Topic: How can I be a widow?

I can hardly believe it has been six weeks since my husband died.  I am not sure I have begun to grieve.  Is that possible?  I have been going in so many different directions since the day after he passed, starting with his service and continuing with all the "official" work that needs to be done.  I am heartbroken, but so used to keeping everything together that I'm not sure I've given myself permission to feel the pain yet.  I AM sure I am running from it, scared to let it touch me.  I think I am still in shock. 
I watched him endure so much emotional and physical pain for almost two years and was so relieved for him when he stepped from this life into paradise.  But I can't comprehend that he is no longer here.  It sounds crazy, I saw him die in our home.  I watched him take his last breath. I felt the peace that passes understanding wrap around him and I and our two kids.  It doesn't make sense to me.
I have read many of your entries describing the grief you have experienced and your words have been so helpful. It means more coming from men and women who have experienced the pain first hand. I am signed up for grief counseling, as our my kids, starting next week. They also put me on the list for the next six week losing-your-spouse support group. I'll try anything.
But, I don't really feel like being with anyone other than my kids, who are 18 and 22.  I don't have the strength or the energy to answer, "How are you doing? How are the kids?".  I want to say, "My beloved husband is dead; their dad, who loved and protected them, is dead.  How the hell do you think I'm doing?".  But I just paste on that fake polite smile and say, "We're ok, doing the best we can, taking it one day at a time, etc. etc." Same things I used to say the whole time he fought this monster.
I am angry, sad, confused, tired, and behind in the thank you notes.   
Is this normal?

Re: How can I be a widow?

It is a very hard time and I think it is harder when you have kids who are still young.My youngest son was 17 when my husband died and the other two in their early twenties still all at home,the youngest in his last year of high school.I found it such a struggle and still do really.
Sometimes you get a bit of extra energy to deal with all the paperwork etc but lets face it the grieving has been happening since diagnosis and just keeps on going.We know how it feels and it takes time and you need to be very patient with yourself.Do everything you can to make yourself feel better and sometimes it works.Excercise is good
                         My sincere condolences    Janet

Re: How can I be a widow?

Dear Debby,

I think what you are feeling is totally 'normal', be gentle on yourself. It is still eary days....

You nursed your husband through this awful illness and now you are in a period of limbo. Like Janet has just said you began your grieving at diagnosis.Now comes the adjustment, it will take time ....

Thinking of you and your children, give them an extra big hug and go together to the bereavement counselling. Be gentle on yourselves, it will take time to heal after all you have all been through together.

Katie

Re: How can I be a widow?

Dear Debby,

I totally agree with what both Janet & Katie have said.  Jim has been gone a a little over 1 1/2 years and I still feel the emptiness and pain.  Everything you are feeling is normal for what you and your children are going through.  All of us who have lost a loved one to this disease know what you are feeling & truely understand and sympathize. Grief is a very personal thing and everyones situation being slightly different, there are no set rules.  Take all the time you need and do what ever works best for you and your children.   It is a very slow and on going process.   Our lives have been turned upside down and I don't think it all every truely goes away.  We just learn better how to live with it.  I know how often I have wanted to say to people exactly what you are thinking.  Sometimes I have tried to atleast say "not so good" or "I have good days & bad" but most just smile & change the subject.  It seems to make them feel uncomfortable.  How do they think we feel?  I hope you are able to let those feelings out to someone who can listen & understand.  Wether it be a close relative, friend or counsler.  And know that you can always come here to vent & let it all out.  We are all here to help each other.  Take care Debby and know that I am thinking of you and your children.

Love & Hugs,
Darla

"One Day At A Time"

All of my comments and suggestions are just my opinions and are not a substitute for professional medical advice.   You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care providers.

Re: How can I be a widow?

Dearest Debby, I believe you are going through the grieving  process your way. Although similar to others everyone has their own way. Perhaps you are so used to handling everything for the last 2 years that you are still in the Caretaker mode. I don't believe in labeling grief. Please know that we all care.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: How can I be a widow?

Dearest Debby,

This may be a good question for Dr. Giles.  (See him at the top of the page).

You've summed it up perfectly....of course you're still in shock.  You've been a mom, a caregiver, a lover, a spouse, and your beloved is no longer with you.  You've watched your husband deal with pain and sickness.  You've taken care of your children, the household and managed to keep everything and everyone together.  You're tired, griefstricken and heartbroken.  Why wouldn't you be in "flight" mode?

I've found after losing my Mom in April 2009 that grief is intensely personal and the hardest task you will ever have.  I don't believe anyone is prepared for the work involved in making your way through the grieving process.  I was not prepared for the overwhelming physical toil it takes on you.  Not to mention the mental, emotional and spiritual stress.  I was convinced I might be losing my mind or having a breakdown at one point.  I had trouble remembering things and could have a breakdown at the drop of a hat! 

I've had people I thought were my 100% friends I could count on, telling me to "just get over it".  That it was sad but all the crying in the world wouldn't bring my Mom back.  I've had people tell me to "stay off that depressing website".  Some of it is ignorance and some of it is just people who've never had to experience what we've gone through.

All I can tell you is that grief has no timetable and that it's different for every person.  It ebbs and flows and you really just have to experience it and work through it.

We are all here for you.  Please come often and feel free to vent, to mourn and to heal. 

Oh and the thank you notes?    Just put them on the "I'll get around to it' pile.  Or if someone wants to help....let them send an acknowledgement card to people.  Trust me they WILL UNDERSTAND.

You are so smart to get some help.  You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.  You will get through this.

Hugs,
Pam

My Mom lost her one year battle with CC on April 3, 2009.

"A prognosis is simply an audit of how truly precious each day is.  Live each day to the maximum, celebrate what was, and what is - Don't spend your life looking forward to what will or might be." .... words of wisdom from my beloved son on hearing of his grandmother's CC prognosis.

Re: How can I be a widow?

Dear Debby - I'm so, so sorry to hear of your loss & your pain.  Your anger, sadness & confusion sound very, very normal & very understandable, too.  Be as kind to yourself as you can; your friends will understand & if they don't ... are they really the friends you need at this time?

I send hugs & best wishes to you at this very painful time.

Julia

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Re: How can I be a widow?

Debby,

My deepest sympathies to you and your family at the loss of your husband.  Even though we care for our loved ones at their most vulnerable times, what we are able to provide to them is so sacred in the most spiritual sense.  I was mom and dad's caregivers for their illnesses beginning 4 years ago.  I lost my beloved dad to CC 20 months ago, I lost my wonderful mother-in-law 36 days ago and my beautiful mother 33 days ago. 

Like the others, I understand the confusion, grief, mourning etc.  It really stinks! Personally, I have put my cell phone on mute, turned the ringer off on the home phone and the volume as low as it can go.  I check it when I feel like it.  My thank-yous aren't done yet, either...as I was reminded by an older aunt at church sunday...   

I went to a grief counseling group hosted by Hospice.  They've provided wonderful pamphlets, and call once a week to see how things are or if I need anything.  I still feel too numb to talk about anything with them; heck, I don't even feel like putting on make up, or combing my hair.  And they said it was normal!  Good to know. 

I am so sorry your husband died.  I am sorry that you had to see him suffer, and become so dependent on you.  I am sorry that you are mourning the love of your life.  I hope, that in time, you will find your smile again...and until you do, we all walk with you holding each other up.

with love and prayer,
Jolene

PS:  the Hospice gal gave me this website.  I haven't checked it out yet...I plan to, though.  I'm told there is some info about grieving on it.  I'll pass it along to you too.

www.hospicefoundation.org

"Faith in something greater than ourselves enables us to do what we have said we'll do, to press forward when we are tired or hurt or afraid, to keep going when the challenge seems overwhelming and the course is entirely uncertain."     ~g. b. hinckley

Re: How can I be a widow?

I am so very sorry for your loss.  My heart breaks for you.  My mom died on September 12th, and I can totally relate to how you are feeling.  I was 7 months pregnant at the time that mom passed, so I had so much else to think about.  After she was gone I had lots and lots of paperwork to tend to also.  It really only hit me a couple of months ago, and my heart just hurt.  I totally understand about not being able to comprehend that our loved one is gone.  Mom was home with us and I held her hand as she took her last breath, but that all seems a blur now.  Please know that we are here for you.

Amy

Re: How can I be a widow?

Jolene - thank you for this link; I hope it will help Debby & I know it will help me.

I am so sorry, too, for the awful series of losses you've had to cope with.  I was aware of how recently you'd lost your beloved dad, but I had no idea of your additional losses of mother & mother-in-law.  I'm very glad you are getting support & I am very grateful to you for continuing to give support at what must be such an incredibly painful time for you, too.

Julia x

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson