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When grief is fresh and feelings are raw 
Started by Cath1
07 Aug 2012, 2:50 PM

Dear Caron and Carriek & others:

I am starting this new thread to give you a forum to continue conversations in a new thread where the truth of your feelings will be honoured and heard. Caron and Carriek, since your husbands' have sadly passed away so recently, your focus has changed from constantly and compassionately caring for your loved one to needing now to compassionately care for yourself. It is a huge transition.

I thought it may be painful for you each to revisit the original thread you were involved in. If I am merely projecting my concern onto you, please follow your own guidance and post wherever you prefer.

This thread is a place to explore your many complex emotions and to share your experiences when grief is so heartbreakingly fresh and your feelings raging and raw.

You will find support here and with every word you choose to write about your own personal journey, please know that you will be supporting others who are going through similar trials. Some will have lost a husband to cancer, as have you both. Others may have lost a wife, partner, parent, sibling, a child, a friend. Loss of a loved one feels devastating and especially so in the first days, weeks and months when we feel literally lost ourselves.

This thread is my way of paying tribute to those whose lives have been completely altered by a loved one’s illness followed by death and whose grief feels absolutely overwhelming as they search for hope and healing. It is also for those whom have lived through such an experience so that they might contribute their wisdom to help those struggling to deal with their frightening feelings as they find themselves in the shockingly stark uncharted territory of grief where everything in their world suddenly seems barren and bleak.

I am hoping that by having a dedicated space to express the vast and very tender hurt in your hearts as you are becoming acquainted with profound sorrow, that you will find your own way - eventually - to become uplifted and to cope with your personal tragedy as you strive to carry on.

I have found that just knowing others care and having a safe place to unburden my aching heart has helped me tremendously when grieving my Mom, even when I sometimes thought nothing could or would ever help me find my way to feel life was worth living again without her. Before my Mom died I knew nothing of sorrow really, but now I am learning.

Our Virtual Hospice community is here for you Caron and Carriek and others to give you the care and compassion you deserve, if and when you need it. You are a part of us. You are not forgotten and you are not alone. We are with you.

With affection -hugs -xo

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Reply by Carriek
10 Sep 2012, 11:08 PM

Hi Cath,
Thank you for starting a new thread, you are right its sad to re look at my past postings...
Im broken Cath, having a hard hard time. Its so hard to explain.... just broken. Im actually lost as to where and how I begin to go on with my life. It doesnt have the same meaning. The twins and I sem to be going through the motions but without my loving husband it doesnt seem to make sense.  
It's as if we are waiting for him to come home.
Its like each day or in the middle of the day I realize he is not coming home, part of me feels like I have awoken from a bad dream.... a very bad dream.
Its hard to believe that while caring for him that I was so focussed on caring for him that other than hearing myself whisper the words that he was going to die, that I dont think I really prepared myself for being without him.
I seem to be so focussed on wanting him back, I know that I cant have him back, but I hear myself cry those words often.
How do I manage beyond this?
I know he wouldnt want me to be so sad, but that doesnt change how I feel.
I keep asking why ??? why did this happen
How do others get to live?
He was such a great person, so kind, so caring, so loving... I really want him back.
Today I started memory boxes for my daughters of their Daddy.. they are for Christmas..
Im doing a journal for each daughter with every story he ever told me of growing up and stories of our lives together. It brought back alot of memories and before I knew it I looked at the clock and I had been sitting at my computer typing and printing all afternoon. The boxes I bought are beautiful inside there will be photo albums and journals along with keepsakes like his hat, watch, business card, hospital bracelets etc...
Im sure the twins will be touched when they see them... I want his memeory to be always within reach for them, for when they are grown up a box that they can open to feel close to him again, with the pictures, stories and keepsakes right there..
They were his world.... He was ours !!!!
If anyone can offer me some advice, Im ready to hear it.... I am able to pretend when I go out. I have returned to work..but feel that I am pretending every minute...
typing through tears

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Reply by NatR
10 Sep 2012, 11:47 PM

Dear CarrieK, Caron and any others reading this who have lost a loved one,

I agree with Cath1, a fresh thread, a place to start again - to talk about the feelings after loss.

I cannot give you any magic answers, but I hear your pain CarrieK, I hear you loud and clear.  You had a wonderful husband and its not fair that you are left with your children to go on alone.

The only thing I can say is that you are being heard, that your love and your pain are a testament to the life you shared.  I think that it is so painful  to love and to go through loss that I wonder how the human heart is supposed to take it.  I think it is the worst loss - losing your beloved partner in life.

The fact that you are doing things for your children, the memory boxes etc, CarrieK, I think that is a wonderful gift, something that your children will always treasure.  The fact that you could do it..is proof that you are a survivor. You are an example for your children and for those around you.  I am sure that your return to work is so difficult, and that you are playing a part as you heal.  I do hope that you have someone close to you that you can constantly turn to as needed, just to have them listen and remind you that you have indeed gone through a great loss.  That you arent expected to be the same person anymore.  You will be different, you will be stronger for sure.

None of us can tell the other how to feel, what to expect and what time frame it will all happen in.
I urge you to find a support group, a place that you can talk, that you can be free to be yourself, to let it all out.  Do you use the computer to go online in other forums than this?  I can tell you that there are wonderful groups of people...supporting each other through loss, through pain, through illness...there are many places...of course this forum is wonderful..but sometimes we need more than one place to air our feelings, or a different format.

For example...I am a Twitter user.  I was amazed to find that there are groups that chat on a regular basis...you can become friends with online users who join together to talk about #caregiving #various illnesses..  and I am sure that you could find a group that you can perhaps attach yourself to.  I have found friends that show up on regular nights of the week, or every second week...people who I can talk to again and again...we can check in with each other...its sort of like this forum too...but sometimes its nice to have options.

 Sometimes you can hear an expert talk on matters of hospice, quality of life, just on many different topics.  It gives me for example a better understanding of certain life processes, of how to help me deal with the difficult things in life.  Its just an option...I am not at all pressing you..just letting you know that there are many ways to find support and encouragement.

I know how it feels to lose a family member, I know how it feels to hide it.  I know how you feel going out in the world trying to act like you are all better.  Dont be hard on yourself.  Be good to yourself...hugs are sent your way.

I cant write the same kinds of letters that other contributors can, but I think we all mean to convey the same message  to you, CarrieK, to Caron, to all those who have loved and lost.  I only hope you realize that you just have to take one day at a time..thats all.

Maybe if you do that...it will feel a bit more manageable.
I write this letter to you this evening, hoping that in some very small way it gives you hope, and the knowledge that there are plenty of others cheering you on as you travel the rough section of road under your feet right now.

If I have said anything that hurts, for that I apologise.  If I have said one thing helpful, then that is all that matters.  From my heart to yours,

And to Cath1 who is a remarkably gifted writer, a strong and loving woman, and a good daughter, I admire your ability to share your world with us all.  It is an example of your love for your Mom and you continue to give to others.  Your angel is watching over you.
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Reply by Cath1
11 Sep 2012, 1:47 AM

Dear, dear CarrieK:

How amazing that you have reached out to us again this evening. I am relieved that you found this thread and glad to know that you understand and appreciate my intentions when creating it. I feel your heartbreak Carrie, and I have spent hours since I have read your post simply lingering silently with you in spirit not knowing what to say. I trust you will feel what my heart is feeling for you even when my feelings cannot be translated so easily into words.

Carrie, even though you had many long months to try to accept the reality of your husband's illness, there is never enough time, and there is nothing in the world you could have done differently, to prepare for the magnitude of feelings that would strike your heart and soul when he actually died. It is a huge shock to lose your soulmate even when everyone including yourself knows it will happen. There is no way to really begin to accept how the death of a loved one feels until it truly happens. 

Your sense of numbness and loss of appetite for life is bound to make you feel despairing as you make the enormously difficult transition from your old life with your husband to your new life without him. Some people may say it is pointless to question why your husband had to die because the answer, even if it were possible to know, would never be enough to satisfy you because no reason could justify to you losing your young husband, your best friend, the father of your twins - but I think is fine to question, to wonder, to cry, to go through the motions, to do and to feel whatever you honestly can do and feel until you can even begin to come to terms with it. You may feel right now that coming to terms with your overwhelming loss will never happen, but it will happen in waves of experience that will at times gently wash over you and at times shock you senseless by the cruel and crushing waves of sorrow, a sorrow so painfully deep it will at times have the power to slam you harsh against the wall of your denial no matter how hard you resist. You will get knocked down by grief but you will get up again, I believe! I feel after so many long months of communicating together that I know your character and I have certainly witnessed your resilience, Carrie! Based upon what I have come to know about you, I think you can count yourself as a warrior who has survived the worst battle of your young life and you will always be a survivor! 

I believe, the numbness you feel now is protecting you from feeling the immense impact of grief all at once. You are hurting and I am hurting for you. I am hoping that as times goes on you will learn to adjust to the hurt and as you adjust you will find that some of it will be released. I hope you will know that your heart still has room to receive love and comfort and care from all those who cherish you, including us here in your Virtual Hospice home away from home.

Sometimes going through the daily routines, making yourself smile when you feel there is nothing to smile about, seeing people when you'd much rather be alone with your memories, working and keeping busy so your mind has a moment to concentrate on something other than the torture of grief that consumes you body and soul, all of these things can help you to find your way through. Sometimes though, there will be days when you simply cannot fake it until you make it and that's ok too. Be true to your feelings, Carrie and honour your needs and express your pain and your fears as you feel able and when you can. Grieving has a strong will of its own and you will adapt to it in your own time to rediscover that your own will to live in peace is at least equally strong.

I know you are feeling like you have lost your own life as your husband was such a meaningful and integral part of your purpose, but you are going to survive Carrie to one day realize how love lives on even after death and your husband's memory will one day bring to your heart more often comfort than sorrow. It is too soon for you to even comprehend that day will arrive. I think it a part of the grieving process to question everything, to feel hopeless, angry, adrift, numb, abandoned, alone and inconsolably broken and sad, yet I want you to know that you will never be alone Carrie, for as long as you reach out we will be here for you to listen and to help life you up when you fall down. 

I could barely see through my tears when reading about your memory boxes for your twins. Your husband would be so honoured by your creative and compassionate gesture of love and lasting connection for him and the children. Everything you did for your husband and kids is a tribute to him and to you and the incredible love story that together you shared. Carrie, your entire letter was a work of Art, soulful and exquisitely honest. I know it took so much emotional energy and a lion's courage for you to compose such a letter that paints such a vivid and heartbreaking portrait of you in this time of your unspeakable sorrow. It is always a privilege to connect with you Carrie and through your courage and by your beautiful humanity I see the vast expanse of your loving heart as you begin to touch upon moments of healing. I am with you. We are all with you, Carrie. As Tian reminded you before, and as NatR and I remind you tonight, our support for you continues . . .

With affection -hugs-xo
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Reply by PPP
11 Sep 2012, 12:24 PM

Dear Carrie

I understand your grief as I too have lost my husband this year.  My husband of almost 43 years lost his fight with cancer on April 1st.  In January, he went through a stem cell transplant and was given a diagnosis of cancer free.  Unfortunately, cancer reared its ugly head again.

As you stated, you were focused on caring for your husband, and that’s the way I was with Avery too.  You must realize that your husband loved you being there for him.  On my birthday, he wrote me a card, “I couldn’t do this without you!”  So understand the support you gave him was all about loving him!  That’s what love is!

My journey for me is I have never lived alone.  That’s the hardship that I am facing.  As Mark99 just celebrated his 64th, I too will face the same scenario next year all by myself.  It’s to find a routine and adjust to life on our own, without opinions from our loved one that I find the hardest as I am sure you do too.

Remember our husbands would want us to be happy.  Hard to accept when you walk through the door and there not there! But in a sense, they are in our hearts!  That special place they will always be!

Cath1 has given me words of support that have kept me going through all of this and I hope you will find comfort that we are here for you! 

I am reading “The Grief Recovery Handbook” that is helping me walk through this, some days, crawling, but my grief some days is easier than others. Remember you are allowed to grieve!  There is no time limit on grief!

A great idea about the memory box for your children.  I may start an album for my grandchildren.  They adored their Poppa! 

Hoping you find comfort for you and your children.

Kind Regards

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Reply by Tian
11 Sep 2012, 3:57 PM

Dear Carrie

I have not suffered a loss like you have so I cannot offer any advice from my experience. But I will continue to follow this thread to see how you are doing. And if I can contribute something I'll jump right in. You still have my utmost admiratiion.

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Reply by Carriek
14 Sep 2012, 2:39 PM

Thank You Cath,Jane, NatR & Tian
Thank you  for letting me know that you are all there.
Cath, your words bring tears to my eyes instantly every time I read your posts.... I can tell you have a heart of gold by your insight and depth of understanding and support...
thank you.
I am trying, really trying....
I feel like I am going crazy - talking to him when no one else is around, or when driving... but heh, if it helps right?
I too have not lived alone, I have always leaned on him. Yes I surprised myself so much when I realized that it was me that had always been the stronger one and that he all along had been leaning on me. With that I know I can do this, but....... really wish I didnt have to.
It is the respect and admiration, love, future plans.... and pride that I had for him that brings me to tears-knowing that he is gone.... I just sometimes cant believe it still...
I look at pictures of him on my computer and seem to get lost in an imaginary thought that none of this has happened.
The twins seem to be reacting differently-
One asks me every day... do you miss Daddy-- she has dreamt of him (in which in the dreams he dies)
She has always been more the emotional twin, and with tears in her eyes tells me how much she misses him.

The other seems quiet.
She too was a Daddy"s girl..... Im afraid that she is more thinking she will make us sad by talking about her sadness..
They are both seeing a grief councillor, which they seem to look very forward to seeing each time...
Im so glad that they have someone besides me just to talk to.
Thanks for listening guys Im so glad that I have you.


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Reply by Cath1
15 Sep 2012, 12:47 AM

Dear Carolyn (Carriek):

You are incredible! Thank you for your sweet kindness and for returning again to share your sorrow with us here. Your trust is a gift I treasure.

I think it's fine that you still have conversations with your husband when no one else is watching and while you're driving, as I am sure you still feel his presence as if he is there right beside you at times. I often, especially in the early days after my Mom died, spoke aloud to her photo and I felt comforted by it. No one had to witness me do it so I guess that's why I'm not locked away!:) lol Seriously, though, I do think our loved ones can hear our hearts speaking to them still. Sometimes, even after more than a year after my Mom died, I will suddenly blurt out something to my Mom, or laugh out loud as I remember something funny she said, or I'll reach for the phone and remember that I can't have that kind of direct access to her anymore. It hurts. Beyond words, it hurts.

I understand too how insanely difficult it is to accept the finality of death and to arrive at the point where you can actually believe that your husband has died. That will take a lot of time Carolyn, for you to truly comprehend, I believe. You of course know the truth, but it does not make sense. If ever there was a time when life seems senseless, it is when we have experienced a death of a loved one. You are probably still in a state of disbelief that I too experienced when my Mom died. I simply could not believe that my resilient mother had actually left this world. I had in the past imagined what it would be like when she passed away, one day long into the future, I thought, but as you know too, our imaginations cannot even begin to touch on the feelings of grief that we struggle with in reality when we lose someone we love so intensely.

I can only imagine how you and Jane each feel when your husband does not walk through the door every night as you wish to see him, healthy and hale, smiling and happy to see you as he once did daily. I think it's very common for spouses to feel as if they literally are missing the other half of themselves when a partner dies. You will have to begin to figure out who you are without your partner and that can't happen until you really grieve fully your loss, in my opinion. You are still connected at a heart, mind and soul level and the separation from your soulmate must be excrutiatingly painful. You are bound to be feeling disoriented and yes, Carolyn, even like you are going crazy. It is hard to be distracted by pain in every waking moment, to think day and night about your loss. These distressing feelings are inescapable, and yet also inescapable is the fact that you and Jane both have demonstrated your willingness to cling to the hope that acceptance will come and healing will take place within each of you, in time. Hope is so important.

I am happy to know that your twins are receiving counselling. It breaks my heart to hear how they are each responding to their own feelings of sorrow as one needs to share it with you, and the other needs to protect you from it. So overwhelming and complex are these extraordinary emotions you share and how sad that the girls must live with the loss of their Dad at such a young age. But, you, Carolyn, are and will remain their constant source of support and security and I imagine that having to endure the experience of deep loss will bond you each closer. Together you will all help one another to survive and to once again be touched by the lighthearted essence of joy. Your daughters are extremely blessed to have such a brave, resilient and compassionate mother, just as I know you feel blessed by them! They will always know and remember how well you love their father and I know you will help them to keep him close at heart through loving and living memory always.

Your insight about your own inner strength, Carolyn is a wonderful gift to you and something so worthy of acknowledging to yourself because by understanding that you are stronger now than you have ever before had to be, that awareness will increase your courage and confidence to go on. You will get through the terrible torture of grief day by day, just as I know that Jane will get through hers. You will each discover your own way through, moment by moment, until healing gives you each the comfort of peace. Like you said, Carolyn, do whatever gives you comfort and some relief. If it helps, it can't hurt!     

I will be thinking of you Carolyn, and you Jane this weekend. Just keep trying your best and don't expect to move mountains of sorrow on your own. Every day you rise to face a new day, you are champions! I look forward to hearing from you both again soon. Until then, please remember, we are here for you, to help lift you up as your climb!

With affection -hugs -hugs - xo -xo
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Reply by Cath1
22 Sep 2012, 2:05 PM

Dear Jane (PPP) and Carolyn (Carriek):

How are you each doing? I am just checking in with you because you have both been on my mind. I've had an extremely busy week or so. Last weekend I celebrated three September birthdays in my family and on Wednesday the 19th it was my late Mom's birthday. I actually did ok on her birthday this year. I had been anxious while anticipating the date because last year I completely collapsed in grief on her birthday. I miss my Mom so much but I realize I am healing. I am hoping that healing will come to each of your hurting hearts, in time.

Update us when you get a moment on how your life is going lately. I care. We all do!

With affection -xo- -xo- hugs - hugs
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Reply by PPP
22 Sep 2012, 5:15 PM

Dear Cath1, Carolyn

I read your words of encouragement and immediately I always feel relief.  I have not written for a while and honestly, have been too upset some days to write.

  It’s been a roller coaster of emotions the last few weeks dealing with a household crisis.  I had to have help  because my lift pump spud sewage all over the laundry room.  Not having Avery to depend on was very upsetting.  What do I do?  Depending on other people is very hard to do especially when you never needed anyone before. 

With fall here, I am finding it very lonesome, more so this year with the loss of Avery.  He knew how I hated the Fall, and we always tried to plan things to look forward to! 

It’s as if, I have finally accepted Avery’s death this week.  Not sure why this is happening now!  Could be I was holding back, not accepting?  My late sister’s 65th birthday was on the 20th, so maybe this was a trigger! 

I am going to start grief counselling next week, and hopefully I will be able to deal with my life as it is!

Carolyn, I hope you will write and tell us how your week has been going.  I find just typing anything seems to calm me down and put me in a better place. 

As always, Cath1 thank you for your kind words of encouragement!

Kind Regards



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