Author Topic: What has happened to me  (Read 6712 times)

JandL

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What has happened to me
« on: January 25, 2016, 04:02:00 AM »
Hi, this will be my second attempt to post something on this forum. My first ended in a bout of tears so bad I couldn’t see my screen or key board, and that was after just a few lines.

I hadn’t expected that to happen, even though I have been moved to tears reading some of the other posts. I also got the pounding heart that seems to want to burst out of my stomach for some reason, and the feelings of panic I thought had passed.

My wife died 10 weeks ago yesterday, or as my calendar now reads ‘the day my world ended’. She was 65 years old (I’m 66) and we had been married for 44 years, but together for 51. We met at school (she was 14 and I was 15) and were together ever since. I don’t think it ever occurred to either of us to look for anyone else – it just seemed so natural for us to be with each other – and that was all we ever wanted from life.

We saved up and got our first house when we got married, and a few years later moved to our current house, my current house. We’ve lived here for over 30 years and loved it. Occasionally when we were sitting on the sofa of an evening, perhaps watching television or reading, Lin (my wife) would turn to me and say ‘this is enough for us isn’t it?’, and knowing exactly what she meant I would say ‘yes it is’. We both knew how lucky we were to have found each other so early.
Goodness, how corny this all sounds now.

We were always able to talk to each other, about anything and everything. It never ceased to amaze me how, after so long a time there were always things to discuss and share – I so miss talking with her. Now, in the main, conversation is chatting to my next door neighbour for an hour or so once a week when I go around for coffee after she gets home from school (she’s a teacher), and my friend Paul who is an ex work colleague with whom we’ve always kept in touch. We meet on Thursday lunchtimes and go for a drink – something we’ve been doing for a good many years, even when we were still at work. When Lin and I took early retirement (Paul, Lin and myself all worked at the same place) the three of us made a point to carry on meeting, I’m so glad we did. Paul lives with his wife and family on one side of Birmingham (England) and I live on the other, which makes meeting up something that needs to be planned. He’s been such a good friend – and has become, strangely, the one person I can be most ‘open’ with. He puts up with me being moved to tears trying to tell him things, and tells me not to worry about feeling embarrassed and not to apologise, he says it’s my grief and it will take whatever course it takes. I was never this type of person, what has happened to me? And, if I’m honest, there’s really only one person I want to talk to. 
Another thing I really miss is holding my wife’s hand. She remembered on our first date I’d said to her ‘shall we hold hands and pretend we’re together’, which she thought was pretty smooth for a 15 year old back in the day – we’d been holding hands ever since – right up to the moment she died. I miss her so much. The first time I ventured out by myself I automatically put my hand down to reach for hers, something I hadn’t realised I did – but of course, for the first time ever, it wasn’t there. I try not to go out any more than I can avoid now. I don’t know if this is ‘normal’, but I can’t understand how or why the world seems to carry on the way it always has. It seems my world has changed so deeply – but perhaps that’s it, ‘my world’.

In my world now, I don’t use the vacuum cleaner and I don’t change the sheets on the bed, because that may remove any last traces of her. I still come across the odd hair of hers – I save them in a trinket box in the dining room. At the last moment I cancelled the interment of her ashes knowing that every time I passed I would have to go and ‘see’ her. The ashes are now with me at home, and I carry them up to our bedroom each night and bring them down with me each morning. I know this will seem weird to a lot of people but at the moment it gets me by. Perversely, the one thought that keeps me going is that suicide will always remain an option. Thank you for listening.

RobinBlue

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2016, 08:28:31 AM »
Good morning JandL,

My heart goes out to you because I know your pain all too well. Be gentle with yourself during this time and don't try to live up to anyone's expectations as you go through this journey. Nothing of what you said seems weird or strange. We all get through this in our own way. I still have my huband's ashes and at some point I need to scatter them. I have a smaller urn that also has his ashes-and that urn will stay with me.

I also didn't want to change the sheets or run a vacuum because I don't want to erase one grain of Tom's existence. But what I finally did with the sheets was pull them off the bed and put them in a box and now that box is underneath the bed. His pillow still carries the scent of him and it will be a year come 2/17.

People told me to donate his clothes and I couldn't fathom letting them go so I bought a large blanket chest, folded everything up nice and neat and put his clothes in there. If I ever have the strength to donate them, I can. If I don't, I won't.

Most of my life, my emotions have been kept in check. I faced some horrendous situations, one life-threatening, and I was pretty rational through everything. But grief does not allow for rational thought, so it seems. The emotions take over the reins and it's a rollercoaster to be sure. You can try to hold those emotions in. For me, I didn't have the strength and, looking back, I'm glad I let them flow because one way or another, they were going to go where they wanted to go. It's like a dam bursting. Eventually, the flow subsides.

When Tom first died, I tried to get involved in some classes-one was a walking class. And when I showed up, I was the youngest one there...everyone else was old enough to be my mother or my grandmother. But I was honest about why I was there-saying that I was a new widow and I knew that I needed to get out of the house and mingle. One of the oldest ladies came over, took my hand and said that she had lost her husband 20 years before. And she said that she still talks to him every night. From that day forward, I took to talking to Tom every night. In my heart, I know he's still with me and he still listens. And we were so in tune that I know what he would say in response to what I was saying.

JandL, there is nothing to compare to losing a life mate, a soul mate. Take this journey at your own stride. Don't try to rush it because it can't be rushed. Reach out to your friends. Hold on to the love that you and Lin continue to share. And take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself, as much as you can because Lin would want that for you.
I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it - Maya Angelou.

JandL

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2016, 07:59:39 AM »
Dear RobinBlue,

Thank you so much for those kind words. From what you've said I know that you will understand how much they have meant to me.
I'll be thinking of you on 17th Feb.

John (JandL)

RobinBlue

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2016, 09:02:24 AM »
Good morning John,

I'm glad I was able to help a little yesterday. And I hope that today treats you as kindly as possible.

The nice thing about this forum is that you can rant, rave, remember, cry, search your heart and feelings, at all hours of the day and night. Just sit at the keyboard and let the words flow. You may not always get an immediate answer, but someone will always reach out a helping hand. In the early weeks after Tom's passing, I spent a lot of time on these boards. The people here are wonderful. And there's comfort in knowing that you're not alone with your feelings. Just when you think you're going crazy because of the wide range of emotions, there is always someone here that can relate 100%.

I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it - Maya Angelou.

VickyO

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2016, 09:25:26 AM »
Good Morning, Robin Blue and JandL,

I understand the pain you are describing.  Although I have not lost a mate (yet -- as we grow older, I know that day may come), I did lose my 22 year old son in October.  Losing a loved one is the most difficult emotion I have ever experienced, and it sounds like we have that in common.  I am glad to hear you have someone to talk to, JandL.  I also felt like there were few people I could talk with - mostly because I didn't want to burden anyone, and because I knew my husband felt as horrible as I did - so talking to him about this loss felt like I was 'preaching to the choir'. 

After about 8 weeks went by, I found myself in such a sad state that I reached out to help by scheduling sessions with a grief counselor.  That has helped tremendously - although to be honest, I still carry a lot of sadness in my heart.  So I scheduled an appointment with my medical doctor because my counselor suspects I may have developed depression as a result of this tragic loss.  So I may need some medications to help put the chemicals back in my brain that need to be there in order for me to deal more effectively with my grief.  You may also benefit from seeing a counselor or meet for group sessions if they are available in your community.  I needed assurance that I wasn't going crazy, and my counselor was able to identify that I was feeling deep grief and my symptoms were normal (just extremely uncommon for ME).

I also understand your desire to hold on to any remnant you have of your loved one.  I also saved all of Levi's clothing, trinkets, work pass, tools, etc.  I am also driving his car - which really isn't my style because it's sort of a little hot rod.  But, it does help me feel a little connected to him when I drive it.  I have his ashes on my piano at home and also have a few ashes inside of a locket that I wear on a necklace.  For some reason, I just couldn't bury the ashes yet - and I am not sure if I ever will.  It may take a long time for me to get to that point.

Sometimes I listen to music when I am home alone.  I sing loudly, cry and sob, and get some of that emotion out in the open so it doesn't consume me.  Other times I go for walks in the woods and talk out loud about my feelings.  I pray a lot, too, for strength and courage.

From what I found, there isn't any one sure way of getting through the grieving process quickly or easily.  It hurts deeply and it takes time.  And every one is different.  But I truly recommend seeing a counselor or doctor for help if you become sad and down trodden and reach a point where you just see no improvement in your ability to cope.  That could be a sign that you are experiencing depression, and it can get worse if you don't get some help dealing with those feelings. 

These forums are so helpful.  I do a lot of searching online for helpful tips about dealing with grief, too.  Another thing that may help you is to write in a journal when you are feeling overwhelmed and need to get your thoughts out in the open.  I have a journal on my computer and type some pages whenever I feel I need to express my feelings - and that helps, too.

I know you feel like your whole world has been turned upside down right now.  Mine does, too.  Please know you are not alone, and know that others care about what you are going through.  Take it one day at a time, even one hour at a time if you need to.  And don't be afraid to reach out for help if you need assistance - the world really DOES seem to go on as if nothing happened.  And those of us who lost loved ones feel like nobody remembers that we recently went through a loss that cut us to the core.  I expressed those feelings to my husband, and he commented that our loss affected us and my other son very, very differently than it affected other people (work mates, neighbors, friends, etc.), and that because of this, they don't feel the loss as deeply as we do.  When I thought about it, I realized he was right, and that also has helped me to accept the fact that others have returned to their normal routines, even though I am struggling every day.

It sounds like you had such a wonderful relationship and happy marriage.  What a blessing to have a heart so full of love for a special person.  That's why losing someone like that hurts so very much.....and I am sorry you are hurting so badly.  I wish there was something I could say to help, but there really are no words that can adequately comfort someone at a time like this.  Knowing others care does make a big difference.  I hope you can find comfort in knowing that.

Wishing you peace and healing -

Vicky

MyLou

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2016, 05:07:07 PM »
(((((  Jandl )))))

I am so sorry for your loss  :tearyeyed: Just take one second, min ,hour , day at time.  This isn't an easy journey.  I wish I had a magic wand.  It was 5 years for me in November.  I remember it was so dark and scary for me.  People that had gone through says it will get softer I didn't believe them. How could it ?  It eventually does somehow. There isn't a day that goes by I don't talk to Lou , I miss him so much he is my soulmate I will see him again.

You will see your wife again and she is with you.  They send us signs. I have gotten so many from Lou even got one the other day.  Cry , scream , journal whatever will help you.  Don't keep your grief in.  Let it out you need to take care of you.

My sister's husband just passed away on Dec 30 th 2015.  When she calls me and cries it cuts right through my heart and soul.  I tell her what I tell everyone else now. When it happened to me I didn't have that advise to give others because I was new to this awful journey.

Everyone griefs differently so I don't know when it will get softer for you , or my sister or anyone else but it will.

I feel your pain and so sorry you have to be on this journey.

Hugs ,

Always, Lisa
« Last Edit: February 01, 2016, 05:09:49 PM by MyLou »
"Soulmates Forever"

I miss you every second of everyday My Love

I know I will see you again

wally49er

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2016, 11:45:21 AM »
It has been since Octon
Her 17 I st my wife, best friend, soulmate.  I have yet to receive a sign, or maybe I haven't been able to see them through the tears.  This has been a tough week.  I thought it was getting better, but maybe the shock is wearing off and I'm really missing her and realizing she isn't coming back.    I see her things everywhere and when I make a meal we liked I feel sad.  We were both writers and I come across her books or something she wrote, it makes me sad.  Last night the power went out for the first time since she left and I was remembering how we used to deal with that together and I felt bad. Well, enough about me.  This is a mutual support network.  I think telling our stories does help each other.  Wally.

kgraham

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2016, 05:48:46 AM »
You're not alone!!..my soul mate passed away a month ago and I carry him everywhere I go! Im glad to know this is normal..lol. When I travel to our weekend place he goes with me. I told the kids not to say a word about it just let me be...they know how much we loved eachother.
 I've also started going to a geief group at the church once a week and its helping. It just lets you know what to expect and the stages of wavy emotions you go through, and most of all that we are all completely normal for the way we feel. Our bodies actually go through aching and its normal. The poem Robinblue talked about the other day helped alot for me its Henry Scott Holland's poem on Death.
I'm kind of like the other person that posted earlier and I'm waiting for a sign from Jeff. We always promised eachother whoever went first the other one would come back and let eachother know we're ok...patience is what Im learning right now and its tough. This website is a true blessing because you meet wonderful people who have just been hit with a hurt that runs deep and we can all stay close together for eachother right now, because we truly understand the deep hurt all of us are facing and nothing is expected of us....Know your not alone and we'll all fight this together. Tell us more wonderful stories about your love! It sounds like you had a wonderful life! It will help and we're all listening!

JandL

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2016, 07:26:58 AM »
It’s coming up 17 weeks for me since my wife Lin died.

I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t post again until I could be more positive about life – but I still can’t imagine when that will be.

I’ve read postings by others and have tried to find words that may comfort them, but my own grief won’t seem to let it happen. I didn’t used to be this person.

I still see my friend Paul once a week. Those visits are probably what keep me what I now call ‘sane’. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about Lin but I know that it’s not a taboo subject either, and I’m free to mention her (and be upset) as I need to. It seems everyone else has decided the best course is to avoid the topic at all costs. The other day I mentioned to my neighbour that it had been Lin’s birthday on 1st March; I just wanted to tell someone. I wish I hadn’t. I know my voice cracked as I said it, but it did seem to make her uncomfortable. The trouble is that in my head I can hold these conversations quite normally, but when I say things out loud they upset me. Perhaps the trouble is I don’t get to talk out loud much any more.

Lin’s sister wants me to get ‘professional help, but I’m not interested. She’s convinced (and tried to convince me) that one day I’ll wake up and the world will seem a little better. I ask her what she thinks will change to bring this about. After all, I know what’s made the world ‘wrong’ and that’s going to stay ‘wrong’ forever. She asks if there are things I still find pleasure in, and I try to explain to her that losing Lin has spoiled everything for me,  everything. I know my sister-in-law loves me, and she desperately wants me to get ‘better’, but I’m not sure I want to. I have no wish to ‘get over’ this or ‘come to terms’ with it – how on earth could that happen?

Another odd thing is that a couple of weeks after Lin died I started counting calories – and I’m nowhere near overweight. I seem to have mentally adopted a limit of 1500 calories per day, which includes the whisky I now drink each night (only a modest amount but I find it helps with sleeping (216 calories)). I have pieces of paper filled with columns of daily calorie counts.  I honestly don’t know why I’m doing this. I believe I’m a reasonably intelligent person, but I know that there are some things I do now that are odd. The rational part of my mind queries these things, but for some reason they seem important.

Oh well. I almost got to change the bed linen yesterday (I know how disgusting anyone outside this forum would find this admission) but just as I started I found I just couldn’t – but it only affects me so what the heck – I’ll manage it one day.

My wish to all you kind souls is to live life, and be happy – do as I say, and not as I do.
John

wally49er

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2016, 01:18:48 PM »
John,  My wife, Cathy, died October 17, 2015.  She had been ill a long time and I was her caregiver for five years.  We were soul mates.  We were both writers.  We were married 27 years.  I found a widow/widower group at Hospice which meets twice a month.  I also see a grief counselor at the VA.  Neither of which will I attend long term.  Only as long as I feel I need to.  The thing is, it gives you a chance to talk.  Not necessarily about yourself and how you are doing, but about your loved one.  It helps to talk.  My sister lost her husband two years ago and only a few days after Cathy, my wife, died, my sister told me you never get over it.  Not exactly what I needed to hear right then.  But it is true.  Only time will make it a little easier.  Take care.  Wally

RobinBlue

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2016, 02:20:57 PM »
Hi John, after reading your last post, I am reminded where I was at 17 weeks out. And I was very much like you. I didn't get out much. I had a few people that would come by to visit or they would call or text. I couldn't think about "tomorrow" when I still didn't know where "today" was heading. Some days I just sat and did nothing. Looking back, it was a luxury but I'm glad I had that ability...to just sit. My level of concentration was nil at that point. I'm a bookkeeper by trade and in those early weeks, I just couldn't function. My brain was focused on only one thing.

Early on, some friends suggested that I go to a grief group, but that really isn't my cup of tea. And I told myself why put myself into a situation that is going to make me even more uncomfortable (believe it or not, I am a shy introvert). My doctor insisted that I meet with a grief counselor. I only had one visit. She wasn't interested in helping me further because I wasn't talking about ending it all.

The friends that are still here, a year out, have been patient. They have listened through the rants and the tears. But they've also let me share the memories...and it was the sharing of the memories that helped me through. I didn't want Tom to become a taboo subject. I didn't want his memory to die.

And, for the life of me, I couldn't think of things I wanted to do with my time. Tom and I shared everything. We were buddies. Buddies do everything together. When people would ask me, "well, what do YOU like to do?" everything I came up with was something I loved doing with Tom.

But, slowly, I have found my way back into the kitchen. I have found myself (recently) getting back into my writing. I'm taking care of the garden and watching spring begin to bloom.

At 17 weeks out, I wasn't concerned about getting better or getting over it (you never really get over it...but, at least for me, you slowly adjust). I cried, I wailed, I ranted (my poor dog got used to the mood swings). Life will never be the same again for me. I had happiness once. Will I ever be in a place of happiness again? I seriously doubt it. But what I am striving for is peace. After all the shock, the pain, the host of emotions, the crying jags at 2 in the morning, the days of walking around like a zombie, I just want to find my peace.

Be patient with yourself, John. These feelings are new and overwhelming. I have always been a soft touch emotionally, but I was totally unprepared for the magnitude of these emotions. Take each day as it comes right now...and do that for as long as you need to. Don't push yourself to please others. You don't owe anyone an explanation. Chances are, unless they've been in your shoes, they won't understand anyway. And use this forum as much as you need to. Don't feel you can only post when you're having a good day. If you need to rant, come to the forum. If you just want to sit and remember, come to the forum. We all care about you. 
I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it - Maya Angelou.

kgraham

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2016, 04:01:26 PM »
John, my best comfort right now is writing to you all on this forum and a Labrador named Wes that keeps licking my tears off of my face everyday...tell us stories when you feel like it... I couldn't sleep last night and was up at 2 writing...lol. Grief counseling didn't work for me...books are working and this forum is helping a lot. One of the things I have been worried about is where did my husband go?  Is he ok... I know he's in heaven, but why haven't I felt him yet?  There's a small book that has helped a lot and it's 60 pages.  It's called "Within the Gates" Rebecca Springer's remarkable vision of paradise. (It has an orange cover and trees & red bushes on the cover.) A friend of ours gave it to me right after Jeff passed away.  After reading this book I know where he is now and what he's doing...I have to stay down here a while longer because he's busy making our place up there.... I am not a reader and I read it in 2 days.  So I've decided to take up a new hobby...it gives me something to do in the comfort of my own house... I hope this helps.  Till next time take care!

VickyO

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2016, 08:21:37 AM »
JandL, the things you wrote about what you're experiencing sound SO much like what I had gone through.  I could think about my son and special things about him and would seem fine - and as soon as I spoke out loud about him, my voice would crack.  I think it happened a lot because I knew the person(s) I was talking to cared about me, and that touched me so deeply it was emotional.  Perhaps that is what's happening to you, as well.

Please reconsider your sister-in-law's advice.  Seeking the help of a professional can really make a difference -- I did that, and it helped just to talk to someone.....and you "dump all your baggage/emotions" on that person, which helps a lot.  You will never "get over" the loss you experienced, but you can learn to cope.  I also worked with my doctor and am now taking a low dose of Sertraline.  What Sertraline does is it helps your body utilize the chemical (cannot remember the exact name of it) that your brain naturally manufactures.  In my case, losing my son caused me to get very depressed and have anxiety attacks.  I was afraid of EVERYTHING, and I had no interest in ANYTHING.  I was not at all the old "Vicky"  --  one night I was looking up at the pitch-black sky with twinkling stars and I didn't even care.  That's how I knew something was wrong -- because looking at the stars was always something I enjoyed to do.  After taking the medication for a couple weeks, I could feel a huge difference and I now enjoy the stars again.  And I can cope with my loss in a healthy way instead of being so sad and depressed. 

I gave some thought to the calorie counting habit you mentioned.  Perhaps it's a way of keeping order and controlling something in your life.  I read a lot about grief after my son died (because I slept so little and needed to keep my mind busy).  I recall reading something about how death can make us feel as if our lives are out of control, or that there is no logic or order --- everything we once knew has changed.  So perhaps counting calories is your way of creating a sense of logic or order in your life.  Even in a small way, it may comfort you by doing that.

I wish you well and hope you reconsider seeing a counselor and working with your doctor.  My counselor talked to me yesterday - it was my last session because I'm ready to strike out on my own now....he could see a huge difference in me.  He said medication is sort of like eye glasses.....when you are depressed, you're in a sort of a fog and you don't see things or feel things clearly --- everything's suppressed.  But the medication acts like eye glasses --- you can see and feel more clearly, and it feels like you can rejoin the world again.  Even though you will still feel a deep loss for your wife, you will feel strong enough to handle it.  And medication like that cannot hurt you -- so if you have any preconceived ideas about meds, please talk to a healthcare professional who can explain how they work.....because it may be just what you need to get you feeling better. 

Sending hugs and love to all who have lost so much ---

Vicky

JandL

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2016, 09:45:05 AM »
I don't feel I can write more than this right now - but 'thank you' to everyone.

John

Terry

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Re: What has happened to me
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2016, 05:04:31 PM »

((((((((John))))))))

How fortunate to have such a good friend such as Paul where you are comfortable talking about your Lin - that's so important.
A little over four months since your Lin died is such a short amount of time - the pain still so raw and the tsunami of emotions that seem to knock us off of our feet and on a daily basis are ever present. I always say that the time that we grieve is equal to the time that we loved. We never get over their death, we never stop missing them but the day will come when we are able to think about them and smile.

Here on this forum is a safe place for you to come and write your feelings down as you are having them without ever being judged or questioned - just loved and cared for.

We're always here for you. :love9:

Love,
Terry