A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
I have just joined and am finding my way around this site. I saw your post and thought I would respond in kind. Donna, my wife of 29+ years, died last August 7. It was NSCLC. She was told at her diagnosis that she had six months to live. It was done via voice mail at work. Yup horrific but the primary care doc felt so guilty he got us an amazing oncologist who was brilliant and caring and he lead us all the way.
We all grieve differently and need to find our balance and place in this journey. And like you we have (notice the tense I used) no children. It was Donna and I and Nina our Westie (her Westie actually). The emotion and feelings are crushing every day. A good friend said the day Donna passed that the one thing to do is not shy away from any and all emotions. You cannot circumvent this time and the loss because it will come back to bite you in the butt later. I took Ron's advice and I don't regret it. I have been lucky to be able to work with a counselor at CancerCare.org and talk out what is going on. I also force myself to eat, exercise, talk with friends and try and live. It is not easy and doesn’t get easy it just gets to be part of a process. I am finding posting here and talking to others helps me organize my emotions and thoughts to find what Donna's death and life meant. If there is one take away for me it is that I have recognized more deeply and truly what we were and are. And what I am doing with this process can be best summed up in the following email from another friend.
"Decathexis is the word. Freud (I was told) used the word CATHEXIS to talk about attachment. My supervisor talked about the process of grief being the work of "DECATHEXIS" and that is the tying off the threads (the warp & the woof) of the tapestry of the relationship. All the threads that make up that tapestry have to be tied off, the tapestry completed. The tapestry remains and is preserved through that tying off of the threads that formed the relationship. And it's hard, time-consuming work."
I think that captures for me what I am trying to do. I hate the word closure. I will not close that part of my life because Donna loved me into being (said by Fred Rodgers) But what I will do is during this year and going forward I will create this tapestry of her with memories that I can carry with me. Carry not as a banner for the world but my small pocket square that I created for me. I am very much a militant re: grieving. It is my process I own it and I will elevate it as I see fit. Donna was a very strong and powerful personality and like your wife she didn't want me to be sad but Donna put in a way that only she could "Don't be a maudlin pussy" Yes I am sad and cry and hurt but I know that pain is weakness leaving me as I build my tapestry of Donna. I also say “It is not what we think of the person we love but how we feel about ourselves when we are with that person.” And that is what grieving is for me how I feel about because of and with Donna in spite of her death.
I hope I'm being additive to this thread and you. I do live in NYC and we tend to be a bit crass. Let me know if I can share more with you about my journey if you believe it has benefit. Live in the moment and be true to yourself as she would have wanted.