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Lost Wife then Son then Fiancé

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5 years ago I lost my wife to breast cancer, and 6 months ago I also lost my first son to cancer. 

Pain on top of pain. Loss on top of loss. Everyone thinks I’m handling it well and can move on easily. But deep inside I’m in so much pain. Would breakdown in the car on my way to work. Sometimes I randomly feel like a wreck and would excuse myself to go to the restroom and cry. 

I was engaged to wed in 12 mos with my GF of 3yrs. But I broke up with my her because I’m not in the right state of mind to plan such a major life event. It’s been a roller coaster for the last 5 years and I feel that getting married again is too much at this point. I just want to rest and experience stillness for a change. 

My fiancé wants me to move on and get married, she thinks that would take me out of this misery and begin a new chapter. I tried but just can’t get myself to move on and restart. I’m not sure what to do. Just tired.


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Sorry I didn't see your post sooner, I'm sorry for all your loss. Grief is a really heavy thing, and your heart has a lot of things to work through. Take your time, one day at a time to process everything and don't rush into anything your gut tells you is wrong.  As we grow older, we are taught to ignore gut instincts and intuitions about things.  Don't be too hard on your girlfriend as she does not understand the pain you hold inside or how much we tend to just be paddling as hard as we can to stay afloat. She can feel sympathy for you, but can't empathize with you because she hasn't been in the same kind of situation. She might not understand how you can't just move on, and no one really will but you.

When I lost my son, it was the loneliest thing I have ever felt in my life and I am married. We felt torn asunder and did not want to share with each other because we were both grieving.  It was so difficult and we are just now getting to a place where we can be comfortable talking about everything and not feeling like there is a black hole in the middle of the room threatening to suck us in. And grief is like that a lot. People cannot put themselves in your shoes because it is often too painful for them to think about.  It gets better as time progresses, but if you are feeling like you are not ready then you should follow your heart. Perhaps you can see a pre-marriage counselor or pastor/priest to work through the issues before you put it all down on paper so that you can find a way to connect and perhaps she can better understand what you are going through. Relationships are hard after loss because of the journey you are on, coupled with fear and anxiety of losing someone else that you love. It's a very rough road. 

If she won't go see a counselor or pastor (if you are religious) with you, then you can always go by yourself to talk through the issues you are having and to understand your doubts about rushing through things.  It's all very rough, and you should be easy on yourself and try not to feel the weight of other peoples expectations of you as you walk this new journey.

I am so sorry for your pain and loss,


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great advice margo as always.

tonyjohn there is a general piece of advice that goes along with bereavement that it is best not to make any big or life altering decisions in the first year because you are not ready. Since you found love again after your wife you seem to have made some peace with her loss and felt ready to commit again which is a good sign. However.  It is only 6 months since you lost your son and since it was to cancer there was probably a long time of treatments and ups and downs with the hope of remission. It must have been a very traumatic time for you. I am quite surprised at your gf's assumption that getting married will magically heal you of your grief, however people that have not experienced the losses you have will have no real understanding of your pain. I get that you are tired, we all are tired, grief sucks the life out of your very bones. taking time to reevaluate where you are seems very sensible and the decision to split with your fiancee appears to be because you recognize you are not at your best and able to commit fully to her until you have dealt with the hurts in your life. I agree counselling is an excellent idea it can help you to focus on yourself and begin to heal whether you are able to reconnect with your gf or not in the future. You recognize she deserves a whole man not half of one and your honesty is touching. if she is right for you she will wait and let you heal at your own pace if not then you will know she was not the person you need as a life partner. Either way taking time to figure things out is a really valuable action. i wish you the best



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