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My Joanna and I were together for 23 yrs. Last May she had a surgery to clip an aneurysm and instead was in surgery 14 hrs for a deep brain bleed. That was the last time I saw her as herself. She had 9 more surgeries until September 11 (2018) when she died of a an uncontrollable brain bleed and stroke. After each surgery, she'd struggle to recover faculties lost only to have another surgery and start over again. At one point, she got MRSA from a brain to abdomen shunt and had to recover from that before they could replace the shunt. We were planning on selling our house to buy a motor home to live in. We were going to visit all of our kids for a few weeks each year. As she continued to have small strokes, it became apparent that she would have some mobility problems. So I sold our little Scamp trailer because it would be too awkward for her. Then I realized she wouldn't be able to drive a large motor home. It would be up to me and I am not a good driver. She drove and enjoyed it for the last 15 yrs. I began a search for Senior Housing enabled for wheelchairs or walkers and would allow 2 small dogs. Several apartment groups expected us to get rid of 1 or both dogs to move in. I finally found a place with what we needed and began the application process. We were living in a 3 bedroom with a basement, sunroom and big yard. We had to sell the house and downsize. I sold between 4 and $5,000 on Facebook Marketplace while I cleaned and repaired the house. Meanwhile, the house was being shown and I was in the hospital with Joanna for 4 - 6 hrs a daily and caring for the dogs when I couldn't take them with me. My daughter and grandkids helped me move things out even before we were okayed for the apartment. The roof started to leak into the living room and the basement flooded during days of downpours. Upstairs toilet began to leak and the pond was suddenly not holding water. Had to stop showing the house until those things were remedied. During all of this, her 2 adult daughters from Ohio and Georgia stayed at the house, going out drinking every night til early morning.The last visit, they were renting a u-haul to take some of the stuff Joanna had wanted them to have. She died the day after they arrived, so they decided to make this their last trip to Wisconsin. Had to sort through everything in the house. Then we had a memorial for her at our home the day after she was cremated. It was comforting seeing all the people that loved her. My family and I took care of all the food and flowers. Her daughters brought beer. Her son never came because of a big fight between him and his sisters. Even her ex-husband was there. Afterwards I sold the extra car, moved out of the house and into the apartment around Thanksgiving, and signed the house sale the same day I flew to my son's family for 2 weeks in Washington state. I finally got to grieve in earnest when I began unpacking in the new apartment. It's been 5 months now, but feels like 3 due to all the busy-ness  the first 2 months. Her picture is everywhere here and I think she herself is present too. I have never been loved so deeply in my life (now 70) or for so long. She was only 68. I will always love her. I'm not even remotely interested in another relationship.

[ The Lesbian Only group appears to be inactive, so I'm trusting the people in this group to be compassionate.]

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Replies to This Discussion

I’m so very sorry. There really are no words except I get it. I’m glad you have this space to express yourself and your grief. 

You are not alone. ❤️

My husband passed in September 2017 and things have only just started to calm down now. I also had a house to prepare for selling and I bought and renovated a home. I still have so much to sort through but I feel like he's here with me and that was what I was frightened of with moving away - that I would feel like this new place wasn't our home. I hear so much about people keeping their houses but I didn't have a choice and we'd been planning to move anyhow. Pictures do help. My youngest loves a really large family picture we have.

Claire - I had to get out of our house too. No choice. Steep stairs that I occasionally fall down and Joanna couldn't get up, lots of leaves to rake, 2 lawns to mow, roof gutters to clear with extension ladder, and lots of snow to move. I just couldn't do it anymore - even with the help of some nice neighbors. And I didn't want to install wheelchair ramps, tub assists, grab bars, etc. The house was a character house with all maple floors, cabinets, cove moulding.... Made more sense to go for a senior apartment. How did you manage to renovate a home with all of that going on? Do you keep in touch with your former neighbors? Supposed to go out for fish on a Friday soon. Arranging that was way out of my comfort zone. May never happen again, but we needed to say goodbye at least anyway. Hope you continue to feel your husband with you in your new home. Hugs

I am so sorry for your loss.  I too lost the love of my life last August due to septic shock.  We were together for close to 22 years.  I'm in the chat room most every day.  The people I have met online do have compassion even for these of us that are "family". They understand the emotions are the same.  Our struggles are the same. 

Again I am sorry for your loss

Gemgirl - Thank you for your sympathy. Soon after I lost my Joanna, I found a book called Lesbian Widows. It was helpful. I didn't know there were support groups for widows online. I felt a sense of relief when I found this site. I've been a recovering Catholic most of my life and found myself fearful of being gay and found out - especially during the years I was a Family Therapist. Joanna, on the other hand, was wonderfully free about it and no one seemed to care. I'm an atheist now, but still expect people to shun me for being gay. So thanks for reassuring me about acceptance here with other widows. I'm sorry that you lost your love to sepsis last August. Only 6 months ago. Still raw pain. I understand your situation. Comfort, peace, and hugs.

Doxielover, I'm so very sorry your Joanna didn't make it. My husband died of a massive brain bleed as well, but he just had one. It must have been horrible for you to go through so much for so long.

It's a wonderful thing to be loved the way Joanna loved you. Remember that and feel her nearby (as I believe she is) when times are hard. This is not an easy road we're walking, but we're here together. Please keep in touch with us and let us know how you're doing.

I wish you comfort and peace.


Melissa - Thanks for your sympathy. Those brain bleeds are heart wrenching aren't they? And you feel so helpless....I'm sorry for your loss and the way you lost him. I saw his photo and he looks like such a warm and gentle soul. Do you believe that you will be with him again some day? How long has it been?

Hugs to you

It's been 16 months, and I know I will see him again. He was a lawyer, musician, tennis player, loved to ride bikes . . .after the brain bleed he lived 13 horrible days. He was blind, paralyzed and on a feeding tube. He would never want to live like that, so it was a blessing for him when he passed. 

There have been times when I felt him nearby. I don't know what the afterlife is, but I do know that energy cannot die, it can only change form. So Gilbert's energy is somewhere, in some form. My energy will find his energy. I know that sounds crazy, but I also know love never dies.

Much love to you. Please keep in touch.


Love is love and sorrow is sorrow....hope we can help you in your hard journey trough Grief...and you can help us  with your experience 'cos we are in the same long road hugs ciao roxi

Dixielover, I’m also so sorry for your loss. Love is love. Your  grief and loss is just like The rest of us in this terrible widow or widower world. My husband died 8/18 from a sudden heart attack at home. His was an “out of order death”. No heart problems, but it doesn’t matter any death is horrible for those left behind. We all grieve. Keeping busy helps the mind slowly process this loss. Otherwise we would go insane. He was 71, I’m 61, married 38 years, and I also don’t plan to ever look for another love. I had it already, I’m ok being alone. It has surprised me since his death the people who stepped up, those who stepped away, and now 6 months in those who have stepped away over time. My sisters, mom and close friends have stepped away. Really surprised, and hurtful.  Those I worked with for almost 40 years stepped away at the onset of his death, also surprised and hurtful. Yes, I understand everyone has a life, but mine just imploded forever. Those who stepped up and continue to be present are my neighbors. I have neighbors Michael and Rick, who still have me over for dinner every Wednesday. First few months, they were always there after grief therapy for a good cry. Sometimes I still breakdown when I’m there, but it’s ok with them, they understand. I hope you find someone to support you like this, it really is helpful. Last week another neighbors husband died. Another out of order death, gallbladder surgery that went horribly wrong, he was 50. I text her every 3 days to check in, and I’ll help her as much as she wants or allows. We all need so much support, understanding. 



Thank you for sharing your story of your beautiful relationship with Joanna.  I shake my head at all the things that went wrong with your house just when you needed to grieve, take care of yourself, and finish moving out.  I can't help but imagine that your house mourned in its own way.  Please keep posting as your heart moves you to do.  I will read all of your posts.


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