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Hi Everyone, 

My husband died September 8, 2016 at 53 years old coming up the 3 year anniversary.  He died after a long battle with cancer Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, he suffered but fought like a true marine.  I was his caregiver and also worked it was all very hard.  I felt guilty for not being able to stay home all the time.  He had to stop working so we needed an income.   When he needed me home I would take off I was on FMLA.  Eventually had hospice care at home.   We had no children together I have a 33 year old step daughter who I'm still in contact with.     When he first passed I had some friends who were there for me.   Everyone has seemed to just disappear out of my life.  I am totally alone except when I'm at work, I've been working at my job for 30 years so it's like family during the week.    My family lives out of State, I live in NY and my parents live in PA and my brothers in MD.   Now my parents are in their 80's and I worry about them especially me being so far away.  

I have went to widow groups one being the W Connection which meets once a month but I don't always go, I never really connected with anyone their.   I also attended groups right after he died through hospice death of a husband.  I would really like to go to Camp Widow in Toronto but afraid to do this alone.   Recently I decided to go back to church, a non denominational church, just looking for some inner peace try to connect with people.  So far this has not happened.  It's probably me because nothing makes me feel better in anyway.   My therapist seems to think this will be my year and I don't see that, I told her I don't believe that I will be this way for the rest of my life.  I miss my husband terribly nothing can take away this pain and heartbreak I live every single day.  Going home everyday after to work to our house so many memories, I have no one to talk to but my dog and 2 cats.   I hate this new normal.  I might be taking baby steps in moving forward, even though I no longer cry everyday I don't feel like I"m moving forward at all. 

How is everyone coping?  Do you feel like you moving forward, if so how are you doing it? 

Thank you. 

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Hi Karen9816. I post here often and can understand your feelings. I lost my wife three years ago in November. It has been terrible - no other way to put it. We lived in Florida, but kids and grandkids were in Ohio. I was advised not to make any moves too soon - but my choice was alone in Florida or with some family in Ohio. I moved, but still am not overall happy with the situation. Yes, I love my grandkids so much. My wife was in hospice before I lost her to cancer. It just sucked. Then I lost our only dog six months ago - but then things were even more quiet, so I adopted another from the shelter. Not a great solution, but at least the dog shows me affection. As well as for me, I know I hate this new normal - because it isn’t normal. I would give anything to have my wife back - at the very least to hear her again telling me she loves me. I do talk to her and still cry every day. This is now normal. I am not sure I have moved forward as much as I thought I would have - I am just stuck in one place and cannot get over my wife. Then again, I don’t want to get over her. She was the world to me. So I post here from time to time, because I know others are in the same boat. Their words help me to get by otherwise. Take care ...

Karen,

I lost my  husband 3 years ago in July to a rare cancer. He died a month later from his 59th birthday.  June and July are bad months for me.  I really understand what you are going through.  You might I want to look at moving if the house makes you depressed because of all your memories.  I come home and often talk to my animals.  I am thankful I have them.  I guess I moved forward some since I survived 2 surgery s for lung cancer.  I realized I wanted to live even though it is very different.  I miss his companionship and  his joking a lot. I have so much to do in my business and just trying to keep the house going by myself I am busy.   I have thought of going to a counselor but they were booked a month and half out in my insurance plan.  I would tell you to find something you enjoy doing-something new that you can say is yours. You are moving forward but it is very hard.  I think you should congratulate yourself and give yourself a treat for surviving this long- 3years is a long time!!!  Take Care.

Austin, contact your closest Hospice organization. They offer grief counseling that you can attend, even if your spouse didn't use them.  I was very fortunate, I was referred to them before my LH died as there wasn't a local support group for caregivers for spouses or family for Alzheimer's.  I started individual counseling with them 6 months before he passed.  

Hi Karen,

My grief counselor told me before Rick passed, " While it sounds harsh.. the reality is when it comes down to it....  it's your choice. Do you want to let your husband's death define the rest of your life or do you want to move forward, redefine YOU.... build a new life for yourself.. It's your choice to make."  

I have move forward after losing my late husband from on July 15, 2013 from Early Onset Alzheimer's. 

Before his diagnosis, we had moved from expensive Northern VA to affordable WV, about 90 mins away from all family, friends and a life we had known. I worked remotely from home and he, now retired tried looking for a part time job but his disease progressed rapidly and I became his caregiver.  He passed just 15 months after diagnosis, a little more than 2 years after we had moved. While caring for Rick, while working and taking over all the responsibilities of setting up and running our home, I didn't have a chance to make any friends or establish a life in WV. 

About six months before he passed, I began counseling with a grief counselor from hospice.  During his illness, I had vowed that the disease that took him from me was NOT going to make me a victim too so when he passed, I looked at his death as a blessing..... he was no longer suffering, He was free!!!!!  My suffering from watching a horrific disease take him away from me was over but my work at rebuilding me had to begin. When he passed, I quickly joined the widows group as well.  It became very apparent early on that I had a very different outlook at Rick's passing than all the other widows. The other widows, some of them years after their husbands passed would not look forward and sometimes made me feel that staying in a place of mourning was their badge of honor and meant that they loved their husband more than I had loved mine. Rick was my love.. he was my life but as my counselor had pointed out... my husband died.... I didn't. Wanting him back, riddled with a hateful disease was not my way of honoring him... moving forward and living life... that's what he would have wanted for me to do.    

I remembered the promise I'd made so instead of focusing on my heartache, I thought more about HIS freedom and how was I going to build a new life for myself.  I started by going to movies by myself, then to live music events. I wasn't meeting people, making friends but I was doing something that I really enjoyed.  Sometimes I cried when coming home from these activities but I continued to force myself to go and had fun.   Just before the one year mark, our dog had to be put to sleep so I was really alone.  A few months later, I got a new puppy.  I was determined to give myself one more year in WV to make it home before I was going to start planning a move.  I met and became friends with neighbors, became a board member in our HOA and started to volunteer.  Reconnecting with some friends from high school via Facebook led to a cruise to Alaska.  These friends talked me into signing up for an online dating site and much to my surprise, I meet a very nice man, a widower who lived about an hour away from me.  We meet at a local restaurant for dinner weekly for about 8 weeks, started dating and just bought a home together here... in WV.  

He's nothing like Rick, except he loves me and our relationship isn't the same but equally as good. 

 

Hi Karen - I am so happy for you and how things worked out. I guess everyone’s situation is unique. I lost my wife 2 1/2 years ago and still long for her. She told me once before she passed that I should feel comfortable in finding someone else. Then, just like now, the thought of anyone sharing my life other than her just crushes me. I struggled with how I would feel with someone else - and a sense of discomfort and betrayal always set in. I know it’s not betrayal, but my vows to her were special. I always told her I will love her forever. And when I reflect on this, my heart tells me that what I do now is right - for me.

I know you said your relationship isn’t the same but equally as good. I am glad you were able to find new peace and happiness. I have concluded that my peace and happiness will come when I am reunited with my wife one day in heaven. And I can’t wait for that moment.

Thanks for your openness and for sharing your feelings ...

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