Author Topic: Is this normal?  (Read 65 times)

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Offline lavern2411

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Is this normal?
« on: May 06, 2019, 08:24:34 PM »
Hi all

I am new to this forum, having lost my husband to Sepsis, a complication to cancer. We have been together for 33 years and married for 29 of them. He only died a month ago and I know its very early days. I have the distinct feeling I am still in denial, I have been busy organising the funeral and finance, then following the funeral my son was taken into hospital. I havenít really had time to let myself think about what has happened.

I brought his ashes home recently and cried as it felt like he was really gone now, i feel so guilty when i do anything even having a coffee with a friend or going to the bank that i am betraying him. Friends keep inviting me to tea etc as they promised him that they wold look after me, however I just want to talk about him all the time but they find this difficult. I also then find i am just comforting them.

I have a constant heaviness in my chest and not sure it will ever leave, i cannot imagine a future without him, i am 47 and feel cheated that we will never get to grow old together. I feel so lost and alone, the person i would have turned to is not here and I donít know what to do or where to turn.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Nicki
ďSometimes itís ok if the only thing you did today was breatheĒ

Nicki

Offline Sandra61

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Re: Is this normal?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 09:57:58 PM »
Yes, this is perfectly normal, Nicki. You will find that there are sadly lots of people here who have lost their husband and to whom everything you describe sounds familiar. We all find loss hard to accept and adjust to and that will take time; probably a lot of it, but one tiny step at a time, you will find your way into your future. You have already started in having dealt with some of the practicalities that have to be sorted and you are talking to us, so you are trying to understand what you are going through and i am sure there will be people here who can help.

It is good that you have friends who are trying to help you, even if you do feel you may be the one comforting them. Most people find it hard to know what to say to someone who has suffered a close bereavement, but it is good that they are trying. It is good too that you are able to talk about your husband with them. You need to talk after going through something as terrible as this. Whatever you feel you may not be able to say to them, feel free to say here. We understand and will have experienced similar feelings and responses.

The heaviness that you feel in your chest is likely heartbreak and it will probably ease in time as you come to accept what has happened, but you are still very close to the time when you lost your husband so you will need to give yourself time.

Be patient and gentle with yourself and don't have any expectations, let alone expect too much of yourself. This process is different for everyone. It takes us all a long time to come to terms with and learn to live with. For now, it is enough to be able to get up and dressed and eat and drink enough and get through the day. I would not expect anything more for now. Gradually, you will move forward, but will do that at your own pace.

There is nothing harder to have to suffer in life than losing someone close, so take your time and slowly, you will start to heal. You can help that process in little ways. I found having flowers around and walking in the park helped me. The flowers helped raise my spirits a little, they are so beautiful and smell so lovely. The park I found to be a calming environment in which to sit and process my thoughts and feelings and I find the benches placed there in memory of people others have lost a comfort. It indicates to me that love goes on and those we have lost are still fondly remembered and loved.

I also found it helped to put together an album of favourite photos of the person I had lost. Some people like to put together a memory box with items special in relation to the person they have lost. Others create a memory book that they jot down accounts of their  memories of their lost loved one in. Some use a jar for this and just write their memories on scraps of paper that they drop into it. Then they can pull one out at random when they are missing that person and relive the memory recorded on it. I also kept a journal of how I was feeling and what I was thinking about each day. I found that simply writing down how I felt, helped ease the burden of those feelings and later, I could look back and see how far I had come from those early days.

I found getting out of the house helpful too. I took up a new interest that the person I had lost had also enjoyed and found that took me out of myself and made me think about something else for a couple of hours each week. I also made some new friends through this and that helped too. Perhaps that is something you might want to think about doing a little further along this journey.

Revisiting places you enjoyed going to together can also help bring back the good memories more clearly and help you to focus on those rather than the more painful most recent ones.

Whatever you choose to do or not do and however you feel, it is all OK. Although many of us experience similar things, we all experience grief differently and find different things that help us. It will never be exactly the same for anyone, but I am sure lots of people will recognise much of what you describe feeling.

You are not alone and I am sure you will find some comfort here. Keep talking to us and that helps too.

Sending you an understanding hug..xx  :hug:

Offline green dragon

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Re: Is this normal?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2019, 10:58:02 PM »
I think it's perfectly normal to feel cheated when losing a loved one. I was just thinking about this (literally, just before I sat down to read your post), how you know it's going to happen, but it's always "many years from now" - until one day, when time runs out, and it's that day, many years from then. It's always too soon.

I also know the frustration of well wishers, who, as much as they mean well, it feels like they are putting pressure on you to "get well soon (meaning already)". Every "how are you today?" feels like you're obligated to give them a cheerful prognosis that it's "much better now". Maybe it's the overachiever in me? But I've gone through this pressure period this past month. It's probably just in my head but ugh, it paralysed me emotionally and I had to cut off contact with everyone for a while (back in contact now).

The thing is, the pain will dull, though many say it will never completely go away. Mine has dulled now (3 months on) to a manageable level (I don't cry every day anymore). Though saying that, this morning I woke up very shaken by a dream of my Mum, looking about 30 years younger and very energetic as she used to be, in my childhood bedroom, speaking excitedly to me about something or another. So expect all sorts of reactions and memories that might surprise you.

The feeling of betrayal is another thing that I also experienced. I'm normally a very colourful person and I don't think anyone expected me to take to wearing black/darks but it feels like a comfort emotionally, though otherwise it's not, since most of my clothes are all over the map colourwise. I've also not listened to music/gone to performances the way I used to (several times a week for performances) because it felt wrong. But I know this is 1) something that is part of my routine, and one way of dealing with grief is to keep your normal routine as much as possible, 2) my Mum loved hearing about the performances I had seen, so I actually know that in spite of my feelings, she would encourage me to go back to my hobbies, so, little by little, I am trying to do it.

I would say try not to feel like you're betraying him. But if you still do, try to incorporate in your routine something you two liked to do together, or even something he liked to do that you might find yourself interested in even if you were not before. I felt a lot of comfort in finishing knitting projects that my Mum had started, because it felt like we were doing something together even now :-) I even made a point in finishing her crossword puzzles and... packet of biscuits.

I also surrounded myself with a selection of pictures of us from different periods in our life, pictures that remind me of the good times we had together. I don't know how you feel about this, maybe you already have a lot of pictures of him around the house, but it makes me smile seeing this or that picture and remembering the story behind it.

Offline Karena

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Re: Is this normal?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2019, 01:03:40 PM »
It is very early days and it is a roller coaster ride, but to answer your question it is normal to feel guilty if you do anything other than sit and cry, and it is normal to feel resentment at the loss of your planned future.
In a sense when we are planning a funeral and doing the paperwork, we are continuing to do things for them and when you have been a carer for them particularly, doing that is a continuation of that care -so it isnt suprising that there is a big hit when it done and at that point is when it starts to feel that there really is no you can do and that continued care has ended.

My solution was to carry on with that care but in a very different way. I think what helped for me was imagining - if there was an afterlife  and you were able to meet again, what would that conversation be like, because of course there would be the joy of re-union but then huge gaps in the way we worked together before, and part of being together was doing things planning things, going places and having conversations about them, -so what would he say in that imaginary situation  if, after he faught for his life  i had just given up on mine.
what would the conversation be like if i had not gone anywhere or done anything, and so to feel guilty about doing something makes less sense than feeling guilty about doing nothing.
 
It wasnt easy and there were times  i could barely function to do much at all, but my goal became centred around that,  and also doing things in his memory, so i went back too our favorite places and planted native daffodills, and i thought about the plans we had made - even those that we had said we would like to do but not made any specific plans for and did them anyway ,and a couple of things he wanted to do that hadnt appealed to me at all, i tried them, so in that conversation i could tell him about it -  just the planning of  them was something i felt i could still do for him,  and if i couldnt see a way to live for myself, then i would live for him.

In time i came to see that when we have lost so much and are in so much pain, the last thing we need to do is make it worse by denying ourselves the things in life, both small and bigger things, that also made our lives better before this awful thing happened, and althought the major thing was our loved ones and there is a massive gap there now those toher things can still help us feel better, even if its only for a few moments.

Now the converations with other people are still about him, he is still very much a part of me and my life, but they are not about losing him and how much that took away so much from our lives but about what he gave too our lives when he was here.
I am 8 years along and it has been a long and cruel journey to get to how it is now, but i do know that although our future together has been snatched away,that doesnt mean there is no future or it is a bad future, some of those things that were in it i can still do, and other things will, and have come along that are new it is different to how i thought it would be but it isnt as bleak as i then thought it was going to be. I still miss him i still think about him and talk about him, he will always be a major part of my life just in a different way to when he was physically here.

Finding this site helped a lot both having somewhere to write, which helped me make sense of the emotional turmoil, and also in finding others who understand that because we are all on the same journey just at different stages of it.

Offline green dragon

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Re: Is this normal?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 11:52:09 PM »
I want to add that sometimes - as often in life - the smallest things will make the difference that will help you connect the memory of the loved one with your continuing to live and enjoy yourself. I have just taken my first leisure trip abroad after Mum died and ended up feeling really great after lighting a candle in her memory at the Aachen Cathedral, which I just KNOW she would have loved to visit. It is a wonderful cathedral, for anyone who has not been yet, and there is none of the overcrowding and queueing malarkey you get with the properly famous ones.

Offline Karena

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Re: Is this normal?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2019, 11:11:14 AM »
I did the same in Notre dame a couple of times for other lost loved ones chosing the same place each time by locating the same statue the candle station was in front of - so was horrified about the fire - but i turns out it was one of the statues that was saved, so that made it better somehow - but i also lit one in cartmel priory because me and Keith had visited there together, it doesnt matter if you are religious or not, there is something very peaceful and restful about these places.

Offline green dragon

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Re: Is this normal?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2019, 11:21:19 AM »
You are right, Karena, it's not about being religious or not. Lighting a candle can be about honouring them or just about feeling closer to them in a place dedicated to spiritual thoughts, which may also happen to be a very beautiful location. Glad to your that "your" statue survived. It was really surreal seeing Notre Dame in flames. I think it was hard to watch for anyone who feels close to European culture.

Offline CarolineL

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Re: Is this normal?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2019, 06:27:18 PM »
Hi Lavern,
I lost my husband 11 months ago we had been married for 32 yrs, I am 58 yrs old and we had been the love of each others lives with plans for our retirement together which was snatched away in a couple of weeks due to cancer.
Looking back now the early days, weeks and months were terrible and you are not alone in your feelings. Guilt, anger, actual physical pain are all part of this grief and I think in the early days (for me at least) it did actually cause physical pain.
You have most likely heard this a million times from more qualified people than me but time does help and just how long that takes - I don't know it depends on each of as we are all differant. The pain will never leave me but it is not as intense as in the beginning and that keeps me going.
I started a journal the day after the cremation and wrote in it every day, every thought, every prayer and when I look back and read what was written at the beginning I see how far I have come and know that it will get easier, less intense.
You have managed so much already, sorting finances etc, that is a massive thing to do when your broken, you have been able to find us too.
Take care of yourself that's important :hearts: