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Topics - mshaynes

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Spouse, Partner Loss / Cruel Irony
« on: December 14, 2013, 04:28:31 PM »
Some time back, my father purchased an engraved brick which was installed in the memorial walkway on the grounds of the hospice that cared for Eden. I went there today, and briefly contemplated one of life's cruel ironies.

My experiences during Eden's long illness and since her death have irrevocably changed me. Believe it not, most of those changes have been for the better. Don't misunderstand me - I am lonely without her. There is never a day that I don't long for her smile, her laugh, her touch, her smell, her hugs and kisses, just her presence in the same room. But, because of her sickness, her death, and her absence, I have changed.

I am a better person than I once was. I am more patient. I am more generous. I am more understanding, compassionate, and way more sensitive. Because I cared so poorly for myself while I cared for her, I am in better health now. I feel better and look better.

I am forever changed in many good ways. Eden made me a better person in life. And she's made me a better person in death. How I wish I could share the new me with her.

A cruel irony.


It has been a long time since I last posted here. This board was instrumental in my grief healing process. But as you all know, that healing is an ongoing process. I wish everyone a blessed Christmas season. Hang on to whoever and whatever helps get you through this difficult time. For me, it is channeling my energy into providing the best holiday I can for my grandson.

Spouse, Partner Loss / There IS Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow
« on: April 12, 2013, 10:29:21 AM »
It has been a long time since I visited this board. I first signed on when I was in great pain, and in a dark and lonely place. I was stuck at home, not working, or playing, or doing much of anything. I was in a fog and on auto pilot, going through the motions and feeling nothing but pain.

This board was one of several things that gave me hope. From reading the posts here, and sharing my own, I learned that I wasn't nuts. I was, in fact, very painfully normal. I was (and am) grieving a huge loss, and was (and am) going through a process that would forever change me.

I am more compassionate, more empathetic, more sensitive, understanding, forgiving, patient, quiet, kind, and giving. I am a different person, a better person, but a person with a hole that will never be filled again.

Part of me is gone. Eden and I were ONE. Now it's just me, and my better part is gone. All I can do is to keep on keeping on, trying to be as good and kind and loving as she was.

I am at peace. Eden passed 15 months ago. I've been through every holiday and anniversary. Most were hard, some were horrible, but I got through them. I can drive on the roads I used to avoid; eat the foods that used to make me cry. I can look at her pictures and smile instead of cry.

I still burn a candle for Eden every day. I still say the rosary for her, but I let her say all the "Amen's", just like she did when she was alive. For in some ways, she is still alive. Those of you who are in a similar place on your grief journey know what I mean. Those that aren't here yet - take heart... YOU WILL FIND PEACE.

There IS Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow.

Pray. Read grief books. Join a support group. Cry. Share your stories with anyone who will listen. Listen to others' grief stories. Sleep. Take naps. Go for walks. Buy little gifts for the one you lost. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

There IS Hope for a Brighter Tomorrow.

I wish you all blessings, peace, and happiness. Thanks for being here when I needed you. Thanks for being here now. :)

Spouse, Partner Loss / I really WANT to get better
« on: January 02, 2013, 02:47:09 PM »
I'm closing in on a year since Eden died. Initially, I thought it would get better with time. But I've learned that what I've read here and elsewhere is true. It does not get better. It just gets different.

And God how I wish it would get better. I've grieved silently and out loud. I've grieved alone and with friends and with family and with strangers. I've shared my grief and hidden my grief. I've wiped my tears and let them flow. I've prayed and I've cussed. I've slept late and stayed up all night. I've shopped, cooked, eaten, and journaled and video gamed and watched movies and read and sat in the corner all alone and warmed more pews than I can count.

And you know what? Nothing works.

I miss her. I love her. I'll never get better. I will always hurt.

So, happy friggin' new year. Maybe, just maybe, this one will suck just a little less. At least I won't have to watch her die... Well, that's not true. I'm still replaying that over and over in my head... Criminy!

Praying for peace of mind and spirit...

(psst... I come here when it hurts... I should come and share my good moments, too)

Spouse, Partner Loss / glad it's over
« on: December 30, 2012, 06:31:36 PM »
I was pro-active in holiday planning, and managed to include Eden's memory in most everything I and my family did. We scattered some ashes at the old home site; filled cremation pendants; hung favorite pictures; said a candle tribute prayer and recited a "We Remember Them" poem. There was a memorial service put on by the hospice, even. It was busy and mostly enjoyable. It probably could not have gone better. [Much of this stuff is documented on my blog @]


Tears fell often and unexpectedly. At church. In the car. At work. Over dinner. Because the one inescapable truth is that my wife is dead, and it's Christmas, and she'll never share Christmas with me again, and it sucks and it hurts.

Period. I'm glad it's over. If it weren't for my grandson, I'd just as soon have skipped it!

Eden, my love, my honey ko, we'll share Christmas in heaven one day. Until then, it will be painful and lonely.

Spouse, Partner Loss / deafening silence
« on: October 21, 2012, 04:52:08 PM »
I have felt it since my wife died. So has Ivan, our grandson. But I couldn't define it. Now, I found the words. It came to me as I was making a private journal entry.

We used to be content and reasonably happy. If we were bored, it was no big deal. We were just bored. But NOW, when we are bored, we don't have that feeling of contentment, we are just alone with the deafening silence of grief! And we do anything and everything to keep the boredom - and grief - at bay.

Since Eden died, I have felt crappy if I wasn't busy. But I was never like that before. I used to really enjoy doing nothing. A lazy Sunday afternoon was blissful. Not now. It's gut wrenchingly painful. When I stop, when it's quiet, the pain takes over. I can't fight it off forever.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Two Words
« on: October 20, 2012, 05:49:31 PM »
I'm Lonely

No matter what I do. No matter how I fill the hours of the day. No matter whether I work, or volunteer, or go to counseling, or a group session, or a movie, or out to eat, or to mass. No matter who I spend time with. No matter how many books I read, or TV shows I watch. It just does not matter. When the rush and hustle stops, and it gets quiet, I'm lonely.

It's been nine months since Eden died. Although the good days are more often now, I've had more bad days than good. But even at the end of a really good day, it ends with me being lonely.

I went to the old trailer park where we lived for the past 17 years. The trailer park I left 13 days after my wife died. I went back to see the old trailer. It was gone. An empty lot in it's place. Barren. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. My home is gone. My wife is gone. My life as I knew it is gone.

I don't want a new normal. I want my wife and my home and my life back. But that will never happen. There is no getting over this. There is no going on and getting through it. There is just an empty hole in my chest that used to hold my heart. And I will be forever lonely.

I pray that I'm wrong. I pray I will heal. I pray I will again know joy. But for now, all I hear in my head and feel in my soul are these same two words...

I'm Lonely

Spouse, Partner Loss / A Rough Day
« on: October 10, 2012, 09:49:39 AM »
I've been on a high lately. Lots of positive things in my life, and the pain of losing Eden was bearable for a change. And then my birthday came along. My first without my wife. And, oh my God, did that hurt. I got through our anniversary and her birthday without any big problem. But my own birthday comes along and I turn into a bowl of jello. I went to mass to try and chase away my blues, and just sat there and cried. I hope this ends soon, but I'm pretty sure it won't. I'll never again feel Eden's loving arms around me, and that loss will forever hurt.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Live each day moving forward
« on: September 17, 2012, 09:24:45 AM »
"Remember the good times; cherish the memories, but live each day moving forward. Focus your thoughts on what is before you and how you are going to get there."

From GriefShare

This is hard to do, but necessary. I liked my life before Eden died. I was happy and content. It was not perfect, to be sure. It was hard in many ways. But we were good together, and good for each other. My purpose was clear; my role was clear.

Now, as I try to establish a new "normal" I find myself wishing I did not have to. I'd go back to my old normal in a heart beat. But that's impossible.

So, all I can do is trudge forward, and pray that God will be with me, and guide me. Because I'm still a bit lost and uncertain.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Taking Steps Toward Healing
« on: September 08, 2012, 08:27:32 PM »
My time on this board and in reading articles and books has helped. It has helped a LOT. To keep me focused, to keep me sane, to keep me guided in the right direction. I've taken a day at a time, and tried to be positive in the face of adversity (with almost NO success in that area). I've tried to learn from others' suggestions and experiences . And finally, I've taken some small (and big?) steps toward recovery.

I've seen a grief counselor. I've joined a support group. And in a (for me) HUGE leap of faith and sticking my neck out of my turtle shell, I have just finished orientation for volunteers at the hospice agency which cared for my wife, Eden. My volunteer hours will not be a lot, and will likely be more clerical than personal, but it's a start.

Because of all this, I've got things to do, things to look forward to, new and interesting people in my life. And I've had five days in a row when the pain has been bearable, instead of burdening. I'm able talk about Eden, and her death, and our life together, without going to pieces.

I'm not all better. I never will be. But I'm better than I was.

Spouse, Partner Loss / My Grief Journey
« on: September 01, 2012, 08:26:33 PM »
Spent a lot of time today reviewing my journey during the past 7 months. I've had good days, bad days, and just downright awful days. I felt better in the beginning than I do now. But I know that's common. And I also know I'll feel better again sooner or later. I know this is going to suck for a long time, and then it will suck less. I was told this by a professional grief counselor, believe it or not. So be it. My recovery then, depends not on getting over my grief, but on learning to live with it.

Okay, so let's get on with it. I'm going to counseling, and will try a group session next week, and I plan to begin doing some hospice volunteer work soon. That volunteer work may be just clerical to start with, since I'm hardly in a position to give strength and comfort to anyone else, being a basket case still myself.

And I've put some loosely kept notes and thoughts into a blog format that I'll add to every now and then. If you want to have a peek it's at:

Spouse, Partner Loss / Good money after bad
« on: August 22, 2012, 04:06:48 PM »
I hope I learn my lesson before the savings is gone. Movies, take out food, video games, shopping, and adopted animals do NOT ease the pain of grief. They may keep my mind occupied briefly, but every new day is just like that Groundhog Day movie... I wake up with the same intolerable feeling of loss pervading my every moment, my every thought, my every chore.

Spouse, Partner Loss / That was an odd feeling
« on: August 01, 2012, 07:09:28 PM »
A couple of days ago, I was browsing a virtual photo album of pix my father had taken a couple of years ago, and saw a pic of Eden I had not seen before. And for the first time since she passed in January, a pic of her made me smile instead of cry. A very odd feeling. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to weather this storm called grief, and be okay. I'll always be less than what I was with her, but maybe I'll be okay. Eden always made me smile when she was alive. Now she made me smile again.

This is the pic (My brother, Eden, my niece, my grandson):

Spouse, Partner Loss / The roller coaster of grief
« on: July 29, 2012, 01:20:07 PM »
My reading tells me that grief can be like a roller coaster, with highs and lows. When I read that, I considered myself to be somewhat different, because all I had was lows. I also read that the healing process might seem like you're taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Again, all I had were the backward steps.

Then, finally, some progress. Some better days. A couple of smiles and laughs, and a feeling I was going to be alright, after all. Even a sense of moving forward, and not letting my grief define me.

And then the roller coaster analogy became clear, as my newly found high bottomed out and left me at the bottom of a sorrowful well.

I've lost loved ones before. My mother. Friends. My sister. I've known death. But not like this. I never knew grief until my beloved wife, Eden, died in January.

This hurts. This is agony. I feel sooo very empty. Please, God, stop this ride. I want off.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Hugs
« on: July 25, 2012, 09:10:04 PM »
As my grandson, Ivan, and I passed in the kitchen today, I gave him an impromptu hug. And that's when it hit me... The fact that maybe that's what I might miss most since my beloved wife, Eden, died... The hugs.

We shared a hug and a little kiss every morning. And every night. And whenever one of us left the house, or came back home. 21.5 years at a conservative guess-timated average of 3 hugs a day equals 23,542 hugs. I miss those hugs.

Spouse, Partner Loss / A Rude Awakening
« on: July 21, 2012, 10:23:26 AM »
I awoke this morning in a most unpleasant way. I had a dream about my late wife, Eden. She passed away almost 6 months ago. She had battled cancer for over 3 years, and died quietly after a grotesque 4 weeks in hospice care. It was a brutal, harrowing experience to watch her waste away before my very eyes. She died long before her body finally gave out. In the end, she was no more than a horrid, ugly, shell of the beautiful, thriving woman she once was. So, I woke up this morning after seeing her in my dreams for the first time since she died. Before today, I have not had one dream about her that I can recall since she died. And when I do, do I get to visit my beautiful, smiling, healthy wife? Oh heck no, I see her in her final days, as a skeleton, saddened and beaten down, frightened, and weeping. She is in her hospice bed, in the middle of a shopping mall, of all places, with some news reporter making announcements over the public address system about her deteriorating condition. Huh?

God, if I am to have memories, can't they be the good ones? If I am to dream, can't they be of happier days? I mean, criminy! Beam me up from this hell....

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