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Pictures. I love them, I hate them!

When I first lost my wife I collected all the pictures I could find of her and put them on my iPhone so that I would have her close to me in case I needed to be with her. Then I went to the picture store and made copies and blew them up with frames so that I could hang them on the walls in my room. I just wanted to be surrounded by her. Many times I would go through my collection of her pictures one by one. After some time I started to build a resentment to these pictures. I started to hate them. I didn't want pictures! They couldn't talk to me. They couldn't hold me. I didn't want pictures. I wanted Amanda!

I had to take her pictures off my walls and off my screens. I didn't want to see another picture. They just reminded me of what I didn't have anymore. It's been a number of months now and I have gone back to looking at those pictures again. I've even began putting them back on the wall again. It's so much different now though. It's no longer so I can be surrounded by her. In fact I've began to accept life alone and even to find some sense of reward from it. Single life will never be better than life with Amanda, but that is not going to happen. Becoming content with my single life is like coming out of a terrible sickness to begin feeling normal again. The waves of sickness are no longer so overwhelming. But this is coming at a cost.

I noticed after a month that I was already forgetting Amanda. I had to consciously think of her voice to remember the sound of her voice. Now all that was familiar to me of my wife is fading as I become this person that she didn't really know. I'm changing and becoming someone different. Sure I'm still the same but different. I now feel the need to put up those pictures to remember Amanda and who I used to be. Maybe a big part of the grief is not only saying goodbye to the one I loved but also to say goodbye to who I was. Maybe becoming normal is to welcome who i am becoming. But the cost of losing that familiarity is so hard to let go. Do I really want to make this step. I have ten children still at home. I don't have a choice but to move forward. So, I guess I put up those pictures and welcome the new me.

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Comment by Gary'swife on November 17, 2014 at 12:07pm

Mo- I went through this when I lost my first husband many years ago.  I cannot tell you how many times the pictures came out, were put away, came out, put away, rearranged, etc.   I have learned I don't need the pictures, as the memories are always with me.  

Comment by Mo on November 9, 2014 at 8:44pm
Thanks for your response JK. You know your not alone, but to hear from others that your not alone in what we are going through makes such a difference.

Comment by JK (OK) on November 9, 2014 at 5:18pm
Hi Mo. I have also struggled with pictures. Like you, they brought me comfort in the beginning. I put a lot of them on my phone of her, and a lot of her and I together. I felt like I always had her with me, next to me. I would look at them often. In the morning and throughout the day. And I had a few pics of her I put up on my dresser mirror. Every night I would look at her, tell her goodnight I love you.
Then it began to get really hard to look at her in pics. The pictures were full of life. I wanted that, not just an image. It began to make me miss her more. Seeing what I could no longer have. Could no longer have no matter how much I wanted it. Impossible to obtain. So I had to take the pics down off of my mirror. I couldn't handle it night after night. Not that I want to forget her, but it was just too hard for me.
Now, I'm at 22 months out. It is still hard for me sometimes, but sometimes it's comforting also. I still have her on my phone, so anytime I need her, she's there. But I don't have to if I'm not feeling up to it.
And yes, I feel like I've changed somewhat also. I think loss and grief certainly changes us. Some good, some not so much. But a lot of what she has taught me will always be there. And for that I'm extremely grateful. I haven't lost her completely. A piece of her lives within me. Within her children. Within everyone she's touched.

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