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and so I join the grief and bereavement board

karenbeth's picture
Posts: 194
Joined: Sep 2010

Frank died yesterday morning. I spent the night at my mother's apartment. I was afraid to come home this morning but I finally did (had to feed the cats). I know I can't avoid being home, I have to get used to being here alone.

Since Frank did not want a funeral or service, there is nothing I have to do. I am planning on going back to work tomorrow. It's better than sitting around this empty apartment. We worked at the same place (different departments but same floor)and he worked there many, many years so everyone there is very sad. It's going to be just as hard walking into the office as it was to come home this morning, but I have to get it over with. My staff, who are so sweet, want to have a welcome back breakfast for me. I hope I can get through it without crying.

Besides feeling unbelievably sad, I feel anxious today. My stomach is upset and I have to keep going to the bathroom. I am afraid of having an anxiety attack. Deep breathing...I only have to make it a few hours, then my mother is coming over and we will watch DVDs and zone out.

I will just keep reminding myself that even though it feels like I can't get through this, I can, and I will. One day at a time.


grandmafay's picture
Posts: 1639
Joined: Aug 2009

Your days ahead will be filled with many firsts and each one will be hard. Don't expect too much of yourself. It's ok to cry. This isn't something that we get over. Your loss is a part of you now. We learn to move forward one step at a time. Grieving is a process and for each of us it is a little different. Yet, we do need to grieve. Getting used to coming home to an empty house is one of the hardest things for me. I think sometimes it is harder when there is no service. Doug's service somehow gave me permission to begin the process of moving forward. I cherish the stories that were told and the family and friends who offered support. I suspect the breakfast will serve that purpose, not only for you, but for those who knew him at work. People often don't know what to say. Be prepared for the awkwardness. I often found myself consoling others.

Welcome to this board that none of us ever wanted to be on. There are many here who understand how hard this path is to travel. You are not alone. Hugs, Fay

luz del lago's picture
luz del lago
Posts: 452
Joined: Jul 2010

Dear Karen,

You will cry, you will have anxiety, you will have "tummy" issues. Your body is grieving, even if you don't quite realize it, yet. Have good tissues around, have someone bring you some calming teas. Yes, watch movies, go for the funny or science-fiction type, at this time. Also, brew a cup of tea, sit quietly and try to only reflect on the taste of the tea, it's warmth, the aroma. I called this my "zoning out" moments! For moments at a time, there were no other thoughts, feelings or worries. I believe giving myself this little break from reality helped me to gain strength when I really did need to "be in the moment".

Please, take it nice and slow when it comes to work. Immersing yourself so soon may only lead to burying your sorrow. And as I have learned, it is best to release. That is how you really begin to take those first baby steps into this new journey.

Not having had a service for Frank, might make a difference for you and others that loved him, or not, time will tell. Funerals, memorials and services are for the living to honor and mourn the loss of one that meant so much to us. It is also an opportunity for others to offer their love and care to us. Maybe in time, you will want to have a "tribute" to Frank. Nothing outrageous, just an opportunity for yourself and others to "celebrate" who he was, what he meant to so many. Perhaps meet at a favorite place of his, be it a park, a restaurant? You'll know if this feels good for you.

I am glad to know that your mom is there with you, and for you. And how sweet of your staff to want to welcome you back with a breakfast. I, as others here, did experience some feelings of being overwhelmed when returning to the outside world for the first time after our loss. Being in crowds was at times, difficult. It may be better if your staff keeps it to a quaint gathering, not too many folks, yet. Just a tid-bit of experience.

I so wished that you would not have to "join" this forum, also. But you know we will be here for you. And I know you will be here for us. Take care.

Peace be with you,


karenbeth's picture
Posts: 194
Joined: Sep 2010

Thank you Lucy, and all of you, for your advice.

I still plan to return to work tomorrow, but I asked that they postpone the breakfast, as I realized I am not ready for that. I will spend one more night at my mom's so I can get some sleep. Luckily, she lives just down the block from me.

There will eventually be a tribute to Frank at work--he was well regarded and loved there and everyone will want to say goodbye and honor him. At some point in the future, perhaps if some family members come from Atlanta, I want to scatter some of his ashes in his favorite place to be in NYC, Fort Tryon Park.

As I never watched "24" when it was on TV, I figure I can start renting them...there must be 7 seasons or so...that should keep me busy for a while. When Frank was doing chemo we rented the entire Battlestar Galactica series which kept us occupied for several weeks. It was perfect.

Thank you for your well wishes, and I wish you the same.


Posts: 358
Joined: Aug 2009

So very sorry to hear of you loss. Lost my husband to brain cancer 10 months ago. This is by far the most difficult time I have ever experienced. You may cry at the breakfast but that is okay. You have suffered a tremendous loss. Your co-workers will understand. And coming home to an empty house is still very difficult. I try to keep very busy and that helps at times. This is a long difficult process this grieving business. There are no time lines and no right or wrong way to move through this. I have found great comfort here. No one can understand like those who have gone through this. Hang in there, Karen. There have got to be brighter days on the horizon.

Posts: 829
Joined: Aug 2010

We've all gone through this with coming home to an empty house. Tom's been gone a year and I still hate unlocking the door & coming into an empty, quiet house.When you're used to someone being there to greet you and all of a sudden you're alone, it's the hardest thing to get used to.
It's too bad you aren't having a little service or something to help you realize that he's resting in peace now and you have to move on. Just take one day at a time and when you feel the tears starting to build up, let them flow. We are all here for you Karen, as we've realized, the support on this site is phenomenal! So please talk to us when you're feeling down.
Good luck at your breakfast at work tomorrow. And if you cry, don't worry about it!!!

Posts: 51
Joined: Apr 2011

I lost my husband of 26 years to CLL and skin cancer last year...I felt the same way..afraid of going to work, afraid to stay home by myself. I was seeing him everywhere in the house and heard his footsteps...But what helped me with my sorrow is the Memorial Service we had for him..
I'm very sorry for your loss. Please cry if you have, to do not hold back. It is very sad time for you and it's ok to be sad. My thoughts are with you

Posts: 47
Joined: Mar 2011

Coming home was very hard for me at the beginning. I just missed my husband so much. Eventually my home became my refuge. I don't know when it changed, but it did. Of course, it's not like it was - it never will be, but it still feels like "our" home.

The beginning is so hard because everything is so raw, and you feel like somebody has made a terrible mistake - that it just can't be happening. I lost my husband 6-1/2 weeks ago, and from time to time I still feel as if it can't be happening - although I think I feel it a little less than I did at the beginning.

Take care of yourself. We will all get through this.

karenbeth's picture
Posts: 194
Joined: Sep 2010

Thanks Stargzr, and I'm sorry for your loss as well.


Posts: 377
Joined: Oct 2010

Vince has been gone for 10 weeks and everytime I open the door of the house a sadness comes over me. I wish so much he were here. We were married almost 28 years and that dear man was my life. I was Mrs botch. Botch was his nickname when he was a policeofficer.
Everyone says it will get better with time but right now I can't imagine it.


karenbeth's picture
Posts: 194
Joined: Sep 2010

Hugs to you. I was with Frank only 9 years. It still seems like forever, and I can't remember my life before him.

I am still sleeping at my mom's...maybe by next week I'll be ready to stay at my apartment. Thank goodness my mother lives so close and I can go back and forth.

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