Crisis, Grief, and Healing => Spouse, Partner Loss => Topic started by: Raven2017 on September 12, 2018, 04:27:55 PM

Title: Almost 17 months
Post by: Raven2017 on September 12, 2018, 04:27:55 PM
It's so hard to believe that Jim has been gone for 17 months.  Some days, it feels like forever and other days it feels like just yesterday.  I haven't been on this site for awhile as I feel like I should be farther along this journey than I am and I didn't want to keep posting all my sadness.  I miss him so much and life is so different now.  I am so very lonely for JIM.  I want to talk to him, I want to hear his voice and feel his hugs.  I am still incredibly sad. His death was SO unexpected and he was only 59....I wonder if that's why I am having such a hard time?
I was reading some of the newer posts and I'm so sorry for all your losses.  My heart breaks for all of you. I don't think anyone could ever describe this feeling of complete "aloneness" that we experience when our spouse dies.  I have tried to explain to people but it's impossible because you can't describe the emptiness to anyone....it's going out and coming home to an empty house, eating dinner alone and cooking for one, not having him to talk to about ordinary, everyday things. I think it's the everyday life that changes so much...all the little things that aren't so little anymore.. 
I don't think that you can put a timeline on when the pain goes away, it's different for everyone.  I don't think it ever "goes away" but it does soften a little bit. I can say that the intensity of my pain has dramatically decreased but it's still there...just a little further back in my heart.  I can only say that it took me close to a year before I began to feel any different, but that's just me....I'm never sure what's going to bring it to the forefront again, sometimes it's something as simple as an older couple walking by, holding hands.  I used to get resentful when I saw this - why them and not Jim and I - now, I just feel a little burst of sadness for what should have been.
My life is good....I have wonderful children, adorable grandchildren and I am fortunate for the most part.  I just can't get past how much Jim is missing...how many changes that he didn't get to see in the past year and a half and it makes me sad to see life going on without him.  Of course it has to but it's just hard.  Sometimes, I think that something happened last year and then I remember that Jim has already been gone for over a year so it must have happened 2 years ago.  It's a strange feeling and then it makes me realize that I have lost focus for over a year.  It has been surreal, going through the motions and pretending to be fine on the days that I'm not.  It is "better" now than it was and I'm sure that it will soften more as the days go by.  It has to or no-one would ever survive this...that's what keeps me going....all the survivors on this site
This website was my salvation.  I had never been on any website before but I was so lost when Jim died.  As JustMark said, the people on here are not judgmental, they are very kind and everyone is hurting.  I liked the fact that it was anonymous because in real life, you can't really talk about the intense pain of losing your spouse because it makes people uncomfortable.
I learned a lot from reading recent and older posts.  I did this for quite awhile before I ever posted.  There were so many people that described exactly what I was feeling and it made me feel like I wasn't alone.  I found coping mechanisms - some worked, some didn't for me - but it seems to me that just sharing your feelings with people that, unfortunately, completely understand what you are going through is very helpful....it makes you feel less alone, even for a little while.
While I never really followed this advice even though absolutely EVERYONE gives the same advice, it is VERY important to continue to eat, drink water and even take supplements if you have to.  It is almost a year and a half and I have finally started to eat properly for the most part but not doing this has certainly taken it's toll on me. It's hard to do but I think if I had done this, I would be a little farther ahead, physically, right now and taking care of myself a little better would have probably helped me focus on life a little sooner that I have.  I guess we all do what we do in our own time but in hindsight, this is something that I wished I had done sooner.  Your body and mind are going through the most horrific experience that you couldn't have possibly imagined and you need to take care of yourself, even if you don't have the energy.
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: BLW on October 04, 2018, 12:17:19 PM
Hey Raven, I haven't been on here much and am considered new to this site, but I lost my husband 3 months ago to the dreaded cancer.  I have read more of your posts than any other for some reason. I am still in the beginning of this nightmare that is widowhood. It was comforting to see that you have progressed to where things are a bit closer to normal for you. Not that it will ever be the same again without your husband, but you are getting on with your "new" normal. That encourages me, knowing time does help this pain, sadness and loneliness that we all feel.  You said you miss talking to Jim, well, I talk to Kenny all the time. I will go through the house and talk to him like he was standing there. I guess I should be glad no one is there with me, because they would probably lock me up as being crazy. When I have something to tell him, I speak it out loud and I hope he hears me talking to him. It is comforting to me and helps me feel like he isn't absent from my life, even though I know he is. Coming home from work is probably the hardest for me. He was always waiting for me when I got home, since he was disabled and couldn't work, and I really miss him being there. His physical presence is missed more than anything and his wide array of knowledge on everything.

I feel lost when something needs done that he used to do with ease and I don't know how to do it. I can call on his son or friends to help, but I am not one to ask for help easily. I don't want to be a bother to anyone. I dread the winter coming. He would always take care of scraping the driveway so I could get to work or changing out the propane tanks when they were empty. I don't know how I will manage without him, and it makes me nervous about it getting colder weather.  It is hard being alone when you are not used to it.

I realize I have went on about things I miss Kenny "doing", but it's just part of missing the whole person. He wasn't just one thing to me, he was everything to me.

Anyway, Thank you Raven for your posts and being so open about your feelings.
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: JustMark on October 13, 2018, 10:34:25 AM
Hi Raven, yes it is hard to motivate yourself to take care of one's self when we loose our spouse but it really does help in the process. It's just as important as sharing our feelings with others in here that can understand what it's like or can relate because they are or have been going through it too. I still have many evenings that I don't cook and would just eat sandwiches but there has been a big change for me this month.
For me this last month has seen several changes in my routine because now I have a room mate I guess you could say. He's also a disabled vet although not as physically disabled  as I am. He became a homeless vet and was living in a tent. I first met him in early Summer a couple of months after Gina died and I was helping him somewhat as I would hire him for odd jobs I couldn't handle alone and also cutting the front lawn because there is a hill that I can handle the pain to cut the grass. Anyway last month he asked if he could stay with me and he explained he was now homeless. So we made an agreement that weeks he doesn't work elsewhere he would help me two days a week and weeks he works for contractors he would pay a weekly rent to help cover his increase in utilities and help with other expenses as well. He has a few other issues I'm helping him with as well that also lead to his homelessness.  I assured him as long as he remained honest with me I would help him and he knows he can't BS me because I was in a similar position myself years ago. I won't elaborate too much as I don't want to break his confidentiality. Anyway, things seem yo be working out and me and him are taking turns cooking and the house is now getting cleans in one form or fashion everyday. He and I are quickly becoming good friends and we are helping each other in dealing with stuff from service because we are vets and other areas as needed and he has a safe place to help him get back on his feet and we are honest with each other too. So there are big changes taking place at my home now and work getting done.
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: Raven2017 on October 16, 2018, 06:15:20 AM

I am so sorry for your loss.  I'm glad some of the posts have helped you, it has helped me so much just to be able to write down my feelings and read the posts from everyone else.  Nothing could ever have prepared me for the complete and utter devastation of grief and I personally think that it lasts for a lifetime; there will always be those moments that just kind of punch you in the chest, regardless of the amount of time that has passed.  Being able to read the posts on this site literally saved me, emotionally. I spent many nights searching for posts that I could relate to at the time.  I'm pretty sure that no one is prepared for the multitude of feelings that you go through when you lose your best friend and it helps enormously to know that you are not alone. It was scary at first when I read the posts from people that had been on the site for years and were still hurting. I thought they were still feeling complete devastation but I now realize that it will always hurt, it does "soften" (I don't really like that word but can't think of another one), we just learn different ways to cope with our loss because we really have no other choice.

Kenny is gone physically, though I'm sure, in some way, he hears you when you speak to him. Even after 18 months, I still talk to Jim out loud all the time, I just wish I could hear his voice talking back to me....I'm glad that you said that, I thought I was going crazy. 

Coming home to an empty house is the worst thing, especially if Kenny was always there waiting for you.  I don't even know what to say to that because that is one of my worst times of the day...I would drive home with a sense of relief because I would think "I can see Jim" and then as I opened the garage, reality would set in.  I'm not sure how to deal with that...I just stopped going out after 4 so that I don't come home to an empty house after a time that Jim would have been home.  I know that's not a healthy way to deal with this feeling but I can't think of another way to do it.

I am just finally starting to accept the fact that my personal life has dramatically changed and I am trying to work with what I have left.  I was extremely unfocused for over a year, I can't even remember anything that I did during that year but I survived it.  I still pretend to most people that I am "fine" because after 18 months, that is the expectation.  I am more fine than I was but still not quite ready to step into the real world full time.

You will be surprised at what you can do when you have to and you will be amazed by the people that know you won't ask for help and that will just show up.  I live on an acreage and was terrified of last winter.  It was a really bad winter, most snow in 100 years but it's done now.  Things will get done, not as Kenny did them but "enough" so that you can make it through the winter.  I also have a big problem asking for help and very rarely did....that's another thing that I would change...only a little bit, though!  You are not yourself now so be gentle with yourself and let the person that you are now accept any help that's offered.  It's very hard to do, you are not being weak or dependent, you are hurting in the worst possible way.  Sometimes, helping you is the only way that people know how to express their hurt for you, they don't know what else to do so accepting their help actually helps both of you.  I found this out very recently...I think I hurt a lot feelings by turning down some offers of help because I didn't want to bother anyone.

I know you're not just missing what Kenny could do...that part is just easiest to write about. It's hard to explain the fear and loneliness.  I still couldn't explain the extent of my feelings to anyone that hasn't been through this.  It's all the little, everyday moments that people don't even think about when they "imagine" the death of their spouse....those are the hardest.  I always say to them that they couldn't possibly "imagine" what this feels like unless they go through it.  It is indescribable to a person that still has their spouse.  There are just no words that would come close to describing this excruciating level of physical and emotional pain.

Take care of yourself as best as you can right now.
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: Raven2017 on October 16, 2018, 06:19:37 AM
Hi JustMark,

I think that is really good news.  It probably also takes away a lot of the feeling of "aloneness" for you and just seems like a win-win situation for both of you in many ways.  I think that's one of the things that I miss the most.  Jim and I did so many household and outside work together.  I miss the companionship that we had when we were doing chores. 
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: BLW on October 18, 2018, 11:52:51 AM

Thanks for replying. You are the first one to do that. I'm relieved to know that you do some of the same things I do (talking out loud to our spouse).  Maybe I'm not as crazy as I thought. I had a session with a grief counselor and told him that I don't feel like I have grieved for Kenny and my Dad like I should. Like I don't sit around and cry. I mean sometimes it hits me when I hear a special song or see something I want to tell Kenny and I will feel the pain of his absence. But, I don't think about it all the time. The counselor said I have to make myself grieve in order to process it and be able to move on. So his recommendation was to plan a time in the week to get alone (that's not hard to do) and let myself fall apart for 30 minutes then get up and leave it there. Since life goes on, and we have things we have to do, we can't stay in that bad place all the time or we would go crazy and probably do something radical. I have done that one time. I went to his grave and listened to a song that meant a lot to both of us and I sat and cried for a while.  I just don't feel like it was of any help to me.

I have been going to our granddaughter's soccer games and I really miss him being there with me. I think about what all he is missing and how the children would like to see Papaw sitting there watching them. He loved them so much and wanted so much to see them grow up to see what they became or chose for their life. I try to be there for them to represent him and I both, but its not the same. The girls are 7 and 4 and my worst fear is that they won't remember what a Great Papaw they had. I think the oldest one will have good memories of him, since he babysat her the first year while her parents worked. I don't believe that bond will ever go away. The youngest I don't know how much she will remember. It's just sad to think about it.

I know what you mean when you say you are "fine."  I too, do the same thing. I think people just assume because you are going through the motions of everyday life that you are back to normal. I have tried to keep my sense of humor through all this, because that is one of my strong points. But just because I am laughing on the outside doesn't mean I'm not crushed on the inside and people just don't get that. My heart is half gone and I will never get it back, not on this Earth. How can you ever feel normal again when you have that happen to you?  Like you said, unless you have had to walk this road you just don't know how it feels or understand it.

Thank you for your insight into letting others help me. I never thought about it from their point of view. I just thought I would be bothering someone to have them do something for me. I will try to think about that the next time someone offers to help me.

Thanks again for responding to me...I hope you will continue to be strong and hold your head up high. Take care !!
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: Raven2017 on October 21, 2018, 07:02:49 AM

When Jim passed away, our grandchildren were almost 4 and 7.  They spent a lot of time with us and Jim always did crazy things with them.  He taught them both to ride the quad, tried to teach them to skate and just did a lot of really fun things with them.....he was very athletic and adventurous.  They both loved him so much and he loved them unconditionally.

Jim coached competitive baseball and was always looking forward to coaching the kids when they started playing ball.  Our then youngest grandson started playing T-ball this past spring and it was heartbreaking for me to go and watch his games.  It was a constant reminder of what both he and Jim were missing out on.  I also went to every game because I knew that would be what Jim wanted, plus it was very important to my grandson that I was there.

When Jim first passed, all I could think about were the things that he was missing in the grandchildren's lives.  I worried, like you do, that they would forget him.  Jim also had a very special relationship with our granddaughter.  Sometimes, I look at the pictures of them together and my heart breaks for what SHOULD have been.  Now, I am still incredibly sad for what they are all missing but I am also so very grateful for all the memories that we all have of Papa.  Now, 18 months later, my youngest grandson still talks about the things that he did with Papa....my granddaughter has a hard time talking about him, mostly because she thinks she will make me sad, but she is getting a bit better now.  I make a conscious effort not to bring Jim up all the time but if they want to talk, I listen.  Their lives were richer because they knew Papa and some part inside of them will always remember but time is very different for children.  6 months is very different for adults and children.  To me, 6 months is a very small amount of time, to them it is forever.

We now have a grandson that is 1 year old and he never had the chance to be with Papa which makes me sad but I still think Jim can see him in some way.  Jim's memories will be passed down through all our family and his footprint in our lives will remain forever and Logan will get a sense of who Papa was.

Everyone grieves in different ways.  I, personally fell apart for the better part of a year.  I am a very private person so in public, I was "fine" but I have never cried so much in my life.   I can't imagine where I would be right now if I still had everything inside me.  I'm still not where I would want to be but I am content with the progress that I have made and I know now that I will never be the same person that I was.....I just have to find the new "me". 

Don't be too hard on yourself.  You have been through a lot, losing both Kenny and your Dad.  I can't imagine trying to grieve the loss of two very important people at the same time.  If the method that the grief counselor suggested doesn't work, try something else.  I think it all has to come out at some point..... have you ever tried journaling?  That's something that I normally wouldn't have done but I have books filled with anger, tears, ripped pages....you name it, it's in the books!  It helped me immensely.  I always write to Jim but now I have stopped and I will never re-read my books but for the past 18 months, it helped me a lot.   

Take good care of yourself.
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: BLW on November 01, 2018, 08:55:52 AM

It was nice to hear from you again.  I look forward to getting on here and see if I have a reply because your words a very close to how I feel and I know you understand me. 

Today is the 4 month anniversary of Kenny's passing.  It's hard to believe it's been that long.  It feels like just yesterday.  As far as my grief progression, I have triggers now that will make me cry and a sharp pain goes through my heart of great loss.  I think of Kenny all the time and wonder what his life is like now.  I don't know your beliefs, but I believe Kenny is in Heaven and completely healed of any physical illness he had here.  I know he is happy because he always talked about going home.  I believe I will see him again, but it doesn't take the hurt away of being separated from him now.

I am not looking forward to the holidays this year.  My sister is coming to stay with me the week of Christmas.  Our wedding anniversary is Dec 28th and I think she was afraid of me being by myself for both Christmas and our Anniversary.  It's nice to know someone will be around.  I have been invited to other people's Thanksgiving Dinner, but I just don't think I want to be a loner at someone else's family gathering.  It made me cry when they asked me, cause it hit me again that Kenny is not here to be with me.  We always spent the day together alone, since I have no children or family that lives near me and his children are grown and have their own lives and family.

You asked if I journal. I started doing that some when Kenny was told he only had a short time to live. I still do it at times when I feel the need to get my feelings out and no one understands how I feel.  It has helped me, just to relieve me of a build up of feelings that needs to get out. I haven't had any more counseling because I think I am pretty normal and the way I feel seems to be natural from what I have been reading. 

I truly treasure hearing from you and what you are doing in your life. I'm so glad I found this site, it has helped me so much. I hope to hear from you again  Take Care !!
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: Ralnic on November 10, 2018, 07:48:15 AM
I have been reading many stories about what is going on with the lovely people on this site.  I lost my husband on 11-2-18 after a 16 month battle with cancer.  Never thought I would be a widow.  I wish I could take away everybody’s sorrow.  I wish I could bring everyone’s loved ones back to them.   I don’t know how to deal with this, either. This is very rough.  Peace and love to everyone.
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: Darla on December 09, 2018, 05:37:14 PM
Hello Raven,  so sorry for your loss this is my first time here, wish I would have found this sooner, but maybe I just wasn't ready.  Your story so reflects my feelings.  I list my husband suddenly on Oct 4th 2017.  My whole world seemed to stop.  I find myself so angry.  We were married 34 years and were each others world.  I lost my best friend. 
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: Caspercat on December 10, 2018, 08:48:12 AM
Hi Raven,
 One thing I learned from grief groups I have taken part in locally, is that we must give ourselves PERMISSION to grieve.  If someone else does not understand your sorrow or tears it is their problem, not yours.  It is 1 year this week for my husband's passing and it still hits me like I walked into a brick wall some days.  It happens when you least expect it and sometimes you don't even know what triggered it.  I think we all put expectations on ourselves about when the pain will ease and the grieving will stop, but the truth is it never goes away, we just learn how to live with it as a constant companion.  If we didn't love so strongly it wouldn't hurt as bad.  I give thanks every day (through my tears) that my husband chose me to share his life with; it just really stinks that our time together wasn't much longer.
Take care and know that you are not alone!
Title: Re: Almost 17 months
Post by: KathyD on January 11, 2019, 01:33:42 PM
hello - I have been reading these posts and all the replies and not surprised by all the emotions that were shared.  It actually was comforting to know that I wasn't alone in some of the feelings I have been having for the past 22 months since my husband of 35 years passed unexpectedly.  Thank you all for sharing.  I just wanted to let all know that I appreciate the sharing and that it helped validate my feelings.  My minister warned me that even though the first year is rough, the second year is worse.  I didn't understand what she meant at the time even though she was speaking to me from her own experience of losing her young husband with two young children.  She was right and that dawned on me about halfway through the second year.  Everyone else had moved on with their lives and we are still trying to figure out who we are without our loved one.  We are still figuring out how to move through the days alone (even when we have family around us.) Someone in the messages above mentioned that they were in a better place than they were previous months after the loss and that is how I look at things - even though I am still sad, still cry, still have meltdowns, I am dealing with things better than I did months ago. 

We will NEVER stop grieving - we will only learn how to live with it. 

Thank you for allowing me to be part of this and allowing me to share my thoughts.   I have posted my story a couple months after my husband Ron passed. It helped just to post that story.  I had almost forgotten I had done that until I was cleaning out my bookmarks.  It is somewhere on this site under my name in the introduction thread « Reply #142 on: September 26, 2017, 03:50:58 PM » if you wanted to read it.  I'm sorry I haven't been back sooner. Everyone here is very loving to all.   

My snow globe of life is still showing signs of snowing but it's not the blizzard that it was at the beginning of being solo.