  Only someone who's been through this could understand that feeling.

When the time is right, please tell us about your first face to face meeting.  With your style of writing, I'm sure it'll be a hoot.

Love, Sara

Comment by Charles E. Nelson on March 15, 2017 at 1:15pm

Hello All,

 

First, I hope everyone affected by the storm in the Northeast is doing OK – Sara, it would seem you got the brunt of it, although we got our share here.

 

I’ve been following the recent discussions and am always moved by how our sharing of our experiences helps each other. I hear myself frequently in the posts, especially from those who are so new here with their losses so recent.

 

If I have anything to contribute, it would be my experience soon after joining this family, almost 15 months ago. An old friend came for the day after learning of Larry’s passing and my hospitalization and illness. It happened to be on the date of Larry’s birthday, which is November 13. I didn’t tell her that  until she had been here awhile, and we shared many tears and hugs for several hours. She intuitively let me ramble and share story after story about our 32 years together. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through that day alone.

 

Eventually talk turned to her life, and she revealed that she was in the early stages of divorcing her second husband, and was already considering joining an online dating site. She needed to feel loved, respected, and appreciated and felt her best way to do that was through finding a mate. We have the kind of friendship where we rely on each other for advice, so she wanted my input on the initial post about herself she was writing, as well as her “screening parameters” and her choice of photos.

 

Being rather protective of her feelings, I tried to push one thought only regarding the entire enterprise, which she seemed to be addressing like a job interview, complete with a dazzling resume and glamour shots of herself. This was not the woman I had known since our teen years, so said I thought that if she just wrote from the heart everything she had said to me about how she felt and what she wanted from a partner, posted with a few photos as she looked right that minute, dressed stylishly but comfortably, without tons of makeup, then anyone who responded would be more likely to suit her personality. In a nutshell, be completely candid and herself!

 

She appreciated my point, and promptly discarded my suggestions, going for photos that hardly resembled her, and shockingly was quite disappointed when her first few meetings didn’t go well. She also was explaining to me how she took particular note of the background details in the gentlemen’s photos - homes, cars, and clothing - to determine their financial status. I tried to keep still about my feelings, but when she kept comparing her efforts to my being on Legacy, and my developing friendship with one man in particular whose situation mirrored with mine, I finally spoke out.

 

 

 

 

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