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My new boyfriend has begun to sleep over some nights.  He says to me...every time I move you jump and ask "am I ok?". He says I am not even awake but I ask it every single time.

I have tried to explain that I was a caretaker for many years.  Gary was sick alot at night, had alot of accidents.  He tried to clean them up himself out of pride and embarrassment but as a caretaker you can sense something is wrong.  How many nights did I wake up to him sobbing, embarrassed and helpless.  I would methodically put him in the shower....pick up the towels and rugs and soiled clothes.  Strip the bed, spray air freshener.  Start the laundry and treat it for the smells.  Mop the floors, sterilize the shower.  Dry him off, powder him, help him dress.  Put him back in a freshly made, lined bed, wash my hands and go back to bed.  He would apologize and cry and feel so bad.  I didn't care.  He cared. 

Gary used to say "Quit asking me a 100 times a day if I am ok."  I would get paranoid that I was doing it without really realizing it.  How does one get so repetitive? 

Now I know....I thought if I could intercept the "not ok" I could change the outcome.  I could somehow save him...I could cure him....I could keep him.  I failed at all of it miserably.  He wasn't ok and there wasn't a damned thing I could do about it.

Now....a year later....I am still paranoid and I do not know it.  I still sleep on pins and needles.  I still have the phobia.  How do I get rid of it? Will it eventually go away?

No.  I think for the rest of my life I will always be paranoid that I am loosing someone. That they will die on me.  I think I will always be scared.  I think I will always be looking for the other shoe to drop.  Will I smother the next person I am with because of this? I don't know.  Do they understand the fear? How can they.

It's all out of love but now mixed with fear.  It's time to move forward but so much of our grief is wrapped around us.

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Comment by John's girl 54 on December 22, 2014 at 11:59am
I too have lost two husbands though only three years apart from each. I was scared from the get - go that John would leave me, die on me too especially since he had a sick heart when I met him. Although at the time he hadn't had any problems for years. Then in between our home bliss we would have hospital stays. Every time he was in the hospital I was terrified! Especially when he ended up in the hospital during the anniversary of my previous husbands death. But we made it through that month. But not through November. John was on full life support all Thanksgiving fighting to stay here. And died the next morning. Not only am I fearful all the time now. I am done. Done walking people to the grave. I will not ever try again. Besides the fact that no one could ever come close to enhancing my soul like John. But that I felt so blessed to have had two very different husband's love and some people never get one. I can't "push my luck". Not that I lost two loves but that I had them to begin with.
Comment by missmyhunny on November 13, 2014 at 12:50am

I think what you are going through right now is all quite normal. Once death touches our lives we are never again the same. I too am battling with "do i want another relationship at some stage"? Then i am repelled by those thoughts, because after losing two husbands, i just can't seem to go there anymore, and am ok. with that. It is what it is.

I think we lose our trust in the process of what we call life, and afraid to ever get that close to someone again, knowing now what we didn't know before. I think too in the back of our minds we know death comes to everyone at some stage, but do we really honestly think it will happen to us anytime soon?  Most of western society is a death denying society, and we are so scared of the inevitable.

I also think the problem with widows/widowers is we have experienced the life and death in a relationship, and we have integrated it into our everyday, knowing that death is certainly a reality for being in this physical existence, that is the fact of the matter, and it doesn't matter at what age, we know it will always be inevitable. But that is the risk we have to take if we want to experience a relationship again, the choice is are we willing to go there again knowing all of that?

I took the risk again after my previous husband had died, and i was younger then too, so maybe it was somehow easier to do it then? I guess i really didn't think it would happen again like that anytime soon, but i was with my husband for almost 10 years and he died too. I can say that i wouldn't have done it any differently than i did, and cherish all the wonderful times we had together over the years, it was worth every minute. Life is a journey with no guarantees, but i feel blessed to have been loved and to love in return.

Comment by joe'swife on November 8, 2014 at 3:08pm

I too cared for my husband following his stroke in Dec. 2010 that left him paralyzed on the left side.  I too was there when he took his last breath in our bedroom.  Tuesday, Nov. 11, will mark two months since my husband died and people have already said things to me like, "you could meet someone and get married again."  When I think about that I shutter and not as much because my husband has only been gone for two months, but because my biggest fear of getting involved and remarried is having to do this all again.  This took everything out of me and I couldn't bear it again.  So, I understand the fear.

Comment by Doug02122014 on November 8, 2014 at 12:09pm
smp1122,

As a long-term caregiver myself I can clearly say everything you have said I can say ME TOO. I've been seeing various doctors about my poor sleep and the last Dr. says I have PTSD. I'm not sure how much of my problem is job related (having been shot at and a few other close calls) and how much is attributable to watch my wife go downhill over a 10-year span and being at her bedside when she took her last breath.

I wish I knew if this is the new person we become or if this is like the "Widow Fog" you hear about that eventually lifts. I so hope this is a temporary thing.

Reading this reminds me of one of those internet pictures I put on my Widville page "What is Love".

http://widowedvillage.org/photo/what-love-is?context=user

Your not alone in this.

Wishing you much peace.

Doug

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