Like Living in an Alternate Reality

Discussion in 'Loss of Spouse' started by JayG, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. JayG

    JayG Member

    Lost my wife of 44 years three months ago. Every day is a struggle. It's frustrating on a good day when I am "ambushed" by something. Maybe a familiar smell, flipping channels and a TV show she liked is on or junk mail comes addressed to her. I just sit and cry many days, not even getting out of the house. I attend grief counseling which I feel is helpful to some degree but leave at times more upset than if I had not gone. When I read or hear "everyone grieves differently", "there is no set time for grief" or other clichés, I get infuriated. I have always considered myself a strong willed person and able to handle most anything, but not this.
     
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  2. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for the loss of your wife. There’s nothing that can prepare us for how hard the loss of our one and only will hit us. It’s devastating. You know the loss will be awful, but then when it happens it’s a million times worse then your mind can conjure up.
    Ron and I were together 44 years married 41 years. Owned a business together, worked together every day. He suffered a massive heart attach that took him from me in 2 hours. I had to close our business and clean out our shop. Torture!
    Those little things, scents, tv shows, music, food etc, are all of the sudden a big thing. Many people don’t understand what we’re going through. But I hope you have family and friends giving you support. Talking with people is a definite help. Do your best to get outside, breathe in fresh air, it helps a lot. Even in your back yard, just get fresh air. Accept any help you’re offered. Hopefully people will come over and have a cup of coffee with you, and let yourself cry. That’s good for you too.
    Visit this site, read and share stories. This site has helped me Immensely. You’re not alone!
     
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  3. JayG

    JayG Member

    Thank you. I am also sorry for your loss.
    I have a wonderful family who all live nearby and they have been very supportive. They have their own lives and have started to move on though. Losing a parent is always hard, but you have your immediate family to take care of and be with. Having lost both parents and a spouse, there is no comparison to me.
    Today I woke up hoping it would be better. So far, not so much. I am so lost and just cry uncontrollably.
     
  4. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Thank you! Everything you mention rings true. My first real loss in my life was my Dad, my hero, my encyclopedia of knowledge. I thought I can’t live I need him so much. But I had my Mom to support 2 young children a husband and a business to help run. I went into over drive and took care of all of those things. Then I lose my husband suddenly and I realized, for me anyway, the loss of my Dad was horrible but no comparison. Same for when my Mom passed.
    I’m glad that you have good people in your life that support you and you can rely on. I have family who lives nearby too. However after 3 or 4 weeks most stopped checking on me. After about maybe 6 months of next to no support I talked to my brother and explained the feeling and the loneliness etc he stepped up some and has been more supportive. I don’t think he was being cruel, he just didn’t know how this feels. How can you if you have t been through it.
    Each day brings challenges, make yourself a list of things you hope to accomplish today. Throw easy things on there so if you do nothing you can still cross something off. Try to push yourself to go outside. You might think I’m crazy but fresh air helps. Walk around your yard, get your blood flowing. For me, I couldn’t turn tv on, listen to music, look at pictures, it all made me feel worse but fresh air even for a few minutes, felt good. Your loss is resent, let the crying happen, you need to let it out.
    Love your picture by the way!
     
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  5. JayG

    JayG Member

    I have always been a list maker and did just as you said, put menial things on the list to do and show progress. Lately I am good at adding things to the list but can't get motivated to do any of them. Before my wife got sick we went to the exercise facility every day. She did water aerobics and I walked 3 to 5 miles on the indoor track. Like my list, I can't get motivated to even walk in the neighborhood. I can't go back to the facility because I would expect to see her in the pool with her friends. I ran into a friend of hers at the grocery store recently who lost her husband about 3 years ago. She asked how I was doing and then said, "The second year is harder than the first". I thought, gee thanks, that's just what I needed to hear. I guess it's is hard on other people knowing what to say. It's like when they say "How are you doing", I think do you really want to know? I am doing counseling both with my church group in GriefShare and one on one with a professional counselor. Well one on one over virtual meetings anyway. There are no answers given by either as I know there are none. It does provide an opportunity to hear how others are dealing with their grief. Thank you for messaging with me. I really like your picture too.
     
  6. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    That’s good you do lists. So if you feel up to doing something you can cross it off.
    You can’t go to the exercise facility and I can’t drive down the road our business was on. Makes my heart ache. He deserved to enjoy retirement. I have such guilt.
    I’m at 22 months today since Ron passed. So well into the second year. I’m sorry your wife’s friend said the second year is harder. Not A good thing to say to someone who recently lost their wife. She’s been through it, she knows, and should have known better. I’ll share this. It’s different from the first year. If we weren’t experiencing this virus I think I’d be in a better place. I still miss him every minute of every day. I need his hug and love and to share things with him. But I’m eating better then the first year, sleeping some better. I’m able to converse without crying every time I’m spoken to. I’m able to do chores easier, mow the lawn and go to the store. I can now listen to music, and when Rons favorites play I’m not a basket case. Sad yes. I can’t watch his favorite shows but I’m able to watch our favorite shows. That took quite some time. Do I have things that can set me off, of course but I also have moments where a memory can make me smile. He’s still my everything and always will be. I’ve learned so much from him and using that knowledge to maintain our home and yard. He’d be proud. I made him a memorial garden that I know he’d love but say I shouldn’t work so hard on things for him. But those are things that help me keep going.
    You’re very welcome. We both had such strong loving and caring marriages as others do on here too. But we know and understand the pain of this horrible loss.
     
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  7. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    I am so sorry for your loss. I feel like I am reading my own story on this particular page. I lost my husband on July 17, two months ago today. I wasn’t overly fixated on this as an anniversary day but so many things happened today to bring out my tears that it was a really emotional day. I ran into one of his doctors at work who I hadn’t seen since before he passed and after a hug and ‘how are you?’ I was a mess, in tears just telling him ‘I miss him’. He and Michael really liked each other and he was one of the first people that remarked on how much Michael and I seemed to love each other. Our hometown newspaper ran his obituary today. I worked hard on it and it was beautifully done - I think he would have been really happy with it. Another colleague who lost his son in 2012 stopped for a conversation and shared his grief experience, wise words and a lot of support. More tears.
    Interestingly, the people I thought I could count on most are not around, and I have found support with some unexpected friends. I have learned that at some point when I am feeling stronger, I may need to re-evaluate some relationships. I have a grief counselor who is very helpful, and also belong to a Grief Share group. Sharing on this site is a big help.
    Nothing prepares you for what you are going to feel. Your grief experience is your own and within reason, whatever you need to do to get through your days is ok. If there are places you can’t go yet, ok. I have always taken care of and put others first - my grief has made me unapologetic about needing more than I can give right now. I am honest about how I feel and don’t say I’m ok if I’m not. My brother gave me some advice one Sunday morning - he said ‘do the next thing on your list, even if it’s brush your teeth’. The list doesn’t have to have anything complicated on it. Some days are just about surviving. My sister told me it’s ok if the list only has one thing on it. I try to keep busy but not bury my emotions. I give myself alone time so I can think of Michael and grieve. Some days I have to make sure my meals are scheduled and that I drink enough water. Sleep is not going well but I do try to rest. OMG, the comment about feeling guilty because you could watch TV and he could not hit home. So many mixed feelings.
    I have also heard that the second year is harder. How can that possibly be? One day at a time for now. Thanks for your posts. Take care of yourself, and don’t push yourself too hard. Praying for peace for all of us.
     
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  8. JayG

    JayG Member

    Good morning. I am sorry for your loss JMD. I had intended to make another post but my mind will not cooperate this morning. So many memories, emotions moving in and out of my head that I can't concentrate or put them into a legible format. Try to have a good day. May God bless you and everyone in this world who is hurting.
     
  9. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    I whole heartedly agree. Think of today or this moment don’t think ahead. Get through the moments of each day then think of tomorrow. I definitely had brush your teeth on my list, feed the dog, drink water was always on the list. I wasn’t eating but I needed water of course. Your brother and sister sound like great support I’m happy you have them.
    I still have a hard time buying things for myself. We always made purchases together. Food, cleaning supplies and necessities I’m good. Something for myself, I struggle. I’ve lost 35 lbs, my clothes don’t fit. I have guilt buying new things. I want to wear what Ron liked on me but none of it fits. Plus stores don’t let you try things on. I have no idea of my size. It’s a battle. My daughter bought me security cameras because I said I don’t feel safe alone at home. I couldn’t make the purchase, ron should help with that decision. It’s stupid I know and in getting better with it, plus I know Ron doesn’t want me to have this guilt. I know this. But my mind still goes there. It’s crazy what we put ourselves through.
    But I’m here to tell you, even though I do still struggle with things. It does get better. It’s a very slow process. And it’s not obvious. All the sudden you realize, I made it through the morning without crying or I had a memory and instead of crying I smiled. It’s crazy sometimes I smile and cry at the same time. I do cry less.
    I tell myself, we were together for 44 years, you don’t snap your fingers and feel ok after a loss. 44 years of loving more each day, I still love him, some people don’t think it through and feel we should be ok in months. It doesn’t work that way.
    There are and will be better days ahead, we just need to keep working towards them.
    ❤️
     
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  10. MDGinVA

    MDGinVA Member

    A lot of what I’m reading in here I also experience. Before I met my wife music was my passion. Saying that she did not like my type of music would be an understatement. I can barely listen to any music now. A friend told me to force myself to listen and to watch tv so that I would get the “first time” guilt over with. I tried with music listened, or rather heard it, but just was there. I turned on the tv, saw her shows recorded on the dvr and turned it off. Just made me think that these were things she wanted/ looked forward to watching and I felt bad that I could see them but she couldn’t. I’ve also had people say things that I think they meant well but just don’t realize what it sounds like to me. One person said you can use this experience at your work and really help others ( I work as a funeral director), to which I thought I would rather not have had this experience and been the same at work as always. Or the she wouldn’t want you to be sad still comment. What she would be saying if I wasn’t sad is that something’s wrong
    I will say that I find that it’s true that it comes in waves. I will have bad days then a good day, but then all that it takes is something small to set up feeling bad again. The other day I went in the cupboard to get something and there were some of her snacks she never finished. And then I saw the ingredients for her hershey pie and that got me to thinking about how she loved baking and had me get those ingredients right before she had to go back to the hospital. She was going to make a pie for me. I finally understood that when she was baking, it was to bring joy to others, she would make it and loved to see us enjoying her dishes.
     
  11. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your wife. People mean well in what they say and feel we should do. But really, unless they’ve lost their spouse, they really have no clue. Ive had so many things said to me that are so hurtful, so out of touch with my loss, it just feels cruel. People compare losing my husband to losing a dog, nephew, even divorce. I have trouble with those comparisons. All of those things are terrible of course but nothing close to losing the love of your life.
    I use our love as my inspiration to keep going. I know Ron doesn’t want me in this pain, but we actually talked about not wanting either of us left behind. We said in a perfect world we would go together so neither is left with the pain.
    I think you’re correct in the fact that her baking was to bring joy to you and others. I love to cook and bake, and loved to make things for Ron, he enjoyed everything I made. I have trouble baking or cooking now. No real desire and it’s just me, so feels like why bother.
    So many things big and small can cause an outbreak of feeling worse. On recent birthday was planned as the day we started our second stage of life, retirement. It was all planned out a couple years before he passed. That was a horrible day for me. He deserved to enjoy retirement.
    Our lives all changed and it’s devastatingly hard. Ron will always be my inspiration.
     
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  12. MDGinVA

    MDGinVA Member

     
  13. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much. We had the most wonderful marriage! People have told me they’re jealous of what we had together.
    You know the lost feeling, the pain, loneliness. And I’m sorry you understand, sorry you’re going through it too. But as much as none of us want anyone to feel this pain, it is good to know people understand.
    You mention not being able to call your wife, that’s a huge one! Never getting a text or phone from Ron ever again. Torture.
    It’s not rocket science, yet people have trouble understand. Since Ron’s passing I’ve lost 40 lbs. I have a sister in law who says she’s jealous of the weight I lost. asks if I feel healthier! Are you kidding me!
    You and Debi had a special marriage too, I can tell. Life is hard without our special loves.
     
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  14. JayG

    JayG Member

    It's a beautiful day outside and here I sit inside so depressed I can't get out of the chair. I too have lost a lot of weight. Since she got really sick earlier in the year, I have lost a total of 45 pounds with the most of that coming after she passed away. In reality, I guess I could have stood to lose a few pounds but I would rather be 100 pounds over weight and have her with me.
    At church today, the worship team sang one of her favorite songs and I just stood there and cried. I tried to keep it in as I didn't want to create a scene. It's like no matter what I do or where I go, it's like the song lyrics, "Always something there to remind me". I have never had any issues with depression but I am not so sure now. I have taken several online evaluations and each one comes back the same, Moderate Depression, and suggests a visit to my GP. I don't want to become dependent on medication for depression.
    Today is another milestone which just adds to my sadness. My dad passed away in 1989 but today would have been his 100th birthday.
     
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  15. MDGinVA

    MDGinVA Member

    I was upset a couple days after Debi died because I had realized that I had deleted my voicemail box not long before she went in hospital last time and I had no voicemails from her. Last week I found my old phone from a few years ago and luckily the old charger for it. Quite a few voicemails, mostly her saying it’s after 6 and haven’t heard from you I guess your stuck at work again. We didn’t have many arguments but most of them were work related.
    I miss her random “ I love you so much” texts. For the pst 2 years she couldn’t work and was mostly laying in bed. We had gotten an Alexa as a gift not long before that and I used to drop in from my phone and she would hear me say ( or text and Alexa voice would say) “ I love you”. Just wanted her to hear it sporadically throughout the day. She would always text me when she heard it. I miss that a lot. I am thinking of going on amazon photos and making a photo book of her pictures and adding some screenshots of some of her texts.
     
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  16. MDGinVA

    MDGinVA Member

    I went to church this morning and got their a little early and sat in my car in the parking lot and I will admit I cried some. This is the church we were married in and attended. ( not as often as we should have and that is on me, she always wanted to). Hard not to think of that, but I refuse to not go there because I’m reminded of her, rather I am glad because those are happy memories, she loved our church. Right now it hurts but I know in time I will be glad and smile thinking of her and our wedding etc, right now it’s just fresh and emotional
     
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  17. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    I did the same thing - cleaned my voicemail box and don’t have any good messages from Michael. I do have a few texts from when he was in the hospital saying he missed me when I wasn’t in his room. I miss him terribly. I do call his cell phone from time to time so I can hear his voice greeting. I also have lost weight without trying - 24 pounds in 2 and a half months. We liked to cook together and eat together and both had a few pounds to spare, but before he passed, I could eat a grape and gain weight. Now I schedule meals to be sure I eat and don’t have an appetite except for a few things. What I would give for one more real conversation....
     
  18. JMD

    JMD Well-Known Member

    My brother told me that Michael and I had achieved something that most people never have. Our families saw our love clearly, and I know we loved each other deeply. I have struggled with doubt since I lost him - he was so open with his love and caring and it is hard for him not to be here and not experience the presence of his love. Remembering it is so much harder than having it. The loneliness at the end of every day and the reality of every morning is so painful. I cry every weekend - they used to be so short, now they last forever. I write memories down as often as I can. I know I will never be the same without him. Your posts, and the way you live each day with Ron as your inspiration, inspire me to do the same. My hope is that some day I will feel peace and a little more content than I do now.
     
  19. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    Every day brings new challenges. This new life is so different, so hard, so lonely. I don’t take kindly to people thinking my weight loss is a good thing. It came from the stresses of losing my husband, that’s not a good way to lose weight.
    Try to be kind to yourself. Your loss is very recent. The devastation your feeling is to be expected. You miss your normal life with your wife. Give yourself time and keep people in your life. This is a long bumpy road.
     
  20. RLC

    RLC Well-Known Member

    That’s a beautiful idea if you feel up to it, you should do it. Pictures can help and also ,
    Make you more emotional. I go back and forth on how I react looking at our wonderful memories.
    I’m planning on making a shadow box. We had coffee breaks together every day at our shop, on days I wasn’t feeling well we would send each other a selfie with our coffee mug, saying cheers. I have many from through the years. I’m going to put them in the shadow box and add our mugs. Whatever makes us smile is worth the effort.
     
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