I love the idea of visiting this winter! It really would be fun. I'm going to try and make the trip to China in March for my son and daughter-in-law's "official" wedding. They were married here in August but are going back for their big wedding with her family. It should be quite a trip. I have the travel bug so Arizona in the winter sounds wonderful. It's great to have good friends. I feel blessed, too.

Hi Lainy,
  After 8 years I've finally figured out how to post a picture! I would love to come visit you. Take care. Love, Mary

Thanks for your love Lainy. It was actually me talking about the headlights before. The strangest thing of all happened a few weeks ago. It also had to do with lights! Isn't that funny?! Our boys like to fool around with electricity. I think Tom learned from Teddy. I love your description of your "senior" friends! Everyone is athletic and toned too!!! The last guy I went out with before Bob was a respectable business man who even knew my big brother. He had daughters and granddaughters and during dinner he asked me if I was good at sex. Unbelievable. No respect. I guess that's why I like Bob so much too, he's a real gentleman! I hope you find a nice man also. As you say it will never be the same but I just can't imagine spending the next 25 or 30 ? years alone mourning Tom. I'll always love him and miss him everyday and I hope he keeps sending me little signs now and then! Have a wonderful day and be safe with that dating. I hope I never have to do it again.
  We need to get together. We're two of the "originals" on here. We should have some kind of cholangiocarcinoma .org convention! It would be wonderful to give you a hug in person! Lots of love. Mary

Hi Lainey,
I not only have my cemetery plot but I have the headstone in place. I have been told by people that it is the prettiest one in our little local cemetery. The only thing Tom asked me to do before he died was to promise to be buried with him. I put both of our names and our dates, the date of our wedding and an etching of our farm on it . It is black and the etching is beautiful. He isn't buried there yet. I told my kids to mix my ashes up with his someday and bury us at the same time. The day after the stone was set I looked out my kitchen window and the headlights were flashing on and off on my car. I had to go out and manually shut them off. I put them back on auto later in the day and it has never happened since. I think he was just letting me know that he was happy with the stone and pleased that I was going to keep my promise!
On a lighter note I too am dating. I tried Match for a few weeks earlier in the year but was not happy with the results. It was actually depressing. About 5 weeks ago I was sitting here alone realizing my kids were busy with their lives and my parents are not going to be here much longer and all of my friends are married and decided to try it again....seriously this time! I connected with someone I have known for years. He's never been married and doesn't have kids. We actually discovered we graduated together and he used to think I was cute when I worked at the local golf course and he golfed there. He's a wonderful person and really likes me a lot and the craziest part of all is that I feel the same. He has a lot of the same personality traits that I loved in Tom and I really like his differences too. I would be unbelievably lucky to have two wonderful men in my life. Time will tell. But so far so good. I hope you are happy and well. This is a busy time of year for me so I don't get on often. I hope you're having a great summer!  Love, Mary

Hi Laurie,
   It's been almost six years for Darla and 2 1/2 for me. I'm so sorry you lost your husband and are feeling so alone. I think I could have written your post myself... it truly echoes what I have gone through and am going through at present. I'd love to tell you everything will be fine in two or three years. It will get easier, lighter as I was told but no it will never be the same. The future? Wow, unappealing is a good word. I don't have a lot of close friends either. The ones I do have are all married. For me that is one of the hardest times, to be in a group of married friends or relatives and remember how wonderful that bond was. I was one of the lucky ones, like you, that was married to my best friend. I too am having to make decisions about downsizing and moving. I have a farm that we spent our entire 32 years on together. It breaks my heart to move but I can't take care of it or afford it.  I feel him here too. In fact if I have to be away overnight I can't wait to get home because I miss feeling his presence. If we move will they know where we are and follow us? Will it be the same? It feels like abandoning him and our entire life together. So you see if you are thinking crazy thoughts like me, you are in good company. I am sure every grieving person out here has their own way to cope. We all think thoughts that we can't express to people who haven't shared our experience. That's why this group is so wonderful. We can vent. People understand here. Even so, my dog is the only one that truly knows my darkest thoughts. Ha. I wish you the best, Laurie.  I'm sending a hug.....Mary

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(11 replies, posted in Grief Management)

I think it's really good to get therapy and medication if you need it. I think a lot of people who could really benefit don't seek help. Stress is a terrible thing. I actually feel less stressed than I did before Tom died. The stress of dealing with his illness and the inevitable outcome went on for over five years. I always hoped he would be cured but I always knew he probably wasn't . It was not really a matter of whether he was going to die from this disease but when, how and where? Of course I could not imagine how awful it was going to be and how I was going to continue on. Since his death I almost feel numb a lot of the time. I don't really get stressed about anything like I used to. I do get depressed and have to deal with that occasionally. I think I've dealt with things but I may be like you Lainey and held it in. I don't really know. I'm trying to move on a little at a time. I hear Tom's voice in my sleep sometimes calling my name in a way that is telling me to get it together! I always wake up thinking okay, I'll quit moping around. Then I talk to a guy I've met on the phone, thinking I may try this dating thing again and I have very vivid dreams of Tom telling me he is leaving me for another woman. I wake up terribly upset. Wow. MY subconscious is feeling guilty. Things are just too complicated.     Take care, Mary

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(12 replies, posted in Grief Management)

Margaret,
  I'm glad I can help in any small way. It does gets easier in time. One good friend told me that the grief doesn't ever go away but it does get lighter. I think that's a great way to describe it. It's always there, it always will be! But we all learn to deal with our emotions and carry on the best way possible. In time the weight on our hearts does get lighter. I still honestly have a hard time believing my Tom is really gone and it's been almost 2 1/2 years. I often ask myself and any other entity out there listening, how did this happen? It's just not the way it was supposed to be! Then, of course I go through the whole questioning process of why him, why me? Because I feel it's not just him that lost his life, obviously he physically did, but I lost my entire life as I knew it. All of our dreams, our plans, everything is gone. You and I have to start life all over and it can be overwhelming to contemplate. Baby steps. That's the only way to do it. Start out slowly. Take time to fully grieve. Cry as much as you need to...don't hold it in. Take care of yourself. Go to counseling if you need it and support groups. Give yourself time to heal. It won't happen overnight, obviously. Best wishes Margaret. Keep in touch and feel free to vent here when you need to. We all have strong shoulders!!
  Lainey,
   I love your poem. You are very talented. I hope you're feeling better. I don't get online very often so I lose touch with everyone. Did you have surgery? I hope you're having a good winter. I think most of us are suffering through a record cold one. That doesn't help our mental state either. I feel so much better on a sunny day!! Take care.  Love, Mary

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(11 replies, posted in Grief Management)

Hi Lainey and Darla,
  I think it's being locked up inside that's causing my "winter blues". I'm sure you understand, Darla!! Lainey, you're lucky to live in the warmth and sun! I hope all of your health issues resolve themselves. You have had to go through a lot of krap!! I'm very lucky to be very healthy. I was on Match.com for 3 weeks and went off. I did go on my first date Weds. after talking to the guy for weeks and it was very awkward. He seemed disappointed. I've lost 30 lbs. and thought I looked really good and after his initial reaction I kept thinking about Tom the whole time. If he had been standing there and saw me get out of the car after all of this time he would have said "Wow! Forget dinner, let's go home!!" Lol ! Anyway, a lot of these guys think they're God's gift to women I guess! The good thing is I met another fellow for lunch on Friday and we had a very nice, intense conversation for 3 hours. I was almost late for an appointment we were talking so much. But we are just friends. His wife died 18 months ago and he's got a long way to go. We enjoyed talking though and I think it was good for both of us. I know someone will eventually come along but I agree with my son re: the online dating. He says it's soul crushing! No more blind dates for me!!
       Take care, Lainey. I hope everything goes well with your tests. Darla we definitely have to just take baby steps. Stay warm up there in Wisconsin! 
                        Love to you both, Mary

Someone posted this on facebook. I've never read one that expresses my experience and emotions so completely and simply.....

        The moment that you died
        My heart was torn in two,
        One side filled with heartache,
        The other died with you.

        I often lie awake at night,
        When the world is fast asleep
        And take a walk down memory lane,
        With tears upon my cheeks.

        Remembering you is easy,
        I do it everyday,
        But missing you is heartache
        That never goes away.

         I hold you tightly within my heart
         And there you will remain.
         Until the joyous day arrives,
         That we will meet again.
         
    I'm trying very hard to move forward. But just like the old saying says, you take one step forward and two backward at times. I hate cancer so much!!! Like all of you, I just want my old life back!

Lainey ,
   I hope you had a great time today with your new friend and family. I give you credit for introducing him to your family so soon. I think that might be the hardest thing for me. I have two friends I've been chatting with. One is divorced and very insistent on our meeting soon. I'm having minor surgery a week from tomorrow though and I want to wait until I recover from that. I tell everyone he's the one Tom sent for me because he's a short, bald fellow, a total opposite of Tom, but I don't care about that. He makes me laugh and I really like that. I guess my main concern is whether the person is healthy. Like Darla ,I really don't ever want to go through losing someone again. It's scary to think about. The other fellow is a widower of 15 months and I think it might be easier with him because we understand what each other has gone through and is going through! They are both a little younger than me so I like that too. I'll let you know how things go. At least it's something to look forward to and it's given me great incentive to lose weight! lol ! Happy New Year girls!! I hope it's a healthy happy one for all of us!

Good for you Lainey!!! I've been chatting with a local fellow that I haven't actually met in person yet. He was telling me that he had only dated one widow before and that her house was like a shrine to her dead husband.  She had a 20x30 picture of him on the wall and his urn was on the mantel, etc. I just started laughing. I didn't tell him that mine was only a 16x20 of Tom and that his urn is sitting on my dresser along with a substantial number of pictures of us together. His straw hat is still sitting on my fridge right where he left it and I haven't cleaned out his wardrobe yet. I'd like to think I'm ready to date and I think I am if I just meet him somewhere but I don't think I'm ready to have anyone come to my house. It's very hard for me to put all of this out of sight. I know I'll have to someday or I'll be alone the rest of my life and I don't want that either! I'm glad to see you getting out and enjoying life! I hope you have a happy New Year and you are blessed with good health and happiness!! Love, Mary

12

(12 replies, posted in Grief Management)

Hi Friends,
   I hope all of you had a nice Christmas. It was the best one I've had in several years. I have a new grandson that I love dearly and he helped brighten up the holidays. I only got teary once when some familiar music played while I was rocking him. I just wished his grandpa was here to enjoy him too. Those are the hardest times. I know he sees us from heaven but we all want his physical presence here. My son commented that everyone was taking pictures so that must mean we are feeling better about things and want to remember these gatherings. He's right-it is getting easier.
   Margaret, I'm so sorry for your recent loss. This is a very hard season to go through after so recently losing your dear husband, John. Darla and Lainey and I have had time to move through our own personal grieving process and I know we are all doing better than we were years ago. It's wonderful to have the support of friends here that really do know what you are going through !! Lean on us when you need to. You will find your way in time. Just don't be in too big of a hurry and take care of yourself.
    Best wishes to all of you for a blessed New Year!  Mary

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(12 replies, posted in Grief Management)

It will be two years tomorrow since I lost my dear husband Tom. I can't believe it's been that long already. It still doesn't seem possible that he is gone! Two years ago I couldn't imagine life without him. But life goes on. I miss him so much. Like I said once before , I long to see him again. Somehow saying I miss him doesn't fully describe the depth of my feeling. During our last minutes alone ,shortly before he died I cried and held him and told him how much I loved him and would miss him, that my heart was breaking. And it truly felt as though my heart was broken. There was actual physical pain. I had never experienced that before and hope I never do again. But time has healed that pain. When I think of Tom now I laugh more than I cry. He was such a character. He loved living! I feel guilty if I don't at times. Sometimes it's so hard to be happy about a life without him in it. There are so many things he's missing. So many things I miss doing with him. We all find our way through our own personal grief. I am finding mine. I am now going to try and accomplish all the things I wrote about doing one year ago. I know that is what he would want for me.
  I love you Tom and always will. I look forward to you holding your arms out to me some day and hearing your voice greet me with, "Well, hi ! I've missed you." Until then I will keep you close to me in my heart and in my dreams.

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(27 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

Hi Lainey,
   I just got internet hooked up at home so I will also send my story if you still want them.Where do you want them sent?  Glad you are doing well. I have two more weeks before my winter break time. My pumpkin season has been very busy. Take care, Love Mary

15

(167 replies, posted in General Discussion)

Dear Pam,
   I have not been online for weeks and lost track of many friends here so seeing your news about Lauren was heartbreaking. I am so, so sorry. Words can't heal your broken heart right now but time will help lessen the grief. I know I tended to get teary and often cry when talking or thinking about Tom after he first passed but now I usually laugh when thinking of him. I think of our good times and his smile and laugh and voice and you will remember Lauren that way too. You'll get over the trauma you obviously have been through, it's like suffering from PTSD after being a caretaker for so long and having to go through all that you and your family experienced at the end. Watching a child go through what Lauren did would be torture. But in time those memories will fade and you'll be able to laugh again. You'll still cry... just not as often !! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and with Lauren. We have a new, beautiful CC angel. We'll always remember her strength and courage. Take care of yourself, Pam. Remember we are all here for you.     Love, Mary

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(32 replies, posted in Members' Cafe)

Just stopped in for a quick peek but this is the one subject I love to talk about and have few people who really believe or understand. I too have had many instances of Tom being near and communicating- not so many lately but I begged him to quit worrying about helping me and help my daughter and son-in-law. They have been trying to have a baby for years and have gone the surrogate route. My daughter was convinced it wouldn't work and they would be out $50,000 but I'm glad to announce things are going well. We don't know what the gender is  but they have one healthy baby due in Dec. Something wonderful to look forward to. I keep telling my daughter her Dad is the baby's guardian angel- he's been mine several times in near car accidents. One early  morning I was taking my dog to the vet and  was daydreaming when my overhead light flashed on, which brought me out of my trance just as a deer ran in front of me. Before Tom died we discussed (with much difficulty) his burial wishes. He knew I wanted to be cremated so in typical Tom fashion he asked which was cheaper, to be buried or cremated, Since it was cheaper to be cremated he said that would be fine but he wanted me to promise to be buried with him some day in in the family plot . I said okay but I think he was concerned I wouldn't follow through. Anyway I went ahead and had a beautiful stone set with both our names etc. The morning after they placed the stone on our plot I got up ,made coffee, went in the living room and tried to shut my son's x-box off. It would go off then back on so I finally gave up. Then I went back out top the kitchen to get some more coffee, looked out the window and my car headlights were flashing on and off. I went out and changed them from automatic to manual and they went off. Later that day I put them back to automatic and they were fine. They've never done it again. I'm sure it was Tom telling me he was happy with the stone and me keeping my promise. He isn't buried there yet. I told my kids to mix us up together someday and bury us then. He's sitting on my dresser right now. a lot of people think that's creepy but I love having him close! I find all of these visits very comforting! Lainey I hope you have a good trip. Take care of yourself!! I'll post again soon. I'm really supposed to be ordering things for my greenhouse right now so I need to go. Take care  all, Mary

Dear Laurie,
    Six weeks is way, way too early to even imagine starting to feel "normal"! Sometimes I think it may take years, if ever. I lost my dear husband in Nov. 2011 after 5 1/2 years of fighting this cancer and 32 years of marriage. I and everyone else here understands all that you are going through. You simply have a whole in your heart and in your life that will never be totally healed. Eventually it won't hurt so much , you will be able to get up every day and face whatever life throws at you but believe me you will never forget the love and life you shared with your husband. You will even be able to laugh and smile when you think of him... in time. The tears will still come but they will be a little less frequent. Your happy memories will help them subside. The first year is definitely the worse. All of the firsts you have to face. I thought I was doing pretty well then our anniversary came along and I cried for a week. I went to my first wedding without him, that was really hard...one of the hardest things I had to go through. The six month anniversary was also very hard for some reason. Hospice actually sent out literature at that point saying it was a hard anniversary. I never went to any support groups. It does help some people but I just kept very busy and tried to cope on my own. I think I've made it through the worst part of the grieving process. I can actually think of my future and not start crying or slip into depression. When Tom first died someone told me that my grief would never totally go away but it would get "lighter". As hard as it is for you to imagine right now, it really is true. My kids and I sit and talk about their Dad and laugh about our memories of him. I catch myself saying or thinking of some of the "dumb" sayings he used to say and start laughing. I remember trying to come up with a word to describe my feelings about losing him. Saying that I "missed" him didn't seem to express my feelings adequately. I even looked in the dictionary for a synonym for the word "miss". I finally decided the best word was that I " longed" for him. I longed to see him again and touch him and hear his voice. To sit and chat and laugh and hold hands. Even to argue with him. I still do and you will too. That desire will never go away as long as we live. We'll miss sharing our lives with the person we planned on being with until we were both very old and very gray! I am thankful for the happy years we had but like you can't help feeling cheated that it wasn't longer. Laurie, all you can do is take care of yourself, try to find people you can talk to and let time heal your pain. It is hard to believe after just 6 weeks that life will ever get easier ,but it will. Please feel free to vent here whenever you feel the need!   Love, Mary

Dear Lainey,
   I'm glad you enjoyed your night out remembering Teddy. I hope you're feeling better by now. It does seem hard to believe it's been two years already. We all miss Teddy, too. Maybe someday we will meet in person and I can give you a big hug!! Thanks for being a good friend. Love, Mary

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(15 replies, posted in Grief Management)

Alla,
I just resized my wedding ring. I actually lost my engagement ring years ago. I would take it off because the diamond would catch on things and then forget to put it back on. I think I swept it up in the sweeper. I have always felt bad about that. Best wishes , Mary

20

(4 replies, posted in Grief Management)

I agree with Lainey. This truly is one of the most beautiful and inspiring posts I have ever read. I am sure your Dad is very proud of you and I know he wants you to find happiness. All of our lost loved ones do. Lainey and I have have had many real physical communications from our lost husbands and I always come away feeling the same way... somewhat sad and lonely but also happy because I know he is okay and he wants me to be okay too. Easier said then done often, but it is possible. We must just put our broken hearts and wings back together as well as we can and carry on. We have no choice!And helping others is truly the best way .  Best wishes, Mary

21

(37 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Hans,
  Thanks so much for sharing Kris' birthday with us. I like what you said about celebrating her birthday rather than the day of her death. You are so right-I never knew anyone more full of life than Kris!! We all loved her so much and truly do miss her sense of humor and smile. It's funny how our minds can cause all of the "bad" things to fade from our memory and we do remember all of the good things. In my dreams and memories Tom is always strong and healthy....and smiling. He had a great smile and laugh too. I hope you continue to keep in touch and I wish the very best for you. Thank-you for lighting a candle for everyone here. We are lucky to have had so many good friends here over the years!   Take care.    Love, Mary

22

(12 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Thanks for all of your responses. It's good to hear from all of you, ecspecially you, Hans. I'm glad you are still checking in with us. It really is hard to believe it's been two years since Kris and Teddy left us. I miss them too and think about all of our lost friends often. I don't necessarily want to wish my life away but there are times that I'm glad the time is flying. I have absolutely no fear of dying because I know I'll see Tom again, my main fear is of being dependent on my kids. I'm really happy to be doing so well a month out from my surgery. It was so hard trying to arrange people to be here with me, mainly to take care of my crazy dog/pup. When you have a spouse you just take for granted the fact that someone is there to help you when you need it. When you're alone it requires a lot of planning ahead. My parents want to help but they're getting so old. My Dad is 86 but still wants to do what he can. I told them it's crazy that I'm 55 and still have to check in with my parents or they worry about me! Who would have thought that things would turn out this way?  Lainey, I would love to head out your way. One of these days I'm going to do it! I love your poem too. All of us that have lost a loved one share the same feelings. We all have different personal moments that we miss but we all share the feeling of loss and sadness. I've tried to tell other new widows that it does get easier. They look at me in disbelief sometimes just like I probably did a year ago when I was told the same thing, but it honestly does. The memories help get you through the tough days. I'm so happy that I am lucky enough to have so many good memories. My kids and I laugh a lot when we think of all the corny things Tom used to say. I actually hear myself saying them sometimes and it makes me laugh! Take care everyone and Pamela and Betsy I would still like to get together sometime. I hope everyone is doing well. I still don't have a computer or internet so I have a hard time keeping up with all the news here. Best wishes to all.  Love Mary

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(15 replies, posted in Grief Management)

I had my wedding ring sized to fit on my right hand. I plan on always wearing it in memory of Tom regardless of what my future may be. I just feel wrong not wearing it. I couldn't wait to get it back from the jewelers, I was so worried they would lose it. It's a personal decision and there isn't a wrong or right way of doing it. Just do whatever makes you feel comfortable.  Mary

since I lost my best friend, companion, and true soul mate ,my husband Tom.  It's hard to believe that I've made it a whole year without him. I miss him more every day but I can deal with the grief much better. As someone told me after his passing," it won't necessarily get better but it gets lighter." It has gotten lighter. I see him in my surroundings , I think of him all of the time, I still talk to him and feel his presence, but the sadness has lifted somewhat. I wish I could just sit with him in the mornings and drink our coffee and talk like we used to or cuddle up with him on these cold fall nights, take walks together with my pup or hang out and just watch a movie or go for a drive. I miss my husband. I miss being a wife. I never really wanted to be single and it's hard to get used to. I really miss his voice. I watch videos just to see him and remember his voice. It makes me cry but it also makes me feel better. It's been a really tough year for me besides just losing Tom. My grand finale has been having my left knee replaced on Oct. 30. I'm doing well, I just want to be 100 % again and be able to go for walks and get around and get things done. I hate depending on others.My youngest came home from Thailand a week ago so he's living with me now. It's been good having him here. I am actually looking forward to next year. I'm going to try and force myself to become more social. I work at home so I need to get out and make new friends! I've checked into some volunteer programs and some church related singles groups that I might attend. Hopefully I won't chicken out. It's really hard to think about starting over with a new life after all of these years!
   I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving. I've managed to get out of cooking this year. My daughter is having all of us, including my parents and widowed brother and his kids, so I think we'll have a good time. Take care all, Love, Mary

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(9 replies, posted in In Remembrance)

Julia,
  I, like Lainey love these posts too. My Tom has visited me in so many different ways. I have a little wren that wakes me up in the morning singing and seems to follow me around when I'm outside working. Tom loved to sing so I always think that it's him serenading me. A few weeks ago I was driving my pup to the vet early in the morning and kind of in a trance when the light above my rearview mirror flashed on and startled me awake just as a deer ran across my path. Weird things like that have happened from the beginning. Some people say it would give them the creeps but I find them comforting. I love to think he is still around and some how aware of what's going on in our lives. I hope your sister keeps visiting you.  Love, Mary