Topic: Struggling with loss

Thought I start a new topic. Dealing with recent loss of my husband. I was hoping it would be easier with each day, but so far it's opposite. Miss him more every day, realizing that I can never hug him or tell him about my problems or just listen to him talk. It is so much harder than I ever imagined. How do you cope with it? Needing some advice from people who went through it...
Sincerely, Alla

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla, it is going to take time. You were so busy at the end you didn't really have time to imagine what it would be like. Like Marions says, the harder we love the harder the grief. For me, I surrounded myself with Teddy. I would spray his cologne on his pillow. I looked for ways he might reach out to me, I felt such a strong presence. How about bringing out all your pictures and help the boys to make scrapbooks. I felt it best to keep it in the forefront not to hide behind it. Let the grief come out and when the time is right to move on a little bit you will know it. I promise that eventually all the good memories will outweigh the bad and that will help too.

From a book of blessings called "Benedictus" by John O'Donohue - Irish Poet & Philosopher

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss.
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.

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: Struggling with loss

Beautiful poem, Lainy. Thank you. That's exactly what I'm experiencing now - fine one minute and then grief sneaks up on me and tears starts pouring. And how I wish it wasn't a reality, but a bad dream. I guess it will be like that for a while...

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla,

You are just beginning this journey and I'm not going to tell you it is going to be easy.  It is not.  I'm four years into this and still have my good and bad days.  You never know what or when it will hit, but with time it does get better.

I read this and posted it a while back: 
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.  That is so true.

Just keep on going as best you can and deal with things as they come.  One day at a time.

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: Struggling with loss

Alla,

My loss was different...(My Mom) but I've learned that grief is very unpredictible.  I thought all of the anticipatory grief would prepare me for my loss but it didn't.

Grieving is the hardest job we ever tackle.  No two people will grieve in the same way or time period.  My Mom will be gone 4 years this coming April and I can still be reduced to tears by passing someone in a store wearing her perfume....

I can tell you that gradually as you experience and work through your grief eventually the good memories will supercede the bad ones.

We are always here for you....someone is ALWAYS UP!  Please come and vent and share!

I'm sending hugs and prayers for healing and understanding....

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.

6 (edited by tryingtohelp Fri, 26 Oct 2012 20:07:42)

Re: Struggling with loss

Thank you all for encouragement. It's been 8 days since his passing, but seems longer by some reason (not easier though). Yesterday there was a memorial service and a funeral. Very tough day. But I must say that the service was very nice. His brother wrote beautiful tribute (although we had to remove some stories...) that was really good and minister read it for us. A lot of people showed up and learned something new about my husband, I'm sure. It is almost like he had 2 lives - life of a cowboy before me and completely different life with me. So in a way he did live life to a fullest, but it was cut shorter than we ever expected.
I would have never imagined that even after the funeral it would still seem unreal to me. Still feels like a bad dream that never ends. I had lost all grandparents long time ago and quite a few aunts and uncles, but it is very different this time. Is it just me or does everybody goes through the same stages of grief (if there is a such thing)?

P.S. Forgot to mention that today would have been a year since my husband was diagnosed. So he almost made it a year...

Re: Struggling with loss

Dearest Alla, it sounds like you had a beautiful Memorial for your Cowboy! Yes, there are stages of grief although no one grieves exactly the same. Like Marion says, the harder you love the deeper the grief. It will be 2 years for me in December and it seems like yesterday, in a way. I call this our "new normal" but I promise you it does get easier as good memories take over. About 5 months after Teddy passed I wrote a poem about how I was feeling and I would love to share it with you now:

How Are You Doing?
Everyone asks me how I’m doing since you went away,
With a smile on my face I answer, “I really am okay”.
Matter of fact its very hard but I promised to be strong,
Until the time we meet again, in your arms where I belong.

In the morning when I wake, once where there was warmth all night,
There’s nothing but an empty space and a pillow to hold tight.   
Our closet now holds all my clothes it still looks kind of strange,
I try to make it look like more and constantly rearrange.

When I’m in the kitchen and working at the sink,
Many times I stop and this is what I think…..
If Teddy was here he’d grab me to give a little cue,
That he was about to hug me and say his, “I love you”.

No more are the corny jokes that grew longer by the year,
What I wouldn’t give now for just once more, any one to hear.
When someone calls, your message is still kept on the phone,
That way no one knows I am really home alone. 

When day is over and dinner is eaten by one, 
No more thank you-s for the meal well done.
Can’t find anyone to cream or scratch my back
There’s just a big hole here, a hole of midnight black.

But, how am I doing? I’m doing okay,
I know that you would want it that way.
And I know you are with me morning to night,
Still watching over me, that every things all right!

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: Struggling with loss

Beautiful, as always, Lainy! Thank you. When Marty was diagnosed, I called it our "new normal" too, once we got into chemo routine. Now that "normal" has to change again. Not quite sure how it would be yet. His son is still here for a few more days, helping us with every day stuff and fixing few things at the house, since hubby wasn't able too. On tuesday I'll have to go back to work. So may be then I'll figure out what is new normal would be like (or not). I'm sure it'd be hard when my step son leaves, as he is filling in the void and it will be just 3 of us instead of "normal" 4. Just the other day I saw my son's work where he answered a question about the number of people in your household and it was 4. Made me sad on the spot...
I also find myself being mad about the chemo and what it did to him and re-thinking if it was a right choice, especially toward the end. And thinking about "what if"... I know it's pointless, but can't help it.

So grateful I have you all to listen and advice! Thank you!

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla, Alla, its all still too new. Work is good, keeps your mind on other things for a while anyway. His son sounds like a really good guy. You will be surprised when he leaves how much you and the boys will support each other, really. Please don't EVER think back on what you should have could have done. We do the best we can with a Cancer that not much is known about. The ONC  had offered Teddy Palliative chemo and it is a rough decision, so Teddy asked him how much time it could buy him and the ONC said a month so Teddy opted out for quality time. I look back and there is nothing I would change I did the best I could and so did you. Please let us know how work goes and now its ime to take care of yourself and the boys.

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.

10 (edited by Cherbourg Sat, 27 Oct 2012 08:33:51)

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla,

I played the "what if" game so many times after my Mom died....After all I'm in the medical field and my Pathologist and I diagnosed her.   I wondered (still do at times) what did I miss?....What did I not see or follow up on?....

You've been on autopilot for several weeks now.  The hard part will come later

I diagnosed my Mom in May 2008 and she died April 2009.  After her death I was on autopilot for several months, busy with all the things a death brings.  I gave her eulogy, wrote all of the thank you notes, cleaned out her closet, and when everything was pretty much done and grief really hit...I discovered the world had moved on and I most certainly HAD NOT!  I really thought all of the anticipatory grief would have prepared me for the reality of losing Mom.  I'm here to say....IT DOESN"T!!!

I missed calling her on my way home from work everyday.  I missed telling her about my children's accomplishments.  I would have given anything to just hear her voice!  I was appalled when my best friend told me to get over it and move on....grief would not bring her back or change things.  (As a side note here,  it was only my Southern upbringing and my fear of prison that kept me from killing her....)  Most people did not want to talk about even the good times much less my loss!

I discovered I was mad at pretty much everyone....even God.  My support came from some of the most unlikely sources....  This board was a godsend.  I was able to rant, rave, ask questions and draw on the experiences of those who had traveled the road I was now embarked upon.  I chose to be very kind to myself and gradually let go of those I felt were not supportive of me or my grief.  Grieving is intense and personal.  No two people will grieve in the same way or in the same timeline.  I surrounded myself with people that truly cared and most of those had experienced the loss of a loved one.  My husband was amazing.  He had lost both of his parents and was so loving and supportive of me in my most crazy, insane moments.  He and God pretty much took the brunt of my grieving.  I'm pleased to say both loved me enough to put up with me!

I've found embracing my grief and being open and taking the time to grieve has been the best road for me.  I can still be reduced to tears catching a whiff of my Mom's perfume in a store but each day the good memories are becoming the ones I remember most AND first.

Our family has always been involved with church and charities.  I spend a great deal of time outside of work being a volunteer with the USO and the Marine bases near my house.  My son in love is a Marine so it's personal as well.  I view my volunteer work as a living tribute to my amazing Mom.

I smile now as I come across my "Pennies from Heaven" and keep all of them in a jar on my desk.

You'll find your pathway and if you are kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve,  you'll be OK.  I've learned lessons and believe I'm kinder and more compassionate.  I think I value the small things more.  Remember.....if you had not loved so much you wouldn't be grieving so hard....  Personally the love was well worth the grief.....

We're all here for you....take care!

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: Struggling with loss

I just had to put my two cents worth in and say what a wonderful post, Pam. I am sure you will help many with this. Thanks for your thoughtful insight.

Love, -Pam

My beautiful daughter, Lauren Patrice, will live on in my heart forever.

My comments, suggestions, and opinions are based on my experience as a caretaker for my daughter, Lauren and from reading anything I can get my hands on about Cholangiocarcinoma. Please consult a physician for professional guidance.

12 (edited by tryingtohelp Sat, 27 Oct 2012 11:08:33)

Re: Struggling with loss

Thank you, Pam. I had never heard about pennies from heaven and looked it up, after reading your post, since I've been recently finding pennies at my house at odd places! Very interesting... Really hope it's true!

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla,

I agree and can only reiterate what Pam has already said.  It is all so true.  Just want you to know I am thinking of you and do know how you feel and what you are going through.  We are all in this together.  Take care.

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: Struggling with loss

Oh, Alla, it is true. At least I am a big believer and we have many here who do believe. By believing, it gets me through, to feel that Teddy is all around me. In fact I have kept a log and when I feel lonely I just read the log. Besides pennies, watch for things electrical, like, the television going louder and softer, lights blinking, songs that may come on the radio at times like seeing friends or family. Our Darla has had lights going off. When you take pictures look for Orbs/Globes. They are round, mostly transparent and white in color. One of the very first books I read about the beyond was by Sylvia Brown the Psychic who really gave such beautiful explanations. "A Psychics Tour of the Afterlife". All we have to do is believe and our boys will be here.

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: Struggling with loss

Now I'm dissapointed I didn't find any pennies today...

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla, things won't happen daily but try and look for the other things I mentioned as well. Say, time for them to give us a raise and send dollar bills! I never had lots of pennies but once there was a cinnamon candy, I LOVE cinnamon, it was really weird how that showed up. Just be patient, it will all come.

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.

17 (edited by Cherbourg Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:58:32)

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla,

Here is a post I wrote about "pennies from heaven" about a year and a half ago.....


----------------------------------------------------------
"All of my life my Mom and Grandmothers told me about pennies from heaven.  Every time we would find a penny Mom would say it was a message from heaven.  We would speculate about which of our loved ones might have sent it. 

I've found numerous pennies since Mom died.  I know it may be silly, but each seemed like an affirmation that she was looking out for me or just sending "an I love you" message. 

On Saturday we were at my daughter's house at Camp LeJeune (the Marine base in North Carolina.)  My son-in-law is gone for 6 weeks for Movaje Desert Training at 29 Palms in California.  We were hanging out with my daughter's two bulldogs so she could attend a sorority alumni function in Greenville.

As you may remember when my Mom got sick, we moved my daughter's wedding up so her grandmother would be there.  They were extra close to each other since Liz is the only granddaughter out of 4 grandchildren (and was my Mom's last chance of having a granddaughter).

As you've probably heard by now North Carolina was rocked by tornados on Saturday.  As we were leaving Liz's house to travel back to New Bern before the storms hit we were helping her put up the yard furniture and grill.  She had already gotten her flashlights ready and put a blanket and pillow and dog leashes in the downstairs bathroom.  Just as we got in the car I told my husband we needed to move some large flower pots on the front porch close to the side of the door.  He moved the first pot and then was called by Liz.  As I bent to move the second pot I found a penny.  I picked it up and told Liz not to worry her grandmother would be looking our for her and the bullies.

That night an EF-3 tornado torn through the military housing complex of Terrawa Terrace.  12 homes are completely destroyed, another 40-60 are structurally unsafe and another 40-60 have mild to moderate damage.  Only one serious injury, a 23 month old that is in critical condition. 

It appears the tornado jumped across Liz' house and there is only mild to moderate damage to her house and car.  I was on the phone with her and it was a scary time.  Houses in front and behind her had significant damage.

She and the bulldogs are staying with us until the power is restored.  I thank God she was safe and knew what to do! 

And the penny?.......is now with my daughter....who carries it with her everywhere....

----------------------------------------------

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: Struggling with loss

OH, PAM, I so remember this story. BTW I hope you guys are safe and sound from Sandy!
Pennies from Heaven....About 3 months after Teddy's Memorial I woke up with a song in my head, popular before I was born, “Pennies from Heaven”. It’s a song to cheer you up and to not be afraid. Told Teddy’s daughter and she said, "OMG, Dad used to sing that to us when we were little".  I have only found pennies maybe 2 -3 times. Teddy's preference seems to be Music. He loved Music and all his kids are musically inclined as well.
Great story Pam, glad you told it.

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: Struggling with loss

Unrelated - forgot to mention that there should have been few donations in honor of my husband Marty Sanders to the cc foundation and more to come soon from my son's marching band' parents... Have no idea on the amount, but I'm sure anything would be helpful!
Alla

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla, you are soooo right. Not only helpful but very much appreciated!  I understand you can now download our brochures. I handed then out at Teddy's Memorial. They really explain what CC is as no one can ever knoiw it the way we do! Might be good to pass them out when the Band plays or even at work. I give them to all my Doctors as well. We so appreciate anything you do!

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: Struggling with loss

Alla...on behalf of the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation - thank you.  Know that all of us are volunteers and that donations will only be used to further the cause of finding a cure and better treatment options for this disease. 
I would like to mention though that donors need to specify the person to be honored and that return addresses have to accompany their letter.  This does not pertain to those using our site for donations:
http://www.cholangiocarcinoma.org/donate.htm
But many times we are not able to thank the kind people not using our website.  And, that breaks our heart.
Hugs,
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: Struggling with loss

You are very welcome. As far as I know - they were and would be using the website for the donation. Lainy - tried to download the brochures - Internet Explorer keeps bombing off. I'll try it through google chrome next...

Re: Struggling with loss

Alla...let us know if you continue to have problems with  the download of the brochures.  Good luck.
Hugs,
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: Struggling with loss

Alla,  I have thought about your post a lot and after a year I would think I would know what to say but I don't. You are right in saying that it is harder than imagined. I honestly do not remember much of the first few months. I continually challenge myself to enjoy life, be thankful for what I have and had, and take a day at a time. I take comfort in knowing Doug will be a part of me forever and I am a better person because of him. I try to find laughter in each day and try not to feel sorry for myself. It is a roller coaster ride and times when you think you are doing well, bam! The intensity and rawness do diminish though, and you put your grief in a different place and you start to live again. It seems at first you can not feel real joy, but one day you feel it again and you are thankful and you know your dear husband is right there cheering you on, for he does not want you to remain sad. I continue to talk about my husband (and to him as well- lol) because he was a huge part of mine and my children's lives. I wish there was a magic potion but it does get easier with time. Your beautiful children will help you through. Hugs. Nancy

Loving my husband from afar.

25 (edited by Darla Mon, 05 Nov 2012 12:15:20)

Re: Struggling with loss

Nancy,  That was very well said.   After 4 years, this is still how I am feeling too.   Somehow we just keep putting one foot in front of the other and taking things as they come.  One day at a time.

Alla, Just an interesting little side note.  A woman who has become a very close friend of mine lost her husband a few months after Jim passed away.  His name was also Marty.  smile  He didn't have CC, but our situations are so similar that we have become each others strength.   When I realized your husband was another Marty I had to share that with you.  Not sure what it means, but it is an interesting coincidence. 

Take care ladies.

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.