A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
My wife died when she was 34 last December. She was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma 3 months after we were married. Needless to say, I was her caregiver and supported her (gladly) for the past 6 years. Prior to meeting her, I was suffering with social anxiety so I had no social outlet, no girlfriend, etc.. Over the past 6 years I've overcome some of those challenges thanks to my wife.
But, I am just setting up the scenerio. The past 2 years when her cancer came back I was there every day, gave her every shot, flew to texas every 3 weeks, etc... I was devoted to her and worked full time, etc... Sold our house, did everytihng I could to try to put her in remission and put in her a nice environment.
When she passed I didn't want to deal with the grief, so I met a friend online who was a widow. Well, you know how that goes, mutal grief, 3 months later we were dating. My wife's family disowned me because I was honest about it. Apparently I needed to wait for some time frame they determined? Anyone with any brains should've clearly noticed that I was trying to avoid my grief through this relationship. Instead, now I'm in California all my by myself. I moved us out here from Illinois so my wife could be with her family when she first got cancer.
So, shows what kind of people they are. Her mother especially has put the entire family against me, and has created lies that I abused her, etc.. Clearly they didn't know my wife, she would've kicked my ass and posted on facebook if I did anything bad to her. Nobody was even there for her the entire time. I don't remember calls from anyone. We just showed up at parties and everyone pretended nothing was wrong. So I guess I'm not really losing anything special, but it sucks to have nothing left from my realtionship with my wife on earth. I have our memories, and I'm a better person because of her. But I would've been better if she lived, but she didn't.
So now I'm trying to start my life all over at 36, and really, our life never really began since cancer was the main thing going on. So sue me for not wanting to sit at home alone for months and be a recluse grieving widow. My wife is gone, and can't do anything for me here anymore. I cry for her all the time and miss her every day, but I want to live my life and meet people and try to find someone again. I dunno why I have to feel like that is wrong because a bunch of foolish rotten family members want to judge me, when they should judge themselves on how much they were there for her when she was alive (try never). I honestly, and I know this sounds bad, hope they are suffering with guilt for never being there for my wife when she was alive. The last month they came out of the woodwork because she had 50 tumors in her brain and woke up from their pitiful self-centered lives. Oh thanks a lot for the support. Good riddance I say.
Oh, Bryan! I'm soooooo sorry for your loss - of everything it seems. You are not the first person to date early, and you certainly won't be the last. I, too, began early - 3-1/2 months after my husband died. Like you, I was running away from my grief in some respects, and just trying to begin a normal life again. My own family gave me a harder time than my in-laws. Bryan - if a person has not been widowed THEY JUST DO NOT "GET IT." You can explain until the cows come home, and they will still not understand how you feel.
Maybe you should distance yourself completely from them for a while - don't have any contact. Less stress that way. You are so new in this journey - your emotions are going to go around in circles for a while yet. Keep posting and venting here - we do "get it."
It's a darn shame the way some people behave, Brian. You know how special your relationship was with your wife and all that you did to care for her ... don't let anyone take that away from you. There are just times you need to write off friends and family who don't get it. You won't change their minds no matter what you say or do, so it's best to not waste your energy. And so often, they are lashing out at you because of their own guilt - just as you indicated. Move on if you are able and don't carry any guilt with you.
I just this morning read a post from a new Facebook page I found and I like the affirmation she used to help her heal from the loss of her husband. She replaced "I don't want to be sad anymore" with "I give myself permission to find happiness". I've found it hard sometimes to fully feel happy because it doesn't seem 'right' or I think it's too soon. I can enjoy myself at times but then have those thoughts pop in. I sometimes think we get caught up in feeling that we must be sad - there is no other choice because otherwise it would give others the impression that we didn't love our lost loved one enough or as much as someone else who holds onto that sadness forever. Continuing to feel sad does not honor my husband and the life we shared - and I do not need to be concerned about what 'others' think who haven't walked this road. So starting today I am giving myself permission to find happiness ... appreciating the beauty of nature, the few friends who have stuck around, my online friendships, the good things that pop up each day that I might have missed otherwise.
Brian, that really sucks. You need to do whatever you can to stay healthy and happy in your life. I'm sorry the in-laws are being so difficult... sadly, it's a common scenario.
The only perspective I can offer is that as you change and as your life continues, so also will theirs, and there may be a time when you (or they) feel a little more desire to be friendly. It's not necessary at all -- or even a good idea! -- but time is indeed VERY LONG (we hope!) and one never knows. I wouldn't worry about apologizing or explaining or anything... I'd just keep living and keep a tiny window open if you can. Maybe like Christmas cards if that is your tradition? Something fairly impersonal and infrequent. But again, not necessary.
About dating early... I certainly would not say you were "avoiding your grief." I just never say that. I usually just say folks were grieving in a different way. It's not unusual for men in particular, and in the men I've seen date "early", they still had to go through whatever they probably WOULD have gone through. They just did it with a partner (or playmate) at their side.
Anger is great, but watch out in the long term for the bitterness. Most of us here have a problem with it ... :-) ... but most of us learn eventually that we can't live well with it forever.
Take your time with that though!
Wow, thank you all so much for writing back to me, it has really helped put my mind more at ease.
My hospice grief counselor mentioned that men seem to start dating sooner because we open up with our feelings to that significant other rather than other guys, so there is that need there I guess, which is true. I was never more open to anyone in my life except my wife. I got so much strength from her, the worst part now is not having that support and her having my back, it is very unsettling after getting use to that for 6 years to be so "naked' I guess to the world again. Like shopping for clothes and stuff, I just feel like this wanderer.
Making friends is so difficult for me too, I am not the most social guy, I like being around people and talking, but I just don't seem to attract friends, I must be giving off some vibe. I haven't figured that out yet.
The relationship I had with the widow ended. She totally shut down when we got close. I really don't know what happened, but I lost her as a friend too. She was trying to accept me into her life, but she had her husband so high on a pedestal I don't think I was able to live up to what she expected of me, which was to be just like her husband, IMO. She went "numb" supposedly, and to me it seemed like I would be waiting a very long time for her to be willing to let me in emotionally. So that was a bummer. But, after the relationship was abruptly ended without so much as a word, I spent a number of weeks adjusting, and have stopped feeling so much like a zombie, able to work without feeling like I can't cope, etc... So, I don't believe in fate really anymore, losing your wife can do that, but I did get some positives from the experience and think I'm better off for it. I also learned from the way I felt with this woman how not to be if I meet someone else. I really felt totally compared and I would never want anyone I'm in a relationship to feel that way, it's doomed to failure. I just happen to be a very understanding person and didn't take things too personal right away, which is a failing, cuz it caused me to get close and then get hurt again. But, that's life! Onward I suppose. If that means being alone for a long time or forever, I guess that's just what it is.
Nite! And thanks again!
Brian, you don't sound to me like a guy who will be alone forever. You are obviously a very caring person, responsible, loyal, and able to open up to others. Many women will appreciate those great qualities.
One thing I have seen sometimes in a few widows who start dating soon after losing their husbands, they want an exact replacement for their husbands. They want their old life back. They aren't ready for a new relationship yet, but they're hurting so bad, they don't realize it. This could have been the case with your former friend. She was probably confused when she started dating you, and didn't know how to handle it when you turned out not to be exactly like her husband.
I had only a few months of caring for my husband during his cancer. Those few monnths left me so exhausted emotionally and physically, I am only now getting over it 11 months after he died. Your ordeal lasted so much longer, and took so many different turns, I think you deserve medals and lifelong love from her family. They are acting like trolls. Since you spent such a long time fighting that battle, you probably did some of your grieving ahead of time. People who don't see what you went through, and appreciate what you did, aren't worth your time.
Looking back to the days before I met my husband, I recall that I was most likely to find a new boyfriend when I wasn't looking for one. When I wanted a date really bad, I never seemed to get one. Maybe we do give off some kind of vibe that makes people move away when we try too hard. I hope you can relax and run into a woman who appreciates all your good qualities, and who has a family who knows how to treat a great guy.
I am so sorry your in-laws treated you this way. Being young and widowed is not something anyone but us can understand. We are supposed to grow old with our spouse. I know losing my husband at 29 with a 14 month old and pregnant left me feeling like my world had collapsed. I miss him! It will be one year March 12th. However, I am finding hope again. I look forward to dating and the possibility of being in a committed relationship when the time is right. I can only hope that when that person enters my life, I have friends and family that encourage me instead of judge me. How can they feel justified in judging you when they have never walked in your shoes? I am sure they are hurt and angry and taking it all out on you. But, you are probably better off without them bringing you down.
All the best,
Brian- I so understand and GET IT!! The first tine I was widowed I found my husband that passed 7 mths into my first husbands death..( have I lost you yet) Anyways some of my children were ok and some weren't BUT when they saw their mother healing, smiling and living again, they came around. The inlaws left almost immediately after his death- what is it with inlaws, I know they are hurting too but walk in these shoes. Well Im going though the same now, as soon as my husband died so did the relationship with his sons and his mother. I have harbored some resentment and anger too- but what I do know is that has controlled me and I no longer will allow. One son has tried to dismiss his fathers' love for me, well they weren't around either, so they didn't know, and you have guessed it right, they don't cone around...I don't need that in my life, I have my family and friends who support me. I just started dating this time and its been 17 mths. I know I say I want to find someone like Danny, well he was his own and I will never find another Danny, I can't have my old life back. Im working on the new me and new life. We all get it here, we have lost the most important part of our lives and all we want is to have a LIFE again. Take care Brian and do what is good for you.