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I can't wash the undershirt


Sam'swifeShirley

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Dearest Lung Cancer Support Family,

It was not until several weeks ago that I came to realize the importance of this wonderful support group. I knew Sam read and posted on a cancer support board but, not much more. On many occasions, he would mention various people and their good and bad news. I must tell you that he took the bad news personally. I also knew that he would offer advice regarding medical issues while not wanting to create conflict with the personal physican. I have learned how much Sam loved and respected you and prayed for your miracles as much as his own. I am asking now if I may join this elete group of lung cancer survivors and their family. No one could ever take Sam's place. I do not have his intelligence, his humor or his his wisdom but, I can offer you my support and concern.

These past few weeks the one place that I can truly say I have found comfort is reading, rereading and and rereading the messages of Sam and you members. I have wanted to reply and did so twice but , I have found it so difficult to do so. Please know I am happy for your good news and pray for you with the bad.

I have heard some of the old cliche's ad nauseom and some unlucky soul will say the one too many to me. No matter what I want, I have to take one day at a time. Today, it is difficult to think I shall miss Sam any less in three weeks, in three months or in three years so, I doubt if time will help this heart ache. And I guess the one that gets to me is that Sam is better off. Who can say what is better off?

I guess it is apparent that I am not dealing with this death issue very well. I finally realized that by posting on the board it meant that Sam could not, so he is really gone. And by writing the thank-you notes, he is really gone. When I walk in the house, how often I have called out to him and when someone calls on the phone for him, I ask who is calling. It some how can't be real and I want it not to be. I had done most of our laundry before that Saturday. My salvation is an undershirt that Sam wore the day before that I can hold, clutch and smell.

At Sam's funeral our beloved minister, Sam Matthews, told me of the faith and strength that I had. I am waiting to see it. I think the most troubling issue I have is that Sam and I did not see this coming. He had not felt well much of December and we were seeing new physicans and had a bronchoscopy scheduled for January 14th. The concensus of opinions is a major artery bleed from the aspergillosis. I recall one of Sam's posts when we learned he had the aspergillis fungus and not cancer as the pulmonologist said. How happy we were. That was also the last visit to that pulmonologist. Sam had not given up and if he could say so today, he would tell you the same. We believed and that makes it so hard today.

I debated at which site to post and choose this one. I would appreciate any words of inspiration and I certainly would appreciate any prayers. I feel selfish asking for your time when I know what each of you have to deal with and attend to in you own lives.

God bless us all,

Sam'swifeShirley

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Hello Shirkley,

Welcome, glad to meet you.

So sorry for your loss, you will find here so many that are like you,

still attached to the one that is gone, not believing it half the time,

still talking to the missing one, holding for dear life to some article

of clothing, and without any idea how to deal with everyday life

alone.

For me the pain is sharper each day, even if try to put a good front,

when I can. Questions are without answer, I try to move forward

but the past is always pulling me back.

I know he is better where is is, and that he is watching over me

and helping me all he can, but that is not what I want.

Feel free to speak, we are so many in this situation and we understand

what it is to be alone and without the one we love.

God Bless

J.C.

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Dear Shirley,

You're dealing with your loss the only way you can....YOUR WAY. I don't look at your participation here as an attempt to take Sam's place...Sam is in Sam's place...you're making a place in my heart for Shirley. And there is plenty of room for you, Shirley, who has her own sense of humor, her own brand of compassion, her own intelligence. I don't expect you to be like Sam. But I do suspect you're a very special person in your own right. You have to be. Sam loved you.

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Hi Shirley. We are all so sorry to have lost Sam. He was so kind and good to us, so helpful. Thanks for coming and joining us. I hope we can help you with your grief also, this is a time of grief, you are in my prayers that you find peace. Donna G

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Shirley

We are all in this together..There is a reason this beautiful website exists. Our loved ones faught a long and very rough battle. Many seem to think we need to accept what has happened, never I will never accept it..Thats why I come here often we all have a special bond, and one more just makes our bond that much stronger...Welcome Shirley

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My daughter (eight years old) still holds and hugs my dad's old T-shirt. When one suffers such a horrendous loss, it is important to take comfort anywhere it can be found. If this forum can provide any comfort, I am sure we would be most honored if you would stay. I know I would be. I will most certainly include you in my prayers.

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Dear Shirley,

I was so shocked and upset to learn of Dr. Sam's passing. It really shook me . I felt as if a part of me was gone. He fought so hard. It really made me look at my own mortality, and once again, made me realize that you never know what will happen. Last August 28th, i thought my world was getting better until my daughter died in the shower. I still ask God why. We don't know, but we must go on. Every day you remember him and pray for him. I know. I know what it is to hold on to a piece of clothing and smile. Always smile. He would want you to smile. So do we. Please continue to post here. We need your good advice and friendship. Sam was a great inspiration to us and was a great friend. You are too.

Joanie

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Hello Shirley,

I am so glad you decided to post. I knew it would take time. You didn't have to ask to be a part of our group here, because of Sam, his love for you, him "talking" about you, you are already family to many of us who knew Sam.

I think he was such a special soul and I look forward to getting to know you.

When we lose someone to this disease (of effects of this disease) it shatters so much of what we believe in. And like J.C. said, the questions are endless. Going thru it all in our minds and the what ifs and so on.

You're grieving the way you need to. I know my mom seems more lost now, 5 months later, than she did the first month dad was gone.

Sometimes I feel like it just happened yesterday and at other times it feels like it's been a lifetime since I've hugged or talked to him. I miss him so -that much. We are having a difficult time of it too. "time heals..." and all those sayings are lost on me too. I KNOW I will not "get over" or "lessen" my loss with time, but that I will learn to adjust with each new day because I have to and we have no other choice.

Please say with us. Sam will be in our hearts forever, he touched EVERYONE who knew him here and it would be an honor to get to know you too.

I think...>>>He's looking at you- on the computer- and he is smiling a big smile. He's satisfied that you finally got those computer lessons.

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Shirley

You are so very welcome as a member of our group. I can't imagine your loss and what you are going through. I never met Sam or heard his voice but I miss him. He was so good to all of us. It made me smile to see your post and the picture of you and Sam, it makes me feel better to have you here and I hope the feeling is mutual. I hope that we can bring you some comfort during your dark days and hopefully can make you smile.

Bess B

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Hi Shirley

I'm not sure why your post caught my attention. I came on just a few months ago and never knew your husband.. I saw the outpouring of emotions at his death so I can see how greatly he was loved.

My situation is different from yours in some ways but when you lose someone who is the heart of you it makes little difference what the circumstances are. Johnny was my first love and we were seperated because he was much older that I was. I was a young teenager. I was married for many years and two years ago I was divorced. I found Johnny again.

We had been together less than a week when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Five short months later he was dead. Like in your case it happened suddenly and unexpectedly. I have always suspected that he too had an undiagnosed fungus infection. My hopes and dreams of the new life that we promised each other was gone in a flash.

It makes no difference the length of your time together it is the depth of your love that counts. The first few months I was consumed by my grief. I couldn't sleep nor could I eat. I lost interest in eveything. Nothing was as important as the pain that was tearing me apart. I heard all of the things that people think they should say. The worst was "you have to get on with your life" What life? My life had ended the day his did. Then of coarse there was the " I know how you feel" How can anyone know how I feel? Everyone is different. I had no one to talk to. His kids were indifferent and mine were three thousand miles away. They didn't know Johnny.

I had to move from there in just five short months because I couldn't stand to be alone. Still I didn't want any company. When other people were around I felt like they were robbing me of something. The time i needed with my Johnny. I'm not sure if it was because of forgetting so much when we had been seperated or if it is just normal but I was so afriad that I would forget something about our life together. I needed even the painful memories because I wanted to hold on to every little piece of him that I could get.

It has been over a year now. I am not consumed every day with pain. I have minutes even hours that I can think of him and not fall completly apart. Is the pain less? No it is just as painful now as it was then. The difference is that I have those small breaks that I didn't have at that time. I still can't find interest in things that used to be important to me. I find myself sitting for hours just looking out the window and day dreaming. I can't hold a conversation without mentioning his name several times. I think about him day and night.

I guess what I am saying to you is that greif is an individual thing but there are many common things too. You do what ever you have to do to get from one day to the next. Don't ever wash that undershirt. I washed Johnny's underclothes and wish that I hadn't. I have the last pants and shirt that he wore and have never washed it and never will. I still sleep snuggled with his robe everynight. I had to eventually wash it but that is okay. The pants and shirt hang in the closet and I can hug them or smell them whenever I want or need to. I know that it is impossibe but sometimes I can swear that his scent is still on them. I think that is maybe just him letting me know that he is still around. His gift to me.

Finding this board was a life saver to me. The people here have helped me through some very hard times. I wish that I could tell you that it gets easier but I can't. It just gets a little more bearable for periods of time. If I am lucky I can get those to stretch out longer. Other days I want to cover my head and stay in bed. I want to forget but still I am afraid to forget. Yes life goes and and we have to live. It is just a far different life than what we wanted or expected. You are welcome here and in all of our prayers. I didn't know your husband but there are many of us that are sisters in grief here. I wish none of us had to be here but sense we are we welcome you with open arms.

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Hi Mom, (Shirley)

Just wanted to tell you, I LOVE YOU!! I'll send you an e-mail this afternoon. Kiddo's about to come in. Way to go on the computer. I'm so proud of you. You have more strenght than you realize. LOVES, Laura

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Welcome Shirley,

I don't have any great words of inspiration, just want to tell you how much I thought of Sam and I am so glad you found your way here. Sam was so wonderful to all of us and I am sure that reading back through his posts you have found comfort in his words.

Hang in there, we are all here for you as we were for Sam.

Rochelle

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Shirley,

What an honor it would be to have you join the group. I always enjoyed Sam's post and was so appreciative to him for taking the time to give me such valuable information. I am so sorry for your loss and I wish I had words to help ease your pain. Hugs to you.

Blessings,

Andrea

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Hi Shirley! So glad to see you posting here with us. I'm not sure if you remember me, but I used to send "Hellos" to you via Sam. My Dennis was diagnosed just about three months before Sam. Like Sam. Dennis also has small cell lung cancer. They were both on the same clinical trial for weeks and weeks. Sam was so much help and support to me during this time and we were constantly exchanging information. Dennis and Sam were almost the same age and both loved fishing!!!

Like you, I have also been unable to wash certain things of Dennis's. I still have his favorite down jacket. This was the big red jacket he always took with him on hunting and fishing trips. We would usually have it cleaned after a trip but didn't get that done after his last trip! I am so glad!!! I can just wrap myself up in that big old jacket and almost feel his arms around me. I'll swear, I can get whiffs of his scent from time to time. There is NOTHING in this world that could make me part with that jacket...or ever have it dry cleaned!

Please come here and chat with us often. Try and not be offended by all the little "nice" sayings people throw at you. They usually do mean well but have no idea how hard it is to lose someone you love so deeply. Time will never heal all wounds and true love will never die! I just founf out you have a daughter that lives very close to me. Please let me know when you will be visiting Vero Beach again. I would love to take you to lunch! I am praying that you can find peace in your heart and life!!!

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Shirley,

This group is one of the things that has gotten me through the last year and a half. So many kind people who are going through much the same thing. Sam was among the first who responded to me when I first starting posting here. He will be missed by so many.

Like the T-shirt, I have never changed the pillow cases on Hugh's pillows. When I get into bed at night I swear I can still smell his scent on them. I don't know how we get through this but my common sense tells me we will. I can't imagine that I will ever stop missing Hugh. I will say that I don't cry every single day on the way home from work, though I do usually shed some tears at least once every day. When I left the hospital alone on September 28th I ached. I can't thing of another word for it. I was numb, but I ached. I felt as if I would shatter like a piece of glass and someone would have to sweep me up in a dustpan. Worse, I WISHED I would shatter and get swept away because I didn't want to live. I prayed many times that God would let me die so I could be with Hugh. It didn't matter to me that I had children or grandchildren, I just wanted to be with Hugh. The ache, though still there isn't quite as acute as it was, I don't pray to die much anymore but I also don't find a great deal of joy in life either. I actually have brief moments when I have a thought that I can do this. I don't have any advice because how we deal with this is an individual thing. But I am here to listen, compare stories or whatever I can do.

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To the lady with the beautiful name Shirley,

Each of us takes this journey we are on in our own way. No two of us are the same in what we go through but we do lean on each other a lot. This forum has been my life saver since Randy died. I have never felt so much acceptance as this group has to offer, so I am glad you have decided to join us. We all need each other because it is only those here who really know what we are going through even if it is not exactly the same for each of us.

Just take one day at a time. Some days for me are better than others but I just keep on keeping on. What else am I to do or are you to do. You wake each morning and you continue on doing what you must for your own well being and healing. It takes time I am sorry to say. It sounds so shallow to say that in some respects for that is the fact of life. We don't heal overnight.

Just keep the wonderful memories of Sam close to your heart. Share them with others that loved him too. Keep his memory alive in what ever way you can.

My heart goes out to you and to every other person on this board. For me, Randy's death was my worst nightmare come true. I am sure it has been the same for everyone else who has lost those they love the most.

You have been and will continue to be in my prayers for peace for our souls.

Much love from another Shirley with a beautiful name.

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All I can say is YES! We would love to have you around, I miss Sam too. He was a good friend to us on this LC web site. He mentioned his family often. I miss my medical buddy, this disease can sneak up so fast but we have to meet each day with a smile. He made it easy to do that. Love Cindy

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Shirley-

So good to have you post and be able to share some of your feelings of grief for Sam with us. Your pain is palpable, and your comment about Sam's shirt made my breath catch in my throat.We all miss him terribly; no one can take his place. We welcome you to take your own gracious place among us.

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Shirley,

You definitely have that inner strength. Don't doubt it for a minute.

...and don't wash the undershirt. No one else will ever fill it again exactly the same way. I'm sure it will be something treasured as "his" by you forever - your security shirt, tangible proof that he really WAS here and you really DID touch him as he continues to touch you.

Here's to peace and ever after,

Becky

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Dear Shirley,

Welcome to the group and please don't ever hesitate to post. We need to share your thoughts just like we needed Sam's. I echo what the others have said about holding onto a piece of clothing and talking about him. I lost my first husband 30 days after he was diagnosed with cancer and the shock was so great. None of us could believe it happened so rapidly. We all deal with death and the loss of a loved one in our own way and no one way is right or wrong. Your feelings are normal. Share with us. We will be here. God Bless You

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