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Entering second week of widowhood...Any tips?

Tubbs
Posts: 51
Joined: Jul 2009

My wife passed one week ago, tonight. Had the beautiful service for her yesterday and took the last of my brothers and his family to the airport a while ago. Now, I don't know what to expect. I won't be tending to my wife, won't be making arrangements, won't be doing much but thinking. I'll start putting some of her stuff away, such as make-up, etc.

But, I just don't know what to expect this week. I'm already feeling such a void which was temporarily covered by the activities of the funeral and my family being around. Anyone have any advice, besides 'stay busy?'

I'm 44...am I too young to go to a weekly berevmemnt meeting at the local hospital?

jaycc
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2012

I'm so sorry to hear about your wife. Lost my husband at 50, just a year now.
The first months are very hard, "raw" is a good word, but there really aren't any ways that can describe losing the spouses. To your question, just my opinion but give the bereavement group a try, if you don't feel comfortable you don't have to go back. Our area hospital does offer a group for the young widow/widowers, maybe you can ask you group.

The first months are very hard, we have lived the battle of cancer, and now you take on the battle of grief which is not easy. As you mentioned, spending your days and nites caring for her and now what is the next steps.
Here's some advice I found helpful. The love you have is always yours, no disease or person can take that away.
Do something for yourself every 48 hours, exercise, meal with a friend, writing, walk outside, whatever works for you.
Take some breaks, and then take a few more.
Its still one day at a time. Though it gives you little comfort now, and things will not be the same, things do get a little easier over time.
I find music to help. The radio is on alot, as well as different music.
Hang in there.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1614
Joined: Aug 2009

The death of a spouse is truly life changing. Moving from caregiver to just you is really hard. The first few days o by in a haze. Then, when everyone goes home, we are faced with the rest of our life, our new normal. I'd definitely try the grief group. It doesn't hurt to try. I don't think age matters a whole lot. Each of us must grieve in our own ways, but we have so many commonalities. Right now just put one foot in front of the other. I found that that was all I could do at times. Also, move forward on your timetable not anyone else's. Some think they know better than we do what we need to do. Often they just don't get it. We are the only ones who understand our grief. Take your time to do things and make decisions. Hang in there. Fay

barbn
Posts: 33
Joined: Jan 2012

SO sorry to hear about your wife. I lost my husband Sept 7th 2012. I find each day different. Some days I feel like I am doing ok, then the next day I wish I could join him.
Grieving process is horrible. I don't know what my future offers and it is hard to go on. I feel at times people think I should just get on with my life, but I don't know how to do that? We did everything together. My daughter is grown and got married this summer before my husband passed. She is living in Nevada, I am Wisconsin.
I have friends and family who I know want to help me, but they don't know what to do for me no more than I do. They have their lives.
I think it takes a long time and I hope and pray it starts to get easier soon.
I miss my husband so much.
My advice is keep busy, enjoy your friends, and pray for strength from God
barb

Kathylr's picture
Kathylr
Posts: 8
Joined: Apr 2012

That's how I felt, still sometimes do. My dh died 8/24 ("unexpectedly" even given his dx, he had been doing well and took a sudden turn) so it's now coming up on three months I've been widowed. It was so disorienting that life had been so pressured with all the medical appointments/treatments and caregiving for months, then of course planning and having the funeral the week after, then...nothing. Our daughter is 18 and she left only a few days after her father died for college, which only added to my disorientation and numbness. Her leaving, in our normal (pre-illness) life, would have been heartbreaking all on its own-- If you have young children, they and their needs will keep you busy and moving forward through the days to come.

I admit the first couple of weeks, I caught up on sleep and when awake, just sort of wandered around. I bounced between frantic list-making of all the things I needed to do, and doing nothing. I was focused on getting all the medical stuff out of the house, and putting our home back in order. During my husband's illness, and for awhile after his death, friends and family called me often but that has stopped.

I suggest attending a bereavement session a couple of times. That will tell you whether the group is a help to you or not. So much depends on the people who happen to be there. The benefit is, it's a group of people living through exactly what you are--and as you've probably found out or will soon, people who have not recently lost a loved one often just aren't able to understand what you are going through, how you are feeling.

I still haven't dealt with my husband's belongings. It was hard the first time I did laundry, it was full of his clothing, the pockets full of his small belongings as always--that always irritated me before, but was so poignant that last time. I did pack those things up for the Goodwill, I've put his medicines away, cleared out his cabinet in the bathroom. But I still haven't unpacked the little suitcase he took to the hospital that last time. It's just sitting there on the back porch, waiting for me. I had to clear out his office, at his employer's insistence it couldn't wait, but those things are sitting in the garage in what seems like 100 boxes for some other time. I'm not suggesting you drag your feet too, perhaps I'd feel better if I got these difficult tasks behind me.

I read, and several widows/widowers told me, to not make any important decisions the first year after my husband died. I have found this to be really good advice, because I have noticed I am very forgetful, and sort of not thinking straight some of the time. During these past weeks and still, I have absent-minded thoughts such as maybe my husband will text or call. At the grocery, I put things he liked to eat in the cart, then come to myself and realize they aren't needed. I have a problem with the computer, and am halfway across the room before I remember I can't ask him what to do. It's a shock then when I must realize that I'm having these wrong-headed kinds of thoughts, that I'm not functioning 100% certainly.

Kathy

3Mana
Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

Sorry you've lost your wife. I lost my husband in March of 2010. Each day is different. One day I'm doing fine & the next I don't know how I'll go on. This time of the year around the holidays is always bad. When everyone is talking about Thanksgiving & Christmas it makes me want to scream! Sometime I feel like I should start going to a counselor again. So it hasn't been long for you so take one day at a time. I don't know how long you were married, but all of a sudden life changes and it's hard to go on. There is so much support on this site though and we all understand.
Please always rememner the happy times you had and each day really does get easier. I have 3 kids & grandkids and lots of friends wwho help me through the bad days. Stay strong & remember we're all here to talk to. Carole

here4lfe
Posts: 296
Joined: Jan 2010

Stay busy, because the quietness will come and you'll have to go through it. The tears will come, and you have to go through them. I stay busy but I'm not trying to distract myself from the grief. It's been over 2 months and people still come up to me just having found out about my wife's passing so it gets relived all over.

The advice not to do anything big for the first year is sound advice! I've done some not so serious but weird stuff lately -)

Find the right bereavement group. The one I attended will work for me, but I will say that being young (I'm early fifties), the other men there were considerably older and I found myself envious of the longer time they had with their spouses (I'd take another 20 years for sure).

You are not alone in this journey, but you still have to put one step in front of the other.

Best

Suzi_cue1961
Posts: 17
Joined: Jul 2012

Sorry to hear of your lost. My thoughts and prayers are with you as well as all the others. I just lost my husband on October 3rd. He was diagnoised in 12/07 with Pancreactic Neuroendocrine Carcinoid Cancer w/mets. The journey was long, but not long enough. I miss him so much and everything that all of you are saying is so true. He is no longer in any pain, but he is rejoicing in the Lord. I feel like I am in a dream and I will wake up any minute and he will be there. I know my faith is strong, buy my heart is weak. I take one moment at a time. A song I play reminds me of him, I cry. Something around the house I can't find, I cry. Getting used to the emptiness is very hard. We have six children together (his, hers and ours) and we have 10 grandchildren. I still have two (twins) left at home they are 14. Even though they are here, its not the same. Thank God I have such a big family because that does help. Richard was 53 years old. I treasure our memories and just put one foot in front of the other and believe God will see me through.

david54
Posts: 115
Joined: Apr 2009

I am sorry you are going through this. I lost my wife to cancer over two years ago. I remember the empty feeling, comparable to trying to navigate in one of those snow globes you see at Christmas. It was so quiet and I felt as if part of me was gone too. In some ways it was. It takes time to re-establish our identities, it may be different for men because we are generally “Fixers” who tend to others needs but ignore our own feelings. I had some well intentioned single women calling me to come over for popcorn and watch a movie; to go hiking, etc, sometimes I did and then other times I begged out when I felt uncomfortable.

I am only sharing this because there are a lot of lonely women out there who want companionship, and that is perfectly understandable but your role is now different, you are single just my advice - follow your own grief journey.

Therapy, grief support group, a men’s group if you can find one, exercise, good diet, perhaps a thorough physical, (you may have ignored your own health when your wife was sick) perhaps even an antidepressant (I’m not pushing Rx on you) get good sleep and journal your feelings.

It will get better!

Tubbs
Posts: 51
Joined: Jul 2009

Thanks, everyone, for your replies. Really helpful. My friends have been good and we've planned to have lunch every Friday (we'll see how long that lasts). We got together today and it was fun, but even with the distraction, I only felt like I was half there.

I understand about making lists. I make the dumbest lists now: grocery list (been sitting there for several days), house cleaning list, things to do list, thank you cards to send list, calls to make list. I've been on list over drive. I get up to do something on the list, get distracted and then sit down again five minutes later. I'm all over the place.

Sometimes I want people around, the next minute, I don't. My wife has a bunch of self-help type books that I've never liked having around. Now I don't want to get rid of them. It's so confusing.

I haven't had any females come over...just one of our friends whose husband died unexpectedly a few years back. She made it pretty clear that she is very involved with someone. I think the only female that has been over besides her is my mom whose pattern is to come over every other day, haha.

I'm going to try a cancer berevement group next Thursday, if I'm up for it. We'll see how that goes. Thanks again for all the thoughtful replies.

slg
Posts: 200
Joined: Jan 2010

So so sorry for you. I lost my husband in January and I have taken advantage of every sort of grief support available. I highly recommend you doing it. 44, yes too young to lose your wife but not too young for support. I am usually the youngest (at 58) in groups but we all unfortunately share the same bond...
You are in a fog/blur right now. Take it slow and don't make any drastic changes. Take your time to grieve..

Suzy64
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Tubbs,

 

I totally understand, I lost my husband two weeks ago Easter morning to Non-seminoma testicular cancer.  We went to highschool together but never really met until 6 years ago.  We were married 3 years ago and bought our first house together Dec 2011.  He was diagnosed 3 months later.  Our time together was too short and i'm having a really hard time understanding why he had to go so soon.  It's not fair and not right.  I too am a complete mess trying to understand this.  I understand the lists, the moping around not wuite knowing what your doing or what you should be doing.  Then sitting down and doing nothing.  Complete confusion.  I can't even get myself to turn on the tv for distraction half the time.  Sometimes when i'm around people for too long it all becomes noise to me and I want to shut it off like a faucet.  And that's NOT me!  I'm a people person.  Very strange.  Going thru this is the hardest thing i've ever had to do.  And i've been thru a lot. I took care of my husband thru it all right up to the moment he died.  I waited 17 years as a single mother to find my husband.  God brought us together for a reason.  I guess God knew I would be there for him.  We did everything together.  Even the grocery store.  Everything.  I can't watch the Giants games now because it's too hurtful.  We never missed a game.  No one to cheer with now.  I understand your pain.  And reading your post made me realize that at least what i'm going thru is normal.  I am 48.  My husband was 47 young.

 

Suz

jy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2013

I am so sorry for your loss.  I wanted to pass along an online resource in case you have children in the home: http://singlefathersduetocancer.org  If this fits your situation, I welcome you to visit the site, particularly a series of short videos we just uploaded featuring fathers from our support group.

 

I hope you find the website helpful and I wish the best to you moving forward.

VivianLee5689's picture
VivianLee5689
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2012

My husband is now in inpatient hospice and they say he has a few days/weeks left.  Our one year anniversary will be May 12 and we have spent almost our whole marriage fighting the beast. He found out in July and we have been on a roller coaster ride ever since. I don't know what I'm going to do without him.  I am 42

Suzy64
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2013

Vivian,  How is your husband doing?

 

Suz

Suzy64
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Tubbs,

 

I totally understand, I lost my husband two weeks ago Easter morning to Non-seminoma testicular cancer. We went to highschool together but never really met until 6 years ago. We were married 3 years ago and bought our first house together Dec 2011. He was diagnosed 3 months later. Our time together was too short and i'm having a really hard time understanding why he had to go so soon. It's not fair and not right. I too am a complete mess trying to understand this. I understand the lists, the moping around not wuite knowing what your doing or what you should be doing. Then sitting down and doing nothing. Complete confusion. I can't even get myself to turn on the tv for distraction half the time. Sometimes when i'm around people for too long it all becomes noise to me and I want to shut it off like a faucet. And that's NOT me! I'm a people person. Very strange. Going thru this is the hardest thing i've ever had to do. And i've been thru a lot. I took care of my husband thru it all right up to the moment he died. I waited 17 years as a single mother to find my husband. God brought us together for a reason. I guess God knew I would be there for him. We did everything together. Even the grocery store. Everything. I can't watch the Giants games now because it's too hurtful. We never missed a game. No one to cheer with now. I understand your pain. And reading your post made me realize that at least what i'm going thru is normal. I am 48. My husband was 47 young.

 

Suz

VivianLee5689's picture
VivianLee5689
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2012

My husband died on April 4.  It all happened so fast and I am so very sad to have lost the man I loved.  He was right with the Lord and he was ready to go home.  It was very hard to let him go, but I knew I had to.  The cancer was everywhere.  Sounds like we have so much in common Suz.  I could have written your post.

Suzy64
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2013

I'm sorry for your loss Vivian.  I know it's hard.  Good days and bad and you just never know what will trigger the emotions.    The fog will lift slowly.  You will get better and move on eventually. I keep telling myself that over and over.  Hang in there.  How are you doing now?

 

 

Suz

Rev_Ted's picture
Rev_Ted
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2013

Tubbs, I know what you're going through and the best thing I can tell you is take it one day at a time. My wife was 46 years old and everything just hit us at once. We didn't know she had cancer until it was to late. It's been about a months since she's passed and the ONLY thing that keeps me moving forward is knowing that she's in heaven and one day I will see her again. Hang in there buddy and I'll add you to my prayers.

VivianLee5689's picture
VivianLee5689
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2012

I am sorry to hear you lost your young wife.  Sounds like we are in a similar boat.  I am sorry.

Rev_Ted's picture
Rev_Ted
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2013

It's a test of faith to lose your partner. I think for the first week I was in big time denial. I tried to be positive and cheerful but then the next week came and reality really started to set in. It's been a little over a month now and I have my good days and bad. I've found that staying busy and having something to do constantly helps a lot. Being alone and idle only allows those depressing thoughts to kick in. I'm grateful for the years the good lord gave me with her, I couldn't have asked for a better partner to share some of my life with. I think that widows and widowers think about the what if and the future when we should focus more on the time we did have and treasure it. Each day that passes gets us closer to being reunited with them. God bless you all.

 

Rev. Ted Stanhope.

VivianLee5689's picture
VivianLee5689
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2012

I am finding the idle time is very difficult as well.  I am trying to start living again, it is just hard.

Rev_Ted's picture
Rev_Ted
Posts: 14
Joined: Mar 2013

I found this song the other day and it speaks to me about the loss of my wife. I'm sure it can speak to others.

 

Ted.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=iqaXXxp2GgE

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