Don't grieve alone; 14,000 members and growing
My husband is my soulmate, my love, my heart. I knew from the moment I met him that we were soulmates, meant to be together (that is not hyperbole -- I really did know). We were together for nearly 13 years before he died; he died of a sudden, unexpected heart attack, literally one week to the day after our wedding. His death killed him and destroyed me.
I cannot begin to explain the devastation. From the second I knew he died I have wanted him to come back, to have our life together that we were meant to have -- and failing that, I want nothing more than to die. I am agnostic (verging on atheist, since my husband died), so I don't know if there's a god or an afterlife. I hope there is, and that my husband is there, happy and still himself, and that we will be together again, and I hope I die as soon as possible so that I can be with him. If there is no such thing as an afterlife, then I still hope I die as soon as possible so that this horrific pain of missing him will be over.
The worst thing about all of this is not knowing if my sweet, wonderful husband's soul still exists, as it should. The second worst thing is not having him here with me, living our life together. But after those, there are so many other bad things now -- whatever tenuous faith I may have had in the possibility of a loving god is gone and now if there is a god I hate her/him, any chance we/I had to have children is gone, I can barely relate to my family or spend time with them (though they are wonderful and loving, but it's not enough to make me want to live), I am severely depressed and have absolutely no desire to live.
People say "It's sad, but you have to move on". No, I f***ing don't -- and won't, in any way. The only reason I haven't killed myself yet is because I promised my family that I wouldn't, but there's no way I will choose to live for years -- if god or the universe or whatever doesn't kill me, eventually I will. For as long as I am forced to live, I will NEVER date anyone else -- I am MARRIED, and my husband's death does not change that. The very idea of even going on a date with anyone else is sickening to me, and always will be (I'm not condemning anyone else who chooses to date after the death of their spouse or partner, I'm just saying that this is how it is for me). I have no desire to ever do anything with my life now (I didn't used to be like that, only since my husband died).
I'm not even sure why I'm typing this here, or what I'm looking for. I definitely don't want any responses about how god never gives us more than we can bear, or how god is good, or basically anything about god -- if god exists at all, i have no use for her/him. No offense to those who do have faith of any kind, but it's not for me and I don't want to hear it.
Bluebird, I agree with this this:
"It makes no sense to me, and what makes even less sense is that so often good people die young(ish) and bad people often get to live out their lives." I wish I knew why that happens. It's so wrong.
I don't know what god would allow things like that to happen, as well as all the people dying so horrifically from Covid-19.
I lot of people move on after they lose the love of their lives, but I, like you and Joe, never will. I like the notion that we move forward with them. I think that is the best way to think about it from my view. My girlfriend is always with me until we meet again.
In about 1.5 months, it will be 8 years since my husband died. For me, the pain has not lessened, nor has the sense of shock. I still find myself sometimes caught short by my disbelief, the sense that this cannot be real. I just re-read my initial post here, and everything I said in it remains true.
I have isolated myself as much as possible since my husband died, as I have no desire to participate in life -- to me, my current existence is a farce, a bare and shadowy simulacrum of life. I spend some time with my sister and her husband, see my Mom occasionally (my Dad lives further away, but we talk on the phone), go to work, and go to the thrift shop twice a week (I have always liked doing that, and it functions as a kind of therapy for me). All of this is pre-Covid, of course. The strange thing is that because of my self-isolation, the Covid quarantine, social distancing, etc., is probably less difficult for me than it is for many other people. Aside from the obvious health concern possibilities, my life hasn't changed much due to the pandemic, since I've been isolating for the last almost-eight years anyway.
I have been having a few (non-Covid) health scares lately; so far things are ok, but I honestly don't know what I want to happen. I don't want to be alive, but I also don't want to die any kind of painful, lingering death. Ideally I just want to die peacefully unaware while asleep; failing that, an instantly fatal heart attack seems ok. It's a very odd position to be in -- both wanting and not wanting to hear good news from the doctor.
I sometimes wonder the percentage of people who react long-term to a spouse/partner's death in the way I do, and the percentage who instead want to live and "move on" with their lives. I really do wonder about the numbers, and also about the factors that go into making people react in one way or the other. For myself, I know that being so deeply in love with my husband is a huge factor, but there are probably people who also love their deceased spouses but who wanted to live anyway. I also know that my husband being my only romantic & sexual partner is a factor, but there are probably other people in that situation who have wanted to live anyway, and maybe have wanted to have other relationships.
Ah well, I'm rambling, sorry. The upcoming date of my husband's death has got me particularly thinking about all this today. It always makes me think of the M.S. Merwin poem "For the Anniversary of My Death":
For the Anniversary of My Death
Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Like the beam of a lightless star
Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what
I understand where you are coming from.
"I sometimes wonder the percentage of people who react long-term to a spouse/partner's death in the way I do, and the percentage who instead want to live and "move on" with their lives."
I saw a Ted Talk where someone talked about this. I will post the link below. The speaker said that she isn't moving on. She is moving forward with him. I love that phrase.
I think how people handle it depends on how they feel about the person they lost. On the day my father lost his wife, the first thing he mentioned on the phone was the weather. I don't think that was some kind of shock reaction. It wasn't good or bad. It just shows that there is no normal/wrong/right way to handle this. There is only your way.
It's been four years since I lost my girlfriend. I think about her throughout the day and I talk to her. At night I ask for a visit. It's been terrible without her. I miss her incredibly. I will never move on and don't want to.
For me and some others, probably, it's like if you lost your arm. Very traumatic at first but then you adapt. Life isn't the same and you're not the same, but you get by somehow. Things aren't really fun anymore, there is a lot of loneliness and sadness. I have some friends, sometimes have a little fun, and I hang out with women sometimes, but my heart just isn't in it. I don't want a relationship.
Here's that link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khkJkR-ipfw
"Moving forward with him", that is also what I feel. I am not in for another relationship, I am just living my life ... I still get sad thinking about the "loss" ... and even though many people laughed in the TED-Talk ... I felt close to tears ... because I could emphasize with her.
I really have the luxury to feel that he is with me ... that I have dreams where I am sure he is next to me, even when he's not in my line of sight. It feels as if we're still experiencing things together ... if we make decisions together ... it's what's keeping me sane, even though it sounds insane.
That's a good way to put it. Your second paragraph doesn't sound insane at all. I know what you mean. I feel the same, and we're luck to have even that.
In the video I thought the laughter was out of place - at least to me. I gave a good sense of humor and I like offensive comments and jokes, but this is one of the few subjects that I can't find any humor in. At least as far as my girlfriend is concerned.
You don't sound insane to me; you are SO lucky that you feel your love with you. I do not. I did a few times, in the month or so right after he died, but not since. I worry that this may be because he doesn't exist, because there is no afterlife. I'm not saying that is the case, but I worry that it might be.
Thanks for the ink to that Ted Talk, Jeff. I just watched it, and I can identify with some of what the speaker said, but not all of it. It's good that her phrase about moving forward with her husband, not moving on without him, resonates for you.
It isn't like that for me. I haven't adapted. I really don't even have fun. I just try to make some moments less miserable than others, and the only way I can do that is to distract myself from the horrible fact that my husband is dead. I never forget it, these are just momentary distractions -- for me, mainly tv and video games. I used to love to read, I've always been a huge reader, but now I find it very difficult to concentrate on reading, because I have to move the action along when reading, as opposed to a tv show where all I have to do is observe.
This really is different for everyone. We each have to deal with it in our own way, I suppose. No one way is right for everyone, and no one's way is wrong.
You're welcome, Bluebird. I didn't agree with everything she said. The key for me was the "moving forward with" part. The "move on" expression is very grating to me. When I am in a nice place I imagine my girlfriend being with me. I
That is an interesting point about the difference between reading and watching TV. I never thought of that.
I understand how you feel, as much as that's possible.
I wish I knew that there is an afterlife. I very much want there to be. I just want to know.
P.S. I just saw now that I had posted in April. Sorry to be redundant.
Please don't apologize; I'm sorry I didn't respond to your last post in April, I'm not very good about keeping up with things anymore.
I don't feel that I'm moving forward at all, but I can see how that would work for some people, and while it isn't for me it doesn't bother me as a phrase. "Moving on", on the other hand, pisses me right the fuck off, especially when it's said by someone who has never had their soul(mate) ripped from them.
I am glad that you are able to imagine and/or feel your girlfriend with you when you are in a nice place; that is truly lovely.
Thank you for saying that you understand how I feel "as much as that's possible". I mean that sincerely, I'm not being snarky. I hate it when people just say "I know how you feel" and leave it at that, because really no one can know exactly how this feels for anyone else. We can have some idea, especially if the losses are similar (similar relationships, similar time together, similar type of death, etc.), but we cannot know completely. I find what you said to be actually compassionate.
I very much miss reading; it took me a while to figure out why I have such a hard time with it now, but I do think it's what I said about having to be active rather than just an observer. I started reading very early, around age 2.5 or 3, and pretty much didn't stop until my husband died. I used to get into trouble in middle school for hiding a book in my math book and reading it during class (I'm great with language and literature, and not at all good with math). I majored in Literature and English in college, and have an MFA in poetry writing, and none of it matters anymore because I don't have the focus to read and it doesn't distract me enough. I've also written very little poetry since my husband died; I wrote quite a lot in the couple of months after his death, but almost nothing since then. I knew while I was writing those poems that they were probably the last I'd ever write. They were the only way I could process my feelings about my husband's death and the desctruction of our life, in even the smallest way. Reading and writing are just more things I've lost.
I SO wish I knew, beyond any doubt, that an afterlife exists, that my husband is happy and safe in it, and that he and I will be reunited there. It wouldn't make this life any better, but it would bring me some peace.
I guess I can emphasize with the things you loved to do dying with the one you loved - as if that feeling has been pulled along, stretched thin to behind the veil. You don't have the energy to pursue them anymore, and just having something that passively distracts you ...
Ever since I lost my loved one, I also chased the question about the afterlife. And I am not the only one ... and yet there just is no definitive answer. Still I do believe that we can connect on a much deeper level than just physical touch, deeper than words and feelings - otherwise it wouldn't feel as if part of your soul has been ripped away.
I have heard stories, and also somewhat experienced it myself, that you know or feel that someone close to you passed on - before someone tells you. This is impossible without there being a deeper connection. [In my case I felt a sudden and extreme pang of sadness and loneliness - hours before I got the official story.]
My guess is that it is somewhere in-between No and Yes. That we all have a shared consciousness and they return there, which allows a part of them to live on with us ... What happens from there - I have no idea. I can only dream, I can only imagine laying in his arms. And I still weep when talking about it.
Bluebird, I am glad that you took that the right way. I had a feeling you would know what I meant. And your description is correct: I have a general idea of how you feel but it's impossible for me or anyone else to know exactly. People who say "I know just how you feel" mean it it in a good way, but they haven't thought it through. Someone could say that and they could be right, but there is no way to verify that either way. This experience has taught me not to say that or anything else that doesn't help.
No need for you to apologize.
I'm sorry to hear that you have also lost the joy of reading and writing. Obviously they were important to you. It sounds like it's harder for you to concentrate now. Same here.
As far as the afterlife, it would be easy for me to dismiss it without any proof, as much as I want it to be true. But then I think about how little we truly know about everything. Maybe we aren't meant to know about this subject. (I will bring that up on the other site). If there were not so many good arguments saying that this isn't all there is, it would a lot easier to think this is final. Of course there is so much out there that supports the notion that life continues that it is difficult to ignore. I just wish, as I think you do, that we could receive total proof that it is true.
Yes, it is much harder for me to concentrate or focus now. Grief, sadness, anger, despair -- they have all conspired to make it difficult for me to access my intelligence to the same degree as before my husband died. That is, my essential intelligence remains the same as it was, but I can't access it in the same way, so I can't use it in the same way. It's very irritating. On top of which, losing the joy of reading and writing is just sad.
From what I've read, it's not uncommon for widows/widowers/etc. to have what some call "grief brain", which is very similar to "pregnancy brain" -- meaning that one's focus/concentration is diminished as a result of hormones (in the case of pregnancy) or emotional distress (in the case of grief). I guess for some people it goes away; it hasn't for me, and I doubt if it ever well, since my grief hasn't diminished.
Like you, I so much want there to be an afterlife. I am agnostic on this matter -- I really don't know if an afterlife exists or not. All of my life I have been very open to the possibility of all sorts of thinks of that ilk -- afterlife, ghosts, psychic abilities, etc. I didn't have proof of those things, and would never have stated definitively that they existed, but I always leaned towards believing that they did. I don't think there is any way to disprove the existence of any of them, but maybe we won't know one way or the other until after we're dead. If there is an afterlife, and if there is a god, I will definitely be confronting god about humans not knowing for sure that there is an afterlife, while we are alive. I see no reason why we shouldn't know that while here on earth -- maybe not all of the details, but just the simple fact of the continued existence of our dead loved ones, and that we will be happily together again. The lack of that proof only further destroys my life; the existence of that proof would help a little.