18 Months of GrIef, Honest Reflection and Change
by Judith in California
Today is the 18-month mark since my husband, my love of 35 ½ years, passed away. It is by far the most horrible pain to have ever felt. I struggled, at first dealing with all the legal things, then a stepdaughter attempted to come after the little bit of money my husband left me. Then my own son became verbally abusive. I had a most challenging time dealing with the sad memories of our imperfect marriage. He always yelled at me about my son and was verbally abusive towards him. I never said an ugly word to any of his children or to him. I wrote in my journals every night of my feelings of pain for his dying, loving him even when he wasn’t loveable and I wrote of the things he did that angered me and the unfair way he dealt with me and my son. I wrote it all out, got real honest and finally came to the conclusion I had to forgive him for all that mental hurt he inflicted on me over the years. I wrote of the things I was sorry for and asked his forgiveness. I did a lot of soul searching and had to be honest in those journals and to God in order to move on. Some of the ugliness and bad times were because he was sick and we didn’t know it. By the time he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he had fallen and fractured his skull and that was the beginning of his end and the end of US. I lovingly was his caregiver, his arms and legs. I fed him , dressed him and changed his diapers until the end. Yes, we had some loving times and when I look at our photographs I know deep down he loved me but he just could/would not show it the way I needed. I was constantly fighting for that equal, caring, sharing, and loving relationship. I had to beg for hugs and kisses and for him to just sit next to me in the evening on the sofa. We could have had the love story of all time had he just let it happen. For all of that, I grieve.
My experience with my husband has helped me face a lot about my self and that’s why I write to those in troubled relationships on this site. I gave up all of me to him and lost site of my own needs. I gave and gave till it hurt me. I realize that I was too willing to tolerate the emotional abuse and lost my self-esteem and wish I had the will power to leave but I loved him too much to do it. For all of that, I grieve.
The last 11 years I began to stand up for my self and when he said or did something I nipped it in the bud at the very moment it began. I told him if he couldn’t get on board he could leave. He didn’t. Two months before he fell we began counseling. I was so hoping we could finally find some resolve for some of the issues. We never got to continue because of his fall. The fall changed his brain and he began telling me he loved me more and saying he always loved me and always will. So for the three and a half years he lived after his fall, I heard I love you more than in the 32 years before. For all of that, I grieve.
I will always love my husband and miss the loving moments we had. I certainly don’t miss the difficulties. I will still grieve , on occasion, for all we did have and could/should have had.
I have soul searched deeply in order to heal and find the peace I need. I have let go of it all, the negative feelings, the sadness and disappointment. I have truly forgiven him and myself. I have begun going out to dance and even date on occasion. I promise to never loose site of who I am, what I need and what I just won’t tolerate ever again in a relationship. I told my 48 yr. old son he can be respectful to me or stay away. I just won’t tolerate abuse or disrespect for the sake of love ever again. It’s a good feeling to know I’m in charge of me and I don’t need a man to complete me or support me or make me content. I’m okay in my single widowhood.