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mfreedmn97

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I am so sorry for you loss!  Cancer is a destroyer and so hard to watch, right now my best friend has it and has chosen not to fight it with chemo/surgery, it scares me for her but I have to accept and support her in her chosen way.

I'm amazed you were able to post this fresh in, it took me a couple of weeks to go looking for a site and then I found griefhealing.com it was a huge help to me but I added this one a few years later as it gets more traffic, the other one has a wonderful adm/counselor with tons of info, articles, etc. that was helpful over the years.

Thankfully no decisions need to be made immediately, those are questions that can take a while for you to figure out, right now it's good just to remember to breathe, to get up and dressed, remember to eat something & drink some water.  My daughter followed me around with food/water for a few days!

It's been 16 years since I suddenly lost my soulmate and best friend, we didn't meet until our mid 40s and he died barely 51 so I felt very gypped, shocked, but I feel thankful to have had him in my life for any length of time and am so glad to have had his love, and he mine, he was the world to me.

It helps to express yourself with others that "get it" and understand, so I'm glad you made your way here and hope you'll continue to read and post here.

I want to share an article I wrote of the things I've found helpful over the years, in the hopes something will be of help to you either now or on down the road.

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.  Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-273-8255 or www.crisis textline.org or US and Canada: text 741741 UK: text 85258 | Ireland: text 50808
  • Give yourself permission to smile.  It is not our grief that binds us to them, but our love, and that continues still.
  • 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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That's okay, we're a close knit group, a "grief family" of sorts, we'd love to see the picture/s of your granddaughter!

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foreverhis
5 hours ago, KayC said:

That's okay, we're a close knit group, a "grief family" of sorts, we'd love to see the picture/s of your granddaughter!

Absolutely.

@mfreedmn97 Please feel free to post pictures.  Do keep in mind that they have to be less than 500 kb.  I've had to resize the ones I've posted, but it's an easy process and they post beautifully.

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On 9/6/2021 at 8:47 PM, mfreedmn97 said:

I want to scream at the walls …smash something. I want to wail like a newborn. The waves of grief come over me like a tidal wave. 

I did all of those things. If you feel it might help, why not do it....(though careful of what you smash!). It is very much like being in a choppy sea. Hold on. Believe it or not, this is a storm you can weather. 

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It is the hardest thing I've ever been through and that says a lot, I'm no stranger to hardship & struggle, all my life.  Losing George felt like it did me in.  It's amazing what we survive though.  Losing my Arlie (dog) felt like that all over again.  We get used to the changes it means for our lives but never ever do we stop loving/missing them!

You are right, grief is exhausting.
https://whatsyourgrief.com/does-grief-make-you-tired/?inf_contact_key=74d473f688e6661e7e06203015b12716680f8914173f9191b1c0223e68310bb1

 

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16 minutes ago, mfreedmn97 said:

i just dont want anyone's company - just my kids

I find that's how I'm feeling after being attacked/injured by a dog last Sat. eve., I just want to be alone with my puppy and decompress, so it's understandable YOU feel this way, having gone through all that you have with her cancer, and then losing her.  :(

 

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Gail 8588

Mfreedmn97,

I too wanted to withdraw from the world. I did. 

I am not saying that was a good thing, it was just what I felt I had to do. I was so distressed being around anyone, even my boys.  I felt so guilty, that I had not saved him, how could I be around his (our) friends and family when it was my fault he died.  (My husband died of a hemmoragic stroke.)

Sure, it probably would have been better for my mental health to be with people, but honestly, you can only do what you can do.  I couldn't face people, it just hurt too much. So I struggled alone in the dark pit of my guilt, fear, pain and loneliness.  It was a miserable, painful journey. 

You are so early in your grief, at one month the reality of her absence is just sinking in.  It is heartbreaking. 

I think it is good that you shared in your granddaughter's first day of kindergarten.  Eventually these interactions will help you connect with life again. For now they can feel almost like an out of body expeience, you are seeing it, but not feeling it. 

Be kind to yourself. You can only do what you are able to do, and that's alright. 

Gail

 

 

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mfreedmn97
53 minutes ago, Gail 8588 said:

Mfreedmn97,

I too wanted to withdraw from the world. I did. 

I am not saying that was a good thing, it was just what I felt I had to do. I was so distressed being around anyone, even my boys.  I felt so guilty, that I had not saved him, how could I be around his (our) friends and family when it was my fault he died.  (My husband died of a hemmoragic stroke.)

Sure, it probably would have been better for my mental health to be with people, but honestly, you can only do what you can do.  I couldn't face people, it just hurt too much. So I struggled alone in the dark pit of my guilt, fear, pain and loneliness.  It was a miserable, painful journey. 

You are so early in your grief, at one month the reality of her absence is just sinking in.  It is heartbreaking. 

I think it is good that you shared in your granddaughter's first day of kindergarten.  Eventually these interactions will help you connect with life again. For now they can feel almost like an out of body expeience, you are seeing it, but not feeling it. 

Be kind to yourself. You can only do what you are able to do, and that's alright. 

Gail

 

 

Thank you Gail. This is a recurring thing that people all say - kind and sage words to be sure - but 'doing' is different. The world, life in general,  puts so much pressure on all of us - grieving or not - to 'perform' , that when you "do what you are able to do" it's 'alright' for you because that's what you MUST do but others like my mom for example, are upset beyond words that I can't (or dont want) to be with them. She's an extreme example - mothers care about their sons beyond rational ways of course :) - but it's also prevalent with friends who push to engage and then THEY feel sad that I am not doing so. Vicious circle. 

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mfreedmn97
11 minutes ago, Roxeanne said:

Mfreedmn97 i am so sorry for your loss and the hard pain you are feeling....everyone of us went through that hell!

The first 3 months after my loss i was closed in my house alone with our cat living my desperation, refusing the help of my friends ...i didn't want to see anyone! 

Friends kept trying to get me out, in the midst of people...they thought that i needed distractions!!!

People can't understand what catastrophe it is losing your special person...even friends and family!

Allow yourself to do only what you feel!

Take good care of you!

Hugs Ro'

Ro’ - thanks. And now…,after 3 months or is it longer for you - what if anything changed ? 

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mfreedmn97:  I am very sorry for your loss and the pain you are having to endure. I recently lost my husband to diabetes. He had been in the hospital many months, suffered terribly and we didn't get to say our goodbyes. It is the worst feeling. And I understand what you mean about being under pressure to perform. It's crushing. If stress doesn't kill me I'm afraid having a broken heart will. But that's why I come on here. Everyone is very supportive and it helps pull me back from the edge of the cliff. I hope you will reach out when you feel the need because even tho it is the internet, these people can be your new best friends. They are special to me because they are special people. Hope you will see that too. 

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Jemiga70
On 10/1/2021 at 12:48 AM, mfreedmn97 said:

The grief is exhausting. The pain relentless. The sadness is soul crushing. And the loneliness is , well, lonely. The finality of this is incomprehensible. One day here. Next day just….gone. This feeling of emptiness is unbearable.

@mfreedmn97  I'm so sorry for your loss. It is devastating. I have some idea of what you're going through because I'm there myself. It was 5 months ago to the day that my wife / partner / soulmate of 15 yrs died without warning in front of my eyes in a stupid hospital room.

One day here, next day gone, as you said. There has not been a minute in 5 months where I haven't thought of her. I feel I'm going mad.

Prayers to you, bro.

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mfreedmn97

I find no peace whatsoever in the isolation. In fact it’s even worse for me.  Still I prefer it to putting on a mask to be with people. And I can also say that the ‘crash’ after doing stuff and finishing whatever that might be and you realize you are all alone again is SOUL CRUSHING. I get in the car or I come home to an empty house and I just cry. 

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1 hour ago, mfreedmn97 said:

I find no peace whatsoever in the isolation. In fact it’s even worse for me.  Still I prefer it to putting on a mask to be with people.

mfreedmn97:  I was totally alone at home for all the months my husband was hospitalized. It was hard. And when he passed away, I was still alone and hated it. No one to console me, no shoulder to cry on, no one to hold me while I cried. Now, over 3 mos later I am around people but get irritable and feel agitated if it's more than 1-2 people and it gets loud. Then I retreat to my room and cry. It's like a darned if I do/darned if I don't want to be around people sort of thing. It's the effects of grief. What you are feeling is normal. 

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Gail 8588
17 hours ago, mfreedmn97 said:

 . . .   How do you start over at 63 ? 

Mfreedmn97,

You just start from where you are. You don't get a clean slate.

Sometimes I think it would be easier if we could just get a complete memory wipe, as in some movie. Then we wouldn't trigger our grief everytime we see or hear some reminder.  But I would never want to lose the memories I made with my soulmate. So here we are, stuck with constantly being reminded of the best thing in our lives and that it is now gone forever.   

Somehow you have to mold that into constantly being reminded of the best thing in our lives and being grateful that we were so lucky to have  experienced such love.  

I was your age when my husband died. We had been together 40 years.  I was lost in grief for a very long time, but I am finally where I am happy most of the time.  I am very rarely gripped with despair, in fact right now, I can't exactly remember when I was last extremely despondent, without hope.  (Pretty amazing to me, as there were long periods of time when that was my daily condition.)

I still miss my husband, and triggers can still set me to sobbing, as happened last week at my brother-in-law's funeral.  But it is no longer a desire to die just to be with him.

Some things are very sad. My brother-in-law's heart attack at 66 was certainly one.  I have great empathy for his wife and son, as I know how hard my grief journey has been. I would never want that for anyone.  But my sorrow was, and is, a normal emotional reaction to a very sad event.  And I am also now finally able to feel the whole range of human emotions.  I am giddy with excitment about the upcoming arrival of my second grandchild.  I have his 2 year old big brother with me this weekend and I have experienced such joy being with him.  

It is a huge relief to me to finally feel connected to the world again.  It took me a long time, but at 4 and a half years after the death of my husband, I have found a way to live again.

Give yourself time.  Your grief journey will follow your own path. Don't be discouraged by how long it took me, I had my own unique circumstances that kept me lost longer than most.  Just know that it won't stay as terrible as it is now.  Your loss will eventually be manageable rather than soul crushing. 

Don't make decisions you don't have to make, such as what to do with your cottage.  Truly, your brain is not working properly right now, at month one.  Grief brain fog is a real thing.  I think the old adage of 'don't make any major decisions for a year after the death of a spouse' is sound advice, if possible.  It's not always possible due to financial or other circumstances.  But if you can keep the status quo for awhile, I recommend you sit tight. 

I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad you found this forum and I hope you find some comfort here. 

Gail

 

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Thanks Kay and tnd, all family members contacted me so it is bittersweet. People don't know what to say but I understand that they mean well. Like I said, the grandchildren are what brought me real joy because they don't know any better. When they're older I will tell them all about their grandmother and what a special person she was. One of them is 3 years old and has a handmade teddy bear she calls Nonna bear. She knows it's her grandmother because it is made with some of my wife's clothing. She treasures it with all her heart.

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15 hours ago, Sparky1 said:

One of them is 3 years old and has a handmade teddy bear she calls Nonna bear. She knows it's her grandmother because it is made with some of my wife's clothing. She treasures it with all her heart.

Oh Sparky, that is so special!  What a little lovebug!

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I am so sorry .  I understand the pain.  I am traveling in your steps.  My husband is in the last stages of very aggressive cancer . 6 months ago he was so full of life . Now at any time I will loose him . After I read your letter , my heart aches for you but at the same time I thought “lucky man , he had 49 years with her “ my husband is on a younger site and i had him only 25 years in my life .  I would give any thing for 49 years . So although it really hurts, remember you are lucky , people spend lifetime searching for real live .  You found it and had 49 years with her . That’s a gift .  Hang in there my friend.  Just one hour at the time (a day is too much too manage sometimes). Just one foot in from of the other .  I heard it gets easier .  I surely hope so ! 

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foreverhis
On 9/6/2021 at 5:47 PM, mfreedmn97 said:

We were so lucky to be financially secure.

Although I do worry about future finances, I mostly feel the same way.  My husband kept the modest life insurance policies he'd been able to get through his professional organization.  He had back surgery in his 30s (L4-L5) and for some reason insurance companies thought that would affect his life expectancy...It wouldn't and didn't.  What he had allowed me to pay off the last 10-ish years of our mortgage, pay to have a few big and important projects done that he was unable to finish or that we planned to have done, and put a little into our savings to buy a new (used lease return--hopefully, finally this fall) car with a touch leftover to put into short term savings for home expenses. 

Our home is smallish and older, but we maintain it well, though the kitchen is mostly original to 1965 when it was built and is falling apart. We were just about to start a kitchen remodel, which I will have done, but have scaled back to fit my new budget.  Our cars are old (his an 81 VW Rabbit convertible made in Germany; mine an 86 Acura, the first year they were sold here), but we maintain them and have a good mechanic.  After his bicycling accident and then years later once I developed auto-immune conditions, we scaled back everything, rather than go into debt.  And because we didn't need a fancy lifestyle, just a pleasant one, we were able to save for a modest retirement.  He was adamant about that and had saved from the time he started working.  I was onboard too because my parents instilled that into me and my siblings:  Take care of what you have and be thankful for it.

I feel for those who have to struggle more than I do and often remind myself of that when I'm tempted to whine that I now can't afford this or that "thing."  It's one less thing to cause me stress at this point and I thank John every day for being who he was.

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12 hours ago, AJN said:

My husband is in the last stages of very aggressive cancer

One of my best friends is also going through cancer, her husband is blind, it scares me (the future) but I try to stay in today and not go there.  Anticipatory grief is hard...NOT equating loss of dog with your loss of husband, but I lost mine to cancer two years ago and I still remember the horrific pronouncement when they said it was inoperable and his liver shutting down, I got two months ten days more with him, he was my life as my husband has been gone over 16 years now, my kids grown and gone, I'm alone.  Eventually my son brought me a puppy but one never replaces another and we can't do that with our husband, huge difference.  My Arlie hurt like losing my husband all over again, not on as many levels, of course, but they say one loss brings up old loss and it piles on...grief has a beginning, but no ending.

I posted a response to you already in another thread, but wanted to here too.  My heart goes out to you.  When we went through our cancer journey, it was very hard, but also special in a sense, unexplainable, but those were our last days together and as such...it was the same way when I lost my MIL who was my best friend and the mom I'd always wanted, I took care of her when she was bedridden with cancer the last three years of her life, my children were little then, a very hard time, but also special, I will always love her.  That was 34 years ago 9/17.

I ran across this today but want to mention most of us do not like the word accept, it applies we are okay with it and none of us are but I prefer the term realize instead, I know the psych. term means differently than it hits us...
 

Grief thought.jpg

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foreverhis
18 hours ago, AJN said:

After I read your letter , my heart aches for you but at the same time I thought “lucky man , he had 49 years with her “ my husband is on a younger site and i had him only 25 years in my life .  I would give any thing for 49 years . So although it really hurts, remember you are lucky , people spend lifetime searching for real live .  You found it and had 49 years with her .

I'm so very sorry that you are going through what so many of us have faced, we and our soulmates.  The bastard cancer stole my husband as well.  It was about 15 months from the first suspicion of it until he took his last breath with me by his side.  It was the most devastating journey, until this one.  Strangely enough though, even during his cancer journey, we were able to find joy with each other, to laugh and to be silly, to be there for each other.  I remember the day I realized that he was not going to get to the next treatment and that he was not going to be able to finish the life we had together.  Those times and the images of him haunt me and probably always will.

I had never heard of anticipatory grief until my SIL (his sister who we're very close to) talked to me about it.  I realized that even as I was hoping for the best and trying to keep a positive vibe around my husband, I was anticipating the worst, especially after his first surgery when he started declining.  It was such a feeling of confusion because I couldn't understand how we can grieve the loss of someone who is still alive.  One person, not a caregiver, at the hospital rudely said, "Well, at least you will have already done most of your grieving..."  I am not a violent person, but the temptation to wipe the smile off his face was very strong.  Anticipatory grief is a separate part of grieving the loss of our soulmates.

I do want to ask you a favor.  Please do not compare the number of years one person has had to another.  Of course you wanted and you both deserved decades more together.  But for those who had longer, telling us to feel "lucky" or grateful can make it seem as though we have no right to feel as lost and shattered as we do, as though one person's grief is worse than or more meaningful than those who had more time together.  But grief is not a contest or something to compare, at least not "out loud."

I understand perfectly well why you would feel that way.  To this day I sometimes see elderly couples out together, couples who are clearly much older than John (71) and I (60) were, and I think, "That's not fair!  Why should they be here, helping each other, smiling and holding hands, when John and I didn't get that?"  Then I remember that it is not their fault and that someday one of them will feel just as I do now:  There is no number of years that will ever be enough when those years are spent with a soulmate.  And you're absolutely right that many, perhaps most, people do not ever find that.  In that way, I do feel lucky.

I would give anything to have had 15 or 20 years more.  We deserved that, just as you deserved decades more with your love.  None of this is fair or right; it never will be.  The best thing we can do here is support each other unreservedly and with the understanding that to each of us the worst loss and hardest grief will always be our own.

I want to be very clear that I am encouraging you to be here with us.  Talk, question, rant, and "scream" if you need it.  We will listen and comfort and encourage when we can.  We'll give advice if asked (though we try not to be pushy about it).  But please respect that we are all on the same devastating journey, unique on our paths, but on the same road together.

 

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5 hours ago, foreverhis said:

we are all on the same devastating journey, unique on our paths, but on the same road together.

Well said foreverhis. When people have found their true love, their  soul mate, and they lose that person, the pain is devastating no matter if they were together for a month or for 70 years. It's a brutal journey and experience  that no one should go through,   but unfortunately  life doesn't always go the way we would like it to go. All of us here that have lost our precious  partner understand this journey, and we must all travel on this road.

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