How to live after the death of a spouse

JoAnn_FlaJanuary 31, 2013

Hope this might be helpful to some.

1 Before you move on, fulfill any request that your late partner explicitly said before passing away. This will give you a peace of mind, and will ensure that you will not have any mental obstacles in your new life.

2 Know that it will take time before you can begin to feel a sense of normal again. It will not just disappear. Be patient with yourself as you move through the process of grief. Grief is a lifelong journey and everybody experiences it differently.

3 Understand that there are stages you will go through and they are not linear. You will experience denial, anger, resentment, sadness, and eventually an acceptance. However, you may not do them in this order and you may, much like a roller coaster ride, go over these stages repeatedly over the course of your life with regard to the same loss.

4 Do not pay attention to those who try to tell you that you are not grieving properly. Grief is as individual as you are, as your partner was, and as your relationship was. Specifically you will likely deal with some who think you are healing 'too fast' and those who think you have become 'stuck in your grief.' If you have concerns in those areas, talk to a grief counselor. He or she is far better prepared to help you navigate your new life than someone who has never dealt with the death of their significant other.

5 Realize that you have choices. There is a time when you need to cry and there will come a time when you are ready to have a new life. When the tears come less often then you know it is time for your new life to begin.

6 Do not worry that you will forget your spouse.

7 Ask yourself what it was that you have always wanted to do but something you never had time to do because of family obligations.

Now is the time to do it'! Be anything you want to be. Become an artist, a pilot, or a scuba diver. Take a ride in a hot air balloon. Most of all, strive to be happy and fulfilled. Your dreams can become a reality and help fill the void in your life. You will meet new people and realize that life can be satisfying and exciting even if you are alone.

8 Be patient because this change may not come quickly or easily.

9. Adopt a pet. If you don't have the energy to give a great amount of attention to a pet, consider a cat. They make great companions. They are clean and do not have to be walked. They give you love and affection. They give you someone to care for and care about. They will greet you when you come home, and lie on your lap while you watch TV. If you are not a cat person get a dog, or whatever pet makes you happier. Understand that the pet will not replace your love, nor is it meant to, but animals can make you smile, listen to you when you feel like talking and fill a lonely day.

10 Volunteer your time to a cause or something that you feel strongly about. Helping others can have a wonderful effect on ourselves.#
Volunteer your time to a cause or something that you feel strongly about.

Join the library and read. Most libraries have library buses that bring books to your neighborhood. Or you can rent a DVD, or watch movies on the TV. Write letters, or become a phone companion, a group that is backed by the Police Community Service. They make daily calls to shut-ins, to make sure that they are safe. Talk to them to keep them company and they will be keeping you company as well.

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Joann, those are all excellent points. I will try to remember them as I move forward. Only lost my sweet DH the middle of November, we had been married 46 years. Tears still flow daily, but pain is getting a bit less. I know time will help, but my life will never be the same and I will miss him forever.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:21AM
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I so agree with you, it does take lots of time to get better.
It's 17 months for me and I am thinking the second year gets worse then the first. I still cry everyday. It will come & go and have lots of ups & downs. I don't believe we will ever get over it, but barely get through it. I was with my DH 41 yrs. its so hard.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:56PM
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I too was with my DH for 41 years and married for 37 yrs. and 4 mths. He passed 6 years ago and I still cry but only once in a while. You will never get "better" because there is nothing wrong with you, we will grieve forever because we lost the man we are meant to love forever, I think of him all day and every day. Life will get easier to live and the memories will keep him with you as you go on. A few years ago, on this forum, a gentleman said "we now belong to a club we never wanted to join" and that's the way I feel, but life is still good. God Bless.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:31PM
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Just when I think I'm doing a bit better, I have a day that just does me in again. I'm trying to work on projects to keep busy. Lots of reading, music, sorting pictures, etc. and I've been going to a griefshare group at church--but I just can't get interested in doing things again. Lunches and walks with friends and talking on the phone with friends and family do help--but just feel like I'm going through the motions of life without really caring anymore.

Mav, 6 years! You are not giving me much hope for ever feeling "normal" again!

And Joann, 17 months isn't very incouraging either! It's only been a little over three months for me and I can't believe how easily the tears still come. Not all day, but everyday at some point or another.

I don't know of anything that has ever been this hard.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:43PM
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We are now living with our "new normal" and you will be happy again but you will always remember him in everything you do and everything that you did with him. You will be happy again after a while and he will always be with you. God Bless you and be strong.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Yes 3 months is still so new. I was still in deep numbness & denial then. It's different for everyone. You just gotta hang in there, it will get easier. Daily Strength has a very good forum for widows, check it out. I am there with lots of others. It's for support & comfort.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 3:35PM
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I'm so sorry to hear, Joann, .. my deepest condolences.
Great post, hope things are looking better.
I still remember from many years ago,... your awesome sunset pictures or hubby's fishing silhouette,...good old memories!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:13AM
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konrad, you must have the wrong joann, I think you may have meant joan_mn

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:06AM
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I'm sorry Joann, figured that was you.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Is Daily Strength here on Gardenweb? I'll have to look for it. If not, could you post a link for me? Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:33AM
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luvstocraft, link below, its support for widows/widowers

Here is a link that might be useful: Daily Strength

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 11:38AM
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Its been 2 years last July 24, 2013 when my husband died on a tragic vehicular accident.

I am in a holding pattern with my life and with myself.

And I am still grieving. I am suffering from PTSD. My sufferings is intense. I am in total mess, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. My life turn upside down when I lost my dear husband. I am deeply lost with out him.

I am not able to move forward because of a court case, I sued the lady who was reckless and negligent to her actions. I am only learning to live day by day.

I suffer with many episodes of anxiety attacks each day.
I am scared, frightened to grow old by myself.

I miss my husband of 15 yrs married. The only solace is his constant signs and symbols of his pennies he send to me on the same spot, place.

I am in constant surprise when I see the coins. And I know its him. It gives me deep comfort that he is looking after me. Thou, I do have my deep sadness moments by moments. And No One can ever understand how it feels until they are in my shoe to experience it. No words to use to express my deep pain. It's beyond fathomable.

The most significant person in my life was taken away from me, forever. I miss him dearly.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 2:33AM
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piegreg, I know what your going through, I live it everyday. I am trying to move one but its so hard. Check out Daily strength, it may help.
Do you have pets? They can be very helpful getting into our new life. They are someone to talk to, to hug to tell our troubles to.Or even yell at, it also gives us a reason to get up in the morning.
I hope things get better for you soon.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 8:01AM
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My deepest sympathy goes out to all of you. I too know the pain all too well. I lost my husband of 15 years 6 weeks ago and I tell you the pain is almost unbearable! When I look at his tools, his clothes, the projects that he did around the house just makes the tears flow. I know that my life will never be the same but I do know that more than anything he wanted me to be happy. I tell myself that so that I won't be so sad but I guess the wound is too new. I wake up every morning still thinking that it was a nightmare and that he will be asleep beside me and I can tell him about this awful dream that I had about him dying in front of me and the kids, and how the coroner came, and how I crawled back in bed and laid with him until the funeral home came to get his body and the painful memory of his funeral. Then, when I wake up, I realize that NOPE, it's NOT a dream! This was REAL! Something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I do know that through my faith in God I will get through this. One thing that has helped me beyond belief is the testimony of Dean Braxton. How he died for 1 hour and 45 min and went to heaven and his experience. If you are a believer, you should see this on you tube. God bless all of you and we will get stronger.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 7:43AM
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Right now it just feels like it will never get any better and I don't want to move on. I don't want to be happy without my wife. I have no hope, no plans, dreams or future at all. I fear it won't be long before I give completely. But what you say is really good advice, I just don't think I can do it.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 6:43PM
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crasher, You will get through it. It's just very hard. I think my husband would have felt the same as you do. You can do this, just take only 1 day at a time no more. Baby steps, don't look ahead just stay in the moment in today only. Just get through today, tomorrow will take care of itself.
Go to the "daily strength" site for widows/widowers, it will help just reading what others are going through. The link is above.
Things will get easier as time passes. We have to be strong for our mate, an have hope to see them again.They would have wanted us to be happy.
Prayers & hugs.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 7:55PM
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when gary died, someone told me that i couldn't go around grief, i had to go through it. in november, it will be 6 years. i still go through it every day of my life, just not quite in the same way i did last year or the year before or the year before that. his closet is still full of his clothes. his tool belt still hangs on the same nail in the shed.

i still remember vividly the day he was diagnosed with cancer. i remember every minute of the 21 months he was ill and i remember every mile traveled to chemo and radiation. every love song ever played on the radio in the car, he called "our song". i hear them now and i still weep. evenings are the hardest because that was cuddle time or "glider time" when we would sit on the deck and listen to the tree frogs at night and say to each other how blessed we were.

the queen size bed we shared is long gone and in its place is a twin bed. it's all i will ever need.

i ache for him every minute of every day. just one more hug, one more kiss. is that too much to ask? i beg for him to come to me in my dreams. i long to hear "hey babe, i'm home!" please God, just one more time. please?!?

i recently replaced my non-working digital picture frame. i filled it with pictures of gary. gary by the campfire. gary building the deck. gary feeding the horses. gary playing ball with the dogs. images of gary from happier times. i hung it on the wall in the living room. not so sure that was such a good idea. i look, i cry, my heart aches.

i've gone through all the stages...denial, anger, sadness, you name it, i have gone through it. i will, however, never go through "acceptance". i will never accept the fact that he is gone forever. never will i accept the fact that i will never see him again until heaven reunites us. i still get up every day, i still go through the motions. but family things are still so hard. birthday parties, holidays...everything i do, there is a pall cast over it because gary isn't here to share them with me. i still make his favorite fudge at Christmas time but instead of seeing him enjoy every bite, now i take a piece of fudge to the cemetery and i leave it on top of his headstone.

i know i'm not supposed to ask "why?" but i can't help it. and really, even if i knew the answer, it would not be good enough.

the only consolation i have is this...i am glad he was the one to die first because i would never, in a million years, want him to have to go through what i have gone through and will go through for the rest of my life.

my life now is good. i have the home we shared and i have so many wonderful memories but some days, those things just aren't good enough.

he is the last thing i think about before i go to sleep and he is the first thing i think about when i wake. never is he far from my thoughts and not a minute of any day goes by that i don't wish with all my heart that he was here to watch the sun set with me.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 8:48AM
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My dear husband of 15 years, Steve, died this past Sunday in his sleep. I found him on the couch in the morning after taking a shower and just thought that he had fallen asleep in front of the tv again. He complained of his arms hurting (which is why he slept on the couch--so as not to disturb me in bed), but he did that often. He worked very hard at his job and filled sandbags on Friday (we had major flooding then--I'm in rural NM) and then installed a ceiling fan on Saturday. We had dinner and a movie on Saturday and I kissed him good night and left him on the couch. Judging by how I found him, he (hopefully) just went in his sleep (probably a heart attack--we don't know for a while).

I keep cursing and getting mad at the fact that he "left me"! How could he do that to me? I was told by one of my Facebook friends that he didn't (intentionally) leave was just his time. I am not religious (raised Jewish--but not practicing) and don't know who or what to turn to. My parents, brother, and sister-in-law have been taking care of me (and all of the arrangements) this week. Yes, it's been only a few days, but it feels like an eternity. I am 47 and my husband was 52...just too young.

I've had to start making the phone calls, texts, and emails regarding his passing. I can't stop (and probably won't for a long time) crying.

Please, someone, tell me how to handle the initial shock of all of this. I've never known someone my age to go through this. The only saving grace is that we never had kids (so they don't need to go through this), but we do have three wonderful "fur children" (dogs). They'll be getting a lot more hugs than normal and an earful when I need to vent, curse, and scream.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:09PM
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i'm so sorry for your loss. i do remember the "anger" part, i went through that, too. the "how dare you leave me all alone?"'s' another normal stage of grief.

i can't tell you that it gets better. it just gets "different". in time, grief will not rule your world. it will still be there but it will get pushed back a little with each week, month, year that goes by.

the first year after gary's death, i lived in a fog. i was so miserable, i didn't know what to do with myself. that Christmas, i stayed home. i didn't go to the family party. i just could not face it. a few days later, my sister-in-law dragged me, literally kicking and screaming, to the doctor. i began taking an antidepressant and i can tell you, it made a world of difference. it's something you might think about. it takes the "edge" off and after a few weeks of taking it, i felt so much better. six years later, i still take it. i tried stopping it (with doctor's supervision) and i felt myself sinking into a black hole so i started it back up.

wishing you peace even though i know you may never find it. i haven't yet but i do feel a bit better with the passage of time.


    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 7:56AM
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I know this thread is a year old but I just found this forum while searching for something else.

My husband died 7 years 3 months 3 days and 4 hours ago. It was an unexpected death. He was not ill. He was 50 years old and I was 43. Our daughter was 20. I thank God for the comfort my daughter has been to me every day. This man was the love of my life. My reason for existing. He was the only person on the planet that loved me that way and I can't imagine ever having that connection with any other man-ever. I was still quite young when he died and I tried dating a few years after I lost him but never got past more than a few dates with anyone. I gave up on it. Now I'm 50 myself and resigned to living the rest of my life alone.

I see at least one other post from someone also still devastated after so many years. I wonder if it's harder to let go when you lose someone unexpectedly and/or in a violent or accidental way? Does the trauma prolong the grief? Will that night ever stop replaying in my mind? Is my life ever going to be "normal" again? Can anyone give me an answer?

P.S. someone mentioned pets. When my husband passed we had a German shepherd who absolutely adored him. She followed him from room to room when he was home. For weeks after he died, she would wake up in the morning and howl this absolutely heart wrenching howl. Nothing I did could comfort her. I'd just hold her head to my chest and rock her. We lost her two years after he died. She was 14. I like to think they're together now.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 2:19AM
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Its now 28 months for me and I am still hurting from the loss. I don't know if it will ever feel normal again. I miss him so much every day.

missesmother, have you had any grief counseling? It might help since its been so long, and you are still having problems. Try to join a grief group if you can find one. Hospice has them and so does griefshare.

At 50 your still young, don't give up on dating. At least put yourself out there and find some new friends. I know how hard it is, Its not happening for me either.
check out the widows group, someone there may be able to answer your questions better.

Here is a link that might be useful: widows support group

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 7:31PM
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missesmother, i have often wondered if it's harder to let go when you lose someone unexpectedly rather than from a lingering illness. i had 21 months to prepare myself but still, his death was shocking to me.

yes, your life will be "normal" but it will be a new normal. it will be a normal you will learn to live as time goes on and you become more familiar with this way of life.

like your husband, my gary was my soul mate, the love of my life, the one thing on this earth i never wanted to lose, ever. but, for whatever reason God or the universe had, here i am, alone with my memories.

we all grieve differently, in our own time, no one can really give you the answers you are looking for. all i can tell you is that you will find most of those answers as you go along.

i wish you the best and i truly believe we will see our men again some day. it is what i live for.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Joann and Ninapearl, thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. Joann, yes, I went to grief counseling. I think maybe too soon afterward though. Maybe I should look into it again. I also saw a psych doctor who put me on antidepressants for a while. I bought a motorcycle (something my husband and i had done when we were younger was riding) and joined some riding groups. I have lots of men friends but none of them are more than just friends. Although one married one was kind of persistent so I had to put him in his place. Lately, I've been thinking of getting another dog too. I've own a Jeep Wrangler and was invited to go to a Jeep rally by a complete stranger who saw my Jeep in a parking lot so I'm thinking about that. Jeep owners are extremely friendly with each other. It's not like I don't have plenty of chances to get out and enjoy life. It's just the 'joy' part of enjoy isn't there for me anymore.

Nina, was your Gary young when he passed? No matter the amount of time you have to say goodbye, if they're young, it's so much harder to let them go. Have you ever heard someone say at an elderly persons funeral "well he lived a good long life"? You know what I'm trying to say here? It's kind of a delicate subject. I'm not saying a 90 year old widow doesn't suffer just as much as a 30 year old widow. It's just that you feel...well, ripped off I guess. We had plans to retire and travel. Watch our daughter grow up and have children. Maybe even take some classes like ballroom dancing or water painting, photography etc..none of that will ever happen, at least not with him. We were together for more than thirty years and still held hands when we were riding in the car or walking together and sometimes just sitting on the couch watching TV holding hands. I think this is a once in a lifetime kind of relationship that I was blessed to have and I don't think I will ever meet a man like that again. Sorry for going on so long. Please tell me about your husbands, I would love to hear about the great times you had.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:47AM
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my gary died at the tender age of 61. i say tender age because he lived his life like a teenager, always into something, sometimes a little ornery but always the most loving man on the planet when it came to me and his family. we got together late in life and had 12 wonderful years.

not a single day went by that we didn't say "i love you" at least 10 times, probably more like 100. it was the only thing we ever argued of us would say "i love you" and the other would answer "i love you most". i am totally serious when i say we never argued. in 12 years, there was never a cross word, we never went to bed angry, every day and every night with gary was pure joy.

i've had a couple of men "come on to me" when they find out i am single and unattached. i just told them no, not interested. in over 7 years now, i have not had a single inkling that it would be "fun" to start dating again. i am simply not going to find another man, ever, who could even begin to fill gary's shoes. when i have people ask me if i have dated, my answer is always "i had the best there ever was. why settle for less?" ;)

gary and i moved out to the family farm about a year after we got together. before we even looked at mobile homes, he was out here building barns and putting up fencing for the horses i owned but boarded out. gary loved my animals. in the years we were together, i had everything from horses to goats to llamas. and dogs...always dogs. gary loved them all or if he didn't, his acting deserved an academy award!!

gary and i didn't have a lot of plans as far as traveling or dancing lessons or scuba diving. our plan was to grow old together and sit on the deck and watch the bluebirds raise their young and listen to the coyotes across the creek and just hold hands. like you, we always held hands. he used to tease me that some day, we would have to be surgically separated.

i miss him every minute of every day. i miss him more than i miss sunshine. i miss him more than i miss anything else in my life that i can even think of.

do you or have you since your husband's death, received any signs from him? pennies from heaven, things like that. the first couple of years after gary's death, i had many, many signs from him. i could write a book! my favorite is this one...

gary knew i loved great danes. always wanted a dane in my life. he used to say "why don't you just get one??" the time was just never right. days before he died, he made me promise i would get my great dane after he was gone. he wanted me to have something happy in my life. so i told him i would do that but that i would need for him to send me a dog, a dane, he wanted me to have.

fast forward spring 2008. i applied to great dane rescue. it was a few months, august to be exact, before i heard from them. they set up my home visit to make sure my home was suitable for a great dane and even said they had a lovely senior dane they thought would be a good match...

(sorry, i know this is turning into the great american novel!)...on the day he was to bring this senior dane to me, i made arrangements to meet him at a little park outside of town so my corgis could meet this dane girl on neutral ground. on the way to the park, i stopped at the cemetery and visited gary's grave. i told him i was pretty nervous about having a 160# dog living with me but i also told him she sounded so sweet and if this was the dog he was sending to me, i would need a sign from him.

the moment i laid eyes on ashley, i knew. i was drawn immediately to her butt. you had to know gary...he had 160# of canvas to work on and he left his sign on her BUTT!

do you see the heart? it's a broken heart, a heart that will never mend. there is a little piece of it, just floating. it is my broken heart because gary left too soon and it is his broken heart because he left me long before he was ready to. ashley gave me 3 glorious years before her old body gave out. losing her was like losing gary all over again but i would not trade those 3 years for anything!

this picture was taken just days before gary's final trip to the hospital. i don't have a lot of pictures of him when he was healthy, i was always too busy to pick up a camera. i do, however, have some wonderful videos of him and i do occasionally pop them in just so i can hear his voice. :)

yes, yes, yes, a once in a lifetime relationship, for sure!! just under gary's name on his headstone, these words are etched..."once in a lifetime love".

wishing you peace!!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:41AM
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NIna, you make my eyes spritz.

Your 'American novel' is really a romance novel, & a lovely one, a beautiful story that's more than a tribute.

It's the story of 2 lives, of 2 people who were lucky to have had each other.

Bless you for sharing.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 3:03PM
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Wow, How hard it is to lose the love of your life. My husband and I had so many ups & downs, It just can't compare. Ours was a different marriage I think, not the norm. It was just his last year that things got better for us, or maybe me. Now I can kick myself for not appreciating him more. I have so many regrets as I know he would have also. I miss him everyday, we were always together so I never knew what missing him was. We were together 40 yrs. I would love another 40.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Nina, I read every word! It was not too long. I got goose bumps (all over) when I saw the broken heart! My God. Yes I had signs too. So many but the first one was an American Eagle that flew over our home on the day of his funeral. I live in a somewhat urban area so it's very unusual. Just a few days before that he had joked with me about wanting an eagle painted on my truck at work (I'm a postal worker) so he could pick mine out in the crowd if he drove by me during the day. We were both truck drivers. He taught me to drive a tractor trailer and if not for that, I wouldn't have been able to keep our home after he was gone.

I planted a red rose bush in our yard ( he had red hair) and it didn't bloom. I was so disappointed. One day my daughter and I were outside shoveling the driveway and she said "mom,look." I'm like , "what?" she was pointing at the rose bush. A single red rose blossomed, in the snow, on his birthday Feb. 1st.

Again, on the 1st anniversary of his death, I was outside talking to my brother in my driveway and again something made me look up and waaay up in the sky was an American Eagle circling above us.

I have seen many signs but the one that gives me goose bumps like your broken heart was on the night after he died. I had muted the tv and said a silent prayer asking God to watch over him. My last words were please watch over him because I love him so much. Then I picked up the remote and unmuted the tv and the first words I heard were "God loves him too.". It floored me! I'm not overly religious but I do believe in a God. After that, I have no doubts.

Mark and I were much like you and Gary, we never argued and very often one of us would say I love you more. Then it turned into I love you first, because he would try to say it before me in the morning. Lol. I liked to let him win. He also loved animals and they loved him just like your Gary. Although Mark was extremely allergic to most four legged furry friends but we had two German shepherds anyway. He suffered so much with asthma but loved those dogs so much. It was sad that he couldn't touch animals without breaking out in hives because he loved them so much.

As far as being with another man, that hasn't happened for me and I don't think it will. I went out with a five or six guys but only for one or two dates and if they tried to kiss me or anything that would end it so I gave up on it years ago. So I understand what you mean. I don't see anything wrong with it but some of my relatives do. why do I need to have a man? No reason I can think of except maybe to mow the lawn or fix the plumbing lol, but I can hire one for that.

Thank you for telling me your story. It lifted my heart and spirits.

Joann, don't beat yourself up. Every relationship is different. Some people seem to enjoy the thrill of the battle. My grandparents used to squabble all the time but I never saw a couple that loved each other more.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:28PM
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sylvia, you are so sweet. :)

joann, i agree with what has been said. so what if it wasn't always peaches and cream? the important thing is that you had each other!

misses...WOW, the single red rose sent chills down my spine!! what an awesome sign to get!! and "God loves him too" can you ever doubt signs like that?? that is just so awesome and i'm glad you are getting them! i don't get them nearly as much as i used to but i do have several that are burned into my brain. this is one of my favorites...

gary never got the new ramp built to the lawnmower shed so the spring after he passed away, i decided to take on that project. i got my lumber and i lined up all of my tools...shovel, hammer nails...i started by tearing out the old, rotten ramp and leveling the dirt...

i noticed that gary only used 2 support boards and i thought well, if 2 is good, 3 would be better...

now, as i was digging the trench for the 3rd board (in a spot where no digging had ever taken place, as far as i knew), i kept stopping, wondering if i was doing all of this right. i had watched gary build a thousand different things and he did teach me a lot but still, i wondered. i stopped and looked up into the heavens and said to him "i know you're watching me. it would be nice if you would send me a sign to let me know i'm doing this right!" i went back to my digging and a couple of minutes later, i picked up the last shovelful of dirt. as i started to toss it aside into the dirt pile, i looked down. and, i found this...right on top...

i cried and then i laughed and i laughed and i laughed! and i danced. and i treasure that penny probably more than any other i have found since gary has been gone (and there have been many!).

my work finished, i stood back to admire what i had done. it had been a cloudy day, kinda rainy off and on. as i stood back and looked over my work, the clouds began to lift and the sun began to shine. it was a good day!!


gary, in better days, with maggie and simon. maggie, the little black girl, was gary's dog. she adored him and rarely left his side. she was never the same after his death and i lost her to nasal cancer just a few short months after gary died.

now, how about some pics from you?!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:31PM
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I would love to post some pics but it might take some time. I'm on an iPad and I don't have any pics saved on it. Give me a few days. I promise I will set up the desk top comp. and load some on there.

I absolutely adore hearing about you and Gary. It sounds like you were a beautiful couple and it would have been a pleasure to have known him. I love the shed. Did Gary build it? You made an excellent ramp as well. Thats something I need to do on my I know how lol.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 5:18PM
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i have all the time in the world and lots of patience so i will look forward to your pics!

that shed, as well as 3 others we have are all made by an amish community not far from us. it was kind of a standing joke that when we got a shed filled up and we got more "stuff", we just called mr. miller and told him to deliver another shed. gary was a builder by trade and he did build the barn for my horses. i recently had a new roof put on it as the old one was leaking. it's a building i treasure because he put so much work and so much thought into it and i want to keep it up!

everybody loved gary. he was so kind, generous, loving, understanding. we had both been through tough marriages/divorces. he used to tell me "i'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. this is too good to be true!" i would always assure him that there wasn't another shoe. LOL! whenever i thought "out loud" about something i wanted to do or try, he would always say to me "babe, you just do whatever you want!" it took me years to get used to that!!!

while gary was in the hospital toward the end and i did not think i would be bringing him home, i asked the nurses if i could bring the corgis up to say good bye to him. i got their permission but i didn't tell gary about it. he was in and out of consciousness much of the time but seemed to have more lucid moments early in the day so that's when i planned it. i stood back in the doorway and let the dogs go to his bed. his face lit up like a christmas tree and he said "ohhhh, c'mere lollipop kids!" that's what he called them, the lollipop kids...we did end up bringing gary home with hospice and he died 2 weeks later. the dogs kept a vigil at his mom's patio door because we were staying up the lane at her house. the night he died, the dogs never came back up to nana's house. it was just so sad.

fast forward a couple of weeks after i laid gary to rest...i had been invited to a birthday party for a good friend's granddaughter who was turning 2. of course, teenagers and helium balloons...lots of fun to be had. i was trying to have a good time and of course, missing gary terribly. all of a sudden, from the back room, i hear a bunch of teens with high pitched voices singing "weee are the lollipop kids, the lollipop kids, the lollipop kiiiiids"...and i burst into tears. my girlfriend put her arms around me and said "see? gary's right here and he's letting you know!" it was sweet and sad but when i thought about it, mostly sweet. :)

a couple of months before gary died, i came home from work one day, leaned over his recliner to give him a kiss and found a tiny blue sequin on his lap. now, i know maggie didn't wear tutus so i accused him of having a belly dancer in while i was gone. he laughed and said no, one of his little nieces came to visit and to show him her ballerina costume...

the evening after gary's funeral, i had a kitchen full of beautiful floral arrangements. i had many small vases and i was separating flowers and putting them into vases to give to family and friends. as i was arranging flowers, i looked down on the kitchen island top and there i saw one tiny blue sequin. i tore those arrangements apart, frantically looking for sequins that might have been used. i did not find a single other one. just that one tiny blue sequin. another sign from heaven!

i could go on and on and on. suffice it to say, there will never be another man who could even come close to filling his shoes. i have always been somewhat of a loner so being alone (other than the fact that gary isn't here) has not bothered me. i love the memories i have, everywhere i look out here on our 10 acres of the farm, i see him. i see the things he built for me, i see our initials carved inside a heart on everything from my hitching post for the horses to the boards on the deck gary built. i *think* i am happy, at least as happy as i can be at this point in my life. i take comfort in knowing he is no longer suffering the ravages of cancer and that he is, for sure, saving a place for me. i daydream of the day we will be reunited. i have much to do before that day and while taking care of our end of the farm and the danes and working part time, i keep too busy to be sad. i don't WANT to be sad any more.

for years, i begged gary to come to me in a dream. it just was not happening and i couldn't figure out why. it took a long, long time. it was 3 years ago, on new year's eve. i dreamed that gary walked into our bedroom, took my face into his hands, smiled his awesome smile, kissed me tenderly like he always did and told me he loved me. and then, he was gone. i woke with a start and i swear by all that is holy, that many was IN the room with me. it was just SO SO SO real!!! ever since then, i can see him physically well, strong again, building whatever God has in mind to keep him busy and out of trouble.

you know, even 7+ years after his death now, it is cathartic for me to tell stories about him and what a wonderful man he was! even if nobody reads this, i feel GOOD!! :)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 8:28PM
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Wow, there are just so many beautiful things about you as a couple and you yourself. You sound like a wonderful person to know, even though you're a loner. I bet you have lots of friends.

Having animals is a great comfort to some people. those of us who treat our pets as part of the family, seem to understand the comfort brought by pets. They know when you're hurting and try to "fix" it in their own ways. We had one dog who would lay across your lap if you were upset about something and he wouldn't move until you calmed down. You couldn't fool him by acting calm, he could tell when you were faking and he wouldn't move! The othe dog was a giant of a German shepherd (she made the male look puny) and she would pretty much just tackle you and lick your face until you were laughing uncontrollably. I still smile and laugh when I think about her.

I had a dream about Mark almost right away. It was kind of odd. He was happy and younger than I remembered him, his hair was a darker red when he was younger and I didnt realize how much lighter it had gotten until I was comparing photos much later, after the dream. so it kind of gave me goose bumps. He told me everything was great and then he said "it's not what you think it is" meaning where he was I assumed. Then I woke up. I've had several more dreams of him. Some of a "romantic" nature. The last one upset me because, in the dream, I told him I loved him and his response was "it's not the same anymore. I love you very much but it's different now." . I don't know if it's me trying to let go of him or if it was him telling me it was time for me to move on. I decided a few years back that no one would ever be able to fill his shoes. I have no intention of ever having another relationship like that. It's my intention, even though I'm only fifty, to stay single for the rest of my life.

I'm curious about something, my Mark died in October 2006 and a few of your posts seem to put your Gary's passing around the same time. Am I mistaken?

P.S. I'm still working on getting the scanner to put photos where I want them. My pictures predate the invention of the iPhone. I have some pics of pics on my phone but only one of him. Most are of the different trips I've taken, mostly alone, on my motorcycle. I love to get on it and just ride all day. Most times I stop and take pictures of something along the way.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 5:26AM
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you're so sweet to say that. i have a couple of close friends but for the most part, i spend time with gary's family as my own siblings live hundreds of miles away. gary's mom and his brothers and sister all wrapped their arms around me during gary's illness, both literally and figuratively. his mom knew how "connected" we were and when it came time to plan his funeral arrangements, she left everything up to me. each time i asked her about a detail i wanted to include, she would say to me "you knew him best and you know what he would want." to this day, i take her flowers on his birthday with a card that reads "thank you for having him for me".

and purple petunias!! gary's favorite flower! i have not planted a single one since he died and each spring, i have them come up volunteer all over the place, even in the cracks of the patio! i laugh each time i find one and i tell him "hi babe!" :)

gary was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in february, 2005. he died november 30, 2007. he fought it so hard and he so wanted to live but it was not to be.

your mark sounds like a wonderful and wise man. i don't know how we interpret our dreams, i guess we each have our own ways. much like you, i am happy to stay single. i will soon be 63 and i am happy to live my life out with my animals. my 2 great danes are the lights of my life and my 4 pot bellied pigs certainly keep me entertained for hours on end!

looking forward to your pics!! i am seriously snowed in now, probably won't get out for at least a couple of days. thinking about rearranging some furniture. uh oh!! LOL

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:51AM
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I lost my husband of 38 years 30 days ago and it has been so hard. He needed a liver, which was diagnosed in June, he was in and out of the hospital. His last stay was for six weeks and until the last couple of days I just knew he was going to get one. I was devastated when I lost him. I feel empty and lost. even though we have 3 wonderful grown daughters it is not the same. sometimes I feel like I cant go on without him. I feel like a I have no purpose. Everywhere I look or go, reminds me of him, my heart hurts so much. I know that God doesn't give us more than we can bear, and I am trying to believe that but its hard. I have my family,friends and church but its still so very hard. I know life goes on but I feel at a standstill and don't really want to go on. I feel like it was just happened yesterday, its just been so hard to go on.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2015 at 5:02PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

joshy4, I'm so sorry. I lost my husband four years ago. We'd been together 35 years, high school sweathearts, with a wonderful life and family. For the first year I believed that I could be living in a dream, and that I might wake up to find my husband sleeping beside me.

For at least two years I felt as if he'd just been here the week before--I still felt that close to him. I still wake up and ask how this could happen to us.

Like you, I have three grown children, family and friends, but I feel that the center of my universe is missing. I don't know what else to say, but just concentrate on doing what's necessary today. It will get better. Some day you'll realize that you've accepted it--not that you understand it, but that he's not coming back, and you need to go on. I hope that you can find peace until then.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2015 at 10:26PM
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I am at 3 yrs 4 months, sometimes I think its getting harder and my reason for going on I still haven't found. I do have my son which is a blessing but he has his family and we don't see each other often enough even though he is right next door. Nothing is the same when our spouse is not with us. I still try to stay busy and get through each day but its hard.
1 step and 1 day at a time is all I can say. Better days are ahead.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 7:12AM
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Thanks for the kind words. I have been trying to keep busy but I cant do much I get so tired. Thank God we have a yellow lab that had to have a tumor removed and that has kept me busy worried and caring for her. I wake up each morning with an ache in my chest. I cant believe he is gone, but one day at a time. I just didn't realize how hard this was going to be or how much pain I would be in. I am glad I found this site to help me realize that I am not the only one with these feelings.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 9:16AM
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Jo Ann, I'm so sorry.

I think you're on the right track;
keeping busy is the best.

I found that interacting with other people was very very good, & that it was easier if I obligated myself.

Years ago, I set up & *led* a jazzercise class at my church.

I was the one who had the tape & I knew the routines, so...

& I couldn't just opt out & stay at home with my head under the covers;
I had to be there, people were depending on me!

I got some oxygenated blood to my brain, & the women who came to the class were happy & appreciative, & the "buzz of the hive" was so good for me.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 10:35AM
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I just found out today that my yellow lab has cancer and its in her lymph nodes. I am heartbroken, don't know how much more I can take, just lost my husband Dec 19th. I know God doesnt' give us more than we can bear but right now its kind of hard to believe. My dog has been such a great comfort to me this last 5 weeks. No symptons but I will make the time we have left the best for her. She is already spoiled, I love her so and I know she misses my hubby. My heart is broken already but now its so broken, I doubt it will ever recover.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 10:55PM
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I just found out today that my yellow lab has cancer and its in her lymph nodes. I am heartbroken, don't know how much more I can take, just lost my husband Dec 19th. I know God doesnt' give us more than we can bear but right now its kind of hard to believe. My dog has been such a great comfort to me this last 5 weeks. No symptons but I will make the time we have left the best for her. She is already spoiled, I love her so and I know she misses my hubby. My heart is broken already but now its so broken, I doubt it will ever recover.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 7:55AM
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So sorry josey4, it seems like when it rains it POURS! maybe its a test for us, we just have to keep going. I had a blow myself this week and its like a death all over again. Its so hard to get back up an start again but we must.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 10:07AM
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joshy, I'm so sorry.

Take care of yourself.

holding you in my thoughts & in my heart.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 11:00AM
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Thank yall, I know one day it will be easier but I can't see that light at the end of the tunnel yet. My prayers are with all of you. One day at a time and trusting in God. Just got back from having dinner with one of my daughters, but now I just feel so alone. I wrote this poem today and want to share it with all of you.
You left me too early,too soon
I miss your smile, I miss your voice, I miss your embrace
My heart starts to hurt but then
I see your smile, I feel your warmth in our grandchildren
You live on in them
They are a part of you
And when I hug them
I am also hugging you
My dearest

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 7:15PM
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