My husband is gone

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by Heyhoney, May 1, 2023.

  1. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member

    Oh, DEB, and I am so sorry for the heartbreak that you suffered in losing Bob. The trauma must have been unspeakable.

    My last post was the first time that I have mentioned the nightmare of January 23, 2022. I consider myself blessed that you are the one to extend your hand in sympathy. You know how it felt to be in those circumstances, because you were traumatzed. And, to read your compassionate posts to other grievers - always uplifting and sensitive - shows that you are remarkable. You have risen above your grief. It is there, but it does not control your life. This is the objective.

    Like you, I had tears in my eyes when I read Heyhoney's recount of her last moments with Howie. It is only now, one year and 3 months after the nightmare, that I do not dread the morning upon awakening.

    In an episode on a PBS Masterpiece Theatre series entitled "After the War" which aired in 1989, a wife is in shock after the violent death of her husband. Distraught, she winds an alarm clock frantically and, in tears, tells another character, "I don't want the day to come".
    He replies gently, "It doesn't come because it's wanted."
    This was an elegant way of telling her that she had to survive.

    (Unbelievable - in writing this, I just remembered that, on the morning after the nightmare, my son came to see how I was and asked me why I was holding an alarm clock in my hand, I could not answer him. I had not seen the scene mentioned above. I had no idea that scene existed. I have only just now remembered my son's curious question.)

    My days are improving. Being outside in nature and physically active is important. I don't always want to exercise the dogs, but I know that it is good for them and not just me. Though I am busy during the day, Pierre is there, always in the recesses of my mind I am sure that it is the same for you with Bob.
    I suppose that we can function on a moderate to high level and, yet, never stop thinking of our beloved.

    Much love and hugs to you and Skye, DEB
  2. Daisy171

    Daisy171 Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for your terrible losses. It is natural to have a physical reaction including fear when you have lost the person whom you depended on and who was your mainstay. I feel it also and I don't know of any real solution other than to try to live in a way that honors those who have passed. Come here often for support because people in this group really do understand. I am also getting grief counseling and have seen a doctor about medication to help me get through this dark period, but that is not for everyone of course.
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  3. Daisy171

    Daisy171 Well-Known Member

    I have also been told that I can finally have some "me time" but I'm not even sure what that is. What am I without my beloved husband to care for? We do have a son, but he is off to college in the Fall so I will be alone for the first time in my whole adult life (I did get a dog). I send you my prayers and sympathy and hope that you do find something that will bring you some peace. Happiness is too much to hope for. I would settle for a moment of not being in utter despair.
  4. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    Oh Daisy171 I agree completely. “Me time” what exactly does one do with that? My pups do force me outside and I have tried hard to get the out into the neighborhood every day. Even if that means I put on the big sunglasses and sniffle my way through our walk. I can’t say I enjoy it but it’s one more step in finding a new rhythm to our lives. I wish you the same, a tiny seed of peace that hopefully can grow.
  5. Daisy171

    Daisy171 Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much. All we can do is keep on trying.
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  6. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    I keep hoping everyday will get a little bit easier. I hoped spring would bring relief from the soul crushing agony. Today it came crashing in again leaving me a sobbing mess. When I think I can do this I am again swept up in the endless tears and feeling of utter exhaustion. Music came in the open window this morning and my heart leaped. My heart remembered that was the signal he was home before my head realized the reality. Even the dogs rushed to the door barking excitedly. It was only a neighbor. The wave of grief came over us all again. There is no energy for our neighborhood walk this evening. Today I simply can’t put on my sunglasses and force myself out into the world. Maybe tomorrow.
  7. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member


    I saw your post just before I left for Mass this Sunday. I thought of you during the Mass and included you in my prayers. My heart breaks for you. Reading how your dogs barked excitedly when they thought your beloved was home made me empathize with your grief, acutely.

    We are all here, because we loved someone so deeply, so completely, that we are now in -- as you so aptly call it: "soul crushing agony". You are in this agony, because you had such a deep love for your husband, and he for you, that the loss is excruciating. But, if you think of it this way, would you rather have had a marriage that was lukewarm or, worse, empty and lacking in deep love, which would now allow you to simply "move on" without this deep grief? Or, the marriage which you had which was utterly enriching but which causes deep sorrow upon the loss? No doubt, you would choose the latter. The artist Vincent Van Gogh said it well: The deeper the love, the deeper the pain. And, that sensitivity produced masterpieces for the centuries. I want you to know that we all feel for you as we make our way through this journey. If you are too distracted with the tears to read, one suggestion that I recommend is Dr. Bill Webster's "Grief Journey" found online. Dr. Webster lost his wife in his early thirties and, just 1-2 years ago, his 42 year old son who he raised with another child as a widower. His youtube videos are excellent. They explore every aspect of the grief journey. And, importantly, Dr. Webster is sincere and sensitive. I personally found his videos to be very helpful.

    Heyhoney, I send love to you at this time and wish you more and more moments of feeling better and refreshed when tears are shed.

  8. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    Thank you Georgine. It is comforting to know your thoughts were with me. Yesterday was a particularly hard day but today somewhat better. I did watch one of the videos you recommended - thank you. I really need to work on giving myself a wee bit of grace. Instead of feeling like a failure because I’m not moving ahead as quickly as I think I should I have to be kinder to myself to realize some tasks or plans will have to wait while I take the time to honour the memory.
    I really was at my lowest yesterday, the quiet and loneliness had really taken hold. Today my daughter and her husband showed up with the two youngest grandchildren. They were here only for a short time, they changed a tire on my lawn tractor so I won’t have to use the push mower (yay), but it was nice to have the hugs from the little ones. I am hopeful tonight I may sleep. My best to you and thank you
  9. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member


    You are most welcome. I am so happy that you had a better day, today, and that tonight, you will get a good night's rest. Grief has no schedule. There is no timeline. Grieving and mourning our beloved soulmate is a natural part of our life, now. Those tasks and plans can wait. Honoring your memories is an important part of your life, and the amount of time you want to spend doing it is your decision, and yours, only.

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  10. Daisy171

    Daisy171 Well-Known Member

    I too am hoping that it will get easier someday, but the Spring makes it worse because that was my husband's favorite season. If he were here, we could sit together on a bench and enjoy the nice weather, but he is not and I can't bear to sit outside alone. I am drowning in grief and see no end of it in sight. I send you my sympathy and prayers.
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  11. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member

    The grief continues, unabated. A hectic schedule may keep one distracted; yet, the grief remains, always ready to be expressed. Saturday morning, an event that has occurred before, occurred, again. Our property, as well as others' in this area, is home to many Canadian geese and their babies. 4 years ago, one gosling came into a grassy fenced area reserved for the dogs, who were inside. My husband quickly snatched the gosling and toosed it gently over the 4' fence to its parents. Last week, 3 goslings found a way to enter, and the dogs were inside. I snatched each one and returned it to the other side. There is no way to exit, so that each gosling has to be released over the 4' fence. My gardener and I thought that any opening was sealed. This past Saturday morning, 4 goslings were inside the grassy area. I was panicked, because the father was aggressive, and the goslings were also panicked; trying to push their little heads through the fence. I raced to pick up each gosling and hold it over the fence to release it to the grass. 3 scampered off but one remained on the grass; unable to move. The gosling could not turn around. He/she tried and tried, but could not turn around. By the time I reached the gosling, it was dying. The gosling died before my eyes. The sheer panic and agony of that moment was a recast of the morning in January, 2022 when my soulmate was with me and then..........gone.

    I am distraught that one minute, the gosling was alive and enjoying the beautiful sunny morning and the next minute.........gone. This incident is not painful only because it ignited the memory; it is painful for the reason that my husband and I are both ardent animal lovers. I believe that the incident would not have happened if he had been here. He was meticulous about sealing up escape routes for dogs and would have sealed the area to precent the tragedy after seeing the 3 goslings last week in the area before I rescued the 4 the next week. I know that I returned 6, but the one who died is the one who I grieve. Was I careless in dropping him/her onto the grass? Did he/she hurt his/her neck trying to escape through the fence? I will never know. All I know is that it happened "on my watch", and that is the fact that is heartbreaking. I do know that that is what I struggled with for many, many months after my loss in January, 2022. Should I have insisted upon certain options and not trusted doctors? And so on and so on.

    And, this is one of the types of grief which has driven some of us here, isn't it? Extreme sensitivity and empathy. Not a single soul on this site is anything but extremely sensitive. We were born with this sensitivity and now live with it through this grief journey. My sadness over the little gosling is an example and a metaphor for the deep sadness that we are all experiencing. I know that my husband would have felt the same way. And, from my reading of your posts, your spouses shared your sensitivity.

    On Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, I discovered that a predator had taken the eggs of my favority goose - I call her "One-Legged Girl", because she has one leg and hops. I was stunned and did not know if she and her mate had survived. On Easter Sunday, they were outside the window; mourning their loss. I was incredibly relieved.

    After this latest tragedy, all the geese were gone. I concluded that the geese would avoid the property. Yesterday, when I drove onto the propery, sad over this episode, approximately 30 geese were waiting on the property. Their presence was an intense healing moment.

    Love and continued prayers for all.
  12. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    Oh Daisy171 I understand completely your avoidance of the bench. We have a large front porch that was our perch so much of the time during covid. We had long discussions about our life together as we shared coffee and the newspaper. It was my favorite time of the day. When spring appeared here I yearned to be able to go out into the nicer weather after such a hard winter but at the same time knew there would be no one there to share the musings of the day. My older pup Coop absolutely loves this porch. He spends much of his day watching the world go by. I was finally able to sit for a while when I realized Coop had taken up what would have been my husband's seat. At first I tried to shoo him off it but he resisted firmly. I gave in and let him stay. Now it is a bittersweet comfort in looking over and seeing him there. I know he is grieving the loss as well and his comfort is found by taking up his space. Coop and I have spent many an hour lost in thought together on this porch. I hope eventually you can feel the same. It isn't peace I feel there but a place to remind myself he showed me the best of himself on this porch. A place to remember the one person I knew better than I know myself in so many ways.
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  13. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    Oh Georgine that certainly would drive me to tears. I've had my share of experiences with the Canada Goose aka psycho chickens as we refer to them. I say that lovingly as a Canadian. They are usually incredibly protective and attentive parents but have little fear of people. You did your very best for that momma and her baby. It is hard when we are sure things would be different if our partners had only been around. Then the slippery slope of would have's and could have sometimes come in and take a seat. I've tried very hard to not let them stay. They really can send you back on your heels and take you places that hurt deeply but simply change nothing. When my son died I never allowed myself to ask the question why. To me to ask that question meant you were stuck and not moving forward and no matter what life continues on. Of course I was considerably younger then and had another little one to raise. I had to get up and keep going. I had no time for why. On the days I didn't think I could get up my husband would literally pull me out of bed. But now much older and feeling the loss of my husband there is no one to pull me up. But last night as I sat on my porch at dusk our little hummingbird came back. He used to appear many times last year and always seem to dance inches in front of my husbands face. It was so sweet to see the little guy drinking from the feeder and zipping about. It was as you say an intense healing moment. We must remind ourselves to look for more of those times.
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  14. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    The smoke from the wildfires has permeated around me. It has cast a strange haze over the sunset. It looks like the fog from a dream that whispers away when you wake up. There is a school close by that I can usually hear the children outside at recess. It was silent today, they kept them inside. It’s left me with an uneasy feeling. There is no danger, the fires are a province away but it’s heightened the anxiety I have felt in the weeks since his death. I can’t seem to sit at my desk for any amount of time before I have to get up. Wander aimless through the house again, past his coffee cup still on the counter because I can’t stand the thought of putting away one more sign of him. It’s happening already, people afraid to say his name or mention him at all. I see the uncomfortable look on their faces if I mention him. Or worse still the awkward phone calls where they are talking about anything but him. I catch myself before I scream he mattered. I feel like the world has moved on and I am expected to as well and they look at me like I have three heads because I haven’t.
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  15. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member

    Dear HeyHoney,

    Thank you for your sensitive and compassionate post. You have been through so much in first losing your little son and then your husband, your beloved emotional support, who helped you through it. Your understanding and post of comfort means much to me

    I am so happy for you that the little hummingbird returned. His presence alone soars above all the awkwardness of others.
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  16. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    Today was the first day I’ve left the house for a long period of time alone. I went to watch my granddaughters last dance recital before she competes at nationals. I knew it would mean everything to her for me to be there, but at the same time I knew it would feel like an empty chair beside me. I kept repeating to myself “stay in the moment” over and over. Guess what? I kept the tears at bay until I was safe alone in my car on the way home. Then the floodgates opened. Today I managed to leave the grief for a few moments knowing I would have to pick it up again. But I watched that little ballerina glide across the stage, saw her shake her bright pink tail feathers during her acro and couldn’t help but smile when she tapped her little heart out to my boyfriends back. She managed to break away from her group and ran to me with the biggest hug and whispered she was dancing for poppa. No one else mentioned him the whole time but that little girl danced her heart out hoping she would be seen all the way to heaven. It was a better day than I could have imagined.
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  17. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member

    Just like the little hummingbird, your little granddaughter communicated Howie's love to you. I am so happy for you that today happened. Clearly, you and your grandaughter are bonded. You both have a connection. As you said, no one else mentioned your husband, except her. What an exquisite gift.
    Like you, today I had to wait until I was alone in the car to cope with the grief attack. All the way home. My 8 month old granddaughter lives across the country, but I see my husband's features when I look at her face both in photographs and the several times per week that we Facetime.
    The expression in her eyes and in her face when she is laughing -- is him. Totally him. Thank God.
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  18. Heyhoney

    Heyhoney Active Member

    Georgine it must be hard having the babe so far away. But gotta love tech for allowing us those moments. I don’t know what it is about the car, I guess it’s an extension of our homes that allow us the safe place we need. Good thing they can’t talk…the stories mine would tell. With my grandchildren it’s been interesting watching them grow. I actually see alot of him in them in they way they speak or a certain way they turn to look at you. The joke has always been he isn’t biologically related to them so that nature vs nurture premise has been discussed in great detail. I’ve wondered lately just how much they will remember him. The oldest for sure she is 20 and has many wonderful memories of him but the younger ones are 8 and barely 10. I hope they keep some but I am not convinced. It may only be a few fleeting ones. I hope your family speak of your husband often. Mine seem to relegate the dead relatives to the “don’t speak of them” pile. I don’t know why, it’s just always been that way. I never heard a relative of mine speak my sons name again to this day. My husband and I spoke of him but never outside our own home. I realize now how ill equipped my family has been to deal with death despite losing so many.
    The rain came overnight (yay) but now I must go deal with a flood (boo). I was proud of myself that I managed to hook up our rain barrel but forgot to hook up the overflow hose. I ran out and tried to move the hose from one outlet to another and he has it on so tight I can’t make it budge. Wish me luck I am going back out with vice grips hoping that will help.
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  19. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member

    Heyhoney, I relate totally to the daily travails of house and landscaping, I go through the same challenges - hose bibs, fire ants, weeding, etc. - all in addition to pruning approximately 50 English roses, but I would not trade any of it for one moment. I am fortunate as I have been a ballet dancer all my life (I currently teach as a volunteer in elementary school) and am physically able to do the gardening with the help of a neighbor who mows the John Deere and a helper who weed whacks. My husband and I were both artists - he was a photographer and I - a dancer - before we both attended unergraduate and graduate schools and had professional careers. We were ONE - no social network, no family network to rely upon, but we had one son, and our little family was very bonded. A big source of grief for me is that Pierre did so much to prepare our dream house and only had less than 3 1/2 years
    to enjoy it. But, I console myself with the memories and photos of 4 years of enjoyable cross-country trips planning our dream.

    My observations about those who don't mention the subject of our grief is that they are either (a) worried that any references to the loss might hurt the griever; and/or (b) the entire subject is simply outside of their "comfort zone"; or (c) they frankly don't care.

    My married son is very involved with my grandaughter and has a very demanding career. I spent one month bonding with my grandaughter last January and will see her in October and during Christmas. I believe that my son is repressing his grief as his schedule does not allow him to grieve except through his cards and notes to me. I never discuss my grief with him on the several calls we have during the week. There's no point. No one can ever understand the grief that we have over the loss of our soulmate. No one except other soulmates - and God.

    How can anyone but a soulmate understand this type of grief which W.H. Auden described in his poem Funeral Blues:

    He was my North, my South, my East and West,
    My working week and my Sunday rest,
    My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
    I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

    The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
    Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
    Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
    For nothing now can ever come to any good.

    But, Heyhoney, here's the key: We can do more than "survive". We can do that with displaying as many photographs as we want, and having them displayed so that they cannot be missed and never allowing anyone to challenge our way of grieving. We can mention our loved one as often as we wish in conversation. In short, we can do whatever we want in our lives to honor our beloved - and avoid anyone who dares to challenge us.
    Jesus did exactly that: He walked away from the toxic individuals.

    Joan Didion, the writer (now deceased) lost her husand of 45 years, suddenly. She wanted to read W.H. Auden's poem at her husband's funeral but did not, because her daughter objected. I respect Joan Didion's decision but wholly disagree with it, for it was her loss of her beloved, and her daughter had no right to interfere with her mother's decision of mourning. She expressed the poem in her book The Year of Magical Thinking but allowed herself to be denied reciting it at the time that she needed.

    Your grandaughter's secret with you and your experience with the hummingbird are precious events that contradict the last line of W.H. Auden's poem.

    Love and blessings,
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  20. Rose69

    Rose69 Well-Known Member

    Georgine, that's a lovely poem, totally relate to those feelings. You also describe perfectly how people behave towards grievers and practically avoid talking about our lost soulmates. I didn't think it would be that way, I am so disappointed by the way our culture here just avoids talking about loved ones who are no longer here as if they'd never existed, as if they are no longer part of our lives. I want to cry out sometimes, pointing to my left hand where my wedding ring will remain forever, telling people not to talk to me unless they include my husband in the conversation. I know they don't mean to offend, they feel awkward and afraid of hurting us, it's a scary situation for them and they just don't know what to say. If only they knew how this behavior makes us feel even more isolated and lonely in this "new world".
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