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Coping With Loss: Surviving the Death of a Spouse

Graduated NYU 1963. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

Gene and Linda Palucci Are Pictured in Happier Times

Gene and Linda Palucci
My long time personal  friend Linda Palucci's book

My long time personal friend Linda Palucci's book

Son Chris and Gene Palucci

Gene (r) and Chris Palucci

Gene and son, Russ Palucci

Gene Palucci with son, Russ

The Palucci Family

The Palucci Family

"If you're going through Hell, keep going." -- Winston Churchill

Linda Palucci, widow of Eugene Palucci, did just that when she lost her husband to a brain tumor and cancer on March 21, 1992 after a long, desperate struggle. She went through Hell, yes, but she kept going.

After her long, stress-filled ordeal trying to cope with Gene's illness and death, she felt it was important to continue writing down her thoughts to help work her way through the aftermath.

She later felt that her experience could, perhaps, help others cope with their grief after the death of a spouse. That's why she decided to publish the story of Gene's suffering and her own very personal struggle throughout his illness and after his death.

'Out of the Slippery Pit'

Linda tells her story openly and vividly through her tears, often taking from the diary she kept throughout that horrific time. Chipmunka Publishing Co. of the United Kingdom, an organization dedicated to mental health issues and "improving the way the world thinks about mental health," published Linda's story recently in an ebook titled, "Out of the Slippery Pit."

"I sat there with tears I could not restrain, running down my cheeks," Linda relates in her ebook. "It has been almost one year. When do you begin to feel like a person again?"

She tells of joining a group for widows and widowers called THEOS, an acronym for They Help Each Other Spiritually, noting, "It's helpful to associate with those who have survived widowhood for various lengths of time."

A Personal Theory

"I believe only someone who has experienced the death of a spouse can really understand the pain and confusion," Linda wrote. "Maybe only children, as I am, can adjust simply because we start out alone. We had only ourselves to depend on when we were young. I don't know if this is true or not, just a personal theory. Or, it makes us feel more alone."

Gene Palucci was a personal friend and a neighbor,when we both lived in Darien, Conn. The only son of Eugene and Margaret Palucci, he was a native of adjacent Stamford where he grew up with his sisters, Audrey and Geri.

He was a likable, happy-go-lucky guy with a good disposition and a great sense of humor. He and Linda raised four boys, Russ, Scott, Chris and Greg and a girl, Cheryl, in Darien. Later they moved to nearby Bridgeport.

Little League Manager

A quintessential family man, Gene was a Little League baseball manager for more than 10 years as well as a Boy Scout leader. Despite his other numerous activities, he served as a volunteer firefighter with the Noroton Fire Department, one of three volunteer departments in the town of Darien, which lies between the cities of Stamford and Norwalk.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Gene learned to drive large rigs when he was in the service. Linda says he joined the U.S. Navy because he loved the water, but he was stationed in Tennessee. He told Linda the only time he saw any ships was in the Hudson River when he drove over the George Washington Bridge. As a civilian after his discharge from the Navy he drove a variety of trucks moonlighting often as a limousine driver taking travelers to LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports in New York.

Cancer Survivor

Linda, who was born in 1940, daughter of Larry and Ruth Northrup, lives in Trumbull, Conn., near Bridgeport, where she works part-time in a gift shop at the Beardsley Zoo She began her work career as a long distance telephone operator. Since Gene's death Linda has had to face her own physical challenges. She is a cancer survivor, but first had to undergo a laryngectomy.

In discussing her ebook, Linda said, "This is my story of the death and first year of widowhood. It is all true. I wrote it to try to make sense of what was happening. It still hurts; that is the best way to describe it. It Hurts! A pain in my stomach like someone punched me, took my breath away. I really did not think I could go on alone. You never know, you just never know."

Linda's World Changes

She also talks of how her world changed when, in the doctor's office with Gene, they learned the reason for Gene's headaches and double vision.

"It's a brain tumor, inoperable," the doctor declared.

She said her happy life fell into "The Slippery Pit."

"When we lose our spouse," she said, "we are not ourselves any more. After 32 years, nowhere near enough time, I would be alone again. I could not even grasp it. My mind could not accept it."

In her ebook, Linda tells of meeting three other "gals" at THEOS and of going to a few singles' dances. She describes her experience at that first dance as "rough."

"I sat there wondering what am I doing here? The men were not appealing, and the music was too loud. I felt dead inside."

'I Can't Feel the Music'

"Rosemary, the proprietor, asked why I was not dancing. I burst out, 'I can't feel the music!' This was true; the music was gone. Nothing seemed important."

"In the beginning a widow can sit at home and cry," Linda said. "After a while, 'they' say she must get back into the world, pick up the pieces and make a new life; like the Phoenix from the ashes of before."

Having retired from The Hour newspaper in 2000.

Support Groups Can Be Helpful to the Bereaved


William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on June 21, 2014:

You are not alone, Martha. All of us who have lost someone we love have faced the same feelings. Personally, I found -- with the help of friends -- that only time helps to ease the pain. For me it was helpful to read books that took me into another world that turned out to be a distraction from the loneliness, anger, sadness and melancholy. Since that time I've become more philosophical about life and death. I now understand that we (all of us) live and die on another timetable. Whether we live for 10 days, 10 years or 10 decades that period of time will be our lifespan. What I found to be important is how we spend the time we have on earth. Some day we'll all be gone. When we're gone I don't believe the number of days or years we lived will have any meaning to anyone. I often ask friends this question: When we think of the great men (or women) in history -- such as Alexander the Great, George Washington, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mahatma Gandhi -- will anyone ask how old were they when they died? The number of years they lived is irrelevant. What is important is how they lived, what they accomplished in their lives. I now understand that those I loved who have left us lived out their lives -- whether short or long -- as we all must. We have no choice. It's not up to us. I believe it is our obligation to live out our lives (however long that may be) and to do all within our power to make life better for others and for those who follow us. For many it may be helpful to reach out to others or to a support group.

MARTHA CULBERTSON on June 21, 2014:


William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on September 01, 2013:

You are very wise, Sue. I have developed (after a difficult time) the attitude that life and death is the way of the world . . . and we must face it and live with it. Everyone -- and every thing -- lives and dies (even mountains and oceans.) As difficult as it is at first I think most of realize that it is all beyond our control and our life must go on. We can only mourn for so long.

Sue Horn from Lawrenceville, Georgia on September 01, 2013:

William, thanks so much for directing me here. I didn't realize you'd lost your wife. My heart goes out to you and all of the others trying to find a wise and honest way to go on alone and honor the life of their lost loved one with their own. Alberto will have been gone six months tomorrow, and I know I will miss him forever, but I want to remember him with joy and nostalgia instead of longing and pain. He deserves that.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on August 13, 2012:

I'm sorry, Nora, but I'm not familiar with New Mexico. But I see by a Google search for bereavement groups that several churches there have them. Perhaps your friend could inquire at a local church.

Nora on August 13, 2012:

I have a friend here in New Mexico her husband died about 2 yrs ago, Is there a group that you can refer her to to get connected with other surviving women. Thanks

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on April 02, 2012:

I feel your pain, Janet. I don't think it's "God's Plan" when we lose those we love. I do think, however, that it is beyond our control. You are surely not alone, although losing a loved one at such a young age must be almost unbearable. Still, life must go on -- and time may not heal all wounds it does ease some of the pain. As I've said earlier, I've found that reading a good book -- or many books -- that takes me to another world has helped me to cope with the reality that I've faced. Reading may or may not work for others. Ultimately, I think, each of us must find our own way. Looking forward, rather than backward, has helped me.

Janet on April 02, 2012:

Thank you for sharing this book. I found this when searching for books about losing a husband. My husband passed away October 9, 2010 - the morning after my 30th birthday, and 3 weeks after we got married. No one understands how I feel. They all think I should find someone new and that I have a long life ahead and can't understand why I say that no one will ever compare to the beautiful, most loving relationship I had with him, which took me a long time to find. I will definitely be reading this book soon as I have not been to any support groups, and haven't really been able to read a book about it until now. I've tried but I have been given some christian grief books and I am still not ready to hear that its "Gods Plan" and that my husband is in a better place while I suffer and push forward with life because I have bills to pay. Reading all of your stories has made me miss him so much and see that I am not alone in how I feel.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on January 11, 2012:

I'm glad to hear you have reached out for grief counseling, wombat4. It takes some time to work things out, but I think we eventually come to understand that our wives are in a different place now. I think our wives would urge us to remember our lives together, but also to recognize that we need to forge a new path with our friends, our family and with new relationships.

wombat4 on January 10, 2012:

you are right W F.T about the good books. When my wife was first diagnosed I spent many hours in doctors, radiologists waiting rooms,and taking a decent read helped, not only to pass the time, but to take my mind off the horror off what was happening to our lives, and the ultimate question we ask ourselves, how the hell did we end up here.I went to see the cancer council support group yesterday and amongst other things they have organised up to 6 sessions with a councillor, as well as attending a bereavement group who are all going through the same thing as I.collected my wifes ashes yesterday, put them in a jar and cuddled them, I even took them to bed with me last night and will do every night, it makes me feel better as I talk to her, I miss her so much.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on January 08, 2012:

You are not alone, wombat4. I think all of us felt as you do at this moment: alone and depressed with no future. But I am certain your wife would want you to go on and, eventually, find some level of happiness. It won't be easy, but joining with others in a support group should help. As I've noted earlier, it helped me greatly to read some good books to take my mind off my plight after my wife died. I've also found that helping others by volunteering also has been helpful. We're all in this together.

wombat4 on January 07, 2012:

My wife also passed away from cancer on 21 dec bob brua, the christmass tree that she put up is still there, I am having trouble coping. I wish I had gone with her, I feel so alone. there are some comments ere that live must go on, but what is the purpose if it has no value. I cannot imagine my livivg for the next 20 yrs without her,why?Next week I am going to the Cancer Support Group, that may help me to be with other people that are going through the same. God bless to all

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 30, 2011:

I lost good friends this year and cannot imagine the larger pain of a person losing a spouse. Sorry for all those losses of loved ones to readers here.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on December 30, 2011:

Losing a spouse is always depressing, bob brua. Nevertheless we eventually realize that our spouse would want us to go on to seek happiness for ourselves We also remember that our children and our grandchildren need us now more than ever. I think we naturally tend to think about our sadness too much. In my experience, it helped to read some good books that would take me temporarily into another world -- a brief but welcome respite from my melancholy.

bob brua on December 30, 2011:

my wife debbie passed away dec 21 with pancreatic cancer after a long 4 yr battle im so depressed i wish i was dead

dee blumish on December 09, 2011:

I lost my husband of 14 yrs July 22,2009...He was singing and dancing Thursday nite,we had plans for a long 3 day weekend..I left for work friday morning,,got a call from my mother in-law a 4:30 Friday afternoon..went straight home to find a house full of paramedics and my brother in-law..got to the hospital and the Dr. gave him a 1% chance to survive..he had a massive stroke and died 5 days later...He was 60 yrs old...I have been lost ever since...Just now starting to feel like it is ok to go on ...TIME does heal ...Stay strong.

Marjatta on December 08, 2011:

When Shaun died a month ago, something inside me died too. He was my anchor to this life, if you will. He showed me the good side of life, the hopeful side of life, the loving side of life. In effect, he was my reconnection with all that is good and loving about the human spirit ... and why we should all continue to live our lives as if they were a precious gift from God.

I eagerly jumped on Shaun's life train and followed him everywhere. During that time, I learned more than I had ever learned in my 54 years on this planet. I learned what was important in life, what wasn't important in life, and how to appreciate every joy, no matter how simple. If I had to do it all again, knowing that I would only have Shaun for such a short time, I would do it again in a heartbeat. His lessons were that important to me. His love was that important to me.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on October 27, 2011:

You can survive, eve, and you will. As the old song promises, "The sun will come out tomorrow." In the meantime, I've found, it helps to find a temporary distraction. For me, that was reading good books. When your mind is absorbed by a well=crafted story and you are lost in another world it offers a much-needed period of relief from your ever-present grieving. In time, you will cope and understand that your late husband would want you to end your period of grief and go on with your life. If he were mourning your death, you would want the same for him.

eve on October 27, 2011:

I lost my husband 3 months ago - not cancer but an aortic anurism. I was devastated - cannot realy remember anything that happened during the first few weeks after his death although I did all the estate admin etc my life is a blank. Looking back now I realise I must have been in total shock although friends and family tell me that I am handling it so well, am so strong. They do not see me in the morning when I have to get ready for work. I have to "scrape" myself together in order to get through the day. When I get home at night I just fall to pieces. It feels as if I do not have a life without my husband - I might as well also die. We had a future but I do not have one. Someone told me that I cannot die with him I have to learn to live without him. It feels impossible. We were married for 35 years I miss him so much. I know that maybe some day the sun might just shine again for me but it feels as if that day is still so extremely distant. Will I survive - I must survive - so many other people in the same situation has.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on August 14, 2011:

The loss of a spouse is always very difficult, mkw3918, as all of us who have been through the experience know all too well. Nevertheless, life must go on -- and we must adapt to our new circumstances. Our late spouse would want us to do our best to live out the rest of lives with some measure of happiness (as we would if our spouse would have outlived us.) I believe we not only need to face the reality of where we find ourselves, but also to find new paths to happiness (as our spouse would wish for us.)

mkw3918 on August 14, 2011:

i lost my spouse 1-24=09 brain tumor like yesterday miss him so much life is hard no one in 5the rockers no one to cook n eat with.we had retirement plans all gone now so sorry lots of guilt i tried hard but not enough so sry jimmy darling i suffer each day

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on August 11, 2011:

I'm glad that Linda's story and the comments of others have connected with you, Patricia. Coping with the death of a spouse is always very difficult, but, somehow, life goes on -- as it must. Thank you.

Patricia Rae from Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada on August 11, 2011:

I lost my husband of 37 1/2 yrs to cancer this past April/2011. I'm also a cancer survivor of 17 yrs myself. Never did I think that I would be a widow at 61. Thank you for sharing this story. I've also read through all of the comments and I can feel a connection to all of them.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on August 06, 2011:

I read your "Sharing of Grief with Hub Family," HP Roychoudhury and left you a comment. I share your grief.

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on August 06, 2011:

I am a victim. I realize what tragedy is. I share with the grief. Look to my grief in my Hub- “Sharing of Grief with Hub-Family”.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 20, 2011:

William - One of our hub family members, H P Roychoudury just lost his wife. Please go to his latest hub and leave him a link to this one. It might help him. It would be nice if our wonderful hub family pay him a visit at this time. Thank you so much!

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 20, 2011:

It's very true, vocalcoach, that losing a spouse changes one forever. Linda Palucci's story is compelling and I believe helpful to those who face such loss. I hope this hub is helpful as well. Thank you.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on July 20, 2011:

I am so very sorry. I want to thank you for sharing this. Losing a spouse is painful and changes the survivor forever. Your hub will be of help to others. Blessings.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 17, 2011:

My late wife's mother died before she reached 50, Peggy W, and for years my wife said she didn't expect to reach 50. Fortunately, however, she was wrong. She died one month short of her 66th birthday. No matter what age, it is always difficult. Since then I've become more philosophical about the subject. I now believe we live and we die and whatever age we are "that's our life." It's not like there's much we can do about it. We have no choice other than to accept things as they are and deal with it as best we can.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2011:

Thanks William for sharing this information with us. I am sure that it will help many people. And I am so sorry for your loss.

My mother-in-law only had her husband for exactly 3 years and my husband (their son) was only seen by his father exactly one day (because of WW2) before his father died. My mother was widowed at age 55 and lived to be 83 before she died. Selfishly, I hope that I die before my husband. I can't imagine facing life without him. I have several good friends that have become widows at early ages. Such a difficult time in one's life!

Hopefully you have great support from family and/or friends.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 17, 2011:

It's always difficult, suziecat7, but, somehow, most of us work our way through it in our own way. We're discussing it now on Facebook, where I posted this hub and Linda informed me that her book is now available on Amazon. I'm not very computer saavy so I didn't have the Amazon ad for the book on this hub -- until now! Your are right,though. We are stronger than we might have thought.

suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on July 17, 2011:

Good read. My husband died of a brain tumor in 2003 so I can relate to Linda and all she went through and is going through. What I found out is we are stronger than we think. Rated up!

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on April 25, 2011:

My heart goes out to you, RM. You have my condolences. Losing a spouse at such a young age has to be almost unbearable. Your daughter, of course, must be your focus now. Time may not heal all wounds, but it helps -- especially when you have the sympathy and support of friends.

RM on April 25, 2011:

My wife died at age 26 from Breast Cancer back in Nov. 2010. It is that hardest thing in the world especially as I go on raising our young daughter. I must say it's almost 5 months since her death and things do get easier but, losing a spouse is definitely a life changing thing, and it's hard to adjust to. Although I knew her life would be cut short due to the cancer, I never would have thought I would be widowed before the age of 30. Very hard thing to deal with!

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on April 03, 2011:

I'll never forget, Bonnie, when my father died at home in Florida my concern turned to my mother and her words comforted me. She had said that she felt relieved when she realized he was no longer in pain. Our thoughts and sympathy are with you.

Bonnie on April 02, 2011:

Mike passed away April 1, 2011. Diagnosed on Jan 24, 2011. The oral chemo Temodar destroyed all of his white cells and his platelets were low from radiation. He was 1/2 way through his treatments. He faced this horrific brain cancer with grace and dignity. He will forever be in our hearts. We love you Mike.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on March 14, 2011:

This is a very difficult time for you, Bonnie, but I can assure you that I -- and those who know and love you -- offer our support to you and your ailing husband. Sharing your feelings with family and friends, I believe, helps. I wouldn't advise anyone to try to go through such difficult times alone. We're all in this together.

Bonnie on March 12, 2011:

On January 24, 2011 my husband of 38 years had a seizure at work. I will never forget the words in the emergency roon "Your husband has a brain tumor and it is not good". He started oral chemo and radiation right away. After 3 1/2 weeks into he began nose bleeds and had blood counts done. Platelets .7 yes that is .7 He went to the hospital and received platelets and had a reaction. He went home that evening and that's when everything started going down hill fast. He developed a fever and had problems standing. He is now hospitalized no white cells left and very few platelets. Received more platelets last night and is receiving meds tonight to try and restore white cell count. The Dr. said this will be painful. Great one thing leads to another. He was given 2 weeks to 2 months without any treatment. Now I;m wondering if he will even make the 2 months.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on April 08, 2010:

Thank you, De Greek. It's a difficult issue, indeed, but it helps to have the support of others when we're facing it.

De Greek from UK on April 08, 2010:

William, how kind of you to try to bring this issue to the fore. Well done ...

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on November 04, 2009:

I commend you, skye09, for succeeding in keeping your promise to your husband -- I know how difficult it is to avoid the nursing home experience. I'm glad that, like Linda, you've come to terms with your experience, found comfort in your husband's love and, as Churchill suggested, "kept going." Thank you for taking the time to comment.

skye09 on November 04, 2009:

My husband died on Sept.30, 2009 from complications from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Congestive Heart Failure, and Prostate Cancer. I promised him when we got the diagnosis of Alzheimer's that I would not place him in a nursing home. With the help of Hospice and the VA Home Care Program, I was able to keep my promise. The last year has been so hard but he is no longer in pain and suffering. If it were not for his pain and suffering, I would have him back with me to answer where we are and tell him our address a 1000 times a day. I miss him so much but I am surrounded by his love still and he comes to visit me and turns the lights on and off and vibrates our bed like he did before he died when he started his ascension. He was able to see into Heaven 3 weeks before he died and was overwhelmed by the Love and Beauty. He described to me daily the Love and beauty of heaven. In this I find much comfort.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on June 26, 2009:

I found that reading a good book -- or several -- helps ease the pain, KCC. Everyone, I'm sure, struggles in different ways to cope. The gentleman you refer to was obviously having an extremely difficult time coping with his loss.

KRC from Central Texas on June 24, 2009:

I joined a local grief support group but I didn't find it very helpful since a couple of particular people there wanted to insist at every single meeting that THEIR loss was much worse than anyone else there. I really didn't wish to compete for who had been hurt the worst. Because this gentleman had lost two grandchildren, a son, and a wife of 50 years he felt qualified to tell us which loss was the worst. I got the most help from reading anything I could get my hands on and visiting a website that had message boards for each type of loss so that I could talk to others just like me and do it anonymously and in the privacy of my own room.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on June 24, 2009:

Linda Palucci's ebook is very touching, KCC Big Country. As I've said to Linda, I could never be so open and unreserved in explaining my feelings throughout my late wife's ordeal in fighting breast cancer and lung cancer. I didn't join any grief support groups myself, but I understanding they can be very helpful. No one ever wants to suffer alone.

KRC from Central Texas on June 24, 2009:

William, thanks for visiting my hub about coping with loss. I fully understand Linda's feeling that only someone who has gone through it can understand it. I felt that way about losing my son. Others around me tried to help, but they had no idea what I was feeling and the words to express it didn't come very easily in the beginning. What Linda has done by writing the ebook is a valuable resource for others like her and it probably helped her in dealing with it as well.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on March 21, 2009:

It surely is devastating, Kathy, to lose a spouse, but somehow we survive. I am pleased that Linda's story may have been of some help to you, and to others. It takes time to work out the aftermath, and one never fully understands the nature of life and death, but we go on -- as we must. My sincere condolences for your loss. And peace to you and your son as well.

Kathy on March 21, 2009:

You help in a way so thank you. My Husband Jim ,of almost 38 years found in March 2007 he had a Stage Four Glioblastoma Brain Tumor. Third in his family in under ten years. He fought bravely for almost two years.We lost him Jan.24th 2009. After Surgery and Lifetime radiation I found out about Dr.H Friedman at Duke Brain Institute.He offered hope with a then non-FDA approved drug " Avastin ". So we lived life with gusto....several times with no cancer on his MRI.We talked, loved ,fished, cried and held on.My sadness is devastating but I think what if we had never found each other at all? Priceless he was to me and our 36 year old son .Peace to you all

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on November 10, 2008:

Like Linda, people of faith find comfort in their religious beliefs, although it's never easy for anyone to lose a spouse, family member or close friend. Your comment is very much appreciated, einron. Linda's book, by the way, has recently been published in paperback by chipmunka publishing. For those interested in obtaining the paperback, here is the URL: http://chipmunkapublishing.co.uk/shop/index.php?cu...

einron from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on November 10, 2008:

To lose a spouse, relative or close friend can be traumatic. When we trust in the Lord and understand our relationship with Him and our lost ones, we can be comforted. When we feel the futility of grieving hopelessly and endlessly, we know that life goes on and must accept the consequence and snap out of it. We should thank the Lord that we had enjoyed the closeness of the departed for a certain period, but life continues on just as the sun rises and sets. Trust in God that He still has something in life for us to go on living, maybe a son or daughter or a grandchild to look forward to. Grieving takes time, but it will pass. Look forward to the future when you will meet him or her in the future life. God bless.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on October 28, 2008:

I am truly sorry for your loss, Ona. It's a difficult time, indeed, and I hope Linda's experience gives you some solace. There are often many trials we must face, some more than others. Each of us must find our own way of coping, but, somehow, most of us survive. Some find solace in grief support groups, others with friends, clergy or counselors. You are not alone. We're all in this together.

Ona on October 28, 2008:

I, too, have experienced that numbness of being told, it is brain cancer in the worst possible place. We were told this on 04/23/08. But the next day, the doctors said, no wait, it is colon, liver, lung and brain cancer. He had zero symptoms, until it reached his brain. He had a MRI on 03/10/08 of his head that showed NOTHING and then on 04/24/08 it showed up? The doctors would not give us a time frame and saddly he died on 05/23/08. He had just turned 58 a few days before. It was such a shock and so many things that have happened to me since then. I believe in God, but I just don't understand why He has given me so many trials since then.

trish1048 on October 13, 2008:

Just keep hanging in there William. Everyone handles grief in their own way. You'll find your way and honestly, in time you'll find your peace.

I do believe people are finding comfort in our words. Thanks so much for stopping by.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on October 13, 2008:

That's very kind of you, Trish. It'll be four years ago tomorrow, but I think I'm coping "as well as can be expected." I'm only hoping our hubs on this topic will help others who are facing the issue right now.

trish1048 on October 13, 2008:

You're right William. I have friends who did just that and it helped a great deal. If you ever want to talk further about your loss, feel free to email me. I'm a good listener :)

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on October 12, 2008:

I didn't join a group either, Trish, although the hospice offered me an opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, I know, however, that such groups do a wonderful job helping survivors to adjust. Thank you very much for your comment and for your kind condolences.

trish1048 on October 12, 2008:

Hi William,

I think the hardest part of losing my spouse was in grasping the reality that yes, he was gone. Unlike Linda, i did not join a group, probably because I had enough family and friends watching out for me.

I had no idea you also lost your spouse, and for that I am truly sorry. I share your grief. God bless, William, and know you are not alone.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 26, 2008:

I am so sorry to hear you have been through this too.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 25, 2008:

Like your first husband, Cindy, my wife was incredibly brave and uncomplaining. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer, but after a mastectomy and many chemo-therapy sessions, it turned out to be small-cell lung cancer. Linda's account of her experience, in her ebook, not only relates what happened with her husband, Gene, but also Linda's feelings throughout his illness and her efforts to cope with the aftermath. I very much appreciate your comments.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 25, 2008:

Losing a spouse is terrible, and I speak from personal experience. I lost my first Husband from Bowel Cancer. We had been together about 8 years, married for the last three of them. The abdominal pains he had been experiencing in his final weeks were attributed to Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Diverticulitis by the Doctors, and as the colonoscopy was not possible when attempted because of the pain it caused my Husband we left things as they were for several more weeks. I was only 31 and he was 48. When I did finally have to call an ambulance to rush him to hospital one Sunday, they quickly operated and found he was riddled with inoperable bowel Cancer. I had to hide this from him for two days until he was strong enugh to be told that he may only have between 6 weeks and 6 months to live. His first response when told by the Doctor was, "well, when your time's up, it's up", to which the Doctor said, "I hope if I am ever given news like this myself I take it as well as you have done". Two weeks later my Husband was a living skeleton, asking the nurses to help him die and incoherant because of all the morphine he was on. We finally got him home for two final days, and then he died at home with me holding his hand. This was incredibly traumatic, and not helped by the fact his family treated me appallingly after he died. I wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy, and if I could have taken the pain and disease from him and on to myself I would have. My heart goes out to those going through simliar expereinces, or those who have already been through what I went through in one form or another.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 25, 2008:

That's about the way it is, Patty. It's devastating, and time may heal all wounds, but the scars never go away. I would have like to quote more of Linda's ebook in this hub, but that wasn't possible. I only hope that anyone facing the loss of a spouse, or anyone who has ever lost a spouse, will take a little time to read what she wrote. It's very, very real.

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on July 25, 2008:

Losing a spouse must be like walking in a hallway and having the next step being an incomprehensible experience into a standedness in outer space.

Great article. Best wishes to everyone that has lost a spouse.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 25, 2008:

The death of a spouse is always heart-wrenching, dafla, but at a young age it must be almost unbearable. For young children, the loss of a parent has to be extremely traumatic. I can only hope that Linda's story reaches those who need solace at such a trying time.

It's something all of us must face at one time or another, ColdWarBaby, but, in the meantime, let's hope we can all live in peace and harmony -- and equality.

ColdWarBaby on July 24, 2008:

Life and death. We all share them both. How sad that only in the latter are we ever truly equal.

dafla on July 24, 2008:

She is so right that you cannot understand living through the death of a spouse until you've experienced. My husband was my soulmate. He died in an accident at age 27, and left a 10 month old son who still wonders to this day what it would have been like to know his dad.

Thank you for this hub. I'm sure her book will help so many people. I wish I had had it 22 years ago.

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 23, 2008:

Thank you, MrMarmalade, for your very nice comment. Gene, indeed, was an admirable guy. A good husband and father, a hard worker, a veteran, a firefighter and a good friend. Losing a loved one is always traumatic, but Linda's willingness to bare her soul will undoubtedly benefit many others who find themselves in that unfortunate situation.

MrMarmalade from Sydney on July 23, 2008:

I would say 'I would have like Gene to have passed my way."

I have had many deaths in our family but in fifty years no spouse. Thank God. I do not know how I would feel if that tragedy happened to me.

A Magic hub.

thank you

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 23, 2008:

Thank you, compu-smart, for you nice comments. Linda is certainly an inspirational woman. And her ebook is truly inspirational. I hope anyone who is going through the difficulties of losing a spouse will read the full ebook because I know it will be a great help. I lost my wife to cancer in October of 2004, and I can assure you that Linda's sad but inspiring story is right on the mark -- and extraordinarily frank.

Tony Sky from London UK on July 23, 2008:


Very touching story!! She sounds like such an insirational woman!

Im sure this book, which may not be as popular as the Harry Potter books, but i am damn sure it will be of great help for those in need! as much as Harry Potter is entertaining!

Thanks for sharing!

William F Torpey (author) from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on July 23, 2008:

Thanks, Bob. Linda''s ebook, I think, will help a lot of people struggling with the illness and aftermath of a spouse's illness and death. She really tells it like it is!

Bob on July 23, 2008:

Nice read Bill

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