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My husband died on January 25, a little over 3 weeks ago.  Does this gnawing, gut-wrenching grief ever go away???  This grief is like nothing I've experienced.  I cry and I cry and I get no relief, no release.  There is always more in there it feels like it'll never end.  I don't stop crying because I can, I stop crying because I make my self sick, my head hurts, I feel nauseated, and I force myself to stop.  Today is so bad, I feel like I can't get up off the floor.  I don't want do this.  Why can't he just come home.

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Guilloma,
My husband was diagnosed Jan 10, 2012 with stage IV metastatic renal carcinoma... Kidney cancer that spread.
He did not have any symptoms.
When the oncology team came to his room to deliver the news and discuss the treatment plan, myself and our 3 adult children were there. When the team verbalized the devastating blow I wanted to scream!! I'm in healthcare, I 'Knew' what the diagnosis meant... But... At that moment our 3 kids all looked at me and simultaneously cried out, "MOM"!
I knew in that split second how I reacted would determine their reaction through this process... So, where the strength came from I don't know, I just calmly said, "It is what it is... We can whine and cry and wonder why... Or we can band together and fight this thing, and that's exactly what we're gonna do".
My husband didn't see me cry. He knew I was sad... But I knew he didn't have the strength to be comforting me...
I kept a journal. I didn't want to forget anything. I wanted... Needed to write down his words... His thoughts, fears... My thoughts, my fears... Everything.
We did talk, Guilloma. About everything.
He told me to date again... We bought plots and a headstone... We thanked each other... We experienced a new, deeper kind of love...
Our kids said the experience was the worst 7 months of their lives... But the best 7 months of their lives. We went through his journey as a family...
I love my husband so very much. I miss him every day... Which is why I know, for me, I could never date again... I've had the best... My life is filled with grandkids, and kids, and Church, and my little P/T job...
Life can be full again... Different... But full.

Becky,

   I have no idea where my strength came from either....  I also kept a journal while he was sick.. At first I just needed to keep track of how he was everyday, and what he said etc. ... But I have kept writing a little bit everyday.... So far I have filled 2 books. ... I keep finding myself re reading the journal that I kept while he was in the hospital. Nothing is going to change. I also keep listening to the recordings I made while each of his doctors talked. ( I recorded Drs. appts... I love listening to him talk on those recordings.) 

Susan

Nothing like the pain of losing your spouse.  The other half of you.  I threw up for 6 months. Lost 50 pounds in 4 months.  I couldn't believe how much it hurt.

We had no time to talk, no last words, he was just gone.  His family has been good.  But I still had to go through all that grief myself.  I wish I knew about this site back then.  I learned I should not have opened up to people, & should have kept things in.  Only open up to people, like on this website, people who get it.

I wish someone would have told me that.

It's incredibly, shockingly painful.  I had no idea; could have no idea.  And, sadly, you are right - you can't really open up to people who have not gone through it - they just don't know.  

I was not really expecting the physical pain.  Not being able to breathe.  My left shoulder in a tight mess.  The ache in my chest.  It's a wonder anyone physically survives this.  I have lost 12 pounds since Michel passed.  Our daughter has turned into a pushy bulldog and won't stop bugging me about food.  But it's hard to care about eating and I can't swallow the food anyway - it just gets stuck in my throat. 

This site is a godsend.

The food was getting stuck in my throat as well. I can swallow now, soon to be 4 months out, but it just kind of sits their in my throat....the whole day. The hard to breathe is better, still returns some days

I feel this stabbing raw grief again today.  Tomorrow is exactly 8 weeks since he passed; plus it's the 22nd which we honored every month as "our day" (we met on May 22).  It is all overwhelming me right now.  I just want him to come home.  

My daughter made me a plate of food before she left for work; I gave it to the dog after she went out the door.  

My heart is sad for you. I remember those early days so well. You are at the beginning of your journey. The grief waves will change in intensity, force and duration but t takes time. My doctor told me right after my husband died that it is good to have a place/time to activly grief and let the tears come and the pain come out. I would gently suggest that you go for a physical and also find a grief support group or some close friends to confide in. At first, I couldn't eat or sleep. I didn't know a person could cry so much.  Gradually it does soften. I think of grief like a painting- at first dark colors are vivid and you can't see anything bright or beautiful but then gradually, very gradually, the dark colors lesson- one day you will feel yourself smile at a memory. The grief colors and feelings are still there but you will see more light as the dark colors slowly fade into the background. I am at 3 years and yes I still cry but not as often or as long. I can now look at pictures nd talk about him with a smile. Take each day at a time and be kind to yourself.

Thank you, kln82.  Today marks 11 weeks exactly since my husband passed.  I think that I am going backwards right now.  After a few weeks of feeling reasonable (in some moments), and catching glimpses that I can make it through this, the past few days have thrown me back down into the pit, and I feel raw again, like it is fresh.  I imagine that my mind is just scrambling to make sense of something that makes no sense at all.  I did see my doctor, because I was worried that I was wasting away.  I am eating a bit better, but the food still gets stuck in my throat more often than not.  I am working more often and I am getting better at it.  So, some days, I can see the lighter colors, but part of me still rebels that this new life is not my life, and I want my old one back.  I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your response and support.

guilloma,

On May 3, it will be 5 months for me. Somewhere between 3.5 months and now, I found myself being able to eat. Unfortunately not eating the healthiest foods, but remember one night saying to my sister, the lump is gone, my food went down. Periodically it does still feel like a lump at the top of my throat but more often I am finding the food is finally going down. Two weeks ago I thought I was doing better overall, but as of last week found myself having an increase in crying episodes, quite lengthy ones...I guess the permanence of loss is starting to settle. That feeling of forever physically gone. Very painful, feels like a major setback. Hang on, day by day we forge forward - and continue to keep our lovey in our hearts.

I'm so sorry.  I feel so badly for you and I feel so badly for  myself.  My husband died 8 months ago.  This is pain like nothing I've ever experienced.  It's deep like an ocean, with waves that want to swallow me up.  It's shocking and sometimes I can't believe this is real.  I have to tell myself he's not at work, he's not on a business trip, he's not outside , he's gone.  My heart breaks for you and your grief.  

Riley, I appreciate your thoughts and support.  I am still in shock, and do not want to believe it.  11 weeks today, and it seems unreal that someone who I loved so much and built my life with is just gone.  It is like nothing else.  My heart and thoughts are with you, too; I am so sorry for your own loss.  

This past Saturday marked 11 months since my wife lost her fight against cancer.  Not a day has gone by since then that I haven't broken down at least once.  Often, the grief feels overwhelming and life seems unworthy of continuing.  

And yet, despite feeling as heartbroken and raw as I did the day after she died, and despite being as keenly aware of how much I've lost as I did then (much less, acknowledging everything that she lost), I'm still here.  I'm here partly because of inertia (or momentum), and for lack of deciding to check-out early, but I'm also here because -- despite my not caring about life anymore -- life itself wants to continue; there's something within us that is determined to survive, regardless of our wishes or our emotional states. And I'm gradually becoming more "here" because of what I'm identifying as things that I think she would've wanted me to do. 

I'm opening myself up to the things that -- knowing her as well as I did -- I think she would've encouraged me to do.  Some of those are things that we used to do together (performances that I know she would've wanted to attend, and so forth), and some of them are things that celebrate and honor her life, or help others in the way that she always helped others. It's almost as if I've been handed a new and lifelong project.

And finally, part of why I'm still here is because I know that she saw certain qualities in me that she particularly appreciated, and other potentials in me that she would've liked to see me develop.  I want to be that better version of myself, to prove to myself and the world that I was worthy of her.  I want to keep singing her praises until I can no longer speak.  I want to keep the memory of her fresh in the minds of her friends, and to keep her relevant.

At first, I did everything on my own.  Not because I thought it was better that way, but because I didn't know who to turn to.  And yet I was determined to not be like so many men who reject help just because of stoicism or machismo or ego or whatever.  I eventually found a very good therapist whom I see twice a week, and they've been invaluable to me.  I'd highly recommend you look into professional support, if you haven't already.  Here in San Francisco, we're spoiled for choice.  And thankfully many therapists use a sliding-scale which, in my case, brings the price down to just $30 per week for two 50-minute sessions.  There are a number of different disciplines in that world; I chose somatic psychotherapy, since it specifically addresses the way that the mind and body are intimately connected.  No doubt there are other disciplines that might also be valid for you. 

So if I had any advice to offer, it would be this: the intensity of what you are feeling right now is a testament to how important he was.  There's no reason to ever want to "move on" from that.  But the part that is emotionally raw, that feels like it's impossible to survive?  That's an emotional truth that you may have to allow enough space to do what it's going to do, and on its own timeline.  Don't presume it will (or should) always be the same.  It's likely to morph into a variety of other emotions that are more complex, but no less valid or respectful than those you feel now. 

Be open to learning from your grief.  Look for ways to celebrate your husband's life (a website? -a poem? -an artwork?  -a scrapbook?)  Stay connected with his family and friends; they need you to. 

And finally, when the grief feels like a black hole in the middle of your torso that's sucking you into it: look for ways to help others, that honor his memory.  That, I've found, is the most reliable way to acknowledge how much suffering there is in the world, but also to show how suffering is met with the good that people can do for each other.  I volunteer every week at the local VA hospital and by giving my time, support and energy to people who have physiological damage worse than my own, and who feel abandoned by the world, I feel like I'm affirming life for them, reminding myself of her character, and building meaning into my own life.

I hope this makes sense, and may help you in some small way.

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