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Bereaved Spouses

A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.

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Newly Bereaved

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Depression or grief?

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Comment by Vee on March 30, 2012 at 9:03am

I did find something that did help me with the insomnia in "Woman's World (April 2, 2012 issue)," a grocery store checkout magazine.  Honey is a natural sedative that triggers tryptophan in the brain and prevents the release of cortisol, a stress hormone.  It soothes your muscles, and helps us to unwind and also can prevent leg cramps.  The article says you can take a spoonful of honey before bed.  To induce calm, drug-free sleep add it to a cup of tea or milk.  Be careful if you're allergic to bee stings or you're diabetic; check your blood sugar, if you are, to make sure your sugar is not too high.  I like to get a brand that has the honeycomb in it.

 

The second thing I saw was getting a box of passionflower tea.  It causes a sedative effect within minutes and eases anxiety.  If you get it loose, it says to steep 1 tsp. of the dried herb in one cup of water and strain.  I use tea balls.  They suggest that you can also buy it in bags from some healthfood stores.  

 

I'm trying these now, and this week it has helped me to get some rest.  The rest has helped to clear my mind some.  My body needs rest.  My disclaimer is I still miss Lawrence.  But with a good nights sleep I'm able to get through my days and not feel so physically drained.  It does not end the grief/mourning or the struggle, but it does help me as a person.  Do with it what you will, but I thought I'd share it.

 

Blessings and hugs all! 

Comment by Vee on March 30, 2012 at 8:49am

Tatjana, thank you.  I'll keep that in mind on Sundays.  See, I learn new strategies from every one of the posts.  I will definitely try yours, because every Saturday evening I dread Sunday, a day I used to love.  You are two weeks ahead of me.

 

I welcome great strategies such as Tatjana's.  I try to learn something by reading and rereading these posts; they are truly my lifeline.  Hopefully, this will help me make a few more stitches on my new life garment, Tatjana.  One day I'll have a new garment to slip on, and I'll be able to fully rejoin the living, but I'll never forget that old garment, I couldn't possibly, because that garment meant so much to me as did my beloved Lawrence.

 

Blessings, peace, and the power to move forward to all of us!

Comment by Tatjana Kowand on March 29, 2012 at 11:35pm

Vee...

My day is 'Wednesday'...that's the day I have to come to terms with as Michael transitioned 14 weeks ago on a Wednesday. I remember my oldest step-daughter saying to me that she hated Wednesdays and didn't know how she would ever get through one again...I told her that we would just put one foot in front of the other every day, wake up every morning and do it all over again until one day we realize that it's actually Thursday and Wednesday was just another day, and we made it through. She wasn't sure if she believed me and to be honest, I wasn't too convinced myself, but it has happened...not every week, mind you, but it does happen and that's one of the ways I know we will all make peace with this.

God bless you and everyone here...HUGS to ALL!!

Comment by Vee on March 29, 2012 at 7:55pm

Carol, you really hit the nail on the head.  Tatiana is right, it's the loneliness.  Despite my resolve to move forward, this lady is so right, and so are you.  I take my hat off to your grandmother, that she lived through the loss of two husbands and here I'm whining about one.  My goodness, 11 children?  Girl, you've got some resilient genes in there.

 

The evenings and the weekends are horribly lonely.  I've got to findsomething to fill at least the weekends with.  I am committed to doing something at least one day over the weekend unless the weather is too rainy.  I don't know what it is yet (laugh).

 

As for Sundays, which is the day I came home and my world crashed around me, I'm going to try to find a way to come to terms with Sundays.  Again, I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm determined I will not let depression destroy me.  I have people who depend on me.  I have people who love me.  I have people who I've mentored watching me to see if I can walk the walk after talking the talk.  I absolutely will not let grief/mourning become a drug for me.  It would be so easy for me to just drop out of life, but what would that say about me?  I'm going to honor Lawrence by fighting a battle he tried to win but couldn't.

 

I wish all of you peace, prosperity, and possibilities.  For all of those who are battling health issues along with loss, I keep you in my prayers always.  As for my friends here, you know I've got you before the Lord at all times.  Shannon, we miss ya!  But we know you're doing the work to pull yourself back up.  For all those that just started on the path, this group is the best thing going.  When I started with this group, I started coming back to life.  We may all fall off the wagon every now and then, but the people here are the strongest, most understanding, heads-on-straight group I've ever come in contact with.  People share and give each and every one of us the strength to face another day.  We are here for you.

 

Again, thanks to all who pray for me as I struggl.  I've added a whole sleeve now to my new "garment" of life.  It's taken me the whole month of March, but I've finally at least got a sleeve.

 

May you all have a blessed evening.  Hugs to all!

Comment by Carol Kayser on March 29, 2012 at 2:52pm

Dear Vee, that is an amazing story you have shared.  My grandmother, who lived in England, did something very similar as she had 11 children to support and had lost 2 husbands. Such strength she displayed to her family, and took such good care of them all.  I think perhaps women of those past generations were so incredibly strong we should be very much in awe of them.  Their strength, the strength of my own mother, and the incredible strength of my husband helps me to find my own inner strength most of the time, though not always.  I often find myself feeling pretty sad and lonely, the lonlieness is the worst, as Tatiana says, missing the emotional and physical closeness is devastating.  I express it a lot, but the inability to share those intimate details in your life with the one person who was there to listen, to hold you, to kiss you and say "it's okay dear", without that deep comfort from them, anything else just doesn't seem to make much of a difference, no matter how lovingly it is put forth.

I find my coping skills are just not great anymore.  So many things I would do now I can't be bothered.  I also get frustrated so easily.  My patience with people wears very thin sometimes and I get really tired. 

That's not to say I don't try, as we all try!  I think we are very brave and strong and determined people, who will find those ways to make a difference in our world while we are here, as God has a purpose for us all, we just need to recognize it.  People still need people, need to feel the love from one human being to another.  We are all in this together.

 

Hugs,

Carol

Comment by Gail Evans on March 29, 2012 at 1:54pm

Thank you so much, Tatjana, for your caring and thoughtful words, and for your virtual hug!  Blessings, Gail

Comment by Vee on March 29, 2012 at 1:22pm

I can say ditto to the loneliness.  For those who prayed for me, I made it through to quote Marvin Sapp's song, "My Testimony."  Do you know what I discovered yesterday sitting around the table looking at my colleagues?  They don't get it!  I could see it in their faces and their eyes, they want the old Vee back.  Not possible right now, maybe never!

 

What I realized driving home was I have a 600-pound gorilla on my back called "mouring and grief."  When I get up every morning with the part of Lawrence that I have left, the part that loved me and I loved, the 600-pound grief/morning gorilla jumps on my back.  That's what is dragging and weighing me down.  Every time I try to rise above it, it adds more weight.  As my physical body diminishes with the weight loss from wrestling with my grief or mourning, the gorilla gains weight and weighs me down even more.

 

I realized yesterday that as I've shed pounds and shed my grandmother, my parents, my two cousins who were like my sisters, my best friend, and now Lawrence--this grief/mourning gorilla feels it can trounce me.  I WILL NOT let it.

 

God blessed me with a man who loved me completely and spent the last 8 years showing me that love.  I cannot and I will not let this gorilla destroy all that. 

 

What I also realized is that all of my departed loved ones, my colleagues, and my escape mission from grief throughout the years have defined me.  Now that I'm not using anyone or anything as my barrier to pain and grief, I've got to do the work to define myself.  It's something that I don't want to do, because I was so happy when all these people--especially Lawrence and his love--were there for me.

 

Now I have to define myself for myself, by myself, and for myself.  The 600-pound gorilla has got to go.  The best example I had of that was my own mother.  My mother went from her parents' home to the home she created with my father.  When my father died, my mother cried every day for five months.

 

Then, one day this strong woman who had been a fighter on behalf of the poor and downtrodden, who had raised not only her children but nieces and nephews, who was the caretaker for her mother in her declining years, and who was now a single parent had to dig down deep and find a new purpose, a new meaning for her life.

 

She went back to ground zero, and ground zero for her was her farming background.  She went out and got a couple of acres of land and started growing vegetables and fruits.  She surrounded herself with life.  I went kicking and screaming, but soon realized it was her "way out," her way back into life.  She continued to garden and give away fruits and vegetables until her health declined right before her death for nearly 40 years.

 

To educate her child and help support us both, she bought a green Packer truck and sought contracts to remove trash.  Yes, I said trash.  My mother who detested dirt founded a trash company.  She hired people nobody else would hire.  She supported herself and me.

 

What is the meaning of this, my friends, we all have to find our ground zero.  We all have to push ourselves to not necessarily go into gardening or founding a company, but we've got to find something that gives meaning to our life.

 

Do I still struggle?  Do I still cry?  Do I still get hot, hopping mad?  Do I feel the universe has landed me an unfair kick in the pants?  Do I miss Lawrence every moment of every day?  Do I feel put upon?  Do I laugh sometimes hysterically because I think this is the most painful joke ever in my life?  Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes!  But just you wait, one day soon this gorilla is going to get TKO'd!!!

 

Blessings and hugs to all!

Comment by Tatjana Kowand on March 29, 2012 at 12:48pm
Dear Gail,

What a beautiful life you must have had with your beloved Jean...I know the pain of watching your loved one battle this insidious disease...how blessed you were to able to spend so much time with her during her Journey.

Going back to work is a blessing for some and not for others....I was so lucky to be able to take 7weeks away from my job as a hairstylist, as I know so many others don't have the opportunity to take that much time, but I was nowhere near ready to go back to work...I was exhausted! I was also broke so had no choice!

I, too felt relief for Michael that he no longer had to suffer but I still feel so empty. The days, in general, are easier but there are moments when I just break down in tears...the one thing I have noticed for myself is I am extremely lonely....I have wonderful friends and family to support me and spend time with but i find it even more difficult to be with many people at the same time...it's overwhelming! I really miss having an emotional and physical connection with someone...I miss Michael so very much.

I know there are many of us here who feel the same and others who are processing things differently...it's all good and right and normal. All I can say is that, after 3 1/2 months,everything is different and life goes on for the rest of the world while ours is torn apart and that is so difficult to realize and experience.

We walk this road alone in many ways, no matter who you have for support...they can't know how you feel unless they have experienced the very same loss...that of a life-partner/soulmate....so we are here to try to help you navigate your feelings, and help to hold eachother up and to just listen without judgement.

I send you a big, warm HUG...

Tatjana
Comment by Gail Evans on March 29, 2012 at 12:12pm

Dear Steve, et al.,

I am new to this group as I recently lost my beloved partner of 19 years.  Jean waged a valiant battle with stage IV cancer for 7 months, and I was fortunate to be able to spend most of that time with her.  I returned to work this week, a month after her death, and am having a very hard time with the surreal feeling that "life goes on" when mine has changed so dramatically.  Reading your posts has helped tremendously, but I am also looking for some relief from this overwhelming feeling of emptiness.  I am so grateful Jean is no longer suffering and is in a better place, but I miss her every minute of the day.

Comment by Shannon on March 28, 2012 at 7:14pm
Vee, believe it of not you have become my strength, I smiled at the Mayberry comment.. To bad you lived so far away I think we would have been very good friends! I got my roof fixed today by a friend that we grew up with, funny I was still scared I was going to get ripped off. I guess it's because Mike always handled this stuff. I'm so tired of being lonely but not ready to let anyone in.

Vee you'll be happy to hear that my son seems to finally be healing a bit he made a comment on his Facebook about life is getting better day by day that he feels he's on the stairway to happiness. That made my day I have been praying for Mike and God to help him through this, since it's not something we can change to at least let him be a 17 year old again, he's out with his friends now :) .

So how was work, I prayed for you, I know it's hard going back with all the " I'm sorry's, how are you's, the pity looks we get from people" it's almost better to not say anything at all sometimes..

I'm so overwhelmed this house is going to be a lot to keep up on, my grass already needs to be cut.. I'm still not sure if I want to stay or move or even if I want to stay in Michigan. I'm trying to not make any life changing decisions for at least a year. It's hard as you know everywhere you look you see them.

Not sure if I told you already, but Mike's youngest brother came over last weekend he's the one that helped me through this.. Mike had a pocket watch that was passed down to him by their grandfather, I was in the shower thinking and it came to me Chris is to get this watch almost as if mike said I want him to have it. I told him I could never thank him enough for everything he has done for Michael and I but mike wanted you to have this, he was so happy my sister in law said he talked about it the whole way home. That makes me so happy that I could bring a smile to his face like that..
 

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