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Today I made good on a promise

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

My husband Bill was quite the gardner...that was his thing....I loved seeing and bragging about the results of course..but never actually got involved in the planting.
When Bill got sick....he was concerned that he would not be up to doing the garden this year..it made him sad to think of not having flowers this summer....I promised him that with his supervision and direction....I would be his arms and legs and it would be done.
I was even looking forward to doing in and having some laughs with him about my profound lack of gardening ability...but he left way too soon.
People always commented on the garden and he so enjoyed that....he was a real quiet guy but so enjoyed the compliments.
So today I planted the garden....went and brought the plants and got out there and got it done.....he would be so proud....all of it is an ongoing tribute to him and his spirit.
There was many times over the past few days when I doubted that I had the emotional strenght to do it....but something drove me....and I knew I had to do it.
I still miss him with my whole heart and soul....and many times I wonder how I am going to fill the void his passing left in my heart...but I keep moving forward...now I think that at least for today...seeing the flowers now planted will give me some peace.
I start with the Berevement group on Monday..hoping to find some answers there....but at least for today...I made good on a promise....and I know he is happy !!
Pat

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

Congratulations on your achievement! It is things like this that help us move forward. I keep reminding myself that I need to face life without Doug as bravely as he faced his death. It is not easy, but it is great when we can achieve things that are somewhat outside our comfort zone. Driving the motorhome to Relay for Life was one of those things for me. Our sons and families go RVing regularly and we got the motorhome so we could go with them. Now I know that I can do that. I had driven it before but not by myself. We are strong women. I kept telling Doug that when he worried about me. Now I just have to keep telling myself that. I know you are going to find continuing comfort in your garden. Take care, Fay

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Pat,
So glad to read that you kept that promise! He is proud of you, and so are we. Making the garden a tribute to him is wonderful. You might want to get a stepping stone with his name on it to place in the garden, or give the garden a name in his honor. Everytime you look out at the garden, you will think of him. That is great! Also glad to hear you joined a berevement group. That should be helpful. I have not gone to one, but I know it is there if need be. Coming to this discussion board has proven to be most helpful to me. Hugs to you and keep in touch.
Tina

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

Hello Tina...went to the first support group meeting....have to say while I am not giving up on the idea...most of the folks there have lost their spouses more than a year or more ago and with me being only two weeks into the process....well maybe its just too soon..and more to the point maybe I was expecting too much....I tend to be that way...least thats what Bill used to say...anyway we shall see...I did come away with a few positive thoughts and ideas.
All I know for sure and for certain is that I am way too young to be a widow and this whole thing really stinks....I think someone is testing me....
The garden totally rocks and I have amazed even myself....if...oh I mean when it grows in it will really be gorgeous.
I do have a special stepping stone out there that we brought awhile back...it meant alot to us both when we picked it up...even more now.
Thanks again for the kindness...
Blessings..
Pat

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

Don't give up on a support group. Maybe the one you went to was not the right fit. I haven't tried a grief group yet, but I still go to the cancer support group Doug and I attended together. It has been really helpful. Take care, fay

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Fay,
I haven't tried a grief group and was invited next week to go to one so I thought I would try it. I haven't been to any cancer support groups either. How is the cancer support groups work. Do they have them for people like us who have lost their husbands? I am not a fan of trying new things especially when I don't know anyone walking into a group. Kind of scary and weird.

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi....the hospice we worked with offers an aftercare program for spouses....I went to my first one last Monday..felt a little out of place since most of the folks there were long time into the process....and with me only being 2wks...well I had to wonder.
It was interesting...and highly emotional.
I saw a big strong 60something former Marine...cry like a baby while speaking of his late wife..who passed away 6 months ago...it was eye opening.
The group is run very loosely...by that I mean..if a person is ready to talk they can and if not its fine....there were about 20 people there...the groups leader...a berevement specialist said that after a time she breaks down the group into smaller more personalized groups...more issue specific..which is nice.
I came away with mixed emotions...but I did get something out of going...if nothing else...just to be in the company of folks just like me...grieving the loss of their spouses...it takes away some of the aloneness of this process.
I will be going wkly for awhile...I am not usually a group type person...Bill and I had always been a unit of two....loners sort of....which has proven now to be a problem for me...now with my being alone....so the group thing is a good thing.
Good luck when you go...just keep an open mind.
Pat

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Ok Pat you talked me into it. I will try the support groups and see if I like them. I did get an appointment for my 10 year old daughter finally but it is for another month. They did tell me there was a children grieve support group last summer and I am going to check into that. My daughter I think would benefit alot being around other children that have lost parents and listening to them I hope. Haley

AKAngel's picture
AKAngel
Posts: 74
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi Pat. I'm sorry about you losing your husband. I worry about how my dad's going to be once my mom dies. He actually lost his first wife to suicide fairly early in his marriage to her, and I don't think he ever went to counselling about that. Now that my mom is dying, he internalizes more than ever, and he wasn't a big talker to start out with. I would like to hope he would go to counselling, but he will have to make that decision for himself. Him and my mom have always just been the two of them, they've never done the double date thing with friends that are married or really had any social network outside of themselves. That's not to say that they don't have some friends, but most are long-distance, and that's about it. I hope that counselling works out for you, and agree that you may just have to find a better fitting group if you feel that most of the people in the group you are in now are too seasoned in their grief. You say you're too young to be a widow...what is a good age to lose the love of your life?
Prayers to you for strength and peace.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

Our cancer support group is sponsored by the hospital and anyone who has been touched by cancer is welcome. We try to support those who currently are in treatment, who have lost someone to cancer, caregivers and those who have survived cancer. We are small with only about 7 to 10 people at each meeting. Our hospice has invited me to a grief group, but it is about 20 miles away. I live in a rural area. (yes, there are still some of those in California.) Most things are a ways away. We had to travel 60+ miles each way for Doug's infusions and over three hours for his surgeries. I just decided that I didn't want to travel for the grief group. Also, I have a lot of support from our church. I guess I feel like I am doing ok without the grief group. This board also helps. Fay

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

I also live in somewhat of a rural area of California. Where are you located? I live in Ramona. It use to be very rural but it is now getting bigger. Yes this board is helping me also. I look foreward to signing on in the evenings. Haley

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

I live in Murphys in the foothills of the Sierra. It's one of the original gold miner towns. We are about sixty miles east of Stockton. Our little town only has about 3000 people. Doug got his chemo in Stockton. It sounds like you are really doing a good job with your children. Sometimes parents don't realize how traumatic losing a parent can be. They think that children just bounce back. Did you check with hospice or the ACS? I know we had a family in our area that lost a son to cancer, and his brother has been going to a summer camp for children who have lost family members. I think they found about it from a hospital social worker. It might be worth checking it out in your area. Fay

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Yes I did check and I found out our hospice counselor signed my daughter up for a weekend camp not far from where I live. I also have some leads on a possible grief meeting for kids but I have to check up on that. My oldest son who is 22 and lives on our property went down to look at some puppies for my daughter. We raise and show big dogs so we wanted a small dog so she could cuddle with. We went down to look at one and ended up with two puppies. They are italian greyhounds and pretty funny looking but are show quality and we are going to show them later. Well my daughter sleeps with one and I have started sleeping with the other. A friend of mine who lost her husband about 14 years ago keeps telling me I need to take one of my 20 dogs to bed with me to keep me company. And I think she was right. The past three nights have been a little better to deal with. My daughter is smiling a little more but still is having problems eating and keeping things down. I finally have an appointment to have both my 17 year old son and 10 year old daughter seeing the same counselor. It is not until June 2 for my daughter but at least I have an appointment. I will check with a longer summer camp I think that would be great for her and me.

AKAngel's picture
AKAngel
Posts: 74
Joined: Mar 2010

Haley--
Am glad to hear that things are starting to work better towards healing. I should think a summer camp would be great for your daughter, and look forward to hearing of her progress in healing, as well as your 3 sons. It's great your 17yr old is willing to help around the house, maybe keeping up on the cleaning is a way for him to exercise through his grief and work it out in a physical way that's helpful to his mom too. I think it's sweet that your 22yr old thought of puppy therapy...hopefully they won't be too much of a handful for you on top of everything else, and remain a joy. Do you really have 20 dogs? Are they all show dogs? Do the kids help show them, or train them? Anyway, just thought I'd add my 2 cents in. Prayers to you and your family, and hugs.

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Yes I do really have 20 dogs. I have been showing dogs for 29 years. I have several retired dogs and the rest are breeding or just ready to show. I had to put my showing on hold to go back to school and get my BS in Social Work for the program director job I have with an adult day health care. I was almsost finished when my husband was diagnoised with cancer. Then the next 10 months were all about taking care of him and spending as much time with him as possible. Showing dogs is what I love and really want to get back to. I just feel in that fog and kind of look at all the dogs and question is it to much or can I do it again. I think I am feeling sorry for myself and just need to get up and start working with them and get them ready to show. Yes the boys help daily feed and take care of the dogs. I couldn't do it without them at this point.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

What kind of dogs do your raise? As you can see, I have a 2 year old black lab. He is pretty much my constant companion. When I changed out my queen sized bed for twin daybed I thought it would be too small for both of us. However, he has discovered that he can sneak up un the left hand corner after I have gone to sleep. So I wake up to him every morning. I do think they help us. I got moose for my husband and it was wonderful to see how much love he brought Doug during his last difficult months. I have many pictures of the two of them together. I'm sure your daughter and you will both benefit from your dogs' love. They really are therapeutic. Besides you can talk to them. They don't talk back, know how to keep a secret, and are not judgmental. You can tell them anything! Take care, Fay

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

I started with Dobermans when I was 14 but moved to mostly Rhodesian Ridgebacks at 18 and have been breeding and showing them except still having one doberman. My sons sleep with a couple each and we are starting to have the kids friends when they come over grab and dog and work with it. This means I can work 6 to 7 dogs at a time and they get more attention more frequently than it I do it by myself. I know Doug really enjoyed the company of moose. We got my husband a parrot a week before Sonny passed away and it was so funny to watch the two of them. Now Ringo is in the living room and a part of every conversation we have. It is nice to have some loudness in our house. When Sonny was alive the house was never quiet and even my mom would say she didn't like to come over because it was way to loud and stimulating for her. I love it and with four kids and step kids and their friends the house was always a zoo. I always thought it was more the kids that were loud but now the Sonny is nolonger with us it is so different and way to quiet. It is so lonely sometimes I have to turn the music on just to get some of that noise back in the house. The boys are coming around more and even my 19 who moved out when Sonny got sick because he couldn't handle seeing his dad sick and die has finally started coming around more. We have talked about that dad would have wanted him to help me and his little sister and we still are a family even if dad isn't here. I think he is starting to finally get that. Kids drive you crazy and dogs and other animals are therapeutic. I have come to that conclusion. Faye I can't believe you went to a smaller bed with Moose. I have a california king waterbed and couldn't see myself going back to a smaller bed. Be careful moose doesn't push you off the bed. Haley

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1611
Joined: Aug 2009

I often just leave the tv on for noise. Since our children are grown, things are pretty quiet around here except when granddaughters visit. Doug's number one rule to them was no loud noises. It was more of a joke than a rule. Moose is very good about not crowding me. If I push him he just gets down on the floor. I have a small bedroom and don't move around much when I'm sleeping. I was getting up and looking at the queen bed in the morning. Doug's side of the bed looked like it had just been made. I decided it didn't make sense to let the bed take up so much of the room when I was obviously not using much of it. It was a good move for me. Since it is a daybed it works really well for reading in the evening. Then I am usually joined by both Moose and our big yellow cat, Trouble. A parrot sounds like fun. I understand that they can have a lot of personality. I am glad you are surrounded by family and animals. I agree that animals are very therapeutic. Take care, Fay

closs86
Posts: 85
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi
I am happy to hear that your daughter is going for counseling, my grandson is starting to act out since my husbands death, they may have to have him talk to someone, each child is different and handles things differently.
I went to one grief group, and wasen't to happy with the group, but I will not give up, I have a different group coming up in June, I think it will help me, I don't know how, but I think talking with others who understand will help.
I have also had dogs my whole life, I love all animals, my husband was also an animal lover, and tried to help any animal that he came across that needed help. I have 2 dogs now a french bulldog and a boston terrier, they are my company, they keep me going, you have to feed them and walk them no matter how bad you feel, they are snugglers, and they give you unconditional love. I could never be without an animal.
As for the noise, my house is also silent, my sons are married, so I put the news on the radio on as soon as I get up, and the TV on at night, even if I am not watching, just for the noise. I hate the silence.
Well Good Night All
Karen

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Karen you are right about each being different and grieving different as well. I was talking to the hospice counselor today and she has suggested that I take some of the pictures down of my husband. My daughter is saying that all the pics make her sad. The big problem is it is very soothing to me. So I am going to take the big pic of me and my husband I just had done for our 24th anniversay going to move it in to my bedroom so I can still look at it. I also was doing pretty good for the first couple months but this past couple of weeks has been really bad. I am also grieving different than other people which after talking with the hospice counselor I think I need more counseling and possible some anti depressants. I was fighting the meds since he died but now I think I have got to have something so I can hopefully cope better and give my kids more attention. You also have a great Mothers Day. Good night Haley

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Ok Faye I get it now. You are right looking at that side of the bed not being used is kind of a reminder of not having your husband around. I do look at it each morning and feel the same way. I just love my waterbed and have had it the whole time I have been with Sonny over 25 years. I am going to keep the radio on during the day and hopefully it will help. You have a great Mothers Day tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!! See ya Haley

closs86
Posts: 85
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Haley
The pictures seem to help me, I have them all over my bedroom, my grandaughter made collages for the funeral, and they are in my bedroom now, I have a very recent picture of him right next to my bed with his ashes and i look at him every night and talk to him. I have started a journal, only a couple of days, but it seems to be good, I am writing so fast I can't keep up with myself, Maybe one of you can try something like that, it could help you get your feelings out. I had a dream of him last night and woke up pretty upset, because I dreamt that I was hugging him in our bed and when I woke up reality set in. so I had a pretty bad day after that.
As for the antidepressents, if you think you need them you take them, I am taking them and I know they are helping me, or I would never have gotten this far, for sure.
Well good night
God Bless
Karen

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Karen, like you the pictures are very soothing for me and I enjoy looking at them all the time. I am going to talk with my daughter and if she wants I will put some of my husband in my room with the tons of others I have and hopefully she will feel better. I did go to my first grief support group and the first discussion they were talking about is people loosing their spouse. Man did that hit home. I did get a lot out of it which totally surprised me. I think I will be attending this for a while. The lady that ran it also gave me a cd for my daughter which was a grief tape for kids. I am going to sit with her and play it tomorrow. I hope it will help her. So please try another support group until you find one that you feel that you like. Also with the anti depressants. I have an appointment this friday so hopefully I will start feeling better. Yesterday was horrible. It has got to get better or should I say like grandmafaye says easier. I hope you don't have anymore of the dreams. They can really take it out of you. The journal is a great idea. I think I will start it and see if my kids will start one too. Thanks for the ideas. Take care. Haley

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Haley and Karen,
Thanks for your posts, I have been following your progress. I am sure you know me, I am here, caregivers, and esophageal boards. I lost my dad on March 9th. I wanted to touch on two things. First the idea of the journal is wonderful. We started one as a family when dad was dx. Me, mom, and dad would write in it every to every other day. It was fun. We would all look forward to looking at it the next day. It also helped my mom and dad become more closer to eachother. It helped them communicate better. Most people have trouble saying things, but find it easier to write them. Now that dad has passed, mom and I continue to write in it. It is helping with the grieving process. Mom and I also like to look back in the journal to see all of the feelings we went through. It is sad at times, but at other times we smile and are happy at the fond memories. As far as anti depressants, I am all for them. There are also anti anxiety meds. I am taking a combination med called effexor. It is for depression and anxiety. It does take time for the med to take effect, usually 2 weeks. Do not be ashamed of having to take a med. I also can relate to grandma fay. I have a chocolate lab. He is a huge, brown, lovable, 90 lb mess! We love him with all of our hearts. He is great to sleep with too! His name is...so original....Chocolate. Amongst many other nicknames!! Peace to all. Keep in touch, I look forward to hearing from all of you.
Tina

closs86
Posts: 85
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Tina
So sorry about your dad, I know how your mom feels, at least she has you home with her. It is so lonely at home, my sons are married an have children, jobs, and their own grief to deal with, although they are with me at least twice a week, I don't want to put any more stress on them, they have been through this whole horrible thing with me and have all the bad memories that we went through with their dad. I have gone back to work, trying to keep my self moving, so I don't just stay in bed. I really have to push myself, but I am trying to very very hard.
Well I also am going a little crazy in the garden, I guess we are letting out some frustration or something.
(((((((((((((((Hugs))))))))))))))))
Karen

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1560
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Karen Thank you for your condolences. I am not at home with my mom. I am married with a 10 yr old daughter. We live 20 mins from mom. I talk to her at least 3x a day, and see her a couple times a week.
Glad you went back to work, mom did too. It is very helpful. Gald you have a garden. Mom has a beautiful huge flower garden that keeps here quite busy. Yes we do have to push ourselves most of the days, but we have to. Our lives will not continue if we don't. Keep in touch. Hugs to you also.
Tina

anthonya
Posts: 11
Joined: Jun 2010

This is so good to read.

And I have experienced, since my mother's recent passing, strength that I wondered how I'd obtain. Magically, it somehow is there when you need it :-)

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