Life is so different

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by ainie, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. ainie

    ainie Member

    Hello. I just signed up to this site. My husband Mike died on Oct 11th/19. My family and friends are very supportive but they are getting to the " isn't it time" phase and I am so not there. This is so raw and new to me. Everything has changed and I don't know how I can do it all. Mike fought cancer for 10 years but each time he beat it and got well. It took me by complete surprise that this time he did not beat it. The expectation was that he would, again, come home and be well.
  2. David Hughes

    David Hughes Well-Known Member

    Ainie, so sorry for your loss. Your spouse shared the same name as my oldest. With your loss so recent, your days must be filled with a lot of pain and sorrow.

    Cancer is so hard to accept. One day the doctors can give you hopeful news, and then take that very same delight away with just one test. I see you have been dealing with Mike's cancer for 10 years. My wife's cancer was only diagnosed during her last six years. No length of suffering is the right amount.

    We each handle our emotions differently. What works for you in facing your loss won't necessarily work for someone else. With such a long time of being with Mike during his cancer, I am sure you have faced many days of sorrow, regret, and possible hope that he might eventually beat the illness.

    I was sure when my own wife was near the top of the transplant list she was going to beat it. We were all excited, her, her two sons and me. But, when they did the last possible test, the results were grim and we were shattered when they removed her from the list.

    From there, she accepted it, asked us to bring her back home to Maine to live out her remaining days in hospice. She was given a prepaid flight by her boss and for her and her sister. My two sons and I packed up the house, met the movers, finished it, and got in our two cars and road back to Maine with a heavy heart. We cried, yelled at each other at times, and I even remember me reaching speeds above 90 miles an hour without even realizing it. That trip is still fresh on my mind.

    We had a walkie talkie in each car, and talked back and forth. It was still the last part of winter time in Maine, so the trip back was sort of a blank, and also one of desperation to get to her before she past on. We made it there, found a place to stay, and visited the hospice each day with a grim face I am sure. Some days were amazingly hard to drive to her. I was losing the love of my life of 42 years, the best friend I ever had, the one who I could confide in and we faced many obstacles together in our marriage and overcome them.

    One thing I will say about hospice, all the people there are amazing people. They know and feel your pain. This hospice house had 4 wings, in the shape of a cross. We saw many people come and go to others. We heard the cries of pain as a person would pass on. It was understandable that even though those that were suffering, we all sort of understood that we were all there to wish the one we loved so much a peaceful rest before their final sleep. You never realize how amazingly fragile you are until, with all your muscles, all your brains, all the tests, all the doctors that nothing will stop a person from fate.

    There is no easy way of saying goodbye. All I could do was hug and kiss her and talk of many fond memories we had shared together. There is nothing so devastating as the moment a nurse walks in the room with a candle. She tells us it signifies the end of life candle, that Nadine was in her final stage of life. We were silent as it was lit, and watched the flames flicker.

    No one spoke a word for a long time. That night my dearest wife died and it was as if a dagger had been put in my heart. It is a moment in time I will never ever forget and I yelled out her name as she breathed her last breath. Her sister hugged me, and we both cried along with all those in that room that night. At the end, the doctor and nurses all came to me and gave me a hug and told me how sorry they were.

    I am sorry for being so brutally honest with what happened, but I wanted to let you know that death is something we both have come to understand unfortunately. I hope you will have days ahead where you will start to feel better. Expect many moments of sorrow and your tears will come and go. God Bless and take care of yourself as well.
  3. ainie

    ainie Member

    David thank you for your thoughts and your story. I am sorry you had to go through it.

    We spent the last two weeks in the palliative care unit of the local hospital. It only had six rooms and the staff were great. The unit had a kitchen, living room, laundry, and showers for family members. Family could stay 24/7 and be comfortable.

    Our two daughters live close by and were home for the last week. Our son just arrived home the afternoon of the last day but got to talk with his Dad. That night the girls and I were in the room when he died. It was peaceful in that he seemed to just fade away. I held his hand and the girls sat with us. Our son had gone to the house to sleep awhile, (he had just driven 23 hours straight through to get home) but came to the hospital when we called. There was no rush, the nurse made us a pot of tea and left us to cry, and talk, and sit as long as we had too.

    It has only been six weeks and some of our friends are asking me to go with them to social events. It just feels too soon. I still am unable to talk to people without crying.

    I feel better being home. I am working on making a quilt out of his clothes so I can snuggle up and keep warm with him this winter.
  4. Sheila512

    Sheila512 Well-Known Member

    Ainie I am so sorry for your loss. I am aware of the pain and how the rest of the world tries to dictate how and for how long we can grieve. Screw that. We have to find out own ways to handle what is smacking us in the face. One of the things that helped me will sound strange but it work. I put up a big piece of poster board on my bedroom door. ( Yes, it ripped the paint off.) Whenever I felt particularly in despair, I looked for something online that would soothe me. A saying, a poem, something that would touch me in some way. Yes, it sounds maudlin but now that is has been 3 years I look back on my poster and it is very interesting. The first section is filled with sadness, despair, depressive notes, feeling sorry for myself..etc. As we move through the time line, my saying and notes are getting more positive. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I tell my love that I carry his heart in mine, that I am thinking about him and it makes me smile. toward the end of the posters, which was about a year in, my notes are more uplifting..not happy by any means, but hopeful. The best one is.."Indeed, let us not forget, but also, let us not dwell." ( Terri Guillemets).Maybe this can hep you, You can use a journal , but I needed it to be in my face every day.
  5. ainie

    ainie Member

    It is encouraging to hear you are moving toward being able to live with the loss. I am not a journal-ing type either. I find making this memorial quilt helps. I needed 63 squares and when I counted the shirts hubby had hanging it was exactly 63. I cut one square from each and kept them in the same order as they were hung. As I handle each piece sweet memories flood over me. Oh this is the shirt he wore last Christmas, this one he wore a lot when we went south on vacation, etc. The quilt will have many smiles and many tears sewn into it. It calms me to feel him so nearby.
  6. David Hughes

    David Hughes Well-Known Member

    Ainie, the quilt you are making is such a beautiful gesture. What an amazing idea you have come up with. It is things like this that make us all realize how important a person can come to be for us. I have the painting of my wife on the wall, it is the same as the id picture I now use. So I can see her each and every day.

    Ainie and Sheila, I have to agree that there is no time limits to grief. Even though my wife died 5 and one half years ago, my nerves must be short circuited somehow. When I watch something emotional on tv, it affects me, when I see or hear something that touches near to my loss I am unnerved. So I really don't know if time will ever resolve this being unable to hold your emotions.

    I remember my own dad, near the end of his life how he so easily would be brought to tears that didn't at the time affect me. There I watched a man who I had never seen cry in my life cry for the first time. I realized he saw a lot in WW2, but grief is just so scary because it is such an unknown to handle. So just because others think they know best, they are just trying to help, but the reality is, when we have suffered a major loss in life there is just no time limit to our grief. I do realize each of us are different, and handle grief differently, but that is just who we are as a person. God Bless you both and take care.