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Mornings are the worst


Jen H

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Hi Jen H,

I know what you mean about fast-forwarding to the time when we are stronger.  I wish that too.  I also have physical symptoms of fatigue and pain that I didn't have before.  I think that is very real.  I, unfortunately, have no advice.  I just want to relate to your feelings about the morning.  They are hard for me too because I keep waking up to the reality that my husband is really gone.  It has been 20 months and I still can't wrap my head around the fact that he is really not here and he is not coming back.  I realize that there are no tricks or steps or anything that can help.  It's just sheer endurance.

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foreverhis
8 hours ago, Dawn Wms said:

I also have physical symptoms of fatigue and pain that I didn't have before.  I think that is very real.  I, unfortunately, have no advice.  I just want to relate to your feelings about the morning.  They are hard for me too because I keep waking up to the reality that my husband is really gone.  It has been 20 months and I still can't wrap my head around the fact that he is really not here and he is not coming back.  I realize that there are no tricks or steps or anything that can help.  It's just sheer endurance.

Yes, the fatigue and pain you have from grief is absolutely real.  It's a proven fact that deep grief affects every cell in our bodies and the stress from it causes physical symptoms that are not "all in your head."  My auto-immune symptoms flared badly not just the last few months of my husband's cancer fight, but for months after he died.  (Small note, maybe meaningless.  It took 18 months before I could write or say "he died" without completely losing it.  This grief is definitely a marathon!)  My doctor said my cortisol levels were nearly 5 times normal, which is part of why I couldn't lose any of the 47 lb I gained while John was sick and in the first months after.  They were going down, but are 2 times normal now, up again due to the stress of the pandemic, I think.  And I have lost 17 lb even during the pandemic.  My symptoms are mostly at their "normal" level, though I do have flare ups.

I stopped fighting my doctor about medications fairly early in my grief.  I already have to take some due to my medical conditions.  He insisted that I increase one to its basic clinical level because at 1/2 dose it helps my auto-immune symptoms, but at clinical dose it's actually an anti-depressant.  Then he wanted me to have anti-anxiety meds at low dose for day and full dose for sleep.  He prescribed one I'd had in the past and said to expect to take in indefinitely, as I needed it.  My body reacts well to it, I don't develop tolerance for some reason and never needed more, and it's inexpensive.  I fought it.  No, I didn't want more medication; no, I didn't want him to increase the dosage on my take-as-needed pain medication.  He is not a "pill pusher" and got a little frustrated.  He told me he prescribes medication for a reason and trusts me to take it as appropriate.  Then he said he expected me to follow his instructions.  I'm glad I did because I started to be able to sleep 4-5 hours over the course of the night, instead of 2-3.  I need 9-10 minimum for my health, but at least I'm up to 6-8 most nights.  It helps.  I take my pain medication when I need it, which allows me to function a bit better too.

Mornings can be hard for me still, though not as much as at first, because there's that small moment between sleep and waking where my heart still expects his warm, cover-hogging body to be next to me.  For him to wake up and smile; for me to roll over and snuggle him or vice versa.  And that still hurts.  It probably will always hurt. It's just that now it doesn't level me for most of the morning.

I go downstairs, start my coffee, have a drink of water, and say "Good morning, honey."  At first I said it out loud, but now it's mostly just a thought.  Or I might open the shades, look out at the ocean in the distance, the birds flying and doves calling, and the world waking, and say, "Isn't it beautiful out today?"  It helps me feel more of a connection to him, even as time takes me further away.

It is indeed sheer endurance, getting out of bed, putting one foot in front of the other, and facing the day.  I'm able to make plans for the near future now, but I still often just try to deal with today.  In my experience, it's best to concentrate on now and what must be done.  Looking too far "down the road" is simply more than I can handle most of the time.

8 hours ago, Jen H said:

Lately I feel like this stress is not only draining me emotionally and mentally but physically as well.  Been so tired and getting headaches all week.  I wish I could just fast forward time to the days where I should feel like I can live again, not just breathe.  

Your stress and grief are absolutely exhausting you both emotionally/mentally and physically.  Headaches are really common in the first months of grief; well, at least they were for me and our daughter.

I too wished I could have just fast forwarded through the worst of grief, but I look back and realize it's good we can't do that.  I know that might sound strange, but what I mean is that we must live with and come to incorporate our grief into the whole of our lives going forward.  We don't move on or get over it, but with time, support, and understanding, we do move forward on a journey to finding a life we can live without our one essential love.  At first, it seemed impossible to me.  I'd tell John that I couldn't do it, that I couldn't manage or live without him and he needed to come get me.  Later I'd even bargain, like, "Okay, love, I can manage a year or two to get everything taken care and see that our girls are settled.  Then you need to come get me."  And things like that.  Over time, I realized that, while I no longer fear death and have no desire to live into my 90s like most women in my family do, I also am not anxiously waiting for it.  There is good in my life again; there is a type of happiness slowly developing, not the same kind of happiness, of course, but happiness none the less.  It took nearly 3 years to really feel it.

I'm starting to feel that I am living again much of the time, rather than merely existing like I was the first 2 years.  The thing is that some of my steps forward have been so gradual that I didn't realize I'd taken them until I "looked back" and saw that I had.

For now, please let yourself grieve however and in whatever way you need.  Some people will not understand it and that is their problem, not yours.  A friend who also knows deep grief sent this to me last year when I was going through a low period and a few people were being unkind about it.  I try to remember that it's true.

 

Understand grief.jpeg

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her_chrissy
8 hours ago, Jen H said:

For me the mornings are the worst

Jen, I completely agree and feel for you in this. Every morning is pain as I'm pulled from an already restless sleep and back into the turmoil that is my life now without her. I find myself having such a difficult time going back to sleep as my body is unable to relax without her beside me. I'm sorry to hear about your physical symptoms as well. I've been feeling a crushing in my chest, and a shortness of breath just as my wife was experiencing before I lost her. I pray and hope for you that you will be able to live again like your partner would want you to. 

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8 hours ago, foreverhis said:

Understand grief.jpeg

Thank you for this, I've saved it.  A good one for people to share with others who don't get it.

Evenings and weekends were the hardest for me because weekday mornings I was busy getting ready for work...it was eve/weekends that was "our time."  It accentuated his absence all the more.  I still don't sleep in our bed 16 1/2 years later for the same reason.

6 hours ago, Nightsky777 said:

someone said to me plan my days out and it might give   me a purpose

So true!  Dr Phil gave the same advice to people during Covid, it helps to have a schedule, I've always done that and it helps me.  My sister doesn't and her aimless empty life (husband of 50 years died over a year ago) makes it harder for her (she's disabled, no computer or cellphone).  I call her every day and am going to take Kodie (puppy) to visit her today, bring her lunch.  I can't imagine being shut in like that..

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5 hours ago, KayC said:

 Dr Phil gave the same advice to people during Covid, it helps to have a schedule, I've always done that and it helps me.  My sister doesn't and her aimless empty life (husband of 50 years died over a year ago) makes it harder for her (she's disabled, no computer or cellphone).  I call her every day and am going to take Kodie (puppy) to visit her today, bring her lunch.  I can't imagine being shut in like that..

@KayC The difference in people and how they live through grief, face grief. There is a great ted talk on this. A man who's two grandmothers, both experienced trauma, but each one lived and viewed things kind of the opposite of each other.  It is an amazing talk about not giving up on life. 20mins.

 

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@catcat thanks for this Ted talk,  it gave me much to ponder on.  Interestingly enough it made me think of Betty White.  Her great love passed away in 1981.  She lived a long time without him, in the public eye and she did it with grace.  
 

…there is hope for us.

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foreverhis
2 hours ago, SSC said:

@catcat thanks for this Ted talk,  it gave me much to ponder on.  Interestingly enough it made me think of Betty White.  Her great love passed away in 1981.  She lived a long time without him, in the public eye and she did it with grace.  
 

…there is hope for us.

She did.  She was amazing.  I know with certainty that there was a "mob" waiting for her at the Rainbow Bridge to welcome her right along with Allen.

The thing is that I'd bet anything that she, like so many of us, did her grieving in private.  Certainly she walked her path and took her grief journey into a life that she could not only live, but in which she could thrive while still here on earth.  I know animals helped her with that a lot and I'd have to say that my sweet friend Raleigh-kins is helping me with that too.

I read that her last words were Allen's name.  Not the least bit surprising to any of us, is it?

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Not a fan of mornings either, but for me bed time is much worse. The dark of night has long depressed me in the first place, then going to that bed alone, not even our dog there any more....small wonder I'm rarely in bed before 2 or 3, even now. 

foreverhis, that pic sums it up perfectly, thanks for that

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foreverhis
43 minutes ago, widower2 said:

Not a fan of mornings either, but for me bed time is much worse. The dark of night has long depressed me in the first place, then going to that bed alone, not even our dog there any more....small wonder I'm rarely in bed before 2 or 3, even now. 

foreverhis, that pic sums it up perfectly, thanks for that

That picture really does capture it, doesn't it?  The friend who sent it to me is the one who lost her daughter at birth.  She and her husband know grief and have been amazing since John died.  They, especially she, have shared with me without trying to "compare," just as I wouldn't compare their loss because I've never lost a child.  They seem to know just when to "nudge" and when to simply be quiet to let me be.

Interesting you mention night.  I am often up until 1 or 2.  I still fall asleep on the sofa more often than I simply "go to bed."  Sometimes I wonder if that will ever truly be comfortable for me again.  I have the TV on in the background all evening now.  Then I make my way up to bed at some point when I'm so exhausted I can actually sleep.

I know that's not a healthy pattern, but it seems to be the only way I can sleep for any length of time.

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pffft. If it helps you, it's healthy. Optimal? Maybe not. But we aren't much in "optimal" territory now anyway. 

PS my TV is on all day. First thing I do in the morning and last thing I do at night (turning it on/off). Just having some other noise and voices around helps. Again, you do whatever you can, even in small ways.

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Ha, I'm the opposite, my tv is off all day, I go to bed at 8 and wake up 3-4 am.  Only watch tv about an hour when cuddling Kodie in the evening.

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I know how you feel, Jen H, This is exactly what I am right now. I dread both night time when I'm about to go to bed and during mornings or whatever time of the day I wake and get up from bed. Night time because it's usually the time when my partner is about to go to work and sit in front of her pc. The room is silent now and I'm all alone but I could still remember how she speaks to her boss and her agents. I can still hear her voice and the sound of keyboard while she's typing (in my mind). During her breaks, she sometimes lay in bed with me, beside me. I missed that warm presence beside me, now that it is gone. Nowadays, most of the time I just cry myself to sleep. Same feeling when I wake up. The thought of her not being around as I open my eyes and get up from bed pains my heart. It doesn't help me that I haven't dreamed of her yet (maybe once last week but I really couldn't remember). I honestly couldn't give any advice on how to make yourself feel better as I am not better. I just want you to know that you aren't alone and it is perfectly normal to feel the sadness, to feel how are you feeling. What I usually do is just eat, try to eat as soon as I wake up and maybe, try to keep yourself busy. Since you work in a retail management, that will keep you busy preparing for the day. Don't stay laying in bed for too long without doing anything, if you can. In off days, try to do stuff that makes you happy (hobbies, etc.) so your mind is preoccupied. If anything else, you can go on here. Talk to me, talk to us and we will always listen. Goodluck in your work and trust me, in time, everything will go back to normal again.

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Thank you Loriii.  It's so sweet and kind of you to offer such support and advise to me so early on in your grieve journey.  Yes that day was a really bad one for me but I've been doing better lately.  Staying busy and trying to do positive things. I've learned that this is like a neverending roller coaster.  Some days are worse than others.  I'm adjusting slowly to this new life the best I can I guess.  Learning to live with half my heart gone.

And yes how I also deeply miss laying in the bed together, keeping each other warm.  I used to wrap my leg around him and he would massage my foot.  It's heartbreaking waking up everyday alone without him.

Lastly you're so early on with your grieve.  Crying all the time is definitely normal.  It actually can be beneficial to have a good cry so you can get it all out. And i hope you have a beautiful dream of her soon.  I haven't been so lucky.  I'm here if you ever need to talk.

 

 

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