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Struggling, at 9 months


gone4evr

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 I was doing so well.  I actually felt like I had a grip on this,  that life was getting better and I was accepting my husband's death, the holidays were tough as they came and went, but I expected that to be tough.  I would still have moments where I would get teary eyed but they wouldn't last very long.  I was able to focus on all of our good memories and felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  That I was getting stronger and dealing well with our loss.  I actually started to feel happy again and was enjoying my life.

I don't know why, but at 9 months I suddenly felt overwhelmed with grief.  I have a lot of stress in my life, which right now is out of my control.  I'm teaching 4 days a week, doing clinicals one day a week and scrambling to put in time on my studies, and still trying to be a good mom.  I do feel overwhelmed, but I have a lot of help.  I have a wonderful cleaning lady, who keeps me very organized-- a present that I gave myself until I get out of school.  My parents are helping me with my child-- which I feel guilty about but they dearly adore him and love spending time with him.  So life should be easier.  I should be getting emotionally stronger.  I'm dreading the upcoming holidays but I'm determined to make them good for my child.  College is a struggle, but it's a struggle because I don't have a lot of time to spend on my studies, so no, I'm not an all A student, but I am passing my classes and getting A's and B's.

This morning I was awakened with a panic attack.  I don't know what brought it on.  It just happened.  There wasn't a trigger, not a dream, nothing, I just suddently felt so overwhelmed with grief, like what I felt when he died.  I haven't had one of those since he died.  I've been crying more lately and really having difficulty focusing on tasks, almost like it was in the beginning.  Why am I struggling right now?  I feel like it's starting all over again, that I'm back to square one.  I see him laying in that coffin, or worse remembering the night in the ER.  How do I get past this??  When does it get easier?  Is there going to be a magic switch that at the one year mark clicks on and life is back to normal??   Is this occuring because the one year mark is getting closer?  Please help me get my life back on track.  I desperately need advice from those who have gone through this and survived.  Does life get better??  Am I always going to be haunted by these awful memories? 

 

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Everything you have told us about is something that has happened to me, and all of us.  Many times I have heard this described as a roller coaster ride.  That's very true. The down ward ride is fast, you feel totally out of control, alone and scared. The trip back up is a struggle, like you'll never reach the top where you can have a smooth ride for awhile. 

My husband has been gone for 2 1/2 years. I did better the first year than I have done since then.  It's possible that the shock has worn off for you and now reality has sunk in.

Grief is the cost of loving someone.

You don't get over it, you get through it.

You don't get by it, because you can't get around it.

It doesn't "get better", it just gets different.

Everday, grief puts on a new face.

 

There's not much that I can say to make you feel better. Just take comfort in knowing that all of us here know exactly how you feel. Keep coming back to this message board and pouring out your feelings - that's good cheap therapy itself. Then when one of us responds it's icing on the cake.

Reading your post this morning made me feel better. So you helped me today.  I felt the need to sit here and try to help you, to try to make you feel a little better.

Some people will put a time frame on grief. I can't.  My husband has no end in my life. The fact that he's not here physically - I am reminded of many times each day.  He is with me spiritually and that gives me great comfort.

If the weather is good where you are, try to get outside today and do something that you like. Try to do something for yourself, get your nails done, get a pedicure, get a haircut, go to the mall, go buy a book, go to church, just do something that you like.

Do it for yourself. Do it for yourself because that's what your husband wants you to do. 

And keep coming back to us, your friends here.

 

Susan

 

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For gone4ever~

How long has it been for you? 9 months?

Panic can hit at any time~ My 25 year old son departed 4 and a half years ago, and I came to believe a long time ago...There is no healing from this...None...

To "heal" would be to be over it, and MY GOD...May that NEVER happen..Loving my Danny now includes losing at this as well...

Losing at a part of my life~ Not all of it, but a huge part of it...

Like Susan says...Grief puts on a different face each and every day~

What does happen in time, is that joy, too, puts on a different face as well...

Once there has been such a SHOCK to your life, when joy happens, it has a similar depth to it..Twice the joy felt than before...

Danny didn't "die..."

I, as his mother, did...In realizing that, we BOTH began to live again~

I hope that can make some sense~ Feel free to email me at huntross4@aol.com

LOVE

mamabets {Betsy}

 

 

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Thank you both.  I went out for a while shopping, well grocery shopping.  It still was an outing.  It got me away from my books for a while.  I have to say, I hate roller coasters!!!  Especially emotional ones!!

Overall I think I do pretty good.  I just don't deal well with stress and unfortunately I have a lot of it right now.  My mom was over earlier and we had a nice long talk.  Sometimes I think that helps me the most, just to talk.  She told me that I was focusing too much on all the bad things, his death, the funeral, our disagreements, the things that bugged me.  She then told me to go out to the cemetary and tell my husband all the things that were on my mind and how it was making me feel, and then to forgive him for leaving us and tell him how much I love him and how I want to remember all the good things and not the bad.  So I did.  I went to the cemetary and I told him all the things that have been bugging me and then I asked him to forgive me for holding on to all this anger, and then I forgave him for leaving us and for his part in our arguments.  I don't know if this was significant but all of a sudden the dark dreary clouds separated just long enough to let the sun shine through for a moment and then I left.  I feel a little lighter, my brain is a little clearer and I can focus once again on my studies.  The best news... the quiz I thought I had this weekend isn't until next weekend-- I have more time to study!!!

Thanks for your advise.

Sandy

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My mom is incredible.  I almost lost her too this year.  She had a heart attack this summer.  I don't think I was ever so afraid in all my life.  Losing my husband was the single most horrible event that could have happened in my life.  The thought of losing my mom too would have been devistating.  She's doing very well now and I am grateful for that.  She and my dad have been absolutely wonderful and very supportive.  I wouldn't be able to accomplish everything I have been doing without their help and encouragement.  In fact, I probably would have dropped out of grad school if it weren't for them.  

I still miss him horribly but I don't seem to be focusing on all the bad things today.   I hate all these ups and downs.  But, I have noticed that stress appears to trigger it, probably because I get overwhelmed and then I realize that I don't have his support and encouragement to get me through all the rough spots.  A close friend of mine, who lost her husband 5 years ago said you never get over losing someone you love.   She has since remarried, and she admits she still misses her first husband, but her new husband understands and lets her work through it, and he is there to support her, he's there to listen and he is man enough to not feel threatened by her first husband and the memories they shared. 

Five more "firsts" to go.  I don't know how I'm going to get through the holidays!

Sandy 

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Holidays are tough, there is no sugar coating it. Bruce and I always enjoyed Thanksgiving - less stress than Christmas and the 3 day weekend to just do whatever we wanted to do.    

So Thanksgiving is the holiday I dread.

From what you've said about your parents, they will be there for you every minute of the day to get you through it.  Mine aren't so understanding. They think I've grieved too long. One day one of them will understand.

Susan 

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I think what woke my dad up was when my mom had her heart attack.  He suddenly was faced with the possibility that this could happen to him.   That my mom could die and he would be the one all alone.  Before that he looked at death the way he did when he was in the war.  It happened, feel sad, get over it.  Now he is realizing it isn't that easy.   You don't just get over it, you don't forget that you loved this person and move on.  I personally think it's that attitude of feel sad, get over it, and move on that the military has that is causing all these problems with post traumatic stress disorder.  These young men are seeing horrendous things and they are expected to get right back to work and move on.  Well, I'm sorry, you can bury your feelings all you want, sooner or later it is going to come back and haunt you. 

I think I do remarkably well most of the time, but when I have a melt down, I don't have control over it.  I am seriously hurting, I miss my husband and there is nothing that is going to take that pain away as much as I wish there was something.  He is gone, he will never walk through our door, I will never feel his strong arms around me ever again, I am always going to miss him.  Even down the road, if I ever marry again, I will always miss him and always wonder what our life would have been like if we would have grown old together.  No one will fill his shoes.  Life will never be the same, it has changed and I have changed because of this.  My heart has been broken, just as much as all of you. 

I keep telling people when they tell me I should be getting over this, that until you walk in my shoes, don't judge me because you don't have a clue what it is like to lose a spouse at a young age, let alone to lose a spouse.  Until you walk this path, you have no right to tell me how I should be feeling and when I should be getting better.  I have two aunts that are constantly at me about my grieving and how I should be getting out and dating or what I should be doing.  When they lose their husband's they ahd better watch out because I am going to be there to remind them of all the horrible things they have said to me. 

Hang in there. 

Sandy

 

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sandy...

the "getting over it stuff" is horrendous, i know.

but. somehow, i think if one of your aunts looses their husband....

well, i'll bet you'll be there to support them, knowing what they need and helping them thru it, and not throwing it back in their face.

it's surprising what this kind of trauma does to us, and making us kinder is, i think, one thing.

peace,

michele

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I would think I would be more compassionate but at the same time they have done and said some pretty cruel things.  My mom was even apalled by their antics and at one point even said, "someday you will be in her shoes and you will come to realize the pain you inflicted so cruelly."  For now, I pretty much avoid them and I honestly think I probably would continue to do so, as cruel as that may sound.  I do have one aunt who is losing her husband to cancer and I have been there for her.   (I have a lot of aunts).  But, I am also pretty close to her and she was there for me a lot. 

I agree that we do become more compassionate though.  In fact, all of the local funeral homes refer their young widows to me for support.  I now have three that I have over once a week to my home for a "support group" meeting and when times get tough for them, they do call me.

Sandy

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Sandy, I envy you with the 3 or 4 ladies that are in your support group. I would give anything to be able to meet someone after work for dinner or lunch on a weekend that is going thru the same pain.

I have sisters who are very much like your aunts. My parents too. I have totally isolated myself from them. It's funny how your personality changes with a loss. Before Bruce died, I would say nothing to defend myself to my family when they would criticize me or try to run my life. Bruce had sleepless nights knowing what had been said to me. So now that he is gone, I find it very easy to stand up for myself and tell them what I think. He is so very proud of me, I know.   

Less than 12 hours after Bruce died, they were all over at my house trying to get me to sign a power of attorney giving my brother in law complete power of our money. My parents urged me to sign it. I took it to work and let them read it - they told me what I would face if I did sign it. Needless to say I did not sign it.

The day before my husbands service my sisters sat me down at my kitchen table and tell me that they have brought all this stuff to remove my acrylic nails. They always thought it was a waste of money and now more than ever they told me it was not something I should waste my money on. Now when acrylic nails come off, your finger nails looks like crap.  I was still in shock and let them do it. I know my husband was watching just full of anger.  

So the day of his service and the next day at his funeral I hid my hands. They looked hideous.  What good did it do to remove them then?  It made them feel better that's for sure.

This all goes to show you how a family can take advantage when we are vulnerable.

Susan

 

 

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Susan,

     I am glad that you were strong enough to not let them take advantage of you.  I know a lot of people that try to do that because we are so vulnerable and emotionally drained and not thinking clearly.  I don't know if I would have been able to forgive my family for trying to take advantage of me or for doing such cruel things.  Right now is the time that you need emotional support and it isn't fair that you have so many headaches.  I think that would make me more determined to be stronger.  Just to prove to them that I don't need their kind of suppport.  Your husband is very proud of you, I'm sure of it. 

     As for supportive people, many of them I have met along the way, others at grief support meetings-- which helped.  I had to go to several different ones until I found the right one, but I have met some really great people.  I also went to a program that I heard about from a friend.  It's called Widow Match, you'll have to google it, but what they do is match you up with other widows, around your age who lost their husband's around the same time you did or within a few months, you email them and hopefully they will email you back.  I have two people that I write and have talked to and I think they are probably my best support.  It's nice talking to someone who is going through the same thing as you are.  Give it a try.

Sandy

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Sandy, I've been without a computer for 2 weeks, just moved.  I did take your advice and contacted Widow Match. I got my email the other day so I'll be contacting my matches this weekend. Hopefully I will hear back from them. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Susan 

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Susan,

     I have met a few really nice women that are going through the same thing.  I actually signed up for a second round about 3 weeks ago and met another woman that I email and we seem to hit it off. 

     I think my life is finally making a turn for the better.  I had lunch with my husband's  little sister, and it actually went pretty good.  She is having a hard time with it and it actually felt good giving the support instead of needing the support.  My husband's family are not dealing well with their grief.  My father in law's health has taken a drastic turn for the worse.  If something happens to him, I don't know what will happen to my mother in law.  She's really struggling emotionally.  I would hope that she would either move to Arizona to be with my husband's oldest brother and his family, since she is really close to their children or go live with her youngest daughter and her husband.

      I don't hear from two of my husband's four siblings, which is fine.  My husband's youngest sister and his twin sister are staying real close, but we have always been pretty close.  His older brother lives in Arizona and one of his younger sisters has never liked me so I'm not so concerned.

     College is going pretty good too, although my heart just isn't in it right now.  In three weeks I get a nice long break, so I'm hoping to finally relax and do some fun things with my child before I hit the books again in January. 

     It has now been 10 months.  I'd like to say that I am finally accepting it but at the same time with the holidays right around the corner I'm sure we are in for some tough days ahead, especially when I have to go Christmas shopping without my husband. 

Sandy

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Sandy,

Posts to this forum have been light lately. It seems as though the same people post all the time, which is fine but it's hard to lay out how you feel when the girls are talking about getting together in Las Vegas. No body wants to be the party pooper.

I have really been down in the dumps the last few days. This will be my 3rd Christmas without Bruce.  It makes me feel even worse to see people that know me and knew him, just moving on with their lives.  They look at me and you get the feeling that they are thinking what the hell is wrong with her. Not again. Not again.

I haven't told anyone else this - you are the first. I have bought a ticket to see Lisa Williams next Tuesday night. She is a medium.  The ticket wasn't that expensive so I spent part of a rebate gift card to buy it.  I just want to hear from  him. I don't expect to but am thinking some of what she says may be helpful and comforting to me.

I feel like I am on one of those moving sidewalks, just walking and getting no where. It's not like I have some place to go but it's a good way to describe my life.

Sorry if I have brought you down - Susan

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Susan,

     I know you miss your husband, especially at Christmas, it is very difficult.  Ask yourself though, would your husband want you to be sad.  I know my husband wouldn't want us to be sad, he would want to be remembered for all the good things, all the great memories that we shared, the laughter, the trips we took together, the snowball fights.  (He'd be in seventh heaven right now with all the snow we have!)  He wouldn't want us to remember only his death, the bad memories, and our sadness.  Would you want him to always be sad if the situation were reversed?  I don't think so.  You would want him to enjoy life, because you know that life is too short to be sad all the time.  You need to find something special to make your Christmas more special.  Volunteer at the school, or at a nursing home, bake cookies, make a gingerbread house, go to a beauty salon and have your hair done, go get a massage, take your kids or grandkids to a Christmas play, or go to a Christmas band concert.  I'm going to a ballet.  I'm getting my hair done, bought a real pretty dress, and I bought tickets for a ballet for my mom and I.  Grandpa gets to watch my child.  My husband would be pleased to see that I am getting involved in life. 

     I don't remember where I read this but it helped me-- "If all you do is think about the sad things, over time the sadness will take over all of your good memories".  I personally, want to remember all the good things about my husband.  I don't want anything, including his death, to take over my good memories of him.  So instead of being sad, I remember him and all the goofy things we did.  I also read a book by a medium named Concetta Bertoldi , called Do the Dead watch you shower.  While I don't believe in everything she said, her description of heaven is as I would hope it is.  I picture my husband on a beautiful lake somewhere in heaven, fishing to his hearts content.  Some days I picture him playing the best game of basketball.  On days like today, when the snow is piling up a mile high, I picture my husband having snowball fights and building forts and snowmen with all the little children in heaven.  And I even see the children seeking him out to come and play with him.  Those were the things he did here.  I'm sure he is sad that he can't be with us in body, but he is here in spirit.  I feel that every day and I "see" him when I watch our son playing in the snow. 

    I have chosen to let my husband go, to let him enjoy the new life that he has, while I move on with our child and try to make his life the very best.  Oh, I still have my rollercoaster days where my emotions get the best of me but by letting him go, I feel him closer than ever before.  I dream about him, I see him in the little things.  Letting go doesn't mean you are saying goodbye, it just means that you are choosing to let your life fill with his love and memories and are letting go of all the sadness that you are feeling.  Try it. 

     In the meantime, have fun at Lisa Williams show, I hope you receive the answers that you need.   Write when you need to.

Sandy   

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Susan.. I am sorry you are having such a rough time. I think all of us move on at different speeds and so much depends on our personalities. We all know how you feel so please keep posting! I do pretty well for awhile, then have a big crash, then pull myself back up...over and over. Could you find a support group? I have an informal one that unforunately keeps growing in size. It's really helpful to talk to others and to have people to do things with. I would be glad to send you my email if you would like to "talk." I know we're on the same timetable. I lost Rod in July 2006 and this is my 3rd Christmas without him.

Sandy... I think the same things about heaven and I am going to look for that book. I picture my husband flying his rc planes next to a cabin with a creek for fishing and pine trees. (It looks a lot like the Black Hills!) I can't wish him back with his health problems but I sure do miss him. He was my best friend as well as my husband.

Mary Jo

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Mary Jo is right.  Every day is different.  What helps some, may not help others.  We have to go through this journey in our own time frame.  I have days and sometimes weeks where I am doing very well, and then suddenly something triggers my emotions and I am an absolute wreck for days.   

Unfortunately, until you go through what all of us have been going through, you don't understand.  I have aunts, trying to be well meaning,  that are constantly telling me that I need to get over this.  They are full of advice, but until you go through this, to be honest, all the advice in the world is senseless.  You have to experience what we are going through to be helpful to someone and most people don't understand that. 

What helps me the most, and I'm sure Mary Jo will say the same thing, is to be around others that have been going through what we are going through; they understand.  The irony, I have more friends now than I have ever had and my circle of friends is constantly growing.   My son's teacher has given my number out to many young widows, the funeral director is another that asked if he could give out my number and email address.   

I sat on the phone with one of the more recent widows in our town (husband killed himself over Thanksgiving break) for over an hour tonight, reassuring her that this wasn't her fault.  I remember the incredible guilt I felt and the anger.  Her mom got my number from my father today while he was picking up my son from school.  One of the other mom's pointed my dad out to her and she approached him begging for advice on how to help her daughter.  My dad gave her my number and told her, only another young widow will be able to help her, have her call my daughter, she will help her.  I think this is our duty, to help others and in return we are helping ourselves too.  Support groups are a great place to start.  I love this website.  I also went to Widow Match on the internet and have been matched up with widows that lost their husbands close to the time I lost mine.  Just having people to talk to really helps.

Sandy

 

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Sandy and Mary Jo,

Thanks for the encouragement. I do feel much better today.

I have been to support groups - Grief Share and a hospice group.  I guess what hits me every once in awhile is that my best friend ever, my soulmate, the father of my child, my love, is not with me physically, anymore.  The enormity of this feeling is always huge and often feels too much to bear.

I have a daughter that loves me. She has 2 beautiful boys that jump up and down when they see me. Being with the grandsons is wonderful.

Thanks - Susan 

 

 

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Susan,

     Just know that you are not alone.  We all have those same feelings.  I find that sometimes I just have to push myself.  There are days when I just don't want to get out of bed and I have to remind myself that I need to go on living.  That yes, a part of me died when my husband died, but he wouldn't want me to give up on living.  He would want me to go on living, only because life is so short and time is so limited. 

    Have you ever seen the movie Raising Helen?  It has Kate Hudson in it.  Her sister and brother in law die in an accident and she is designated the guardian to their three children.  The little boy, who loved playing basketball, literally gives up basketball because he didn't want to hurt his dad by having fun without his dad.  She tells him that his dad is always watching over him and did he really think that his dad wanted to watch him not having fun.  I think of that analogy a lot.  Our husband's would not want to see us sad, depressed, and avoiding life.  I believe that our being sad, makes them sad.  I know when I have a really good day, that is typically when I dream about my husband and he looks happy. 

     It's going to take time, but you have to move on for their sake and yours.  If you get the chance, watch that movie, it's cute.  Do something extra special for yourself, go have your hair done or do something else you enjoy doing.

Sandy

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Susan,

How did the Lisa Williams thing go?  I did the same thing this summer and ended up more depressed because I didn't get a reading. I would give anything for 5 more minutes... My therapist recommended an excellent book "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Dideon.  It is about her first year without her husband and parts of it feel like she read my soul.  I know what you mean about the roller coaster - it feels more like a greased down-ramp! It's always okay if I'm busy and hell when I'm not. I took a short trip last week and dreamt that Doug was waiting for me at home and gave me one of his patented "take all the pain/stress/tiredness away" hugs.  I have been so down for a week because it was just a dream.

Kate

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