Grief and Memories

by Zoe

Its funny the first real cogent thought I had in those first ripping months of grief after I lost John was that I had to put on a Mask. I did not want people in my face; I got tired of answering the same questions. It gave me distance. I needed that space to hold on to this thing, this grief, because I did not have John to hold any longer, I just had grief.

I love John, not past tense, not before, then, or when, I love John, right now this instant, I love him, I always have, I always will. Yes, I know John is gone, and even though there are times that, I still find myself praying for him to come back to me, I know he cannot. I have got that.

At 22 months, I have come to accept that I will live with grief. It will be with me until we are together again. That does NOT make me morbid or depressed or in need of medication, it makes me a Widow. Guess what, that is what I am, a Widow What I feel is pain, sometimes still so searing that it brings me to my knees, sometimes it is in the background but that pain, that loss that grief is always with me.

I can tell you I am not interested in meeting someone new. I am not interested in “starting a new phase in my life.” I did not volunteer for this. The most important person in my life was ripped away. We were building our last home together; we were planning trips and visits from the children and grandchildren. John was a good man, he worked hard, he did not lie, he did not steal and we loved each other totally and completely.. So why did this man die ten days after he was diagnosed with cancer. I have had some people tell me it was a blessing. Funny I do not feel blessed. Moreover, you know what, the man who looked at me and said why can't we just be together; he did not feel particularly blessed either.
He wanted to try, he wanted to fight, and he was never given the option. So do not address this like I had some mid life crisis and changed my life, my life as I knew it was taken from me leaving me bloodied and torn from my fight with this thing this death. I live in a different state than we were settling in because I could not stand to live in the house that he and I had picked out together. And despite what anyone else thinks, I am not alone, I have John, he is with me always in my heart. There will never be anyone who will measure up to him. I know that.

We all deal with grief differently. The one thing that seems to be the same is this insane idea that we as widows need to heal in a certain way. We will heal as we heal, period. We cannot do things that will make others more comfortable being around us, or make them feel "ok" moving on with their lives. I, for one, cannot validate the feelings of someone who has no comprehension what I am going through. Frankly, I do not care if my being a Widow makes you uncomfortable. I really do not. I have a home, and a job and an office with big windows. I would give it up in a heartbeat to be with John. Because he is my love.

The holidays are always hard for widows. For me, New Years Day is always the worst, because you see John always proposed to me on New Years Day, he wanted me to know every year that I was his love. This is my second year where the silence is deafening. I am still so raw with pain in so many ways. I feel time dragging me away from our last moment together. I still sleep with his shirt in on his side of the bed, the dresser is set up with his things, and our pictures are in the house. His ashes sit on my dresser, just as I promised him.

I was one of those women who were, taken care of. John took care of everything. He was the man of the house. I know it sounds old fashioned, but it was what worked with us. So now, I have a good handy man, and an emergency plumber I have learned how to rewire the stereo system and make one remote work for the five I had laying there. I have always been able to do it; I just did not have to.
Therefore, for 2012 I am sliding quickly toward the two-year point of having John taken from me. He has not faded, as I was so desperately afraid he would, I have his smell and the feel of his hair and the touch of his hand, and all I have to do is close my eyes. Am I good with this, of course not, but it is all that I have. I have grief and memories. And on those times when I am crippled by the pain of the loss of John, it is like when I started.

One breath, one step, one day at a time.

I love you John, I always have, I always will. I cannot do this without you, I do not want to.

Comments for Grief and Memories

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Jan 08, 2012
Grief and memories
by: Judy


When I read your posting what came over to me is an amazing strength. Although you feel you are no further forward you actually further healed than you realize. The Mask is certainly a part of it, and the awful realization that you are a widow and there's nothing that will change that, and choosing to live where you feel comfortable and regrouping your life with handymen etc are all ways of being strong. But none of that changes the missing of our beloved, or the emptiness of not having him here with us to discuss everyday things and to share lifes ups and downs.

I know everyone thinks I'm "over it" and I try really hard to live a positive and in the moment life. But I miss Barry every single day. I have grown used to living alone, making decisions alone, handling whatever life throws at me. But I miss him everyday. I visited his grave in CA over the holidays and bawled my head off for 15 minutes. All I could say to my patient and loving friend who was with me was "I miss him".
Whatever I look like on the outside the big W is still seared on my heart and always will be.

So Zoe, pat your self on the back and keep going forward. You will feel better when you feel better and it's nobody's business but yours. Meanwhile we are all still here for you travelling along one day at a time.

Hugs from FLorida,


Jan 04, 2012
Grief and Memories
by: TrishJ

I can't tell you how comforting your post was to me. It's been 13 months since Joe left me. I don't feel any desire to "move forward" with my life. I'm so tired of people telling me this is "my time." Everyone says....your life is yours now to do with whatever you choose. I choose to forever be Joe's wife. I have no desire to ever have a relationship with another man. I would constantly be comparing that man to my husband. He was larger than life. As you said about your husband, he was honest, hard working, loving, fun to be around, everyone's best friend. The fact that he was drop dead handsome really sweetened the deal. He let me know on a daily basis how much he loved me. What we went through the last three years of his life, as his heart condition worsened, only bonded us more than ever.
Joe's ashes are also on my dresser. I have a small brass urn in a red velvet heart shaped box that stays under my pillow.
I attended a grief group meeting where I was told that pictures and personal items should be put away. I don't agree. I have several pictures of him out in the open. His robe still hangs in my closet. I'll never get rid of that.
I'm happy to know there is someone out there that feels the same way I do. I am moving on in some respects. I'm socializing more. I've become less needy of my children as I know they have their own lives to live. I've made a few new friends (female).
I will always love Joe too. I talk to him a lot. God bless Zoe and thank you so much.

Jan 04, 2012
from MD
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing. I pray you continue to heal and gain strength. Thank you for keeping his memory alive and using your and his story as a teaching tool for others. I'm glad you feel better through the pain. Keep strong!

Jan 04, 2012
Grief and Memories
by: Pat J.

Dear Sweet Zoe,
Your words are my words and thoughts. My Red was gone 6 months on Dec. 27th, tell him every morning and every night that I love him. He said to me every night after we were settled in bed; Good night Pat, God Bless you and I love you.
In the hospital after he was pronounced dead and I had my time alone with him; I told him I would never say goodbye. I visit his grave and I tell him it's not goodbye. I'll see him again in the next life.
I love him now as always. Thank you for the lovely tribute to all of our loved ones who have left this earth. God Bless you!

Jan 04, 2012
Grief and Memories
by: M Mack


I can definitely see by the words you write that you have strong convictions. John will always be a part of you and your love for him is unconditional. You are true soulmates and he is around you all the time. I know how you feel when you dont want to talk about the widow thing with people. You're right..they don't really understand. Today is Rays birthday and I've been waiting for this day for weeks. Why? He's not here, we can't celebrate, I cant hold his hand or kiss him and enjoy his day as he would do when my birthday came. He made everything feel so right. Birthdays, valentines day, sweetest day, holidays........its very lonely without him.
I miss him so much and although I know he's around me, its not enough! We will be together again with our loves so until then we all know the plan - one day at a time.

Jan 04, 2012
So Sorry
by: carol,seans mom

Zoe, I am so sorry for what you are going threw. I know what you mean when you say you are full of grief,sad,and every other crazy emotion that goes with grief. I am a mother with three beautiful children and all of a sudden my oldest and only son dies. He had a clot is what we are told and still waiting for more answers. My life was like a tornado and I was stuck in it. Still am. I was worried at first about how I made people feel awkward when I walked into a room. Well guess what I am distraught,stressed out and yes depressed. I had a beautiful son one day and gone the next. How does anyone deal with that. I also feel like I needed a mask at first. But guess what world. I barely hang on some days so what people think doesnt matter any more. It has only been about six weeks. I buried my hansome son on Thanksgiving week so the holidays were just a reminder of a very special person in my world missing. Happy New Year everyone kept saying. Are they kidding? Do they not even care what Ive gone threw? I have learned to set my limits to what I can handle not everyone else. I am with you in that I feel like people want us to be a certain way that we just can not be. So good luck to the new you because I understand. I am so different today than I was on November 13th as I headed out Christmas shopping,excited about christmas and actually bought my son a few gifts. November 15th he was gone. How could I not be?Good Luck to you and I wish you the best at what you can do.

Jan 03, 2012
by: Ruth

God Bless you dear.

Jan 03, 2012
Grief and memories
by: Anonymous


This has been a long and rough journey hasn't it? I know that you feel that you are where you have started but you Have come along way. As you said you knew that you could do it all along, you just didn't want to. I know that these past two years in grief I have fought to accept grief. Then when that got for lack of better words comfortable. Really miserably used to grief I fought my way out. I still believe that the acceptance is the worst part of grief. I do not think that the grief and longing ever really leave. I still talk to My Love when no one is around to think that I am nuts.

Especially when the doorbell rings and no one is there nor does the front one work. We broke it 2 days before Paul died. When it rings two different tones I like to think that it is him checking up on me seeing how I am doing. If that makes me nuts so be it. We all take different paths in our healing, you may not think that you have come far nor do you care what people think or expect. That is fine I find that people absolutely think I should be "Over it" By now so I keep those thoughts of longing and yearning to myself.

We have come so very far in our journeys Zoe, I was fortunate to have spend Christmas with my Children on the West coast and was actually content for the first time in years. Paul's illness and death combined is over 3 years ago. And it has been that long since an inkling of contentment has been remotely felt. I am not whole, I do not know if I ever will be. I only know that I am meant to live the remainder of my days fully. Without the Love of my life it is difficult. But it can, it will be done. With no fear, having survived the worst moment in my life, the rest Must be better. I hope the same for you, Always...

Jan 03, 2012
So true Zoe
by: Judith in Californiaj

Oh Zoe! you said what we all feel so much. I'm going to copy and print this and the next time someone ask I'll say "here, read this". It says it so eloquently. We are widowed and we still love the way as if they had not passed. I feel as you ,the only fix I need is for my love to appear and be with me again.

I pray the New Year will bring us some comfort somehow.
Take care and God bless you.

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