I’m 38 and lost my husband Thursday to rectal cancer

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by Erikajones38, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Erikajones38

    Erikajones38 New Member

    I feel so lost, so sad, so empty. I ignore everyone that tries to reach out, I just lay here in our bed in the very spot I watched my husband take his last breath in. He was just 42 years old, we have 5 children our oldest is due to have our first grandchild in just 5 weeks. The world is moving and I’m frozen in time. People talk and all I hear is his voice and his laugh. This pain is the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Life has I’ve known if the last 22 years just came crashing down
  2. Jewelz

    Jewelz Member

    Hi Erika, so very sorry. I lost my 47 yr old husband of 25 years in January unexpectedly & seemingly preventable. One of our sons is getting married in May. Has your grand baby been born yet? Our children & grandchildren are our husbands legacy, they are the very best part of him. We are amputated but I hope your kids & grand baby give you purpose. Go through the valley of the shadow of death, don’t stop -keep going one day one hour at a time. With Gods strength & comfort keep going and I’ll do the same.
    Eve Rosa and Feeling alone like this.
  3. Beccy

    Beccy Active Member

  4. Beccy

    Beccy Active Member

    I’m so sorry for your loss, I too have lost my husband he was only 43, I’m 38 he had a short battle with cancer and he fought so hard, but in the end he lost his fight. I agree with you completely, I feel as if the whole world is going on by and life as I know it has been completely shattered in two. I still don’t know how to cope on my own, we were insecure, always together and now I’ve lost my husband and my whole world. I’m thinking of you.
  5. Sandra Barrett

    Sandra Barrett New Member

    I lost my husband in October, 2018. He battled Multiple Myeloma for a year and a half. He fought hard and like no one I have ever seen. And I am a nurse. I miss him every day. I feel sad and I feel guilty. Guilty because I should have spent more time just laying by his side letting him know and feel that love. And I am faithful, but I want a sign that he is alright. And happy. This is so hard.
    patricia k likes this.
  6. Beccy

    Beccy Active Member

    I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s really hard. My husband too was the bravest man I have ever known, not once did he complain. I am really stressed to cope without him, I just don’t know how to cope with out him now, I’m so alone and scared.
  7. Beccy

    Beccy Active Member

  8. DJF

    DJF Member

    Dear Erica and all,
    My heart goes out to you and I know exactly how you are feeling. After a 6 month battle against an aggressive colorectal cancer, my wife died on March 18, 2019 and while we knew the disease was terminal, we were led to believe we had a few months and it turned out to be days. We had been married for nearly 36 years (over half our lives) and nothing prepared me for the way I feel every day. We (when will I ever stop saying we ?) have two grown sons. The elder lives an hour and a half away, is married and has a 3 month old boy which thankfully my wife saw before she died. The younger boy is in the Armed Forces and comes home when he is on leave but most of the time, I am alone in the house apart from the dogs.
    My mood fluctuates a number of times each day and at best, I feel like half a person living life by numbers. I am singing all the right notes but I cannot hear any song. But I force myself to do the things I need to do - walk dogs, housework, washing, ironing, cooking - and try to keep busy. That's the best it gets. And out of the blue, I feel waves of utter desolation sweeping over me and tears roll down my cheeks and sometimes I almost howl with the pain. She should be here enjoying the Spring weather and seeing her grandson grow up and enjoying life. That kills me the most. And then there is the emptiness I feel and the the feelings of regret I have as I conjure up all the ways I could have been a better husband in our 36 year marriage. When she was ill, I was her primary carer and I mostly went into "task" mode as I cooked and tried to get her to eat. I spent more time arguing with her over the need to eat than I did telling her that I loved her. And I want to hold her, and stroke her hair and tell her that I love her and that she was the best thing that ever happened to me and I know that I never can (although I had told her those things in the past). And the mood eventually passes until the next time. I spent 2 hours this afternoon fixed an outside light and that was a useful thing to do as well as a distraction but at the end of it, there was no one there to share my "triumph" with.
    So that is what life is like for me but through this site and other online resources, I am at least discovering that I am not alone and that my feelings are normal. I read somewhere (maybe on this site) that you never get over it, you just get used to it and that has the ring of truth about it. And people and friends are well-meaning but they really don't know (unless they have lost a spouse) how it feels. But I know I have to force myself to take up their offers of help because the alternative (for me anyway) is to isolate and I know how destructive that can be. So I plod along trusting that at some future time, I will start hearing "the song" and the pain will ease somewhat. If I had a belief in the afterlife, maybe that would help, but I am afraid that for me death is final and that there is no second chance for me to do better despite me wishing that that was the case. But I can hear my wife saying "pull yourself together" and then I focus on the fact that I have 2 sons who have lost their mother and a grandson and at the moment, I am really living my life for them and I talk to my wife to try to know what I should do. That's it and I have no idea if this is of any help. If anyone has any advice or pointers to other topics in this site that might help, please point me at them. With much love, djf
    patricia k likes this.
  9. Winifred

    Winifred Member

    DIF it amazes me how we all tell basically the same story yet it seems there is no one we know who can help. i lost my husband 2 years ago and i isolate myself more and more. although i am retirement age i think my job is probably a good distraction for now. of course i never think that in the morning when i have to get up and leave my dogs. i have 2 adult children and i tell them often that i'm sorry i'm not the mom i used to be or the mom they deserve. they are amazing at never making me feel guilty and assure me they understand but worry....they truly are wonderful people. if you think you would like reading a true story of another widowers experience at the loss of his wife it’s called The Widowers Notebook by jonathan sandlofer. i have read many books and personal stories about grief and that book is my favorite. most everything i’ve read, many of us feel guilt for some reason. i would love to tell you life goes back to normal but i would be a liar. of course we all have different lives but losing our spouses make us the same. its all so confusing. ill be thinking of you. im so sorry you have been handed this journey and pain at the loss of your wife. im truly sorry....Wini
  10. DJF

    DJF Member

    Dear Wini,
    Thank you for taking the time to write and I may get a copy of the Widower's Notebook but before I do, can you tell me if it simply tells me stuff I know already from experience of reading forums or does it describe a gradual process of some sort of healing and in particular, what the author did (if anything) for the healing to work ? It is so hard to actually know what I want (apart from the one thing that is impossible) but I would like to know how people in similar situations coped and how the pain eased or became manageable.
    Where I live there are two people close to my age (I'll be 70 next birthday); one is a man who lost his wife nearly 5 years ago and the other is a woman who lost her husband also about 5 years ago. I talk to both of them regularly and I know I am lucky to have people on my doorstep to whom I can relate somewhat. The man told me yesterday that he cried every day for the first 2 years and while I haven't asked the woman about this, she has told me that while things sort of heal (she described it something like a gaping wound that does over time get better), she can still be overcome by some memory or event.
    I am retired so I do not have the distraction of work and that means I have more time to fill and be left with my thoughts and that isn't so good. I do feel that my route to some sort of healing involves me having to make the effort not to isolate and force myself to (a) accept any invitation out that is going (I haven't been universally successful with this) and (b) initiate contact (and this also doesn't come naturally to me), Right now I find myself thinking that while I want people to call me, I don't really want to call them. Does that make any sort of sense ? I try to do enough physical activity during the day that I sleep OK but more often than not, I find myself dozing in the armchair in front of the TV in the evening, to be woken by the dogs at about midnight and then spending 2 hours online, going to bed at 2 am and up again at 6:30. The dogs are getting more walks than they ever have had ! The past few mornings have been pretty bad since I rarely see anyone on the morning dog walk and I am left alone with my thoughts and that isn't great. But I am discovering that during the rest of the day when I have to be "busy" I can slip into a sort of "neutral zone" for a lot of the time as I get on with the task at hand - gardening, ironing, etc. - and time does indeed pass. I have the radio on in pretty much every room since I really don't like the silence and this is talk radio (BBC Radio 4) but to be honest, this isn't new behaviour for me. I find that I can't really listen to music since that provides lots of triggers to break down so I prefer the talk even when it is annoying (not all Radio 4 is good).
    Tonight (last night to be accurate since this is now 02:05) I was invited to an event by an old friend of my wife and to be honest, I normally would not have gone to it but it was OK and I didn't break down or find myself thinking that I am really different from all of them (a thought that comes sometimes when I am with couples that I have known for years). And it was a kind gesture on behalf of my wife's friend. A thought that has recently occurred to me is that part of the "healing process" (and I don't really like that term but it will do) is to become in some ways a different person to the one I have been/am now. I have read about this but I am just starting to think that this may be true and to be honest I find that thought frightening but then again, I find most change (or the thought of change) a bit scary at the moment.
    That's it from me and I really must go to bed.
    I found the following from Grief in Common helpful -
    and also the following from another grief forum I found -

    Take care Wini. My heart goes out to you.
  11. Winifred

    Winifred Member


    The author of The Widowers Notebook still misses his wife. Actually, I sent an email and told him how much his book helped me. He said he almost stopped writing the book but knowing it helped someone, he was glad he finished. He is an accomplished artist, lives in New York and the book shared several of his drawings. His emails were very kind. My husband was a popular jazz singer here in Columbus, Ohio so we were able to connect about artists; he is very humble. Because Dwight was a singer, I cannot listen to music. The author is just like us, lost, confused, lonely and sometimes angry.

    To answer your question, he has no answers how to heal but his story is just like ours, he lost his wife and is incredibly sad.

    I am definitely a different person and have accepted that this is who I am now.I’m not going to ever be who I was. How can we be when part of us is missing? I’m just so sorry that you are on this journey. I feel the same as you; you are not alone out here. There are people like us everywhere but does that make us feel better? Sometimes. If you have people who will talk about your wife with you that is great. That is something good for me. I love talking about Dwight. I cry but I still love talking about him. You will find what is comforting and helpful for you. It will take some time for you to figure it out but you will. Eventually, you will not cry everyday. Eventually, the physical pain will not be every waking moment. It’s going to take alot of time though. Surround yourself with kind empathetic people. Sometimes you will need that, other times you will prefer to be alone with your sadness and thoughts of your wife. It’s our journey now. We have no choice. God bless you today and always. We are not alone in this sadness; it just feels that way.

    Thank you for the link on this site. It is very good. Wini
  12. DJF

    DJF Member

    Thank you Wini and I will get a copy of The Widower's Notebook and a book by C.S. Lewis - A Grief Observed - which came up in searches. I have been lent a book called "Grief Works" by Julia Samuel and I found some of the stories there helpful but to be honest, I still don't know what it is I am looking for that I don't know deep inside. But I think I also must try new things and not write them off before giving them a try.
    Today has been an interesting day.
    My son (the one in the Armed Forces) is home briefly and it has been great to see him but bittersweet and at some point I realised that I was fine and pleased to see him but then there was sort of a collapse as I realised that the pleasure in seeing him would soon revert to the blankness when he went away again. And I realised that this is what life is going to be like and things will never ever be the same again. And as I write, the tears are flooding down my cheeks again.
    The days are long and time passes slowly. I do not contemplate (nor do I wish for) my own death but I find the thought of feeling the way I currently do for the rest of my life, a terribly empty prospect so I certainly want to hear that it does ease (I am not certain the phrase "get better" applies).
    So I will see what the two books say and will continue to force myself to put one foot in front of the other each day until it at least takes on the semblance of habit.
    I'd like to know how people conquered fears where before they would discuss these with their partners. I talk to my wife and I am pretty certain I know what she would say in most circumstances but I want to hear her voice. Today I found myself regaling God (if He exists) on the basis that if my wife is in Heaven in bliss in the eternal presence, etc. etc., why couldn't she/God allow a few seconds to have a word with me who is left here suffering ? Am I being punished ? If so, for what ?All I want is to hear that she is fine in a way that is unmistakeable. The moment passed. I was brought up a Roman Catholic but I cannot believe that a loving God would allow the surviving spouses to suffer in this way.
    But I have no wish to argue against anyone with religious beliefs. I know a number of good people who are true believers in the Christian doctrine but I don't think I am going to find consolation in that path.

    Time to walk the dogs.
  13. Winifred

    Winifred Member

    It can be so difficult to trust and believe in God because bottom line, it is blind faith. We humans are used to seeing to believe. We only use 10% of our brains anyway but the idea of heaven seems impossible because our brains could never understand it. We just can’t.
    When you said the tears were flowing as you were writing, that is almost a daily occurrence for me as I write to Dwight and also have a journal I write to God. I find it helpful and have done this since very shortly after he died. I have learned and accepted that we live in a horrible, evil, unkind, mean torturous world. This is torture and I just don’t believe humans were created to lose a loved one to death. It’s too difficult; next to impossible to bear. People say God gave His son for our sins and I reply “but God got His son back”. We don’t get our people back.
    What you are feeling and thinking, I feel and think the same things. I wish I could tell you differently.
    It’s funny you mentioned the book Grief Works. I am in the last third of that book. I’m not crazy about this counselor/author. She talks about herself too much for me. I’ll finish it; I don't hate it.
    I am feeling guilty that I have not walked my dogs since last week. One of them has a slight limp so I have not walked them. He has a vet appointment on Saturday. Your lucky dogs get walked several times a day. I am still working full-time, walk 15 minutes to and from my building and drive typically 45 minutes to and from work so I use that to make myself feel less guilty AND I’m 66!!
    I know you are so sad and lonely and I know you miss your wife and you are expressing the same feelings all of us who have lost our spouse so please don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t expect too much of yourself. Give yourself permission to do what your body and mind want to do, even if that is to stay home and cry all day and night. Let yourself heal the way it wants to.
    I’ll remember you and your wife in my journal to God tonight. I’m so sincerely sorry you are on this journey....truly. Wini
  14. DJF

    DJF Member

    Dear Wini,
    Just in case you don't know, I am so grateful for your kind and considerate replies and this really does feel like a meaningful conversation with someone
    who truly understands and can feel what I am going through. Bless you for your time. I like your comment about God getting his son back; I had never thought of that before but I really don't have much of an axe to grind re. God. I just can't see that He is going to be of much help at the moment but who knows ? I accept the idea that I will change (whether I want to or not) so maybe I will find some sort of comfort/consolation with the notion of God in time. But at the same time, I find it hard to think that we are nothing more than a collection of chemicals with sufficient complexity to result in life and when we have run our course, that's it. Don't get me wrong. I believe 100% in Darwinian Evolution because the evidence is totally compelling and the facts have never contradicted it. You start with an improbable but not impossible event and the rest follows. You don't need God or an intelligent designer. But .. the evidence also points to the entire universe being created 13.8 billion years ago out of nothing in the Big Bang. And when you ask what happened before the Big Bang, the cosmologists say that the question is meaningless because time itself was created during the Big Bang. Well, the question isn't meaningless to me and so there is a huge mystery in our knowledge of creation and as been pointed out before, the Big Bang sounds a lot like "Let there be Light".
    So I am not writing God out of things entirely !
    I worry about your dogs and hope your vet appointment goes well. It's none of my business but do you have to work full-time ? Is there any chance of you reducing it to part-time ? I am 70 in September and I am now fully retired having been winding down for the past 6 years, and to be honest, while I would welcome the distraction (if you like) of a job, I wouldn't like to spend that much time away from my dogs who I know miss my wife.
    Another thing I am doing is learning about what is growing in our (there goes that "our", "we" again) garden. My job was to dig and cut the grass and under my wife's instruction, told that such and such was a weed (dig it out) and such and such wasn't (leave it). I need to know more and that has given me another reason to reach out and ask for help. Yesterday I even managed to put a wire support around a plant which I was told was a Euphorbia and got some pleasure from doing so. Out of such small beginnings, who knows what might develop ?
    My son goes off on a week's holiday tomorrow and I will use the time to practise a recipe he has given me (he is a good cook who enjoys cooking) such that I can try it out on him and some others (one is the chap I mentioned above who lost his wife a few years ago) when he comes back.
    One foot in front of the other.
    My very best regards to you,
  15. Winifred

    Winifred Member

    Clearly you are extremely intelligent based on your knowledge about the Big Bang. The theory that the universe “sprang into existence” and then expanded is not a comfortable thought for me. However, blind faith is not easy either. I’m so confused and live in what feels like a “fog. Nothing seems real or important anymore. I like that your plan is to put one foot in front of the other because that tells me you want to feel better and live life.
    I am afraid to retire. I still have a mortgage and because I work for Ohio State Medical Center it is a state pension so Social Security will take two thirds of my Social Security. I was a stay at home mom the beginning of my marriage and did not start working until later. I’ve only been working full time about 25 years and I don’t have much saved. Dwight used to tell a joke on stage; do you know what they call a musician without a girlfriend or spouse? Homeless. So my own fault, I did not plan well for my future. I have been trying to negotiate to part time hours as trying to look for a different job at my age is not something I can do. It’s too overwhelming. I currently receive my cards income plus widows pension so I am very comfortable right now.
    I absolutely hate leaving my dogs so much. I probably should consider finding a better life for them but we love each other so much. They are both 11 years old. Stella is a cairn terrier and Bogart is a miniature schnauzer. I love them so much.
    Dwight had a raised garden and was always so proud of his vegetables. My children and I always made a big deal about it to him.
    Well here come the tears so I’m going to sign off for now. God bless you with a wonderful day....one step at a time, right?
  16. Winifred

    Winifred Member

    I see I made couple of typo errors. I meant current salary, not cards. Also I meant I CAN’T look for another job because the thought is too overwhelming.
  17. WoodMan

    WoodMan Active Member

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. My wife died eight weeks ago so I feel your pain. The days are long but it helps to talk. Just do what you can and the rest will take care of itself.
  18. I feel like we were all forced to join this exclusive club where we have all lost an important part of ourselves. Without this site to gather together and share our stories of love, happiness, and of course sorrow I know I would go insane in my despair all alone. I don't like realizing just how many people are going through the exact same hell on Earth as I am, but it is a comfort to know that I am dealing with my loss just as well as I possibly can. On April 6, 2019 my beautiful husband Sam was killed on his motorcycle. It was the motorcycle I bought him so my guilt is immense. It was an accident at a very dangerous unmarked intersection at sunset and the glare of the sun made it even more dangerous. At first every hour seemed like an entire day, I couldn't breathe, I was having massive panic attacks, I didn't sleep for 10 days and then just a couple of hours for the next ten days. I have made it making through day by day now, the panic attacks have decreased significantly and I now sleep for usually 4-5 hours. I still cry every time I leave work, usually when I wake up and for some reason when I take a shower. I had to stop listening to my music, well most any music because it made me cry. I am hopeful that the next month brings fewer breakdowns per day. Nights, weekends, and this impending memorial day weekend are extremely difficult. We should be planning a lake trip for this weekend on our boat but now I am trying to figure out how I will get through a 3 day weekend when I can't hardly make it through two days. I wish us all peace and healing.
  19. DJF

    DJF Member

    Dear Wini,
    Sorry for the delay in comms.
    No particular reason except that I think lack of sleep caught up with me and last night I went to bed before midnight for the first time for a while.
    Yesterday a friend took me to a garden centre so I could identify the plants in our garden and generally start to know more than just being able to identify and dig up weeds. I learned a few things (I need to know a lot more) and it was a pleasant distraction. It sounds like the garden was more your husband's passion/interest rather than yours in which case we are in similar situation. Do you tend your husband's vegetable garden ? As I am certain you know, freshly grown vegetables really do taste different and on a practical level, doing any sort of gardening occupies time as well as providing tangible benefits.
    But I also know that there are times when simply putting one foot in front of the other (as I am trying to do) can feel like walking through mud such is the effort.
    I've had one of those days and it started at 9:10 when a friend in our village rang up and asked me how I was. We've known her and her husband for over 30 years and she has a good heart and I thought I was making a good start to the day until she asked that question. So I spent the next 20 minutes crying on the phone but that was OK. She just listened and I didn't feel inhibited or embarrassed and it just came out.
    In addition to the lists I have mentioned re. things for grievers to know, there should be a list of things that people who are talking to grievers ought to know and top of the list is NOT to ask how someone is doing unless you are prepared to listen for at least 15 (and more probably 30) minutes as the griever pours out his/her heart and soul in a pretty uncontrollable manner.
    That's just the way it is !
    And I still keep thinking about your dogs ! Is there any way you can get someone (hire someone) to walk them while you are at work ? I have 2 labradors, a girl (5 years old) and a boy (3 years old). They are not related. We've had the girl since she was a puppy and the boy came to us 2 years ago. They have both been neutered (it really makes sense unless you are going to breed from them) and they have got on ever since the boy arrived and they are great friends. But they like their walks so I wonder if there is a local dog-walking service you could look at ?
    I don't know how others feel but the mornings are harder for me than the evenings. It might be because I have to face the whole day and there are times when if not actually counting the minutes, I am aware of time passing slowly. I have a couple of outside interests that mean that I am out at least 2 evenings a week and in general, while the house is just as empty in the evenings as it is during the day, I don't find the blackness washing over me so much. Maybe it is because I am more tired in the evening. Maybe it is because sleep is closer.
    Finally a welcome to Kristy and Woodman.
    I too find it hard to listen to music although I have talk radio on pretty much all day (I am listening to the BBC World Service as I type this at 1:50 in the morning) since I find the silence in the house hard to take. And as for your feeling guilt Kristy, there is nothing I can say right now that you haven't heard or know and it won't make any difference until you yourself find that you are thinking about this a bit less. I had/have lots of guilt/regrets about the way I treated my wife (as a patient rather than the love of my life) during her chemotherapy. I switched into "task mode" and as I may have shared before, we had arguments about food ! I would insist that she ate such and such and there were times that my wife told me that the only thing I ever talked to her about was food. And while we knew at the end, that her illness was terminal, the end came so suddenly that I never had the time to really tell her how much I loved her and how she had made me the person I am. On Sunday March 17, she was in a hospital bed, not well but conscious and talking and on Monday morning, I was expecting to meet occupational health professionals to discuss what changes would be needed at home so she could come home. Instead I got a call and came in to find her unconscious and she never regained consciousness. Despite everyone telling me that she knew how much I loved her and by caring for her, it showed that, I kept thinking of her dying without being told how much she was loved. But recently this has abated somewhat, and now I lose it when I think of all the things she is missing; the sunny weather we are having, her grandson growing up, life I guess. And the sheer awful emptiness of it all sweeps over me again.
    I have no idea if your 3-day weekend is a good thing or not. If you have friends with you, I'd say go and let things work out as they will. The alternative is sitting at home alone. If, on the other hand, your weekend would now be by yourself, I don't know. I know that I live in an empty house (not quite; there are the dogs !) full of memories but I know that I could not possibly go on holiday anywhere at the moment (or spend a night away) because I would simply be taking my head with me and I could be staying in a luxury hotel overlooking the Taj Mahal and feel the emptiness more than I do here.
    But maybe that's just me.

    Time for bed.
    May you all find some sort of comfort and consolation.
  20. Eve Rosa

    Eve Rosa Member

    I'm sorry you feel like that. I so too. I lost my husband on Thursday 16. I'm so empty and lot like you. Cant sleep, eat, work, concentrate you know all those feelings. I'm strong person but I fel broken.

    You are not alone.