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Long Time No See.....


Nova

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I'm not even sure that anyone here will remember me, but I sure used to spend a lot of time on this Board. Found very good support and a few lifelong friends.

My question is on grieving. It's been two years and four months since my husband Harry passed away from SCLC.

I've tried everything to feel better, knowing that it would/should come gradually. I've been to in-person bereavement meetings which helped for a while, but then seemed to make things worse because I was involved with people that were even more depressed then myself. I stopped going, needless to say.

I know everyone is different, but I'd like to hear how long it took for others to stop feeling half dead and start really living again. My smile is broken along with my heart.

Thanks for any input. Bless you all and know that I think of you often,

Nova

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It's so very hard to put a time line on something like that question. Everyone is different of course. I am sorry your having a hard time.

the best thing I can offer you is that in time You move on. You never really forget what happened but you handle it easier than you used to. Death of a spouse is a very difficult thing to deal with,and everyone is different is so many ways. I know people from this site that have since remarried in the 4 and a half years since My Wife died. I deal with it easier now. I remember the events that happened prior to her death like they were yesterday. Do I cry about it and truly grieve and mourn them? Not so much. I can not really put a time line on things but I have readjusted my life and emotions.

I think I have said in the past that the pain gets easier to deal with but it never really goes away. Thats about the best I can offer. Besides hugs and prayers..((((((Nova)))))

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I used to hear certain songs that would make me cry a river but now I kinda have to really work the tears up for a good cry like that!!!

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I haven't lost a spouse...but I've been a witness to so many who have lost one to lung cancer...and here is what I can offer...

Year three was better for my mom than the first two were...She grieve so deeply for my dad...she was a shell of herself. She didn't go to meetings or have friends to help her thru- she was truely grieving alone and I did my best to get her out of the house. By year three she said she had begun to get used to being alone, doing things on her own, being independant and doing things for herself that maybe my dad had done or they had done together. She was just starting to smile again and think about her future and by year three she wasn't going to the cemetary every day or week or month...just on birthdays and big holidays...it was getting better for her....a part of her was gone...but she was finding a new normal...

I've seen other spouses who married within 6 months because having companionship makes them feel better or "whole" again. I've seen other spouses who changed right away, selling and buying and changing things...because all that planning and buying and changing kept their minds busy and away from intense grief.

I've lost parents and dear friends and a sister and for me, and for some of those spouses- it's simply about getting thru things until they hurt a little less...doing whatever you can to keep your mind busy and off of things that can paralize you in grief.

And that's all ok as long as you aren't hurting yourself or others in the process. There's not a right or wrong way,....there's just your way

I wish I could fast forward things for you and show you how your life can be. Not as it was, but it can be good again, there will be smiles and laughter and joy again because that's what this life is about until we see our loved ones again.

(((hugs)))

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Oh and yes I do remember you quite well. Time? I read somewhere that time is a man made thing, not a God made thing. When it comes to grieving time is really not as important as most people tend to think.

I actually think the second year after I lost Johnny was almost harder than the first because for the first year I had the anger and guilt for company. I also had the feeling that it wasn't real an I would wake up and find it all a nightmare. After that first year passed I had to admit that my nightmare was reality.

I spent most of my second year alone. I had moved up to the little town of French Gulch not far from here. Small town and so much of the beauty that God created helped me to start to know first my God and then Myself. I had spent all of my life being someones daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and with Johnny lover and soul mate. I had never taken time to know me. :(

I stayed away from tv and I wrote and walked and meditated and I came here when it got too rough and poured my heart out. At first it was always for support that I came here. I'm sure at times I was a real pain in the butt. There was always someone here to "listen" and always someone who understood.

I have learned much in this past 8 years about grieving and about living. I have taken what I learned and try to use it to help others who may be going through the same thing I did. I find that when there is someone who is in that same place that I was and still often find myself that when I share my experience with them it helps us both.

So often the pain comes from not only our loss but feeling like no one really understands. Yes everyone is different but there are so many things that we all have in common and sharing those helps us feel not so alone or as if there is something wrong with us. I have been fortunate enough(at least I have been told) to have the ability to put many of those feelings into words. By doing that I not only help my friends but myself as well.

It will be 8 years on December 2nd sense Lung Cancer took my Johnny and it will be 5 years on February 23rd sense a massive heart attack took my ex husband. I still grieve for both of them but not with equal intensity. My grief for my ex is for the few really good times and for the pain his death has caused my family. My grief for Johnny is for myself and him and all of the lost years. I can cry at one word but I can also laugh at many of the same memories that make me cry.

Time? I can't say much about time but I can say that it is as much a learning process as it is time. We learn to live with that empty spot. We learn that the pain has become so much a part of us that we would miss it if it were gone. We learn that it is alright to laugh again and we learn that it is alright to still cry at times. We learn that life goes on but accept the fact that life will never be the same but it can still be good if we let it. Most of all we learn that our loved ones are not really gone. They live inside of us and give us the love and strength to go on and live a life different but rewarding in it's own way.

Oh I am so hard to stop once I get started. I don't mean to go on and on but that is just my nature. I hope that in the days and weeks to come you can find some of the peace that you seek. It doesn't come easy but it will come and when you find those moments grab hold and make the most of them and one day you will find that they come more often. God bless and feel free to get in touch with me any time if you think I can help in any way.

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Thank you "Lilyjohn" and Katie. I appreciate your responses so much.

I think a lot of the problem is that I expected myself to feel better, not worse, but I've heard several times now, that for some reason, the second year is worse then the first, so maybe I'm not so abnormal. (crossing fingers).

I had to smile when you said that you probably drove people here on the Board crazy...... If I look back at some of the posts I wrote when Harry was battling the cancer, I think "Why on earth did I write that?" :oops: Bad times, bad reactions, unreal circumstances maybe.....

I'm "trying my best" to get over this horrrible, sad place in my life. Guess that's the key ~ getting over the hump.

Thank you all for sharing. Hope I get to a point in my life sometime soon, that I can offer hope to someone else.

Take care and God Bless.

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Hi Nova,

I am a comparatively new member here and therefore missed all your earlier postings here.Since reading your current post and Harry's story,I felt I had to respond to you despite my difficulty in finding adequate words that could bring you some comfort.We have all lost close friends and relatives as we pass through life,but I can only imagine how much more debilitating the grief would be at the loss of a loved spouse.

I dont think you should reproach yourself for feeling this way,I think it is only natural,I wish you all the very best for a full recovery, and rediscovering the zest for life you once had with Harry.

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(((Nova))), it's so nice to see you again. I certainly remember you and your journey with Harry. I saw your post late last night and I didn't know what to say then and I don't know what to say now. It has been 4 1/2 years since I lost Mike and it has been a horrible struggle for me. I think it varies a lot from person to person. For me, I lost Mike at a time when my own health was not good, our home was in need of repair, when I had no money and no help... and I hate to say that 4 1/2 years later I am struggling with all the same issues and things seem to have gone from bad to worse for me. From what I have observed, the widows that had a job, better health, money and a social life fair much better. It's hard to get on with your life if you have no way to get there. I still cry a lot and can't talk about Mike without breaking down. For me, Mike was my soulmate, my best friend.. my everything.. I was so blessed with the perfect marriage. I feel really blessed to have known what that was like because not everyone has that. So, you can see why I hesitated to answer you , but then again maybe we should just consider ourselves blessed to have known a love like we had. I don't think we should beat ourselves up or even compare ourselves to others because I think each person has so many different variables in their lives which influence how well they are able to pick up and move on. I don't think we ever forget them, but I think if we can find a way to find comfort in our lives without them . I'm just rambling here, but my point is that I don't think anyone can answer you because every one of us has unique circumstances which help influence how we will live alone.

Sending you big hugs of understanding and lots of positive wishes for brighter days ahead. Your Harry was a blessed guy to have had you buy his side. Take care and stay in touch.

Hugs,

Sue

PS: Many of us are on Facebook . You might want to keep in touch with us there and play games too.. ;)

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Oh Nova ~ I DO remember you. You are one of our lost family memebers returning home and I, for one, and happy to see you ~ though not for the reason you are here.

I have not lost a spouse but fear I would be one of those who would have much difficulty getting on with life. I've no advice for you. I just have a warm feeling seeing you here and hope that knowing you are loved here and many are lifting you up ~ albeit via cyberspace ~ may be of some help.

The one thing I've heard that is a must ~ not saying you must do it since these are not my words ~ is to keep as busy as possible. For me, I think that would be difficult for I can't imagine wanting to do anything ~ let alone LOTS of things.

You are in my heart, Nova, and I will just hang onto hope that with some more time things will improve and you'll be able to find some enjoyment in everyday life again. In the meantime, know I'll be hoping/wishing the best for you. Life is hard and cancer stinks.

Kasey

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((((((Kasey and Sue))))). I remember both of you and have thought of you so many times. Just didn't want to spread my misery around, as each of the members here are dealing with their own sad times.

Sue, I didn't want to say anything, but I'm exactly like you. I have Crohn's Disease that has gotten out of control, plus a few heart valve issues, so I have applied for SS Disability. Being approved (or not) takes years here in Florida, so I'm in the same boat as you, health-wise and financially. There always seems to be something in my house breaking, and never something that can wait to be fixed. (Water lines that have burst under the house, AC breaking, etc.) I'm sure you can relate. All of those repairs take money, and that's scarcer then hens teeth here. Harry was our sole provider and now I receive a tweency amount from Social Security for our son, because he was a minor when Harry passed away. That will be ending in 4 months when Jake turns 18, so I don't know what will happen after that. It's a bit of a worry, to say the least. Things sure pile up. Like grieving alone isn't enough? :cry:

Thanks so much everyone. It was good to hear from all of you again. I appreciated you years ago, and still do. Thanks for the boost. I don't have a Facebook page, but maybe I'll see if I can figure out how to fix one up, to be able to keep in touch. I miss you all. You're the only people I know that have "been there, done that".

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Hi Nova,

I don't think we've met before. I'm fairly "new" here. I didn't lose a spouse. But my little sis was 25 years old when she died at age 25 (I was 29) and she was my absolute best friend. She had brain cancer. 3 years later my Dad died of brain cancer too. Then Mom died six years later of lung cancer. It was beyond devastating.

So grief is not foreign to me. With my little sister, I actively grieved for five years. I was inconsolable. With my Mom, I didn't leave my home and go anywhere socially for about a year. I couldn't bear to see people laughing and having fun when I was so miserable.

Now my sissy has been gone 27 years (unbelivable), Dad 24 years, and Mom 14 years. Can't even believe that they've been gone this long. But I'm doing well. Somehow, over time, I was able to come to peace with their passing. I don't have a magic answer. It just happened. Maybe it's my faith that I will see them again? I sure hope that is true, as I think it will be one giant joyous reunion in heaven!!!!!

Take care,

I want to go read your story. Your husband looks like he was young when he died. I'm so sorry.

Judy in MI

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It's nice to meet you and thanks for writing. You've had an over-abundance of sorrow in your life, and I'm so sorry. Glad to hear that your faith has helped you along. Mine waivers from strong to barely there lately. I think the Lord understands though.

I am very happy to see that you are "NED" ! I fell in love with NED as soon as I found out what he stood for.

Please take care and thank you for writing.

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Nova, I was startled by Harry's photo this morning. At first I thought it was an old thread that sometime pop up now and then. New members respond to them and don't note how old the dates are. I was so glad to see it was you. I remember you so well and felt deeply for your struggle with Harry. I think of the two of you often. Harry was the first "friend" (we all knew him through you) who passed after I joined LCSC. I will never forget being so impacted by the loss of someone I never met.

I am sorry the journey has been so hard for you. It really makes me mad when people have to suffer such a terrible loss and have to struggle so hard financially as well. To relate I can just remember my dx and having no health insurance. I wish a majic genie could come your (and Sue's) way and lift some of the burden. I hope you take Sue's advice and join FB. We all touch base regularly there even if it's just to see each other's avatars as we play games.

Judy in KW

P.S. Haven't updated my signature yet. Sorry to say, I'm not NED.

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Hi Judy,

Thanks for writing. It's so good to "see" familiar faces again. I'm sorry you haven't been given the NED label yet, but I'll be saying lot's of prayers that it's soon to come.

I appreciate the good thoughts. It's made me feel better to come here again and chat with folks. Makes a person feel not so alone and a bit more understood, ya know? I love my family members to pieces, but they've started giving each other "the look" sometimes, as if they're all thinking "What's wrong with her and why is she so sad ~ AKA: Shouldn't she have gotten over this by now"? Makes me feel somewhat alienated from them.

Take care of yourself. I'll be looking for your updated signature. I'm commanding NED to come into your life. :wink:

Love,

Nova

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Nova I just had to reply to what you said about family. I know exactly what you are talking about.

Not long after Johnny died the American Cancer Society suggested that I try out a new online berivement group for people who had lost a partner to cancer. I joined but it only lasted for 3 months. Not nearly long enough but I learned something. People who loose a spouse or partner or parent or sibling to Cancer of any kind seem to have much longer lasting problems, those of us who loose someone to Lung Cancer for some reason are in a group of our own. We tend to have unique problems that take us much longer to stop reliving the trauma of our loved ones death.

I am not sure why this happens but I have not only experienced it myself but I have seen it happen over and over on this board and with others that I have known personally who have lost someone to lung cancer. I am pretty sure that the stigma of smokers has a lot to do with it. We are separated from others in our grief because they still have that old "well he smoked what did you expect?" idea. We also watch our loved ones suffer many things that people with other diseases don't and even those with other kinds of cancer don't. Often just the side effects of the medication and the anxiety of knowing that everyone expects the person with lung cancer to die some day in the not too distant future. I am thinking that maybe it is that lack of hope that is instilled in us and the fear that sets us apart. We live with that day and night for months or even years. No one who hasn't been there will ever understand. even close family members.

I hope what I am saying makes sense to you. That is why this board and this "family" are so important to me and so many others. We "get it". We have been there and done that and we don't judge your grief because many of us are still in the same place you are. Oh maybe the tears don't come as often now. Maybe we have learned to function in a world without the person we have lost but lung cancer has put a scar on our hearts and spirits that will never really go away.

I can stay away from here for months then suddenly I need to be here again. Sometimes it is because that old fear and feeling of being alone and not understood comes back. Sometimes it is a date looming in the near future that I know I will need some understanding just to get through. Sometimes it is just the need to give someone else the support that I didn't find until nearly a year after Johnny died.

So please don't be a stranger and don't judge your family too harshly. You are in a place that no one else could possibly understand unless they have been there. God Bless you and bring you happy memories and maybe a good dream visit to warm your heart.

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the anxiety of knowing that everyone expects the person with lung cancer to die some day in the not too distant future

Fight it with increasing frequency as the years go by and I see our members passing. Still hang on to hope but it's difficult. Lately I find myself saying, I've made three, now I have to make five.

Judy in KW

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Oh Judy I didn't mean for you to see that. If it is hard for caregivers I know it must be ten times harder for the patient, but I tell you now you will be with us for a very long time :) Who would help us keep in touch everyday without you? Hope is important and I hate it when people try to rob you of that. It makes it so much harder to be optimistic and they have no right to do that It makes me angry.

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Cancer is just scary, no matter what kind. Those of us that have dealt with it in some way or another, realize that it CAN be dealt with, but to those that haven't... well, I think it just plain scares them to bits and they don't know how to react.

I babysat with 2 of my little grandsons today, which helped chirk me up. They're the cutest little guys. And after grandma-ing FIVE little boys, we finally got a sweet little girl added to the mix last month. (She has my middle name of Beth. I'm so proud). :wink:

Thanks everyone. I appreciate you.

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Lily, don't feel bad for one minute. My quoting you was my way of saying "you do understand." I am always grateful for empathy especially when it reflects the scarier parts of this journey. You know whenever I go to the dark side, I have to hurry and run back to the lighter more positive perspective.

Judy in KW

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Nova,

I definitely remember you and your handsome husband. Always liked that picture of him. I don't post much anymore, but I do read many of the posts from new and not-so-new members. Sorry you're feeling sad. As others have said, each person grieves in their own way, in their own timeframe. I'm coming up on the 4th anniversary of my sister's death. There isn't an hour of any day when I don't think of her and miss her so very much. I wish there were some magic moment when the sadness would "officially end". But of course that could never happen. I hope things get better for you, and for all of us who have lost someone the truly loved. Ellie

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Hi Ellie,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.

My hubby was a handsome fella, thanks. That picture doesn't really even do him justice, as it came out a little fuzzy and crooked. He was Slovakian and English, his maternal grandparents coming straight off the boat from Slovakia.

I sure miss his big blue eyes........ sigh.

Thanks.

Take care.

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Nova, I too was surprised to see Harry's face today. I don't come here too often, it is so hard to see the suffering I've also endured.

My husband died in Nov. of 2007. Those first 2 1/2 years were the worst Hell I ever plan to endure. I couldn't think, words evaded me when I was talking to people, I felt like I had dementia. Making a decision was agony, even about simple things. Then something changed this spring. It was time to work outside, my neighbor who moved in the month Rod died, has become a good friend (she's divorced, my age) and we were both on a healing path this spring. The 3 months leading up to "our" anniversary this year have thrown me into anxiety attacks, but it's a lot better than past autumns. Your healing will be on a different timetable than any other widow's, but I am sure you will slowly find yourself feeling more in control of things and your life will have more meaning as time passes.

My best wishes go out to you. I understand how hard this is.

Barbb

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