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willowgirl

Loss my husband to cancer it's my fault it was so soon

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You're both probably right. I was 52 when George died, I figured I had another forty years to go because my family lives well into their 90s.  That's a helluva long wait!  I guess in the grand scheme of things it's a drop in the bucket when you think about eternity, that thought consoles me somewhat.  We're an instant gratification society, particularly the younger we are, the ones of the older generation are more accustomed to patience I think.  I am concerned for our younger generation with some of the changes I'm seeing due to the use of cell phones, tweeting, etc...it's like no one stops and thinks or waits anymore, not even our president. :(

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Maybe older people just have more experience with loss.  I lost my Grandmother when I was 12.  That one was confusing.  I don't know if it was the distance in our relationship, the resiliancy of youth, or an incredible amount of denial, but that loss didn't immediately emotionally affect me, there were tears, but nothing I would call true grief.  I tend to think it was denial, because to this day I don't have many memories of that time and the memories I do have aren't vivid in any way.

I lost my Grandfather when I was 22.  Due to my parents divorce, he was like my father.  He was the guy that took me fishing, played ball with me, and taught me to shave, among many other things.

That loss brought pure unadulterated rage.  I was angry with God, my family, myself, the whole world.  I went on a very self destructive path, which ended up landing me in some pretty serious trouble financially, legal, and with drugs.  To say that it wasn't a healthy way to grieve would be an understatement, but at least I was grieving, which was progress.  After about three years it got me to a point where I could fondly remember my Grandfather, and now there are nothing but smiles and good stories, not tears and anger.

I am a big time animal lover, and have had many of my pets pass.  All of those moments generated grief as well.  Short lived in comparison to the others, like lighting a match compared to the bonfire my Grandfather and Christine caused.  But even those moments gave me experiences that I use now.

I believe I am dealing with the loss of Christine in a much healthier way, thanks largely to these past experiences.  I allow the feelings of grief to take hold of me, and embrace them.  Then after the moments pass, evaluate and realize I can choose how I want to act based off those emotions.  I can allow them to change my life for the better, or I can try to reject them if they are harmful.  Of course the human mind is a tricky beast, so rejecting them doesn't always work.  But even when I can't get myself to fully move past them, it seems to be better preparing me for the next related moment of grief, so I'll take it.

My point is maybe older people are better with grief because they have more experiences to bring to bear.  Practice makes perfect, and while no one wants this kind of wisdom on this subject, here we are gathering it with one another for support.

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Herc, Your posting hits close to home here, many similarities. I don't know how I am going to get through this. How are we all going to come out on the other side of this in one piece?   My husband endured so many health challenges the last 10 years or so of his life. He had inner strength, stoicism, perseverance. But he also had me taking care of him. I'm trying to get by without him now. I thought we were always going to be there for each other for a longer time. I have to prove to myself and my husband that I have what it takes for this challenging, lonely existence. My reward in the end will be seeing his smiling face and sparkly blue eyes when he reaches his hand out to me and we go into eternity together.

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KMB

So sorry you are feeling particularly distressed today.  I understand how despairing you feel.  Take good care.

Tina

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KMB, I'm so sorry you're suffering so deeply right now.  As I've mentioned a few times, the dates hit me hard, so I empathize with the struggle of the 6 month mark.  Regarding finding our way through it in one piece, we may not be able to.  We have lost a huge part of ourselves, and we are trying to mend what may not be able to be fixed.

One of the last medical conditions I helped Christine through was an amputation of the toes on her left foot.  All of her health problems related back to juvenile on set diabetes, a horrible disease that among other things affects circulation in the extremities.  So she stepped on a plastic bottle cap, got a minor cut, which became infected.  Because of the kidney transplant she was on immunosuppressant drugs that prevented her body from fighting the infection.  It spread to the bone, and the only thing left to do to prevent the infection from spreading further was to amputate.

She was terrified.  This disease that had haunted her life since she was 16 was now taking a part of her body.  She showed many of the same signs of grieving that we all show now, anger, depression, and guilt for several months after the surgery.

She had a huge collection of shoes, that now she could never wear again.  She felt self conscious going to the pool, because she thought the neighborhood children would be disgusted at her half a foot.  Her self image was shattered, she felt ugly and deformed.  Then one day, while she was having some of the phantom pains in the amputated toes, she asked me to rub her "nubby".

That simple moment turned it for her.  She made something positive out of what had been horrible.  From then on she was proud of "nubby".  When we were on vacation at the beach, we would celebrate and drink shots in "nubbies" honor.  She would take the most ridiculous pictures of her foot on her keyboard at work, or petting the cat with it and send them to us with the title "Adventures of Nubby" just to brighten our day.

There will be no one moment for those of us going through our current loss.  The pain will come and go, unwanted, unexpected, and unforeseen.  But if she could turn a loss of a part of herself into joy, then maybe just maybe there is some hope for us after all.

 

P.S.  I had more than a few beers last night, so you weren't drinking alone, you just didn't know who you were drinking with.

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Herc,

your story is touching. She found a way to make some humor out of a bad situation. I am sure that is one thing you have been particularly missing - I know that my girl was the same way, she could figure out a way to turn any situation into a laugh, and it helped me when I was down. Now without her I find myself missing her uncanny ability to make me laugh and giggle no matter what was going on. 

 

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Herc, Next time I have a glass of wine, I'll have a sip for you and for whom ever else on this forum. My husband suffered from type 2 diabetes. I don't know if diabetes is hereditary but his mom died of cardiac arrest in her early 60's and she was diabetic. My husband took her loss hard. Just a few years into our relationship in the early 90's, medications became part of our life. Started out with high blood pressure and then the diabetes. He had his first toe amputation in 2006 due to an infection. Lost another toe in 2014 due to frostbite. Your wife had a lot of courage to make light of her situation. It beats being angry and resentful.

My husband took everything in stride also. My heart would cry for him during those years but I kept it all stuffed inside. Diabetes destroys the whole body and chronic high blood pressure does the same. My husband had quad bypass surgery in 2007 but his heart was already damaged. I'm thankful for the remaining years we had even though I thought we would have at least a couple more. I don't know how I have managed these 6 months. Seems like only yesterday we were enjoying what was to be his last day, and at the same time, it feels like an eternity. I lost my soulmate and the caregiver role I had that had slowly creeped in and I embraced it with love and adjusted to the changes.Our bond grew even closer. I have been dying on the inside with my pain of missing him. I am not the same person I was before. I took care of myself and liked who I was while my husband was here. Now, I'm afraid of becoming someone I don't recognize.

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KMB,

Its strange how time seems to lose all meaning, isn't it? The last time I actually spent real quality time with my girlfriend was just over 4 weeks ago. It feels like it was yesterday, and at the same time it feels like it was an eternity ago. Time seems to have slowed to an absolute crawl. But yet, the time when she was still here feels like only yesterday, like I should still be able to call or text her.

Sometimes I think about our own perception of time. When we are kids we yearn to be adults, time seems to drag on and on even when we're having fun as kids. As adults time seems to fly by too fast a lot of the time. When we aren't in distress we sometimes look at time and go "how did it go so fast?" Even in the midst of grief, like, it feels like only a short time ago that my girl and I first got together, when it was actually almost 6 years ago. I can remember those days so clearly. It is clear that our perception or time passing is not static. Makes me think about our own existence and our own brains and how they perceive things. 

I know what you mean about the caregiver role. It doesn't even have to be medical issues. For me, my girlfriend was very headstrong at first, and sometimes she would go through hassles just to "do it on her own." As she grew, she started to lean on me more in a healthy way. Even little favors. "Would you grab breakfast on the way to work for me?" Even those things brought us together, I knew what her favorites were from different places. Even something as simple as knowing her favorite food and bringing it to her. I felt so honored....

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fzald, I get you. Time and our perceptions of it and life itself leaves me reflecting on many things. The 25 years with my husband seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye, but now, it crawls. But, also at the same time, I think back to the past 6 months. That time crawled but I also can't believe it has been 6 months. And from what I have read about Heaven, there is no time as we know it. What is 6 months here is probably a few hours there. But then , I've also read it can be the opposite. Won't know till we get there how this all works out and why we have to go through this. How I used to look at life, time, etc. is all up in the air now.

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KMB,

Type 1 Diabetes is hereditary.  Cholesterol is hereditary and Lipitor, a commonly prescribed drug for it, can cause Diabetes, Type II.  My whole family has it and we've all been on Lipitor, it makes you wonder.  George was Diabetic Type II also.

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KayC, That's the issue with medications. Dealing with the side effects. I have high cholesterol, supposedly inherited from my father's side. I was on Lipitor back in the 90's. I got muscle cramps so bad, I quit the drug. It was some years later, I read that Lipitor caused diabetes in women.I couldn't imagine my husband and I both dealing with the disease.

I guess our lives work out the way they are meant to. If it wasn't for the diabetes and how it destroys the body, my husband would still be here. At least, I"d like to think that. We just don't know how our lives are going to play out until we are actually experiencing it.

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