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Old 07-21-2018, 12:50 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,146 posts, read 1,107,799 times
Reputation: 3677

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I am glad that I posted here. This is exactly what I needed to hear. You are right harry chickpea, I have been asking the wrong questions.
Thank you.
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
27,505 posts, read 17,652,800 times
Reputation: 39975
I think the suddenness of your loss compounds your grieving, I know it did mine.

I felt completely detached for about a year, and then another year to get closer to "normal." I won't lie, I was pretty damaged by the whole thing, and it didn't manifest until later. While I handled everything well, I think I should have had some counseling. Just something to consider.

Talk to him, heck yell at him, tell him you love him..... there are no rules to this.

I think of the situation like a Phoenix from the ashes, the new you will be forged from the pain, and love.

Of the weird after effects for me was I couldn't read for about 4 years, even though I had always been an avid reader. My brain couldn't stay on topic and retain (that has changed over the years and I am back to reading a lot). But I was able to channel a lot of the strong emotions into music and singing (I am a horrible singer), so I think it's important to find some sort of outlet.

I remember reading about the year of firsts. First holiday without them.... heck, my first trip to the supermarket had me breakdown in tears, I had automatically started to pick out a cracker he liked or something like that. That auto reaction to pick up the phone to touch bases with him during the day.... it's excruciating. It's like part of your soul has been amputated.

And while this doesn't matter now (or help), things do get better and you adapt to the new reality.

Again, I am so very sorry for your loss. (((hugs)))
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Old 07-25-2018, 12:35 PM
 
6,760 posts, read 2,623,927 times
Reputation: 18323
Butterfly, in the coming years, I wonder if you could start a grief blog or lead a grief group.

You are really exceptionally gifted in writing what you are experiencing clearly, so that even those (myself) who are not in grief can grasp what you're going through.

I wish you the very best.
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Old 07-25-2018, 01:16 PM
 
13,010 posts, read 12,451,656 times
Reputation: 37273
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterflyfish View Post
I am missing my husband desperately. I am keeping busy. I get up every day and go to work and get through my to-do list. I make pleasant small talk with the people around me. At the end of every day I congratulate myself for making it through another day. But I am just going through the motions.

I don't feel like myself. It is as if the person that I used to be has vanished along with my husband. I feel adrift and rudderless.

I don't know how to explain it but I feel like my brain is different now. Like some wiring has changed. I feel so different. I feel detached from the world, almost as if everything is happening around me, but I am not part if it. I don't know who I am anymore.
I have never had a spouse. But at 23 I lost the best friend I had known since kindergarten and shortly after that her mother (who was closer to me than my own mother). I can tell you that you most certainly are a different person now than before you lost him. He was wired into your brain - you sound like you had a very happy marriage, and that literally affected the structure of your brain. He likely spurred the production of oxytocin by his mere presence or facial expressions. You lost someone who totally affected the way responds to things. That's huge.

That does NOT mean you can't get back to the level of happiness that you had before or that you will never feel like yourself again. For one thing, this loss is still very new and raw to you. You are relearning how to be alone, which is a massive change. I had a boss tell me that it takes at least a year to settle into a new role at work. You've lost the person who was your partner in life - that's so much more. Just for some further perspective, my roommate and I both lost our heart dogs a year ago, and we both still break down about it from time to time. You've lost a spouse.

One of the hardest things about losing my friend and her mother was the fact that we had so many shared experiences. I was suddenly the sole keeper of those experiences. 20 years later, it still makes me feel panicky. I speak about them frequently with my other friends. I spend a lot of time recalling the joyful times. One of my favorite ones was the summer after I graduated college when we were broke and we'd drive around our hometown in my pickup and scrounge in my cupholder for change for lunch money. I'd stuck folding lawn chairs in the back of my pickup, and we'd go to the grocery stores that served dollar hot dogs and burgers and set the chairs up in the bed of the truck and eat our lunch in the shade before jumping back in and riding around listening to music, singing along at the top of our lungs.

Give yourself more time, more patience. Explore new interests. Honor your husband by cherishing the good memories you shared with him. Definitely write them down. What were his values that you shared? Think about those and maybe do something to memorialize them and promote them, whether its donations or volunteering or even just new experiences.

You are still going through the hard part. There is a lot of "fake it till you make it" in this kind of situation. But keep looking for things that give you joy, for new experiences, for happiness. Honor the person you lost and give yourself time to accept that loss. Eventually your world will not feel so ill fitting.

One thing you mentioned was the fact that you congratulate yourself for getting through the day. Excellent. My therapist advises me to write down my accomplishments every day when I'm feeling hopeless and depressed. It definitely helps. I think writing down the good stuff and new ideas might be very helpful to you, but that might be my personal bias.

Hugs. You are on a very rough journey. But it will be ok, I think - you actually do sound like you are doing well all things considered. Your grieving process seems to be very healthy. I've seen unhealthy grieving processes, and they don't really look anything like what you've written about here. I'm sorry you're feeling so adrift.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,146 posts, read 1,107,799 times
Reputation: 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikala43 View Post
I think the suddenness of your loss compounds your grieving, I know it did mine.

I felt completely detached for about a year, and then another year to get closer to "normal." I won't lie, I was pretty damaged by the whole thing, and it didn't manifest until later. While I handled everything well, I think I should have had some counseling. Just something to consider.

Talk to him, heck yell at him, tell him you love him..... there are no rules to this.

I think of the situation like a Phoenix from the ashes, the new you will be forged from the pain, and love.

Of the weird after effects for me was I couldn't read for about 4 years, even though I had always been an avid reader. My brain couldn't stay on topic and retain (that has changed over the years and I am back to reading a lot). But I was able to channel a lot of the strong emotions into music and singing (I am a horrible singer), so I think it's important to find some sort of outlet.

I remember reading about the year of firsts. First holiday without them.... heck, my first trip to the supermarket had me breakdown in tears, I had automatically started to pick out a cracker he liked or something like that. That auto reaction to pick up the phone to touch bases with him during the day.... it's excruciating. It's like part of your soul has been amputated.

And while this doesn't matter now (or help), things do get better and you adapt to the new reality.

Again, I am so very sorry for your loss. (((hugs)))
Mikala43, thank you for sharing your experience.

How interesting to hear about your inability to read for several years afterwards. I get it. That's exactly the sort of thing I am talking about when I say that my brain feels like it has changed and been rewired. I am different. One weird thing that has happened to me is that about 3 months after losing my husband, I looked down at my hands at realized that I had stopped my life-long habit of nail-biting. I can't even tell you how hard I have tried and failed to stop biting my nails throughout my life. And now suddenly, without any effort on my part, that compulsion has completely disappeared.

Thank you again for sharing your personal experience with me and for the hugs too. I appreciate it.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,146 posts, read 1,107,799 times
Reputation: 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaraC View Post
Butterfly, in the coming years, I wonder if you could start a grief blog or lead a grief group.

You are really exceptionally gifted in writing what you are experiencing clearly, so that even those (myself) who are not in grief can grasp what you're going through.

I wish you the very best.
ClaraC, why thank you for the lovely compliment. You surprised me and made me chuckle because the truth is, I loathe writing and find it excruciatingly difficult. I agonize over what to write inside of a simple birthday card. LOL. I would lose my mind if I had to write a blog.

Thank you so much for your kind words and well wishes.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:29 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,146 posts, read 1,107,799 times
Reputation: 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
I have never had a spouse. But at 23 I lost the best friend I had known since kindergarten and shortly after that her mother (who was closer to me than my own mother). I can tell you that you most certainly are a different person now than before you lost him. He was wired into your brain - you sound like you had a very happy marriage, and that literally affected the structure of your brain. He likely spurred the production of oxytocin by his mere presence or facial expressions. You lost someone who totally affected the way responds to things. That's huge.

That does NOT mean you can't get back to the level of happiness that you had before or that you will never feel like yourself again. For one thing, this loss is still very new and raw to you. You are relearning how to be alone, which is a massive change. I had a boss tell me that it takes at least a year to settle into a new role at work. You've lost the person who was your partner in life - that's so much more. Just for some further perspective, my roommate and I both lost our heart dogs a year ago, and we both still break down about it from time to time. You've lost a spouse.

One of the hardest things about losing my friend and her mother was the fact that we had so many shared experiences. I was suddenly the sole keeper of those experiences. 20 years later, it still makes me feel panicky. I speak about them frequently with my other friends. I spend a lot of time recalling the joyful times. One of my favorite ones was the summer after I graduated college when we were broke and we'd drive around our hometown in my pickup and scrounge in my cupholder for change for lunch money. I'd stuck folding lawn chairs in the back of my pickup, and we'd go to the grocery stores that served dollar hot dogs and burgers and set the chairs up in the bed of the truck and eat our lunch in the shade before jumping back in and riding around listening to music, singing along at the top of our lungs.

Give yourself more time, more patience. Explore new interests. Honor your husband by cherishing the good memories you shared with him. Definitely write them down. What were his values that you shared? Think about those and maybe do something to memorialize them and promote them, whether its donations or volunteering or even just new experiences.

You are still going through the hard part. There is a lot of "fake it till you make it" in this kind of situation. But keep looking for things that give you joy, for new experiences, for happiness. Honor the person you lost and give yourself time to accept that loss. Eventually your world will not feel so ill fitting.

One thing you mentioned was the fact that you congratulate yourself for getting through the day. Excellent. My therapist advises me to write down my accomplishments every day when I'm feeling hopeless and depressed. It definitely helps. I think writing down the good stuff and new ideas might be very helpful to you, but that might be my personal bias.

Hugs. You are on a very rough journey. But it will be ok, I think - you actually do sound like you are doing well all things considered. Your grieving process seems to be very healthy. I've seen unhealthy grieving processes, and they don't really look anything like what you've written about here. I'm sorry you're feeling so adrift.
JrzDefector, thank you so much for your post. I really love your idea of doing something to honor, cherish, and memorialize the things that were important to my husband and me. I will give that some thought.

I have been avoiding a lot of things that we once enjoyed. For instance, I live directly across from the beach, where my husband and I had the best of times. We both shared a love of the ocean and we had a routine of sitting on the beach and watching the sunset together every night. Well, I have not been able to watch a sunset since he passed. I am afraid that watching a sunset will not bring me any joy but just magnify and deepen my sorrow. So I close my shades at dusk and don't even look. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I can watch the sunset without bawling my eyes out. And even if I do, maybe bawling my eyes out is not something to be afraid of. I dunno.

I am trying to navigate away from sorrow and sadness and instead look for things to cherish and to honor his memory and the love we had. I am struggling with this but it is my goal.

Thank you for such a thoughtful and encouraging post.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:26 PM
 
Location: SWFL
21,439 posts, read 18,155,050 times
Reputation: 18824
Butterfly, I used to try and not cry at any and everything. It took me years and years but I found that in the privacy of my own home, I let it go. I mean I bawled my heart out. I would feel better after. I continued to do that whenever the pressure built up in my heart. It really helped me to be able to do and see things we once did as a couple.

I am NOT the person I used to be. I am NOT as happy as I used to be but I can experience some happy times, good times and enjoy some things in life again. As I keep saying over and over again, TIME IS THE GREAT HEALER.

Good luck, my dear. Take it slow and let the time pass. The scab will develop.
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Old 07-26-2018, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,146 posts, read 1,107,799 times
Reputation: 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by tamiznluv View Post
Butterfly, I used to try and not cry at any and everything. It took me years and years but I found that in the privacy of my own home, I let it go. I mean I bawled my heart out. I would feel better after. I continued to do that whenever the pressure built up in my heart. It really helped me to be able to do and see things we once did as a couple.

I am NOT the person I used to be. I am NOT as happy as I used to be but I can experience some happy times, good times and enjoy some things in life again. As I keep saying over and over again, TIME IS THE GREAT HEALER.

Good luck, my dear. Take it slow and let the time pass. The scab will develop.
Thank you, tamiznluv.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,490 posts, read 15,932,856 times
Reputation: 38829
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterflyfish View Post
JrzDefector, thank you so much for your post. I really love your idea of doing something to honor, cherish, and memorialize the things that were important to my husband and me. I will give that some thought.

I have been avoiding a lot of things that we once enjoyed. For instance, I live directly across from the beach, where my husband and I had the best of times. We both shared a love of the ocean and we had a routine of sitting on the beach and watching the sunset together every night. Well, I have not been able to watch a sunset since he passed. I am afraid that watching a sunset will not bring me any joy but just magnify and deepen my sorrow. So I close my shades at dusk and don't even look. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I can watch the sunset without bawling my eyes out. And even if I do, maybe bawling my eyes out is not something to be afraid of. I dunno.

I am trying to navigate away from sorrow and sadness and instead look for things to cherish and to honor his memory and the love we had. I am struggling with this but it is my goal.

Thank you for such a thoughtful and encouraging post.
I lost my husband of 40 years (best friend for 48 years) seven months ago.

For me, while it is difficult at times, sometimes it brings sadness AND happy memories to go to the places that I went with my husband. And, as I visit the places again there are less and less sad memories and more and more happy memories.

Maybe you could try watching a sunset one night, perhaps just start by opening your shades a little wider each night. Yes, you probably will cry a lot that first night and probably the second night and maybe the third night or even many nights. But, I suspect that you will start to cry less and remember your happy memories more and more each time.

I predict that someday you will be able to sit on the beach, during sunset, and be enveloped with the love that the two of you shared and not the sadness of his passing.

Best wishes to you.
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