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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Dear Ros, it's such ar relief being able to communicate with someone like you, who understands and feels what I'm feeling. It's as if you're helping me to carry this heavy burden of suffering and making it less heavier.
The way you told me about how you were with your Pete really sounds like a beautiful love story. I hope these wonderful memories will help you go along your way and ease the pain you're going through.
I must say, your property sounds like a real beautiful and your dedication ro keep it in order is admirable. Your Pete would be so proud of you. We have an olive tree plantation where every year we would pick the olives and take them to the oil mill where they'd work them and provide us with about 30/40 litres of extra virgin olive oil. This year, thanks to my father-in law we were able to continue this tradition. I would have been distraught, otherwise. My loved one has always worked hard on our land and I will do all my best to continue this.
The only man who really ever loved me and said "I love you" to me.
A big hug
Enza

Hi Enza

Likewise, I feel you are helping me as well.  You are a year ahead of me in this journey, but I can understand from previous experience the pain you are going through and I know you understand mine that I'm going through now.

Memories are so great;  but at the moment all they do is make me cry.  I know it will get easier as time passes, but I get so scared I will forget his face and the feel of his arms around me.   It is so reassuring to make contact with someone who understands the way you do.

Would you believe on our property we focused on planting many Australian natives and other trees to encourage the many bird varieties and other wildlife.  We did plant one olive tree.  It very nearly didn't make it, but I have managed to keep it going.  Pete loved olives, I am not a fan, but I use olive oil all the time.  I'm so pleased your father in law managed to bring in a good crop for you and I can tell you have a fighting spirit Enza, so I believe your property is in good hands for the future.

Claudio will always love you Enza.

A big hug from me to you too

Ros

Ros, so good to hear from you, as always. I hope you're doing well.
You know, my husband has relatives living in Australia, on his mother's side. Two of her brothers emigrated there way back in the 50s/60s like so many Italians/Brits did. The uncles have both passed away now but all their families still live there, in Fern Tree Gully, near Melbourne. My husband often talked about when he spent a month there with his family (when he was only 15 yrs old), and what a fantastic holiday he had. In fact, he told me about the amazing birds he had seen, especially the parrots.
This is a very low period for me now, not only for the festivities, but also because here it's winter, and there is no work to do on the land. I have to wait until March to start cleaning up, etc. We will surely get some snow the following months which I detest.
Where I live here, we rely on firewood to keep warm in winter: fire-place, wood stove.
This year, was the first time I've had to buy firewood, usually, my husband and I would go to our woodlands, every Springtime, and cut down a few old dead oak trees to provide firewood for the winter. When I think how much work my husband had to do, cutting up the wood into logs with chain saw, loading up the tractor, oh, how I miss those April days we would spend together there, eating our sandwiches I'd prepared from home and admiring the beautiful views. Life is so cruel, at the time we used to complain, it was such a tiring and difficult job, and now I would give anything to do that all again...
Take care.
Enza

Oh Enza how I can relate to so much of what you say in your posts.

Recently we had a lot of rain and on those wet days I couldn't go outside to work and found myself feeling so down because of that.  I can only feel your pain from over here.  Fortunately where I live in New South Wales it is more tropical:  no snow here.  But we can during the rainy season get lots of rain as has been the case lately.  But it is summer here and with that comes terribly hot days and the humidity is something we battle.  Two years ago parts of our country suffered shocking bush fires.

We do have some wonderful birds in our country:  Pete and I love the birds and I was always trying to take photos of them and make cards to send to friends, especially when we were in lockdown:  just to boost their spirits.

I do understand when you say what was once a chore, you would give anything to be able to do it all over again.  Today I had 2 friends come over to help me with a fire permit, to light my bon fire and to help burn off most of the storm damage from 2 weeks ago.  That was once a job both Pete and I could handle alone.  I do feel a little more relieved now that is done, as I hate to be cluttered with rubbish around me.  The property is looking so pretty at the moment, it is like a parkland.  I would love to send you a photo, but not sure how to do it here.

Will you be spending Christmas with your children and father in law?  I will be having Christmas lunch with the 2 friends I mentioned earlier and one of their mothers:  just the 4 of us, with no fuss or bother.  I just can't bear the thought of it at all really and I know you feel the same way too.

What do you do to fill in time when it is snowing and you are unable to work outside?  I can only imagine your loneliness during this period because I too know how that feels.

Please take care, I'm so pleased our paths have crossed.

Ros 

Yes, Ros, I am so glad too, that we've met here on this forum where we can share our thoughts and feelings. It does make this deep sorrow less unbearable.
We have a 3-storey house so that really keeps me busy during the winter,and luckily I have my son and my daughter living with me, so at least I have reason to prepare meals at lunch/dinner time. However, for some reason, I am no longer able to cook those 'special dishes' which my husband loved so much, I say to myself: oh no, I can't cook that, if he's not here to share it with us. Another similar situation is my piano playing. A few yrs ago we both started learning to play the piano together, or rather, Claudio would follow the lessons on line, and at the same time, teach me, too. A passion we shared together, he already knew how to play the guitar, but I had never touched a musical instrument before. I would never have achieved this without him. Now, when I go up to our music room, it's now my comfort room, I just can't play the same music/songs we played together, it's too painful. I just play songs following the chords I find on internet. For me, these couple of hours a day I spend singing and playing the piano have become my 'music therapy'.
It doesn't take my grief away, (nothing ever will), but it helps me to bear it and continue my life of survival. It's also a way of letting go, because instead of screaming out to the world:why, why, why? I can do it through singing and playing the piano.
About Christmas, well my FIL has already asked us to go round to his place and spend it with him and his wife(his second marriage, she is such a wonderful person, she has been sogood with us this past yr). My FIL and MIL had divorced way back in the 80s.
Well, I don't feel up to it. I just want to stay at home and let these days pass just like any other normal day. What have we got to celebrate?
A big hug.
Enza

Oh Enza I think you are so strong playing your music and singing.  That was such a beautiful story about how you played the piano together.  I am so happy that this pastime helps to ease your pain.

At the moment I cannot listen to music.  When Pete came home from hospital he wanted me to play 3 favourite songs.  Two are by the Righteous Brothers:  Unchained Melody (our song) and Ebb Tide.  The third is Ava Maria.  I played the Righteous Brothers over and over for us and even as Pete was nearing the end I played them for us and I cried and cried.  I started playing him Ava Maria and asked him could I stop as it was too hard to listen to.  The day he was cremated (he requested a direct cremation with no-one there), I finally played the 3 songs together here at home and cried and cried.  I felt so guilty I didn't have the inner strength to play Ava Maria for him when he was able to listen to it.  Sounds silly I know, just another of those regrets.

I understand you not being able to cook Claudios favourite foods too.  I also have that problem, however today I am serving them to our 2 good friends in remembrance of Pete.  Pete had a favourite tree on our property and one of his final wishes was for a small part of his ashes to be placed inside its trunk along with his wedding ring.  It will be covered by a lovely plaque we had made and we will eat Pete's two favourite things for lunch.  I can't tell you how hard it was for me to even buy the ingredients to make it, let alone cook it knowing he will never eat it again.

I am so happy your children live with you and keep you company.  I live alone with our little dog Bonnie who is now nearly 14 years of age.  Life does get very lonely which is why I work so hard.  Pete was always telling me to slow down during his final weeks as he knew I was trying keep everything going as his health failed.  Even to the end he worried about me, I was his major focus while in hospital.  He accepted his fate, but was so worried about me.

Keep up with your singing and playing. I do believe Claudio is in your music room enjoying every moment.

Big hugs in return

Ros

Ros, I must say I was moved to tears by that last paragraph in yr post, at the same time I felt comforted and tranquil. If you mean the Ave Maria by Schubert,well this was a piece that was played at our wedding in August 1995,as requested by my husband. We had also started learning this masterpiece on the piano(amongst many other classicals), can't continue now, just like you, I can't even listen to it. Unchained melody is another we'd learned a little bit, that one too is unbearable to play or listen to now. How I understand you. It's strange that I manage to play a few other different songs, but I find it impossible to just sit and listen to any type of music. Even when I hear music on the TV, I change channels, I hardly ever watch it anyway. Claudio and I used to watch regularly political/news discussions programmes. It sounds odd but I just can't handle watching anything that we watched together. In the same way, I have had to change supermarket. The one we used to go to regularly is off limits for me now. Can't face walking along the aisles thinking that we always did this together, how can I do this alone now? It's not natural. There were shopping centres which we'd visit together just to browse around and have a coffee, l will never again put foot in one of those places. I don't know if it's the same with you Ros, but there are so many of these everyday occurrences that I've had to put aside, or completely change my habits. For example, such a simple chore like dusting the furniture, especially in our bedroom, just makes me burst into tears, because it means having to touch and move around photos and personal items while I do this. I find myself rushing like mad to finish quickly and trying not to look!
I worry about my sanity, at times, or perhaps it's just another normal reaction when you're distraught by grief.
How touching to hear your Pete worried about you constantly while he was ill, he must have really loved you, and definitely still does and always will, Ros.
I also had my love cremated as more than on one occasion he had mentioned this preference and strangely the 2nd time he'd mentioned it was not long before it really happened. I remember saying:
Oh, don't talk about these things.. I don't think he'd believe it would be so soon. I surely didn't....
I feel so lost without my soulmate, I used to think that words like 'soulmate', 'my other half', were just words, but now I realise they express the truth. I truly feel physically and mentally torn apart, as if I'm just an object moving around and doing things, and no longer a human being.
I'm pleased to hear that you have your two friends to keep you company. It's times like this when it's easier to communicate with friends and people who are going through the same grief, and not with close family. At home, we hardly ever talk about what's happened, it's just too painful.
We are each closed up in our 'cocoons', and try to continue as if our cherished Claudio is still here.
I, surely, will never accept this but I will have to accept having to live a life that was meant to be different, and is now all wrong. I don't care about me, all I want is my son and daughter to be happy and achieve what they want in life, eventually settling down and having their own families.
A big hug, and take care Ros, you deserve all the best.
Enza

Hi Enza

When I read your post so much of that reminded me of Pete and I and how I now feel.   I can't watch the news either now because that was our thing of an evening, sit down together and watch the evening news, then Pete would read his beloved newspapers while I did my crosswords.  Just a nightly ritual.  Our little dog Bonnie would sit on Pete's lap.  She missed him dreadfully, but now seems to be a little happier.  So no, it doesn't sound odd to me at all.  So far I've been to the supermarket we used to go to, but only when I absolutely have to.  I get in and out as quick as I can.

I truly understand what you mean about being physically and mentally torn apart.  Some days I wonder if I will ever know what "feeling normal" will ever feel like again.  I read a passage in this little book on grief I have here and it is so true: "If we choose to love someone, we must also be willing to let that person go when their life comes to an end." A harsh and true reality that some of us must bear.  How I wish, it wasn't me:  selfish I know, but after being through this twice now, I wonder how much more I can take.

I found this poem many years ago.  I'm not sure if you know it, but I would like to share it with you in case you haven't read it before.  I think it's beautiful.  It's called "I Thought of You".

I thought of you with love today

But that is nothing new

I thought about you yesterday and

the day before that too.

I think of you in silence

I often say your name

But all I have is memories

and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is my keepsake

With which I'll never part

God has you in his keeping

I have you in my heart.

I shed tears for what might have been

A million times I've cried

If love alone could have saved you,

You never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly,

in death I love you still

In my heart you hold a place

No-one could ever fill.

It broke my heart to lose you

But you didn't go alone,

For part of me went with you

the night God took you home.

love Ros x

Oh, Ros, it's impossible not to cry on reading this beautiful poem, unfortunately no, I haven't read it before, I really relate to all those words. Ros,you aren't selfish when you say those things, you have the right to think that, after having to suffer this grief a second time.
The other evening, I plucked up the courage to go to the theater where my 24-yr-old son was taking part in a performance. Well, I felt so strange and out of place sitting there, my daughter was with me, but it just all felt so peculiar to me, I looked around at all those people watching, the actors on the stage, the musicians, it's difficult to explain how I felt, at one point I wanted to burst into tears.
Like you say Ros, this isn't normality, or perhaps it is a different normality to the one we were used to, and it takes time to finally accept this new normality.
Was so shocked to hear about that terrible tragedy in Tasmania, my heart really goes out to those poor parents who lost their darling children, and may God bless those poor little innocent souls.
This week and the following week are surely going to be very difficult to get through, hoping that time will pass by as quick as possible.
I'm glad you have your little dog to keep you company, I think 'pet therapy' really helps. We have 2 cats at the moment and I see this also with my daughter, when she has one of them sitting on her lap, purring happily, she feels a sense of comfort while stroking and cuddling them.
A presto, as we say here(look forward to hearing from you soon).
Enza

Dear Enza  I'm so glad you liked that poem.  I agree it is impossible not to cry when you read it.

I am so proud of you for attending your sons performance at the theatre.  He would have been so pleased you were there.  I could feel your anxiety as well, because I know what that is like.

The Tasmanian tragedy with those children was just gut wrenching.  Those poor children who didn't get a chance at life to reach their full potential.  My heart goes out to those grieving parents.

Bonnie is a great little dog.  But she loved Pete so much even though she was 18 months old when I first met Pete.  I've had her since she was 10 weeks old.   Whenever Pete came inside for lunch or had been away she would wait by his chair for him to sit down so she could hop onto his lap for cuddles.   She has rarely done that with me:  it was her Pete thing.   She missed him so much, but I'm pleased to see she seems to be improving every day.  I have changed her routine in some regards and she is adapting well.

The two friends who have helped me in many ways I think I mentioned before, have been wonderful.  A gay, married male couple who are like our adopted sons.  Pete thought the world of them as do I.  They have been like sons to us both.  This morning before the heat came in I was out doing some clearing and mowing.  I took my phone with me, but rarely look at it.   I had only just come inside when a vehicle pulled up.  It was one of the boys checking to see if I was ok.  I hadn't realised they had been trying to contact me and they thought I could have fallen or been bitten by a snake. It was so nice to have someone actually care about what happens to me and to even worry.  Pete usually did all the worrying about me and with my estrangement from family, it was nice to know someone cared.

My birthday in 2 days time.  I have 2 other friends who have offered to take me to lunch.  If it goes ahead it will be nice I guess.  Though in reality I would rather pretend it didn't happen.  I have many birthday/Christmas cards from Pete over the years and I will always hold them dear.  He had a way with words and always made me feel loved and safe.  As you know Enza, when that is taken away by the loss of your husband you just feel so vulnerable don't you?

I hope you are still keeping up with your singing and piano playing?

Please take care

Ros

Hello Ros, firstly I want to wish you all the best for your birthday and I hope you do go out for lunch with your friends, you really do deserve this break. Even if your beloved isn't with you, he is in your heart and I'm sure he wouldn't wantyou to spend this day alone.
You're right about your dog, in grief we really mustn't forget about our loving pets, they too suffer this loss, and I understand how your poor little dog has had to adapt.
How lucky you are to have this delightful couple who come and check out on you to see if you are o. K.
Yes, Ros, I'm keeping up with my piano and singing, it's now my way of letting go, and through music I can express all these thousands of emotions going on inside me, shouting out to the world: why, why, why, why, why.....
Until next time.
A big hug
Enza.

Hello Enza

Thank you for your birthday wishes.   I had a friend call in this morning for a coffee with me and she gave me a lovely gift.   Shortly afterwards I went into town and met up with 2 friends and we had lunch together.  It was a lovely afternoon as things turned out, but towards the end I could feel myself beginning to get anxious and I just wanted to get home.  The venue was playing Christmas Carols and it was becoming too much.  But I am proud that I made the effort.

We have a rain storm coming in, so this will be brief as I like to get off line when I hear thunder in the distance.  Besides, Bonnie is no good in storms and usually shakes like a jelly.

I hope you are ok with Christmas just around the corner?  Love and best wishes to you and your family at this time.

A big hug in return

Ros

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