It is just over 3 weeks since my husband Pete lost his 5 year battle with his cancer of an unknown primary.  This grief journey is not new to me as 18 years ago my first husband took his own life.  I never thought I would ever find love again, but I did.   I was so lucky to find Pete and we had 10 special years together.  However, half way through that he was diagnosed with cancer.   I feel so cheated, but at the same time I feel blessed I was given another chance.   I know that many people do not get that, so I shouldn't feel sorry for myself.  AT the moment I do, but I know that will pass.  Every day the tears come and I try so hard to find comfort in the good times.  But at the moment the thoughts of the good times are what bring on the tears.    As someone once said to me, "you will never get over this, but you will get through this."  Thank you for listening.

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Hello, Roslyn, those last words in your post really touched me. That's just how I feel now. I lost my true love suddenly from a heart attack just over a year ago, and now I'm just surviving every day, not living. We were married 25 years and in fact we'd celebrated our 25th anniversary that year and the irony of it all is that he left us in the month of November,tha same month and almost the same day that we first met back in 1994.

I've joined this forum hoping to find a little comfort sharing our grief. It's strange but I find it impossible to talk about my loss with the people I know, not even with my 2 grown-up kids and my parents.

Really understand what you are going through. 

V. R. 

Hello V.R  I was touched by your story and the coincidences of November for you.

I do understand why you find it difficult to talk to those you love.  They possibly haven't suffered the loss of a spouse and I have found in my journey, some people do find it difficult to understand just how hard and how lonely it is to be the one left behind.

I live on 12 acres and in the 4 weeks since Pete died I've had to learn how to use a ride on mower among other things.  I have always worked hard on the property with Pete as we planted many trees and different shrubs to encourage the many birds we now have and the native wildlife as well.  I know in time this will give me peace, but for the moment I can't see it as the grief is all consuming.

Coming to a forum like this is a comfort, because many here understand the pain.

Ros

I really understand you when you say you've had to learn how to use a ride on mower.
We have a few acres of land where we used to plant all sorts of vegetables, not counting our plantation of olive trees which I now try to keep in order with my son and father in law. There is no way I'll ever learn how to drive a tractor though, which is what my poor hubby used to use to keep the land clean. I'm sure you understand how much maintenance is required to keep the land clean and preparing it for the sowing season. Just like you say, though, at least it keeps us occupied and spending time outdoors working in your own land really helps the 'mind' from breaking down, because being closed up in a tiny apartment would just worsen this unbearable sorrow I'm going through.
All the best.
Enza (V.R.)

What a coincidence regarding the acreage.  Thank goodness you have your son and father in law to help you, that is wonderful.  But as I do, I'm sure you have visions of your husband out there on the tractor still doing his thing?  Memories are wonderful, but they can be so sad at the same time.  Thankfully I don't have an orchard/crops as such.  But I have many beautiful trees and keeping things as clean as possible is now my task and as you say it keeps the mind from breaking down.

Like you I could not cope with being in a small apartment.   Nature is our healer.   I read a saying once "a woman is like a tea bag.  You never know how strong she is until she is put in hot water."   I didn't realise how true that was until 18 years ago when my first husband committed suicide and the shock and recovery from that time in my life was traumatic.  But I did survive.  When I met Pete I didn't think it was possible to love someone else the way I loved him.  But I did.  He had also grieved the loss of his wife due to cancer, so we understood each other.   Having to go through this grief a second time, when we thought we had longer, has shocked me all over again, but in a different way.

I have come to realise that when you are a couple and you love each other, someone has to go first ..................... I've lost count of the times that I wished it was me.

Take care

Ros

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Something went wrong when I tried sending my reply. When I went back, my whole text had been lost! I will now try again.
Yes, Ros, I too have visions of my beloved working on his tractor and me taking down to him fresh water and coffee to keep him going on. He only did these jobs in his free time though, by profession he was (and still is for me) a microbiologist/blood anaylist in his medical lab. Oh, he was a real expert in the medical sector, whenever a family member was ill, he instantly diagnosed if it was a virus, bacterial or else. Even our family doctor used to ask him:"which antibiotic should I prescribe?
He will always be in my heart and right by my side until we meet again and become 'one' like we always have been.
All the best, look forward to hearing from you.
Enza

Hi Enza

Wow, what a gifted man your husband was and is.  His passing was such a huge loss to many in your community with his knowledge and ability to heal.  But that will never be as huge a loss as what you are now suffering.

I used to take Pete cold water as here in Australia it can get quite hot and I would get our little dog and we would take up a picnic and enjoy it together for lunch.   It's those little memories that even though they are a treasure to hold onto, they are so hard to bear at the moment aren't they?

Pete was a policeman and when he left the force he and his first wife ran a coffee shop.   We had both lost our first partners through ill health and we understood how hard it was to get through that.  When Pete found out he had cancer he felt a burden to me as he had been where I was caring for his late wife and then all of a sudden he found himself in her position.   All the time in hospital, his main concern and worry was always about me.  Despite the pain he rarely complained.  I now have regrets about what I should have noticed more or even said.  But the palliative care nurse said we always have regrets, it is human nature.

I often wonder how you are coping and it is so nice to see your posts:  believe it or not, you keep me going.  It is now 5 weeks since Pete died.  I honestly thought we would have Christmas together this year:  I can't believe just how naive I was.

You take care and I look forward to hearing from you too.

Ros

Hello, Ros, it's early morning here. Unfortunately had one of my (too frequent) restlesnights.
I was really moved by your last reply. Sorry to hear you've suffered this grief twice, fate can be so wicked sometimes, but you just need to be strong, 'grit your teeth' (like I'm trying to do) and move on, cherishing all your happy memories and keeping your loved one in your heart wherever you are, whatever you're doing, imagining he is with you by your side every single moment of the day.
I see, your husband, too, had a profession which involved helping and providing an important service to others.
When my son was a bit uncertain about what to study after finishing school, my husband suggested he could apply for the police academy, but he said it wasn't for him, and now he's studying Law, like his sister, at university.
Anyway,Ros,when you mentioned regrets, well, I'm eternally tormented with these.
Why didn't I realise he was having a heart attack? He said he had very bad stomach pains and felt nauseous. If he'd thought it was serious he would have gone straight to hospital, but he just asked me to fetch him painkillers and anti-acid pills. In a matter of minutes, I had lost him. The ambulance arrived quickly but could do nothing. They said they wouldn't have been able to do anything even if they'd arrived earlier. But I don't know....I keep asking myself:'What if we'd gone to hospital at the first moment he started getting those pains? But we all thought, including my husband, it was just a bad case of indigestion! Oh, I can't even talk about it, still seems so unreal to me.
For the first few months after that day that changed our lives forever, I read a lot about the first signs of a heart attack and how chest pains can be mistaken for stomach pains, and other people who called me often during that period, told me of similar stories that had happened to their friends/relatives.
Doesn't make me feel better, though.Why did it have to happen to my Claudio, he was so full of life, 57 yrs old but looked and seemed much younger.
The irony of it all is that it happened on 15th November 2020 (1st day of our Covid red zone lockdown)!

Thanks for reading.
Keep well❤️
Enza

Hi Enza

I just had your problem.   I tried to send you a reply and when I came back to the computer the whole thing had frozen and then I lost the lot.

I just had a phone call from a local jeweler.  Pete put his beloved carriage clock in for repair and she rang to say it was really to collect.  She had no idea Pete had died and I found myself crying all over again, just when I thought it was a decent day:  by my standards anyway.  Seeing people for the first time who have no idea is so hard.

I always keep Pete in my thoughts while I'm working outside.  Especially the past week as every day I'm cleaning up storm damage.  I have 2 really good friends who come out every Saturday to help with mowing, chain saw work or whatever I need help with.

I am estranged from my 3 adult children (basically since meeting Pete), so I have no-one else to call on really.  My family are the losers in all of this by not giving him the chance to get to know him.  Our friends expressed their sadness when Pete died as to the loss of a man with a big generous heart who always was doing something for someone else:  he detested bullies and those who treated others unfairly.  The outpouring of grief for Pete really touched me.  When friends came to see him at home before he died, it really made him emotional.  He even said to me, "I didn't know so many people liked me."  He would have been astounded after he died.  He was loved by many and didn't know it.  I still haven't told my family as I can't see the point in pretense when I know they don't give a damn.

I can well imagine your many regrets Enza.  When my first husband took his own life all those years ago I was left with many questions and "what ifs."  We didn't get the chance for a goodbye or even to discuss his final wishes.   Is that part of how you are feeling due to the suddenness of it all?  I truly hope you don't mind me asking you this question?  I do know that at least I had the chance to say goodbye to Pete and to ask him things I needed to know, though my regrets are still there with things I didn't think of at the time to either ask or tell him.  Such is one of the frailties of being human.

Both you and Claudio must be so proud of your children studying law.  One day they will also be able to help others through their life journeys.

Thank you for listening yet again.  You are helping me more than you know.

Ros

Hello Ros,
Hope you're keeping well.
Been feeling 'extra' down lately, maybe it's because of this festive season which I don't even want to mention. It's the second time without my love, I just can't wait till it's all over.
Yes, you're right, it's so hard to explain what's happened to people who didn't know. It's sad that your family never accepted your Pete, because he sounds like a wonderful person. No, I didn't have the chance to say 'goodbye', perhaps like you say, it was so sudden and unexpected (he was only 57)that all I'm left with now is feelings of regret, shock, and not being able to accept it because for me it is still so unreal. I often talk to my Claudio and I ask him:"Where are you? Why are you hiding? You can't be gone, not you, you knew everything and you knew how to do everything. Someone like you can't just disappear. One minute you were here talking to me, the next minute you were gone! '
The story about your clock made me remember something that was very, very, difficult for me to do.
My husband was a member of a forum online and a few days before Christmas last year, I finally found the courage to check his account for any important e-mails.There was an e - mail from a forum member (he and my love had become friends and had also met each other), wishing my husband and family a happy christmas/new year.
Can you imagine how I felt?
Anyway, I had to reply and it was one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever done. The poor man was devastated. Recently, he wrote again (he remembered death anniversary - 1 year) and said that soon after I'd given him the terrible news he'd gone to the cemetery bring flowers for my husband. Even while I'm telling you this, Ros, I feel as if I'm pretending, that this is all false, it's not reality, as if I'm living in another dimension. Oh, it really is unbearable, at times. I feel like I'm just surviving, not living.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Enza

Hi Enza

When I read your response I wanted so badly to reach out and hug you.  I can relate so much to what you are saying.  When my first husband took his own life he was only 56 and I was 48.  You talked about living in another dimension and that is exactly how I felt after the shock of his sudden death.   You just survive you don't live and you feel that you have to pretend to cope, especially around others.  I really do understand the impact of a sudden death.

When I met Pete I was 55 and never in a million years did I think I'd ever love anyone else again, I didn't think it possible:  but it was.  When we met we both felt as if we had known each other previously and most people who had never met either of us, thought we had been together from the beginning.  It was truly remarkable when I think about it.

I turn 67 next week and when that day and Christmas is over and done with I will like you, just so relieved. I'm not looking forward to New Years Eve either.  Pete nursed his late wife also with cancer for 7 years and he knew what I was going through as he had been there and done that.  He kept saying he was a burden:  but he was nothing of the sort.  It was my privilege to be able to be there with him through his cancer treatments and to travel the cancer journey together for nearly 5 years.  I do realise I am fortunate in the fact I got to know Pete's wishes, I got to tell him I loved him and I would miss him and I was able to care for him, right to the end.  I didn't have that the first time and you Enza didn't get that with Claudio either and I do know how much that hurts.

Telling those who don't realise your loved one has gone is so hard isn't it?  I still haven't told my family.  I've had no contact for years and I can't see the point unless the opportunity arises.  They didn't give him a chance in life, so I will not tolerate their pretense in death.  The love and support I have received since Pete's death and the outpouring of grief from friends who have all said what a kind and giving man he was, is testament to a quality human being.

You said Claudio knew how to do everything and like you I depended on Pete to share decision making.  I love taking photos of nature.  Now I can't be bothered because really I have no-one to share them with.  I spent 4 hours on the ride on mower this morning making our property look beautiful.  I cried and cried because unless friends visit, I wonder why I do all this work for just me.  But I believe that Pete will be watching from afar making sure it looks good.  He was so proud of our property and all the palliative care nurses that came down all commented on how pretty our property is:  it's like a parkland.   So I keep going because I won't let it deteriorate.

Please keep going Enza, you also are a beautiful soul, just like your Claudio and he would want you to keep going as I know Pete would want me to as well.

Keep strong my friend..................you are special too.

Ros

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