My Personal Journey

My husband was diagnosed two years ago with a malignant tumor in his right lung.  Together we weathered chemo, radiation and ultimately surgery.  What joy we felt when he was declared cancer free with a 20-30% of return.  However, that joy was short lived and four months later it returned in his small intestinal area.  He tried chemo again, but was hospitalized in April.  After 3 weeks in the hospital and an elective surgery, of which two weeks I spent the nights with him, and 3 weeks of home hospice, I was with my partner of 38 years when he took his last breath.  Life for me has been ultimately changed forever. I can see improvement in the three months since his passing, but there exists pain, depression, fear, and anxiety.  Other "well-meaning" people have such future projections and expectations for me.  It is enough to take you on a downhill spiral if you allow it to.  Instead, after hard learned lessons, I have begun to dig into my own soul and discover how I feel.  No one knows the journey as it is a personal one for each of us, and based on the relationship you had with each other.   Because of the comments, I became afraid of God and to pray.  However, I have resumed my relationship with the Lord as he knows how I feel inside.  I talk to him like I talk to my counselor, and just ask him to give me the strength to do the best I can today.  I cannot concern myself about tomorrow, next month, or next year.  I only have the strength to do today.   It helps to surround yourself with people who understand, and think like you do.  You don't need people telling you that your life won't be happy, fulfilled or complete again unless you do particular things. It has only been three months and I cannot part with some of my husband's clothes and shoes.  Actually, his closet is exactly the way he left it.  Everyone tells me that I will know when the time is right, if it ever is.  I also have the fear of hating to go home to my house, when actually I love our home and it gives me the security and peace that I need.  Our life insurance allowed me to pay off the mortgage, which also allows me to live comfortably on my salary.  We are in a 55+ community, clean, peaceful, and wonderful neighbors.  I can't imagine living anywhere else, or struggling to make the rent/mortgage payment in another location.   I am, however, making slow changes to the interior.  A flower here, a new pillow there.  Once I get an issue straightened out, I will be replacing the vertical blinds in both bedrooms.  Everything seems to be a struggle, and takes a lot of energy to confront.  However, I should pat myself on the back for being able to be independent and manage a home on my own.  It is one thing my husband is most likely proud of.  That he provided for his wife, and she doesn't have to worry about anything but herself and recovery. I feel that God has another purpose for me now in this life.  I have had a wonderful marriage with a soul mate and there is a plan now for me to fulfill my life until my husband returns for me.  Everyone seems to think that a new future relationship is the answer and you won't be complete unless you do so.  I don't believe that.  I'm not just a package.  I am a woman with feelings.

Replies

Community Leadermarjoe
marjoe

Debbie - wow. My second bedroom with all of Joe\'s clothes, stands as it is. And it\'s going to stay that way until I\'m good and ready for it - and I\'m not ready for it. It took me 8 months to take his sandals, from where we took them off his feet before he went to the hospital, from the front door and move them upstairs; and when I did, it was sobbing all the way. But the day after he died, I replaced 2 pictures in our 2nd bath from the ones he liked, to the ones I liked. Why? and when? Only when I feel it.

Grief needs to find its own direction, within ourselves. It\'s a long and complicated process. I\'m at 13 months - where is it carved in stone that another relationship will make things better? I miss Joe - I don\'t want a generic man to fill in the gaps. I need to find, again, who I am, and what I want. My love isn\'t stifled - but I show it to family and friends right now. Don\'t let people influence you, past what your own mind tells you. Let your gut, your mind, and your heart decide what\'s best. Hugs, Marsha
jerseydebbie
jerseydebbie

Marsha--
Your words touched my heart. I did put his shoes in his closet and changed his dresser top somewhat. If I want to get close, I just open the closet door. I know that we need to part with these things at some point, but God will let me know when it is time and no one else. I don\'t put any of our pictures away, for they are part of my life, just like my mother and father are a part of my life. I can\'t shut it all out of my life, for they were all very important parts of my life. It is somewhat painful and heart tugging to see the photos, but I pray that the grief is replaced by a smile when I look at them. After all, he was my life partner for 38 years. It is disrespectful to pack them away, for me anyway.

As to the \"carved in stone\", I don\'t like feeling like it is expected of me at a certain point to start looking for another man. What makes anyone think that a new relationship is going to make it all better, or that they make think you don\'t want one? I had 38 years with a man given to me by God, and was blessed to have that time. We had our problems, like anyone else, and did things we were not proud of, but no one is perfect and that is part of marriage. I don\'t like thinking about \"new man\" or entertain the thought of same. I want to find me now, learn how to depend on myself, do what I want, and not worry about what others think I should be doing as not to waste my life. We make our own life, and it doesn\'t need to include another life partner or a boyfriend. I believe people are insensitive, and don\'t really think before they open their mouths. I am more than what people consider a pretty package. I am a person with feelings, and have every right to continue to wear my wedding rings, love my husband, and live the way I want to. I don\'t want to be in despair because I am made to feel that I am wasting my life away or going to be lonely and not be fulfilled in life because I am not sharing my love with another man.

I also get tired of people mentioning attending a widows group. To me, the grief journey is a personal one for each of us. Dependent on upbringing, the morals and values you were taught, the length of time you were with your spouse, and the relationship and love you two shared together. They are the important factors, and people can\'t understand the bond you still have after death which has no time or space to want to love someone else. I know ladies who have been widowed for years and they are happy with the way their life is. Why can\'t we be like that too? We can. We just have to find our way. Thanks for being their Marsha. I know I\'m not crazy, and what I feel is perfectly normal and fine for me.