Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by DEB321, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. SusanMc8

    SusanMc8 Well-Known Member

    Fall has always been my favorite season - we were married in October, honeymooned in October and set up house for the first time. Next week would have been our 57th anniversary and I am bracing myself. All of these firsts are so hard . I can’t imagine what Thanksgiving and Christmas will be like this year. No big tree this year just looking at our ornament collection will be more than I can handle My daughter thinks NYC would be a good lace to be on Christmas - I’m not so sure. We’ll see. Any suggestions? Susan
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  2. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I wish I had some good suggestions for you, but thinking about the holidays is almost too much for me to handle. I have no idea how I'm going to make it through this holiday season. Just thinking about the holidays makes me cry... I had dinner with a friend last night who thinks I should visit my younger son who lives very far away from me. Friends from "home," want me to spend the holidays with them. Like you, there is no way I can look at all of our Christmas ornaments. I don't think I'll be putting up a tree. Putting a wreath on my front door seems like all I can handle right now. I'm not able to travel "home," too many memories of the happiest times in my entire life, mostly all of them spent with my husband, are there. I'm still too fragile emotionally to be able to handle this.

    I woke up late today and I need to get some things done, but when I read what you wrote, I had to send you a quick reply. I know this doesn't help, but I understand how you're feeling.

    Sending you hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
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  3. cjpines

    cjpines Well-Known Member

    Susan, this will be my second year for the holidays. My husband, Jack, died Nov 4th 2020 just before the holidays. I planned nothing. My family stepped in and brought the Thanksgiving dinner, all I did was open the front door. They didn't want me to be alone--same for Christmas. I couldn't bring myself to go through all the ornaments and I won't again. I'm thinking of donating them to hospice, maybe keep a few, but for now they stay in their boxes.

    Follow your intuition for a trip to NYC.

    Fall was our favorite time of year too. I'm looking out at Jack's garden that I had to let die. Fall was always harvest time for our fruit, veggies, etc. It's a beautiful time of year, but for me it's a painful time. We were married 40 years and the one year is coming up since I lost him and my grieving is not getting any better. We are all on this painful journey together, my prayers are with you, Karen
  4. cjpines

    cjpines Well-Known Member

    Deb, I'm back from my trip. It was a trip I should of not taken. My daughter wanted to see where Jack and I lived so instead of following my intuition of not going I gave in. Mistake. I've had a relapse for two days. The memories were too much for me to handle. Can't stop the tears. I guess the old saying, "never go back" is true.
    So what you said is true, "too many memories to handle with emotions still to fragile".

    This is your first holiday without Bob, right? My second and as I told Susan my family didn't want me to be alone so they brought the Thanksgiving dinner and same for Christmas. It was nice to have them with me, but they over did it trying to make me happy by jokes, laughing as if nothing happened. This year will be the same; I feel no different than I did last year, probably worse. Prayers all around, Karen
  5. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I've been thinking about you the entire time you were away. I'm so very sorry that the trip triggered so many memories. Your heart must feel like it's been ripped in half all over again... I started crying as I was reading this. I wish there weren't so many miles between us, I just want to give you a big hug. It makes me so sad that this happened to you, but I greatly appreciate you "talking" about it.

    This is will be the first year having to go through the holiday season without Bob. October 11th marks the sixth month anniversary of Bob's death. I'm dreading tomorrow, the first day of October. We not only went on our first weekend getaway in October, but we got married in October. I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through these days, forget about Halloween (Bob loved this holiday), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve...

    It's strange, one minute I'm okay, I felt good when I woke up this morning and "talked" to Lou. The horrible events surrounding Bob's death aren't on my mind 24/7, and because of this, I was able to fall back asleep this morning, something I haven't been able to do in the past, no matter how exhausted I've been. When friends sent me a funny video of a vacation Bob and I took with them, I was able to laugh for a brief moment in time, without crying, without feeling sad. I've also been having some of those moments, that Robin describes as "happy mixed with sad." I think this is a step in the right direction, but at the same time, I'm way beyond miserable thinking about the holidays.

    I know I'll survive the holidays, but it's probably going to be the most difficult and challenging time, since the night/early morning hours, leading up to Bob's death. After what you just said, there is no way I'm going to let well meaning friends convince me that I need to be at "home" this holiday season. There is no way they can possibly understand how painful this would be... I'm imagining it would feel like my entire world has just been shattered for a second time.

    Stopping here for now. I can't stop crying...

    As always, sending you hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
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  6. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I'm so emotionally drained, that I can't "talk" much now, but I'm so sorry the fall is such a difficult time for you too... I wish I knew of something that would make this holiday season a little less difficult for all of us. You, me, and so many others here, are in the same boat. It totally sucks...

    Sending you hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
  7. cjpines

    cjpines Well-Known Member

    Deb, I'm disliking October. You mentioned Oct 11th marks your 6th month anniversary. Oct 11th Jack went to ER, Oct 13th he was admitted to the hospital. Oct 20th he came home with hospice. Died Nov 4th. So, the pain continues. The last two weeks with hospice I can't seem to shake thinking about the care, pain, suffering he went through. I told him I ache for him, I feel his pain, he said I know you do.

    Thank you for your kind reply, K
  8. Jeff K

    Jeff K Member

    I'm staring at the blinking cursor not knowing what to type. I want to type something, but I have no idea. I guess I'll just start...

    Tomorrow is my 20th anniversary. I have been off this whole week, which has been up and down, but I have also been busy with house and yard stuff and financial stuff for Jen which has kept my brain occupied. But I need to actually rest these last 2 days of vacation before going back to work Sat night. But resting, as most know, is when the bad things come out....when your mind isn't occupied by business. So I'm not sure how to approach tomorrow. Should I try to do a little celebration of us or should I ignore it...(i am tearing up as I typed that)?

    that's all I have atm.
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  9. cjpines

    cjpines Well-Known Member

    See how you feel tomorrow when you wake up. Go with what you feel. It's very personal. When our anniversary came up June 5th it just seemed like another day of grieving. I was sitting on our deck in our favorite chairs with a toast to us looking at Jack's walnut urn and said, 'happy anniversary babe'. That's was about all.

    Jeff, you will know how to approach tomorrow and what's best for you. Knowing Jen is in paradise, happy and healthy is a comfort. She would want you to rest for 2 days, I'm sure.

    I wish we all could just blank out grieving. With that I'll say, Happy Anniversary Jeff & Jen. Karen
  10. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Deb, after replying to you you during
    dinner, I read your very sad reply to
    Karen, about your dread of October and
    the holidays. I have felt a melancholy
    wave, since the end of summer, when

    the shops start to close, and finally shut
    their doors on Halloween, a holiday I'm
    not crazy about. Some families, with
    children, decorate their houses and yards,
    with the same creepy scenes of ghosts,
    skeletons, ghouls, and zombies. When
    Linda was alive, we would laugh at the
    over the top shenanigans in nearby
    Salem, but avoided the massive crowds.
    The statue of Elizabeth Montgomery, as
    Sanantha, in Bewitched, was enough for
    us. We liked seeing it ----in the daytime.
    Linda's birthday was in Oct, and I try to
    out that day. As I told you, she gives me a
    "sign" of her presence, as Zuba said, at
    unexpected times. I will look at the time
    on my phone, and it is often 10, for
    Oct, and then, the day of her birth. This
    coming year, for the 1st time, I plan to
    join Kim's family for Thanksgiving. They
    invited me last year, but I had baked
    chicken and wanted to be alone. Lou
  11. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I'm so sorry, that like so many of us, this time of year is making you feel so sad too. I'm glad that this year you won't be spending Thanksgiving alone. I'm so very happy that you and Kim are such good friends, and that she lives right upstairs from you. Somehow, with the help of everyone here, all of us will get through this most difficult time of year.

    Quick change of subject, you just got me thinking about old TV shows again. I remember watching "Bewitched." Friends used to tell me that my father looked like Dick York, who played, Darrin Stephens on "Bewitched." I didn't see the resemblance, but just about everyone else I knew did.

    I look for signs of Bob's presence all the time. So far, there have only been three times, once when I was walking, soon after his death, and saw a beautiful yellow butterfly, and the two times, I think I already mentioned to you, that involved throw pillows. I talk to Bob all the time, as though he was still here, with me, especially when I have a tough decision to make, or I'm feeling especially sad. Wait, I take back what I said about there only being three times, because I feel like he is here, in this house, sometimes. I can't really explain why, but I'm comforted by this feeling. I'm glad that Linda gives you signs of her presence too. I truly believe with all my heart, that Linda, Bob, and everyone else's spouses, are here with us, watching over us... As I said to Cynde in another thread, I have to believe this. I don't think I would make it through another day if I didn't believe this. I think I'm going to reread the section of Tom Zuba's book where he talks about this tonight before I go to sleep. It is a wonderful book and I'm trying to follow all of his advice the best I can.

    I hope you're able to get a good night's rest.

    I haven't read your other message yet, so will look for it now.

    As always, sending you hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
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  12. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    So many of us are having a difficult time, now that October is almost here. I'm so sorry October is such a miserable month for you too. Somehow, as I just said to Lou, with the help of everyone here, we'll make it through this very dark period in our lives.

    As always, sending you hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
  13. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Deb, I did a Rip Van Winkle, bc when I
    woke up at 6:30am, I was pleasantly
    surprised to see TWO of your messages:
    1st one around 10pm last night, and the
    2nd, around 11pm. I read both of them,
    so I'll try to remember everything now!
    Hate to correct you about Kim. She &
    her kids live in a nearby larger city,
    which makes it even more amazing that
    she drops everything to drive me. On
    short trips, she sometimes takes one of
    her kids, and their little dog! The first
    year I was here, the couple upstairs had
    invited me for Thanksgiving, but I had the
    flu ( basically bc I had been run down,
    depressed, drinking, staying out later, and
    not getting enough sleep). The husband
    upstairs is at work all day. His wife is
    home, and works virtually. It is good that
    she's there bc if I ever "fall down and
    can't get up" ( like the old TV ad), I can
    call her. But, a week can go by, without
    my seeing them. I think it's great ( &
    funny ) that people thought your father
    looked like Dick York. I liked him, and
    was disappointed when he had to be
    replaced by Dick Sargent. They stayed
    overnight in Salem while filming a
    Salem episode. You may want to look up
    a funny Twilight Zone, where York
    played a bank teller, who could read
    people's minds. All I recall is a rather
    sexist stereotype, when he stood next to
    a blonde woman, tried to read her mind,
    and it was vacant ( i.e. a "dumb blonde").
    Linda & I laughed at that one , bc Linda
    was very blonde as a girl, all the way
    through college. When her hair turned
    brown, she dyed it blonde. When I met
    her in our mid 40s, I thought she was
    blonde naturally , bc it was done so well.
    It breaks my heart that when she got
    sick, her hair became sparse, became
    brown again, and she was thinking of
    getting a wig. I saw her last picture, a
    driver's license, and she looked like a
    sad old woman. I recall the day we had to
    get a ride into Boston to get her license
    for identification. After Linda died, I had
    to destroy that photo, bc it was too
    gutwrenching. I saved her marriage
    photos instead. They are in a safe place,
    but I can't bear to look at them now. I cry
    as I write this. I really went off topic, from
    a fun memory of watching Bewitched,to
    tragedy. Linda wanted to be like
    Samantha, who could magically twist
    her nose, and make things happen. Linda
    hated clutter and wanted to be Samantha
    and get rid of it, in an instant. I can't wait
    for you to read Jonathan's book. I must
    warn you of one thing. He meets a
    much younger woman, after his wife
    dies. It's funny, but reminds me of an
    incident in my own life. A woman, about
    50, came to my town one day, a year after
    Linda died. She seemed to like me, and we
    drank at a bar together. Turned out she
    had a drinking problem, but my judgement was not good at the time,
    although red flags appeared and I didn't
    do anything I'd regret later. Enough
    said. ( More than enough!). Lou
  14. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Jeff, I woke up this morning and replied
    to Deb, as usual. Both of us write long
    answers, let the emotions flow, and often
    cry. I was married to Linda for 25 years.
    I know how you feel about your sad
    anniversary. I dreaded ours, and what
    worked for me, was to go out somewhere
    and not stay home alone, brooding. I hope
    you can start going to places where you
    can meet people. Not a bar ( which can
    be problematic) or a senior center ( bc
    you're too young), but perhaps a gym, or
    a book club, or even a group for widows
    and widowers. I went to such a group
    and I was the only guy, with 20 women.
    We shared our sad stories at first, but
    then, went on to other topics, took
    walks, and went out to eat later. I'm so
    glad you stayed with us on Grief in
    Common. You are the only other
    widower right now. Lou
  15. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I'm so glad you slept through the entire night! Sleep is something I always took for granted until Bob passed away. Sorry... I get things mixed up way too often now, but I'll blame it on that widow foggy brain thing that I have going on. I agree, it's even more amazing that Kim takes you grocery shopping weekly, and is always ready to help you in any way she can, whenever she can, given the fact she lives farther away from you than I thought. I'm glad that even though you don't see your upstairs neighbors that often, that the wife works from home, just in case you ever have an emergency situation.

    Bob loved, and I still love the Twilight Zone. It's one of those old TV shows that we couldn't get enough of. We used to binge watch it about once a year, cuddled up together on the couch, snacks and drinks, on the coffee table in front of us. Bob loved buttered popcorn. Friends find this strange, but I hate!! buttered popcorn. I like mine straight up, air popped, with just a bit of salt added in afterwards. Sometimes, I'll be a bit more adventurous. If I want something sweet, I might sprinkle in a little cinnamon, brown sugar, etc., or if I want something savory, grab some spicy seasonings from my pantry. Almost forgot why I mentioned this, but it's coming back to me now. I had to make two bowls of popcorn, one buttered for Bob, and one salt/and or spices for me. BTW, Bob always helped me with my bowl too. About a month before he died, I bought a new air popper, one of those collapsible ones. It's been used exactly twice, both times before Bob died. Popcorn is one of those things I still can't eat. Too many good memories of nights spent on the couch with Bob, just vegging out, watching TV or a movie, listening to music, talking... I miss those times so much.... I wish I hadn't taken all these special moments, that make up all the little things in life, that Jim I think mentioned first, for granted. I need a tissue...

    I understand you not being able to look at pictures of Linda. I still can't look at most of the pictures I have of Bob. The memories are too beautiful, too special.... It would break my heart all over again... I also can relate to what you said about how the cancer aged Linda, the same thing happened to Bob. By the time he passed away, it was heartbreaking to see what all the chronic illnesses had done to his body. Backing up a bit, the changes were gradual, but became more noticeable, especially about five years prior to his death. However, there are two pictures, both on my front hall table that I look at constantly. Both were taken during the same vacation with the friends who we always traveled with. Our friend took one of us in the ocean, Bob holding me in his arms, both of us with huge smiles on our faces. He took the other picture later on that night, at a bar, while we were enjoying drinks before dinner. These pictures hold some of my very favorite memories once our kids had finally left the nest, right before Bob and I found out how sick he was. It was one of our final vacations that we could fully enjoy without worrying about Bob's health.

    As you can probably tell, from how late I'm getting here, I got a late start to my day too. I need another cup of coffee, total understatement!!!

    I hope by the time you read this, you're no longer crying, and are doing something that makes you feel good, like walking by the ocean...

    As always sending you hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
  16. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Late start for me, too, Deb, bc I have to take all those eyedrops. I replied to Jeff,
    a lot younger than I am, but who is
    facing the sad 20th anniversary of his
    wedding, today, and wasn't sure how to
    deal with it. I offered my suggestions, but
    you may reach out to him with your own.
    I also responded to Susan, with whom you
    talked about Oct and the holidays. I hope I
    don't make you feel uncomfortable about
    my mixed feelings toward other women,
    since Linda's death. I'm not actively
    seeking another woman, as Linda had
    urged me to, on that sad day, before she
    went into the hospital. If I do have
    another companion in my life, she will
    never replace Linda in my heart and
    memory. I like my freedom to come &
    go, and the quiet of my apartment. If I
    do meet someone, it would be good if she
    had her own place. I'm 72, but not
    "over the hill" and keep myself in shape
    by walking. My sense of humor has
    made me attractive to some women ( it's
    one of the things Linda loved about me,
    and vice versa). Lou
  17. Jeff K

    Jeff K Member

    Thank you Lou.

    I am crying atm. That's actually why I came on here, to see if there were any uplifting words. It's time for food, so I was thinking Chinese, which is special to us (and not just because it's one of our favorites taste wise). When I proposed to Jen, we went to Santa Monica Pier, CA after it had been redone in 1990 (storms took out a good chunk of it years earlier). We went on the Ferris wheel, played games at the arcade, generally had a great date day. Then we went back to our apartment, and I went out to pick up take out Chinese that we ordered on the phone. After we ate, I asked her if she wanted a fortune cookie. She said sure and opened it. Inside, the note said "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" She kinda stared at it for a moment, then as she turns to me says, "I'm confused...," and trails off as she sees me holding out an engagement ring. She looks at me and says, "I don't know what to say." "How about 'yes?'"

    She said, "yes," and we moved to CO and got married a few years later (10-01-01). Jen had one a trip to England at the Renaissance Faire here a year earlier (they draw one name from all the 1000s of entries they get over the 8 weekend faire season). We had gotten home from dinner or something a couple months after the faire had ended (so in Sept), and there was a phone call saying Jen had won. SO we used that trip as our honeymoon. We were in England for 3 weeks. The freebies were air fair and train passes. We had to do all our own lodging and food which was fine. Anyway, at this one place in Scotland, they have an OLD castle, and built next to it is a newer castle (still 100s of years old). So we stayed in the honeymoon suite in the (newer) castle. Huge bed, champagne and chocolates delivered to our room while we ran into town for take out Chinese (YES). We ate it in the huge hot tub they had in the bathroom. Leave it to Americans to eat Chinese in Scotland on their honeymoon. Anyway, the next morning we had breakfast served to our room. Very fancy.

    Hmm, just sharing that has calmed me. Maybe I can actually order that Chinese now. The question is 1 item or 2? I feel I should do 2 just to celebrate our 20th, even if it makes me a little sad. We usually got 2 things, then shared. Or she would get soup and a bunch of appetizers and have some of my entree. She liked her egg rolls and crab rangoon.

    I already watched one of our movies this morning. We don't really have A movie. But I watched the movie (one of the several) with our song in it...Breakfast Club w/ Don't You Forget About Me. I have a story about that too, but at a later time. I'm tired of typing and I need to get that take out ordered before I get goofy again.

    And thank you everyone who reads my stuff...and especially those who say a word or two. :D
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  18. cjpines

    cjpines Well-Known Member

    What a great story and how romantic proposing with a fortune cookie. Wonderful memories.
  19. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

  20. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Jeff, think you for your detailed stories
    of your happier times with your wife.
    May I ask her name? It has helped me to
    say my wife's name, Linda, when I tell
    either sad or happy stories about her.
    You were very romantic when you
    proposed to your wife with the fortune
    cookie, and more importantly, backed
    that up with a wedding ring. I was
    backward in that department, bc I had
    no role models. My father wasn't
    romantic, and my parents had a loveless
    marriage. Linda's parents were the same,
    so Linda & I tool our time, dating others,
    until we met in our mid 40s. I was
    super cautious and lived with Linda
    for 3 years before finally proposing, on
    a trip to Bermuda. I simply, and rather
    awkwardly asked, "so, do you want to
    get married?". Linda requested that I get
    down on one knee, and I did. But... I
    stupidly didn't have an engagement
    ring. We bought one together, in Boston,
    upon our return. We didn't have kids,
    so we acted like kids. I'm grateful we were
    able to travel cross country. I recall the
    excitement of seeing Santa Monica,
    movie stars in L.A., and the magic of
    Disneyland. Your Renaissance prize
    was a once in a lifetime, but it brought
    me to tears. We were married in Las
    Vegas and gambled on the slot machines.
    We went to the Native American casinos
    in Connecticut later. We won a big prize
    on one, but didn't walk away, and ended
    up breaking even. I admire you for
    remembering the good times with your
    soulmate, but sadly, we will never really
    "get over " our wives' deaths. I recommend
    the daily quotations from Center for
    Loss, which appear in your emails. The
    one today, on grief, is particularly
    apropos for us. Good to meet you, Jeff.
    As my friend, Deb ( Deb 321) says, I wish
    it were under better circumstances. Lou