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The books call them “secondary losses.” I’m talking about all of the changes that have come with losing Bill. Specifically relationships -- family, friends, social status, anyone really. And also the new responsibilities I must take on that feel so foreign and difficult, that Bill seemed to handle with ease. And the way I question every decision I make.

I’m finding that Bill was my gatekeeper to the world. When something went wrong, he fixed it – or helped me to. He brought my own family closer together. He was the glue that connected his own family. He was a person who would spontaneously invite his entire company over for a barbecue! His personality was so big, that it affected everyone around us. Now those awkward family communication issues are back. I somehow feel less of an adult than I did. Things I thought I had gotten over years ago are creeping back to the surface.

I never really worried about anything before, because nothing seemed too big for Bill to handle or for us to handle as a team. I became a part of him and now I’m going through the, “who the heck am I?” stage. I realize now that I trusted his voice more than my own. He gave me such a sense of identity. My own voice now gets lost in the chorus coming from all sides.

I talked about this in my widows group last night, and though there were only three of us there, the other two women felt exactly the same way. I was shocked because all this time I thought it was just me.

Anyone else???

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My changes were a little different because they started with my divorce. Once with Johnny he was already sick so I had most of the responsibilities. Still when he was taken from me I felt like I had been left adrift in a big hostile world.

Nothing seemed the same. The colors weren't as bright and the sky not as blue. When people spoke to me I felt as if the were speacking to someone else. I had to learn so many things on my on. I didn't want to learn those things but I did. They just seemed easier with the man I loved near me.

I think the biggest changes took place inside of me. I started questioning everything I had ever known or believed in. I started seeing myself alone instead of wth someone. All of my life up until the minute that Johnny died had been lived with the old thing in my head that said "tomorrow things will be better" or "tomorrow I will do this or that". Suddenly tomorrow didn't mater any more. All that mattered is the pain and loss that was tearing me apart.

It took a long time for me to get past that "why am I still here"stage. I felt like somehow there had to be a purpose for my life but I was unable to find it. I've never totaly found that purpose but I have seen glimpses of it. I have made so many friends on my own. These people are my friends because we both chose to be friends. Not because of relationships or because they are friends of my children, Denis or Johnny. They are my friends and they like me because of who I am not who I was.

I always thought of myself as a weakling. At times I still do, but I have had so many people tell me that I am strong and most of the time I believe it. It didn't happen over night nor without a lot of work on my part. I wanted to just give up but somehow Johnny's love kept me going. I recieved so many signs from him after he died. It was like he was leading me forward. Today I am content and most of the time happy. It is not that same happiness that I had with Johnny but for the first time in my life I am happy with myself.

I still miss Johnny with every breath I take. I miss Denis too because we spent so many years together and there were many good time mixed among the bad. I miss being near my family as well. I always depended on someone else to be my life. Now I depend only on myself and God. My faith has deeped and my self esteem has risen. I know that I h ave made many mistakes but that is what life is all about. You live and you learn, you love and you lose in love.

It takes time. Your loss is still so new. You are still so raw. You have only started to realize all of the changes that life is throwing at you. Right now you see them all as losses but in time you will realize that there is still much to gain in your life.

I read something somewhere, maybe even on the board but I will never forget those words because I have found them to be so true. "God doesn't take something away from you to punish you, he just opens your hands so he can give you something else.'

I'm not sure if I quoted it correctly but the truth of those words live in my heart.

You are strong and will find your way. Bill was your rock but in this past year you have done many things that I am sure you never thought that you would. You will cope and you will get stronger. You already are.

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I am much further out in time than you BUT I still struggle with the 'oneness' of the situation. Earl handled with ease (like your Bill) the plumbing, electric, stuck windows, etc, etc. Now I wonder who do I call, can I trust them, etc.

And while most of my friends include me in most social events, I find that some do not and I hate the feeling I get when someone says, 'Oh, Mike and I went out with Kathy and Jay the other night'. I know you understand.

Earl is still very much a part of my every day life. I refer to him way too often probably.

I told my son last week that even if I did meet someone new, that I knew I could never share the intimacy (not the you know what kind lol) that I had had with Earl with any other man. The look across a room type of intimacy.

So this widowhood is a sisterhood that we share, a group I wish I had not joined. The only good news is that I had the best for a while and not all can say that. And I know that you share that with me too.

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Oh yes, Teri, I can relate big time. I have no idea who I am yet. I have yet to find my own identity again and I don't know if I ever will. Every thing that comes along, I feel that something is missing or a feeling of just being "lost". When Mike first passed away over two years ago, I had lots of emergency plumbing, car repair etc. to take care of and I was like a child. I ddn't know where to turn or who to call and I was used to Mike taking care of those things for me. I can't tell you how many times I have had to tell myself "Sue , it's not going to get done until YOU do it". I still haven't gotten used to that nor have I gotten used to not having anyone to be my sounding board for every thing that affects me, my family or my home. I am so lost and desperately trying to find me.

As for friends, I find myself forgotten by most. My family treats me well and we are close, but Mike's family forgot I'm alive.

I'm like a child who has clung to her Teddy Bear or blanket for security and then someone takes it away. I'm so lost and so scared... Thank you for asking , Teri. Sorry , for getting carried away. As Ginny says "this widowhood is a sisterhood we share, a group I wish I had not joined". But, Ginny goes on to say... "The only good news is that I had the best for a while and not all can say that. And I know that you share that with me too." I share in those thoughts , as well.



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Yes, I completely understand how you are feeling. Although I've never lacked confidence, competence, or the ability to handle things thrown at me, I am left to do it all myself. Tony and I were always a team and that hammers at me more as time goes on without him. Even though I assumed most of the responsibilities during his two and one half year fight, he was still there supporting me along the way with the "other stuff".

I thought I was a strong woman, but now I second-guess myself in so many ways that I never did before. I always knew I had this strong man behind me and now wonder if that was what made me strong. I don't feel so strong anymore and have odd new fears. I don't like having to wonder what I want to be when I grow up --- I am grown up and had an identity that has been ripped away from me. We were together since I was nineteen years old, so this is so foreign to me and I'm floundering trying to find out who I am without him. I'm not seeing any lights at the end of the tunnel on this score. I still consider myself married to him, but he's just not around anymore.

I've also lost the caregiver "mission" that I was on to help him fight the beast. I have no mission or any passion for much of anything anymore.

Fortunately I am blessed by a wonderful family, kids, and friends who have kept me in the loop completely. The only time I'm not is when I isolate myself because of whatever phase of grieving I'm going through. At seven+ months (oh, how can that be?) they seemed to have moved off the grieving aspect. I can't expect them to understand, it hasn't happened to them, so I pretty much suck it up in that department. I'm still included in everything though. I'm also lucky that Tony left me well taken care of because I don't have to nor would make any huge life altering decisions right now. I've already had a life-altering change, so one is all I can handle. In some ways, Tony is still taking care of me on that front.

So, I "get it." You are not alone by any means in your feelings. I just wish I knew when they will get better. I also agree with so much that has already been posted by the wise women above.



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Thank you all for your insight and "I can relate" responses. It really does help, although I wish none of us were going through this.

Did I mention that it took me nearly 30 minutes to choose a toothbrush holder, and even then I considered it "temporary?" Oy.

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Do you feel like you are standing in a crowded room and everyone is facing away from you but they know you are standing there. Almost like being ignored but not quite!?!?!? I ahve had this feeling a lot lately and it kinda creeps me out. maybe its cause I just peek out of my castle but don't want to be a social butterfly right now. Sadly i have been that way a lot lately. But I do know things ain't what they used to be. Get that lost in a bottle feeling sometimes and fight it off so........

Gonna start my Lonely widowER club since I think I am the only widower here! Now I know what it is !!!!!! :shock::o

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Ginny!!! hahahahahaha --- you're so funny! Hey, wait a minute -- there has to be an upside to being a widow and maybe NOT shaving our legs should be one of them. I at least vote no shaving for Randy! :lol:

Yes Randy -- I love your analogy of standing in a room with backs turned toward you. I still don't know if it's them or if it's my perception of things that makes it feel that way. I do tend to withdraw a lot in binges. I guess that makes me a binge withdrawer. :roll:

It's screwy to be sure and any consistency in our lives has flown the coop. (Darn -- animal references again. How is that cow anyway?) :D

Hugs to everyone. We all get it and it stinks.


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You're definitely an honorary "sister" here (don't take that the wrong way :wink:)

Seriously though, I think it's probably very difficult for men to find other men to talk to the way we women do. There are two spouse loss groups going on the night I have mine -- between the two groups, there is only one man.

I went to a good friend's birthday dinner last night. I had met one of the women recently and just assumed my friend had told her about Bill. So when I was asked if I was married...well, that was the first time that has happened. I think I handled it well. I think she handled it well. I'm not looking forward to the next time though...

Hugs to all my sisters (that means you too, Randy)...

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