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Boyfriend died suddenly in his sleep - feelings of numbness


sophie sb

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My boyfriend just died nine days ago. We had been long distance for the past and only year we were together but I was about to move across the country and move in with him. I truly felt that he was/is the love of my life, my best friend -- he was the most important person to me. I wasn't with him when he died and it was very sudden and completely unexpected. We hadn't seen each other in person for 2 weeks but were talking every day. I guess I'm writing because I feel I'm not crying enough / not feeling enough. Of course I've had intense spells of crying/sobbing a lot, but then all of a sudden it goes away and I kind of feel nothing. There are even times when I can kind of keep the feelings very inside and laugh with my parents or at a TV show. I feel like a monster, and I can't reconcile how important he was to me with how well I'm still functioning now. I hate that I can't even fully focus on my grief but instead have this other layer of guilt/anxiety. I feel like I'm turning inwards thinking only about myself, when I should be falling apart, unable to do anything. Today I saw his body and witnessed his cremation. I had hoped that I would have a moment where I really "realized" he was gone, and shock myself, but I feel kind of the same. He's still with me in my head and memories but in a way he feels too far away already. I am a person who cries a lot, has no problem crying, and has cried with my boyfriend a lot, but somehow my tears suddenly leave me and I'm left with nothing, which feels worse. I'm wondering whether my body is protecting myself from feeling too much right now, or something, or whether it's still hard for me to grasp the reality of his death...since we hadn't been together for 2 weeks before he died, and I was already used to being alone for these weeks. I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced this, or has thoughts. Thanks so much.

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claribassist13

Sophie, 

It's not uncommon to experience intense numbness for several weeks after the death of a loved one. I remember when I found out my fiance had passed. I cried for about an hour (long enough for my parents to pick me up from work) but then I didn't cry again for the next 5 weeks. There were little tears here and there, but I didn't start having any complete crying episodes until almost a month after his death. 
I went and saw my fiance's body as well, and while that was a sort of wake-up, it didn't make me cry. It was more of a realization of the permanency of this change. 

You are going to feel numb for a while and it's definitely one method your brain is using to cope with the sudden loss. What you have experienced is traumatic, and likely more so because you had not seen him for several days beforehand. This is something that will compound certain parts of your grief. The last day I saw or talked to my fiance was Christmas, and he died three days later. We both worked busy jobs with long hours, and often work opposite schedules from each other. It wasn't uncommon for us to not talk over a weekend because one person was at work when the other wasn't and vice versa. As a result, the shock of his death was more profound with me. I am sure you are feeling something similar as well. 
Your brain is still trying to process this extreme loss. All it can do the moment is make sure that you continue to function well enough to survive. The six week mark is typically where a lot of people start to 'realize' the loss. At this point the brain has had enough time to process what has happened and has taken other steps to help ensure your survival. 
Frankly, it also takes this long to really grasp what has happened. At the six week mark the majority of arrangements and paperwork has been processed. You no longer have such pressing matters to attend to, and you are really alone with the fact that you have not seen your loved one for six weeks. The permanency and finality of the situation really begin to settle in at the six week mark. 

What I am trying to say is try not to feel guilty for your seemingly normal functioning. Our brains are marvelous organs, and yours is currently working very hard to process what has happened while ensuring your safety. The days of falling apart and being unable to even get out of bed will come soon, so take this numbness while you have it. When you really start getting into the thick of your grieving, you'll want that feeling back.   

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Sophie,

I am so sorry for your loss.  Some cry, some don't, for many the tears don't come until later.  The important thing is to not hold the tears back if you feel like crying, but don't worry about it if you aren't crying, I hope that makes sense.  Tears aren't a measurement of our love, grief is expressed in different ways.  As Claribassist said, there is a numb shock in the earlier stages of grief.  It's a lot to take in, a lot to process and it doesn't happen overnight.  It took me a good three years to process my husband's death.  It's also not uncommon to lose our focus, to have "grief brain", in my opinion this can be as significant as traumatic brain injury!  I don't say that to scare you, but so that you'll know you need to be very patient and understanding of yourself, just as you would with someone you care about going through this.

It does help to express yourself, posting here is a good way of doing that, so is journaling, writing songs, poetry, art, etc.  It's good to get our feelings out!

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Hi guys,

Thanks so much for responding. It really helps hearing about your experiences. Claribassist, I'll look out for that 5 week mark...I feel like once the service is over and I'm done with this work program and I've cleaned out his apartment (all over in about 2 weeks), it's possible that it'll all catch up with me. Right now I feel like I'm just busy planning the service and thinking about all these logistical things still, and it's muddling up really feeling that he's gone.  

This sounds weird, but I guess my biggest fear is that this will never really happen...that I'll never really have that falling apart feeling of really processing his death, and that this is it, and I'll somehow move on and be okay really easily, and it'll be like he never happened. I know that's different from most people's experiences of feeling like they'll never be okay again. I think I feel like that because I was about to make all these big life changes with him (moving, etc.) and now I'm just going back to where I was living before, like he and I never even happened. I don't want to move on or be okay or forget him or what happened. I want him to stay a part of my life forever.

It's also very surreal for me, like you said, because I didn't see him for a few weeks before it happened. Claribassist, I really relate to what happened to you. I feel like I haven't had that visceral experience of feeling his absence that most people have because I was already used to being on my own, and I wish I had that feeling. I feel like even that was taken away. Even though it was a sudden death, it kind of feels like he slipped away. I was really focused on myself the two weeks we weren't together because I've been very busy with the work program that I'm doing right now, so we weren't talking as much/intensely as we usually do. I was kind of "saving up" talking to him and caring for him for when we were supposed to see each other again, which was supposed to be very soon. And I also thought we were going to have limitless time together soon. So it just feels so unreal still that he's really gone, and he already feels very far away from me sometimes, which is scary. Sometimes I feel like I have to force myself to remember all of our times together because they're so below the surface. And it just disturbs me that I'm able to put on a good face and act like nothing happened.

But I hear you guys...that this is how the body/brain copes and tries to survive. I'm trying to tell myself that. And that it's okay however I'm feeling. Again, it helped hearing that from you guys, so thanks a lot.

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claribassist13

Sophie, 

There is still a lot of logistical stuff going on right now. That will definitely keep you busy and will likely keep you from experiencing what you think you should be feeling. I know that when I was planning my fiance's memorial service I was too focused on arrangements to really grieve. 

As KayC said, everyone experienced grief differently and at different times. If this is the first time you've really had to deal with death of this kind of a personal level, then you really have no idea what to expect. I've had a couple of grandparents die, but I've reacted much differently to my fiance's death than I did theirs. I am learning new things about grief and my grieving process everyday. We have all these preconceived notions of how we should grieve and what we should and should not do in an event like this, but when it comes down to it there is nothing we can do expect ride it out. When we really have to deal with grief, we don't know where to begin. Everything we thought we knew is turned upside down, and we realize that nothing could have prepared us for what we are feeling. 
He will stay a part of our life forever. You were a different person when you began dating him, and you are a different person now because of his death. The influences he had on you will always be with you, and you will carry him in your heart forever. He'll never be completely gone simply because you will continue to carry on his memory. 

You may not feel his absence now, but you will feel it eventually. There will comes nights when you will crave the feeling of arms around you. You'll crave his kisses and his words and everything about him. It may not happen now, but it is something that will come with time. 
If you are worried about memories disappearing, I would recommend writing them down as they come to you. I have always been an avid journal writer, and I cannot tell you what a blessing that has been for me. I can re-read years of entries and remember almost everyday of our relationship. Also, the memories won't be gone forever. A common side effect of grief is memory trouble, but those memories are stored away in your long-term site. You'll be able to access them again. 

Right now, it's just one minute at a time. Don't force yourself to go any faster than you can handle. 

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Yes, I'm definitely having trouble remembering things...that makes sense about grief affecting memory. It's just hard...yeah, this is the first time I've experienced the death of anyone even remotely close to me. I feel like losing a partner is so awful because there are so many things that you have that were just between the two of you...really private things that you can't share and wouldn't want to share with anyone. They were the person you told everything to. I guess that's why writing them down is a good idea. It just feels so private, and like we know them as a person better than anyone else probably. I have to decide whether to speak at his service this weekend...my initial reaction was that I wanted to, because I feel like i knew him best, and just wanted to share with everyone else. But now it feels like a lot of pressure...in a way I don't know what to say. Nothing I say could be enough. And I feel like it's too soon to put him into words and finalize him in this way.

Did you speak at your fiance's service?

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Our brains are really amazing, our bodies have a way of sometimes compartmentalizing in an effort to deal with what we can handle so we don't fully shut down.  It will eke out little by little as it feels you are ready to deal with it.  Don't worry, you won't just move on and forget him.  Someone we love will always be a part of us and although the grief changes form and evolves throughout our journey, the missing them and the love continues throughout our life.

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claribassist13
3 hours ago, sophie sb said:

Yes, I'm definitely having trouble remembering things...that makes sense about grief affecting memory. It's just hard...yeah, this is the first time I've experienced the death of anyone even remotely close to me. I feel like losing a partner is so awful because there are so many things that you have that were just between the two of you...really private things that you can't share and wouldn't want to share with anyone. They were the person you told everything to. I guess that's why writing them down is a good idea. It just feels so private, and like we know them as a person better than anyone else probably. I have to decide whether to speak at his service this weekend...my initial reaction was that I wanted to, because I feel like i knew him best, and just wanted to share with everyone else. But now it feels like a lot of pressure...in a way I don't know what to say. Nothing I say could be enough. And I feel like it's too soon to put him into words and finalize him in this way.

Did you speak at your fiance's service?

I can't tell you how much I related to all of what you said. 
My fiance and I had a lot of things that were between just the two of us. I've shared some of these things with his family, but there are other things I will never share with anyone else. I miss having that confidant. I miss having someone who knew me so intimately.   

I didn't decide to speak at my fiance's service until the morning of the service. I have debated all week, back and forth, and finally decided that I have to say something, even if it wasn't significant. I can clearly remember rapidly penning my words as the rest of the family was getting ready. What I spoke was in no way everything I wanted to say, but it would have been impossible to say all that I wanted to say. I was still in shock over his death, and all I could really do was express how much he had changed my life and how much I loved him. I wrote a story that sounded a lot like a child's fairy tale book to express this. It was one way to dealing the the harsh reality that I had yet to overcome, and it seemed to touch a lot of people. 
Nothing you say will feel like enough, but if the words mean something to you and help you process, then they are good enough. Your boyfriend already knows how much you love him and how much you miss him. These words are for you alone, and not for him or anyone else. People are going to be touched by what you have to say simply because in moments like this we are better able to perceive the emotions behind the verbal words.  

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Yeah, that makes sense. I think I would regret it if I didn't say anything. It's just hard to know what to say. But it might help me to start writing down some ideas, and feel less blocked up...Thanks for sharing what you did. 

I think I still can't really believe that he died, that this actually happened so suddenly and with no warning, or closure, or way to say goodbye. 

It just feels so unfair and unlucky :(

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claribassist13

We all feel the same way. For many of us on here, the deaths of our loved ones were sudden and swift. It makes our grief all that much more painful. 

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This is a pain that I would never want my wife to have to go through. It seems so strange when I think about it that way, but somehow that gives me a moment of peace, just every once in a while. Hard to explain..........

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57 minutes ago, BigKev said:

This is a pain that I would never want my wife to have to go through. It seems so strange when I think about it that way, but somehow that gives me a moment of peace, just every once in a while. Hard to explain..........

No, I know what you mean. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my bf wouldn't want me to have even one sad thought because of him, and would want me to keep enjoying life and move on. Sometimes it makes me feel a little better for a little while. But I think it's just sinking in more that this is real. Sometimes I kind of forget, or it feels like it maybe didn't happen, or it could still be undone or something.

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I find myself feeling like it's too painful to really think about head on, or to feel fully, so I choose to just drown it out as much as I can with some dumb TV show. Do you think it's bad to do this? I end up feeling worse sometimes because then I feel like I haven't had the release that crying provides.

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claribassist13
3 hours ago, sophie sb said:

I find myself feeling like it's too painful to really think about head on, or to feel fully, so I choose to just drown it out as much as I can with some dumb TV show. Do you think it's bad to do this? I end up feeling worse sometimes because then I feel like I haven't had the release that crying provides.

Sophie, we are handling pain that our brains cannot process at all once. Our brain takes months, even years, to process the death of a loved one. The thought of the loss is extraordinary, and it can be overwhelming. Not only is there the loss of the person themselves, but we also have the loss of their future, the loss of our future, the loss of any future together, the loss of the present, the loss we feel for their family and friends... And then we have to face things like all the crushed dreams, the rate at which this happened, all the future plans that have to be changed or discarded. There are things we subconsciously realize that we won't consciously realize for months, and that brings another round of grief and pain.  

There is so much to process and think about. It really is too much. Sometimes you need something else to focus on so your brain can do it's thing. So no, don't feel bad. You have to cope in order to process. 

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9 hours ago, sophie sb said:

I find myself feeling like it's too painful to really think about head on, or to feel fully, so I choose to just drown it out as much as I can with some dumb TV show. Do you think it's bad to do this? I end up feeling worse sometimes because then I feel like I haven't had the release that crying provides.

I often try to figure out what I should or shouldn't be doing, what's the best way to handle this or that, how should i react to different things. It can be mind numbing at times. Everyone is different and I keep hearing that there really is no right or wrong way to surviving this. I do have one very important yardstick that I use, "What would my wife think of how I'm handling this ?" Would she be happy with me ? Would she feel let down ? What would she think of me ? I still trust her judgment and I value her opinion, she still guides me. That's just something that seems to be working for me right now. We're all different, I dunno.........

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BigKev, that's a really nice idea. I feel like I know exactly what Shane would say in most situations...If I'm watching TV for many hours in bed, he would probably say, "Wouldn't you feel better if you went out for a walk?" :)

Yeah, I do a lot of over-analyzing how I'm feeling / what I should be feeling / what I should be doing. I did this before he died about different things, so it makes sense that I'm doing it now. It's just anxiety that is flaring up in a particularly stressful time.

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18 hours ago, claribassist13 said:

Sophie, we are handling pain that our brains cannot process at all once. Our brain takes months, even years, to process the death of a loved one. The thought of the loss is extraordinary, and it can be overwhelming. Not only is there the loss of the person themselves, but we also have the loss of their future, the loss of our future, the loss of any future together, the loss of the present, the loss we feel for their family and friends... And then we have to face things like all the crushed dreams, the rate at which this happened, all the future plans that have to be changed or discarded. There are things we subconsciously realize that we won't consciously realize for months, and that brings another round of grief and pain.  

There is so much to process and think about. It really is too much. Sometimes you need something else to focus on so your brain can do it's thing. So no, don't feel bad. You have to cope in order to process. 

Hi Claribassist,

I just wanted to tell you that I so appreciate your responses on this forum. They are so thoughtful and well-articulated -- and you are so young! I'm 26 myself. It helps me to think of things from the science-y side of things as well -- what the brain is doing, etc. My question for you is, what was it like for you when you didn't cry for 5 weeks after your fiance's death? Before a few days ago, I was crying every day but the tears would always stop suddenly for me. The last few days I've felt like I can't cry much at all, especially when I'm alone. Only when I'm talking to a friend or my parents directly about my BF that I can let loose and cry again (but again, then the tears stop very suddenly). When I'm alone and feel that I can't cry, it's a lot worse for me than crying because I just feel anxious, or have a tightness in my chest. I've been waking up really early and then not been able to go back to sleep because of this feeling of dread/anxiety. Crying is better for me because it's a release, and I feel better afterwards. I was just wondering what was your experience with this...

Thanks :)

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Jeff In Denver
On 8/22/2016 at 9:26 PM, BigKev said:

This is a pain that I would never want my wife to have to go through. It seems so strange when I think about it that way, but somehow that gives me a moment of peace, just every once in a while. Hard to explain..........

That is not strange.  We carry the pain so they don't have to.  I know what you mean about that moment of peace.  I feel the same thing.

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So sorry to hear about your loss.  I spoke at my fiancés funeral and there was about 600 people who attended. Afterwards, I felt like I honored him in a good way by talking about him in front of everyone.  My fiancé suddenly passed away going on 3 months ago.  Its still hard each day and it will be a tough road ahead.  This site is a great resource to use since we are all grieving of a loss of a loved one and we all understand going through a horrific and tragic loss.  Please hang in there as best you can.

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BigKev,

I feel the same way.  I am glad my husband is spared this pain.  I would not wish it on anyone, but him least of all!

And Sophie, I quite agree, Claribassist  is an asset to this forum.

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claribassist13
14 hours ago, sophie sb said:

Hi Claribassist,

I just wanted to tell you that I so appreciate your responses on this forum. They are so thoughtful and well-articulated -- and you are so young! I'm 26 myself. My question for you is, what was it like for you when you didn't cry for 5 weeks after your fiance's death? Before a few days ago, I was crying every day but the tears would always stop suddenly for me. The last few days I've felt like I can't cry much at all, especially when I'm alone. Only when I'm talking to a friend or my parents directly about my BF that I can let loose and cry again (but again, then the tears stop very suddenly). When I'm alone and feel that I can't cry, it's a lot worse for me than crying because I just feel anxious, or have a tightness in my chest. I've been waking up really early and then not been able to go back to sleep because of this feeling of dread/anxiety. Crying is better for me because it's a release, and I feel better afterwards. I was just wondering what was your experience with this...

Thanks :)

Sophie, 

I try not to mention my age on here. It's not because I'm embarrassed by it or anything like that; I just fail to see how age truly makes that large of a difference. In reality, yes, age does play a role, but I really think it just goes to show that life (and death) have no regard for age and that grief can strike any person. In matters like these, sometimes age really is just a number. I will say that my age does make me grateful that I had (and still have) such an amazing love in my life. I count myself lucky to have been with my fiance when I was. We've all learned that life is just too short, so I am glad that he lived what little time he had to the fullest. Many people our age cannot have claimed to have found true love, but he died knowing without a doubt that he was loved beyond measure.

As for your question, I don't have a very scientific reason for that (one backed by research anyway). I would imagine that a lot of it, again, has to do with how your brain processes your grief.
Crying, in many ways, is a validation of what happened, a realization if you will. You cry because your brain triggers these types of tears (there are three different types of tears) as a response to your emotional state. These tears (called emotional tears) release toxins caused by stress and increase endorphin production. Grief is essentially stress; a very specific kind of stress, but stress nonetheless. Endorphins are hormones that act as our body's natural painkillers. While there is still a lot more research needed on the subject, crying emotional tears essentially allows us to cleanse ourselves of the stress toxins produced by our grief while releasing natural painkillers, both of which result in an elevated mood.
In those first five weeks most people are still in shock/denial mode. Your brain effectively masks a lot of your emotional pain until you are in a better position to deal with it. Once you are consciously able to progress past shock/denial, then you open up your consciousness to start consciously processing your psychological trauma. In the meantime, your body still has ways to express it's grief in place of tears.

You mentioned a tightness in your chest, and I can relate to that. I still get that feeling in my chest when my tears won't come. For the first several weeks my heart also felt like a rock in my chest and there were times when my heart was pounding abnormally (like by blood was sludge in my system). I actually read an article recently about how heartbreak (like the loss of a loved one) affects our brain and therefore our heart. If I remember correctly, heartbreak activates areas in the brain associated with cocaine addiction and physical pain, which means that our heartbreak can actually feel like physical pain or a drug withdrawal because that is the signal our brain is receiving. This can cause irregularities in our cardiac rhythms, which can lead to that tightness of chest and other symptoms one might experience during grief. Our hearts are subjected to this the most within the first 14 days of a trauma. 

So I just threw a whole bunch of science at you (hopefully it all makes sense and it helps some). If you want my person opinion. sometimes it's easier to cry when you know you have someone there to support you. It's hard to cry all the time and to cry by ourselves because then we have to be our own support, which is difficult to be at times. I wouldn't be too concerned about it right now. However, if you it goes continue to concern you, I would start seeing a grief counselor (I recommend seeing one anyway). A grief counselor is an objective third party who will identify concerns to you (if they feel that you are not grieving in a healthy manner) and they can also provide you with additional resources, coping mechanisms, and an unbiased level of support you can rely on. 
All the symptoms you are describing are completely natural, and are happening within the correct relative (I have to use the term "relative" because we all grieve so differently) timeline. 
As long as you are continuing to reach out to someone, anyone, and talk, you don't need to worry too much about not grieving enough. I promise you (as much as I hate to do so), it will come.  

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velvettuberose
On 8/22/2016 at 11:26 PM, BigKev said:

This is a pain that I would never want my wife to have to go through. It seems so strange when I think about it that way, but somehow that gives me a moment of peace, just every once in a while. Hard to explain..........

I understand what you are saying,Kev. I wouldn't have wanted my husband to experience this kind of pain. He was not strong enough to deal with the loss of me.

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Charlene Varela

It’s been 1.5 years since my fiancé passed away. I miss him so much everyday. It is still very difficult:(

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@Charlene Varela  I am sorry for your loss.  It is hard, not for a year, not for two, but this is for the rest of our lives, we don't get "over" it like a cold, we have to live with it!  And that's harder than other people can begin to know!  We do get more used to the changes this has meant to our lives, in time, but that doesn't mean it's ever easy.  One day at a time...

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Oh my god. Why did I feel like I was reading my own story. I am in the same situation now and I don’t know what’s wrong with me. For the first 2 weeks I actually died never left bed cried day to night never ate drank or anything for 2 weeks. Just looked at our messages thinking how I could have stopped it or been there with him but after that my body had stopped. I’m now able to laugh with my siblings or tv shows but I feel like I deserve the worst. I can’t cry for him when that’s all I want to do. I even listen to sad music and try. I normal choose sad music but all I can feel is depression like normal but even more that I can’t cry for him. I prepared myself to die on his birthday but I felt it coming but it stopped. I feel like I don’t believe he’s gone. I feel I’m waiting for people to tell me it’s a prank. 

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Amma, it's the hardest thing in the world to go through, but I want you to know that the pain will lessen in intensity eventually, everyone's timetable is unique so I can't say when.  It took me a good three years to process my grief but it by no means ends then, this is a journey that has no ending, 16 years later I continue to love and miss him.  When he held me it felt the best place in the world to be, so safe/protected, I have not had that feeling since.  We connected so amazingly!  Our communication was amazing also.  He was my soul mate and best friend and there is no one like him, never has been, never will be.  I've gotten used to being alone but it is not my preference, by any means!  It feels like our world went from living color to black and white.  How do you enjoy things with no one to share in them with!  No one to talk over things with at the end of the day.  No one to hold you, ever.  No one to notice me when I dress up, appreciatively.  No one that looks at me through rose-colored glasses like he did.  He was my king and I was his queen.  

When did this happen for you?  I encourage you to continue to come here and read/post, this is a safe place, where others get it and understand.

You do not deserve bad.  None of us deserved this.  We didn't bring this on, neither could we stop it.  Sometimes life is unfair, un-equitably doled out for sure.

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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