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

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

  1. DJF

    DJF Member

    KB3 and Eve Rosa,
    I really can't add anything to what Kristy has written. I am 4 1/4 months into my bereavement and the summer days here in the UK are long and mine start early with walking or two dogs (a 5-year old labrador girl and a 3 year-old labrador boy who are unrelated and the very best of friends). Since I am retired, I definitely have too much time (especially thinking time) on my hands and I have learned that having some sort of daily routine (things to do - they don't have to be significant) is helpful and I am lucky inasmuch as the dogs impose a routine of walking, feeding to start with.
    As Kristy has said, we have lost a part of us (for some of us, definitely the better part) forever (certainly in this life) and we haven't the faintest idea how we are going to carry on. But, as I have been discovering, while we can share through this forum, ideas, things we did, books we have read, grief is intensely personal and we each have to find our own way to get through it. As for books, I have read "A Widower's Notebook", "A Grief Observed", thanks to Kristy, I have been looking at "Grieving for Dummies" (yes, there really IS a book called that), but if I had to recommend a single book, I suggest having a look at "Overcoming Grief". It talks about the wave-like pattern of grief that we all know about (out of a clear blue sky, or maybe not so clear, we get hit by a tsunami of grief that we are powerless to do anything about) and suggests some coping strategies (having a daily plan is one of them).
    Above all as Kristy has said, it helps hugely to have someone we can open up with, if only to bawl our eyes out (and that is an essential part of the grieving process and is NOT be be resisted). If we can't find someone in person (a family member, a close friend - especially of the deceased, maybe a counsellor), we have this forum and it is perfectly OK to simply post how awful things are when you are feeling really low. We all know how your are feeling and while it might not be immediate (especially if different timezones are involved) you'll get a response and know that while in the deepest sense, we are each of us now alone, there are others feeling much the same way and I find that that helps a bit. At least we will get to contact people who completely understand.
  2. smtachst

    smtachst New Member

    I know exactly how you feel Erika I am 38 n lost my husband of 20 years to lung cancer last Wednesday after only 6 weeks since diagnosis I'm broken beyond repair I dont know what to do Everyone keeps asking are you ok?? Or how are you today Seriously do you think I'm ok?? Grrrrr I have lost everything not just my husband my whole life in 20 years Andy and I only ever spent 2 nights apart n when people keep asking is there anything I can do all I want to scream at them is bring Andy back I cant see a light at the end of the tunnel all I see is longer days n nites without him :'(
  3. Collection

    Collection Member

    I also lost my love of 20 years to lung cancer. The biggest surprise came the day the doctors came into the room & began talking to us about palliative care; it came as such a shock because he never got to that stage where he was just lying in bed getting fragile like I've seen with others who has been sick enough to get transferred to hospice. He had surgery, followed by radiation. He came home & continued to do the things that he did before he even had surgery (taking walks around the neighborhood, playing XBOX with our son, cleaned up around the house, etc.). There was no way we all did not think the radiation was not working & the cancer was spreading. He passed away May 28th & I still say to myself "Man, this is crazy....I really can't believe he is just gone like this". Sometimes I find myself feeling a sense of relief because he's not in any pain anymore; other times I find myself missing him like crazy. As far as people asking those stupid ass words "Is there anything I can do" .... I've learned that is just some bullshit people feel is the most appreciate thing to say at a time like this & they really are hoping for you to say "No" so they can just go on with their little stupid ass lives. I was taught as a young child - if someone really wanted to do something for you, they'd just go ahead & do it. I've tried my best to go on with life as I know he would want me to stay strong for our kids. Our kids goes back to school in 3 weeks. They had to spend their 1st Father's Day without their dad just a couple weeks after he passed. I guess we will see what this winter will bring for us.
  4. smtachst and Erikajones38,

    This will most likely be the absolutely most horrific thing you every go through in your life. Your body, mind, and soul are in shock and every single thing that once was so familiar has overnight become foreign. My husband was killed in a motorcycle accident 4/6/2019. The first week I had debilitating panic attacks. I couldn't breathe and I had chest pain, felt dizzy. I couldn't sleep for days. I had been shattered into a million pieces and not a clue as to what to do or if I even wanted to do anything, even breathe again. The key to survival for me has been in following the advice of other grievers that were further along than myself. It is trial and error because what works for one person wont always work or help another. So I will tell you what worked for me in the first few weeks.

    Week one was shock, I was fortunate that my 25 yr old daughter took over literally everything and shielded me when I needed it which was often. She made sure I didn't forget to take my medicine, brush my teeth, try to eat, etc. because the smallest of task had just become monumental. There were times when I was feeling explosively angry and or overwhelmed and needed to be alone. She took care of explaining to very well meaning people that I needed to rest. She screened my incoming text messages for anything that might set me off like the family members that felt I owed them the specific events and details surrounding his death or comments about how they knew he would get killed on the motorcycle. So having someone strong enough to tell people to back the Heck off or that I needed to be in a quiet house or not listen to people telling stories and laughing and talking about normal stuff when I was in agonizing pain was profoundly helpful for me personally.

    I listened to one podcast by a widow early on and she said that planning her day hour by hour at the very beginning helped her and with in a few weeks she was up to planning days. I tried this and found it to be helpful, in fact I am still doing it. Another suggestion that has worked for me is to change the routines that may make things harder for you. Ever since my husband died going to bed alone in our bed is like forcing myself to walk on hot coals, it is absolute torture every night. In the past I always slept with my bedroom pitch black dark, I changed that. Now I have a very faint night light. I also never believed in having a TV in the bedroom. I changed that, I have a huge TV in my bed room that I can turn on and get my mind distracted when I am getting overwhelmed or feel an anxiety attack coming on.

    But by far the thing that I did that has helped me the most was get on forums for grief like this one and respond to others, message others and make connections with people that understand that I now wake up in hell every day. I have a few people that I can send messages on here to and a couple that I now communicate with outside of this forum via text or other messaging apps. These people have been lifelines for me and me them. I can tell them when I feel like there's no reason for me to live and they help pull me back from the abyss. Most my family and few friends can't handle my grief, seeing me fall apart. And I am thankful that they have no understanding of my pain, I wouldn't want anyone to go through this. Your going to be exhausted, grieving is mentally and physically taxing. Your going to be forgetful.

    Another grief book I read talked about convalescing which is a word I had not heard in a long time but it is so true that you will need to make time to heal by resting and taking breaks from all the tasks involved in the death of a loved one. If someone wants to help you with chores, let them, they will feel better having helped you when they feel so helpless to ease your pain, if someone wants to help with making sure bills get paid, paperwork gets filed just let them help you so you can take the time you need to rest and grieve.
  5. DJF

    DJF Member

    Dear smtachst and collection,
    Kristy has said pretty much all I could say and some 4 1/2 months since my wife died, I can absolutely vouch for what she says regarding the importance of forums like this.
    I have friends and acquaintances and neighbours who are kind and who have absolutely no idea what I and all of us are going through and in some cases, seem to have stopped asking perhaps because they just don't know what to say and are embarrassed (maybe even feeling a bit guilty ?) about that.
    So being able to tell someone the plain, unvarnished truth about how awful we are feeling and know that they will understand is hugely helpful.
    It is worthwhile having a look around the forum (I agree it is a bit hit and miss trying to find a topic that particularly resonates with you) and see if you find a topic and exchanges that really ring the bell for you. Maybe you have and this is the topic that fits best at the moment. There are various books that I have read trying to find help and currently if I had to recommend one, it would be "Overcoming Grief" by Sue Morris.
    But suggestions from people here that are a bit further along the grief road are enormously helpful and Kristy's idea of making a daily plan is one that I try to follow it and which is recommended in lots of literature and which I find useful.

    Finally I have found the following from Grief in Common helpful -
    and also the following from another grief forum I found -

    It's now time for me to get some sleep at midnight + 30 mins which is an early night for me these days.
    All the best,
  6. So month 5 is coming on 9/6/2019. I thought I was gonna make it and today another land mine blew up in my face and now I’m back to square one. The loneliness and isolation is back and Vodka is my only friend. Just when I think I will claw my way out of this abyss I get sucked back in like I’m in quick sand. I just want let it suck me in so this pain can just end. Five months and I’m so exhausted and the Vodka isn’t strong enough to over come my latest set back. The loneliness and vulnerability are just too much to endure. So starting with Vodka ending with Pendleton whiskey. Someone tell me how you get through the need for intimacy when your all alone?
  7. ksteve

    ksteve Active Member

    Kristy, great question. In fact I actually had to think about this overnight. It will be one year in November for me since my wife passed. It seems the loneliness really sinks in several months later. Friends would call and invite me out to lunch and now I rarely hear from them. I guess life goes on and it's up to us to figure out a way to get back to some semblance of normal. I recall a conversation with my friends at a bar at one of our monthly social gatherings a couple of months ago. I tend to be an individual who looks at the humorous side of things. So as a woman walked by, I made the comment to my friends about being single and available. I was far from being serious but the look I got from my friends made me feel extremely guilty. Guilty of what - being alone? I don't know what the future holds but I do know that it's up to me to try to work through this grief. I have memories that will always bring tears to my eyes and I will hold these memories close to my heart for the rest of my life. Meanwhile, I'm trying to discover the "new" me. There are things along the way that can help - careers, religion, friends, volunteer, working out, etc. For me, both my wife and I had decided to move so I'm currently building a new house ( yea, lots of negative comments from friends on this as well). This has helped but I still come home each day and there is loneliness and isolation to greet me. I'm not a vodka drinker but a couple of beers at least makes me sleepy. Oh, and the dreaded question from my kids - what did you do last night? It's almost like I'm expected to sit here and live in isolation. So to finally answer your question, just admitting to yourself that it's OK to have the desire/need for intimacy is half the battle. I do know that the intimate relationship I had with my wife was one of a kind and special to the both of us. That is a wonderful memory that I can't and don't want to replicate. So I don't think the need for intimacy is something you should try to get "through" or "over it". Just know there are no right or wrong answers on this journey of grief.
  8. Ksteve,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I think one of the hardest things about this loneliness & need for intimacy. Everything just suddenly yanked away and nobody seems to really talk about it yet I know that I can’t be the only one reeling from that loss as well. It’s almost like it’s taboo. And quite frankly I have enough guilt for about 1 million people I don’t need anyone else to add to my guilt. I feel guilty just being alive. My husband and I had a fantastic amazing marriage and intimacy was certainly part of that and now to just come home every day to nothing, well I guess everybody on here knows it’s extremely difficult. Every night is a battle for me to face getting into bed alone and I put it off longer than I should & end up sleep deprived most days.
  9. paul tinker

    paul tinker Well-Known Member

    I am just going to comment on both DjF and Winifred ongoing conversations. Insomnia and being a changed person. The marginal level of function and the thoughts that are rooted in our marriages. I did read the C.S. Lewis really his journal while in the depths of grief. Mostly I recognized my own frenzied and rudderless self. Try so hard to sort out so many feeling at the same time. You two have done a great job of supporting each other. Honest and empathetic with candid responses to the same dilemma we all share. I appreciate reading both of your thoughts.