Don't grieve alone; 14,000 members and growing
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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