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My First Grief Stage - Relief
Agent 99
Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2016 10:59 AM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 2166

Thank goodness I learned from my e-friends that we all grieve in our own ways because my grief journey during the past three months has been very confusing to me.  I have not been overcome with sadness nor have I shed many tears.  The one outstanding feeling during my waking hours has been relief.  Oddly, I have had frequent dreams about my sweetie and other loved ones that have been dead for over twenty years.  I never dreamt about my sweetie when he was alive.  

I never really understood how much stress I was under.  It was like a switch was flicked - the daily dementia tasks, the constant worry, the dementia dance, diplomacy and doom - off.  

I have not changed one thing in the house.  The bed is made the same way as it was, my sweetie's clothes toiletries, and other belongings are right where they always were.  The only significant change is that I sit in his chair at the kitchen table.  I am in no rush to change anything and will let it happen when it happens.  I am downsizing my stuff - something I couldn't handle before.  In fact there are many things I am doing that I couldn't/wouldn't do before - like some gardening tasks, waking up without a struggle in the morning, eating dinner out, driving at night and not putting up with toxic and stressful family and personal dynamics.

In the first month or so, I travelled to visit my mother, brother and his family and my father who I hadn't seen in many years and is living in a VA memory care across country.  While I enjoyed my visits I felt like I couldn't wait to be home.  I think about travel but my desire to stay home and be alone with spurts of socializing is greater so that's what I do.

Now I sense that I am transitioning into a new phase I call disbelief.  It's not denial.  I find myself thinking that I can't believe my sweetie is not here.  Many times during the day after some experience I think, I can't wait to tell sweetie about this when I see him after work and then I realize that it's not possible.  Another manifestation is that I have cancelled several scheduled visits to his office to finish cleaning it out, etc.  In the first two months I made four trips without even a second thought.  There's no pressure from his employer but I want to do it rather than letting others.

Tears start welling up more often now but no full blown deluge.  I'm not sure how long this phase will last and what's next.  I'll let you know.

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2016 2:02 PM
Joined: 12/18/2011
Posts: 14836

Hi Agent 99,

 I agree that we all grieve in our own way and in our own time.  I've put Charles' t-shirts and lounging pants in boxes (did that right afterwards) but I haven't done anything with his clothes in the closet. 

 I think I was able to do more in the first month than I'm able to do now.  I can't make myself take his name off our bank accounts - there's no hurry, according to the bank. 

 Today I was getting out some summer clothes and putting away winter ones when I found Charles' belts- I had forgotten where I'd put them.  I really had a good cry.  To me, it's the little things that really get me.  I can go for days without a tear, then all at once they come.  I'm in no hurry to put away his clothes - I guess it makes me feel nearer to him to have them around.  For some people it's easier to get it done right away and maybe I should have done that when I was able to do things easier.  I thought for sure I'd be able to get our monument in a couple of weeks but I still can't do it.  He has his military marker so for now, that's okay. 

 In time, I'll be able to do these things but it will be in my own time - when I'm ready and I have no idea when that will be.  There's no one or nothing pushing me, so I'll take  my time.  Most of us have that option.

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016 10:31 AM
Joined: 3/7/2012
Posts: 1747

O! my dear, Basha, how good to hear you.

I am still aching... I have not transcended...

PTSD... Pain. Anguish. Visuals. It does not go away easily. It sets the heavens on fire.

For me, being a widow sucks. It sucks big time.

Yes, I am free. I can do most anything I want to do. Freely now. With no existential worries.  I can get on with life. And fart around. With not a care in the world. Be. Do. What-ever. When-ever. Where-ever. With whom-ever...

People ask, "What's new, eh?"

When I want to be honest, I respond: O! I have and live with many memories in my heart. A garden of memories. Memories of love and joy and laughter. And memories of dementia/AD, as well. The reality of my immortal beloved. It was and is an integral part of me. A community of 48 years. His death. His no-more. Is part of the air I breathe now. In space and time. For ever. That is what is new. He is dead. No heaven. No hell. Simply dead. Death came knocking on our door... Acceptance of Death. Transcending Death. Not yet.

  ... Merde! ...

 Hmm... Some people do not want to hear that. So I tell them what they want to hear... "I live in a perfumed garden of beautiful flowers and herbs."... Sounds good, eh?

I will come here again. From time to time. To contemplate your beauty, dear e-friend. And to hear how you are doing.

Take care. Hold on tight.

Love ya.


Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016 8:59 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21317

"his no-more".....thank you!
Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2016 8:19 AM
Joined: 5/31/2014
Posts: 124

It's interesting that you write this because I feel the same way.  My mother passed away 6 weeks ago.  The first month flew by.  It occurred to me that I haven't cried much.  I think I cried more 2 years ago when she really started to have a down turn.  At that time, I was always on the verge of tears and could cry over anything.  Perhaps I'm not letting myself grieve.  I haven't done too much sorting out in her apartment which is downstairs.

I did attend a bereavement meeting this week suggested by my hospice social worker.  Although I don't show such outward emotion as some people do, I feel that it was a helpful meeting and I will attend for the next few months.


His Daughter
Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2016 9:15 PM
Joined: 6/25/2014
Posts: 2270

Agent99 and ABC,  I completely understand!   As you know my dad died in December, and I really expected a HUGE break down.  Now I'm not saying I don't have tears at times, but nothing like I expected.  Not at all.  I too felt relief for him.  But by the time it was said and done, I was privately begging for his death.  I couldn't stand to see him go on like that.  It seemed so cruel.  And yes, I was relieved for him that the struggle was finally over.  

Then I was so busy, and STILL am.  I just got the estate sale done.  This week I will be calling for donation trucks.  Then there's the house to clean and goes on and on.  In some ways I'm angry that I haven't had any chance to take a break, and I wonder if I will break down once this is all done.   All I know is that I put so many years into my dad, that now it's time for me to get back to my own life.  My husband, my children and grandkids.  

I feel so good about what I did for Dad, that I wonder if that is helping with the loss.  How can I be sad for him, when I know he didn't want this to begin with.  And I have so many wonderful memories that I'm holding onto.  

Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 7:09 PM
Joined: 5/25/2016
Posts: 2

I can relate to what others have posted here. For the last 3 weeks of my husband's life, I cried constantly. Actually, so much that I developed a sinus infection.  The second that he passed away, I stopped crying.  I was able to handle almost everything with just tearing up a little and then making myself stop crying.  I wrote a tribute to be read at his service and cried while typing it, but when it was read no tears at all. Actually, I didn't cry at the funeral home, church or grave site. I know everyone thought it was odd.  I felt most comfortable in my home. I sat in the living room for months in the chair I sat in when he was in the bed in the living room.  That winter, I think I watched snow fall most of the time.  He had been sick 6 years and most of my friends had disappeared during that time.  I was basically alone all the time with few phone calls.  I just did the best that I could.  Now, I had the freedom to travel or do whatever and I did nothing.  I just felt uneasy being out of the house because by that time I was always on the verge of tears.  Before I got myself together and ready to move forward, my father got hurt...eventually his memory issues started.  I helped take care of him for almost 2 years.  When he passed, I felt the relief.  He wasn't the greatest father in the world, but I did right by him and have no guilt.  I haven't had the sadness that I had when my husband passed.  It did bring back bad memories of what my husband had gone through and set me back.  Two weeks after he passed away, I found my mother passed out in her house. I began taking care of her.  Her dementia is getting worse by the minute.