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Hello,

I've been lurking a bit and decided its time to introduce myself. 

I lost my husband Aug. 1, 2016. He battled pancreatic cancer for 20 months. We had just celebrated 21 years of marriage, 25 together. On the 6 month anniversary of his diagnosis, he was able to walk our daughter down the aisle and dance at her wedding. Two months later he made it to our sons graduation. Our youngest turned 12 just 3 weeks after he died.  We had almost two good years after his diagnosis. He was able to stop working, we traveled, we laughed, we enjoyed our kids. But we never, never talked about him dying. He was not going to let that happen. At the time I thought, what difference does it make if he doesn't face it. It's going to happen and I'll be left to pick up the pieces. Now, 2 years later, I wish I'd tried harder to talk about it.

Here I am, 9 days into year 3. Wondering if it will be different. Wonder where I'm headed. Turned 50 a few months ago. No idea what 50 alone is supposed to look like. Feel so very old, but in some ways, still feel too young to even be a mom in charge all alone. I'm hoping year 3 is a time I can move beyond just surviving and start living a bit.

I've found lots and lots of joy in the last two years. Always with a shadow of sadness hanging right behind it, but the sadness is getting less. The joy and laughter getting stronger. Needless to say, I miss him terribly, but I do everything I can to make sure I'm living the life he would have wanted, and taking care of our kids the way he expected. I take the kids on lots of trips to places he loved. We stay busy, and they seem happy. That makes me smile, because I know he would.

I only know one other widow. An old friend from HS, she lives in a different state. She's dealing very differently then I am. I've read so many posts here and thought, YES! Exactly, thats what I think too!! It's good to know I'm not the only one thinking and feeling things. 

Well, thats enough rambling, sorry. Look forward to 'meeting' you and getting to know you. 

Jabs, I am so very sorry for your loss. I am glad you had some good times with your husband and family before his passing. Maybe your husband wanted to preserve the joy that you were having by not bringing up the inevitable. I think we all look back and wondered if there was something different to be said, but I've come to the conclusion that my husband is listening now, so I talk to him often.

It is invaluable to have relationships with other widows/widowers. I found that out. Even if it is through this site. Others have their own opinions of how you should be progressing and what your life should look like, but they have no point of reference. Until you go through it, you would not understand.

I am glad you are doing okay. I'm sure it was not easy for you and the kids. I am September 14, 2016, so my second "anniversary" is approaching. I really feel the difference from year one to year two.

Hang in there. Sending hugs your way.

Hello all. My 37 year old husband died four weeks ago, after a seizure caused a cardiac arrest three weeks previously. He never regained consciousness. Whilst he had a condition called NF2, it was being well managed, so we thought we had decades left to enjoy each other. He was/is my soulmate. I take comfort in the fact that the last words we exchanged were “I love you”, and that he wouldn’t have known anything other than falling asleep on the Friday night, excited about the start of our holiday the following day. 

Dear CelticLass, you are very new to this grief; I'm glad that you found this site. My wife of 25 years died of a cardiac event almost three years ago. It seems incomprehensible that it's been that long. Over the years, I've read many posts and I've contributed some too. Please write what you feel like and know that we all get it. Many times others have written words that to them seemed like rambling. Yet to me, they were exactly what I needed. This grief, that grief surrounding the death of our spouses, is so dreadful and painful. I suspect you may be in a bit of a fog right now. If this is so, don't push it away. It is there to protect you. Do you have friends and family to lean on? You may need to be direct with them and tell them what you need. In my experience, people - even those who love me - have no idea what to say or do. In the early stages, I really had to say what I needed. It is beautiful that your last words were the three special ones. How long were you together? I wish you well this evening. 

Dear IBelieveInYou,

Thank you for responding. I have to admit that I’m really struggling. I don’t have any supportive family on my side, and most friends have gone back to their lives. There is a hard core of a few friends that continue to check in on me, but profound grief is difficult to witness, and most people would rather not. I seem to alternate between numbness, shock and utter despair, with the physical symptoms of shock manifesting as shaking and retching. Sleep was always difficult anyhow and if it does happen, it’ll be for 2/3 hours at most. Some friends seem to think that I should already be ‘getting back to normal’, and seeing a doctor to help with the sleep and shock, even though the doc will just explain that this is grief, and that they can only medicate temporarily. 

We were married for 6 years, together for 9, and lived for each other. He really was perfect. He was profoundly deaf, and having lived with NF2 was very different to most people - unfailingly kind, generous and compassionate, with an amazing sense of humour. He’d tell me every day that he adored me, and many times a day that he loved me. When others haven’t experienced a love like that they cannot understand how devastating the loss is. I feel like my heart has been ripped out. He always made me promise that I would carry on living when something happened to him, and it’s only that promise that is keeping me going. 

CelticLass, I am so very sorry for your loss. It is very hard when there are none that are close to you that understand the protracted process of grief. They tend to dismiss it after the initial dust settles, but that is when the most support is needed.

There is a period of fog that as IBelieveinYou says, is there to protect you. Unfortunately, there are those acute periods of grief you are experiencing that can be abrupt and difficult. I can tell you what I did. I would cut out a period of time in the evening where I did nothing but watch idiotic sitcoms. It was my temporary escape from it all. There may be something that would serve the same purpose for you.

You will keep going and you'll see that this initial jumble of feelings will let up some.

I'm sending hugs and peace your way. Feel better.

Hi Tess, yes it does seem bizarre that the support disintegrates when it’s needed most. I’ve been going walking in one of our special places, and that definitely helps, not least because the act of walking helps to release emotions, and it’s what my husband and I were passionate about - that and swimming outdoors in wild places. It took me all day to find the strength to get there on Sunday, but it was definitely worth it. I’ve been watching 10 minutes at a time of a TV programme that I enjoy, but that’s all I can manage at the moment. I seem to need peace and quiet even more than we did before, so have often just been sitting and reading any book that I can get my hands on about grief and widowhood. 

Dear CelticLass, Yes - people can be boorish and say the craziest things to us. They have no understanding of the crushing pain and anguish that we suffer. Try to ignore them. I have friends who are encouraging me to move on. I listen to them and try to remember that they are trying to help and that they have no idea. All the feelings you are experiencing are normal and as Tess says below, it will let up some. It sounds like you will have to be clear with your friends that you need certain things. I remember telling my immediate family words like, "Just having you in the house doing your own thing is helpful." One other helpful thing for me was to describe for them the waves of grief experience. Please look after yourself and know that there is no time limit and no proper way to grieve. 

Thank you IBeleieveInYou, I made a new friend in this morning in the form of one of my husband’s work colleagues, and talking to her helped as she seemed to understand. I’m gradually finding out who the people are that I can trust, and those who are best kept at arms length. His manager asked if there was more that they could do to help, so I heeded advice and gave him a list of jobs that need doing round the house - that way things get done, and his friends can feel like they’re genuinely helping. I will definitely ignore those who cannot possibly understand going forward though. 

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