Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: Nov 8
This might be a rough time for many of you. Do what you feel you need to do to get through it. Remember, someone is here almost all the time to talk to you.
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Dear Mary ... You have been through so much with Bob and looking after him, but that's what 'true love' is and we just do it. Our spouses thanked us because they felt much loved and believe it or not there isn't a high percentage of spouses that would do what all of us had to do. Bob knew you loved him and thankful you cared for him. Your presence made him feel safe and loved. It was wonderful his brother came to get him and 'take him home.'
I know that anger all to well and wish I had a magic wand to have saved Ernie, but for some reason and something none of us can fathom or control our loved ones are 'called home.' I was so angry and like most of you and without knowing it I didn't realize how angry I really was. I blamed God; doctors; and myself (did I do enough and did Ernie know just how much I fought to keep him alive and well?). I believe with all my heart that none of our spouses wanted to leave us, but had no control over it. I told Ernie if I could I would go with him and in a weak voice he said, 'I know.' A dam broke just then and I sobbed more than I ever have in my lifetime. I still can get angry and I still don't know why I'm here and what I should be doing.
I do feel your pain Mary and I can certainly relate. Bob is around you to give you strength when you need it.
I remember Mary you posted a long while back how horrific it was to see the look on Bob's face and I hope and pray this will ease your worries:
This is from a Hospice nurse: I can usually tell when death is going to happen within hours. Here's how: my patient becomes unresponsive. Not asleep, but unresponsive, like you can reposition them and there's no response whatsoever. When they pass away they lose muscle tone in their jaw and their mouth is open and sometimes their eyes. It's normal and the image is not because of pain or fear. Also in research I learned that the brain is far from dead after your loved one dies and can still hear even after death. When they leave their bodies they are still with you. Hospitals have been studying the process of dying since the early 90's and nurses take notes. I have seen it with my own eyes.
Remember what I had said to you that there is always an 'exit' out of what you feel is a bad situation. Nothing is holding you to California, but I would give it a chance. You can always go back home if you so choose. The thing of it is Bob will follow you no matter where you move to.
Our spouses want us to be as happy as possible and when we hurt they hurt so when I get down I slap myself silly and start moving again. Every emotion any of us feel is very normal.
Love you girl
Omg, Chuck and Steve..you are so special. Thank you for all your kind words, and support.One thing I really regret, is we didn,t meet when I lived a mere 5 hours from you. I guess it just wasn,t meant to be.
There is one more thing about Bob I’d like to share...his fear of getting cancer. He was ALWAYS terrified of it. From the moment that I met him, in 1966, I learned he had a lifelong TERROR of getting it. Family & friends would kinda laugh, tell him to calm down, yuk yuk. For YEARS he would NEVER see a DR, unless he had an ACCIDENT or injury, He KNEW every tiny pimple was skin cancer, every chest cold was lung cancer..etc. Finally, around the 90’s, he started seeing doctors, for EVERYTHING..the total reverse of previous Bob.
Oddly, in 2016, he had been having headaches for about a year..Oklahoma has lots of pollen etc so we kinda of blew it off, got an air filter..when he got a chest cold in October 2016, he went to the Dr..he wasn,t as afraid then..but the Dr didn,t like the look of the chest X-ray..sent him for a cat scan..that was the beginning of the end..4 months later, he died.But because he had always feared cancer, no one was surprised! It was more like: HOW DID HE KNOW ALL THOSE YEARS HE WOULD DIE FROM CANCER? But he did. He knew! Two good things came out of it..in the past, he tended to be grumpy a lot..because FEAR EATS THE SOUL. Everyone would say, that if Bob ever got cancer, he would be HELL to live with..but THE EXACT OPPOSITE HAPPENED!!! What he had feared his entire life was now here..and during those 4 months, he was happy, sweet, kind, and NOT AFRAID! He was wonderful, because he didn,t have to FEAR it anymore.It had arrived. I was so proud of him..he took everything the Drs threw at him, with a smile, and good humor.
But, it seemed like more and more areas in his body were effected with new types of cancers. Every day this first few months were taken up with useless visits to the cancer center...time that could have been spent on trips, or vacations..but I digress and will stop here, without giving my opinion on cancer “care”.
So, that is FINALLY all. I have vented, and mourned..and I thank all of you. And thank God for this wonderful place we can all come to, with such wonderful people.
Time of death..1:52 pm central time..11:52 PST..right now. I took his picture out to my porch, had a cigarette, and showed him the trees outside. I was kind of Hoping I would have had some sort of visit, or something..but I don,t think he’s here anymore.
RIP, Bob. I will always love you.
Thanks, fellows. Your posts meant a lot to me.
Dear Mary Jane,
I never realized how much anger and pent up emotions I was dragging around in my life, until I lost Mark. Unlike your story I was there as Mark took his last breath. That last breath was very laboured and the sound to me was painful and scary. As I looked down at his face, he just looked like he was sleeping, and at first I was angry, then pleading, then just sitting there stunned and wondering, what do I do now. Then I remembered what he said to me a week before, under no circumstances should any attempt be made to revive him. Then I burst into crying for him and for me, I had to keep my promise!
So I waited 10 minutes before calling 911, they immediately wanted me to get him out of the bed and start CPR. I told the lady that I did not know CPR nor was I strong enough to get him to the floor, she kept trying to calm me down which caused me to cry louder. Finally, she said parametics were on their way and needed the access code to our apartments gate for vehicles. After giving her that she asked me if I wanted her to stay on the phone with me, no I said they will need me out front to direct them to where the gate was.
With all of that past, it took another 3 months for my anger to surface again. Me and Bella on the way home from Florida to Dallas, there it was an exit sign on I-10 for Dothan, Alabama. That was where my father and stepmother lived before their deaths in 2000 from an auto accident. All of the hatred and anger for them rose up at once. I could not stop my sobbing and pulled off the road.
Then something inside told me to forgive them and to forgive myself to break that bond of hate. I was stunned, I found a gas station, parked in the shade and let Bella out for water. Out oh no where a woman approached me and commented on how beautiful Bella was. She then asked if I was ok, I said yes. She then asked if I had jumper cables, she and her husband were stuck at the station and she keeps asking each new customer. I said, I'm sorry but
I too did not have them. As she left, I noticed her continue on searching.
I felt like I should do something, so I went inside to get coffee and see if they had cables for sale. I looked and they were sold out, as i was passing the snacks, sitting on top of my favorite snack of cinnamon red hots was a set of new cables. Paid for both then went looking for the lady. Found her sitting next to her husband, I said I found these inside and I can jump you car with mine. When their car started they both hugged me and the husband was starting to hand me the cables, I refused saying you needed them more than I.
Bella and I got back on the road, I felt comforted and I started talkin to my father as if he was alive and sitting next to me. I was able to forgive myself for hating him and forgave him for all the things I hated him for. As the miles past I felt better and I cried and grieved for their deaths.
Life has a way of picking and choosing for us what and when things need to fall into place.
I wish I could hug you and comfort you, so please accept my eternal love and connection with you and everone on this site...your brother, Steve.
Anger - you have hit a nerve with me that tingles throughout my soul yet the one I seem to spend more energy ignoring than most other emotions.
My friend, this is the rare, for some of us the only place, where we can dredge up the most turbulent and upsetting of feelings and express them without ever being judged or fearing hurting someone around us, as you wish to spare your daughter.
The medical procedures and interaction with hospice brought back a time I went through with my father in his final days of terminal lung cancer. Larry was with me through that awful nightmarish time, and without him and an angel in disguise as a Hospice nurse I surely would have gone mad.
How you dealt with everything you describe alone both astonishes me and brings me to tears. The avalanche of events and emotions was frozen in mid-motion for you since that night, and now as they thaw with time and distance they are breaking off in huge chunks to crash down upon you. We here can't rush across the street and grab you in a tight hug, and that is our frustration and nightmare - that we hear, feel, and understand what is happening to you, yet are limited to replying with words on a keyboard.
My love, my heart, and my tears of rage and doubt are yours now as always. Perhaps sometime I will share some of the things I went through as my father deteriorated, but not today - all I want you to know is that I am with you in my heart -
Ohhh, I forgot...I NEVER EVER saw any more piles of pennies in our house. And I am so grateful his brother came to “take him home” as I have never felt his brother Warren there again, since that last day.
I have to tell you..for MONTHS before Bob got sick, we had noticed PILES of PENNIES around the house. Hundreds of pennies. I just left them where they were, vaguely noting, they were always somewhere we would see them..ie: by my ashtray in the garage, by the telephone, etc, The night before the catheter thing, I had asked him “Is Warren here?” (Warren was his little brother, who had died 11 years previously) He replies “yes”. I kinda knew that..I could feel him too.
Soo, the hospice nurse did what she had to do, bathed him, and left, and Bob fell into a light sleep..so I LEFT THE ROOM FOR A MINUTE. I had a baby monitor on his IV pole, so I could hear every breath he made, as I carried the other one with me..and it wasn,t even a minute, b4 I realized I couldn,t hear his breathing. I remember thinking, as I ran back into his room..”NO NO NO NO....” but he was gone.
No warning, no clue one minute he was fine, the next gone. I was STUNNED..but the very worst thing, was the expression on his face. It wasn,t warm and fuzzy, like I had always thought it would be.
That expression has haunted me for four years..plus the guilt..did I do something wrong?
This is the first year, I have been AWARE enough, not in my rosey bubble...thinking everything was fine, that I am OK. I am NOT ok! I am ANGRY..at everyone in the medical profession, at everything in general, at him for LEAVING me, for deserting his daughter, the flood gates have finally opened, and I am LIVID!! This has been 4 years coming..He is really gone, and he is NEVER coming back! I am stuck in a F***ing house that I don,t want to be in, in a life without him..and the bubble has burst big time...as I cannot feel him as much as I did in my prior home..and I WANT HIM HERE!!!
ok..I had to write this..to “get it out”. I have spent the last few days slamming things, screaming at the universe, I am SOOO ANGRY!
I am NOT ever angry..I do not have a temper..I guess I have been carrying this for years. Every other year I was in a coma of sorts..a warm soft place I created for myself..but it wasn,t real, and I have to move past this..for my own sanity.
So I came here...because I don,t know what else to do...or who to tell..I cannot tell my daughter..she was his “little princess” and adored her dad..she is bleeding too, but holds it in. So, tomorrow at 11:52 am,PST I will hope for the best, and thank all of you for being here and allowing me to rant. Maybe I will hug my kitty, maybe I will just watch TV, maybe I will still be angry.
This might be graphic, but I am compelled to write it.
4 years ago, tonite, Bob took my hand, kissed it, and said “Thank you”. I was so surprised! I asked him “for what”. I don,t remember the reply..it doesn,t matter.My guess is, for 48 1/2 years of being together? He had been home for 2 days..in hospice. They had brought him home, along with machines, meds, liquid food..and they spent a mere 20 minutes, giving me directions on how to feed his stomach tube, add any medication, after crushing the pills..the morphine was liquid..how the machine worked, the oxygen, various tubes, etc.
I always wondered why they didn’t spend more time with instructions. What if I did something wrong? It NEVER occurred to me, until a few days ago, that it didn’t MATTER if I screwed up. When that epiphany hit, and I realized that..I was actually STUNNED.
Ironically, I was GOOD at caring for him! I remember thinking I would have been a good nurse, and I liked being able to care for him. He had ONE MONTHS supply of liquid food..2 cases of the stuff, Fed directly into his stomach tube, the meds were added seperatly through a tiny tube that connected into the main one. He could eat stuff like Jello, which he NEVER ate, he was a vegetarian..but that was a moot point. I feel so BAD, that when I crushed up some meds in his Jello..and he noticed the texture was wrong. I was so ashamed..I don,t know why.
I also don’t know why I am compelled to write all of this here..but I just am. The next morning, when the nurse came, she had to catheterize him. That was the ONE THING he hated above everything else..my heart just died a little for him..he had been SO BRAVE, accepting everything with a smile..but this was bad..and UNFAIR!
Sara ... You're so sweet and I do think of you a lot as to how you are doing. I am having a better week and have more energy for a change. I am so happy you feel Ken's with you and as I said it's a little less, but when I'm really down I can feel Ernie's presence as well. What a wonderful feeling!
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