Trying to find my new "normal"

Discussion in 'Grief in Common Updates, Questions & Answers' started by MommaPigeon, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. MommaPigeon

    MommaPigeon New Member

    Hi everyone, I am new to this site which was recommended by a friend of mine. So here goes...
    82 days ago I lost the love of my life, my best friend, my husband of 33 years suddenly to a massive heart attack. Well, let me back up a little. I truthfully lost my husband 7 years ago when his mom and dad passed within 3 months of each other. He spiraled into depression and stopped taking care of himself. Putting on weight and not taking medication. I knew he was on a slippery slope but he just gave up. He was laid off from his job and ultimately I believe he felt he had no purpose. Now back to the present. I had gone to bed, before my son and husband which was common, as I go into work for 5:00 AM. Our son woke me saying mom, dad needs your help. I got up to find him on the floor not breathing, unresponsive. We called 911, I tried to help him, attempting CPR. No one tells you how hard it is to do CPR on a large person. The police arrived, emergency services arrived, they worked on him for a while to no avail. He was gone, 54 years young, gone. I flip-flopped from sad to furious. I called our daughter the oldest and my girl friend, they came to the house while we made a report to the police and waited for the M.E. to come and release the body. Then the funeral home. I think it was 3 AM when he was taken from the house. We immediately drove up to Maine to pick up my youngest daughter from school. She had just gone back. The whole ride up I kept smelling him. Just lingering right over my right shoulder. I whispered Ed if that is you, go away. I cannot deal with you right now I have to get our daughter. I could smell him on and off for about three weeks straight. We then planned the service, had the service, and picked up his ashes. 14 days went by in a blink of an eye. There where so many people. I don't think he ever realized how many lives he touched. The beautiful things people said about him. My dear son-in-law paid tribute to him that had me laughing and crying the whole time. He nailed him. There was too much food, and flowers. After his service I packed up his clothes and shoes. 11 trash bags. That man would tell me he had nothing to wear. The bags sat in my granddaughters room for a couple weeks. I kept a few things that I just could not part with. His slippers of all things. I finally donated everything to the local shelter. Many of my co-works kept saying don't rush, you don't have to do that. But it was winter and there was a coat and hardly worn boots. No they had to go they where things and it was not right to keep them. I changed our room up. New curtains and bedspread. It made it feel lighter in the room. I brought his hearing aids back to be refurbished for someone in need. The poor lady behind the desk was not prepared for me to fall apart handing over my husbands hearing aids. I was fine until she asked me his name. I just wanted to hand them to her. She looked at me, can I hug you? Sure. Do you want to sit down? Can I get you coffee, tea, a cookie. I said no. What I really wanted she could not give me. Week 3 I went back to work. Ah work, the great distraction. Getting up, going to work, seeing my people. Normal, right? Ha! I hate the drive to work. It is too quite no matter how loud the radio is or what is on the radio. I cry all the way there. My best friend calls me every morning now. Once at work I am fine. Lots of happy chatter, lots of people, lots to do. Okay, I can get through this. I scheduled to have my snow tires changed on my car. Off to the local tire company that we have gone to for 33 years. No problem, drop the car off, they call when its ready. I go to pick up the car and the guy whose been there for at least 33 years says, so how's Ed?. In my head I quickly tell myself, no crying. Why do I bother. He passed in January. The man looks at me, no. And then the normal back and forth banter I'm so sorry, etc. The other guy looks at me and says, make sure you check the air in the tires. You know what, just stop in once a month or every other month we'll be happy to check them and fill them if necessary. I love local companies. Off to schedule my lawn mower service. I notice it has Ed' name on it, but so what. I say, would you make a note to call my cellphone if needed. The young man says you want us to call you. Oh boy, here we go. Well, I guess we should take Ed's name off the account. The man says I can do that. First name, Kelly, last name, Pigeon, the same as Ed's. Address? The same. This poor man thinks I'm divorced. Everything is the same, just put my first name and my cellphone number, please. No problem ma'am. I had a doctor appointment recently. I remembered to change my emergency contact. I went to pick up a refill on a prescription. How are you Mrs. Pigeon? Ok. We are so sorry to hear about your husband. Thank you. Is that even the right response? Listen, I know people mean well, and they really don't know what to say. But please stop saying your sorry. Please feel free to say, Mrs. Pigeon, this has really gotta suck! YES!!! IT SUCKS BAD!!! Please don't look at me like I am crazy when I tell you I am angry. I suppose, as my oldest tells me all the time, Mom, stop, they don't know what to say. They feel bad for you. I say don't feel bad for me, feel angry along with me. He wasted his life for the past 7 years. I know there will be lots of that to come. I guess I was doing okay until recently. This COVID-19 social distancing thing is awful, but it is really awful when you are alone. It might be different if this was the lifestyle I had chosen but it is the lifestyle that has been dealt to me. I never wanted to be alone. Although one could argue I was alone before he passed. I was already grieving him. I don't like being alone. This should be our time. Our children are grown. Our youngest is 21. There were places to go, so much I wanted to see with him. I am very angry. I have my children and granddaughter but it is not the same. I need to know, just like my son asked me, that he knew he was loved even though he clearly did not love himself. Even though we argued all the time, always over his health. We were inseparable from the time we met. I don't know who I am without him. I need to find my new normal.
  2. David Hughes

    David Hughes Well-Known Member


    Losing the one who we shared our life with is so hard to get beyond. Talking about it is even harder. The abruptness of his death is searing. I am sure those final moments will be hard to get beyond at times.

    There is never a right time to lose the one we shared our lives with. I know even though my wife of 42 years died of cancer, and we were with her for ten years during that journey, we still never wished to say goodbye to her.

    The one solace I took after my wife passed was she would suffer no more. The pain would finally be gone.

    My wife had so many clothes. Her final sister, she lost two brothers and a sister during our marriage - So Linda, and Lisa her favorite niece and my older sister Marcia came to our house and I asked them to take whatever clothes they wanted, whatever jewelry as well. When that was all done I finally took the remaining items to Goodwill.

    Of course I kept tokens for her, items that I would never part with, like a black pearl ring I had bought in South Korea for her. I also had a painting of her, I keep it on the hallway wall now.

    You never realize all the small things you wish to keep after you lose your spouse. She had kept all the letters I wrote to her from Vietnam, they were bundled all together. Our photo albums were many, we had seven Kodak carousels full of pictures and so many home movies.

    When I would become sad and lonely I would go into the livingroom and sit for hours and just look and watch.

    So true, after my wife Nadine passed I had to change so many things in her name, our name. You never realize until it happens how deeply connected to things a person is until after they pass.

    I hope you have many memories to draw back upon during your times of loneliness. I know my sons were so profoundly shaken by their mothers death. For the longest time it was hard for them to open up to me.

    Can death make us mad, without a doubt. Life is not a bed of roses. There is no Yellow Brick Road we can walk upon. We have to make what life and marriage become together. It is not a single venture. If we bring children into our lives we have to change our lives for them, we have to guide them, and show them right from wrong.

    It would be great if life was easy, but let’s all face it, things happen, our outlooks are affected, but we should never give up or surrender ourselves to despair. It will serve no purpose other than to make things unbearable at times.

    Being in this isolated state we live in is bad enough. When there are others, like children who live with you, you have to keep apart for each other's sake. Chris, my youngest, made us each masks, and they are perfect.

    This loneliness is something we all might face. We have to find ways to cope, to make the nights easier to tolerate. To make going to sleep easier and more restful. To watch out for ourselves, and if there are others as well.

    It isn’t easy, there are no easy answers. Each of us are different. We all handle stress and loss in our own way. We might rebel, we might give up, we might say to heck with life, but the one thing we all need to accept is we are still here, we need to find a way forward.

    I found listening to music finally helped me, and the violin music was what helped me the most. So you need to find a way to cope. Do things that give you some joy. Or find some new hobbies. The news today is so trash driven, I watch a half hour locally, and only one world news. I tape it, so I watch it at my convenience. There are no wasted times, no commercials I just fast forward through all that bull.

    Unfortunately, I also get the paper, and check the obits to see who has passed and if I knew them. These times sure do bite hard.

    Your husband loved you, you were with each other for 33 years. You were his best friend as well. You know love is with you when you look at your children, grandchildren, you both passed that on. So please never doubt he loved you.

    It is possible your husband was suffering from depression. I know after my father's death I developed panic attacks and was treated for 5 months. It is just something we all might have happened to us for one reason or another. Nothing in life is guaranteed.

    Nadine and I would argue like any couple would. The making up was the best time. We did not stay mad with each other for long.

    Lastly, please take time to open up to your family, your friends, and even us complete strangers. Talking is your best therapy. It will help you to lessen those emotions over time.

    For now take care and may you find some peace today and the days that follow.


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