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Born in the 50s

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Comment by booktime (Susan) on March 13, 2019 at 2:50pm

Oh my what a road we are traveling. I agree with Maggie - you are too hard on yourself, Bergen. And I agree with Tekwriter, it's hard enough to deal with the grief.

it is so easy to slip into the shouldas couldas. But ultimately we have no power over these things.

The only person judging you is yourself. Be gentle with yourself. I know Ed would not want me to dwell on what I think Might have happened had I done something.

Your self is your vessel in this life we lead. It's not what we wanted but it is what is. My purse has a quote on it: "I choose to be happy". I read that every day.

I'm rambling. I just want to offer hugs to all. And again, be gentle with yourself. You deserve that.

Comment by Tekwriter on March 13, 2019 at 1:51pm

Bergen my husband made it through two back to back brain surgeries also. He made it through the regular hospital and into rehab. He was supposed to come home at the weekend. I always went by in the morning and checked his lunch to see if it was edible and if not had someone bring some chili from Wendys. I had spent most of this morning though getting my hair done. But I did go for lunch and then went home and fixed his dinner and our youngest son always took that to him and picked up a chocolate shake. He had worked out with sheetz to put all the protien stuff in a shake so he would get extra nutrition. He was not eating well. They called me at 8pm or so. Our son had not been gone long. It was pretty awful. We cannot blame ourselves and keep the guilt train going it just doesn't help. There is so much to grief as it is, it is plenty painful.

Comment by Maggie on March 13, 2019 at 12:55pm

Bergen...you are being way too hard on yourself. You did what you felt was right at the time and in all likelihood was probably the right thing to do. We make choices for ourselves and others our entire life and some we may get wrong, but most are right.

im sure it will haunt you the rest of your life, as some things I did haunt me as well, but to feel you deserve to be all alone and die alone is not logical. That’s how I’ll probably end up, but not because I deserve it, but because I am alone, no children, a few friends...but in reality, I’ve been alone since his death as no matter how good a friend is and how much time you spend together, it will never be like it was with our spouses. But that’s just life and deserving or not deserving it is not connected to what happened. You must not feel this way.

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on March 13, 2019 at 12:32pm

@riet:  The hardest thing to let go of is the "woulda shoulda couldas."  My husband was seemingly recovering from the first of two brain surgeries and was undergoing what was described as "just in case" chemoradiation after CT and MRI scans showed that his bladder tumor was gone.  Of course we do not know for sure if it was gone or if he would have ended up with metastatic bladder cancer.  I suspect he would have.

I was working crazy hours and he was feeling good, even starting to plan to get back into the job market.  But I was burnt out and he was not helping out at all at home and I was sniping at him because I was so irritated.  I live with this every day. He had a stroke and I still had to work so I was with him during visiting hours and then had to sleep so I could work. I spent the last two weeks of his life with my laptop in his ICU room.  Half the time I had a headset on my head attending teleconferences.  My manager was on me constantly and I was terrified that I would lose my job and our health insurance.

I knew the day before I found him that he was in the middle of some kind of medical event.  His speech was slurred, his hands were shaking, and his incision site looked bruised.  I wanted him to go to the ER but he refused and I did not push the issue.  I even remember thinking, "Well, it's YOUR funeral, dude."  That is how tired I was of arguing with him, nagging him to drink enough liquids, reminding him of appointments, putting up with him bitching at me, etc.

After I had him moved to his neurosurgeon's hospital, I still was not with him 24 x 7.  I got there at 6 AM and left at 4 PM.  I had to work.  I had to sleep.  No one was cutting me any slack at all and I had no help.  They were keeping him immaculately clean and taking good care of him.  The room was tiny.  He was getting respiratory therapy and EEGs and I was in the way when I WAS there.  Would I have gotten hero points for setting up camp in the visitors lounge where there weren't even lockers to put my purse and my laptop on?  My employer was self-insured and he had already cost them a quarter of a million dollars.  There was nothing to keep them from firing me for cause because I was definitely underperforming.

Then after he was taken off the vent, they came in and suctioned him and his eyes opened -- and I went nuts.  Had I made a mistake?  Was he finally waking up?  No one had told me what to expect.  It wasn't until I was hysterical that they said it was just a reflex from the suction.  Was it?  I don't know.  At any rate, they would not let me back into his room, and he died in there alone while I sat just outside his room.

This haunts me every single day of my life and it always will.  And like you, I find myself simply unable to let it go.  And if it means I am all alone in my old age and die alone (which is pretty much a foregone conclusion, it's no more than I deserve.

Comment by shelley on March 13, 2019 at 12:23pm

I am so grateful for your post, riet.  John was also my only love.  We separated for many years in between what we called 'relationship #1' and 'relationship #2'.  But during that separation I prayed for his return, waited for him to come back to me.  

John and I also did not talk about the "end".  We were in our love bubble, our little world.  He promised he would let me die first.  We talked about our wills, logistics, etc.  But that was about it.  John was 75 and worked hard at staying healthy.  His doctors were impressed with his vigor and zest for life.   And if his doctors thought he would live to 100, of course I did too.  John had a heart valve replacement in 2007, left the hospital days early and was hiking again within a week.   He was my miracle man. 

John developed endocarditis in November 2017 and did not recover from heart surgery.  I didn't realize how sick he was.  He was just a little 'tired'.  Or so he told me.  He was hiking with friends, we were having great sex days before I took him to the emergency room.  

In hindsight there were more signs.  I thought he was just being grumpy.  I learned after John's death that he told a friend that he thought he was dying.  He thought he was dying and I didn't see it.  He was getting sicker and sicker, the infection eating away at his heart and I didn't see it.  

Even after he entered the hospital, I was positive that he would be okay.  The surgeon was surprised at how quickly John's heart started beating again after surgery.  I latched on to that, ignored the possibility of a blood clot.  John was strong and healthy and could survive anything.  

Days later when it was clear that the time had come to let him go, I was present.  But after John's death, there was so much blame.  

Of course I blame myself for not knowing how sick he was.  But I also blame myself for every moment that he was in the hospital and I didn't touch him, kiss him, sit next to him, talk to him enough.  

Wanting to do things again differently.  Oh yes.  

I often dream about John and in a recent dream I said, "Okay, John.  We're together again even though you're dead.  We're together.  And this time you have to promise me that if you feel sick, you'll tell me".  And John said, "I promise".  The dream was in color and full of warmth and love.  I can still see our faces as we talked.  Obviously me trying to work something out.  

I recently found a photo of John in a hospital chair days after his valve replacement surgery, smiling, looking happy, healthy, reading the paper, his beautiful blue eyes beaming.   I decided to get the photo enlarged to remind me of a time when John was ill and we dealt with it together.  I knew exactly what was going on and nursed him and supported him and loved him more than ever.  Trying to think more about that visit to the hospital than his last.  

I am so sorry for your loss, riet.  

Comment by riet on March 13, 2019 at 11:14am

dear Lostandlonely,


I too was with my husband from the age of 16. He was my first and only love until his death. And he will stay that way forever. He became ill when he was 69 years old. He was first told that he only had a chance of survival of 15 weeks. But when the chemo seemed to work well, we were told 15 months. He had this terrible braintumour: glioblastoma.
He lived exactly 4 years with this disease: from April 20, 2014 to April 20, 2018.
Precisely because he survived the predictions, we got the "stupid" idea that this would continue.
We have never talked about the "end". So his death came completely unexpected for me, even though I saw him getting sick more and more day after day.
I blame myself very much for this. Did he shut up for me? Did he show that he knew he was going to die, and did I not want to hear or see it?
So he died while I was still trying to help him lie more easily. I didn't even notice it.
I wish I had held him in my arms and could have comforted him. Now he died while I encouraged him to breathe better.
I would now like to say that I wanted to do it differently.
Our children say that at least he died in our own bed, which he wanted above all else. But I feel so guilty.
After 11 months, nobody can convince me that this could not have gone better.
Thank you for hearing this story again.
Recently I sometimes remember him the way he was before he fell ill. That is amazing. But it also cuts through my heart, because I really want him to be with me.

Comment by Melissa on March 12, 2019 at 11:49am

Hi Linda. I'm glad you found us, but I'm so sorry you had to.

My husband died suddenly and unexpectedly as well. I'm at almost a year and a half, and I find that things are getting harder. I think more about finding him. I have nightmares about the days immediately following his passing. I never dream about him being okay.

I've always had issues with anxiety and depression, and take medication for both. I'm also in therapy. The anxiety is the worst. I am so afraid to drive. I've pretty much stopped going out because everyone has moved on and I don't like to do things by myself.

My husband was always able to calm me down. He was so funny, and could always cheer me up. Now there's nobody. My kids have their own lives, and I have no other family to speak of.

It's hard, but these wonderful people understand and will always, as Riet mentioned, understand and listen. Please keep visiting us here and know we understand.

I wish you peace.

Melissa

Comment by michr60 on March 12, 2019 at 9:55am

I still have trouble with the new normal and it has been over 5 years.  You need to keep busy and do things that you enjoy.  I would like to travel, but feel like it is hard to go alone.  

Comment by riet on March 12, 2019 at 9:32am

dear Lostandlonely,

I can only agree with what is being said here. After the death of my husband, almost 11 months ago, I often felt the need to talk about him. How I miss him, how he was my support in everything.
Here, on this page, I could do that again and again. And I felt the hugs and understanding that was given to me.
I still sink sometimes, and then I know that here in this group of lovely people,  people listen to me.
I also want to give you a hug and hope that you will feel some support here.
Love, Riet

Comment by Lostandlonely on March 12, 2019 at 9:26am

I forgot to add to my post that my husband and I were married for 45 years.  We began dating when I was 16, and I was 64 when he died.  I never lived alone before being widowed, but I could not live with either of my children. They both have wonderful families, but it was just me and my husband for so long.  I have gotten used to being by myself.  I see so many widows making a good life so much sooner, and I wonder what's wrong with me.  The last year seems to be the worst.  Thank you both for your kindness.

 

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