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This site is run by widowed people, for widowed people

Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

On July 27, 2019, my husband passed away unexpectedly where I was the one to discovered and held his lifeless body that I was sure someone could fix. But, even as he was rushed to the hospital, no one could bring him back to me.

It's still very raw and fresh: the stabbing aching pain, the breakdowns, the not realizing he is really gone on some occasions, the anxiety, the remembering looking into my husband's lifeless eyes when I pulled him into my arms. It's all so raw and fresh.

I need someone to talk to about the death of my spouse. It's hard for others to understand who never experienced it before. I'm hoping and praying that this site will bring me some peace. I know speaking with others will bring comfort and understanding. 

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Comment by chef (John) on Monday

I'm afraid that I have no insights on the matter you raise.

I'm sorry that such things are happening to you, but it might be better for you to discuss (as calmly as is possible) this issue with someone in your husband's family with whom you have a close relationship...and you will have to accept whatever happens after such a conversation/exchange.

Comment by AandC on Monday

chef (John)

You really are so helpful in all that you say. I read your comment to FWIW and it made so much sense and gave me the knowledge I need for when I begin back to teaching on Wednesday. I'm really stressed about that but I loved reading your knowledge. 

Maybe you can answer one question that is making me hurt pretty badly. Why do my husband's family not want to communicate with me? They are from another country, and it's as if they received their answers and now no longer have a need for me. Maybe you have some insight on that. 

THank you for your wisdom and helpful comments. 

Comment by chef (John) on Monday

FWIW, it took me eight weeks just to sleep through the night again. Your sleep patterns are probably messed up due to the stress you're experiencing, and all of that does nothing to help you. You may also be experiencing "accordion-bellows time", in that sometimes time seems to drag on forever and at others you just wonder how it passed so quickly. Feeling lost is normal too.

As to returning to work: You are likely to have the same feelings there, so be ready to duck into a restroom, unused office, stairwell or wherever (and I hope that you have some place for privacy at work) whenever you feel you need to. I would occasionally take a walk to where the smokers were, figuring that if they could get five minutes for their nicotine addiction, *I* could certainly step away from my desk to have a small breakdown out of my co-workers range. I have a friend who used to spend his lunch hour seated in his car in order to avoid others for the first few months. Don't know if any of these suggestions will help (or are even possible), but I would suggest that you have a plan in place for when you do need the time alone.

Forgetfulness is another big issue. During the first few months I used to carry a small notepad, write in the "To do" list, and then victoriously cross out items as I accomplished them. Some folks refer to this as "Swiss-cheese brain", and it will pass after some time--in case you're experiencing anything like this. I used to have to reread items (notes, memos, paragraphs, instructions, etc.) several times, because the neurons just weren't firing properly. It drove me crazy and I used to (needlessly) get mad at myself.

Comment by AandC on Saturday

DIVA70

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I am about to relate to a great amount of what you say. Everywhere I turn, I think of my husband and our memories in every store, every road, every path. It's a really long and hard journey. Talking on the phone is even hard for me to do because someone is going to ask how I'm doing which automatically brings on the water works because I'm not doing. 

I cry every day deeply in the mornings and throughout until around 11:00 am. I do have faith and lots of it. I always will have faith in God and Trust in Him. 

Thank you for the recommendations for the two books. I will definitely read them when I'm finished with Widow to Widow. 

Comment by AandC on Saturday

cher (John)

It hasn't even been 2 months yet, and I understand already what you mean. Last week, I thought I was ok, but this week has been a train wreck that I can't seem to cope with. I'm exhausted every day from the deep grieving and crying I do in the mornings. 

Lost is how I feel. I am returning back to work next week in which I'm really not sure if I'm up for it, but someone has to pay the bills. Learning to live alone is tough. 

Thank you for your supportive words once again. You do bring light to the subject that helps me to understand the path I am on. 

Comment by DIVA70 on Friday

First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss and I believe you have come to the right place. If nothing else you will find out that you are not alone in this unwelcome journey. I believe in God and considered my self to be pretty strong spiritually and emotionally. But 15 months ago I received the worst news of my life. One moment I was preparing to pick my husband up from the hospital and 20 minutes later I received a call telling me he had taken a turn for the worse. By the time I got to the hospital he was in ICU and 30 minutes after that he was gone. A part of me died with him. My soulmate, my anchor for the past 50 years was gone and I felt as if I was drowning in a sea of despair. Of course, I put on a brave face for my children and grandchildren but behind closed doors I was a mess. At one point I felt it would be better if I was no longer alive. I realized I needed help and fortunately I found this site. I was able to vent and know that there were others who truly understood the hurt I was feeling. I read about Griefshare on this site and I found one in my area. It may not be for everyone but it helped me. I also read several books. The two that helped me the most are Grieving with Hope by Samuel J. Hodges and It's OK That You're Not OK by Megan Devine. The first time I returned to our local store where we always shopped together I was barely able to make it out to my car where I broke down in tears. If someone had told me it's possible to cry every day for 365 days straight I would have questioned their faith...but having been there I realize that tears are God's way of helping us to cleanse the soul. So now when I cry I can rejoice knowing that there is hope for me. I have a friend who  discovered her husband on the bathroom floor and experienced the same feelings as you. She was 60 years old at the time and he was 65. 20 years later she still recalls that day but she is a living testament that you can make it. Do what you need to do to help you during this time. Hopefully,you have someone with whom you can talk. If not, you will find you have a host of "friends" willing to listen and share with you. Take care of yourself physically. I too chose not to take any medication for personal reasons but you do what is best for you. 

Comment by chef (John) on Friday

I had several well-intentioned people tell me that I needed medications too--and I absolutely refused to do so (mainly because I was afraid of becoming addicted). I did do a lot of drinking back then, but eventually realized that a vodka-and-potato chip diet was probably not the best way to handle things. My best friend from high school is a psychologist, and harped at me to find a "better counselor" because he thought that I wasn't "getting better" quickly enough--as though being widowed were a "sickness" from which I would "recover"...

I'm glad I was able to give you some small amount of help/relief. You have to handle things as you see fit. Please understand that you will make some mistakes in judgment along the way, but please treat these instances as learning experiences, rather than "failures". One of the things newly-widowed folks fail to understand is that now the burden of all decision-making is on them alone. We no longer have the luxury of someone else we love and trust watching our backs. Many will shrink from this responsibility, feeling that is too onerous a task...but..."Not to decide is to decide." 

People will do and say stupid things. This is a given. You will have to learn that you can overlook these incidents, or you can simply tell others to mind their own business--and lose some relationships. The operant phrase is "the new normal" (something I have always hated--and yet I have [after a long time] achieved my own "New Normal"). You have to learn how to handle things now. It is a long, grueling (as well as eye-opening) experience. Rest, catch your breath gather your strength, and then move on. And it's still OK for you to cry when you have to do so.

Comment by AandC on September 12, 2019 at 1:41pm

I Just read your reply to my post and let me tell you, it really helped. I needed to know how I was doing, what I was going to do, and how to deal with it. You answered many unknown questions. I've been so lost not knowing where to go or which way to turn. And now, I know that is normal. So many people want me on medication to help me get through this as if it hasn't happened. I get offended by this response from my family members. They don't know what to say and just want me back to normal, but I have learned already, that my life has been altered permanently. 

Thank you chef(John)

Comment by chef (John) on September 12, 2019 at 5:47am

You're barely at the two-month mark AandC--you're allowed to feel as you do! Just breathe and take baby steps for now.

Many people hit the lowest level sometime between eight and twelve weeks. [I did it at sometime around Week 16, but I was behind the curve--also that's when I finally received Judith's death certificate--after having just dealt with Social Security, life insurance, closing credit card and bank accounts, etc. Probate was still ahead of me back then.] The problem is that you can't know that you've hit the lowest point until you begin to climb out of the abyss(and you shall do that eventually). It seems impossible now, but eventually you will have some "not-bad " moments, minutes and even hours. They get crowded out by the pain of grieving, but they return. Eventually, the bad moments are balanced by the good ones and then the bad times begin to recede. (They never go away entirely, but that's another matter.) For now, just allow yourself to cry, rage weep, scream and mourn. Oh, yeah--keep on breathing, even when it hurts to do even that. The really bad thing about Grief is that it has a way of doing roundabouts and hitting you when you least expect it...particularly at this early stage. Feeling like you've just gone through the wringer/spin cycle? Laughing and crying simultaneously? Running through a range of emotions, feeling drained...and then going through it all over again? This is "normal" for those of us who are widowed. One other thing...if you've been hearing about those so-called five stages of Grief...you don't get the luxury of saying, "OK, through with Anger! Let's move on to Bargaining!" Grief will just move away and then circle back to you. This is how it tends to work for most of us.

I hear what you're saying about looking into your husband's lifeless eyes. I came home from work a little over eight years ago and made the most unhappy discovery that I had become a widower during the intervening hours when I had last spoken with Judith. Shouting my wife's name did not bring her back...and I can still see those eyes after all this time. Some things never go away.

I would recommend that you look into a group like Griefshare. Group therapy did not work for me ( I went to at least four different groups), but my workplace has something in place that allowed me to work one-on-one with a grief counselor--and that was a great help. Alternatively, you might speak with the funeral director or clergyman/woman to ask for grief-counseling recommendations. If all else fails, I would suggest calling your local library for materials on grieving. (There's plenty of stuff out there.) They may even have information on grief groups, but that's a long shot.

Keep reading, posting, crying and connecting with people here. You may find that this is your safety valve when you are feeling overwhelmed with things. Hugs and understanding to you in the meantime.

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