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Where to go next... 
Started by CleaningFrenzy
11 Sep 2015, 4:31 PM

I lost my husband just 4 months ago... I would love to say he "passed" away but is was a short 1 month battle with stomache cancer that was most awful painful thing that no human should ever have to endure; let alone me and 3 adult children should have to watch happen to the man I loved deeply for 36 years and the the father of my 3 children. 

He only spent a single day in pallative care... 

At first I was left just stunned... I actually still am. How does an otherwise healthy 59 year old man dissappear from my life in such a shockingly painful and brief manner.

I had the opportunity to read several of your forums now. And already there is some bizzarre comfort in hearing your stories. Even though many of you were a caregiver to your husbands illness longer than I. I guess I am tunring to this forum because I lack a widow support group. Somone who can truly feel the loss of losing the love of your life, your best friend, your partner, the father to your kids.

So four months in a am still feeling lost, still so sad. I find myself frozen to a spot crying.I still can't answer people when they ask how am I doing. I am still upset with the healthcare system. I am still angry with him for leaving me. I am so tired of hearing people say it will get better, or you seem strong, you look better than 2 weeks ago.

I have read several books, and they have helped... And I also have my adult children supporting me. But like many of you my friends have been understanding, but it is really hard to go out for dinner with them and know that they go home to their husbands. I guess I don't know where to go from here...

Did a therapist help? Or a support group on grief?

I guess it would be nice to hear from others out their... I know it will never "get better" my life is forever changed... but where did you go from here? 
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Reply by KathCull_admin
11 Sep 2015, 9:45 PM

Hi CleaningFrenzy,

Welcome to the forum.  Your sadness and grief are safe here – no expectations to ‘get over it’ or ‘be strong’. It seems to me that friends and family often try to say something to ease the pain, but they don’t recognize that silence can be good too.  Other members will share an understanding of the grief that accompanies great loss like your own.  

Thinking about what you said about social events, I thought about the article Grief Work where Fred talks about The many faces of grief. We may want to be alone, but we may also wish we were around people. It is a huge adjustment to be alone and come home to the screaming silence of an empty house. If you are experiencing the death of a spouse, there can be awkward feelings around re-connecting with couple friends and feeling like “the fifth wheel.” 

I know you have read through some of the threads, not sure if you saw Myblueeyedman’s thread, I lost the man I love.....how do I go on .

What books did you find helpful?  I am hoping to read again, A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis.



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Reply by NatR
12 Sep 2015, 1:17 AM

Hi CleaningFrenzy

i can't imagine your feelings of grief and loss - you have been given no time to accept or deal with the sudden loss of your husband -

i am hoping  you  will be able to find some comfort here - sharing and talking with others who have also gone through such losses

this is a safe and nurturing place - a place you can be yourself and learn how to carry on
sending thoughts your way tonight

NatR 🎈💛

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Reply by Mark99
14 Sep 2015, 5:56 PM

Frenzy: Grief is a unique idosyncratic fingerprint for everyone. We all grieve differently. There is no one way to grieve. That is my first thought to share from my experience with Donna’s death. As a counselor said to me following her death I began to grieve when she was diagnosed. Yet it wasn’t until the day she died that a friend gave me a key bit of advice, do not deny or hide from the pain, the loss, nor the hurt. Face it head on for that way you can move through it and not suffer from it. Here is a piece I wrote last year or so


Following her death my choice was to be an active participant in my grieving and mourning. I promised myself I would not shy away from emotions or feelings. I charged into this knowing full well it was with her, for her, for me, and for us. There will be no end to this, no closure because I choose to live with my emotions and the reality of grieving. A good friend sent me this which captures a view:


"Freud (I was told) used the word CATHEXIS to talk about attachment. My supervisor talked about the process of grief being the work of "DECATHEXIS" and that is the tying off the threads (the warp & the woof) of the tapestry of the relationship. All the threads that make up that tapestry have to be tied off, the tapestry completed. The tapestry remains and is preserved  through that tying off of the threads that formed the relationship. And it's hard, time-consuming work."


I feel closure is indifference. My memories at what I choose to embrace and carry with me to grow from. I have named my grief my changing avatar. Here are some links to my thoughts on death, mourning, grief, etc. I hope they help. 





Be well, we are all here with you because we all share the path that brought you here. 

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Reply by Carlyn
16 Sep 2015, 4:42 PM

Hi CleaningFrenzy,

Your words leapt off the screen and resonated ... "stunned"..."one day of palliative care"... "loved deeply for 36 years"....my heart goes out to you.  

I'm very new here and haven't ever been married. I was the primary caregiver for my parents and my eldest sister. My sister's death was similar in feeling to yours in that it was unexpected, fast, shocking, sudden and all my life, I'd been her "person" in our family. She had diabetes from childhood. She died at age 47.

I wanted to try to answer your questions about a therapist, support group on grief, and finally where to go from here. I'm no expert and everyone above who replied knows much more than I do so if this doesn't help, please feel okay in skipping it. I'm just sharing in case it helps.

This discussion forum is very similar to what I experienced at hospice in person the year following my parents deaths. Hospice supports got me through that first year more than anything else I think. I was able to use their services as I was primary caregiver and my parents were dying at the same time, both with rare cancers.  As it happens, I also had a therapist at the time for trauma.

Both hospice, support groups there, and a therapist, all helped me survive  the first year following my parents deaths. 

I would say....let yourself float. Don't make any major decisions if you can help it for the first year at least. Don't sell or give anything away no matter who asks for what. The reason is because it's not unusual to change your mind when the worst of grief has settled and regret parting with things.  

My therapist said grief is like waves in the ocean...all we need to do is ride the wave. Cry when we need to cry, be with friends when we need to, be alone when we need to, just be good to ourselves and listen to what we need.

One day following my parents deaths, it was about 3 months after, I had an overwhelming need for books on grief. Constant tears off and on had me worried I was going crazy. Still being in shock 3 months later felt worrisome. I couldn't wait for Amazon so I went to local bookstore and just bought any book that seemed to feel like healing and understanding. My favourite remains I can't stop crying 

Recently I spoke with the highly skilled palliative care nurse who attended to my Mom here at home. She works for the local hospice in my city now, instead of doing homecare nursing. It's been so healing to also have that connection with her after all this time. We don't speak often but knowing we think of each other and share that time means the world to me, even 8 years later. 2 years could pass and we still talk as if no time has passed.

As for what to do next, I took on something big that I don't regret but looking back it probably wasn't the wisest decision. It was helping others. I was grieving and in not in a clear enough emotional state. It took too much out of me. Offering this just as an experience to share to help you determine the answer to your question of what to do and where to go next. Go with what you feel but communicate with those you love and trust about your feelings, thoughts, ideas. It will help you figure this out over time. It seemed to happen organically, here and there, over time, for me.

I still say, let yourself float, be good to you, and focus on being gently compassionate to yourself and your children. Also it's ok to say no to dinners with married couples occasionally. 

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your children.


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Reply by JennJilks
20 Sep 2015, 3:22 PM

My deepest condolences. It is a most difficult time, as you move from wife to widow. Groups sure help, in my experiences. 
My son father-in-law died two years ago. His father (my ex-husband) last year. Adult children are wonderful, but they have to work through their own grief, too. 

Talking to adults who have lived through this and figured out how to do it can be tremendously supportive. Their way need not be your way, but it is important to model this.
I am surprised, if your late husband was in a hospice, that they have not reached out to you. Our local hospice does offer bereavement groups. Certainly ask them, they will know. Here, in Ontario, they offer individual counselling, if that is something you prefer (it would be miy choice!) but there is something in being in a group. I voluntered with a children's visual arts support bereavement group and it was tremendous!
The photo is of the high school students (some of whom had lost parents at an early age) who were the mentors for the kids, ages 8 - 12. 

All the best. 
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Reply by KathCull_admin
03 Oct 2015, 4:34 PM

Good morning,
So many great ideas and resources here - thank you. I thought I would add one more for you CleaningFrenzy - as JennJilks suggested you might already be aware of these, but just in case, if you go to Programs and Services you can find a list of resources available across Canada including those in your area of Edmonton.  

Re reading the thread I am also curious about your nickname CleaningFrenzy.... 

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Reply by CleaningFrenzy
04 Oct 2015, 3:56 PM

Good Morning : It is nice to hear from other people , thanks for caring. The reason I use the nickname cleaning frenzy ,is because i use that i guess to distract myself. I did go talk to a grief therapist . I am going to attend a group one in November. Life is going on , my daughter getting married this coming weekend so this will be hard her Dad not being there. I know there is going to be lots of things that will be a struggle to get through. I find this site comforting .CleaningFrenzy
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Reply by KathCull_admin
11 Oct 2015, 2:40 PM

Have been thinking of you and your daughter this weekend CleaningFrenzy. Good to know you have found someone to talk to and look forward to hearing how the group goes.

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Reply by Carlyn
13 Oct 2015, 12:05 AM

Hi from me as well Cleaning Frenzy,

Sending good thoughts to you and looking forward to hearing how you're doing in days and weeks ahead. Whatever you feel like sharing, or just venting, this is a great place for it. No pressure though. 

I'm very glad you also have a group to join in person. Options and choices in supports are good. It helps you find your footing and supports you during this time. Use all the supports you need. 

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