What do you do, when the love of your life is taken away?
What do you do, when the light goes out of your world?
What do you do, when the pain and loneliness won't stop?
What do you do, when your heart dies?
I lost my wife, Pat, on July 19 2016. We'd been together for the 17 best years of my life. Every day something reminds me of her, in some small way. At first, it was easy to cope because of the myriad of things that had to be taken care of after her passing. The funeral, medical issues, legal issues, a whirlwhind of things to be done so that daily life could continue. Now those things are beginning to wind down. Only one or two things left to do and lots of time for feelings to come flooding back like a tidal wave.
I sit here writing this, through a flood of tears, my hands shaking and my heart pounding. Wondering how I'm supposed to go on and continue with a life that feels like it now has no purpose or meaning. I still get up and go to work though I feel like there's no reason anymore. I still talk to friends and family though it doesn't help and I sometimes just wish they'd leave me alone. I still do the things that a person is "supposed" to do to continue living even though I don't see the point.
I've lost family members before and it was terrible and hurt so much but not like this. I never knew that a person could become so much a part of you that their death would feel like a part of your soul had been ripped from you and utterly destroyed in front of your eyes. One of our favorit movies is Steel Magnolias and there's a line in it that goes something like "Men are supposed to be made of steel". But steel isn't nearly strong enough to bear what I've been feeling since my Pat was taken away.
I was married once before and it ended in divorce but it wasn't difficult to bear, I guess she wasn't "the one". Pat was different. I never felt more in tune with a person in all my 46 years. The old saying "opposites attract" wasn't true in our case. We were so much alike that it was ridiculous and it made us as close as two people can be. In all of our years together we only had two real arguments and never anything we didn't get over or work through within a day. No relationship is perfect but ours was pretty close.
Pat had been ill for a few years and in the hospital for the last 21 months. Anyone who has cared for a severely ill loved one knows how much stress and mental anguish that puts on the caregiver as well as the sick person. I was her sole caregiver when she was home and her primary representative for all of her medical care while she was hospitalized. It's a terrible burden to see your loved one go through everything that Pat went through and also a heavy burden to carry all of the responsibility for keeping everything else running while you care for your loved one. I was holding Pat's hand when she passed from this world, though she wasn't awake to know it.
Now that a little time has passed I not only feel crushing grief and loneliness but a massive amount of guilt. Not guilt because I couldn't save her, though that was there in the beginning, but guilt because I felt free after years of doctors and hospitals, insurance companies and medical bills. How could I come to feel "free" from the person who means the most in my life? I'm told that it's normal to feel this way but it still feels like I'm a betrayer to her memory.
The last couple of weeks I've had some really dark moments and bad thoughts. You all know the kinds of thoughts I mean. The ones that crawl around in your head like spiders and make you wonder if the pain would stop if you went into the darkness. The ones that make you wonder if you could see your loved one one last time, on the other side, and apologize and tell them how much more you wish you could have done. The ones that batter you to your knees and make you want to lie down and die.
I also know that Pat wouldn't want me to follow that dark path. She was full of goodness and light and would never want me to fall into despair
I chose a poem for her funeral that struck me like a hammer when I read it. It made me cry but also lifted my heart to think of her in a better place. It's called God's Garden:
God looked around his garden And found an empty place. He then looked down upon the earth, And saw your tired face. He put His arms around you And lifted you to rest. God’s garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best. He knew that you were suffering, He knew that you were in pain. He knew that you would never Get well on earth again. He saw the road was getting rough And the hills were hard to climb. So He closed your weary eyelids And whispered “Peace be thine.” It broke our hearts to lose you But you did not go alone… For part of us went with you The day God called you home.
I know she's gone to a better place and that there's no more pain and suffering. But for those of us left behind, I ask again. What do you do?
Hi,I lost my husband in Oct. of 2019.It's been quite a rough road. We did most everything together, from caring for others, to household chores, and repairs. We loved to walk, keep the yard in tip top shape or just be together. We were a team. He always said that.Now I can barely muster the ambition to go out there...not that I don't want to. I do. But not without him. It seems every time I turn...
Hello all,As I believe it may have for many of you, this pandemic has taken a toll on my mental health. While I may only be 21, I've been diagnosed with severe clinical depression since I was 12 years old. I've been medicated for it, and it had been working, as far as I can tell, until this pandemic hit. The job I currently have was considered essential from the beginning, and due to the mass...