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About 4Hdad

  • Rank
    Advanced Member

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  • Loss Type
    Wife, Ruptured Cerebral Berry Anuerysm
  1. 1 Year Anniversary

    Thank you all so much for being here for me, for all of us. It really means a lot to me!
  2. 1 Year Anniversary

    This has become a rather lengthy recap of the past year. I apologize in advance for the long read, and for the drama. It has a happy ending, as it were. Short story is, we're healing. Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of the morning I found my wife. She had passed away in the night from a ruptured cerebral berry aneurysm. I administered CPR until first responders arrived, to no effect. She was gone when I found her. The next few months were spent in a state of shock. We were together for 22 years, and while our marriage was far from perfect, we had a life together. We'd been through a hell of a lot, and while there was less of the affection and excitement that comes with a new relationship, there was love and a certain understanding. All of that was gone in an instant. I was suddenly alone, left to care for our two daughters, one in college and another who began her first day of high school the day after her mother died, as well as my mother in law, who'd been living with us for years. Our world was upended. It was up to me to discover what the new normal was going to look like. I had to learn to grieve, like all of us do. I also had to take into account that, while my own grief was unfolding, I had two kids and a mother in law whose grief all took very different forms, with very little of that grief coinciding on our separate paths. I also had a whole new set of responsibilities, picking up the reins as it were, as my wife and youngest daughter had two horses together which I'd had very little to do with. What I found was that my grief seemed easier to process; I had already been grieving a loss of closeness with my wife for years. We'd done couples counseling, which was a waste of time. It takes two, as they say. I continued my own counseling for years after, struggling with my less-than-ideal marriage, with the result being that I had finally given myself permission to make a guilt-free choice - stay, or leave. I chose to stay, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. It wasn't perfect, but I had a family, and while I recognized it's shortcomings, I also recognized that I wanted it more than the alternative. My grief was real, but having already grieved and accepted a certain amount of loss in the relationship, it seemed to be less than my kids and mother in law. I struggled with my younger daughter for months, who was immediately resentful of me coming in to her world with the horses and having to be the parent. We've come to some great understandings in the past year, and we're now in a good place - worlds apart from where we began. My older daughter seemed to handle it better, but she had her own demons to wrestle with. She felt picked on by her mom and sister constantly, and I was always coming to her defense it seemed, because it was obvious how they ganged up on her. She's a sensitive kid and, like all bullies, they sensed that and exploited it together. I don't think they meant to cause her pain, but they also didn't see how their actions hurt. So, I would jump in and redirect their fire quite often. So, she had to come to a place of forgiveness with her mom as well as grieve her loss. My mother in law was a different story. She had always been cranky, to put it kindly. She picked on everyone but her daughter. Actually, she stopped laying in to me a few years back when she butted in to a teachable moment I was having with my youngest and I shut her down. My wife always had a hard time standing up to her mom. I'd tell her, you've got to talk to her about the way she speaks to the kids, the oldest in particular - seeing a pattern? But, she never did. She just couldn't stand up to her. When her daughter passed away, she was a different woman. She hated the world, and I couldn't blame her. As she became more bitter, more mean, we all started to just leave her alone and let her have her way, because nobody wanted to confront her. She can't take constructive criticism and won't admit when she's wrong, and she loves to argue. She'd become a little tyrant in the house and we all felt like we were having to walk on eggshells in our own home. I saw that the little battles she'd won over the years had built up a certain expectation that she would always have her way, and she was not about to give up that kind of control. But, over the second half of the last year, she began to lose that control. We began taking it back, and she didn't like that. We began fixing up the house, changing things. It began slowly, painting walls, rearranging furniture. She hated it. She thought we were destroying the house her daughter had built. She was partially correct. I am the first person to tell you that my wife was an unrepentant slob. She simply didn't care about that kind of thing. It was a major point of contention for us, for years, until I had finally given up that fight. I wanted to take that part of my life back, and my sister wanted to help. So, while updating the house was an important thing for me to do moving forward, it probably seemed disrespectful to her. Like it or not, it was happening without her consent or approval. I never removed any photos or memorabilia of my wife, but we were doing some major cleanup. I met a girl. I was a widow for 8 months. she's a woman I'd worked with many years ago. We began going out to shows, just as friends. She was also a widow, having lost her fiancé some 6 years earlier. We truly enjoyed each other company, platonically. We were good friends. It became something more. We began dating. I fell for her. It was mutual. I started to show signs of enjoying life again, being happy again. My older daughter was happy for me. My younger daughter wanted to be happy for me, she truly did, but it was more difficult for her to accept. My mother in law said she wanted me to be happy, but I was unconvinced of her sincerity as she became more active in her bitterness, and I found she had started talking about people behind our backs. She told me lies about my sister. She told my sister lies about my girlfriend. She told my girlfriend lies about my sister. She was just trying to create unrest, and it was backfiring. My older daughter couldn't stand living in our home any more and moved out. Then, the unbelievable happened - my mother in law decided to move out as well. She moved in with her brother. I never asked her to, it was entirely her idea. We were all ecstatic. I may seem flippant, but I honestly did everything I could for the woman to make her comfortable and cared for. We were there for her when nobody else was. She is just really, really bitter, and while I completely understand it, I was really coming to end of my rope. My mother in law didn't speak to me for the last 4 days before she moved, as I had asserted myself on some minor point of contention and she didn't appreciate it. I wasn't disrespectful, but I was assertive. There is a difference that she can't seem to comprehend. Anyway, my house my rules. At the end, she was planting seeds into my daughters ear, trying to get my youngest to move away with her. Ha! Like I would allow that to happen, ever. She's been gone a month and the house seems...lighter. There was a shadow lingering over us that moved away with her. It's just my youngest and I in the house, along with my sister who is there most of the time now, and it's like a whole new world. We happily eat at the table together every night instead of everyone scattering to their rooms to avoid discomfort. There is laughter daily where there once was none. I play music in the evenings without the fear of it poking the bear. It's been a transformative year. Where I had felt the beginnings of hope kindling in my heart for this new woman, there was always a grain of salt to take that with because my home was so damned depressing all the time. Now, I feel like we all have hope for the coming year. My oldest is settling in to her new apartment with terrific roommates, and spreading her wings seems to be doing her a world of good. My youngest is already beginning to change the way she is at home, because she, too, feared provoking her grandmother's wrath. It feels like she's coming out of a great and terrible darkness. To top it off, she's finally agreed to see a grief counselor. This is all good news. We're a long ways away from whole, but we're on a much better path now. Last night was the one year anniversary of losing my wife, and I reflected upon that time with some sadness, but also with hope for the future. I feel like I should feel guilty for having this newfound happiness. I feel like I should feel guilty, but somehow, I don't. I loved my wife. I never asked for any of this. But, it did. The future is mine to make. I can go back to the dark, wounded, closed-up existence that I led...or I can build a new life out of the ashes. I'm choosing new life over an old existence. Thank you all for being here for me. <3
  3. KMB, no worries, it's all true. My marriage was less than ideal, which seems to make my experience somewhat different than many. AC, I believe that as long as you have your eyes open and you're respectful of the feelings of those in your circle, as you seem to be, than you have little to fear. I'm happy for you!
  4. 9 months and moving forward

    Today, I declined to renew my CPR certification. It means classes I've been through a dozen times along with an actual test performing CPR compressions on a dummy. The last time I gave compressions was on my wife after I found her, and it was of course too late. I knew it was futile while I was doing it, but once it's started you don't stop until someone else arrives to take over the situation. If I'm ever in the situation, I know how to perform CPR and the little piece of paper in my wallet being out of date won't change that. But, unless and until I'm confronted with such a life-and-death situation...I just don't want to do that ever again.
  5. 9 months and moving forward

    Thank you all for your thoughts, it was a rough afternoon. I left work feeling drained. We had plans last night to attend our local symphony in the park, and before we left for that we talked about the day. After the evening, my batteries had been completely recharged and we'd grown even closer. We understand each other on a level I've never experienced before. We're still learning the ins-and-outs of this new relationship, because neither of us has been with someone who's situation and experience so closely resemble our own. Although we come from vastly different backgrounds, we've found ourselves at this point in time with the same feelings, experiences and emotions in play, and the same wants, needs and desires. We seem to make each other whole, if that makes sense. It's all too perfect. And so is she! She roofs and landscapes, she rides a 1,000 cc Suzuki crotch rocket, she plays at least 3 instruments, has a masters degree, is a kindergarten teacher, and she's teaching me to swing dance. She's dainty, feisty, funny, incredibly smart and ridiculously cute, and it seem that we adore one another. I'm learning that this is what makes all of it, everything else, worthwhile. This feels like a connection I've truly never had before. We're both well aware of the pain of loss, and though we never want to feel that again, I'm willing to risk it for her.
  6. 9 months and moving forward

    I've had a horrible revelation today, and I think I may know first-hand what mild PTSD feels like. I'm almost to the 1 year mark since finding my wife gone, and I'm seeing a woman now whom I have fallen for. She lives in the mountains, so it's remote - no neighbors close by - and she's working on her roof this week. So, since I or her family cannot be there, she agreed to stay in touch with me by checking in at intervals throughout the day. However, it turns out her new phone is not working properly and she's not receiving all of her alarms, so she missed two of our check-ins today. After 10 minutes of her not responding, I was having visions of finding her broken and battered body somewhere around the perimeter of her 2-story country home. After 15 minutes and no response, I was in the car and pulling out from work, when the phone rang. She apologized profusely, over and over. It wasn't neglect at all, but an error of technology. It happened again in the afternoon. She let me know how much she appreciated me worrying about her welfare, how good it feels to have someone care for her like that. She began to joke about where exactly did I think I'd find her body when it struck her, and she broke down. She had found her fiance's body 5 years ago when he passed away from medical issues. She hadn't even thought about what I was feeling until that moment. She apologize again and again. Again, not neglect, but she simply wasn't thinking of the situation in those terms. I haven't broken down, but everything in me is screaming to, has been all day. I've felt it like a poison in my chest since this morning and it won't let up. Just the thought of it has brought me right back to the depression and hopelessness I felt that day nearly a year ago. Losing her would fucking crush me. I honestly don't know if I could take it. I thought I'd worked through this. I didn't realize there would be triggers that would bring these feelings of despair on so strongly. We're going to a symphony tonight, a first for me. Honestly though, right now I feel completely drained, and I want nothing more than to just go home and go to sleep, as I did every day when I was in the grip of the deepest clinical depression I've ever experienced.
  7. Oh Marsha, I am so sorry for your loss. On the day that my wife died, I was in complete and total shock. I suspect that you're feeling the same right now. Complete and total shock. You've come to a good place for help and support today. When I came here, everyone was incredibly understanding, helpful and supportive, having gone through what I was going through, and having made it through. Please know that this is a safe place, where I found a lot of healing, and know that whatever the future holds you do not have to figure it out right now. You just have to get through this moment. Please hang in there for now, Marsha, and others will be here for you. You're not alone, and you don't need to have all of the answers right away.
  8. 9 months and moving forward

    I've made an appointment to see my old psychologist again. I haven't seen him in a couple of years. I feel like there are things I am not working through, things that I'm stuck on. This is exactly how he helped me before, and speaking with him this afternoon, I got the feeling that he had been waiting for me to call him again (he's my older daughter's psychologist now, so he knows what's going on). I've got two big issues to work through right now. One is my younger daughter, who is now seeming to have some bigger resentments towards me than I had thought. She doesn't understand where I've been for many years in my marriage, because I never shared that stuff with my kids, and I know that my wife never had either. My youngest must have thought everything was fine and normal when it was really anything but, so now that I'm 'moving on' so quickly, she's upset. I need to learn how to deal with that better. My new lady really understands her better than I do; she sees things that I just don't see and points them out to me - but I can't rely on only her to tell me where I'm making these big mistakes. I need help. Secondly, I've been having more feelings of anger towards my wife for the position she left us in. Creditors I did not know about continue to appear. Missed payments I did not know about on accounts where I was her co-signer have beat up my credit rating to the point that I'm having trouble refinancing all of the debt that was in her name, including the house. I'm finding that I'll probably need to hire a lawyer to wade through some of this for me, which is simply money down the drain, but it's like I have no choice. Her horses are draining me financially, as they were draining her, but if I sell them (as she should have) my daughter will hate me more than she already does. She's left me with my back against the wall, and when all of this first happened, I told myself to forgive her - no sense in being angry at the dead. Now, though, that anger is manifesting in unhealthy ways, and while I'm not about to let that anger ruin my life, I also don't know how to process it. There is literally nobody to take it out on and no one left to blame but myself, which is not helping at all. Just had to vent. While there is this bright ray of sunshine coming over the horizon of my life, there's still plenty of shadow to deal with as well.
  9. 9 months and moving forward

    Our two families are getting along well. Although I was anxious, my girls are taking to my new interest quite easily. We've all gone out a few times now, to a movie, to a friends BBQ, to her property for dinner and an evening together with her and her oldest son. There are still some places that are 'sacred ground' for my younger daughter, like the barn, because that was a place for her and her mom. She had a tough time accepting ME there, so its no wonder that my new relationship is not welcome in that environment. It's not a malicious thing, or even unreasonable in the least, and we all understand and respect that. As far as my new interest and I, however, we are, in a word, fantastic. Though we've been friends for 17 years, we've been 'seeing' each other and going out for only two months, and we've been 'dating' each other for only one. It's long enough for me to know that I've fallen for this woman like I never have in my entire life; she, too, has fallen for me. It's really quite incredible. We have more in common than I could have imagined. We come from two very different worlds, but we fit together like the last two pieces of a puzzle. We complement each other in ways that neither of us have experienced before. It is eerily perfect. She is the woman of my dreams. Oddly, we've known each other for almost two decades and never had these feelings for each other. We were just great friends. The truth is that back then, we would not have been good for each other, even if we were unattached (which we weren't). It goes to show that good things happen in their own time. When we finally got together in early May (in a platonic sense), neither of us realized that we had both reached a moment in our lives where we were ready for this. But, the more time we've spent with each other, the more and more it just feels right. The longer we are together, and the more explore each other and our lives leading up to this moment, the more it makes sense for both of us how perfect we are together. I truly feel she does not realize how amazing she actually is. I truly believe her when she tells me the exact same thing. I love her. There is no denying it. This is new; a warm and welcome light in an otherwise dark and cold existence.
  10. Hi AC, it sounds like you are on a great path. I'm finding the very same questions and situations coming up in my new relationship as well. Yes, this is uncharted territory we're in, so we should expect for there to be some learning as we go. I think the key for us - and the challenge - is to be open to it while balancing the feelings and needs of our children, our new significant other, and ourselves. Finding that balance may be simple for some and difficult for others, but it sounds like both of us are on the right tack. I'm happy for you, AC!
  11. 9 months and moving forward

    Thank you AC, and you as well!
  12. 9 months and moving forward

    Last night, our families met for the first time (at least those we hadn't been introduced to yet; I've met her older son on a couple of occasions and he's a great guy). We all went to an Italian place for dinner. She and I, my two girls and her two boys, and my mother in law. It was a fantastic evening. I thought there were some awkward moments, but she's pretty sure that that was just me. We all enjoyed the evening. My youngest was actually joking with me earlier while we were getting barn chores done, saying "So, am I meeting my new brothers tonight?" "No, you're meeting your dad's girlfriend's sons." "Yeah, it's just easier to say 'brothers', ya know?" This is an incredible transformation from where I was, where we were, only two short months ago. It feels like new life. I mean, I know there's been a quickening inside of me, but just my being more alive and happy seems to have really brought out some of that in my family as well. I guess that makes sense and I shouldn't be too surprised, yet I am. Now we get to begin merging our different interests. She's coming out to a ride meet/gaming show on Sunday. We'll be heading out to the track with her and her older son this Summer as they have track days (they both ride street bikes - the slow group, so only up to 140mph!) It's already starting to feel like a modern day reboot of the Brady Bunch!
  13. I lost my husband

    Diane, I am so sorry for your loss. Let me assure you that you are not alone, and that you've found the right place to talk about your loss. When I came here ten months ago under similar circumstances, I found that the people on this forum understood exactly where I was, having been there themselves. You are not alone, Diane. One month after losing my wife, I was still in shock. Everybody's experience seems to follow their own personal timeline, and while we all seem to go through the same or very similar process, we won't all do it at the same pace. I didn't know what to expect after I found my wife. I didn't know if or when things would get better or return to normal, or even if there was going to be anything 'normal' in my life ever again. What I found, though, was that these are feelings that are very common among those of us who've joined this unlucky group.You will find some of the most understanding and supportive people here, folks who can help to guide you through this very difficult time, because they truly understand what you're going through. Sometimes we may need advice, sometimes we may need to vent, sometimes we just need someone to understand where we are and what we are feeling at this very moment - all of this you will find here. Does it get easier? For me, it has. With time came a deeper understanding of life and loss. But, everyone's circumstances are unique, and the things we use to cope, the things that work for each of us, can be very different as well. Please stick around, Diane, and I can guarantee you will find some comfort among the folks on this forum. Hugs to you.
  14. Hi AC, I heartily agree with Ace here. I wouldn't worry too much about the length of their first meeting. Dinner sounds like a perfect setting for such introductions. You'll have a 'captive' audience, it's a comfortable, public place where people are relaxed, and there is always the distraction of the meal. Conversation doesn't have to be about your 'status' as a couple at all - just ice breaking and getting to know each other. As long as those 'southern manners' are observed, it should not be uncomfortable for anyone. In fact, I am doing the very same thing tomorrow night. My daughters will meet her sons for the first time, a big night for us. I am 99% certain it's going to be a fantastic evening! Happy for you, AC!