Widowed after 40 years

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by John Bruce, Jan 17, 2022.

  1. John Bruce

    John Bruce New Member

    I lost my sweetheart on December 11th. We were holding hands when she passed. I sat there in shock. She had battled Multiple myeloma for 4 years. She was the bravest person I ever met. But near the end she had less fight left. I cared for her st home those 4 years between ER visits, tests, surgeries and such. Now I sit alone at home and weep a lot. I miss her so much. Now I'm so lost, who am I now? Where do I go from here? So many unknowns to face alone!
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  2. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    John, I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful wife. Nothing in life can prepare us for this. It’s so much pain all at once that floods over us when we lose our soul mate, partner, best friend. Our everything. I lost my one and only over 3 years ago, my loss was very sudden and not expected at all. Ron suffered a massive heart attack that took him from our wonderful life in 2 hours. From doing errands and chores around our home to not feeling at 9:30 pm to the realization he was suffering a heart attack. He had all the heart specialists at the hospital working on him, but they couldn’t save him. I lost my husband, best friend, business partner at 11:34 pm. I went into a state of shock, not eating or sleeping, just numb and lost. It’s scary, going from a beautiful full happy life to so alone and lost. John, I know how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. It’s the worst nightmare imaginable. You’ve come to the right place for support and understanding. Everyone on this site gets what your feeling and there’s never any judgement, just support. You’re not alone. Visit this site often, read and share thoughts and stories, it does help. I credit this site for getting me out of my darkest days. It’s only been a month, for you but I’m sure it feels an eternity. I’m still unsure of my purpose, I didn’t find this site until 11 months after Ron passed. I didn’t even search for a support group like this. I was not in a good place at all. The people here have gotten me where I am today. I still miss Ron every minute of every day and I expect I always will. But I’m stronger in many ways. I believe we’re all stronger then we think we are. Not at one month like you are but in time. Down the road, way down the road you’ll have memories that bring a smile, music, tv shows won’t be as hard to watch or listen. What helps me the most is fresh air and staying busy. Just moving to make your blood flow. And don’t think too far in advance. Get through today, or this moment. You’re in my prayers, Robin
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  3. 1guy

    1guy Well-Known Member

    John, I understand, I feel the same things. I lost my wife of 53 years on Nov. 4th. Was her caregiver the last 2 years of her life, she passed in the hospital ICU. Would it have been any better or something at home? Or worse? I don't know, for some reason it's harder to remember the older good times. I am so lost and empty with her gone. I don't feel like the same person because I never will be that person again. Like you I don't know what I'm supposed to do next. I no longer want to stay here, I want to go there. What is there? I don't know what comes next, I just know my days are empty and sad. I read my New Testament, trying to join a grief support group, and thinking about getting a pet. I walked some today, mostly just looked at the sidewalk. Don't think things will get better, but somehow easier to take the days. Don't think you are alone in your feelings and thoughts. I like many others on the GIC site feel and understand what you are going through. This is one of the few places I can go and people understand just how bad I feel. It helps a little, and a little helps. Take care. Rick
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  4. BGreene

    BGreene Member

    Hi John, I'm new here too. Lost my wife of 35 years Sept 28th, 2020. So about 15 months ago. I know exactly how you feel. She was my childhood sweetheart. I was saving a seat for her on the school bus in the 7th grade. I still don't know how to get through a day...they just seem to come and go. You're not alone; you made it here, and that's a very good thing. Look me up if you ever want to talk. I'm a good listener.
  5. Gary166

    Gary166 Well-Known Member

    Hello John and Bgreene. I’m terribly sorry for both of your loses. My name is Gary and I lost my girlfriend Cheryl suddenly and unexpectedly On May 7th this year. The evening before we had a nice meal and watched tv. Cheryl had no known health issues and there were no warning signs. Cheryl died of a cardiac arrest caused by obstructive sleep apnea. For the first 3 months it seemed like I was suffering a serious mental illness. I couldn’t make simple decisions. When I put the truck in gear I had to remind myself to keep my foot on the brake extra hard because I was shifting in reverse when I wanted to go forward. They call that the foggy widow/widowers brain. Cheryl’s death shattered my life into a million pieces. We had only been together 9 years. But those were the best years for both of us. I had never loved anyone like I love Cheryl. I’ve isolated myself mainly because I lost the ability to control my emotions. With in 2 weeks I was at an in person grief support meeting at Visiting Nurses. They only meet twice a month but I stuck with every meeting until the omicron hit. I had a therapist but that didn’t work out and I just started therapy again 2 weeks ago. I finally found GIC in October. Where and who can I talk about my grief to? Hardly anyone. until I found GIC. I’ve lost contact with 75% of family and friends. GIC has been a life saver. Dealing with grief is harder than trying to beat an addiction because it is impossible to abstain from the pain. The pain is what binds the people on GIC together. One of our leaders calls us warriors. We are the grief warriors (TGW). Another one of our leaders says no one should ever grieve alone. That is our mantra. Like Robin said start talking about how you are feeling. We have been there too. We share our experience strengths and hopes with each other along with our pain too. There are less than 20 active members on the loss of spouse thread. We have to use every available resource to survive this. Thanks for listening. Gary
  6. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    John, I am so very sorry about the death of
    your soulmate, so recently. My wife,
    Linda, died suddenly in front of me, 3
    years ago. She was 68. We were married
    25 years. You used the old word, weep,
    which is exactly what I did for months

    after her death, right before Thanksgiving
    3 years ago. She was my best ( & only)
    friend & family. I was in a state of shock,
    & had to see a grief counselor. She suggested Grief in Common (GIC),but I
    wasn't ready. I decided to join at the end of
    July of this year, & it's the best thing I
    could've done. May I ask your sweetheart"s
    name? I find that it helps to invoke her
    name. I miss Linda every day, & I never
    know when "Mr. Grief" ( who Karen here
    called him) will strike. I will choke up &
    cry a little, but not weep as I did before.
    I hope you stay with us on GIC, John.
    God Bless you. Lou

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  7. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Bill, thank you for reaching out to help
    John. I am so sorry about your wife's
    death, after 35 years of marriage. I'm
    about John's age. My wife, Linda, died
    suddenly in front of me 3 years ago. She
    was 68. We were married 25 years .
    As I told John, all I did was weep, the
    first several months.,With help from a
    grief counselor, I miss Linda every
    day, & get choked up at unexpected times,
    but I don't weep uncontrollably like I
    did before. I really hope you stay with us,
    Bill. You have already comforted Lisa &
    John. Looking forward to "talking" with you. Lou
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  8. Countess Joy

    Countess Joy Well-Known Member

    Remembering the ‘older good times’ is hard for me too. Kenn died on Nov 2nd after several years of illness so my loss is near yours.
    Music helps, videos and pictures too but mostly it’s when I’m telling stories of him, of us, that I can tap into the good stuff. It’s often bittersweet but they’re there.
    Kenn was a musician, he loved the blues but had quite a range of styles he played and appreciated. Always eager to help younger artists we often stayed after the clubs had closed down or headed out to all night diners to support and encourage them. It drove me crazy sometimes but I loved that part of him. Is there something about your wife that drove you crazy but loved? ~Bernadine
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  9. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member

    John and Bill,

    I'm getting here late but I want you to know how very sorry I am for the death of your spouses. I HATE!!! saying this so much... Words seem so shallow at times , especially now, but since words are all I have, I hope you know how truly sorry I am. I wish so much you didn't have to find us, but so glad you did. You have already "met" some of my GIC friends, Robin, Rick, Gary, Lou, and Bernadine. Finding GIC, and being brave enough to post my first message, was one of the very best things I've done to help myself, since my husband, Bob's, death. This is a wonderful site, filled with so many caring, loving people..., all who totally "get" the heartbreak that both of you..., all of us are suffering from. This has become my safe place to come to whenever I need to "talk," just "listen," want advice, or a virtual hug. It is a judgement free place, take our advice or leave it, do whatever is best for you. We will be here for you no matter what choices you make. I hope you will stick around, get to "know" us, give us the chance to get to "know" you.

    Very briefly, like John, I was Bob's full time caregiver from the beginning of 2018, until he passed away on April 11, 2011 at 3:45 a.m. Bob suffered from many serious health conditions, all treated as chronic heath problems, by his medical specialists. He was first diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, on February 3, 2009, he suffered a major heart attack, he was misdiagnosed in 2015 with what we were told was a minor medical issue. By the time he was correctly diagnosed with kidney cancer, it had spread to his vena cava and to his lungs. He had to have one of his kidneys removed in a very long procedure. He almost died on the operating table. Between his first diagnoses and the kidney cancer diagnosis, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Prior to the diabetes diagnosis, when serving in the military, he was diagnosed with hearing loss. The very last diagnosis he received was Parkinson's Disease, but this was during the last year of his life, although several of his specialists thought he suffered from Parkinson's way before he was given the official diagnosis. Being Bob's full time caregiver was one of the most difficult, and challenging things I've ever done. I lost myself in the process. All that mattered to me was doing everything I could to take care of Bob the very best I could. Without hesitation, I would do it all over again if I could. Bob was, and always will be, the one true love of my life. I miss him more than I can ever express in words... I need a tissue...

    The biggest thing that kept me going after Bob's death was knowing how much Bob wanted to live, to be on the "right side of the dirt," as he always said. No matter how much pain he was in, Bob found something to be grateful for each and every day that he was on this earth. Life is a gift. I knew then, and know now, that the best way I can honor Bob's memory is by living the best life I possibly can, until it's my time to be reunited with him. I know this would make Bob so proud and happy, just as I believe it would make your spouses, and Ron, Sheila, Cheryl, Linda and Kenn, the one true love of the lives of my GIC friends' who you just met, so proud and happy too.

    Living the best life I possibly can now that Bob is no longer able to be with me physically, is the second most difficult and challenging thing I have to do. I know Bob's death has changed me, I'm not the same person I was prior to his death, or even prior to Bob becoming sick. I'm slowly learning where I fit into this world without being part of a couple, but it SUCKS!!! I'm trying to rediscover who I am, my purpose in life, but this is a very slow process. Lou, who you just met, recommended two very good books to us, the first is "Permission To Mourn: A New Way To Do Grief ,"by Tom Zuba, and the second is "The Widower's Notebook," by Jonathan Santlofer. Tom Zuba wrote a second book called, "Becoming Radiant: A New Way To Do Life Following The Death Of A Beloved. Tom Zuba's wife, his daughter, and one of his son's died. Jonathan Santlofer's wife, Joy died. While all three books are excellent, I found Zuba's books to be the most helpful for me. I keep copies of his books on my nightstand and refer to them often. They are short and very easy to read. This is a good thing, since I have what Gary already mentioned, that widow foggy brain!!! Santlofer's book is very sad, it's basically a biography written about what he went through after Joy's death. There are many chapters in his book that I can relate to. Both Zuba and Santlofer found ways to move forward, to keep healing, and have found meaning and happiness in life. The advice in these books is priceless. One last thing, Lou doesn't recommend reading Jonathan's book before bed. It's very sad and can be hard to read at times.

    I'm way beyond exhausted, both physically and emotionally. Grieving would suck all the life right out of me if I let it. It's a daily struggle with Mr. Grief (Gary already told you that another GIC friend, Karen, referred to grief in this way, and she had such a wonderful way of expressing herself, that now, all of us refer to grief, as Mr. Grief). Stopping here (for now). Once I start "talking," sometimes I can keep right on going and going and going, outlasting even that "Energizer Bunny."

    Once again, I'm so very sorry you had to find us, but so glad you did. I'm looking forward to getting to "know" the you much better.

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

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Deb, Bob was a true American soldier,
    in every way. As long as I've known you,
    I didn't know all the details of his
    suffering. My wife, Linda, could never
    understand why a good person like
    Bob, had to go through hell, or, an
    innocent child ( like 2 of Zuba's children)
    had to die. I had no answer, just like I
    have no answer why Linda died
    suddenly infront of me that day. In spite
    of your grueling care for Bob, 24/7 , you
    & he had uncondional love for each other,
    just as the marriage vows say," in
    sickness & in health .....". Even though
    Linda's last months , she was sedentary,
    she enjoyed watching movies or TV
    series with me. When she was in the
    hospital, & then,the rehab unit of the
    nursing home, she would still watch TV,
    with or without me. Her intelligence
    and wit were with her to the end. I
    would love to have Linda back with me
    physically, " on a heartbeat", as she used
    to say, and I would care for her again.
    Because that won't happen in this
    lifetime, I will honor her memory by
    trying to be healthy & even happy, as she
    made me promise one day. Lou
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  11. Debra M

    Debra M Well-Known Member

    John, my name is Debra, and I'm so very sorry. I know how much pain and grief that you have been feeling. I just lost my husband last Friday. And I feel so lost as well. And I have also been sitting in the house alone weeping alot also. My husband and I had gone through so much with throat cancer... he beat it, only to die of complications of chemotherapy and radiation... so I know exactly what you have been through. If you need someone to reach out to, I will be that person. Please feel free to message me anytime.
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  12. DEB321

    DEB321 Well-Known Member


    Thank you for your heartfelt response. It brought tears to my eyes, but mostly in a good way... Just like Linda, I struggle to understand why Bob, Linda, children, etc., etc., etc. had to go through so much suffering prior to passing away. Tom Zuba believes that we are on this earth exactly as long as we need to be, until we fulfill our purpose in life. He believes that God takes us at exactly the right moment. I often struggle with this, and the last time I visited my good friend, who became a widow a little over two years ago, we talked about this at length, over a bottle of wine.

    My friend said that maybe her husband, and Bob, were on this earth long enough, to give both of us the strength to become better versions of ourselves. I had to think about this for a very long time... I'm still thinking ... trying to process this..., but and this is another one of those really BIG BUTS!!!, Zuba says that if we can accept that our loved ones are here just long enough, we will be able to continue healing. My discussion with my good friend, and Zuba's beliefs, are beginning to make sense to me, although it's still hard for me to fully understand why Linda, Bob, my good friend's husband, and so many of TGW one true love of their lives, had to go through so much suffering before God took them. It makes me so very sad..., way more sad than I can express in words..., if Linda, Bob's, and so many others' purpose on earth, could not be completed until they endured as much pain and suffering as they did. I NEVER!!! would have wanted!!!, TU!!! for Bob to have to sacrifice so much, in order for me to be able to become a better version of myself. I need another tissue... I'm not sure if any of this makes sense, but I'm going to post it anyway.

    Having said all of this, the one thing that I think I'm going to have to fully accept in order for me to continue healing, is that Bob was taken at exactly the right moment. If I can't find a way to fully accept this, I don't think I'll ever be able to get past all the total heartbreak of watching him go through so much pain and suffering. I know, deep inside, that Bob, if he was able to, would probably tell me that he would go through all of it again, if it meant that it would help me become a better version of myself. I know he loved me this much... I need another tissue...

    Even though it made me cry, your heartfelt is so beautiful... Thank you for the very kind and very much appreciated things you said about Bob. Bob was, and always will be, my hero..., my knight in shining armor... You and Linda, Bob and I, shared unconditional love for each other. Unconditional love is one of the most special and wonderful feelings in the entire world. We are very fortunate to have experienced unconditional love in our marriages, something that not all people are able to experience. Linda and Bob will always hold the biggest place in our hearts..., love is eternal.

    I am so happy that you are doing your best to honor Linda's memory by taking the very best care of yourself, both physically and emotionally, by doing all you can to try to find happiness. I am doing my best to honor Bob's memory in this way too. I know we are making both Linda and Bob so proud of us..., so happy...

    As always, sending you lots of hugs, wishing you peace, all of us peace. DEB
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  13. Debra M

    Debra M Well-Known Member

    And I wanted to add more to my message earlier... I know that the pain we are feeling hurts so very deeply... and

    And in addition to my earlier message I want to say that I know the pain hurts so very deeply... and you l, like myself, were a caregivers for our spouses, and that we did show how much we loved them, and that is something we can always hold onto. Take care, and stay safe always...
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  14. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    My dear Deb. I'm glad my post honored
    Bob's courage, and your love for each
    other. As his loving caregiver, Deb, you
    exhibited Hemingway's definition of
    courage : grace under pressure. When
    you quoted Zuba, I was thinking that my
    marriage to Linda made me a better man.
    Her death made me a kinder, more
    compassionate one. My belief in God
    became stronger after her death. I don't
    think there are coincidences. I believe
    that God brought me to GIC, where I
    was welcomed by TGW. My purpose in
    life is to carry on the kindness Linda had
    toward other people who were kind to us.
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  15. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Bill, I recall "talking" with you at the end of
    July, 2021, when I joined this wonderful
    site. What was your wife's name? My
    wife, Linda, died suddenly, in front of me,
    3 & a half years ago, as I just told Susan.
    She was 68. We were married 25 years,
    no children. Thank you for reaching out to
    Susan, to comfort her. I'm glad you're
    still with us on GIC. Lou
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  16. BGreene

    BGreene Member

    My soulmate was Carla. An amazing woman by any definition, thank you for asking. I'm still here, although I'm usually only in the chat room. I've made friends there, and it's good to talk with them. Every so often I read a forum post and remember the all-consuming gut punch of some of my days. Those are fewer now, but when they come they still pack a wallop. I hope you are well Lou.
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  17. Debra M

    Debra M Well-Known Member

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  18. Debra M

    Debra M Well-Known Member

    Hi Bill, my name is Debra, and I just want to say that I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my husband nearly 3 months ago, and so I know exactly how you and the other GW here feels. I try to stay busy, but I still take each day one day at a time. And I'm so glad you found GIC, there are very empathetic and supportive people on this site. And I hope that you will have some peaceful days. And please feel free to reach out to me anytime. Take care always
  19. Debra M

    Debra M Well-Known Member

    Good morning Deb, and hopefully you have been having some peaceful days. I'm back now, after taking a break, and I just wanted to say that you as well as everyone here have been in my thoughts. Take care always
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  20. Van Gogh

    Van Gogh Well-Known Member

    Bill, thank you so much for answering me,
    and telling me Carla's name. Your word,
    amazing, to describe her. is how I feel
    about Linda, who was the smartest,
    funniest, and most loving woman I ever
    knew. We met & married in our mid 40s,
    first marriage for both of us. It was as if we
    waited for each other. I find that by saying
    her name, quoting her funny phrases to
    friends & strangers alike, that I keep her
    spirit alive . I do the same on GIC. The
    other Grief Warriors ( GW), as I call us,
    also share stories about their soulmates.
    I m not on the chat room, so I'm glad I
    found you and Susan on here this am. Lou
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