I am new to this site- just found it 2 days ago.
My wife, Cindy, died 2 1/2 months ago just before Thanksgiving (Not a lot of thanks that day) after battling cancer for the last 2 years.
We are/were both 49 years old, were married for 21 years, and have 18 year old boy/girl twins living at home in their first year of college.
I have talked to a few friends about how I feel, but even though they have experienced losses in their lives, they have never lost a soulmate to death.
I was so glad to find this site because everyone here truly gets it and understands what I'm going thru.
I spent MANY hours this weekend reading posts on the groups and forums to try to find some guidance. Something to help me heal.
Like many of you, I feel lost without my best friend and partner, in a place of despair with no end in sight.
It feels like going down a long tunnel with no light at the end.
I read LOTS of posts trying to find some hope that life will be better, but what I mostly found was that the majority of the people posting were in the same dark place I was in. I even saw in one post where the person was almost embarrassed to post about their happiness because many other people are nowhere near there.
Even though I can relate, reading about other people feeling miserable does not make me feel any better. (I crave the happy Hollywood ending)
And what really killed me were posts with long lengths of time still grieving:
" I still feel the same and its been 7 months (or 17 months) (or 7 years)"
Or ones stating "I didn't know how, but the 2nd year was worse"
"You never get over it, you just learn to deal with it"
Reading about all the same problems people were having months and years later just made me want to scream.
I realize everyone grieves at their own pace, but I don't want my pain and suffering to go on for years on end.
Isn't there some light at the end of this tunnel?
So I started searching for a lifeline, looking for success stories of people that were happy now.
Many of those talked about finding a "new normal" and being happy alone, but that was not for me.
A few years ago (months even), I was sure I would never want to find another partner. The thought of dating for the first time ever was daunting and I liked many solitary activities- reading, video games, TV, etc, but I quickly learned I need a partner in my life to share everything with. I want a best friend again to live out the rest of my days with (and this time I get to die first).
Just finding someone I am compatible with would be hard enough- we need to want to same things going forward and our baggage must mesh.
And now I have to learn to date for the first time? At 50? Aargh!
I also read other posts about not jumping in to a relationship too soon, to give time to grieve, don't be with the wrong person just to avoid the loneliness. . .
And I am sure there are plenty of dating nightmares (widowed or not) , but I want/need to find another love in my life. I want the closeness of having someone I want to spend all my time with.
I don't plan to be stupid about finding someone else, and I am not doing anything actively to look either- Cindy's Celebration of life is in 3 weeks and I have a bazillion pictures to look thru before then.
I decided today that I will not spend years feeling horrible. Period
I won't feel better this week, or this month, but I plan to be happy this year!
To start my new happy life, I am going to try to make a huge change going thru our pictures. Instead of looking at all of them and thinking how we'll never be able to experience anything like that again, I am going to try to be grateful for the wonderful life we had instead.
Her sister told me yesterday that she was always jealous of the wonderful relationship and amazing life experiences we had together.
Normally my brain goes to: but I want more, or it wasn't long enough...and it still does at first (LOL), but I need to at least add in the good memories too.
I need to hope that love again is possible.
Please post your gushy, vomit-inducing, RomCom stories about finding your 2nd chapter. Even the boring stories if you are still happy now.
I want examples of people who found love again after this horrible tragedy.
I always learned to get advice from people that had what I want- (i.e. don't get financial advice from a bankrupt person)
Please post how you met, how you are still doing personally and as a couple, and any other details you think would help to share.
Show us that not only can we "get thru this', but we can be truly happy again and turn on the light at the end of my tunnel.
Thanks in advance,
P.S. If you have any other dating/relationship advice I'd love to hear that too- just give us a "spoiler alert" if you don't have a happy love story for us to read.
Sorry for your loss Dennis,
I very much believe it is possible to love again. At 16 months my story of love and loss and love again is truly just barely beginning, however I have ample examples in my life of widows and widowers who have rebuilt lives and found new loves. Not the least of which is my own grandfather, widowed in his 70’s after 50 years of marriage then remarried to a lifetime friend, a widow herself.
I’ll tell you from my own experience that 2 ½ months is very recent, what is sometimes termed early grief. I was very much still in a fog at that point and it was closer to 6 months out that I found Soaring Spirits, Widowed Village and my good friends here. That was nearly a year ago and I’ve done a quite a bit in an attempt to help myself heal since then.
I enrolled in and attended a 13-week griefshare course and support group. It wasn’t the best fit for me but did help some.
I started reading books on grief and loss, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Permission to Mourn by Tom Zuba, It’s Okay That You’re Not Okay by Megan Devine, When Your Soulmate Dies by Alan Wolfelt and Second Firsts by Christina Rasmussen were the best of nearly a dozen that I read.
Megan Devine’s book led me to her web site refuge in grief and her 30 day online prompted writing course Writing Your Grief. It is rather intense and is a big commitment to write for 30 straight days. I found it hugely beneficial both the writing and the ongoing alumni community. I also write in a journal regularly.
Last fall I read A New Earth by Eckart Tolle and Loving What Is by Byron Katie. Both echoed parts of Permission to Mourn and were helpful with my brain going to “I wanted more”, “It wasn’t long enough”, It’s not fair, she should still be here. I found Tiny Beautiful Things and Wild both by Cheryl Strayed relevant and have read Second Firsts twice as a sort of primer on moving forward.
This year I decided I needed to do more, I needed to start socializing more than online. I joined a book club, several meetup groups for singles and people starting over and I asked a woman to dinner. Yes, learning to date at 50, well 55 in my case, like you wrote, Aargh!
Life is still very much an emotional rollercoaster; I have a long way to go. I know a part of me is always going to hurt, I’m always going to carry some grief. It is a new normal, but I do not believe it has to be unhappy and alone. Our grief is unique as we are, as unique as our relationship was and our path to healing will be unique as well. What I have related above is what I have done and found helpful some may benefit others some may not.
Dean, I am beyond thrilled for you. It sounds like things are going well and I'm so glad to hear. We really do need more tales of hope around the message boards. Rebuilding a shattered soul is hard work and it does take continuing commitment. There is no easy fix for grief.
on a side note, I want to call you PriceyYoda now. Your advice is excellent, so are your book choices!
Thanks Misty, you are so right about it being a continuing commitment and there being no easy fix.
Okay well on behalf of my sweet Jerry I'll tell you about his happy ending.... and I know I can speak for him. He would approve of every word I'm telling you.
The love of my life was a widower (6yrs) when I met him. He started dating 2 months out. I was frankly appalled when he told me that but of coarse now I get why.
He dated lots of duds before me, then we fell in love hard and fast.... his words, not mine, "I finally found a keeper" is what he told everyone and anyone. We loved completely, unconditionally, and all in for the rest of his time on earth. So, yes, happy endings do exist. He had a beautiful soul, and if he was here he'd tell you to give happily ever after some time, go have fun and take life with a grain of salt and some Patron. Don't worry so much about what's down the road, take one moment in time and find joy in it. The rest will follow in time.
This is ME talking as a woman: When you come across your happily ever after you won't have to or give thought to how to impress or what to say. So be yourself warts and all. The person you're looking for will only see the best parts of you anyway.
That's the short version, and it's the reason I can feel optimistic about what might lay ahead for me. (or any of us) Best of luck to you.
I agree Misty, the person we are looking for and deserve I might add will only see the best parts of us.
Melissa, I think your observation of this site being a skewed sample is a very good one.