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The last two days have been miserable to say the least.  Everything, and I truly mean just about everything, has reminded me of my wife.  I saw a picture of a salad today that had pomegranate seeds on it, and thought of her and the bags of frozen pomegranate seeds I now have inherited.  I tried to deal with the old DVD collection and move it into folders out of the cases so it would take less space, and I see so many movies we owned that I just would have zero interest in watching again without her.  Day after day I wonder if I really have any interests of my own other than playing with a computer.  Hiking was her thing, Astronomy was her thing (I now have two large telescopes that I hardly know how to use), Family Tree work was her thing.  I loved hanging out and doing these things with her, but they weren't really me.  People say find a hobby, but I don't know what interests me that I can do alone.  

Time and again people say it is still early, you are still grieving.  Well folks, I don't see the grieving part stopping any time soon.  I need to learn to work with the grief to set it aside for times so I can get real things done.  If I let it just win I won't have a job, I won't have a life and I certainly won't be me.  I am starting to become comfortable, all be it not happy, with the fact that I am in a new reality.  That what I knew before doesn't exist anymore and that I have to find my way in this new world.  Impulses tell me to shed old things, find a new job, move out of our house, replace the 1 year old car...but my wife's years of preaching impulse control have stopped me from doing something stupid.  It is too early in this journey to throw things away that can't be recovered. I need to take time, explore and see what is out there and decide what I no longer need and what I truly want.  

A few things I do know already, I need to get better at managing my caloric intake, my wife also helped with that by sort of guiding our eating habits during the day.  She wasn't commanding, she quietly lead me to know that I probably didn't need a cookie after the large meal or that a bowl of popcorn was probably unnecessary tonight.  In two months I have managed to gain 10 pounds.  Admittedly in the last two months of my wife's life I had managed to drop 12, but really 5 of that I had intended to drop, so at the moment I am a net plus 3 to 5 pounds over where I want to be.  I have started getting back on my walking routine, walking 2.5 miles to a train station when the closest station is 100 yards away from my office, and there are 2 other stations between that one and the one I walk to.  I joined up a fitness program that I have done every year with my wife, rejoining the team she used to lead.  It will be bittersweet as I won't get the weekly reminder from her to tell me to put in my minutes.  

That said, I wish I knew how to move forward in a world that she colored for me.  Everything seems so dim today.  I am sure one day it will all make sense again, I will still miss her, I will still grieve for her, but I will find ways to enjoy the world again.  While not as colorful or bright, the world will come back into focus.  I will remember what she taught me about taking a moment to notice the ladybug on the flower, or to read the signs along the historic trails.  

Until then, I will just keep trying to take one step forward, to end the day a little further along the path from where I began.  I will try to do what she asked me to do, take care of myself and remember her.  I will continue to remember the last 3 words she said in her life which was "I Love You", it made this so much harder because in that last minute she permanently linked my soul to hers and said you are mine, but it also made it so much better because I know how hard it was for her to do and therefore how much it meant to both of us.  I am glad that so many of us have found a place to share our grief and hopefully our journey forward.  I hope that we continue to support each other as we slip back and give that gentle tug in the right direction.  I know I have needed it.  

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Comment by Lev on January 20, 2018 at 12:29pm

Hi Tony. How are you?

Comment by ShirleyB on January 15, 2018 at 8:51am

Hi Tony. My name is Shirley and I am about 8 months out from losing my other half. My husband John fought cancer for 21 months and died on May 24th, 2017. I was saying to another person that I vaguely remember the first month out but when I think back the first 1-3 months were really all a blur. My husband was 49 and I am 47. When John died I had a senior in high school who graduated 2 weeks later and a 15 year old trying to finish her sophomore year of HS. In looking back I am almost thankful I was in a fog and probably numb to some degree because if you asked me now if I could have maneuvered my way through John's funeral and Nick's high school graduation followed by trips to college orientation, teaching my daughter to drive, and then moving my son into college 5 hours away less than three months later I would have said there was no way possible.  But I did it.  And you have made it through two months now. And you are recognizing things you want to do to take care of yourself.  And you are remembering your wife as you go. You are also grieving the way you personally need to grieve.  And that process is so incredibly different for all of us. I feel I really started having some very sad and trying times about 4 months out. But what I find with grief is that I have to let it run its course.  When it hits I cry a lot, am moody, sad and have little interest in anything.  But I find that it comes in smaller waves now.  And I let it run its course.  The holidays were so hard- and the week following was hard. But I feel now that I am yet again lifting from that fog. I am going to the gym, volunteering and trying to be a good mom for my kiddos. Is it still hard? Yes. But can I find a piece of happy in my day? Yes. Always.  Even if it is just a hug from my daughter or something funny I read or the insanely awesome Vikings win yesterday that had me screaming and jumping up and down.  I talk about John every day. And I talk TO John probably every day. He will always be a part of my life- he helped shape me into the person I am today. But we are still here, Tony.  We have lives to live. We have new experiences to experience and new things to see and do. I have learned that there is no right or wrong way to grieve and no time allotment on how long you can grieve. And don't let anybody tell you differently. I'm here if you would like to chat more. My best to you!

Comment by chef (John) on January 15, 2018 at 1:03am

Learning to deal with grief is the hard part. Your mentioning movies hit home with me. I found it difficult to watch movies early on too--maybe I'd watch for 10-15 minutes, lose focus and stop.

You are entering the what is probably the worst part of this experience right now. I hit what I call "rock bottom" somewhere between Weeks 10 and 16. It hurt like hell, I couldn't explain it to anyone and I would never go back there. The grieving doesn't stop. I'm now in Year VII and I still have occasional bouts, but it's nothing like I experienced two months out.

Believe it or not, you are doing all the "right things". You will indeed find ways to enjoy the world again, but you have to allow yourself the space to take "baby steps" before you are able to walk and run again. Life will become "easier" at some point, but "easy" is another matter entirely. Keep reading and posting. That is your "gentle tug in the right direction".

Comment by Mary H on January 14, 2018 at 9:34am

Yes, it does get better.  The anguish, the constant tears, the wanting to die, the blind determination to stop suffering, the false starts, the ennui, the emptiness, the not wanting to live, the sorrow, the regret, it can all come to a place of relative peace.  I am at 3 years, feeling  okay, starting to be interested in life again, when I never thought I would.  And you can get there too.  Just be kind to yourself, and love yourself the way the one you lost would have.

Comment by Dianne in Nevada on January 14, 2018 at 9:08am

Keep writing here, Tony. It's good stuff. It can be so helpful to get your thoughts out of your head and written down - whether in a journal or typed into the computer. You can choose to share them or keep them private, but explore them all. I started a blog right after my Vern died. Thought I was doing it to help my friends in the caregiver community to see the road ahead ... but it was really for me. And I appreciate now (7 years later) that I can go back to read where I was in those early days. Because, yes, time does soften the edges of your grief ... and your memory.

Take some time to think about the things you used to enjoy doing before you married Christine, even things you enjoyed doing as a kid but that you no longer do. Perhaps there's something you put on the backburner that you might want to try again now. Experiment with these things to see if something might just be the spark you need.

And each night before you climb into bed take a moment to think of 3 little things that happened that day that you are grateful for. I kept a little journal by my bed to record them. Early on there were days it was very hard to come up with 3 things, I'll admit. I can recall writing "I got dressed today."  "I finally put clean sheets on the bed." But consciously thinking of some good things really did make a difference. I eventually started to look for them throughout the day.  We had a forum discussion in here a few years ago where we could write them down.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on January 14, 2018 at 7:25am

Tony, today has marked the one month mark for me.  I understand perfectly your thoughts on hobbies etc., I did what Jerry wanted always because anything he wanted was okay with me.  I'm a real laid back person, so as long as I was with him I was enjoying life.  Since I moved in with Jerry none of my things are here, they've since been sold off or given away.  So, yeah, everything in my home has Jerry all over it.  It gives me comfort.  So I don't mind it.

I have wondered since Jerry died if I'll ever find simple beauty in anything.  The answer to that is yes, I love the night sky here.  So many stars, I see shooting stars almost nightly.  It gives me hope too, that one day the wonder, and awe of the nature will still impress me.  

For now, one month seems an eternity.  A life without him seems hollow.  Tony, we will all march forward together in understanding, sympathy and friendship.  Together we will celebrate accomplishments, cry with you when you need to cry and push each other to learn to live a new normal life that is fulfilling.  Hope really does matter and that's what we are all here for hope.  

Comment by Callie2 on January 12, 2018 at 4:55pm

Tony, it does get better with time. Two months is still quite fresh and grief can be a painful and lengthy process.  It really is best not to make any big decisions right now, just do the important things and take care of you. It’s going to be a bumpy road requiring a lot of patience but you will get through it. Take it one day at a time and believe that there will be better days ahead when you will smile again. I hope it won’t be too long before you find some peace, be good to yourself!

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