My last five and a half years

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by Jen H, Jan 9, 2022.

  1. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Once again, Georgine, I'm touched that
    you were affected by my story about
    consoling a younger widower, even though
    it was so intense that it made me cry. Like
    you, my spiritual faith in God has
    sustainedme. Also like you, I don't believe
    in coincidences, and that God put people
    in my life now, both on & off GIC. Lou
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  2. Rose69

    Rose69 Well-Known Member

    Hi Louster Travolta, are you still up? I bet you've just returned from your Friday Night Fever with all those ladies queueing up to dance with you.
    I got up at about 7am this morning, which is late for me, compared to those 4am/5am wake ups! In fact, I can feel that I've rested more, slept better, unfortunately this happens rarely.
    Wishing you a good night.
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  3. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Yes, Rose, I'm still up,after my Lou Travolta
    act. I can't believed I've "morphed" , as you
    & DEB say, into a more fun man who
    enjoys the moment. After different
    health scares , which reminded me I'm
    in the "Autumn of my years" , as Sinatra
    sings, I've decided to act younger. One
    dance partner noted my smile, and said I
    looked 10 yrs younger than I am, which
    made my day. I'm getting ready to sleep,
    after reading "books" by Georgine, where
    you put a "LIKE" . So glad you were able
    to sleep later , Rose. Sleep is a blessing.
    Pleasant dreams for both of us, Lou T.
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  4. Deborah A.

    Deborah A. Well-Known Member

    :rolleyes:Good morning Rose, Georgine, and anyone else who is listening~

    I read your stories and your post, and it absolutely resonated with me. If feel as if losing my husband, Steve, has opened several doors for me. One that I am always reluctant to talk about is the eternal nature of love. In so many ways, his absence has been overwhelmingly huge and persistent. But on the flip side of that, it also feels like he is everywhere. And that is painful and comforting, simultaneously.
    The summer before he died, we all went to Yellowstone, and it was a wonderful vacation, but he struggled throughout the trip. He was out of breath and exhausted after brief walks. I regret so many things that I did and didn't suggest. The journey to a diagnosis was not long, but I have so many regrets--questions I didn't ask the doctor, continuing to work instead of talking with him about it (I assumed he would want me to work, just because of his work ethic), so I couldn't be spending time with him and helping him during the horrific chemo and his terrifying reaction to the drugs intended to boost his immunity and white blood cells. He was alone during so much of that because I was trying to keep teaching. That was so foolish. He was in and out of the hospital, frequently because he was sitting in his recliner, unresponsive, or because, for the final time, he dropped to the floor with a pulmonary embolism. I didn't help him or loved him the way that I should have. I can never stop regretting that, because my precious time on earth with him is over now, forever.

    Since then, I have been loved and welcomed by widows and a few kindly widowers, many other grievers and people who just have profound empathy. I have been so grateful. I feel as though my heart has crossed the abyss of death, and it is bridging it. I am here, and I am there. Steve is here and he is there. It is simultaneously comforting and painful to know that I can really touch him, but yet I feel him near me all of the time. My grief has changed so much in the past four years, but one thing I know is that listening to other's stories helped me, so hopefully maybe my story will help someone. I also have learned that I can feel loved and accepted and supported by people here who I have never met and possibly never will meet. We all know the terror of losing our loved ones, and the possibility of going forward.

    I read a post by Jen, and I tried to reply to it, and when I clicked on that, my screen opened and it looks like I am in a different play. Jen--you are in the valley of the shadow of death, as we all are here. We're comforting each other, hopefully, and you. Death changes us, without question. During this difficult time, remember to be gentle with yourself. Eat nutritious meals, find support (visit here), get sleep, take walks, find something each day to look forward to. Write. Journal. Remember that love never dies. Love, hugs and comfort to you in your journey--and to all.
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  5. Deborah A.

    Deborah A. Well-Known Member

    Oh my gosh, I don't know how that weird face got there! I am sorry. Another fumble.
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  6. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member

    Lou and Rose,

    Lou: Thank you for your heartfelt note. I am deeply moved by your statement to me about Linda's love. When I had read your previous post about your bringing Linda's cane to the dance club, words cannot describe the feelings that I had while reading your words. Linda's cane was a tangible symbol of her joining you on the dance floor. What an exquisite expression of love!
    It is so good that you are dancing Lou. The physical expenditure of energy has enormous advantages for your health.

    Rose: Thank you for your beautiful message. The parish priest is not just saying platitudes. He is correct. It is okay to be angry with God. He understands your anger, because He knows how much you loved - and love - your C. We have free will. We are born. We live. We die. We are God's children, and just like a good and loving parent who understands the child who shows anger, He understands. Before my tragedy befell me, I saw a very brief video of a people singing their hearts out in Italian from a balcony of a hospital somewhere in Italy. They sung beautifully - from an opera which I don't recall - but I remember sending it to acquaintances in California who I thought would appreciate it. They did not. No surprise, there. But the important point was that I did and others did, as well, I am sure. So, I suppose in life, we just need to accept the disappointments and rejoice in our appreciation of life and our achievements. Thank you, Rose, for being here. My achievement was expressing; your achievement was responding.
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  7. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I watched the excellent video Georgine mentioned two times. Just like you and Lou, and so many others, I can relate to "turning a page in a book, but never closing that book." F*ck!!! the law, I will always be married to Bob, and no matter how many chapters I have left, he will always be a BIG!!! part of each one of them. Having said this, I had to take off my wedding ring soon after Bob passed away. Just like one of the two women in the video, wearing my wedding ring caused the floodgates to open... It was a way too painful, constant reminder, that Bob will never be able to come home (physically).

    Like you and Lou, I can't look at our wedding pictures, our honeymoon pictures, or at the zillions of pictures we took over the years of our family and friends, celebrating birthdays, holidays, graduations, enjoying vacations, etc, etc, etc. ... We have so many pictures, a visual documentary of our lives. Many of them are in albums, but there are still boxes of them in the guest bedroom, still waiting to be organized, and put into albums. It's a project Bob and I said we would complete as soon as we retired. Bob's health spiraled downhill rapidly after we moved to SC, and when we had the time, both of us were too exhausted to tackle this project.

    This was something we looked forward to doing together. We would have had so much fun reminiscing, laughing over all those "remember whens," and also over all those private moments, just between the two of us, the moments that now make me feel like a part of my history, a part of myself, has vanished forever... The moments that I don't want to share with anyone else. The moments that were once so very beautiful, so very special, that now make me feel so very lonely, whenever I think about them...

    I will always regret that Bob and I didn't tackle this project together. Just "talking" about this is making me teary eyed... I know it makes no sense beating myself up over this rationally, but, and this is another one of those really BIG!!! BUTS!!!, emotionally I don't think I'll ever feel better about this, TUTTAM!!!

    As always, sending you lots of hugs and love, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
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  8. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    No words of wisdom, no advice, just sending you a GIANT!!! virtual hug, all the way from TUTTAMVILLE.

    Sending you and Winky, lots more hugs and love, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB & Skye
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  9. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I'm teary eyed reading this... Although all those "should haves," "would haves," "could haves," serve no useful purpose, so many of us continue to beat ourselves up over them. It SUCKS!!! The important thing is that Steve knew you loved him, Bob knew I loved him. This is what matters most!!! I know "talking" about this rationally doesn't help. Feelings are feelings. Period.

    Maybe in time, if we keep telling each other about all those "should haves," would haves," could haves," they'll lose some of their power over us. While I want to be optimistic, I'm not sure if this is possible for me. However, I can (almost) hear Bob telling me to be happy, that he knows I did the very best I could, given the circumstances." I bet Steve would feel the same way if he could only tell you.

    Remember, both you and I were going through the very darkest days of our lives too. I felt I needed to be strong for Bob. I did my very best to take the very best care of him I possibly could. In the process, I think I temporarily lost my sense of self. I stopped taking care of myself. My only purpose was to do whatever I could to help Bob in every way I possibly could. I know if I could go back in time, there are lots of things I would have done differently.

    You and I needed to be supported, taken care of too. We were carrying way too much on our shoulders, but unable to lighten the load. We were under stress 24/7, yet on top of all of this, we had to make so many important decisions, without having enough sleep, without anyone who hasn't been in our shoes, able to understand the intense, never ending stress, and heartbreak, of watching the one true love of their lives, go through so much suffering and pain.

    Wanting to end this on a much more positive note, just as you feel Steve's presence 24/7, I feel Bob's presence 24/7. I believe Steve and Bob are always with us, always watching over us. Like you, I find this so very comforting, but also so very bittersweet... I would give anything in the entire world, if I could hug Bob just once more...

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post with us. Although I HATE!!! that you, all of TGW, our GIC "family," have to be here, have to "get" it, it helps knowing that the feelings I have, are shared by so many of us, that I'm not losing my mind. I don't believe in coincidences. I believe God meant for the TGW, our GIC "family," to meet, to become a source of comfort and support for each other, as we continue to do our very best to move forward, in this over the top, f*ucked up, bittersweet world, we've been thrown into.

    Sending you lots of hugs and love, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
  10. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Oh, man, Debster, you got me choked up
    again with your latest compassionate
    "book" to Deb, when you said you wish you
    "could hug Bob one more...". Though I don't
    have the "hug dreams" about Linda, as I'm
    waking up, causing me to weep, I sometimes long to hug her, kiss her, tell
    her I miss her , love her, and that my spirit
    will be reunited with hers someday. Lou
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  11. Deborah A.

    Deborah A. Well-Known Member

    Dear Deb,

    Thank you for reframing this for me~ once again! Right now, I’m agonizing over whether I should keep treating one of my two cats for hyperthyroidism, and I often think of the joy you share about your sweet Skye. I hope I’m spelling it correctly. The best thing any of us can do is sprinkle our lives with joy. I don’t have (and never did have) the confidence to go out dancing or clubbing. I honestly don’t even know what that means. But it does bring me joy to be welcomed here! It’s a refuge and a relief to chat with you (and everyone. I picture you sitting with a cup of coffee or tea and holding your dog in your lap. It’s safe, loving and cozy. It’s a little bit of joy for my day!! ❤️ Thank you Deb. Hugs, love and furry comforts to you—and to all!
  12. Rose69

    Rose69 Well-Known Member

    Georgine, thank you for your kind, comforting words. I got the "shivers" and teary-eyed when you talked about watching Italian people singing from their balconies. You probably saw these videos during the Covid pandemic, where everyone all over the country sang outside their balconies, all at the same time, especially from hospitals where all the Covid patients were. I remember watching these scenes on TV together with my C and we were so moved,and I'm now sitting here alone, crying and asking him where is he now? How can he just disappear and no longer exist?

    I'm so glad you are here with us, too,Georgine.
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  13. Rose69

    Rose69 Well-Known Member

    Deborah, I was touched reading your post. These regrets we have are so painful but we really must try to put them aside, we couldn't predict what would happen, we are human beings, and that means we are not perfect and we cannot forsee the future. I hate myself for not doing enough, not behaving like I should have, how I wish I could turn back the clock. You shouldn't blame yourself for continuing to teach when your Steve was ill, like you say, he wouldn't have wanted you to stop, and I can see that you loved each other very much and always will. I agree with you about this site being a refuge, I feel I can say anything I want here and will not be judged, I will be understood,unlike other people in our "real" lives, who just keep telling us to "move on" and "these things happen"!! Well, I won't accept that these things happen, I will continue "wallowing" (as outsiders who don't "get it" may say) as much as I want. We are all warriors on this unwanted battlefield, helping each other to stand up again whenever we stumble and we will keep on fighting, like Lou says, without leaving anyone behind.

    Sending you a hug.
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  14. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Rose, for quoting me again.
    Funny thing is that, with my foggy
    widower's brain , I sometimes forget
    the words I used, and am strangely
    moved by own words.! Lou
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  15. Deborah A.

    Deborah A. Well-Known Member

    Dear Rose, thank you for your gentle kindness. Since I have had the opportunity to stand at the doorway between life and death, I have met people like you. I believe you live in Italy, which is one of the last places Steve and I visited together. You are amazingly brave for living there!! Maybe someday I will have the courage to fly there and have a cappuccino with you. You seem to live with carpe diem in your heart. And I am sorry that I forgot your husband’s name. But I know he would want you to be living your life this way. Life is insanely short! And there you are, living in Italy!!
    How do we truly move forward and forgive ourselves for all of the things we know we could have done differently? I guess I am stuck on this and it’s what I am trying to navigate. I know life is fleeting. So I want each moment to be fulfilled. I hope that I am making sense. I want you to know that I’m happier because of YOU. I want you to feel my gratitude and love for your kindness. And I want you to know that you have helped me through this process. I’m a long way down the road. I’m four years down this road. It reminds me again and again that love never dies. That is huge, and you are an angel.
  16. eyepilot13

    eyepilot13 Well-Known Member

    I'm around somewhere... doin' something... I don't know what! Peace my friends!
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  17. Georgine

    Georgine Well-Known Member

    Deborah, Deb and Rose, my heart goes out to each one of you and mourns with you. Everything you write I feel deeply and long to comfort you. I have had the same regrets and guilt over what I should have done or did not do. Norman Wright, a widower and grief counselor, wrote in his book "Reflections of a Grieving Spouse" that the negative feelings/experiences/memories xling tenaciously, and that the good memories tend to recede.

    One month after my loss, I began a catalog of my memories. In a file on my computer, I state the date and underneath type "Memories" and under that word type "Us - " or "You - " .... and the memory. The retrieval of the memory and physical act of recording it gives me the comfort of knowing that I have this treasure trove safe and sound. I do this before memories become fugitive. To ensure that I don't forget before I am onto another project with my work, the house, the dogs, the bird, the garden and the ballet students, I try to record as soon as I can. This; in addition to the mountains of photographs taken over 40 years. Like Deb, I wish that my soulmate and I had taken the time to sit and review more of them than we did. But, at least we have them, don't we, Deb? I think what we have to keep striving to see is the entire landscape of our life with our beloved soulmate. Rejoice in what you did and know that your love for Bob, Steve and C propelled you to do your best which you did at that time without knowing what tomorrow would bring. To think, Deb, that you made the trip to Yellowstone with Steve knowing how difficult it would be for both of you. You did it for love of Steve ,and Steve did it for love of you. You would not have gone without Steve. Pierre and I and our son went to Yellowstone in 2017, and I am so grateful that we did.
    Like the Desiderata poem which states "Strive to be happy" - we need to strive to remember the treasured memories and not the difficult days which we could not predict. As Rose said in her comforting post, we are only human.
  18. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member

    Lou and Rose,

    I'm lol reading this message. Louster, you have said so many over the top helpful, supportive, and comforting things to all of us, that I think it's wonderful that you're moved by your own words. Foggy widow brain is with me 24/7. Rose, backing up a bit, to the thread started by Joeys#1, as you said to me, I'm not sure if it was you either, who told Joeys#1 (I only know her screen name), how important it is to let those tears flow when we need to. However, it doesn't really matter who said what, to her, when, (If you can follow what I'm trying to say, it's a mini miracle, lol... I NEED!!! more caffeine, and have trouble functioning without mega hits, especially when I'm over the top exhausted, like I am now!!!, TUTTAM!!!), the important, truly amazing thing, is that we're all here to support, and comfort each other, just as God meant for us to be. Yikes!!!, TUTTAM!!!, it's a good thing George who either majored in English, or taught English, or both, at one time, has already forgiven me for all my run on sentences, and poor grammer, lol!!!

    TGW are the absolute best!!! I feel so very blessed that God meant for me to find this over the top amazing site, not only stick around, but, and this is another one of those really BIG!!! BUTS!!!, make some of the very best friends in my entire life, who I've never met in person, lol!!! If someone told me prior to Bob's death, that I would make such good friends, just by "talking" in an online support group, I would have told that person that he/she was totally bonkers!!!, the cracked Froot Loop in the bottom of the box, lol... I believe with all my heart that God gives us what we need to make it through the very darkest, most challenging times, in our lives.

    When I first found this site, I didn't have much faith in God. All I could think of was how could God let Bob, and so many others suffer so much, before He decided it was their time to leave earth. If my brain isn't too full of cobwebs this morning, I think Tom Zuba discussed this in his first book, "Permission To Mourn." He said once God decides we've fulfilled our purpose on earth, it's time for us to leave earth, or something similar to this. For the longest time, I had trouble with this. Then, I realized it was God, giving me the strength I need, to not only survive by myself, in this totally crazy f*cked up world we've been thrown into, but also the "tools' I need to morph into a new version of myself, now that Bob and I will never be together again (physically). I still don't understand why so many people have to suffer prior to dying, but, and this is another one of those really BIG!!! BUTS!!!, I now trust God has a reason for this too, although I doubt I'll ever understand it. Maybe someday, as I'm approaching the end of my life, this will be made clear to me. However, I'm no longer in any rush to find out!!!, TUTTAM!!! All I know is that my belief in God continues to strengthen, the longer it's been, since Bob passed away.

    I'm doing it again, taking what I started out thinking would be a short post, maybe not with as many words of wisdom as Karen is able to pack into her one sentence posts, but still a short one. I think it might have morphed into another one of my books, lol... Stopping here to pour another cup of caffeine. The miserable on and off weather we've had for the past three days (? foggy widow brain strikes again), is morphing into a beautiful sun filled day. Backing up a bit, of course this didn't happen until after Skye and I took our first walk right after sunrise, and came home soaked, lol... To my credit, the radar map showed heavy thunderstorms were quickly approaching, and that it was going to pour until about 10 a.m. No way could Sky have waited that long, even by doing the doggie potty dance, with all four paws crossed, lol... Just goes to show, I should NEVER!!!, TUTTAM!!!, trust the weather... Enough of this!!! Stopping here.

    Sending you lots of hugs and love, wishing you peace, all of us peace, all the way from TUTTAMVILLE, Debanator and Skye Queen
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  19. Deborah A.

    Deborah A. Well-Known Member


    I confess that I feel like a technological idiot using this site—I click reply and sometimes my screen jumps. So then, I feel like my grandmother, wondering who will see or get this message. Sorry, Grandma. I do miss you. Anyway. If I just had a good old selectric typewriter, I’d be set.

    Someone at my local grief group said the guilt is just something we all have to work through. I’m completely new on this site here, but four years into the abyss of grief. It’s changing, but I still find myself bogged down by guilt. It’s like a tar baby. I believe Steve would tell me to let it go. Well, that's not how tar babies work. (Oh how I wish he could say that to me here in person!) Most days, especially now when one of our two cats is struggling, how I wish I could lean on him— or we could lean on each other. It made life better. We divided our burdens and multiplied our joys. Hugs, love and comfort to all on the journey. ❤️
  20. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    I LOVE!!! your attitude!!!, TUTTAM!!! We might never be able to forgive ourselves for not doing things differently, but, and this is another one of those really BIG!!! BUTS!!!, I think it IS!!! possible to move forward, to experience a life laced with happiness and sadness, even if we haven't forgiven ourselves for the way we handled things in the past. I think I will always regret some of the choices I made while I was caring for Bob, but, there is NO!!! way to go back in time, we can only move forward. I can hear the chorus to that old song by Joni Mitchell, "The Circle Game," playing over and over and over again, in my mind, as I'm "talking" to you.

    Guilt is a useless emotion. Wallowing in guilt, is the equivalent of wasting whatever precious time we have left on earth. By wanting, as you said, "each moment to be fulfilled," you are honoring Steve's memory, in what I think is the very best way possible. Steve would want you to be happy, to experience all the wonderful things that this world has to offer, to truly appreciate the time you have left on earth, before being reunited with him for eternity...

    You're doing all the hard work grieving is forcing you to do. I believe with all my heart, Steve is so very proud of the person who you're morphing into, now that he can't be with you (physically).

    As always, sending you lots of hugs and love, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB & Skye