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Suddenly Widowed

For those widowed suddenly or unexpectedly by any cause. 

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Discussion Forum

Grief, guilt, and regret

Started by Crabby. Last reply by Melissa on Friday. 11 Replies

Hello,I lost my husband of 38 years suddenly 11 weeks ago tomorrow. We were empty nesters with two grown children, and two adorable granddaughters. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Don was in our…Continue

Grief, guilt, and regret

Started by Crabby. Last reply by Crabby Oct 14. 4 Replies

Hello,I lost my husband of 38 years suddenly 11 weeks ago tomorrow. We were empty nesters with two grown children, and two adorable granddaughters. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Don was in our…Continue

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Comment by shelley on March 15, 2018 at 7:32pm

I read somewhere on this web site that keeping a gratitude journal can be helpful, that listing three things to be grateful for each day can ease the pain.  And I think I read from someone that when she couldn't think of three things to be grateful for, she remembered to be grateful for the time she had with her husband.  That to me, was a profound statement.  I thought about that all day today and realized this evening that I did not cry today.  Thought instead all day about my delightful relationship with my delightful husband and how blessed I am to have had that.  So grateful for the web site.  

Comment by roark on March 14, 2018 at 9:02pm

Hi my name is Rose and I lost my husband very suddenly and unexpected last June 6, 2015. He was in Oregon at that time while I was in CA going thru medical tests. My life was not the same afterwards. I was shocked and was numbed for quite a while. It was the most awful painful experience. I just retired when he died and at my age I don't know how I can be with someone again. Getting to know someone is not easy and being at this age (62) I am 65 this year how do I start over. My husband was my life partner and we can count on each other. We were not soul mate or anything like that, we were married for twelve years but he was my life and my life partner. I just finished probate a week ago and applying to refinance right now. I was fortunate I had a good job and receiving a comfortable pension. I missed him and talked to him a lot until now and I am crying less now. I feel I am much better and much stronger. Being busy is the key to where I am today. I had all of the grief therapy and support group. I also tried the meet up. For me keeping busy is the best therapy. My husband will always be a part of me then, now and forever.

Comment by MPMom (Colleen) on March 14, 2018 at 7:37pm

Nance - I, too, lost my husband in June 2016 (6/23/16).  I remember always waking up and being conscious of the time he died - every Thursday at 6am (we had been in Italy when he died, and it was 3pm at the time of the accident, so 6am local CA time).  I don't know why my brain did that.  I also don't recall when it stopped although every now and then it occurs to me again.  I, too, recall 9mo being a rough month but that would have also coincided with our what would have been 15th anniversary, and was my first without him.  We had planned to travel to New Zealand for 2 weeks.  The monthly date still hits me, but it's not as painful.  What has become more painful is knowing I will never see him again.  He was only 40 when he died, I was 41.  We had been together for nearly 20 years.  We have two daughters - now 10 & 12.  Recently it really hit me - again - that the never again is truly never again.  There will be no random sightings, no friend of a friend mentioning they ran in to him, nothing.  Thinking about this still upsets me greatly.

Someone else below mentioned anger in their grief.  I don't think I've ever been mad, at least not at him.  I have come to realize I have nothing nor anyone to be mad at.  There was no disease, there was no drunk driver, there was no one else at fault.  It was just him, just an accident in the mountains.  It still doesn't feel right to be angry at him.  It wasn't his fault.  I'm angry at the situation he put me in, this solo-parenting BS and having to start back at square 1 with someone new if/when I'm ready, but I don't feel I can be angry at him specifically.  

Almost 21 months and I still get sideswiped by the brief thought, "Oh, I can't wait to tell Chris about this!" or "wait till he sees this!" quickly followed by the kick in the gut we call reality.  I don't know when that will end.  I'm guessing never -- especially things that involve the girls.  My heart  breaks for all the things he will and has missed out on with them.

Comment by IBelieveInYou on March 14, 2018 at 7:11pm

Nance63, thank you for posting this. It captures a lot of good insights and will be helpful to me and others. 

Comment by Nance63 on March 14, 2018 at 7:04pm

 ...continuing: 

But I do have a strong faith that gives me great support, so that I don't have some of the questions I see that others have. I agree very much with trying to find ways to count blessings and feel gratitude. It can change how you feel, even if it does not take away the pain or loneliness.
I have five children. My husband died in June 2016, my oldest daughter had her twins in August of that year (her fourth and fifth children), my oldest son became engaged the following week, and also bought a home and moved out in October of 2016. My youngest, a daughter, is special needs and was having terrible trouble in a bad school placement and was having bad side effects to her medication. My other son struggled with his college year, losing a semester. My middle daughter became engaged. My oldest son married in November and they are now expecting their first baby in September, and my middle daughter's wedding is one month from today. There's a survey for adding up points to see what the stress level is, and my score was sky high with all the stress events that have come up in the past 2 years. But I'm still here, putting one foot in front of the other each day, as best as I am able.
I've been reading all your words and wish peace and comfort to all here! Thanks for reading my rambling post!

Comment by Nance63 on March 14, 2018 at 7:03pm

Hello, all... I've been reading the posts as they come into my email and I think of my responses to each but don't get to come on the site and respond as I want to do, so please bear with me as I just post some of the things that I recall wanting to affirm here...

 

My husband had a cardiac arrest at home and was hospitalized for exactly one week, but unresponsive, and died Jun 2, 2016 (my birthday) so already 21 mos ago. Hardly seems possible that it can have been that long ago.  While every one of us is different, with different circumstances, relationships, lifestyles, etc, some things seem to be almost universal.  I also went through the time of carrying the memories in my body. My body clock knowing the day every week or the date each month. I don't know exactly when that stopped but it has. I am still aware of the monthly date sometimes, but not each month. I no longer relive the events of that night and that week and the actual death, and so forth, but the memories do flood back every so often and catch me off guard.  It's not nearly as painful as it was at first. I do remember very clearly that 9 mos was particularly hard. I had thought it was getting better when I suddenly sunk into a real depression around the 9 mos mark and was physically sick, also. Afterwards I read that it is often at that stage that this happens.  

I noticed early on that I was very afraid suddenly. Now, my husband was not the protector type. He wasn't my soul mate, best friend and all that.  He WAS my husband, though.  I  think the tremendous shock it was to lose him so suddenly and so young (he was 58, I was 53 that day) put me in the frame of mind that any terrible thing could very well happen at any moment.  My oldest daughter (of five children) was due with twins when my husband died. I was certain that one of those babies was going to die.  I was fearful of going out on my  own, and I've never felt that way before. It was just a tremendous awareness of vulnerability, I think. Also, I think the fight/flight response is on overdrive. I am still fearful, still anxious, but not nearly as I was in the first year. And now I am trying to combat those feelings in practical ways. 

Anger is also an emotion that springs up easily.  I think negative emotions are at the ready. I might feel suddenly very down and it morphs into anger, just diffused anger, not necessarily AT anything. I don't agree that these things go in linear stages. I think it all comes ebbing and flowing and cycling. 

I also feel a lot of guilt, although I often know intellectually that it isn't warranted. I feel it anyway. 

Many stressful things have happened since my husband's death and they pile on and pile on to make things very difficult.  What may have been hard to handle anyway, is even harder now, with him gone. My life is not as I expected it to be at this point.  The stability, even if there was dissatisfaction, is gone. And so is that extra person to pick up the slack, run an errand, take over some of the responsibility, do some of the routine tasks.  Gosh, it can be overwhelming! 

I have been changed dramatically.  I am not the person I was the day before my husband's cardiac arrest. I was not a happy wife, but I am not a happy widow, either.  

(my post is two long. I will put it into two boxes. to be cont'd...)

Comment by shelley on March 14, 2018 at 5:00pm

I don't think I ever went through the 'angry' stage of grief.  But I do find myself feeling angry when I see happy couples, couples holding hands, kissing, smiling lovingly at each other, etc.  I was so extremely happy for so long.  My husband brought such joy to my life.  I'm worried that I will be a bitter, angry old woman.  

Comment by Gunnerx2 (Carol) on March 14, 2018 at 12:52pm

I'm sure there are Mike  LOL

Comment by Gunnerx2 (Carol) on March 14, 2018 at 12:52pm

Frank when you talk about anger I think that is where I am.  I get so angry at strangers, people holding hands, people driving (I sound like a truck driver), slow cashiers, etc.  I especially get angry when I see couples who look happy.  How dare they!  I'm going to check out LadyAva's suggestion also but I hope Camp Widow helps me with some of these issues.   I also do not want the grief to define me, I want to learn how to deal with it in a healthy way and allow it to happen.  I don't want to hang onto it if you know what I mean.     Carol

Comment by Mike on March 14, 2018 at 12:41pm

Gunnerx2, I’m sure there are apps for that too :-)

 

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