We widows are a big group.

by Jeanne Etchechoury
(Camarillo, Ca)

I lost my husband, friend and confidant on April 17, 2010 and was immediately admitted into the widow's club of the world. I have found since that we are many, all lonely with huge holes in our hearts.

My husband and I shared his slide from the terrible throes of cancer through his suffering and with my constant care taking. Through this we did not discuss the obvious conclusion because he was hanging on to the last hope of survival and was not comfortable discussing his demise. Because of this, we did not discuss all the great years we had and they were many, how much we loved each other, the fact that I would be OK (or not OK) or anything he might have left undone. I regret that. It has been six months and I am still so sad and I miss him so much. I still feel the transition from being an extremely busy 24/7 caretaker to the quiet and stillness of our home to be unsettling and hard to get use to.

My tears are still very near the surface and I wonder when that will all change. Hopefully, by sharing my pain with this site I will find relief and comfort with the company of all those who post their feelings for us to share.

Comments for We widows are a big group.

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Nov 10, 2010
Out of the blue
by: Anonymous

Jeanne, I just found this site and am amazed that even as a health care professional, I was so unprepared for my own grief. I lost my husband 76 days a go. He was 45, I am 42. Although I have lost people very dear to me (my father 2 years a go after a long bout with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's) and had been his caretaker as well as others, I still was not prepared for this loss.

My husband had recently retired from a job he loved - he had been a paramedic and a firefighter who recently had been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's. We went 2 years before we got an actual diagnosis - and it was so stressful. I truly had lost heart in medicine. But was happy when we finally got a diagnosis because I thought at least we now knew what we were facing. I felt I was prepared for what may lie ahead but never in my wildest imagination did I see this coming.

He developed a blood clot and collapsed on our anniversary. He succumbed to the clot the next morning. I have felt the most extraordinary pain and guilt. Some do not understand how I can say guilt but, again, as a nurse I thought I somehow thought I had missed signs that must have been so obvious.

I work with a therapist at this point to try to move through this and have taken up swimming, more exercise, etc. But, each time I reach out to those people who were there that first couple weeks after to support me, I feel like my label now is "widow." And to them, that is like something that they will catch or it makes them feel too close (to death and/or sadness that is) so they avoid me. They call, make plans with me and then cancel last minute.

My family tries to make special efforts to get me out of my house and occupy me. And I love them for that and appreciate it. They tell me they are amazed at how well I am doing and that I am so strong. But somehow I even feel their distress at my newly acquired designation as widow.

By many friends and family I am constantly told you are young, it will get better, you will find someone eventually again. Words that bring no comfort and just remind me daily that I miss him so much and my strength is an illusion.

He was my very best friend, my soft place to fall and my rock. He had all the qualities in a man that made me fall in love with him and want to spend 50 years together. Together, I felt we could face anything.

I feel your pain in entering this club of widowhood. I am learning there are no rules, it will take as long as it takes each of us to heal. There is no set time limit. If we weren't feeling the pain, the loss, and the sadness, we would not be able to get through it eventually. It cannot be bottled up and shuttered away. I think until we find peace though, it is good to get this out and find comfort in our fellowship. We can share our memories of how wonderful the people we have lost were and deal with it without judgment or platitudes but more importantly, in our own time.

Nov 05, 2010
for Jeanne
by: Mari

Jeanne, I really understand . I too had to try to get accustomed to no longer being a care giver. I realize it takes time to adjust after pouring your heart and soul into giving loving care. Then you no longer are doing that.
The nights are the hardest when I am alone and thinking of him. God understands how you are feeling and cares. So do all on this wonderful board.

My husband was a stoic man who refused medical care and was not always easy to take care of. He flatly refused medical care until I told him I was going to see that he got it. I had to get firm and he said he would not keep an appt. I said,''Sweetheart, don't you want to feel better?'' He finally went to my doctor and my doctor said,''He sure has a lot going on.'' His heart was damaged and he needed to see a cardiologist, but he had a heart attack before that and was sent to a heart hosp for stents in his heart and he only lived a week.

I got his meals and kept him comfortable and made an appt for the podiatrist which he said he couldn't keep but did. He told me he did not want to die in a hospital and that he loved me so much. That night he went to be with the Lord in his sleep.

It has been almost a year. It is still hard and I stay busy all the time. I have a picture of the two of us and my grandaughter said,''Grandma, you can see love in Grandpa's eyes in that picture, Love for you.''She is only 12 but she is one smart girl.

I am thankful for the years we shared and the love and support of family and church. As for our police dept I cannot begin to express my gratitude for their kindness that awful morning I could not wake up my husband.

Time does heal but it just takes time. We have to go through the grieving process. Just remember we are here for you. We care.

Nov 01, 2010
Appreciative
by: Anonymous

I so appreciate the several comments that have been posted to my original text. They really do help and I read and reread them each day. Thank you for your time to reach out to me when you are all hurting as well. And this to shall pass as the saying goes. Jeanne

Oct 29, 2010
For Jules
by: Mari

There sure are a lot of widows ,Jules. And women do usually outlive men by 7 years.I will soon be 66 on Nov 20th and my parents are both doing well. They are 84 and 83.

There are so many nice people on this board and we have all suffered the loss of a loved one. Everyone handles their losses differently.
I am active in my church and also manage the complex here. I handle all the issues and clean the grounds and do alot of painting. When I go to the association president with some issue he says,''Will you take care of it?'' I actually prefer being totally in charge as it keeps my mind occupied. I own my unit so this is my home until my heavenly home is ready.

I am healing but will always miss my husband.I just want to get through the anniversary on Nov 22nt. I really feel it will help in some way with the healing process.

I am sorry to hear of the 62 yr old man who isn't doing well with his loss. He may need some counseling.

My mother encourages me to keep going and even my 12 yr old grandaughter says,''You will see Grandpa in heaven.'' That was grampa's girl because she stuck close to him.

Being a widow is not cool. It is lonely but thank God I can still work hard. I never miss church either. I play bingo Friday mornings in a nearby town when I can get there. For some reason I have lost my desire to get a plane out of here and head for NJ or NY. I stick around. NJ was annual vacation spot for me for years. But this is not the time. My life has changed drastically without my sweetheart.

Anyway Jules. We just have to keep going. For me being busy helps me and my family and church family. It does not look like retirement is for me either. There is joy on the horizon with the great grandaughter due in Dec. I like to think my husband will be looking down from heaven at that time.

God is always with you Jules. It helps to keep that in mind. We are here for you too. Take care. Mari


Oct 29, 2010
we widows are a big group
by: Donna

I too was thrust into the lonely hole of being a widow. I lost my true love, Bryan, on July 23, 2010. He had been began having what he called alot of discomfort in Jan. of this year and was diagnosed with cancer in April. I went on leave to take care of him 24/7 on April 5th. We never really talked about him dying, but he did tell me one time that he knows that I am going to grieve and that's ok. But to please continue to live and be happy. He was so worried that I would just sit in my office chair and grieve myself to death (literally).

I am so grateful that we let each other know daily how much we loved each other. I knew that pancreatic cancer was one of the fastest growing (killing) cancers that there is, but I really thought that I had found a cure. When Bryan was sleeping or resting I was online researching cancer, diet etc... when he woke up I devoted all of my attention to him (except when one of my daughters needed me). He told them one day how proud he was of me and that he knew how much I love him, that he has never seen anyone try as hard as I was to find a cure.

I have not returned to work yet, I can't. Someone asked me the other day when I was going back to work and I told her when I can wake up in the morning and not break down and cry. It is such a lonely journey that we widows and widowers have to make.

I am grateful that I found this site. We can come here and vent and know that someone out there kinda understands what we are feeling and going through. We are lonely but not alone. Keep coming to this site it helps alot. My thoughts and best wishes are with you.

Oct 29, 2010
A Caretaker alone
by: Patricia

As I was driving home at 3:00 in the morning from work, I found myself again thinking of our life, our home that was now gone. Billy had Diabetes with neuropathy to compound the problem. I was scared to go to work wondering if he would be ok. One day he wasn't and I found him gone. I'm now walking, wondering what to do with myself. He was my life and now I just move thru the motions of the day waiting. I'm walking that road with you ~ lost. So we do what is expected each day for the living, waiting until its our turn to join our loved ones. Were alone ~ but you're not alone for we will survive. Just know we will endure 1 step, 1 breath at a time.
Have Faith ~

Oct 29, 2010
we widows are a big group
by: jules

If you look through this site - you will find that most posts are from women - I wonder if that is because we live longer than men, or that we are willing to reach out when we are left alone, to try and find a way through the horror of it all.

Probably a bit of both - I met a man here in town the other day whose partner had died about three months ago. I asked how he was coping, and he wasn't coping at all, couldn't cook so was getting meals on wheels delivered, didn't go anywhere, only once a week to the community centre, when they have a Friday bbq - there he meets with friends, who were friends of he and his wife, he is not talking to anyone about how lost he is, and I think he needs to, but how to go about getting him help? He just keeps saying he is just waiting to go, but he is a relatively young man, 62, I might have to have a talk to someone about him next week - he just looks so sad.

I suppose I am lucky, I have made lots of new friends and joined some clubs, so I am "getting there", also this site is a lifesaver - I don't think I could do some of the things I do, if I didn't have access to the wonderful people on here, who always have good advice and words of wisdom.

jules

Oct 27, 2010
Caretaker Transition
by:

I too was Hubby's Care taker from His aneurysm surgery 9/8/08, Stoke and other ailments. I had seen the former man that I loved coming back so his death was Not expected. I too went from very busy, efficient yet scared to go to work, to leave him alone to the numerous ER and Doctor visits.

We did not discuss anything that was remotely...negative, including wills DNR's Etc.

It is a rough adjustment to make, the quiet is deafening, yet could I even take the noise that once was the commotion that came with kids and house the norm. Until he got....sick then things were keep quiet, daddys sleeping, and we can't do this or that and leave daddy alone for too long.

These things I have not really thought of in months and only do so, so that you can know you are one of many who is switching roles and gears and the transition and loneliness is so desolate even in a crowd we stand alone.

Being a widow is a divorce by death, not by choice. Keep reading writing and taking one breath one step one day at a time...
HH

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