A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
Hi, this is my first time on here. Didn't think I would need the support but I'm really having a hard time with not having closure when my husband died. It's been two months and I'm still upset that I don't know what he was thinking or whether he was at peace with his illness and eventual death. He didn't want to talk about it and it's just killing me that not only did he suffer physically but also mentally. People say that when it's a sudden death there's no closure, however, I didn't have closure either. My hospice nurse said that my husband was definitely not agitated and was at peace but I can only go by things like that- not his words. My husband internalized things and was a private person so it is no surprise and I have to respect who he was, but I wish he had said something to me or left me a note .....but i know that it was just too painful for him....I need to reconcile all this and accept that I will not have the answers to so many questions...but it's so hard.
Thank you for posting this question, surreal. It helps to know that others have dealt with the same situation and have had the same thoughts and questions. In retrospect I sometimes wonder if I did and said the right things. I tried so hard to remain positive and encouraging, keeping hope alive in both of us. I knew miracles do happen, and that's what I was praying for... all I can do now is trust that I did what I was supposed to do. But, like you wrote, it is hard. Jeanine
All this is just so sad not only for us who are left to ponder over unanswered questions, but also for our spouses who mentally suffered as they faced their deaths. I don't know if I'll ever be at peace with the pain my husband experienced both physically and mentally. It only makes the loss of him not being here that more upsetting.
I know exactly what you mean. I watched Ken's body (He was already brain dead.) struggle for 12 days. Every breath was so hard for him that I thought it would surely be his last. I pray to God that he didn't suffer as much as he appeared to be. He was/is such a gentle soul that he didn't deserve to suffer.
Hi Surreal. I'm so sorry for your loss and your personal hardship following his death. Being with a very private person can make closure difficult at the best of times - been there. His decision not to talk about his illness or eventual death was probably the only way he could cope with what was happening to him, and to discuss what was happening with you was beyond his capabilities - it would mean he would have to try to deal with your pain at the same time or he may have felt he was protecting you. It makes it so much harder for you to come to terms with his loss. At this point I feel you may need to learn to accept this is what it is. Hard as it may be, there will be no answers that will satisfy you as he is the only person who could possibly do this.
But this forum gives everyone freedom to vent and explore their relationships in a safe environment - with some useful suggestions thrown in from others who have experienced something similar. I'm 3 months out from my 2nd husband's suicide - I have some answers, but will never KNOW what was going through his head at the time. I loved him, he knew I loved him and there is nothing else I can do about his decision to leave us. And yes, it has been difficult living with the aftermath.
Our hearts seem to have no control over who we fall in love with, but we love them with our whole hearts and live with whatever life hands us. And now we reach out to others going through this experience for guidance and just the blessed peace of being able to talk about how we really feel without judgement. Take your time and be kind to yourself, this whole experience is surreal (great name btw) Chez
Such a common thread with all these men. My husband refused to talk about his illness at all. When he was diagnosed (stage 4 lung cancer, both lungs, spine, liver) he actually asked how many more stages to go. It was not until 4 days before his death when the doctor came in and said there was nothing else they could do. It had spread into his bones and brain by that time. I asked if he wanted to talk about it and he said nope. I had to respect his wishes although I wanted to shake him and scream at him Talk to me. I know he loved me and our daughter and I have to hang on to that.
My guy, too, Amy. When I had to sign the papers to transfer him from the hospital to hospice, he had to acknowledge that he understood that he would not be having any more dialysis and what that would mean. His words were ... "Why prolong the inevitable?" That was as good as I got.
He had never wanted to fully discuss his cancer diagnosis, nor any of the crises he faced along the way. But he had been that way our entire 41 years of marriage - when his best friend died in a car accident during our first year of marriage, when his dad died a couple of years later, when his brother and mom died within a year of one another - so it wasn't a surprise for me. Over the years I learned to respect his wishes. It wasn't easy since I'm a talker, but I had to do it. For him. It had absolutely nothing to do with his love for me and our son. It was just who he was.
I will say, however, that his final 4 days in hospice assured me that he was at peace with all of it so I am very grateful for that.
Closure is an external term that I believe is an artifact for others who need to feel we who have suffered a loss are okay. It is never closed and should never be closed per se. This is about a journey as place to find within ourselves a sense of knowledge and understanding as best as we can based on the facts we have, the history, our own experiences, etc. We put this together in a tapestry. As a dear friend described to me when the Tibetan's weave and they get to the end they tie little knots in the rug so it doesn't unravel. Here is the quote from the email which says it better then I can
"Decathexis is the word.
Freud (I was told) used the word CATHEXIS to talk about attachment. My supervisor talked about the process of grief being the work of "DECATHEXIS" and that is the tying off the threads (the warp & the woof) of the tapestry of the relationship. All the threads that make up that tapestry have to be tied off, the tapestry completed. The tapestry remains and is preserved through that tying off of the threads that formed the relationship. And it's hard, time-consuming work."
So we are not closing but in fact creating something to preserve based on our best knowledge and understanding.
That's a very interesting and beautiful analogy Mark. My thought as I got to the end of the post was "I still have a lot of loose ends that need tying off."
What a perfect metaphor! I really like that.
Thank you it fit's the image of grief being a liner line like on a Osciloscope where when there is input the line fluctuates. I see my grief as that line with many times the pain is unbearable but I promised myself I would feel every emotion. Sometimes I am like a teenage girl who is a cutter and look forward to the pain from the razor or the memories.
Wow, I don't think I've ever heard it describe so precisely. Juliana