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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Hi Enza

The passing of that bird broke my heart.  He seemed somehow like part of my new "normal", visiting me every day, waiting by the door just looking in.  I still miss him terribly.

Basically I think the visit went well.  I was shocked to see my mother, so thin and hunched over using a walking stick.  I was greeted well by my sister and her kids (her estranged husband was a different matter, but he's always been a problem), my brother and his family too.  The party was lovely, my brother and his wife put so much effort into Mum's day.  She cried.   My 2 daughters arrived with my eldest daughters 3 kids.  My youngest daughter was very cool towards me and if it wasn't for me trying to make an effort, I believe she wouldn't have bothered.   My eldest granddaughter and I had a good talk about nothing in general, but I believe she wants to try.  As for the 14 and 9 year olds, not sure how that will ever go, it's going to be a long time whatever happens for everyone I think.  But at least a start has been made.  My son who lives in the USA also rang mum, but he didn't think it was the appropriate time to speak with me and I do agree with that.

Yesterday the tree loppers finally made it in and removed 5 trees.  They will remove the final 2 today before another weeks worth of rain is to arrive tomorrow - that's right another week!!

They have made such a mess of the place, but it can't be helped due to the ground simply not given a chance to dry out.   As I said to them, compared to what I went through with Pete, this is nothing, it can be fixed.

Please don't feel silly going to your music room.  If that gives you peace, then you should do it. I can't believe the closeness in the dates of  the passing of our husbands.  Pete passed away on 5/11/21.  It is strange.  I used to love playing solitaire on the computer before I lost Pete, but since he has gone, I haven't touched it.  It is a routine we sometimes enjoyed together and now I can't even look at it.

I can't tell you how much I have sobbed and sobbed.  Sometimes I feel I have no more tears, but they are there.   You had such an unexpected loss, which I understand how painful that is, but please try and let those feelings out.  Tears are part of our emotional release of the pain we go through and we must cry.  I've even broken down in public and felt such a fool, but thankfully at the time I had a friend to give me a hug.   I wish I could give you a hug and you could cry on my shoulder.  Never apologize: you must get your feelings out, even if they are the written word, it is very important.

The days are becoming shorter here, the nights and mornings are trying to cool off.  Though mind you, I'm still wearing shorts and t-shirts.

Take care my friend

Ros

Hi Ros, glad to hear your visit went well. Like you say, it's a start. The difficult part of anything we do is always the start, but once you've laid down the first piece of the jigsaw, then all the rest will get back into place.
I know what you mean about not being able to do certain things anymore because you shared these with your husband. Happens to me, too. This morning I finally found the courage to visit the DIY/Hardware store we used to visit often together, since my husband fixed everything himself, plumbing jobs, electricity, car maintenance, etc. We have tool sheds outside, tool boxes in every room, I used to tease him and say we had more DIY stuff in this house and on our property than any store could ever have. Well, when I went in to look for the work gloves I needed, I nearly burst out crying. I had to rush down the aisles searching for these gloves, quickly going to the cashier's desk, rushing out of the shop and back into the car, where I could finally cry. Why doesn't this happen in a supermarket? Simply because a supermarket is a place we both visited to buy goods for all the family, whereas a hardware store is where my husband bought items for his personal use, because he was the one who fixed everything. I won't go back there, it's just so heartbreaking. You're right Ros, we need to sob, shed tears to let it all out, but at times I feel tears are not enough, I want to scream and scream until I have no voice left,but there's nowhere I can go to do that without being heard.
This time of year should be the best, Spring is in the air, Summer arriving soon, lots to do on the land, cherry trees blooming, grass cutting, sowing crops, and so on. Alas, it's just so sad now without my husband, I see him everywhere, I imagine what he'd be saying, doing, suggesting. I had a wonderful dream the other night. I dreamt that my husband had come back to me saying that we'd all made a big mistake. He had been here all the time, I hadn't lost him, then we hugged tightly and I told him I was sorry to have been mistaken and relieved that it wasn't true. Imagine how I felt when I woke up. It took me a few seconds to realise it was a dream, I could still feel him. I just still haven't accepted my loss, I still don't talk about my husband with family members,just can't. It seems that if nobody mentions anything then I can pretend it isn't true, the minute someone mentions him, I either change the subject or start crying and try to force myself to stop, or just leave the room.
Sorry to hear you have more rain on the way. Strangely we've only had a few days of light rain recently, just think that in northern regions they are facing drought problems.
Sending you a big hug Ros, take care of yourself.
Enza.

Hi Enza

I still feel so awkward and don't know what to do next regarding my kids/children.  My son in laws certainly don't seem interested in me at present and I do feel this underlying current that the whole family break up all those years ago was my fault and mine alone.  That really gets to me I have to say and I would feel so much more at ease if I was left alone.  Sad but true, I'm finding the whole thing too much to take on and even care about on top of losing Pete.   It's overwhelming to me.

I can well imagine how heart breaking it was for you to wake up from such a wonderful dream.  To wake up and realise it wasn't true must have been so hard for you.  I still can't dream about Pete, but he has sent me other messages which I simply can't ignore.

You know, during those first weeks I found it nearly impossible to visit the supermarket.  Pete loved shopping there and he knew his prices and loved looking for some nice meat for our little dog, he knew staff members, loved a chat etc.   I found those visits so hard and then of course they play songs in the background and that would make me cry too.   I really do understand your pain at the hardware store.   Life just sucks at times and isn't fair on many levels for so many people.

I'm the opposite.  I love it when people talk about Pete.  My family won't and over the Easter break I made sure that I did, because he mattered to me, if nobody else.  In my mind his time on this earth was important and needs to be acknowledged.

Two days ago I was at our local corner store (I live 20 minutes out of town), when I saw another woman being served.  I hadn't seen her since before Pete died and when she saw me she opened up her arms and hugged me.  I just cried on her shoulder and told her how much I missed Pete and she let me cry.   I felt such an idiot because every time someone wants to give me a hug I cry, I can't help it.   I can just imagine what you and I would be like if we could give each other a hug.  Just to know someone cares enough to reach out and you know it is genuine means a lot.

I've had a couple of terrible days.  With overcast skies and not being able to do much it just gets to me.  Yesterday I had my mower stuck on a slope as the ground is so wet and it kept sliding.  I had to call Marty and Joel to help me.  I so hated having to ask for help, but I had to. After they left I got out my small battery operated chainsaw and cut down a small tree which was dying.   After exerting myself doing that all my stress levels seemed to wane and I felt a bit better.  That's what I find, hard work helps so much and I bet you feel the same way too?

Whenever I tackle a job I always recall how Pete would say the best way to do it was...... and I'm always asking myself is this how Pete would do it.   I also see Pete everywhere and it is so hard to function some days, I would love to be able to reach out even if for one last time to have that hug or to hold his hand.   You are not alone with those thoughts my friend.  You know what, why don't you let out a scream?  If that will help your pain, just do it.  Even if you scream into your pillow, let it out.   If that helps ease your grief, for even the slightest bit, do it.

As always I'm thinking of you.   Please take care and I'm sending you a hug

Ros

Hello Ros, how are you doing? I understand you feeling awkward with regards to your children and their families. I had so many problems with my parents in the past, they just didn't get on with my husband, so closed up in their own ideas, never wanted to listen to his ideas, suggestions and opinions. Being in the medical profession, my husband always offered advice on health problems (my father being a hypochondriac) but they always ignored him, not believing him and preferred listening to their own relatives who knew nothing at all about medicine,consulting other doctors when there was no need to, throwing money away. Instead of being grateful for having a son-in-law with medical knowledge they just ignored him. There were so many other situations (not medical) when he could have helped them, advised them(their only soninlaw, I being an only child), but no, never took him into account. This really hurt us and we had periods of months, even years when we just had no contact whatsoever. I feel so sad now about this, I still bear a grudge for how they treated my poor husband, I'll never forget it, but like I've probably already mentioned, we do see each other often now, also because my father doesn't drive anymore and I take my mum to do her shopping and other errands. I am glad and thank God they are still both alive and healthy (my father's 88,going on 89) apart from normal geriatric health problems which can be easily lived with.
When you told me about the friend who hugged you and you cried, I was so moved and remembered a recent phone call I had from my husband's aunt. She is such a dear 88yrold lady and I love hearing from her, even though we haven't seen each other for years. We were just talking about other things and I was OK but suddenly she mentioned my husband, while talking about the past when at a young age they all spent family holidays together, well I just burst out crying, unable to talk for a few seconds. Poor thing, she apologised for having made me cry, told her not to worry and of course she told me, like you, that I must cry to let go of all that pain I have inside me.
It’s true Ros, strenuous hard work really helps to keep us get through our day. If it isn't heavy work, the effect just isn't the same. That's why I suddenly decided to clean and dig up an abandoned flowerbed which had been used for stocking up firewood, and plant new shrubs and flowers just to make it look decent again. Very hard work to do manually without being able to use mechanical tools. I felt just a bit relieved afterwards, having drowned my sorrows in all that digging and pulling up weeds.
I would give you a big hug too Ros, if we could meet, we seem to really understand each other.
Take care.
Enza

Hi Enza

I think you are wonderful being able to put your husbands treatment by your parents to the back of your mind the way you do.   I do realise this is how it must be, but I understand just how hard that is for you:  I feel the same way.  Over Easter my mother made many efforts to reminisce about my first husband who died 19 years ago, yet  not once did she ever mention Pete.   That hurt me so much and every opportunity I had, I brought Pete up in conversation and how his illness affected him/me etc.  Basically no-one asked me anything, because to be honest I don't think they cared.  That's how I see it anyway.

I thought that the phone call you had from your husbands aunt was meant to be.  You needed that emotional release from some of your pain.  Every time you cry a little bit more pain is released.  It's evidence of the love we have for your husbands.

On my way home from town two days ago I had my CD playing in the car.   I've only recently been able to listen to music of any kind.  I love John Denver's songs and if I don't want to listen to something I forward it to the next track as so many make me cry.   There was one song on this particular CD I wanted to fast forward, but it seemed stuck and I couldn't move it forwards or back.  Then it hit me, Pete wanted me to listen to the words of this song:  so I did.  It related so much to my present situation and of course I cried and cried.  It was like I was being forced to listen.  The song is called My Sweet Lady.   I truly believe it was a message from Pete.

I've been busy this week getting into my muddy dam trying to clean out weeds.  I was a muddy mess.  Cutting out tree roots growing through the driveway and of course mowing and gathering up mess from trees.  The feeling of exhaustion overtakes and I know I can still cope.

I know that the work you have put into creating another beautiful garden had the same affect on you.  When you work with what you have, even if it's just bare hands it's a huge accomplishment I think.  

My dear friends Marty and Joel are coming out this morning as we attempt to light the 3rd bonfire for the season.  With so much storm damage it is never ending.  Pete and I never had this much to burn in the 10 years we were married.  There will be at least another 2 fires by the end of winter I believe.

You are right, I also feel we understand each other.  In many ways our lives are similar.

Take care and I always look forward to hearing from you to brighten my day.

Hugs

Ros

Hi Ros, so sorry to hear you're still struggling to clear up storm damage, glad to hear you have two great friends to help you. At times, it's easier to rely on friends rather than relatives when it comes to emotional support as well as physical help.
We're in for a rainy week here, luckily no devastating floods like you unfortunately had, but it really annoys me as I can't do much work on the land.
I looked up that song Ros and yes, I understand that you just break down if you listen to it. It's so lovely. I used to play Country Road, Take me home on the piano with my husband, how can I ever do that now? Not to mention so many other famous 60s/70s music artists. Better not think about it.
I still have my moments during the day, when I just stop what I'm doing, stare into space, throwing my fist against anything in my reach, a table, a wall, a door, whatever and I just shout out, sometimes without any tears, just desperate cries and moans, obviously when I'm alone in the house. I feel I'm going crazy at times, but perhaps it's normal to do this, when going through such devastating unbearable grief.
How are you coping Ros, I admire you when you say that your husband was present while listening to that song and he wanted you to listen to it. I wish I could have these feelings, I was brought up catholic, but I've just become so cold and skeptical when it comes to believing in God and having faith, I ask God why this has happened if he loves us so much but I get no answer. I feel disappointed and let down. Anyway, better not get into this religious stuff, there's so much we have on our minds already.
I understand how bitter you must feel about your family not even mentioning your husband while you were there, don't feel too upset, my dear friend, just think that it's their loss not having known and loved the wonderful person you were fortunate to share your life with, and after having gone through another tragic loss,too.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Take care, a big hug.
Enza

Hi Enza

On Monday the man who usually comes out for 2.5 hours a week helped me to chop up heaps of timber and natives vines that had brought a big tree down in a storm.   I have yet to chop it up smaller so I can take it to the fire site.  The ground is still too wet and I just don't have the inclination at the moment to do it.

I knew you would like that song.  The words were so special weren't they?  Another John Denver song I like and I'm not quite sure of the title, but it's ....  Some days are diamonds some days are stone.  When you listen to those words it is so true for both you and I.

I think how you show your grief is perfectly normal.  We all handle it in our own way, no way is the right or wrong one.  You have to do what feels helpful to you.  I just seem to cry a lot and at the moment I have quite a few things happening here that need attention and I'm finding it overwhelming, having to do it and make decisions alone.

Thankfully I have 2 showers I can use.  The main one is separated by a wall in my bedroom.  I have noticed down on the bottom of that wall there appears to be water damage.   I'm thinking there is a leak in that wall.  So I'm using the other shower.  One of the toilets has a constant leak into the bowl and since I live on a rural property, the water to the house is operated by a pump.  Well, with the constant leaking the pump goes on and off all the time. So Marty came out after work to have a look and he turned the water off to that toilet, so hopefully the pump will now behave itself.   But my hot water service needs attention and the company that tends to that is recovering from the floods and so that is on hold.   Trying to get a tradesman here at the moment since the flood is nigh impossible.  Like you, I want to just scream and yell and make it all go away.  I don't feel like dealing with all these problems on my own.

I lost my faith in god years ago I'm afraid.  I was brought up Anglican, but after seeing what the church has done to destroy many families, it totally upsets me and yes you are right, we shouldn't talk about religion.

Thank you Enza.  Other friends have also said to me that my family are the ones who are unfortunate in not giving my husband a decent chance at getting to know him.  It is well and truly their loss.  He was once told by my sister that he tried too hard.  Can you imagine saying that to anyone?  As I said to her back then, "at least he tried."   All he ever wanted was to be accepted and loved. Some things I just simply can't forget.

My eldest daughter turned 45 today and I sent her a small bunch of flowers, which she has acknowledged.  It is mothers day here on Sunday, I don't expect any contact, but at 8.30 am on Monday morning I'm meeting my eldest daughter and eldest granddaughter in town for a coffee before they have an appointment at 10am.   Wish me luck!!  I haven't seen any of them for 3 weeks.

Not much more to tell I'm afraid.    By the way we also loved the music from the 60's and 70's and even some from the 50's.   I totally understand your frustration at not being able to work outside:  it gets to me too.  I'm about to start a jigsaw puzzle, to help me during those times with more rain on the horizon so it seems.  I do find them therapeutic.

Take care dear friend and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Hugs back to you

Ros

Hi Ros, when I read about your water leak problems, I just kept nodding my head saying, I know, I know. It's so frustrating when so many jobs my husband did in a matter of minutes have now become huge issues for us. Who do I call? Then you find someone, you wait and wait and they don't come when they say will, charging exaggerated tariffs, sometimes not doing the job well. My daughter is much better than me in handling house maintenance, takes after her father. I know you understand Ros, how many things can break and need fixing, living in a big house in the country on private land. I feel so guilty and helpless when I come across something I can't repair myself, even a silly old window blind (luckily my daughter fixed that).
The other day Ros, at the supermarket, I overheard a couple next to me discussing what they should buy: "Do we have any carrots?". "There's only one left, I think". Hearing these words, I felt tears coming to my eyes and I had to rush away to another aisle, these normal conversations we used to have just trigger off so many memories of that normal familiarity you achieve with a soulmate you share your life with. Having that stripped away suddenly is just so overwhelming, impossible to recover from.
Ros, I want to wish you all the best for your visit tomorrow with your daughter and granddaughter, today is Mother's day too here. I remember two years ago, we had our MIL staying with us. I baked a cake and my husband (he was much better than me at cake decoration) wrote "Mums" for the both of us.
Rainy week here still, need the fireplace in the evenings it's so cold. I'm not keen on Spring coming up anyway, longer days just make me feel sadder thinking of the beautiful day trips we used to go on together.
Big hug
Enza.

Hi Enza

So you have the same problems with tradesmen in your part of the world too?   I've contacted 2 plumbers and neither have got back to me.  It's so frustrating and in the meantime the problems are mounting.   I can manage things like light bulbs and basic stuff, but plumbing is beyond me.  Marty and Joel came out on Saturday and took off my front door to plane the base away.  Due to all the wet weather I couldn't move it.  So thankfully that is now working.

Thank you for your wishes for my coffee meeting with Lauren and Olivia this morning.  Olivia is 17 and such a nice girl.  She acknowledged this morning in her own way that my going to my mothers 90th was a big deal for me and how hard it would have been.  I was impressed by that and I told her it was hard.   The coffee morning went well.  They gave me some lovely hand cream and 2 coffee mugs for mothers day.  Receiving those 2 mugs made me sad because there is only 1 of me.   I thought of you and knew you would understand.  Just like your experience at the supermarket.  Pete prided himself on knowing what was on special and would take his time trying to find suitable meat for Bonnie now she is older.   I still find it hard, 6 months on, going to the meat section.

For mothers day Lauren sent me a nice text, but I didn't hear from the other two, which I guess did disappoint me, but I also think, it is their loss if they can't reach out just a little bit.  I consider myself to be a decent person who is willing to give them a go, if they are interested.  If they aren't, it is their choice.  Marty and Joel presented me with a potted plant for mothers day, which I thought was sweet of them.

I spent 2 hours yesterday chopping up storm damage which my handyman helped me cut down a week ago and this morning I finished it off.  I have worked out I have 38 manageable piles which I will one day get to the bon fire site, once it stops raining!!  Yes, another weeks worth of heavy rain is apparently on the way.  It is just so depressing and people are once again stressing out after the 2 big floods we have already had.  We are hoping we miss out on the worst this time.

You are dreading Spring and what your life used to be like and I'm dreading winter.  Pete loved to sit in front of our fire with Bonnie on his lap in winter and the nights are starting to cool off here and I have begun lighting fires.   Unfortunately Bonnie won't sit on my lap and that saddens me and somehow the nights by the fire aren't the same.  Like you it brings me to tears.

Well dear friend that is about it from me.  I really do look forward to your emails, they brighten my day to hear from a friend who understands the pain.   Take care

Ros 

Hi Ros, glad you hear your coffee morning went well, yes, I understand how sad you must have felt when you saw those two mugs. Anyway it was thoughtful of your family to present you with these gifts and what lovely neighbors you have too.
The other day our friend/handyman, with his tractor, brought us three tons of firewood that I had asked him to cut down in our woods a few weeks ago. When I saw him coming through our gate, I suddenly found myself holding back my tears, it was so heartbreaking to see our firewood lying there but my husband hadn't been able to go and cut it down himself, like he always did, with me beside him, helping him to load it on his tractor. It's all so unnatural, at times I feel like I'm not really here, I'm just watching the world go by just because I have to, because I'm alive.
Winter's finally over, the last few days have been very warm, Spring is definitely here, Ros, you're starting to light your fireplace and I've just finished. Yesterday I finally managed to clear it all up. I'm glad I can work outside but on the other hand I get frustrated when I see my limits. I can't possibly do everything myself, our handyman always says he can come any time to do some grass cutting, ploughing, etc. Obviously, have to pay for these jobs but that doesn't bother me, it's the fact that I need to call another person, in twenty five years my husband never called anyone, did everything himself. This hurts so much. Ros what a coincidence, you had trouble with your front door, I have problems with our driveway gate. Everything seems to be falling to pieces and there's nothing I can do about it. Or rather, I'm tired and haven't got the strength, mentally, to put the pieces together again.
I think tomorrow morning I will try to prepare manually a piece of land to plant some tomatoes, but without a mechanical device I don't know if I'll succeed, our soil is so tough.
All the best to you Ros, look forward to hearing from you.
Enza

Hi Enza

You wouldn't believe it, but the day after the coffee morning last Tuesday, my daughter sent me a text to say they both had covid!!  I couldn't believe it as I have been so careful.  Up until now I don't have any symptoms, so I'm hoping like hell it stays that way.

I can truly understand how you must have felt when you had to rely on the handyman to bring you your wood supply.   I do things on this property too as much as I can alone, but when I have to rely on my friends Marty and Joel (who are like sons to me), it makes me cry too, because they were jobs we did together.  It is such a cruel blow to be suddenly left to do it alone.  I know like you, all of a sudden it seems things start to fall apart.  I have finally found a plumber to come out on Friday to look at all the issues mounting up out here.

We are still receiving copious amounts of rain.  When will the sun ever shine again we all wonder?  My once gravel driveway, some 400 metres, is now all mud and so dangerous to walk on.  I've slipped a few times walking up to collect the mail.   Even when Marty came down in his 4 wheel drive yesterday he was slipping.  So he and Joel went into town and bought the last 10 bags of gravel at the local hardware store to try and do some temporary repairs until it is dry enough to get a truck load in.  I've never seen it like this in my 11 years here and I believe Pete would have said the same.  He would be mortified at how our beloved property/parkland now looks.  I'm so thankful I had those trees removed when I did a month ago.

I've started a jigsaw of 2 turtles and other sea life.  I find they help me to relax and Pete loved turtles.  I just received a belated mothers day text from my son in the USA, which was nice.  My youngest daughter didn't bother.  Yesterday I received a phone call from my younger sister and we spoke for an hour.  I hadn't seen her in 6 years due to my feeling absolutely betrayed by her among other things.  We got on ok at the party and yesterday when she rang she told me she was proud of me for attending, as she said no-one thought I would.   That surprised me, but I told her it was something I did for me to prove a point after what I went through with Pete's illness, I thought I could handle just about anything they dished out to me.

I wish I could send you some of this rain to make your land easier to prepare for your tomatoes.   Over here my land is like walking on a sponge.   I love home grown tomatoes, there is no flavour like it, is there?

This morning I've been trying to kill the moss growing on the pavement alongside my garage, which is where I go to access the water tank.  It is so dangerous walking on it.  I have so much pruning to do due to all the wet weather, but thankfully now the grass is slowing down. 

Take care my friend, how I wish I could be there to help you and visa versa.  Two determined women would make a great team I believe!!

Big hugs

Ros

Dear Ros, having trouble writing, my post just disappeared. First of all, I hope you didn't catch Covid and I hope your daughter and granddaughter are alright now. I'm so overwhelmed with land work, so much to do but I'm limited without my husband and his tractor. I hoed by hand a small piece of land and planted some tomatoes, but we have clay soil all over our property and t's so tough, practically impossible to work manually and obviously it took me hours, but I insisted. It's so frustrating having the willpower but not having the physical strength and not knowing how to drive and use a tractor. Oh, well I do my best. I painted some rusty railings the other day, that's not a heavy job at least.
I'm sorry to hear about all your rain damage, Ros, hopefully it's all over now. Summer is almost here, getting warmer, but I'm hating it, my darling husband isn't here to share all this with me. I cry and cry, but what's the point? I'll never see him again, even if while I say this I still don't believe it, still not a reality for me. I don't know who I am anymore, I feel like a stranger to myself, that doesn't make sense but it's how I feel. There's a part of me that really did go away with my beloved husband, I'm sure about that. Sorry Ros, if I'm being a little broody, I know you understand, so glad to have you to pour my heart out.
Keep well dear friend, a big hug.
Enza

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