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Messages - anneshirley

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Main / Re: New widow--Desperate for help
« on: July 30, 2009, 06:17:38 PM »
Hi Juanita,

The first four weeks were probably the easiest for me, as I planned my husband's memorial service for four weeks after his death and I had so much to do--hire a place, plan food, issue invitations, prepare a memorial book.  But the next three months were hell--crying all the time, totally uninterested in seeing anyone or going anywhere, other than getting a driver's license, but the last month I have actually had some relatively normal days.  I know the only thing that works for me, at least for now, is to not think about Miguel.  The second I mention his name or think of him, it returns.  Today, by mistake I went to a Cuban restaurant for lunch and listened to the staff speaking Spanish--Miguel's native language and it started again.  Started crying again.  Can you try pushing thoughts of your husband from your mind when they occur.  I know it sounds awful, but it's the only thing that works for me.  Soon, you can remember the good times with pleasure but now it's just too painful.  Please feel better.

« on: July 27, 2009, 08:08:52 AM »
Carrie--I'm pretty much in the same place regarding our house in Maine--a summer place.  Miguel worked on it all last summer, complaining a lot about pains in his stomach and back--pancreatic cancer.  I went there in June thinking I needed to get away from our main residence but the pain of seeing the work he did was overwhelming and I returned to New York.  The house is for sale but in this market that's very iffy.  However, if it doesn't sell this summer I plan to rent for a few years and then, perhaps, when some of the pain wears off I'll begin to love it again.  A neighbor in Maine, a gentleman who lost his wife some ten years ago, told me to never make major decisions in the first year.  Perhaps he's right!

Main / Re: What about using medications?
« on: July 26, 2009, 10:13:47 PM »
Why am I angry?  Don't let me start.  It's terrible to say but there are so many nasty people in this world and I get furious that Miguel who was talented, warm, funny, and loving is gone and they're still walking around.

I tried one pill of Lexapro and woke with a terrible headache and felt sick to my stomach.  Honestly, I think I was so hesitant about taking an anti-depressant that I may have created my own problems  My doctor said about two weeks for Lexapro to kick in.  But two weeks goes by very quickly.  I have a good friend, a nurse, in Colorado who I know would be willing to talk to you about anti-depressants.  She thinks I'm crazy not taking one.  If you want her phone number let me know.  She's a lovely person and always willing to help others.

Main / Re: GRIEF USA
« on: July 26, 2009, 09:56:06 PM »
Liam Nielson is Irish and so am I.  The Irish, like most cultures, have their own particular way of showing grief.  And showing outward strength and making others feel comfortable is one of our ways; doesn't mean, however, that we don't suffer exceedingly in private.  My husband was a non-believer and I followed his instructions to the letter and had him cremated immediately and then a month later had a lunch and memorial service.  In truth, at least for me, the old way was better when one had to put oneself out to make others comfortable. Instead I cried incessantly for a full month.  And I'm still crying.  My mother would turn in her grave if she knew how I handled Miguel's service.  Who can say but in the end one has to follow the loved one's instructions.

Main / Re: What about using medications?
« on: July 26, 2009, 09:35:37 PM »
Juanita--I went to my doctor a few months ago and she gave me  prescription for Lexapro; took it once, hated the thought of it and stopped.  However, all my friends, many nurses and MD's,  tell me I'm  fool.   On  rare occasions I take an activan (left over from my husband's illness).  I have a huge problem taking anti-depressants but then I'm not losing weight--well I am but only because I want to.  Good thing about anti-depressants is that they tend to put on weight, so perhaps an antidepressant will help.  But I certainly understand your reluctance.  It's now ten months since Miguel's diagnosis and five months since his death and I've actually gone through a few days recently without crying for hours, although my angry is getting worse.  Hopefully, this too will pass.  Anyway, it does appear to get better in time.  My heart is with you.  Do whatever necessary to keep yourself going.

Main / Re: Significance of age and place in life cycle to bereavment
« on: July 11, 2009, 06:51:48 PM »
Juanita--we have so many thoughts alike!  I feel the same, unable to imagine myself surviving without someone.  I loved being married.  But then I think of our 28 years together and how comfortable we were with each other and how accepting of each other's flaws; most of all how we had our special codes and moments that would make us both smile, even in a crowd.  It's so confusing, all these thoughts, so many of them contradictory. I realize also that even if I do meet someone (and we both know at our ages--I'm the same age as you--how unlikely that is) I could never love another as I loved Miguel. I have no answers, just questions but I agree--losing one's spouse is horrible no matter what your age.

Main / Re: New widow--Desperate for help
« on: July 11, 2009, 05:47:44 PM »
Juanita and Kay--I think the "almost normal" days will come for you too.  Yesterday I went across to the store where I have photos enlarged (I had left some of Miguel that I plan to send to his mother for her birthday).  Miguel was very friendly and everyone in the neighborhood knew him (and this in Manhattan just a few blocks from the Empire State Building).  One of the workers turned to me and said 'how is he?', obviously recognizing Miguel from the pictures.  I had to say he was dead and at first he didn't hear me and asked again.  And I started crying--and felt really bad because I know I made him feel bad.  But later that day a friend came by and talked me into going to dinner with her and a friend.  And I found that I made a few remarks about Miguel without crying, and even smiling, as they were things about him that were very endearing.  I managed all night not to cry, but today I'm back to square one--but it's not really square one since I had a nice evening.   And it's true that some of the things you think should make you smile and remember your husband with fondness instead depress you.  I'm still in that phase too but I do believe the same things will bring good memories some day.  Although we enjoyed most things as a couple, Miguel hated some TV programs that I like--House and Law and Order--and now I find it very difficult viewing them as it makes me feel terribly guilty.  And on Fridays we always watched "As Time Goes By" and I missed it last night and although I enjoyed going out, thought to myself later, "I can't do that again."  In writing this, I just remembered that my mother watched "Gun Smoke" for years even though she really didn't like it because it was my father's favorite program.  It's all so strange  but apparently quite usual in grieving.  This forum helps as it's the only place I write or speak of these things.  Thank You.

Main / Re: Significance of age and place in life cycle to bereavment
« on: July 11, 2009, 09:33:23 AM »
Mousewife--I don't believe there is a significant difference in grieving for a loved one because of age.  In some ways it may even be easier if you are still raising children.  My father died when he was 51 and my mother 49.  She still had my younger brother and sister in high school, needed to work, and as I remember she had very little time to think constantly about my father's loss.  I was still living at home at the time, although working, and I don't remember her going through the severe depression that I find myself in.  But then we had no children (he has a son by a previous marriage who lives in South America) and I work for myself, so I get to decide when and when I don't work.  But at the same time I'm not suggesting it's more difficult when we're older.  It some ways it's easier and in others harder.  It depends on the person  and how she (or he) views her life without a spouse.  I had thought for the longest time that men took the loss of a spouse more in stride than women until I read some of the posts here by men.

I remember reading someone's posts who had lost a partner and was surprised to find as I continued reading that she was relatively young and they had been together for what I thought was a short time, yet her anguish jumped off the page.  There are, I think, no answers to how one grieves or for how long.  It's such a personal journey, and unfortunately, one we must all take at some point in our lives.  I know from reading Juanita's story that she had been married for 48 years and her pain is palpable.  I can only hope your pain is relieved soon.  I went out for the first time last night for dinner with some women friends and found myself speaking of Miguel without crying.  That was a first!  And I know more firsts will come.

Main / Re: New widow--Desperate for help
« on: July 10, 2009, 10:02:45 AM »
Juanita--I feel as though we're living the same life, although in different locations.  I also went out yesterday, twice, and the whole process exhausted me.  Just making up my mind to leave the apartment to cross the street and send a fax took hours and then doing it was a bit like climbing a mountain. 

I expend a lot of energy trying not to think about Miguel, because whenever I do the tears start.  The worse part, though, is that thoughts of him come despite my efforts to block them.  I was reading a sports article on Google a few days ago, which mentioned that Fred Perry was the last great English tennis player.  I hadn't been thinking of Miguel, yet out of the blue I found myself crying.  He was born in South America and had a heavy accent when we met.  He had a pair of sneakers with the Fred Perry logo, and he always called them his Frapberry sneakers--sounded like an exotic ice cream flavor.  That should have been a good memory, remembering his accent which always made me smile when he was alive and instead it started me crying.  I wonder what others do when those moments come, or what you do when you find yourself walking down the street and the tears run despite your best efforts to contain them. I find it impossible to tell strangers that my husband is dead without crying, which I often have to do, when changing names on bills, etc.  I have a new primary doctor and I had to list a contact, which started me off a few days ago.  Or sitting on a bus coming up Sixth Avenue, noticing that the driver was having trouble navigating around taxis, I thought of Miguel who was a great navigator, particularly around New York taxis. The smallest things start the tears running, and I'm always apologizing.  But now that I'm reading this website, I find that so much of what I'm experiencing is normal for those who are grieving and although it's sad to know that others experience this same pain, it's also good as they seem to get through it in the end. 

What pushed me to open your post was the word "desperate" as it describes so well the feelings that I have on many days.  But then there are the days when I feel almost normal--and almost normal is not so bad after what we've been through.  Let's hang in there together. 

Main / Re: back to the beginning
« on: July 09, 2009, 08:33:11 AM »
I often find myself thinking that perhaps this is a very long dream and I'll awake and Miguel will be in the bed with me.  I know it's not a dream but I still find it difficult not to hope.  One book that might help is Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking" about the loss of her husband.  She wrote that she had difficulty giving away a pair of his shoes as she was worried he might need them when he returned.  I've had similar feelings and from reading posts here, it's pretty much universal, the need to think the person we loved might still return. 

Main / Re: My first post.
« on: July 09, 2009, 08:21:36 AM »
Thank you all for your kind responses.  Kay, I was reading one of your other posts and noted that you often feel worse after being with other people, particularly other couples.  Yesterday was one of the worst days I've had since Miguel died, and the previous night I was to a sister's for dinner.  Coming home on the bus, I realized that my jaw was so tight that it hurt, and the following morning I was back in a deep depression.  I now realize that it was being with others that brought the depression back.  I find I'm avoiding groups, and wasn't sure if it was wise of me to do so, but I think, at least in my case, that I'm better off not being in groups.  Miguel had a magical quality around people.  Whenever he was at a party or large gathering, he seemed to be the person everyone wanted to be with--he had great warmth, and was very funny, and now when I'm with these same people it just makes me realize again how great my loss has been. 

The loneliness is the worst part of the grieving.  My younger brother lost his wife after 25 years of marriage and within a few months was dating again.  He's now remarried.  I never told him how I felt, but I was angry at him at the time, that he didn't grieve at least a full year before finding someone else. It's only now that I can appreciate perhaps why it happened.  I suspect he only started dating so he could avoid the extreme loneliness.  I often think now that I want to meet someone else (and it's only four months since Miguel died), but I also realize that it's only because I'm so lonely without him, and not because I want to replace him.  That would be impossible, as there are no others like him.  And then, of course, I feel guilty about these feelings.  Do any of you who have lost a spouse find yourself hoping you'll find someone else?  And then hate yourself for even permitting such thoughts?

Main / Re: New widow--Desperate for help
« on: July 08, 2009, 08:55:41 PM »
Juanita--I'm going through something similar, with lots of advice that I take anti-depressants, but I'm resisting.  Right now, I live day to day, with my only intention to wake up the next morning.  It's more than four months since Miguel died, and although today was horrible--crying almost the full day--I do have days that are less painful.  Perhaps it works that way, on and off, until we realize that we've survived almost a full day without crying.  I hope so; at least that's what keeps me going.

Main / My first post.
« on: July 08, 2009, 08:42:34 PM »
This is my first post here, or anywhere, on the loss of my husband of 28 years.  He died of pancreatic cancer on February 27, and the pain today was at least as bad as it was four months ago when he first died.   I wake up each day with my only goal to make it to the next day.  I'm a writer and I haven't written a word since he was diagnosed last October, and I have strong doubts I'll ever write again.  Any advice would help.  Thank you.

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