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divalite5

How to get through the day...

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My husband passed on August 4th 2017. He had cardiomyopathy and we went through the grueling procedures to get  placed on the Heart Transplant List. It finally happened that he was placed on the list in June 2017. He was told that he had a good chance of getting a heart due to his size, blood type etc. So we got our hopes up.... Sadly, a heart did not arrive in time and he passed away after the 3 surgeries he endured prior to the end. He passed from a massive stroke due to the blood thinners that they had put him on.

I/we really thought that he would get that heart transplant and so it was much more devastating when he passed... I can't seem to function other than doing what is absolutely necessary through out my days....

My family and friends were there during the first few weeks for support, however, they have their own lives to live. Does it get easier?  I cry all day long due to all of the memories that flood my mind and seeing all of his things and even places that we went together like the grocery store. How do you get through this?

Thank you for listening....

Ingrid

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M88   

Hi Ingrid - I am so, so sorry for your loss.  Sorry that your hopes of a donor heart in time did not happen.   I wish there were words to help ease your pain but sadly, there aren't any.  But know that all here understand the pain you are going through.  I hope we can support you and bring you some comfort.  It is 20 months since my darling was tragically taken from me and being a part of this forum helps me immensely.  

Grieving for a much loved soul-mate is torture but is something we have to endure.  Initially we get through it by living from just one hour to the next.  When we feel a little stronger,  we live just in the day we have.  We try very hard not to look at what tomorrow or our future may hold.  Of course when we are first widowed, fear of the future is very much on our minds, so we need to learn strategies and coping skills to help us endure this scary life we now find ourselves in.  The most helpful skill for us is to live just 'One day at a time'. 

Getting through this torturous grief and learning to live without our soul-mates is the most difficult thing we are ever likely to have to do.  Grief is hard, emotional work and takes a long time, but it does get easier.  The pain does lessen but so gradually we don't notice it until one day a wee flicker of a good feeling suprises us, or we discover we can mull over memories, or look at photos of our lost loved one and smile instead of cry. 

Loss of a much loved soul-mate batters our minds, bodies and souls something terrible - so badly we aren't capable of doing more than just survive each day.   Many of us struggle to perform simple tasks that take us out of our homes and put us in contact with other people but this is a normal part of grief.  We have to take good care of ourselves and not push ourselves too hard, too soon and do what causes us the least anxiety and pain. 

Sending strength and hugs X 

 

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Judy S.   

Ingrid, I'm just so terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. My husband died in June right after a carotid artery surgery that his Dr's thought would be successful and he would be home in a day or two after. My husband and I were both confident that he would come home and be feeling better, instead I got a terrible phone call. So, in so many ways I understand how you feel. I realize a heart transplant is much different, but it's still the feeling of as you say - getting your hopes up. It's unbelievable and shocking to hear that they have passed. I still feel that way, and it will soon be coming up three months. It seems like yesterday and it's still very raw. 

Anyway, I know that the first while after my husband died I really had no idea what I was doing. Good grief! I still don't, my brain isn't quite on deck yet. Might take awhile I think.In fact it will mostly likely take a very long while.  I came here to this forum just to read, because everyone here understands.  My family, friends have been wonderful but like you say, they don't hang around forever. I"m also finding that if I really want to talk about my husband I often have to talk to myself :) And I do want to talk about him,  a lot! 

I know what you mean about seeing your husband's things and going places like the grocery store. Now, when I go to the grocery store and I go down the aisle with toothpaste and aspirin, etc., I always see the antacids - my husband ( Allen ) had antacids on his permanent list of things for me to pick up. ( he wasn't able to get around well to shop on his own ) So, I feel like crying when I see the antacids! 

I'm not sure how we get through this, but somehow we just do. I have a lot of faith, and honestly I don't know how I would have survived without it. But I do know everyone has their own ways. I hope you will post here again, it's a good place to be. 

 

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Hello M88 and Judy!

Thank you so much for the replies..... It is very comforting to hear from someone that actually understands the overwhelming grief and pain that I feel right now.....  I have found in my very brief time since my husband/best friend passed away, that most people feel really uncomfortable around me and try to make small talk with me to cheer me up. I don't know how to let them know that I really don't feel it necessary to say anything at all..... In fact, it is just comforting to have someone just give a heartfelt hug and leave it at that....  I appreciate their effort, however I feel like I just want to be alone and talk to my husband (Ronald) My daughters think that I should make the effort to get out and do "normal" things like shopping. But like I had mentioned, I tried that and I had to leave the store due to having such an emotional melt down going down a certain aisle causing me to have a major trigger memory... 

I am just so happy to have found this forum. I feel less lonely....

Hugs to you.....

Also, I am also so very sorry for your loss..... 

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M88   

Hi Ingrid - thank you. Yes, it certainly is comforting when you can 'talk' with others who really understand the emotions we are feeling and I'm glad you found us early in your grief.  I was a late comer to the forum.  Partly because I was so busy dealing with other issues but also because it never entered my mind there would be such a thing on the net.  

I really am sorry your daughters assume you'd be capable of doing usual everyday things at this early stage of your grief.  That puts undue pressure on you, I'm sure. We do grow to be assertive and let folk know when we aren't up to doing some things.  It's a shame we can't include a list of 'widowhood needs'  and 'things you shouldn't say' on the back of the Service Sheet but then we have no clue ourselves at that stage of what our needs will be.  

I'm not sure how one would go about avoiding the 'small talk'.  Because of the public manner in which my hubby was killed, that isn't something I've had to deal with.  But like you, I do need my alone time.  

I find reading through posts here, even the older ones, comforting and helpful.

Know we have all come together here to help each other where we can.  

Sending you strength and hugs X 

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KayC   

Ingrid,

Welcome here, you've found a very caring group of people that "get it", you'll find compassion and understanding here.

I, too, lost my husband to a heart attack, he had just found out about his heart problems that weekend (I was away at my sisters' reunion when he suffered his heart attack and went into the hospital), and he was awaiting a five bypass surgery when he had another heart attack and died.  They'd already discovered that he'd sustained severe heart damage from a previous heart attack that had been undiagnosed.  This caught us totally off guard.  When I left Friday I had no idea he'd die that weekend.  Sunday, Father's Day, he was gone.  That was 12 years ago.

You ask if it gets any easier.  I guess "easier" is a relative term, I've heard it said that easier isn't a term they'd use, but for lack of a way to put it, I'd say it does because we do eventually adjust and get used to this and learn how to cope with the changes it's meant to our lives.  BUT nothing about our life is the same, it strikes us in a million ways and even though we get used to it, it's not what we'd choose by any means, and we continue to miss them each and every day of our lives.  It's hard at best.  

It helps to do one day at a time.  I want to share an article I wrote of what I've learned over the last 12 years about doing this 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   
On 9/8/2017 at 5:44 PM, divalite5 said:

I can't seem to function other than doing what is absolutely necessary through out my days....

My family and friends were there during the first few weeks for support, however, they have their own lives to live. Does it get easier?  I cry all day long due to all of the memories that flood my mind and seeing all of his things and even places that we went together like the grocery store. How do you get through this?

Ingrid

I'm so sorry for your loss and know exactly what you are experiencing.  I know what you mean when you say you can't seem to function.  Same here. When my Charles passed on, it was the biggest shock of my life.  Nothing prepared me for it; I lived each day wondering how in the world I was going to get through it, and then I remembered, my Charles would expect and want me to. And so I do; not the same as I was before; but differently.  It is shocking when your world falls to pieces and everything and everyone around you carries on with life. You wonder (I know I did) how can the birds continue to sing? How can people carry on loving life? It's like you have become frozen in time and are watching life like a movie. But as the weeks and months roll by, life becomes more real again,but you will never forget that point in time where your life stood still.  I kind of reminds me of the move, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" - hope I'm not dating myself :)

I wouldn't say it gets easier, it gets different.  You will never ever get over him; it doesn't matter how long ago it was or how old he was or how he passed.  You will learn how to live with the pain every moment of your remaining life.   As each day starts without him, it will tear you apart, but what makes it bearable,  know you are carrying him in your heart.

I've learned that friends and family, no matter how good their intentions are, come and go; the only person you have to live with for the rest of your life is you.  I think the best way to avoid disappointment is not to expect anything from anyone with one exception - God.  No matter what we face or go through in life, HE will be there with us.  Only HE can turn our worst tragedies into victories.  Cry? I have personal tsunamis that flood me, but I think it's one of many healthy ways to grieve.  Crying is like a thundershower for the soul.  You know how the air feels so wonderful after a good rain;  you feel good after a good cry (at least I do).  Don't be too hard on yourself; just experience your feelings and know that your tears are announcing change in your life. Have faith that things will get better because at the end of the day we only need hope and strength; hope to know things will get better and strength to hold on until they do.

How do you get through this, you ask?  One second, one moment, one hour, one day, one month, one year at a time.  Grieve your husband, after all, this man was your world and part of you; cry for every reason and no reason; Breathe; be grateful for the love you shared; count your blessings, not your problems.  Know that grief takes time; so take whatever time you need.  I know you've been through hell, but the good thing is you don't have to stay there.

I'm sorry for the long response, and I hope you continue to post here.  Know that you we on this website are here for you whenever you feel the need to post.  God bless and keep you, keep us all safe. 

I'm sending you a virtual **Hug**

 

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Hello Kay, First of all let me say sorry for your loss.... 

Thank you for the extremely helpful advice. It is hard to realize that I will miss him every day for the rest of my life.... It is also hard to imagine that the intensity will lessen eventually... 

I did take down his photos and then put them back up. I also didn't want to move anything that belonged to him anywhere in the house like the bathroom, kitchen, garage... I thought, at first, that if I moved his things out of sight that it wouldn't be so painful to always have to look at them, however, then I realized it was more painful to remove them like he didn't exist at all.... It's only been a month for me and I just can't imagine living in this kind of hell every day... I do make myself get out little bits of time and also have a great friend who happens to be a therapist (but sadly moved to Hawaii last year) but there is still FaceTime so that helps. Also, I was contemplating getting a little dog to keep me company..... 

I really appreciate you taking the time to write to me with your wisdom and experience. I can't express in words how much that helps me!

Big Hug!

 

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Dear Francine, 

Thank you for your words of comfort.... I so appreciate hearing from all of you on this forum. It feels wonderful to finally hear my own thoughts coming from other people that have gone or are going through what I am going through. I have felt so alone with my grief and pain, feeling that none of my family or friends had any idea how it feels. How could they? They haven't had the experience. 

It's true that every morning that I wake up I feel torn apart all over again.... Once the realization hits me that Ron is really gone and I will never hear his jokes or singing again. I do believe that I will see him again after my life ends here and I move on to the next. That does give me comfort... But living each day without him is unbearable at this time. I am so hoping that I will be able to overcome the feelings of overwhelming grief and be able to function a bit better as time moves on. It's true that I have to live just one moment at a time. It's hard to do but it does help when I can do it. I also try not to think of the memories yet.... It's too soon. 

Thank you again for taking the time to write such a heartfelt message to me.... It really meant a lot to me and helped tremendously. It is a good feeling to feel connected to these wonderful people on this forum. I am so grateful that I was guided here....

Hugs to you!

 

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KayC   
13 hours ago, divalite5 said:

did take down his photos and then put them back up. I also didn't want to move anything that belonged to him anywhere in the house like the bathroom, kitchen, garage... I thought, at first, that if I moved his things out of sight that it wouldn't be so painful to always have to look at them, however, then I realized it was more painful to remove them like he didn't exist at all.

I left pictures up, took them down, up, down, depending on whether they hurt me or brought me comfort.  Eventually I left them up for good.

I remember when I was out of work and struggling financially, I sold things on eBay to be able to make ends meet.  I looked around for something to sell and saw his leatherman (knife)...I hadn't used it and didn't need it, but it was his, that made it hard to let go of.  I remember the pain I felt when it sold and how hard it was to mail it to the buyer.  It was excruciating pain, it felt like losing another piece of him...and it had been over six years since he'd died.

Take your time with things, there's no rush to change anything or clean anything out.  you can go as fast or slow as YOU want to, there are no set rules and it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it's what YOU think that matters.  You are the one going through this grief.

You are now part of a grief family, here on this forum.  We all wish we were meeting under different circumstances, an RVing club or something, WITH our spouse, but regardless of the reason for it, we are with a good caring group of people here.

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