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We Are Survivors!


Rhonda R

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Everytime I let my mind linger into the future, it is impossible to envision anything positive.  But I know I have to keep living.  I dread feeling like this forever. I don't want to feel like this forever.  We all don't deserve to feel like this forever.  You give me inspiration and  hope that one day probably far away  I will have your peace of mind.  Thank you for that! 

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foreverhis

Hi Rhonda.  It's really good to hear from you.  It's amazing how closely your grief now compares to mine.  I've written virtually the same thing recently.  Maybe that's not so surprising considering that we lost our loves to close in time.  Of course, we're each unique in our journeys, but as I read your post, I was nodding my head saying, "Yes, me too." repeatedly.

All we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, take the better days when we have them, and hold on through the bad days. 

 

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foreverhis
3 hours ago, Ken57 said:

We were one and although it was her body with the disease I experienced it mentally too. When the time came, she experienced death which no longer scares me - I hope it will not be overly painful when the time comes though.

Absolutely.  It was kind of a surprise to me when I realized that I no longer feared death after John was taken from us.  I don't actively seek it out (though there were times my brain "went there" for a moment or two).  I too hope that when it's my time, death comes quickly.

I so relate to how you both fought her cancer.  Being a caregiver is exhausting mentally and physically.  I had people who love us tell me I had to "take care of myself too," etc.  Yeah, sure.  My energy, mental and physical, had to go to taking care of him and doing what absolutely had to be done.  Our love, my love for him, was what mattered, nothing else.

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16 hours ago, Rhonda R said:

When I say we are survivors, I hope I don't offend anyone...especially someone new, or not so new in their grief, who is hanging on by their fingernails daily.

Hey, it's 16 1/2 years for me and I FEEL like a "survivor" daily, life gets harder the older I get and definitely hasn't eased up any, I find medical issues, old age, etc has only complicated our grief, not to mention the aloneness of Covid times.  We weren't meant to live this way.

I'm glad you checked back with us, I remember you well.  I'm also glad Gale and Annie (foreverhis) are still here, we WANT to be here for others going through it!  I had someone once tell me (at ten years out) that it hit her that I was still around (my other grief group, been there the whole time) and that SCARED her that if I am not better after all that time, what hope is there for her!!!  I wrote to her...I would not say I'm not better, nor would I say it's the same, my body/mind has adjusted as much as one can, learned to cope (by taking one day at a time...STILL!) but NEVER  is there an end to this grief, it evolves and does not stay the same, something we can't imagine when we first start on this journey.  This is the longest journey of my life for it's ongoing.  That same person is at seven years now and yes, she's still there, checking in every day.  Today she's having back surgery and terrified for they botched her first one...she truly is alone excepting one friend...and all of us, her grief family.

This place has come to mean much to me.  So have all of you.

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Rhonda R
20 hours ago, Jen H said:

Everytime I let my mind linger into the future, it is impossible to envision anything positive.

This is only my opinion, but I encourage you not to think about the future right now, other than basic needs.  It's like walking on a tight rope, one foot in the present and your heart and mind in the past.  It's all too overwhelming this early on.  In the beginning, I survived breath to breath, then hour to hour, then days, then weeks and only recently, have I even begun to think about the future.  I don't want a future without my husband but, I don't get to decide that, it's already been decided.  On my better days, I think about it in very short time increments and then I put it aside.  I just try to get the most I can out of each day and sometimes, that's not a lot.  

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I try not to anymore.  Sometimes my mind just slips to he is never coming back and I go to that awful dread inside.  I either cry it out or stop myself and get on with things.  

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foreverhis
3 hours ago, KayC said:

A lot of people don't like anyone to say they're strong because they don't FEEL it and don't WANT to have to be strong!  I think we all feel that sometimes...or more. 

Indeed.  I don't feel particularly strong most of the time, but I know I've had to be just to survive this long without John.  More true, for me at least, is that I didn't and don't want to have to be strong all the time.  It was the one "bone of contention" I had to clarify with my SIL (John's sister).  She insisted that everyone telling me how strong I was being was meant as a compliment because that was one of the things that John loved about me.  I told her that I knew it was meant in a good way, but that anyone who knows us/me has to have also known that precisely one thing could break me:  Losing John.  Neither of us was angry with the other, but it helped for her to see my side of the equation, even as I told her that I understood the sentiment wasn't meant unkindly.

What surprises me more than the fact that I'm still breathing is that I've taken many small steps forward and one "big leap."  My leap lasted several months, so...maybe not exactly a leap, but it was when I started being able to envision and remember everything of our 35 years together (37 from when I first laid eyes on him) and mix it in with all the devastating, painful, heavy memories and images of his 15 months fighting cancer.  The image of him taking his very last breath while I held him will never leave me, never.  Yet now I also see the first time he smiled at me with that special smile I think all of us here know.  It's all part of the whole of our lives and love.  I'd still jump in with my whole heart, even knowing I'd be here now.  He was worth it; he was worth everything.

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1 hour ago, Sparky1 said:

She had just started getting cold and the image of her lying there haunts me. I kissed her face, forehead, her hands and even her feet while crying.

I'm so sorry.  It's weird the things I remember.  After I pressed the call button to say they should send someone in, I kept holding him.  I don't know how long it was, but for what seemed like forever, I repeated, "He's warm.  He's still so warm."  As if that meant or changed anything.  I knew his soul/spirit was gone, but I knew it was the last time I'd ever be able to hold onto him.  As they escorted me from the room so that the people from the funeral home could prepare and take him, I flew back to him one more time to hold him a moment, kiss him, and whisper, "I love you."  It's surreal.

I used to think it weird or even creepy when people would talk about things like that, but now I know it isn't.

1 hour ago, Sparky1 said:

One good memory I have is the first time we danced close together. She looked at me and smiled with that look of true love. Her eyes and her smile had such a radiance that to this day I will never forget, it's one memory that brings me comfort.

I loved dancing with John.  I may have been "the dancer" on stage, but he was wonderful out on the dance floor.  There's an intimacy in dancing that cannot be explained to those who don't dance.  It can be such an expression of love. 

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1 hour ago, foreverhis said:

I knew his soul/spirit was gone,

Thanks foreverhis.

As I was standing by the bed, I turned around to see if my stepdaughter was coming into the room and I could swear that I saw a shadow beside the curtain around the bed. I know my wife's spirit was there and she was watching me look at her body. I didn't want to leave her and there are many days that I wish that I had had a heart attack and died there with her.

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1 hour ago, Sparky1 said:

I didn't want to leave her and there are many days that I wish that I had had a heart attack and died there with her.

Sparky1:  I don't know when my own expiration date is, but I wish I could have gone with my spouse, too. We used to listen to old CD's at home and dance and if we were tired, we'd just dance in our chairs at the kitchen table. Neighbors probably thought we were having a party or something. But no, it was just the two of us being goofy when we were tired. We joked about how someday we'd probably be the only couple at the nursing home to dance in our wheelchairs together. And we'd laugh picturing what we'd look like doing that. Maybe wasn't a pretty picture but we were together in it and that's a heck of a lot better than what has really happened. 

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On 1/5/2022 at 3:59 PM, Rhonda R said:

Secondly, relationships are a lot of work and right now, I'm putting my energy into me. 

Rhonda R:  I lost my husband about 7 months ago. At 57 and after 2 marriages, I've decided to do what you are doing and just focus on myself now.  It's a strange feeling. 

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16 hours ago, foreverhis said:

it was when I started being able to envision and remember everything of our 35 years together

For me the big turn around was when thoughts of him instead of causing me pain, caused me a smile...

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foreverhis
2 hours ago, KayC said:

For me the big turn around was when thoughts of him instead of causing me pain, caused me a smile...

Yes! That’s it exactly.

It happened slowly, but more and more I could see him in my mind’s eye as he had been “before.” Yet even though it happened over many months, it still seemed like a huge leap forward for me.

I remember the exact time that I realized it too. For 2-1/2 years I had been unable to listen to the orchestral dance suite from West Side Story because it was the first thing I put on to play on his last day. It was just too painful and I had wondered if I would ever be able to hear it again. It’s a favorite musical we had both done and a low brass player’s dream. Plus we took our private vow from a favorite song: “One hand, one heart. Even death won’t part us now.”

Then one day last year, I had music streaming and it came on. Normally, I would rush over to the remote and skip forward, but that day I decided to let it play. I did cry and it did hurt, but for the first time, I was able to see the joy on his face as he played his trombone in the orchestra. I could see him immersed in conducting the show. He was a fantastic music director and conductor. My “second favorite” right behind his mentor. We used to joke about that.

 I still saw his devastating last day, but it was no longer all I pictured. In that moment, I “looked back” and realized that I had been doing that more and more, smiling at the good memories and not just hurting over the bad ones.

That is something I wish for all of us as we journey forward: The ability to smile over the good and not only cry over the painful. But it sure takes time to get there and it definitely wasn’t a straight path for me.

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19 hours ago, foreverhis said:

 I still saw his devastating last day, but it was no longer all I pictured.

This.

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On 1/7/2022 at 4:30 PM, foreverhis said:

The image of him taking his very last breath while I held him will never leave me, never. 

I know exactly what you mean.  Randy was surrounded by family when he died.  I was holding his hand and very distinctly remember the feeling of his wedding ring on his hand.  I remember thinking, he's never going to look at it again, spin it on his finger and tell me how lucky he feels, like he often did.  Soon after, everyone left the room and I climbed into bed, laid my head on his chest and just sobbed.  My days of having to be strong for everyone else were gone.  That memory is always going to be a knife to the heart.  But I too can enjoy and cherish the good memories, many times with a smile instead of tears.  He brought so much love, security and laughter to my life and I will forever be grateful.  Getting there takes a lot of time and feels like it will never come, but it does for most.  

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Completely understandable Rhonda, feel the same wrt love, security, and laughter and more. I try and take some solace in that this earthly separation will end with our own mortality when we will be with our soulmate and other half. In the meanwhile, (maybe others in the world with their families intact will laugh at me) I am going with her direction on what she wants me to do as I hear this in my head.

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1 hour ago, Rhonda R said:

He brought so much love, security and laughter to my life and I will forever be grateful.

I'm very grateful too, but at the same time i miss everyday that feeling of relief and security i had with him...no problems could concern me 'cos i was with him!

I've never felt that feeling again !

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20 hours ago, Roxeanne said:

I've never felt that feeling again !

I remember how it felt when he held me, it was the best place in all the world to be, I felt so much love, so protected, I haven't felt that feeling since.

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My husband and I worked in a prison together. He was on the squad and Special Operations Response Team. If he was in the room, it was all good. Not that I can’t handle my own but the male staff definitely treated me different when he was there. I love telling people we met in prison. Many of the officers still talk about him and it makes me feel good when others acknowledge him and our marriage.  I know he’s not forgotten. But, I can’t walk down a hallway and not see him there. 

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6 hours ago, Rhonda R said:

I love telling people we met in prison.

That is hilarious!  I used to do a prison ministry, it's a different world...

 

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On 1/11/2022 at 3:30 PM, KayC said:

I haven't felt that feeling since.

I can't find your comment Kay  saying "I'm tired to live without him"

I feel that today...i was in a park and suddenly i had this immediate need.."I want to see him again..right now!"

Sadly when i had this "immediate needs" sorrow comes soon after.

I'm tired not to see him anymore

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17 hours ago, Roxeanne said:

I can't find your comment Kay  saying "I'm tired to live without him"

??? I have no idea what you're referring to, I don't recall that...if it's not there, I didn't write it.  ?  If you see it quoted somewhere you can follow the quote back to the original post..

 

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