For all of us here

by Alan
(Maine, USA)

So much pain, so many tears, so much loneliness and despair. Nothing quite as beautiful as it once was, each of our better halves no longer with us. Family and friends love us and try their best to comfort us. The cruel fact is life goes on. Bills must be paid, appointments kept, these mundane tasks we perform with broken hearts and shattered souls. Every day.

Like many of you I prefer to be alone in the apartment I shared with my beautiful wife Donna. June 8th will make 18 months since she lost her battle with lung cancer. She was 52 years old. So young, so, so, unfair. June 4th will mark the 36th anniversary of our marriage, the day this most amazing woman became my lifelong partner, lover, and best friend. I suppose, as I did last year, I'll toss a yellow rose or two into the ocean where I laid her ashes. Her favorite flower. Her favorite spot. Her favorite person.

Since her death I haven't had a single visitor in my apartment. Fine by me. And since her death I've lost my sister, and two brothers. Not long ago I had 5 siblings, now I have 2. Guilt, to me anyway, is such a destructive, useless emotion. It seems my broken heart can only process so much grief. I try to lay my guilt aside, like a disinterested child with an old toy. I've made peace with my brothers and sister no longer with us. I truly pray they understand.

Donna and I never had children and decided 24 years ago to move to Maine from Massachussetts. She thrived here, making friends, embracing our life together on our new adventure. I plan on living here till the day I join her again. As difficult as it is sometimes being here without family, this is my home.

The day before she passed we talked at length about a number of things, she commented on how nice our conversation was. I knew she had been diagnosed 2 1/2 years earlier with stage 4 lung cancer. I did my best to take care of her, to make her as comfortable as possible. I've since found out she knew she would be leaving me, she made sure certain things were taken care of. For me. Seems I was wrapped up in her illness and her caregiving to actually realize she would be taken from me. All of her cat-scans the previous 2 and 1/2 years showed no growth and even some shrinkage, we both thought the good vibes, karma, and prayers our family and friends sent us was a big reason why. Along with Donna's tenacity and positive thinking. I thought she would fight this and win, maybe my subconscious mind couldn't or wouldn't deal with it. An ending to our life together never entered the picture. Then in November of 2011 the news was not so good, the tumors had grown and her Oncologist laid out her options to us, one month later her battle had ended. The day before she passed she told me she had no regrets in life. I take great comfort in that fact. I recently told my Doctor that I was a blessed man being with Donna for so long. My Doctor told me so was Donna.......

Last weekend I repotted 23 houseplants that Donna enjoyed taking care of. I consider it a great privilege to do so, it's a link to the past between myself and her. I fuss over them and make sure they're doing well. I also have a 6 foot tall orange tree that is about 30 years old that we used to decorate for Christmas! Memories. They enter my mind ever so slowly, in tiny increments. Too many at once and I'll be painfully overwhelmed. And I've got a truckload of precious memories. In time.

I've still got most of her clothes, still hanging in the closet of our spare bedroom where she so enjoyed making Christmas and birthday cards. The jewelry box still sits atop the file cabinet filled with the earrings she once wore. Pictures of friends she adopted as family still lie on the shelf of the desk where she once sat.

All of us here have our own stories of lives forever changed, of hearts that will never be mended. But my wish for all of us is this: Know that our pain is so fierce, our memories so bittersweet, our path so difficult, so lonely, our days so draining and filled with despair because each and every one of us have been lucky enough to have known True Love. For 3 months or 63 years, you see it doesn't matter!!

Wear this in your soul as you would a badge of honor on your sleeve.......I sure do!



Comments for For all of us here

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Jul 22, 2013
Thanks.
by: Another Who Cares

A beautiful thought, that I will cling to.

May 28, 2013
for all of us here
by: silver

dear Alan:I know what you mean about the future.My husband and I were going to travel a little.My golden years look bleak.I see me living alone the rest of my life.All of my children want me to move in with them.I can't leave the home my love and I shared.I put our wedding rings on a chain which I wear.My ring came from my grandmother so will eventually go to my granddaughter.His will go to his son.My husband collected John Wayne movies.One of my sons wants them and I told him he could have them after I die.He also collected coffee cups and I still have most of them.A few of them were given to his sons.I miss his sense of humor,his constant watching TV,making coffee every day(the pot is retired to a shelf now),fixing meals for him,going out by ourselves on occasion,his little signs of affection,and so much more.Tomorrow is the 2nd yr anniversary of his death.What keeps me going is like you say:I WILL NOT say good-by.I WILL see him again.My love for him WILL NOT die ever.I can't wait for the day I hold him again. My dad died in Dec 09 and my mom followed in June 10.I didn't understand why she didn't just get up and go out to see all the friends she had.11 months later I understood.They were married 64 yrs.I realized that if you love someone so completely you feel as if your life has ended.It is so hard to go on even though you know you must.I admire you for going on.I admire others in our situation also.I am a retired nurse,I buried 2 grandchildren,my mother &father,my sister.I gave birth to 3 children.I spent my whole life moving every 3 yrs(my father was military).I HAVE NEVER DONE ANYTHING THIS HARD.This site and my poetry have helped me more than anything else.There are so many people here that know exactly how I feel and that helps so much.GOD bless you all.

May 28, 2013
For all of us here
by: Linda

I am truely so very sorry for your loss.
I know exactly how you feel, I lost my soulmate, my hubby 4 mos.ago from a massive heart attack, one day he was here and the next just gone. We never planned ahead(dumb now I know.) With missing him so much I also have extreme money problems and just don't see the point of going on or even trying. I too am withdrawing from everyone and everything. I'm getting so tired and burnt out from it all. This may sound silly but if it wasn't for all my rescued cats(which I've been told to get rid of because I can't afford them any more), I would be a basket case right now.
My heart and prayers goes out to you...

May 28, 2013
To silver
by: Alan

My deepest condolences on your loss. I've made a small memorial to my wife consisting of a picture of us together, our wedding rings on a small piece of driftwood from the same beach where her ashes lie, a yellow rose, and small trinkets with words like Courage, Hope, and Imagine inscribed on them. All these I put in a heart shaped box.

My Donna's favorite coffee cup is still in the sink alongside mine. Where else does it belong? Her reading glasses still sit atop the computer tower, and I clean them regularly. Silly? Who cares, we do what we need to do, we grasp any minute amount of comfort we can find. I think to simply get rid of these material mementos of our loved ones would be saying Good Bye. Just typing those words causes a swelling in my chest followed by tears. I can't say Good Bye. I won't say Good Bye.

I mourn for a number of things, big and small. To me they're all important. One is the realization that growing old and retiring together isn't in the cards. I'm not looking forward to the Golden Years as much as I once did. Like all of us here I miss the laughter, the quiet times together when not a word is uttered but the power of our Love fills the room and peace and contentment wash over me. I miss looking forward to seeing her, hugging her, asking and being asked how my day went after a long days work. I miss our rides together on our Harley, times when I'd have to pull over because we were both laughing so hard at some silly little private joke. I miss stopping for ice cream after a visit to the beach, or driving the 25 miles to our favorite seafood restaurant. I so miss her perfect hand in mine, the cute little shape of her nose. I miss the song she used to sing about our dog, the patience she had feeding the chipmunks. I miss her Portuguese cooking, her unbelievably delicious spaghetti and meatballs. I miss everything about her, all that she was, all that she so unselfishly gave freely to me.

Thank You, silver, for your response, may you find comfort and the strength to carry on.

May 27, 2013
for all of us here
by: silver

Dear Alan,I couldn't have said it better.I have been where you are.The love of my life went on without me on May 29,2011.The 2 yr mark comes up in 2 days.I have his picture on my desk top,in my purse and on my camera.I didn't wash his clothes until the smell was gone.I use his bathrobe and house shoes instead of mine.I did give some of his clothes to one of our sons but the rest are still in the closet.I haven't cleaned out his bedside table and I still have his wallet& phone in my bedside table.I haven't erased his phone number off my phone.My husband was also cremated.I spread his ashes on the land I live on because he picked out this land.We worked hard to pay off all our bills so when I turned 62 and retired we could do some light traveling.He didn't make my 62nd birthday.He had emphysema.The dr told him he had 43% of his lung power left.I also think he felt he wouldn't be around long.He got pneumonia.We went out for our 33rd anniversary dinner on Sunday.Tuesday morning I woke up early to find him in the bathroom having trouble breathing.I gave him breathing treatments and when that didn't help we went to the E.R. His oxygen level was very low.He finally had to be intubated and put in ICU.The pneumonia went septic and killed his kidneys.The dialysis began killing his heart.To top it off they found a mass in one of his lungs.With lung & kidney failure & a weak heart(30%),knowing he probably had lung cancer,and he only weighed 108#,we knew he wouldn't last.Even if he got better & came home it would be to chemo & oxygen & might live another few weeks.So I let him go.It was so hard.I am finally getting to the point that I go out some.It might have been better if I still worked but can't because of my back.Take care of yourself.GOD send you strength and peace.

May 27, 2013
To true Love
by: Alan

My deepest condolences on your loss. No one will ever know your pain, what you're going through. The emptiness you feel must be unbearable, I'm glad you were able to share your loss with us, comfort, however fleeting, can come when we least expect it. I wish there were words I could tell you to ease your pain but unfortunately there isn't.

Please know that you are not alone, and Thank you so much for your response. May you find the strength to carry on.

May 26, 2013
To Lawrence
by: Alan

My deepest condolences on the loss of your wife. I wish there were some magic words I could tell you to help ease the pain, but, as you're aware, there isn't. This road we must travel is so personal, so winding and unpredictable I fear we must go it alone. At least deep inside, where the true pain lies.

In another of your posts you shared the fact you were together for 70 years. You must know how special that is, how so few know the true joy of having an amazing woman to share this world with. I was blessed with my Donna for nearly 40 years and as you said, the tears still flow.

Thank You for your response, Lawrence. And please, keep the song Moon River safely tucked away in your heart where it belongs!

May 26, 2013
To Doreen
by: Alan

Doreen, first off, my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your husband.

I've read your posts here and I think of you as an Angel. An Angel right here on earth always there for us with a kind, sympathetic, compassionate ear. Your forever willing to share the pain in your heart for the betterment of others, all the while never judging. Your unselfish manner is truly inspirational and I'm sure somewhere your husband is smiling down on you filled with Love and bursting with pride!

Thank You for all those you've helped, myself included, and may you be blessed with the same comfort and warmth you've shown others.

May 26, 2013
For all of us here
by: Doreen U.K.

Alan I ran out of space and will continue to say that lonliness and the emptiness we now feel is so very difficult to live with as this will be our new normal.
You sound as if you are still a working man so Work is what is going to help you. When you have some structure in your day it does help. Even though I have retired I still try to structure my day how I want. I don't work to some timetable. I pace myself and so life becomes more bearable. We will have some very bad days, and equally good days.
I am sorry for your loss of your siblings. I have 5 siblings and I couldn't bear to lose any one of them. Since I lost my husband I feel very vulnerable to loss.
It does help if we can resolve any disputes with family and tidy up things with siblings. This becomes more apparent after we lose a close family member. Emotions and feelings kick in that we never imagined and we wonder how this grief can become so painful. My experience is that my soul is hemoraghing slowly and there is no medication for this pain. Emotional pain is the worst kind. It assaults slowly. It cannot be seen or heard so no one can know how bad it is for us when we grieve. It feels as if one is in crisis and how will be recover. But we do. There is hope and I am glad you have this HOPE that you will see your wife again. I believe I will see my husband again and this keeps despair away. If you have heard of Joel Osteen. You can buy his books on Amazon and they are filled with Hope and Encouragement and will get you through many a difficult moment. He is positive and full of encouragement. It is like having a best friend with you when you have no one. May we all see better days. God be with You Always.

May 26, 2013
For all of us here
by: Doreen U.K.

Alan I am so sorry for your loss of your wife to cancer. You are a very positive, articulate, man with a maturity that makes your post here like a tonic for all those who have suffered a loss.
Your expression was full of empathy and thoughtfulness, and insight into your world of how sorrow visited you and how you have tried to lay aside those emotions and feelings you say is a waste of time, and you embrace those qualities that will benefit and help you move forward. You embrace your life as one of thankfulness for the years you had and a quiet acceptance of those years you now have to live out on your own. You tell it like it is. A grief observed that is full of acceptance but yet also accepting those emotions you know is normal and will pass in time. You have put duties into your life you know is necessary for your self preservation and healing. You are a remarkable man and your post Blessed me.
I lost my husband of 44yrs. 1yr. ago to lung cancer. He worked with asbestos not known as a Health hazard. When cut the fibres lodge in the lung and 40yrs. later develop into a tumour that is inoperable, incurable, and aggressive. The price my husband paid for doing his job in an environment that gave him this lung cancer. He paid a high price for doing a job that supported a family. He died before retirement and so I don't get to spend those quality years with him. I was his caregiver for 3yrs.39days when he died on 5th May 2012. I have 3 Adult children and 2 grandchildren my husband won't get a chance to enjoy.
On reflection I have accomplished so much in a year. My husband loved flowers so I landscaped the garden just for him and planted all the flowers he loved. I have just completed 7 hanging baskets, and 12 containers, and a 3 tier planter all for my husband. I just wish he was here to see it. Whilst I was numb with grief I cleared out his clothes I know he will not wear again and given them to the Salvation army for other people. This was a painful thing to do whilst I detached myself from what I was doing. All his personal items are locked in his log cabin. I cannot deal with them. Maybe never. But this is O.K. He was my first love and my last love and my heartbeat. Like you say we have to go on and forge out some sort of life. Not easy but necessary. I think of my husband all the time. He is never out of my mind. Some days I can't believe he has gone.
Thank you for your post and for the Wisdom you portray in your writing. I hope life treats you kindly and your life works out well as you would like it to be. May you be blessed in life with happiness and success and may all your troubles be small ones.

May 26, 2013
your gift
by: Lawrence

Alan,
What a wonderful gift you have, putting your inner soul into telling us all about your loss.
Needless to say there are no words I or anyone can say that can alleviate the utter anguish and pain you are suffering.
Everyone on this website has been or is going through the same and we all cry out for relief from our sadness without success.
It is five months since my beloved wife died and she was gone in an instant so I thankfully didn’t have to see her suffer but I can imagine the horror of seeing someone you love more than life itself slowly sinking into death in front of your eyes must be everybody’s nightmare.
I can’t tell you to be brave because I am not myself, no one is, I cry every single day. My days and nights are as lonely as yours must be and I guess that will be our life from now on..
I have said repeatedly “Grief is the price you pay for all your happiness” so count the happy years and be grateful you had them, many do not ever experience the intense love you had with your precious Donna.
Take care of yourself.
Lawrence


May 26, 2013
Your gift
by: Lawrence

Alan,
What a wonderful gift you have, putting your inner soul into telling us all about your loss.
Needless to say there are no words I or anyone can say that can alleviate the utter anguish and pain you are suffering.
Everyone on this website has been or is going through the same and we all cry out for relief from our sadness without success.
It is five months since my beloved wife died and she was gone in an instant so I thankfully didn’t have to see her suffer but I can imagine the horror of seeing someone you love more than life itself slowly sinking into death in front of your eyes must be everybody’s nightmare.
I can’t tell you to be brave because I am not myself, no one is, I cry every single day. My days and nights are as lonely as yours must be and I guess that will be our life from now on..
I have said repeatedly “Grief is the price you pay for all your happiness” so count the happy years and be grateful you had them, many do not ever experience the intense love you had with your precious Donna.
Take care of yourself.
Lawrence


May 26, 2013
Response
by: True love

Your so right. I knew my true love since 2010 & he was brutally, and savagely taken from me on the late hours of February 25, 2013. We had just celebrated his birthday' just me and him on February 20. It took a lifetime for us to meet : me 35 & him 36 but we met & we knew. Finally real, true love. A love I prayed for from 5th grade & him 2 marriages later & we found it. Unconditional, nonjudgmental, love. The love you don't realize exist or even know is possible or maybe you know and hope for I had it. It was close to 3 years of cherished and unstoppable love. This man with just his look made me feel so loved, so wanted, so beautiful. When we were together nothing else mattered. I would give anything, anything, my last breath to see him again, look into his eyes, feel his strong hands, tell him I love him. What do I do now? What do we do now? So many people take for granted their time with loved ones. I regret only not loving him harder, not being there with him on the night he was murdered. Not telling him that night I loved him when I had the chance . I truly wish with all my heart to have been there and died with him. We would have held hands and passed together.instead I am still here and he died alone, killed, murdered in the most brutal way. They say it was quick and that he did not suffer. I was the last person he text before he was killed. It was late and he was just leaving work and he simply text, "goodnight". I saw the text and figured ill see him tomorrow & talk to him tomorrow. Tomorrow never came because at almost 2am I was notified that he had been killed. He had text me at 10:56pm. Why didn't I text him back. Why didn't I call him. I'll never have that moment. I miss him. I miss his eyes. My days and nights just pass. I'm on auto pilot cursing thru the days waiting for the day I meet him again.

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