Topic: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

It's been awhile since I've posted. I lost my wife, Nancy (49), on 9-28-10 after being diagnosed with stage 4 on 4-1-10.

I’m just sitting here listening to some country music. It should be illegal to listen to when you’re already depressed. I am just getting over having an infection and realized how much I miss my private nurse (Nancy was an RN). You really find out who your friends are when you need a dressing change in the area of my infection. I had to get a bunch of strangers (home health nurses) to accomplish one of life’s more humiliating and painful experiences.

I read that writing helps you get through the grieving process.  I thought I was getting over losing Nancy but as I sit her trying to write through a river of tears, I stand corrected. Nancy and I had our life all planned, but even after a year and half, I have no idea where I’m headed or how to get there. I’ve always been a leader, but right now, I’m clueless. I wish I had someone to talk to about this, but I don't so I turned to people who have gone through what I am going through. I sometimes talk to people as though Nancy is still here and I have a hard time with my status. I'm not single and I'm not married, but I really hate being a widower. I know I'm kinda all over the place with this post, but I just needed to vent.
Thanks,
Steve St.Germain

Re: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Dear Steve, I am so very sorry you are still at a low in your grieving process and am wondering if you have gone for grief counseling. It has only been a year and 2 months since Teddy passed but I find that the pain is not as sharp as it used to be.
Our friends and family visited Teddy a lot but I would never allow anyone to administer to him but Hospice or me. And while I am not lonely there is a big hole ! Our dynamics with friends change when we become single again. I guess people, for the most part just return to their daily lives while we have to create a "new normal". I have made 2 new lady friends and about a month ago started going out with them. I even went to a restaurant/karoeke/dancing place for singles over 60. NOBODY can take away what I feel inside or my memories, but I am a lot older than you and for whatever remaining years I have, I refuse to base those years in grief. I have found great comfort in my little "I Believe" club here. I believe that Teddy is all around me and even made a log of his 'visits" to me. When I feel sadness, I just read the log. Teddy's last 2 words to me were, "BE STRONG". He knew that I knew he loved me and it was the most important thing he could have said. Last but far from least, we had quite a love story (2nd marriage) and when I feel a little teary I say to myself, "Shame on you! You had 17 years of what most people never know in a lifetime" and that seems to bring me to a good place. Please try to think of the good memories and there is certainly no crime to look to better times and if you can't go ahead it is no crime to ask for some guidance. By typing things out it does help so post here as often as you like, you are NOT alone.

If I should be the first to go,
And leave you alone, my Dear,
Let not your heart be lonely,
Nor in your eyes a tear.
Grieve not for me, my Darling,
I’ll not be far away,
With petals of love and tenderness,
I’ll pave for you the way.
To join me in our sanctuary,
And ne’er again we’ll part.
Grieve not for me, my Darling,
I live within your heart.
Take joy again in living,
As you did in years gone by;
God knows what of he’s doing,
And not be questioned why.
Grieve not for me, my Darling,
My life with you on earth
Each moment filled with happiness,
And love so few be worth.
I’ll be waiting for you Sweetheart
Where skys are ever blue,
With eager heart and open arms
Patiently, for you.
Grieve not for me, my Darling,
May faith and my love keep.
Your soul filled with contentment
Eternally, I sleep.                                 By Mary Harris

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: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

StGermain...what a whirlwind it was - I remember too well.  I have learned that grief is the price we pay for love - that it is unavoidable - and, that it will take as long as it needs to take - for us to move through. 
Our Dr. Giles is here for everyone including you.  Please, don't hesitate to reach out to him also.

You might find some comfort in his words directed to a member of this site:

My heart goes out to you. You have lost so much in one stroke. Pain and devastation do seem to be the best words to characterize such an experience. I'm deeply saddened by your loss.

It is very likely that the world looks very bleak to you at the moment. Many who experience what you are experiencing now report a total departure of joy from their life. Everything seems dull and bland--even their sense of taste and smell seem blunted. The future looks dismal, laughter and mirth seem offensive, and even the sweetness of little children has little or no effect on their numbed soul. Is there anything more devastating than the loss of one's best friend, lover, and spouse?

I would gently suggest to you, that the depth of your feelings are a testament to the significance of the place your husband has in your life. The magnitude of your pain and devastation signifies how precious he was to you--and that's a good thing. Please do not hurry through this extremely tender time. Your sorrow is a result of the loss of a good man.

Honor your feelings as a result of a worthwhile and important relationship. You say you have no support where you live, but if you have friends or family who live farther away, please seek them out--even if it means looking up cherished friends with whom you have not spoken in a while. Also, consider getting involved with counseling or a grief group. Your doctor should be able to point you in the direction of support of that kind.

Finally, please know that you have support here at cholangioncarcinoma.org. Many here have some understanding of what it can be like to lose a beloved spouse. Talk with them as well.

Hugs and love,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Dear Steve,

I would tell you much the same as Lainy and Marion have.   I lost my husband almost 3 1/2 years ago from this disease.  He died less than 2 months after our first indication that anything was wrong.  As Marion said, yes I remember that whirlwind of a time well and always will.  We were married over 41 years and together almost 45.  We were pretty much together 24/7 for most of our lives.  Working and playing together.   I still have times when I feel much as you.  I try to take things as they come now, one day at a time.  I am still working on finding my "new normal".  Can't seem to work that out.  I have gotten very close with another widow.  I hate those words too, but we aren't married and don't really feel single, so I guess that is it.   Her and her husband were customer's of ours and she came in to the store about a year after Jim passed and was asking about him.  I told her he had died and she started to cry.  Her husband had passed only 2 months after Jim.  A few days later she called and we have been close friends ever since.  Her life with her husband was much the same as ours.  We email a lot and help each other through the bad times as we both know how it feels.  Her friendship and all the people on this site are what have really gotten me through this and I am still working on it.  I still am in contact with several of the ladies I met through this site who also lost their husbands to CC.  I did contact Dr. Giles early on and he told me much of what Marion said and I still have to go back and read that from time to time.  It does help.  Hopefully you can find someone to talk to, be it a friend or a professional person and as Marion said all of us here understand and are happy to listen.  Sometimes just being able to vent and tell your feelings to others who have been there and truely know and understand does help.

Take care Steve.  Take it one day at a time  and come back as often as you feel the need to.  You are not alone.

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: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Dear Steve,

I concur with what Lainy, Marion and Darla have expressed to you.  It is never easy to lose someone you love.   My husband has been fighting ICC for 3 and a half years now.  We try to take one day at a time and look at that day as being a gift from God.   Our lives have been full of ups and downs; yet, we have always managed to keep our love for one another strong.  I know things will never be the same when I lose him, but I also know that we will be together again someday.   Be strong, and if you need to cry, then cry.  Tears are very cleansing.  I hope things will get easier for you in the days ahead, and I will keep you in my prayers.  PeggyP

Re: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Dear Steve,
My Wayne left 2-17-10  two years ago last Friday.  It is the hardest thing I've ever done.  Week-end before last I had a bad breakdown, I tried to call some-one when they didn't answer, I didn't call anyone else, I started slitting my arms, then it felt like a relief.  My therapist said if you wanted to hide it, you would wear long sleeves, that's it I didn't care if anyone saw it or not.  Thursday night I went to hospice group, I told them about my breakdown they all prayed for me and gave me their phone numbers.  Well Friday was two years, I took off work.  I went to get my medications, stopped by my daughters, went to look for a hobby, I was told I need one.  The chaplain of my hospice group called me just to see how my day was going.  I told her I was looking something to do for a hobby, she said her church has some mission projects if I would be interested, especially when she found that I sew.  I then stopped by Raising Cane's chicken got supper and decide to go see Wayne, I got my chair out my food.  I sat there for probably two hours.  Saturday and Sunday I stayed home.  Monday my daughter came over we went to a wake, first time I've been in a funeral home since my mom went to see Jesus.  I surprisingly did well.   When I spoke to my friend she hugged me and said you are the only one that understands.  I go to therapy now once ever two weeks, I go to group every Thursday. 
With Wayne it wasn't until one week before he went to see Jesus, that the doctor told me it was stage 4 when it was found.  I'm like you some of those dirty words need to be taken out of the English language.  I don't know about you, I've been told by a few people that they don't me talk about Wayne all the time.  He was my life, I had been caregiver 26 years of the 35+2 we are married.  I still count the years.  When we found out about the cancer Wayne asked me what are we going to do, I told him  we were going to fight this like we fought everything else, the difference I loss this fight.  I avoid ugly words.

Love to my Wayne for 36 years
I'm not a widow, I am a wife
We are only apart for heaven's sake
You are waiting for me at heaven's gate

Re: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

I apperciate all your kind words. Thank you, I needed them. I just kinda got shook up after I had to go to the hospital for 4 days due to an infection and it brought back all the agonizing memories of all the time I spent with Nancy in  there. While my kids were there by side, I realized that Nancy was not there and that I will not have the support she provided. That's a scary, lonely realization. I know all of us who have lost some one, especially a spouse, are trying to deal with the same thing. Someday I will find my path, but right now it sure is a lonely journey.

Thanks,
Steve

Re: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Steve, that visit to a Medical place hit me for the first time a month ago. I use the same ONC Teddy did and I go every 3 months but for some reason it REALLY hit me last month! It's been a year and 3 months since he passed. I go to the ONC  and sign in and the girl says,"Oh, how are you doing? I still remember Salvator, he was so sweet?" The tears just start running down my face. Next the girl who takes you to the examing room, "Hi, how are you doing? I remember Salvatore he was such a nice man". Next one is the girl who takes the vitals, "How are you doing? Your husband was so cute?" Finally, making my next appointment, the same thing. So, I literally spent 1 hour with a wet face. I was not sad I was happy because here all all these people remembering him yet. Steve I always say I am not lonely but there is a big hole! Time, it takes lots and lots of time. We are always here for you!

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: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Steve-- Karen and I started dating when she was 14 and I was 15..  We were married for 40 years when one day her eye whites turned yellow and the diagnosis came as Cholangio carcinoma.. We lived about 70 miles from Mayo Clinic in Rochester so decided to doctor with the "Big guys"... That was almost 8 years ago.. Karen died Feb 1 2007 and I still tear up with old time rock and roll and the sight of baby wild birds or one of many things she truly loved.

I was so weak just after she died that I could not even get the cap off the gas tank of my pick-up..  Carried a pipe wrench and when nobody was looking would use it on the gas cap.  When people asked how I was doing I lied with "I'm gonna make it"..

I should be over it by now, but find my thoughts around her almost every day..  My hurt is less now, but gotta admit my selfish hanging on to her leaving stays with me...

I have no desire to create another relationship and don't really know how to look for a replacement for Karen..

So-- hang in there .. advice I got that sticks is -- love something ( I have a dandy little dog)-- accept that this really happened and ya gotta move on..

seeyaonthemarsh-Don
~~~~~~~~~

Re: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Dear Steve,
We all understand what you are going through. I just had knee replacement surgery three weeks ago after losing my husband in November and I totally agree that not having the support and care of your spouse after all of these years of being there for one another is a very scary realization. I too am lucky to have my children help me but it makes me incredibly sad and feel so lonely to think that I could grow old and be totally dependent on them. My parents are 83 and 86 and still able to help care for each other. I always wanted my life to be like theirs. Everyone says it will get easier with time but I feel worse now than I did 2 months ago. I guess the numbness is wearing off and reality is smacking me in the face. This whole nightmare is real and not going away!! I wish I could give you advice to help you in your grief but I really don't know anything to say except that I understand and hope all of us that are grieving the loss of a loved one can find happiness and peace sometime in the future. Take care, Mary

Re: You Think Your Over It, But Your Not

Steve:
No one can really understand the love of one's spouse unless they have gone through it themselves.  I lost my husband Tom, age 64, just about 4 months ago, after a 3 year 8 month battle with Cholangiocarcinoma.  After he passed and hospice arrived, I said "Oh my God, what am I going to do now, how am I going to live, I'm not going to know what to do with myself, I've taken care of him for the past 4 years and now he is gone".  The hospice person put me down as sucidal. (NOT TRUE) I was far from that, just expressing how I felt at the time.

It is heart wrenching to say the least.  Sad, emotional, etc.  I spent at least the first three weeks in a 'fog'.  Thank heavens that I had my children and grandchildren around or I don't think I would have made it.

I still take one day at a time....I'm starting to venture out more now, but always look at the empty seat in the car, and miss him lots.  I was his caretaker and never once will I regret what I had to do to make him more comfortable.

Take comfort in the fact that your Nancy is no longer in any pain.  She is free now.  She is your angel in Heaven.

Hugs to you!
Margaret