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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

In my early stages of grief I know she (Darlene) wouldn't have recognized me with my deep depression, PTSD, weight loss, hair loss, memory loss, brokenness, you name it.   It took this "Village" to get me to this new or different me.  At one time I didn't care if the sun ever came up again and now I'm out there living the life she was robbed of and the life I was denied by being a long-term caregiver; which I would gladly do again if I had to.  I was one of those people who said that they were never going to date again and now I have remarried.   As far getting remarried goes, I know it's controversial on here, so all I'm going to say is that it's a personal decision whatever you choose to do and what everyone else thinks doesn't matter. 

I'm 6-1/2 years out from loss and now so changed from who I once was.   Before loss I had a 9:00 to 5:00 or there about government day job.  After loss I was targeted by a new H.R. Director for using Family Medical Leave and let go.   It didn't help my case any that I had fallen behind a little bit on my work; nothing a 2-time employee  of  the year couldn't manage.  Well getting let go was actually getting SET FREE.

Now I'm helping my cousin run a 1,800 acre grain farm, I'm a private snow removal contractor with 2 trucks and 2 sidewalk crews for now.  And lastly, I have a logging-woodworking business that is getting bigger and better every year. 

If my spouse (Darlene) were to come back and see me today I honestly don't think she would recognize me. 

I'd like to think she would recognize me and be proud like in her living years; she was my biggest cheerleader.  But I've changed so much I really doubt it.  I don't know why this is on my mind so much right now, I've got enough going on I don't need to be fretting over this but I am. 

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I am older  and wiser  but  I  am  certain  my  husband  would  recognize  me.  More  gray hair  and  deeper  frown  wrinkles  but essentially  the same.  

It has taken eight years but I think I am the person I was prior to the last five years of Ray's life, the hardest years in terms of caregiving and the saddest years of our marriage. Grief controlled my life for a few years but I think now I am the person I would have been if he had recovered from the second and third strokes. I like to think we would have got back to a life of comfortable companionship and done  those round Australia trips we had planned. I hope he would be happy  with the person I have become.

I’ve never thought that finding happiness again and continuing to live life was controversial.  To all that have found love again, great!  No matter our choices, I think we should strive to be happy or at least be content.  And Doug, some people will stand in judgement, it’s probably in their DNA!  It takes a certain amount of courage to make changes and move on but you did it!

I’m twelve years older since last I saw him. About ten to fifteen pounds slimmer (not by choice). I had made the choice to go from brown hair to blonde which is now growing out to gray, white and brown.  (Thanks to COVID)  Hmmm maybe, maybe not .  I just wish he could come back to see!

I'm sure my late wife would recognize me.  She might not like what she saw though, as I'm still trying to claw my way out of this deep dark hole.  I wish I could find the motivation and energy to do something like what you've done.

Janet would recognize me but not the changes to the house and property. I finished the addition on the house, repainted all the rooms, built another sheep shed and pig shed, bought an old antique truck (she was trying to buy me one).

Things I thought we would acomplish together....but then again maybe we did.

That's an interesting question. I am also different because of covid. I no longer color my hair or wear any makeup, what's the point with face masks. And I used to love to wear various rings, proud of my collection inherited over time.  But when I one day stopped wearing my wedding rings,  stopped others too. Plus hand sanitizer bad for them. It's been just 9 months so I imagine more changes will occur but not sure I'm gonna replace all that make up if masks last much longer!

Hmmmm good question.  It's only been 21 months.  I  think my Doug would be surprised by how quiet I am now but he would recognize me. Thinner more quiet but it's still me 

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