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JenC

Lost without him

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JenC   

7 weeks and 3 days ago I lost the love of my life.  Matthew and I had been together for almost 19 years and had been married for almost 16 of them.  We have a 15 year old daughter and an 11 year old son.  

On April 22nd at 1:30pm I received a call from my son who was home with his dad while my daughter and i were in Europe on a trip with her soccer team.  He had found Matthew collapsed in our bedroom ensuite.  I had him call 911 but it was too late and there wasn't anything the paramedics could do.  I don't remember a lot of what happened after that. We had two moms from the team that were nurses and they gave me medication to calm me.   I know I talked to the paramedics and the police and arranged for my mom and brother to come stay with my son until I could get home and I somehow told my daughter what happened and that we were going home.  We took a 4 hour cab ride to the airport and then one flight to London and then another to Canada.  Thankfully one of the dads of one of the other girls from her team flew home with my daughter and I as he didn't want us going alone.  

It was all so sudden and unexpected.  As far as we knew he was so healthy.  He had just turned 40 a week prior and barely ever even got a cold.  We still don't know what happened and are waiting for the results of an autopsy.  The paramedics said they figured he had probably had a heart attack but we have to wait and see.  

Since that day I am so lost here without him.  I miss him so much.  We had so many hopes and dreams that will now never come true.  I don't know how to do this without him.  He was my best friend and partner in everything and I just feel numb all the time.  I'm trying my hardest to pretend I'm okay and be here for my kids but I feel like I'm drowning.  How do you get through a loss like this.  I just don't know.

 

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KayC   

Jen,

I'm so sorry, at 40 you don't expect this to happen, especially with no warning.  I felt blindsided when it happened to my husband just five days after he turned 51.  This is what I've learned on my 12 year journey:

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey.

  • Take one day at a time.  The Bible says each day has enough trouble of it's own, I've found that to be true, so don't bite off more than you can chew.  It can be challenging enough just to tackle today.  I tell myself, I only have to get through today.  Then I get up tomorrow and do it all over again.  To think about the "rest of my life" invites anxiety.
  • Don't be afraid, grief may not end but it evolves.  The intensity lessens eventually.
  • Visit your doctor.  Tell them about your loss, any troubles sleeping, suicidal thoughts, anxiety attacks.  They need to know these things in order to help you through it...this is all part of grief.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in early grief.  If they're reoccurring, call a suicide hotline.  I felt that way early on, but then realized it wasn't that I wanted to die so much as I didn't want to go through what I'd have to face if I lived.  Back to taking a day at a time.
  • Try not to isolate too much.  
  • There's a balance to reach between taking time to process our grief, and avoiding it...it's good to find that balance for yourself.  We can't keep so busy as to avoid our grief, it has a way of haunting us, finding us, and demanding we pay attention to it!  Some people set aside time every day to grieve.  I didn't have to, it searched and found me!
  • Self-care is extremely important, more so than ever.  That person that would have cared for you is gone, now you're it...learn to be your own best friend, your own advocate, practice self-care.  You'll need it more than ever.
  • Recognize that your doctor isn't trained in grief, find a professional grief counselor that is.  We need help finding ourselves through this maze of grief, knowing where to start, etc.  They have not only the knowledge, but the resources.]
  • In time, consider a grief support group.  If your friends have not been through it themselves, they may not understand what you're going through, it helps to find someone somewhere who DOES "get it". 
  • Be patient, give yourself time.  There's no hurry or timetable about cleaning out belongings, etc.  They can wait, you can take a year, ten years, or never deal with it.  It's okay, it's what YOU are comfortable with that matters.  
  • Know that what we are comfortable with may change from time to time.  That first couple of years I put his pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether it made me feel better or worse.  Finally, they were up to stay.
  • Consider a pet.  Not everyone is a pet fan, but I've found that my dog helps immensely.  It's someone to love, someone to come home to, someone happy to see me, someone that gives me a purpose...I have to come home and feed him.  Besides, they're known to relieve stress.  Well maybe not in the puppy stage when they're chewing up everything, but there's older ones to adopt if you don't relish that stage.
  • Make yourself get out now and then.  You may not feel interest in anything, things that interested you before seem to feel flat now.  That's normal.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone just a wee bit now and then.  Eating out alone, going to a movie alone or church alone, all of these things are hard to do at first.  You may feel you flunked at it, cried throughout, that's okay, you did it, you tried, and eventually you get a little better at it.  If I waited until I had someone to do things with I'd be stuck at home a lot.
  • Keep coming here.  We've been through it and we're all going through this together.
  • Look for joy in every day.  It will be hard to find at first, but in practicing this, it will change your focus so you can embrace what IS rather than merely focusing on what ISN'T.  It teaches you to live in the present and appreciate fully.  You have lost your big joy in life, and all other small joys may seem insignificant in comparison, but rather than compare what used to be to what is, learn the ability to appreciate each and every small thing that comes your way...a rainbow, a phone call from a friend, unexpected money, a stranger smiling at you, whatever the small joy, embrace it.  It's an art that takes practice and is life changing if you continue it.
  • Eventually consider volunteering.  It helps us when we're outward focused, it's a win/win.

(((hugs))) Praying for you today.

 

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Francine   
6 hours ago, JenC said:

It was all so sudden and unexpected.  As far as we knew he was so healthy.  He had just turned 40 a week prior and barely ever even got a cold.  We still don't know what happened and are waiting for the results of an autopsy.  The paramedics said they figured he had probably had a heart attack but we have to wait and see.  

Since that day I am so lost here without him.  I miss him so much.  We had so many hopes and dreams that will now never come true.  I don't know how to do this without him.  He was my best friend and partner in everything and I just feel numb all the time.  I'm trying my hardest to pretend I'm okay and be here for my kids but I feel like I'm drowning.  How do you get through a loss like this.  I just don't know.

I am so sorry for your loss and I truly know your pain.  it must have been devastating for you and the children to find out this way.   I lost the love of my life of 45 years to a unexpected heart attack.   I truly can say I know what you are feeling.  My Charles was the love of my life, my best friend, my life, my world .  He's been gone for 6 months now and my mind still finds it hard to accept the fact that he is gone - and not coming back.  Like you,  I was not prepared for this; I had no idea of what to do; my emotions were haywired; and all I wanted to do was find a hole and crawl into it and hide until this nightmare went away; until that unrelenting pain ceased; until my world was *right* again. 

You are going to be OK; not today, not tomorrow, not next week, perhaps not in the next couple of months - but you will get through this.  Of course you miss him, you're suppose to.  I can't put in words how much I miss my Charles.   I'm 6 months in and when I wake in the morning, after saying good morning to my Charles and telling him how much I love him, I ask myself how I am going to get through this day without him; after getting dress and prepare to start my day, I wonder how will I go on without him; as the day slowly slips away, I remember how much he made me laugh and smile without him; and as the day comes to an end, I know in my heart that I could not have made it through the day without knowing he never left me; he has been right by my side, in spirit.

Stop pretending you're OK - because you're not - and that's OK.  Often times its easier to pretend that you're fine than to admit the pain you're experiencing is killing you.  I always thought I needed to the strong one for my children's sake (mind you - they're grown) But still I thought I needed to smile, when I wanted to cry; talk when I wanted to be quiet; and pretend I was happy, when I wasn't.   WRONG!  I see a grief counselor and he stressed to me that I shouldn't ever fake my feelings of being OK; that I was only hurting myself.  I think if we feel (as I did) we need to be that anchor, then we must make sure we're strong enough not to drift.  To do that, we must be real with ourselves, our feelings and what we are going through - don't let it consume us - but keep a Balance. 

I get it - you feel like you're drowning - I felt the same way also; but we don't drown by falling into water; we drown by staying there;  or perhaps trying to be everyone else's anchor.  God takes us into troubled waters not to drown us, but to cleanse us.  For me, missing my Charles comes in waves - tonight I'm drowning.

How do you get though this you ask - one moment at a time, one day at a time; one week at a time, one month at a time and so on  By taking itsy bitsy tiny steps, then baby steps, then larger ones, and before you realize it, you would have taken a giant step - and then a leap.

I'm truly sorry you had to visit a website like this one; but know that we are all here to just try and send a little sunshine in each others lives.  Stay strong and never give up; today is hard, tomorrow will be worst, but very soon, the sun will shine again.

Keeping you uplifted in prayer.  God bless you, God bless us all and keep us safe.

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KayC   

Our pastor always says "It's okay to not be okay."  Because we all have times when we're not.

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JenC   
16 hours ago, KayC said:

Jen,

I'm so sorry, at 40 you don't expect this to happen, especially with no warning.  I felt blindsided when it happened to my husband just five days after he turned 51.  This is what I've learned on my 12 year journey:

TIPS TO MAKE YOUR WAY THROUGH GRIEF

There's no way to sum up how to go on in a simple easy answer, but I encourage you to read the other threads here, little by little you will learn how to make your way through this.  I do want to give you some pointers though, of some things I've learned on my journey. 

 

Thank you for the tips Kay.  I feel like I'm still in shock.  I wake up every morning and it hits me again that I'm never going to wake up next to him again.  I just can't wrap my head around why this could have happened.  I know he didn't want to leave us but I'm so mad at him for leaving.  

 

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JenC   
9 hours ago, Francine said:

Stop pretending you're OK - because you're not - and that's OK.  Often times its easier to pretend that you're fine than to admit the pain you're experiencing is killing you.  I always thought I needed to the strong one for my children's sake (mind you - they're grown) But still I thought I needed to smile, when I wanted to cry; talk when I wanted to be quiet; and pretend I was happy, when I wasn't.   WRONG!  I see a grief counselor and he stressed to me that I shouldn't ever fake my feelings of being OK; that I was only hurting myself.  I think if we feel (as I did) we need to be that anchor, then we must make sure we're strong enough not to drift.  To do that, we must be real with ourselves, our feelings and what we are going through - don't let it consume us - but keep a Balance. 

I get it - you feel like you're drowning - I felt the same way also; but we don't drown by falling into water; we drown by staying there;  or perhaps trying to be everyone else's anchor.  God takes us into troubled waters not to drown us, but to cleanse us.  For me, missing my Charles comes in waves - tonight I'm drowning.

How do you get though this you ask - one moment at a time, one day at a time; one week at a time, one month at a time and so on  By taking itsy bitsy tiny steps, then baby steps, then larger ones, and before you realize it, you would have taken a giant step - and then a leap.

Thanks for your reply Francine. It helps to know I'm not alone and can come here and talk to people that get it. My friends and family try so hard to be supportive and I really do appreciate that but they don't get it.  They haven't ever been through it.  I get a lot of the if my spouse died I know I'd .....   but they have no idea what they would do.  Or another friend that has been divorced a couple years that will say she gets it because she may as well be raising her kids alone too since her ex isn't helping much.  But they don't understand.  Her son doesn't wake up in the middle of the night and come crying to her because he has the image of dads lifeless body in his head and he can't stop thinking about it.  Her teenager doesn't try to shut her out and get angry at her anytime she tries to help her because they don't know how to deal with the loss. They just don't get it.  But they all try.  

My kids and I are seeing a grief counsellor once a week.  My daughter says she is fine and doesn't need to go but we all know she isn't fine and so I don't give her a choice on counselling.  I hope in time she will accept that it is okay to need help.  We all do.  Thankfully my son is more open to the counselling and doesn't argue about it. 

I do know that I shouldn't pretend to be okay but I feel like if I don't I will never get out of bed.  I have to be here for my kids.  They are the only reason I feel like I'm even managing to get through each day.  Every day right now is a struggle and I think your right.  I need to just take it one step at a time.  

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KayC   

A lot of us have experienced being mad at their leaving, even though it wasn't their choice.  Feelings are just feelings, they don't have to make sense, don't have to be rational, it's okay to feel that way, we get through it.

You talk about your divorced friend comparing her situation to yours, no they don't understand it's not the same because yours can never see their dad again and nothing can change that whereas hers can still have a relationship, if not not, in the future.  Very big difference.

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JenC   

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one with these feelings.  I wish none of us had to go through this but we don't have a choice.  I never knew I could feel so many emotions at one time.  Before Matthew passed away I never would have understood what people go through losing their spouse.  Now I just wish I didn't.  

I know I'm in the early stages now but I don't know how I can spend the rest of my life without him.  We were supposed to grow old together.  Travel the world and enjoy our lives.  Now once the kids graduate high school and move on to university I will be alone.  

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Francine   
11 hours ago, JenC said:

My friends and family try so hard to be supportive and I really do appreciate that but they don't get it.  They haven't ever been through it.  I get a lot of the if my spouse died I know I'd .....   but they have no idea what they would do.   I do know that I shouldn't pretend to be okay but I feel like if I don't I will never get out of bed.  I have to be here for my kids.  They are the only reason I feel like I'm even managing to get through each day.  Every day right now is a struggle

Sometimes people won't understand how you feel until it happens to them and they experience your pain. It is difficult for others to fully understand the depth of the loss you feel and for the love you shared with your husband; even those closest to you may wonder why you can't seem to get over it. Maybe if people realize that God gave us mouths that close and ears that don't  - should tell them something. - on second thought, maybe not.

Of course you must be there for the kids; but before you can be there for anyone, you must take care of self first. Open up and talk about your feelings, but only when you're ready; don't be afraid to let yourself be vulnerable; allow your friends to be there for you; get the rest you need, eat balanced meals and lighten up your schedule. 

When someone we care about dies, we adults may feel so empty that we haven’t much desire to think about anything except what has happened to us. It’s only natural to feel we haven’t much to give anyone else, and yet, at a time like this, our children do need us more than ever.  It may be difficult to know just what children need at such times, but very often the same things that helps us will help them, — simple things, like hugging, talking, and having quiet times together.  I think by including our children in our own tradi­tional family ways of coping with grief is one of the best things we can do for them and ourselves. It’s easy to forget that children can be having some of the same feelings we’re having— sadness, loneliness, even anger and guilt. Knowing that those feelings are natural and normal for all of us can make it easier to share them with each other.

I know it is a struggle, but there are hidden blessings in every struggle. Until we are broken, we don't know what we're made of.  I truly believe nothing can happen without God's permission and God's will.  HE will not allow a difficulty unless HE has a divine purpose for it.  Keep your peace and trust in HIM, HE will bring you out better than you were before.

Continue to post Jen, we're here for you an you are in my prayers.  Stay strong because you are strong; .know that you are blessed and highly favored.

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KMB   

JenC, I am deeply sorry. It is extra hard and difficult to cope with losing a spouse, when you are still raising children. You have to be there for them, on top of being there for yourself. It is good to hear that all of you will be attending counseling. Life is going to be overwhelming for you for a long time. Just take it minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Keep coming to the forum here. There are many wonderful people here who will support and give you compassionate encouragement. You have already received some of that compassion here. Sending you prayers of peace and comfort.

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KayC   

Jen, try to take one day at a time and not think about the whole "rest of your life", all that does is invite anxiety, we can't change the future, only deal with today.

 

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Eagle-96   

Jen, I lost my wife to a sudden heart attack on April 1st of this year. She was only 46. We had our whole lives in front of us. I know some of what your son is going through as I discovered my wife on the floor having a heart attack. I fought so hard to save her and felt helpless to see her slipping away from me. I still see those images in my mind as your son does. It is likely very hard on your son as he sees this scenario play out in his mind over and over. I wouldn't wish that scenario on anyone, let alone an 11 year old child. My prayers are with him as he struggles through this.

As for the people that tell you what they would do or how they would feel if this happened to them. They are just clueless. NOTHING can prepare someone for this. There are no words of advice or things someone can do to prepare themselves mentally or physically for the loss of a spouse. I find it hard to even describe what I am going through to people that haven't experienced it. Even if I was as articulate as Shakespeare I still wouldn't do it justice.

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JenC   
7 hours ago, Eagle-96 said:

Jen, I lost my wife to a sudden heart attack on April 1st of this year. She was only 46. We had our whole lives in front of us. I know some of what your son is going through as I discovered my wife on the floor having a heart attack. I fought so hard to save her and felt helpless to see her slipping away from me. I still see those images in my mind as your son does. It is likely very hard on your son as he sees this scenario play out in his mind over and over. I wouldn't wish that scenario on anyone, let alone an 11 year old child. My prayers are with him as he struggles through this.

As for the people that tell you what they would do or how they would feel if this happened to them. They are just clueless. NOTHING can prepare someone for this. There are no words of advice or things someone can do to prepare themselves mentally or physically for the loss of a spouse. I find it hard to even describe what I am going through to people that haven't experienced it. Even if I was as articulate as Shakespeare I still wouldn't do it justice.

I'm so sorry for your loss.  It breaks my heart that my son had to be the one to find him.  It just isn't fair that not only did he lose his dad but he had to find him like that.  I have so many regrets.  Things I wish I'd done and said or not done and said.  i so wish I had been home with him and not half way around the world.  Maybe I would have noticed something was wrong and been able to get him help.  I know it doesn't help to think about these things but it is so hard not to play every scenario over and over in my head and think about what I could have done differently.

 

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JenC   
13 hours ago, KayC said:

Jen, try to take one day at a time and not think about the whole "rest of your life", all that does is invite anxiety, we can't change the future, only deal with today.

 

I try but it's so hard not to.  

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KMB   

JenC,

8 hours ago, JenC said:

 I know it doesn't help to think about these things but it is so hard not to play every scenario over and over in my head and think about what I could have done differently.

It is so hard not to go through the*what ifs*. But, we do and we do it for a long time. It is our minds way of trying to go back in time and changing the outcome. Those thoughts do fade away over time as we process what happened and our minds adapt. Take it day by day, Jen. We are all praying for you and your family.

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KayC   
9 hours ago, JenC said:

I try but it's so hard not to

The thoughts come unbidden, but when they do, try to turn them back and remind yourself to stay in today.  It's something I still have to practice today but it helps.  Otherwise my anxiety would be full blown all the time.

 

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JenC   

My emotions are everywhere right now.  I've started back at work but only 2 days a week for now.  I work only with 5 other guys and had only seen one of them since my husband passed.  The first 3 I saw after getting back almost acted like nothing had happened.  They just pretended everything was normal and just said hi.  I was feeling sad that no one was acknowledging my loss.  Then I see the last guy and he comes in my office to tell me he's sorry about my husband and to let him know if I need anything.  My eyes fill with tears and I thank him but the whole time I'm thinking stop talking to me.  I can't handle this.  I don't know what I want.  Do I want them to acknowledge it or not.  I really don't know.

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Lulu   

JenC, I can relate. The first week back to work, some coworkers would come to my office to tell me how sorry they were for my loss and I'd start crying. Now no one brings it up and I think do they think I'm OK and over it? Are they trying to avoid the subject so as not to me cry. Do they not care. All I want is for someone to ask me how I'm doing and mean it. Let me cry and tell them about my Lily. But no one does. 

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KMB   

Lulu,

16 minutes ago, Lulu said:

JenC, I can relate. The first week back to work, some coworkers would come to my office to tell me how sorry they were for my loss and I'd start crying. Now no one brings it up and I think do they think I'm OK and over it? Are they trying to avoid the subject so as not to me cry. Do they not care. All I want is for someone to ask me how I'm doing and mean it. Let me cry and tell them about my Lily. But no one does. 

That is all we want is for someone to care and really listen. I have the same issue. Only a couple people in my life willing to stand by me totally in my misery. That is how this forum has become my life line and why we should become our own best friend. I also talk to my husband out loud when no one else is around to hear. I firmly believe he can hear me and it does bring me comfort that he listens, even though I cannot hear any replies.

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JenC   
1 hour ago, Lulu said:

JenC, I can relate. The first week back to work, some coworkers would come to my office to tell me how sorry they were for my loss and I'd start crying. Now no one brings it up and I think do they think I'm OK and over it? Are they trying to avoid the subject so as not to me cry. Do they not care. All I want is for someone to ask me how I'm doing and mean it. Let me cry and tell them about my Lily. But no one does. 

Exactly.  I don't know what I want.  I want them to acknowledge his death and how huge it is but I also just want to be left alone.  It's so confusing and I'm sure they also don't know what to say or do.  

How long did you wait to go back to work?   I feel like maybe I went back too soon but I'm worried they will need to replace me if I don't.   

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JenC   
1 hour ago, KMB said:

Lulu,

That is all we want is for someone to care and really listen. I have the same issue. Only a couple people in my life willing to stand by me totally in my misery. That is how this forum has become my life line and why we should become our own best friend. I also talk to my husband out loud when no one else is around to hear. I firmly believe he can hear me and it does bring me comfort that he listens, even though I cannot hear any replies.

I talk to my husband too.  Usually while I'm alone driving.  I feel like I need to keep talking to him.  I so hope he can hear me.  He was the only person in my life I shared everything with.  It's so hard to not have him here when I need him the most.  He was my rock.  

My family is really supportive.  My brother has even moved in with me since Matthew passed away and says he is here as long as we need him.  But they just don't understand how I'm feeling.  I feel like I'm just going through the motions of life and not really even living anymore.  When he died a part of me died that day too.  

I'm so glad I found this page and can come here and talk to others that understand when I talk about things that I really can't even explain properly.  There are no words to describe what I'm feeling adequately.  

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Lulu   
9 hours ago, JenC said:

Exactly.  I don't know what I want.  I want them to acknowledge his death and how huge it is but I also just want to be left alone.  It's so confusing and I'm sure they also don't know what to say or do.  

How long did you wait to go back to work?   I feel like maybe I went back too soon but I'm worried they will need to replace me if I don't.   

I waited a week to go back to work. Unfortunately, Lily was only my 'best friend' to the outside world, so I would have lost my job if I stayed away longer. So I had that pressure to return to work and mourn my soulmate, my partner, the most important person in my life.  Believe me I didn't want to be there and was miserable but I had no choice. I grieve in silence to the world. Once it's time to go home, you'd think I'd be glad but I have nothing to go home to. I cry on my way home. No one is waiting, no one is calling me to see why I'm running late, no one will be there to notice if I make it home safely or not. On my way home yesterday I just sobbed so hard and cried out to my Lily and to God that I can't take this anymore. Why did she not get better. Why does no one care or reach out to me. Why am I so alone. The weekends are terrible. I woke up this morning and thought to myself why bother. There's nothing and no one for me to get up for. 

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KMB   

Lulu, We will be your family here on this forum. We care and listen. I'm just as lonely as you. Even though my daughter moved back in, it is still my husband that I need the most. I also do not like getting up in the mornings. I do it for my pets and my daughter is self-sufficient. Still, there is nothing or no one that is going to replace the person I yearn the most for. I know how hard this is for you Lulu. I'm praying for you, for all of us.  (HUGS)

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KayC   
18 hours ago, JenC said:

Do I want them to acknowledge it or not.

You have mixed feelings and for good reasons.  You don't want to have people act like he never existed, he did!  But by the same token, you're emotionally fragile right now so it's hard to deal with so much emotion in front of people.  

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JenC   
5 hours ago, Lulu said:

 Why does no one care or reach out to me. Why am I so alone. The weekends are terrible. I woke up this morning and thought to myself why bother. There's nothing and no one for me to get up for. 

Lulu,

I'm so sorry you are going through this.  I'm sorry we all are.  None of us asked for this.  I thought I had my whole life to spend with Matthew.   Now I'll spend my whole life missing him. 

I hope this group helps you feel like you are not completely alone. We understand what you are going through and you can come here and post anytime. 

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