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Widowed in 2015

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Comment by Nieta on April 27, 2016 at 5:54am

Dear BslkTeri,

I am more than 2 years along in my journey.  I took a trip to Iceland on the anniversary week of my husband's passing and the toughest day for me was the anniversary of the day before he died.  He passed 2 days before Valentine's Day and we were discussing our plans for the Valentine's weekend as well as a Spring getaway to the Finger Lakes. 

This September would have been our Silver Anniversary and we were planning to go to Paris and renew our vows.  I was planning to go in any case but have now decided to go on a special trip elsewhere, because I feel it would be torturing myself to go to such a romantic city without him to share it with me.  

While I am better able to cope most of the time, I honestly miss him all the time and every so often, without warning, I still break down.  Ours is a very unique journey with many twists and turns along the way.  Sometimes I feel as if I am making headway and other times I feel as if I am going backwards.

Loving someone so deeply is a double-edged sword because we risk our hearts and souls in the process and suffer the bitter sting when that person dies.  Unfortunately, there is no way out of this life, only a way through.  And, while I've come to terms with the fact that I carry a sadness within me that may never fade, I look forward to the reunion when my own day comes.  That is my belief and one of the things that keeps me going.

Wishing you courage and strength in your journey.

Comment by BslkTeri on April 26, 2016 at 6:28pm
I don't know how to begin. I just joined and I am in a lot of pain. I lost my husband of 36 years suddenly April 30, 2015. This Saturday is the first anniversary of his death and I am really dreading it.
Comment by mixelated on April 26, 2016 at 3:27pm

That technique works well with panic attacks, too. I think we discussed on here a few weeks ago... couple of months ago? It definitely forces you into the present, and out of your head. 

Comment by Kathryn1 on April 26, 2016 at 10:40am
I get images or flashbacks quite a hoping they lessen over time, but to say theyre difficult is an understatement. My counselor gave me an exercise to do, she says at a future time i can work through the flashbacks, but for now when i get them im to start naming the color and shape of everything around me, out loud. I.e. Round brown table, etc. She said to start it immeidately when the thought pops in and keep going, as the brain can't focus on both at the same time, and will always choose the present. If im in public, i just say it in my head.
I dont always rememberto do it, but when i do, it works really well. Kind of like flipping a switch. I feel badly doing it as i have a lot of guilt im dealing with and am replaying things over and over in my head....but for now, her suggestion works.
Comment by Hopeful30 on April 25, 2016 at 9:14pm
That is beautiful brokenhearted. Cheers to Monica. I never realized the other half of the Winnie the Pooh quote. A friend round Christmas gave me a little ornament with the first sentence. How nice to learn the other half. Mixelated, I can really emphasize. I feel like the bottom kind of dropped out and have been having nightmares and "day-mares". Years ago, someone told me to go back to the memories that bring you pain, accept them, and tell them they can't hurt you anymore. Or confront them in a similar fashion when they drop by unexpected. I know, so much easier said that done, but I find it gives me some sense of control over the moment and a tiny bit of calm.
Comment by brokenhearted on April 25, 2016 at 8:54pm

"Promise me you'll always remember, you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.  But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you." - Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

It's been one year...

The heavy down pour of rain this morning with the flashes of lightning and booms of thunder definitely match my mood but with a mish/mash of sad but also happy memories.  The sadness that veiled my heart and soul this morning was evident as I sipped my coffee and watched the heavy rain through the windows.  Still, the sound of that heavy rain and thunder, flashed a memory of Monika and I back in June 1995.  We were done with college and a group of us friends (we weren't dating then) flew to California to visit a friend for about a month and half. 

During that trip, we backpacked Point Reyes National Seashore and one day after dinner, Monika hiked down to the ocean from Sky Camp to watch the sunset and waves along the rocky beach.  We found a spot on a rocky outcropping and sat just in front of a small tide pool.  The waves would hit these rocks in front of this tide pool about 20ft out, water would arc up into the air about 10-15 feet and then come crashing down in front of us but land in the tide pool five feet below us.  We continued to sit just on the edge of the rocks at the tide pool tempting Fate and Luck to see if the next wave would crash past the tide pool and drench us.  Hearing the booms of the waves and the sight of the water crashing just in front of us but always just missing, was pure amazement and beauty even with the risk of getting soaked.

We did this through the last of the day's sunlight and then for the next hour or so of twilight.  When darkness did join us, we used my flashlight to continue watching the waves crash, but always just miss us - still tempting Fate and Luck and just living in the moment.  Eventually cold and lack of ambient light had us hike back to camp with memories made to last a lifetime and then some.

Monika had taught me (and perhaps still teaches me) to appreciate the moment, the present, to see the beauty and wonder right in front of you as long as you were willing to see it.  Even through those 6.5 years battling breast cancer, she showed me the courage to just enjoy today, live in the now.  Yes, she was very aware of the future but she never missed the moment of "Hey, I get to pick up the kids today from school", or "I still have just energy to run around the outside of the house setting up Easter eggs for the kids to find later in the day", or "let's go watch the night sky tonight, just go grab me some extra blankets" and "Glenn, can you get me an iced frappuccino with whipped cream?".  She knew of the things she didn't have control of but that did not stop her; she knew what she did have control over and enjoyed the life still in front of her.

So, I hope to continue finding that courage to persevere, to continue living life to its fullest, to aid those who are in need and to appreciate the challenge from Fate and Luck knowing that those experiences yet to be made will continue to shape myself for the better.

Cheers to you my Monika, my Sweetie, my Love, always

Comment by Suse on April 25, 2016 at 7:53pm
The big surges of unexpected grief are already difficult, and it sounds like you are having frightening memories twined with your grief. It isn't an easy time.
Comment by seaneen9 on April 25, 2016 at 7:13pm

danteprayer14 - I found my husband collapsed in his bathroom.  I was downstairs laying down but not asleep.  I heard him walk upstairs, go in his bathroom, and then heard a "thud".  Kept listening to hear him walking or something - figured he dropped something.  Then after no sound, went upstairs, listened at the door - he had his radio on - knocked and no answer.  He was collapsed off the toilet, his whole head was blue, and he wasn't breathing.  I think he literally dropped dead -- no hands out to catch himself; he never called to me.  He had had a severe cold (which I think turned into pneumonia) which may have weakened his heart and caused him to have a heart attack.  I had that picture in my head for a long time, but I think my brain put some of the worst of it away in my subconscious so I don't "see" it.  It's been 1 year, 2 weeks, and I try hard not to picture that horrific situation.  I think I've had some PTSD from it.  No children; just the 2 of us.

Comment by Jack's girl on April 25, 2016 at 6:33pm

Yes, Danteprayer I get those thoughts too.  I find I rehearse going to meet him in the ER and finding out he's dead. I replay why I didn't stay with him longer, and wanting to see his eyes one last time.  It's upsetting at the least, and morbid as too, and it pops up in my thoughts frequently. 

Comment by mixelated on April 25, 2016 at 4:57pm

Suse, weeding a tiny tiny moss garden sounds so very peaceful. Maybe I will make one.... 

I thought I had reached a relatively quiet, stable place for a while, but what with my daughter moving back in I've had to do a lot of things I wasn't really ready for yet - packing his clothes into boxes, getting rid of our bed so that I can make room for my home office stuff, going through yet more mementos - so that I'm having another round of sobbing, nightmares, being unable to do anything productive like actually get out of bed.

I say 'another round,' but really the part about not being able to get up and face the day is new. For more than a year, I got up and got through every day, and in fact hardly could rest at first. Like I ran on adrenaline for the first 9 or 10 months. But I feel like I've absolutely just run out of juice. I'm so tired. This has been unexpected, and I'm finding that grief is still taking new forms. 

I have found so far that those 'year ago' days and holidays are more upsetting in the weeks/days leading up to the day, then that the day itself is not as bad as expected. But I have had to learn to anticipate 2-3 days of recovery time afterwards. 


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