Last night I was reading some posts I had made on a messageboard from about 18 years ago. We were in our early 40s and my husband was having a midlife crisis, having by then lived longer than his mother did. My biological clock was screaming, but instead of it making me want a baby, it made me write. Chapters and chapters of a giant sprawling family epic that I never finished. I was also finishing grad school and I think that when I got a master's degree, it made him feel even more inadequate. And in the middle of all that, he started an emotional affair with a co-worker. That was the worst two years of my life, because men feel as long as they are not having sex, it's not an affair. But it was. And the woman was blatant about it. She would call our house and ask for him. He would make plans to get together with her and leave his e-mail up. I would challenge him on it and he insisted that I was the problem because I didn't trust him, that they were just friends. I had kind of forgotten how awful that was. Time and time again, I have e-mails in my sent folder that I sent to my sister about how taken for granted I felt, how I was just furniture to him, and so on and so on. And yet, as far as he was concerned, he was in a happy marriage. I'd forgotten how utterly trapped I felt sometimes.
Maybe that's why those years feel like someone else's life. On one level, we were very well suited, because we were really on the same wavelength. But we were BOTH hard to live with. I looked at him and saw an incredibly handsome, smart guy and I would wonder what he saw in a troll like me. He'd look at me and see an incredibly smart, accomplished woman and wonder what I saw in a troll like him. So I guess we were doing this little dance of low self-esteem together and it worked in a weird sort of way.
And yet, when he got sick, I would have let no stone unturned to save him. And when he had a stroke and was in ICU, I was looking at rehab centers and nursing homes and home care to see what would be involved. I was terrified, because what I was looking at was either him being trapped between this world and the next, being kept "alive" by machines, a very angry, severely disabled guy who hated me for allowing them to stick him with a breathing tube and feeding tube, or at best, someone very angry. But he had an advance directive, and he'd always been very open about not putting a lot of value in his life, especially after he aged out of his career, and while he was in ICU he wasn't getting cancer treatment, so when they told me that they didn't see any higher brain function and they could make him comfortable and let what would happen happen, it seemed like the only choice.
Some people think that with a troubled marriage, it's easier to make that decision. It isn't. It's harder. And the grief is very different, because when it happens this way, I think you spend the rest of your life trying to sort out exactly what you feel.
Hello - I'm new here. I lost my husband suddenly and tragically June 23 last year in a mountain accident while we were on vacation. He was 40, I am now 42. We have two daughters, now aged 9 and 11. We had been married 14.5 years, but together for 20. Half my life was spent with him. I think I'm doing ok, or as ok as I can be. I can't believe it has nearly been a year. A year without him. I found this site when I randomly found the Widow Camp page. Do many go to that? I'm looking at the one in San Diego.
Hi Debbie - sorry you and I joined this "club" on the same day. :( We had been on vacation in Europe when it happened. After I took care of everything over there (thankfully one of his friends had been in the area and drove 8 hours to help me with everything and get me back to the airport), I flew home 2 days later to break the news to our girls.
I'm sorry for your loss and that you find yourself here.
Doing as ok as you can, is just where you need to be.
As far as Camp Widow..I can't say enough good things about it. First time I went I was a little over 1 yr widowed. I had no idea what to expect. I am so so SO glad I went! I went to workshops and classes. I heard countless stories of HOPE. Those stories made me believe that I would be able to have happiness in my life. I learned that first year that Hope Matters.
Oh, did I say that I made friends?! I have friends all over the country! I made friends with people who lived close to me and we get together as often as we can! Depending on what area you're in there may be a Regional Group close to you!
In other words, if you're able, go to Camp!
If you do go to San Diego, I can put you in touch with so many of the amazing people I have met and they will swoop you up and make you feel like you're home.
Thank you for your reply, Sue. I, too, will be a little over 1 year widowed at the Camp. I signed up to go after thinking about it some more and talking with my friends. My daughters are going to Camp Erin the following weekend, so all 3 of us will get to go to something fun and helpful. I'm a little nervous to be paired with a roommate, but I think it will be good. Maybe they'll pair me with someone who lives near me, close to my age? I often feel way too young to be a widow - and I'm sure that's normal. I'd like to go back and change some of the things I put on my application - do you know the best way to do that? Maybe I can call them?
MPMom, you can always go and amend your Camp registration.
Also, if you go to http://www.soaringspirits.org/contact-us you can send email, snail mail or call. You will probably talk to Michele, who is the mastermind behind Soaring Spirits and Camp Widow. The loss of her husband, Phil, is the reason we have this amazing community.
It may be too early but there is usually always a Camp Widow forum here.
I hope your days are easy
We chatted briefly yesterday online, was lovely to meet you, though of course wish circumstances were very different. Sounds like you went through a very traumatic time last year when you lost your husband, being in a different country and it being so sudden. I'm so sorry and unfortunately can relate in many ways. We had just moved to the USA from Australia to live. Mike died suddenly 2 months later. I lost my visa privileges instantly, and found myself a long way from home. I am 43 and Mike was 39. Way too young for any of this. Fortunately the people in the small town we live in, in PA have been incredible. I'm still in the USA but have to leave in the next couple of weeks as my visa expires. The stress of that is what sparked me to come back to this site and find some consolation. Which I have!
I am also toying with the idea of the San Diego camp. I saw that you have signed up. Congratulations. From what Supernova says they sound amazing.
I'm Lori. I'm new to this site. My husband Matt died 14 months ago of leukemia. We were married for 6 years, together for 17 years. We were such a good team! It's still so shocking to be single, to be widowed. I'm considering going to Camp Widow in San Diego this August but am undecided.
I'm struggling to figure out how to build a new life. I feel like I'm moving through mud. Hoping to connect with people here for encouragement and compassion.
Nice to meet you, sorry it is in these circumstances. I lost my husband Mike very suddenly last November, it was 6months yesterday. And like you I'm so shocked that this is my life now. At 43 I'm a widow. A small part of me still thinks it's some crazy dream. The disbelief is overwhelming sometimes, who would have thought an emotion like disbelief could be so powerful. It turns me upside down and inside out some days.
Like you, I'm toying with the idea of the San Diego camp. I just need to be around people who just 'get it'. I hope you get what you're looking for out of this site, it has certainly helped me.