A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
Do you sometimes feel like most people here had perfect relationships, and you didn't? Do you think sometimes grieving people put their late loved ones on pedestals or "forget" the hard times? Maybe difficulties strengthened your bond over time. Maybe you compromised too much. Maybe you had mixed feelings when they died. (Maybe you did a jig. :-) )
Has your perspective on your relationship changed since your loss?
Every relationship has its issues, but I'll bet whatever yours were, you're not alone!
My husband died 4 months ago and I will tell you our relationship was less than perfect. He had a really bad temper and I walked on egg shells for years. In fact in Autumn 2010 his temper was so horrible that I realized in retrospect it was because he felt unwell, but he was never good about articulating his feelings. In November 2010 he lost his temper and was shouting and cursing at me from the roof of our house while we worked to clear the dryer vent. All of the neighbors heard it. That night I told him that I did not know why I stayed in this marriage when he kept inflicting pain on me. I was the victim of emotional and verbal abuse, but I loved him and I know he loved me. In addition to dealing with his anger problem, I found out 4 years ago that he had been unfaithful to me. It was revealed to me when my doctor's office called and told me that I had an STD called HPV, and that I have a high risk for Cervical Cancer. I still can't get individual health insurance because it causes abnormal PAPs. When I confronted my husband about the STD, he confessed to cheating while we dated (24 years earlier) which made me doubt his fidelity for the entire relationship. But he would not admit to straying during marriage. Because he was the only man I had ever been with sexually and we were both virgins when we dated, we should have been free of HPV. I thought we had both been faithful all along but I was naive. He was not faithful and it nearly destroyed our marriage, but I loved him enough to forgive him. However, I sensed that he was withholding something and I was right. Two months before he died, it slipped out of him that he had "gotten drunk and done something stupid." He was in pain and suffering from his cancer when this happened, and when I asked for details, he refused and just said, "I told you everything you needed to know." I had no choice but to let it go because I saw him suffering. The whole time I cared for him in his 9 month battle against a rare cancer, I had to deal with his anger and lashing out at me. It was psychologically and emotionally draining. After he died, it hit me hard that he was faithful to his lies until the end. He never told me that real truth. I had a horrible month or so of intense rage and anger after his death. I am over the anger, but I know I will never put him on a pedestal. I paid a price for standing by him. I know that I deserved better treatment than he gave me and he was lucky that I stood by him until the end while he battled a rare cancer. I did not want to lose him because I loved him with all of my heart, I accepted him warts and all, and I know that he loved me. He was so much to me and we were married two months short of 21 years, but together for 28 years.
Tammy- thanks for the empathy. I miss my husband terribly.
I am at peace because I forgave, because I loved him and I recognized while he was alive ALL THAT HE WAS TO ME. I loved him with all of my being. I have been through therapy and both friends and the therapists have said that I was the rock that held the marriage together. He did not have tumors in his brain but he had tumors in his left lung, liver and eventually his bones. His temper was a problem way before his illness, and his anger was his defining characteristic until days before his death. I loved him anyway and I still do. PLEASE FORGIVE YOURSELF. We all say things that we do not mean.
I dont think you should feel you are the only one that ever had marriage problems. I know there were times in my marriage that were rough. Maybe after a spouse passes away we tend to try and remember the better times.You are honest in sharing your experiences, and this is a good plac for that.
I agree with Jerry - I'm quite sure you're not the only one here who didn't have a perfect marriage. Some just aren't able to share those things as honestly as you. Perhaps your post will help them to do that.
You have experienced so much, Lisa. I cannot imagine the emotions at play during each of those issues. And yet here you are ... surviving ... forgiving ... recognizing the beauty that is still out there ... and sharing. This is a safe place to do that. Come here often.
Lisa, dont feel that way. There are lots of people on here who did not have perfect marriages. Myself included. But what is a perfect marriage? I know I do not identify with any of the marriages you see on tv. Laura Petrie, Claire Huxtable - yeah so Not me. And my husband was no Cliff Huxtable or Rob Petrie, not by a long shot. Some of us faced a lot of adversity in our marriages and I believe maybe became stronger because of it, think the jist of it is we loved our spouses . I dont think we would have married them if we didnt.
Marriage is a journey and there are no perfect roads. I know that Walter and I did not have a perfect marriage, but we were perfect for each other. We argued and struggled a lot in the first 5 years, trying to become a blended family was rough, trying to overcome the trauma of my first marriage and not look at him like "all men are the same" was rough on me and on him. He was 12 years older than me so trying to get him not to treat me like a little girl was a challenge too. But, all those struggles made us cling to each other because we were equally committed to the marriage. That is what made it special - the love and commitment and keeping our wedding vows. Walter had dealt with substance abuse in his past, but had been clean and sober before we met. Still, he religiously went to AA Meetings throughout our marriage until he became very involved with our church and met some good friends there that he could share with and they kept him accountable. That is why I respected him so much, because he was able to do what my first husband could or would never do. He was able to be a father to children that weren't even his and show them what a real man looked like; he loved them. But, still, I knew I was taking a big chance on marrying a recovering addict. We both came with a lot of baggage, his from a sad and troubled childhood and mine from my former marriage, but year by year we unpacked that old baggage and moved forward to build a beautiful marriage. I watched as his faith in the Lord grew and as our marriage grew stronger and stronger. I wouldn't change a thing about it because everything we experienced knitted us together for the fight we had ahead of us in the last 3 years of his life, and yes, by then, we did have the perfect marriage because it took so much faith, strength, mutual respect, courage and most of all love to survive it and I wouldn't change that for the world. And yes, he still made me angry whenever he had a health challenge and wouldn't listen to the doctor and we'd have to argue just to get him to do what he was supposed to - like when he was having a heart attack and didn't want them to do a heart cathe on him. He couldn've died that day. But finally he said, "OK, I trust you, babe." And we kissed and made up and I could breathe again. When they amputated his legs one by one, he became addicted to Percocet and I knew he would but I also knew he could not endure that pain without medication, who could? It was a hard struggle for him because of his past history. But, I watched this man with no legs wean himself off the Percocet. He told me that he didn't want to be high when he went to see Jesus. He wanted to be sober when he "walked" our daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, and he was. He had every excuse to keep taking those pills but he was able to conquer those demons one last time a year before he died. Walter was my soulmate and I'm glad that now I can remember the wonderful things about him along with the struggles because it wasn't about being perfect, it was just about love and sharing a life together and becoming one. Love and commitment go together and I'm so glad that at least once in my life I was able to experience them both. I miss you, Walter my love.
Yours is a very heartfelt story, freddieb. I so appreciate your honest look at your marriage, as we all struggled with our spouses at one point or another. The two of you certainly had your trials and tribulations, but you are proof that when you believe in something, you can make it work.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.
We were soulmates from beginning to end...thirty-seven years. I will stop there. Just is.
What aggravates me to no end is how my husband has become a "saint" since he died.
I would love to see that question addressed.
It is making me crazy! I loved the "human" and I feel like they are recreating him.
I get the 'saint' angle for my first husband...his mum has enshrined a tiny room in her home with hundreds of photos of her favourite boy. She has also never forgiven me for living instead of him. More than 11 years later i still have to swallow my pride and maintain all contact in the relationship as she is grandmother to our 3 kids...I feel it is more important to keep that relationship alive than worry over her pettiness...still hurts.
Glenn could do no wrong and she won't hear any negative stories about him...even now. It makes it difficult for the kids to relate to this 'saint'. This is wrong, wrong, wrong...he was and always will be a larrikin in my eyes - he was an ok dad - loved his kids but didn't spend much time with them or with me as he chose to live his life as a single man doing all the things he loved in preference to spending the time we deserved.
So I tell the kids about the time when he was 15 and was arrested for having alcohol with his mates and then having his parents called to the police station...and the time he streaked at the local cricket match for a car battery and a beer...the things that made him human.
Thanks for the opportunity to add a touch of realism, Chez