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Messages - Autumn Leaves

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Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: Holiday Tips/Ideas/Articles
« on: December 18, 2012, 02:48:31 PM »
I really like the idea of the grief letter to family members so you don't have to verbalize your feelings if you are unable to do so. I think family members experience grief memories differently because they weren't such an intimate part of the relationship, the pairing of two souls. Life is no longer and can never again be what it was. I've lost my mother, grandmother, sibling but it was so much different when I lost my husband because he was part of my life, my routine.
It's been six years now but I talk to someone about something and I realize they don't have that memory, that the only person who knows exactly what I'm talking about isn't there anymore. I talk to people who will say "I can't believe he's been gone that long" or "So how long has it been" when I know because I've had to live without him every day of the six years and almost two months.
I've started a journal for our daughter so I can share some of these memories with her, tnings that we experienced together, how he marveled at his beloved infant daughter, how he was tickled that he has a daughter rather than a son, his love of music and his hijinks in high school and afterwards (even though he frequently got mad at her for her high school hijinks, he did the same things), things that she should know about her Papa, memories that will disappear if I don't write them down and shere them.
Anyway, holidays won't be the same but new memories and traditions can be implemented. I still have a few tree ornaments but each year purchase a few new ornaments, meaningful to me in some way so I have new memories when I put these ornaments on my tree alongside my old family ornaments.

Child Loss / Re: Tragedy in Conneticut
« on: December 18, 2012, 02:24:15 PM »
This is such a tragedy for the families, friends, classmates,, the school, the whole town. When the attention of the nation moves on to the next disaster, all these people will have to live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives. The people who survived Columbine, 9/11, and other calamities will understand what these people are experiencing and how they will manage to survive.
The Voice NBC television show had an awesome tribute to the children and adults who lost their lives.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: A Rude Awakening
« on: July 21, 2012, 03:04:09 PM »
Mark, I can understand a bit of what you're feeling. My husband wasted away physically and mentally for almost 15 months. He'd worn a mustache and beard on and off for the 35 years we were married, and for the better part of the last 10 years we were married. As you know, full facial hair can hide a lot of things. Well, he was in CCU at Loma Linda University Medical Center, had been there for almost two months. I walked in to his room one afternoon and didn't recognize the guy in his bed so went out to the nurses' station to ask where they'd moved him (they'd moved him three or four times over the time he was there based on increased needs) and the nurse confirmed that I' d gone into the right room. Well! Apparently an aide had shaved him because he was developing sores on his neck and jaw and they decided, without asking me first, to shave him. That was NOT my husband; it was some really old wizened guy in that bed! He died 2 1/2 days later so that's the image that stayed in my mind for years. I couldn't picture the healthy, bearded, 58 year old musician I'd been married to for decades, I could only picture the 90 year old guy in that bed, the one who didn't know I was even there, the one who just moaned and groaned or slept.

I found some pictures he'd taken a dozen years earlier when he'd taken a photography class. They're professional portraits (they practiced on each other) of him posing with his favorite guitar. I had a head shot and a full body shot with his guitar enlarged and bought really nice mats and frames and put them in my living room so I'd see those pictures whenever I walked down the hall from my living room toward the rest of the house. Eventually, those are the images I remembered but sometimes they're superimposed over the 90 year old guy in the bed.

All I can say is to try to replace your visual image with something else: a scarf she wore, a special hat, perfume, something from a hobby, something that allows you to visualize her as she was then rather than

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: grrr pffft growl arrrghhh
« on: July 19, 2012, 02:30:55 PM »
Sometimes it helps to find a good, healthy, constructive means to vent our anger. I remember one time I was feeling particularly angry and just happened to have an old dresser that even Salvation Army & Goodwill didn't want. I got out my husband's sledge hammer (now mine) and smashed that old dresser into pieces that would fit into my trash can. Took a couple hours and I was dripping sweat but I sure felt better afterwards. Since I've run out of dressers, I've taken to swimming, kick boxing, treadmill (easier to run uphill on a treadmill and you don't have to worry about hiking back down) and using yoga and deep breathing and stress balls. I'm a lot less angry now.
I sometimes get into woulda-shoulda-coulda moods (which do no good whatsoever and are a total waste of time) and allow myself one minute exactly of what-ifs before I tell myself that enough's enough. I have much less of those thoughts now too.

We have to develop healthy methods of stress relief, especially when we feel like beating the stuffing out of someone or kicking or screaming. However, sometimes, it seems like the two-year-old temper tantrum of lying on the floor kicking & screaming has some benefits. Of course, that's so much easier to do when you're in bed and kicking the mattress rather than the floor and you're screaming into a pillow.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: Tomorrow
« on: July 19, 2012, 02:22:55 PM »
I'm glad you were with family on your anniversary. I agree with many of the comments here that anticipation is much worse than the actual event. This seems to apply to most things.
Our 41st anniversary is next week. I remember thinking that we barely made it past our 35th anniversary (weird thing was it was exactly 3 months and 5 days after the anniversary) and I think that we'll never make it to our 50th but we will, just not together. I'll always remember the birthday, the anniversary, the day we met (my 18th birthday), but I am starting to forget all the various times I had to call the ambulance or the visits to the various hospitals, or the last couple times I saw him.
Anniversaries are times to remember the good times, to celebrate life, and time to remember we have a different life now but life to be celebrated regardless.
I'm glad you had a good day and hope you have many more good days of remembrance.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: Coming up on one year....
« on: July 19, 2012, 02:05:10 PM »
Your tribute to Denise sounds wonderful. I think people getting together and sharing, and celebrating, memories of a loved one is a fantastic way of comforting everyone, of letting people realize how other people valued someone.
I do believe that your life could be guided by her, that new relationships can be initiated by her and blessed by her.
I wish you well in your life.

No, it is not wrong to need someone but we can't depend on someone else to give us happiness, comfort and peace. I think people need the companionship and love of someone, a partner, family. I think our society has definitions of family, of couples, and singles just don't fit anywhere.

I think that when a decades long parthership is broken by death, the survivor is no longer part of "us" but is just "me" and that leaves a big gap in our lives.

I know a woman who hasn't changed a thing in her life; her husband's clothes, glasses, everything's still where he left it, as if he's just stepped out and will be back any time. It's spooky. I know a guy who gave away everything; no evidence of his wife's presence in his house or life. He doesn't even talk about her. I'm somewhere in between.

 and I about had a heart attack a few months ago when my brother-in-law (who I hadn't seen in years because he lives far away) came to visit. I met him in a restaurant and he was standing by the bar when I walked in. I saw him from behind and he looks exactly like his brother, my late husband. I almost stopped breathing. Same bald spot, same neck, same body shape, same forhead. His voice is different & the way of talking & he's much more bitter and more of a drinker. Still, it was an awful shock.

I wouldn't look to find someone else to make me happy but I would look to find someone who could give me joy and satisfaction and comfort - and love and respect. It's a tall order

My husband of 35 years died over 5 years ago.

Year One: a fog, I don't remember much of anything that year.

Year Two: less bad days, more ok days, still didn't want to be home alone.

Year Three: started thinking about what I was going to do with my life.

Year Four: started thinking about being alone, perhaps a companion or more friends.

Year Five: started making "our home" my home, enjoyed the quiet of home alone, thinking more about a companion or partner but not ready to date, still looking for good friends.

Five years later, I (and friends in similar situations) still crave the companionship we lost through death (or divorce), still wonder (and fear) a life of being alone. I get upset when my divorced friends compare their situation to mine but I've learned not to argue about that and focus on the similarities.

I know a couple older women who lost a husband and are so frightened of being alone that they are taking serious risks with men.

Main / Re: How Do I Go On?
« on: September 02, 2010, 07:11:18 PM »
John, sounds like the animals are grieving too.
All I can recommend is that you keep yourself busy. I spent a long time away from my house just because the house was so empty and I was so alone there.

I think people deal with the death of a loved one when it's a sudden death rather than an expected death from illness or injury. The latter we have a bit of a warning and the former is a shock. Regardless, we are angry that our loved one is no longer with us and we are guilty over things that could have been different.
My husband died after 15 months of cycles of hospital ICUS, convalescent homes, and home care by me and constant battles with insurance. I berated myself for not taking care of him better, for not fighting more with the doctors to obtain better care for my husband, for not being able to ease his considerable pain and suffering. I berated myself for my last argument with him, for resenting him for not taking care of his health, etc. I still wonder what I could have done to make his life easier. My memories are overshadowed by his pain and suffering and I have a difficult time trusting doctors.
When grief is new, it colors our life and view of our relationship. It's natural to regret and wonder if you had acted differently if that would have made things better.

Main / Re: Something strange and wonderful...
« on: August 31, 2010, 08:40:48 AM »
That's a wonderful experience Juls. I would not question it but accept it as a message from your husband. It's a wonderful and comforting message.

I can totally sympathize with you about your job loss. I was terminated from my job (forced into early retirement) over 5 years ago after 24 years on the job. I felt as if I'd been rejected, discarded because I was useless. I was adrift and without the support of my work family just when my late husband began his downward slide into severe illness and repeated deaths. Because I'd spent so much time at work and with my work friends, I didn't have many non-work friends so I suddenly became needy. I went back to school and changed changed jobs so now I'm a preschool teacher. I've been doing that for 4 years now but there have been budget problems and layoffs so I'm once again in a position of losing my work friends and I just hate having to look for another job. I'm getting too old for this kind of stuff.
I do hope you are able to find a new job soon and it's something you enjoy with good people. Good luck.

« on: August 24, 2010, 07:02:02 PM »
Lillian, you're so right. I have a brother-in-law with MS (and other serious medical problems) and rationally know his life span is seriously shortened by his medical problems and seriously complicated by his MS. I was caregiver to my late husband for almost 3 years before he died and I find myself falling into the same role with my brother-in-law, especially when his wife isn't well. I hate getting into that situation and having those feelings that someone else I love (after mom and gramma and inlaws) is in seriously bad health. It's a tough situation and brings up feelings I thought I'd "dealt" with when my husband died in 2006. All we can do is deal with it the best we can with the support of friends/family. I just wish I had a magic wand to make it all better.

Main / Re: Irritated and a bit hurt
« on: August 24, 2010, 06:55:42 PM »
A friend's son was in prison for a while and he needed access to outside funds for basic services the prison system doesn't provide and maed inmates pay for - and punished them when they didn't shave or bathe or whatever. However, that's California which is perpetually out of money and charging for every thing they can.

I wouldn't necessarily wonder or worry why your mother didn't change her life insurance beneficiary because it's something easy to forget to do. She could have had every thought of changing it but never got around to it. Even though you believe that it isn't right that he receives any money, it might complicate the chances of you and your siblings your share of the insurance. I don't know about how these things work though but you have every right to your feelings.

Based on experience with my family after my mother's and grandmother's deaths, perfectly normal siblings can morph into thieves and vultures. They become vicious and behave irrationally. It's best to do what's in your heart and act as rationally as possible. Good luck.

Main / Re: The 'honeymoon' period is over!
« on: August 24, 2010, 06:43:44 PM »
My computer broke so I was Internet-less for months then I forgot my password. I was autumnmine for a bit until I forgot that password. Tom got me set up again. I did notice that the memory isn't as sharp as it used to be and have to be more diligent putting things down (can't blame anyone else anymore or ask anyone else to help me find things I've misplaced.)

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