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The Things I Learned From My Husband's Death

My husband died suddenly two months ago. It was so very cold that night and we had just gone to bed. I was snuggled safely beside him, my hand on his chest and his arm around me. Then his breathing changed. I could not wake him. I called to him, shook him, begged him, performed CPR, called 911. They were too late. I was too late. Was I too late? Or was it all beyond what I could do? His eyes were open the last time they let me see him. Then the police, who got there first, hustled me out, while the EMT's went to work.

I did not see him again until I was brought in to the room where they had worked on him after we got to the hospital. After the doctor who tried to bring him back came to tell me she could not. "He's gone. There was nothing I could do. I'm sorry." She said it in a cool, somber tone of voice. Practiced. She said it too many times before for it to touch her. Maybe. Maybe she went and rubbed her forehead and cursed her inability to perform a miracle. I don't know. All I know is that I did not see her again. They assigned a nurse to stay with me, to lead me through to him, to escort me and sit with me, I guess in case I completely fell apart. And I did. When I saw him so still under the white sheet pulled up to his shoulders. His eyes were closed. I'd never see his eyes looking at me again.

I sat in the chair and I held his hand and I told him I loved him more than anything else in the world. I told him I loved him and that I was scared. I cried into his still hand that could not close its fingers around mine. Then I sat silently with him, talking to him inside myself so no one would hear. But after several hours, around 3 AM, they told me I needed to go home and sleep. The nurse said I would have so much to do the next day, that day really, too much to do and I needed to let them "take care of him for you." The funeral home people were already there to take him. They needed the room.

Trying to save my husband from a sudden and catastrophic heart attack was my entrance into a class about human behavior that I know will never stop handing over lessons. My first was the harsh realization that I was now alone. My husband was dead. My love, my life, my breath, my joy, my happiness was in a place I could not go.

I got back home and curled up in a ball not wanting to acknowledge anything. I was utterly alone. There was no one close geographically to come rushing to me. I was afraid to cry after I left him. The pain was such that I was afraid I'd lose myself in my tears. Drown. It took my children, bless their hearts, until 8 PM the following night to get flights and finally come to me and hold me while I cried. I could finally cry, really cry because there were people there who loved me and who would watch over me while I allowed myself to fully feel the intensity of the heartbreak.

Lesson one: my husband was dead and there was no way of knowing what ramifications his death would bring to me beyond the acknowledgement that there was a pain I had never known now living inside me.

My second lesson came the next day. My husband's son and ex-wife demanded that I give them some of my husband's ashes. Now. They would arrange to meet me halfway. They were calling all the relatives on their side to come to the funeral. Let them know. Did I know he'd been in Scouting? Did I know he'd been in the military? I was stunned. I'd been with my husband for years. I had been to Scout meetings to help out. I had sewn on patches for him. I'd been on rock climbing trips with him and his scouts. And yes, I knew he'd been in the military. Yes, I knew he'd been a Marine, Force Recon. I had his medals and his bivy bag and his bush hat. I had comforted him through his nightmares. I'd stayed by his side during Memorial Day parades and when we went to put flags by gravestones. I knew my husband very well. We were a team. We were a perfect fit. We are soulmates.

Ashes on the day after his death. It takes two days for the death certificate to arrive. Massachusetts does not take them immediately and cremate them. There is a waiting period. The organ bank received him first. His last sacrifice for someone else. By the third day, his ex-wife was screaming at me, then my daughter, on the phone. If we were going to be "that way about it...." She did not hear the words, "He goes tomorrow to be cremated. We don't have any ashes yet." She hung up on us. Then her and my husband's son's last minute refusal to go to the funeral. She had the family go to her house to "hold their own private mourning service without his father's ashes." I had picked up the ashes at 5 PM the day before the funeral. And there was no way I was opening the box and dividing him up in the parking lotof the grocery store she wanted to meet at. I wanted him whole at the church.

Lesson two: people who have never been nice, will get worse.

At the funeral people from my husband's scout troop came up to ask me for things that belonged to my husband. His scout shirt. No way. It smells like him. His camping gear. Fine, take it. All his Eagle Scout cards given to him from the different things he'd worked on toward that goal. He'd become an Eagle Scout at fourteen. Those cards should stay in the family and not go to some kid who happened to think it was "way cool to have them since they're way old." I was blindsided left and right by people wanting things from me, wanting me to turn over things that belonged to him.

Lesson three: at every funeral there are vultures.

I moved to North Carolina to be near my daughter and closer to my son. I do not know anyone so I joined a widow's group at the Church. The sister is very kind. She has a big job. Bereavement is not an easy career. It is full of tears, anger, confusion, despair, and loneliness. People can be at their worst when they are grieving. The mission statement of the group is that the veteran widows assist their little sisters who have suffered a more recent loss. I was given a woman who was to call me regularly to see how I'm doing. Grief is deeply personal and can be such a painful experience that solitude is to be avoided when it gets too bad. I'm supposed to be able to call this woman when I'm having a bad day. She called me once to introduce herself, then a second time to tell me about her bad day and gain my advice. She has not returned my phone calls. I am alone more than the allowed time during, what Sister calls, the first four to six month of "deep grief." I have emailed Sister twice and called her three times in the last five weeks but she has not returned my calls or emails. I only want the name of a grief counselor.

Lesson four: not everyone who offers help, will. sometimes you really are in this alone.

My ex-husband has risen to the occasion. He has helped me financially when he doesn't have to. He has promised he will help me with my bills. He has sent me money to start my own business. I'm going back into my art full-time and putting my things in consignment shops since I am having a hard time finding a full-time job. We ended our marriage for reasons that I am not here to discuss. This is about death and grief. But the past is past and he has stepped up in a gracious and gentlemanly way, telling me I will not hit bottom. I can only be humbly grateful.

Lesson five: sometimes the people you've written off will step up and surprise you so do not burn bridges or keep old doors locked. Grief is devestating, demoralizing, exhausting. Anytime anyone is willing to share the burden, be grateful, gracious, and accept. There are precious few who will help you.

Sometimes I feel like saying, "It's fair weather today. Where are all my friends?" Some people will stand by you when the sun is shining and you're pleasant to be around. They aren't the people you call when you're drowning in sorrow. Unfortuately you do have to call them to find this out. Other times you will be laid out in shock at the ones who step up and say, "Let me take care of that for you." Try not to voice your surprise in too great a voice

This is by no means the only other lesson I've learned in these painful, devestating two months but it is important, I think. It is the introspective reconciliation to the life you lived with the person who died. I've been thinking about my husband. Was I a good enough wife? Did I say "I love you" often enough? Did he know he meant everything to me? Will I see him again? Oh, Lord, the thoughts run through my brain at the speed of light and I can no more answer one than another burns its way past. It's a cacophany of my own voice working through the pain I feel. There is one thing I do know and it is in response to one of my favorite quotes.

James Thurber said, "All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why."

I know what my husband was running from. He was running from being imperfect and from the nightmares of what he did while at war that he felt made him a monster. He was running to doing everything he could to protect his family and keep them safe. He was running to me because he knew how very much I love him. He knew, because I told him, "no one will love you more, better, or longer than I." He was running because he was a kind, wonderful man with a valiant heart. He sacrificed himself ten million times without a word of the pain, fear, or agony it cost him. His dreams while a POW were horrific but he always let me comfort him. He realized he wasn't alone anymore and that my love could heal him. By the end of his life, his nightmares were fewer and further apart. I like to think it was because he felt the strength of my passion for him, the pride and humility I felt when I spoke of his life in the Marines, and the nearness of me while he slept, knowing I was beside him to offer him any part of myself he needed to find his way back. He was running to our future and our life together.

He just ran out of time.

Lesson six: loving someone means being willing to take the risk of losing them to something as irrevocable as death. I do not regret one day that I had with my husband. Even knowing how he would die, how alone and devestated I would feel, I would do it all again in a heartbeat, just for the chance to be with him for the time we were allowed. I will offer one more quote; this one from the movie "City of Angels."

"I would rather have had one breath of (his) hair, one kiss of (his) mouth, one touch of (his) hand, than an eternity without it."


Anon on March 13, 2020:

While I found your letter shocking, I am not shocked one bit. My Husband who is very much alive is coming up to 80, I am 52, I am his third marriage, he has 4 Children to wife no2 , over the years he has tried to do his best giving deposit for houses and other items, with very little thanks or appreciation. We have obviously talked about when the day comes (for either of us) but mainly him, and decided what good would come from family knowing, nobody has been here for us in life so the re-union of distant family members in death seems

so morely wrong.

Pamela on November 27, 2015:

My stinking husband died this May! He left a ton of debt. He was always talking about me. Even strangers. My children think he a saint. I hate him and can't believe I wasted 27 years being married to this jerk. I will never know what was on his mind. He was always trying to destroy me and in the end he the one not here. I wish I would of taken control of my life sooner. I feel so helpless and I hate taking care of his messes. Well I hope he knows he means nothing to me. I am glad I don't have to sleep with you anymore. I don't have to pretend I love you because I don't.

justmealone on August 21, 2014:

My husband is dead. Now it is MY time. Finally!!!!

jecaeldo on August 09, 2014:

Your stories have touched my heart, and I am feeling tears in my eyes again. My husband had a sudden heart attack and died while running errands on a school night (in Sept 2013). My son and I scrambled for a ride to the hospital and got there to receive the news. I had come on the scene later in his life, and knew that he was a bit of a mess, but I was sure that together, we would fix everything, clean it all up and enjoy the fruits of these efforts. He had some serious flaws, and I struggled to forgive them, because I believed it was noble and correct to do so. Well, we lived in a house owned by his estranged mother. I found later that even when behaving badly, homeowner's were supported in the end. My husband had always wanted to make amends with his mom, and I had always insisted that this was do-able, and that we would do it together. With his death, that opportunity vanished, and the rumors circled like vultures, about how she wanted me and my son out of her house by the day on which I was planning the memorial service. I offered plane tickets, train tickets, etc., but nobody from my husband's family showed up or assisted in any way, although my father-in-law and I spoke by phone almost every day. I entered into negotiations to move into a small, interim place, but these plans fell through. I took my son away for the Christmas break and returned to find the expired Notice to Quit on the door. The water was turned off, as well as the propane. I had previously found notices insisting I stop using the wood stove (our only source of heat). I was also aupposed to stop using the electric, but since I had that account in my name, it remained available, albeit unable to support any viable heating system. The law might have supported us if we had stayed, but this past winter was brutal. I could not bear the lack of concern from the community at large, so we left, and became "refugees on our resort island." Through friends, we rented a house for a few months, but the situation ended before the school year did, and it took a great toll on both my son and myself. I asked for an opportunity to get our belongings from the house, and was told our things would be ready on a certain day. I drove by to find our things piled on a plywood board behind the house...

If I am angry, it is largely because I have not had much time to grieve, if any, and although I had assistance in keeping our business together, I am coming to the conclusion that my son and I are ready to make a clean break and start over somewhere, where my son isn't "the kid whose step-dad died and whose grandma kicked him and his mom out of the house over Christmas."

Oh, those "flaws" of my husband's occasionally creep into my head, too. Whatever mission I had in my husband's life, it seems it might be over. I, however, am not over IT. One might think I have sufficient motivation, but I struggle with the sadness of all that has happened. I suppose many tears will be cried, but it will happen over time. I now focus on my son, and try to show him only strength and conviction that we will be better...

lisa on August 06, 2014:

I just can't get past hating my dead husband. I wish I could stop thinking about him, and put him out of my mind forever. I have never known hate before. Now it is all I know......

justmealone on April 28, 2014:

my husband is dead and I am glad. He died of ALS AND WASN'T THERE FOR ME IN MY HOUR OF NEED! So here's to ME!!!!!!

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miss you on March 01, 2014:

My husband passed away in his sleep 19 months ago in his sleep. My two children and I were beyond grief-stricken, and are still struggling with surviving. We were married 30 years, and I still can't believe I am having to live my life without my love. It is true that people surprise you-some you think would give support are absent, and strangers offer heartfelt comfort. I just feel so bad for my children, he loved them so much. I do believe he is with us all, helping us, showing us how to continue living.

justme on January 26, 2014:

My husband died of ALS. He was not there for me in my hour of need. I am glad he is dead.

justme on January 26, 2014:

MY husband died of ALS. He was not there for me in my hour of need. I am glad he is dead.

Linda on January 21, 2014:

My husband passed away 5 months ago . He had been healthy all his life - never smoked but ended up with a rare lung disease and had a double lung transplant that went well for the first year then began to fail. He was sick for close to ten years and waited 16 months on the transplant list and I had to wait here at home to keep my job and pay the many bills while he waited hundreds of miles from home. We were so happy when he finally gotl lungs . It was a roller coaster of health issues from then on but we were happy just to be together he passed away with me by his side and in his own bed just as he wanted, but my heart is shattered. I have a great family and wonderful friends who tell me how brave I am but I'm not brave I just have to put on a brave front. I just want to die myself..Even in a crowd of family or friends I am so lonely.if it wasn't for them and my faith that god has a plan and that I will be with my husband again I just wouldn't be able to go on. In the meantime I cry all the time when I'm alone and with my kids. I can' imagine the years ahead without him. We were married45 years and planned to grow old together. How can I ever goon?

Anita on November 07, 2013:

My boyfriend dumped me 1month ago after I accused him of seeing another woman and insulting him.I want her back in my

life but she refused to have any contact with me. She changed her line and email address. I was so confuse and don\'t

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he cast a spell for me and assure me of 2days that my ex will return to me, and to my greatest surprise the Second day

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again and not only that,i was awarded a contract of 5 Million Pound for 4 years. Once again thank you Dr trust,you are

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Anita on November 07, 2013:

My boyfriend dumped me 1month ago after I accused him of seeing another woman and insulting him.I want her back in my

life but she refused to have any contact with me. She changed her line and email address. I was so confuse and don\'t

know what to do. So I reach to the internet for help and I saw a testimonies of how a this powerful spell caster help

them to get their lover back. So I contact the spell caster whose name is Dr Osaze and explain my problem to him and

he cast a spell for me and assure me of 2days that my ex will return to me, and to my greatest surprise the Second day

my ex came knocking at my door and i immediately pleaded and ask her to forgive me. I am so happy that my love is back

again and not only that,i was awarded a contract of 5 Million Pound for 4 years. Once again thank you Dr trust,you are

truly talented and gifted. Email: {spirituallove@hotmail.com}. He is the only answer. He can be of great help and I

will not stop publishing his good work because people are still talking about him on the Internet and Radio Stations.

Nancy on November 07, 2013:

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Tom on October 11, 2013:

I'm so sorry to hear that SharonMo, Nothing I say can take away the pain and it may never completely go away, but the pain shows you how much you two shared together, so try to remember the good memories, and be as thankful as you can for the 38 years you did get together. When someone we love passes away we always wish we had more time together, but we have to look forward to the future. In no way am I telling you to forget, but it's important to know you're not empty inside, because you can forever find him close in your heart. I hope this brings you some comfort.

Take care of yourself.

SharonMo on October 09, 2013:

My husband passed away 2 months ago today. It was extremely sudden without any warning. He was always a very loving person and truly my soulmate. I miss him more every day. We were married 38 years but I regret we were not given more time. He passed away rubbing my shoulders. His passing has left a huge empty feeling in me.

Hugs to all of the previous posters.

Holly on September 16, 2013:

Funny how I stumbled across this 2 months after my husband passed.. 7-27-13 .. and how I have experienced some of the same things... this was my stand on the issue of dividing ashes... have some class the funeral is not the time to ask me for half of my husband's ashes.. if I would have buried my husband you would not be asking for a piece of his body although, maybe I should have had his middle finger preserved so that you could place it on your mantle like a trophy.. I adored my husband and respected his body after death. Who am I to divide him.. plus if he wanted to live with my mother in law or with his best friend he would have divorced me and would have been living there..I don't think people truly understand what it feels like to lose half of your soul until the day when GOD calls there spouse.. it hurts.. and it's a big ugly hole..To the writer of this..my heart is very sorry for what you have been through.. sending a pure hug to you..

Maria on July 16, 2013:

This is a thank you to s who posted 15 months ago. I lost my husband two weeks ago to a rare form of cancer. I am experiencing the same type o problems from his children from a previous marriage. Everything I say is taken out of context and they even accused me of not letting them know that he was in Stage 4 of his cancer. We did not know this until his last days. I talked at his memorial service and said that he always said that when he died no one would bother coming to his service. (he had an outstanding turnout). They wanted to know why I said "their dad died alone. They have put so much stress on my life before and after my hubby's death. I know he would be unhappy that we will no longer keep in touch but I need to heal and fo not need their negativity around me. So glad to know that there is someone out there who has had a similar experience. Even his ex wife made a comment at he Memorial dinner. I had my husband's urn on the table and she said "this is weird, him wanting to be cremated, that's not the Dave I knew." they had been divorced for 28 years. Guess she cannot get used to the idea that there was a life, an awesome life, after her!!! Again thank you!

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on April 22, 2013:

i am so terribly sorry for your loss, all of your losses. there are no words to convey the deep compassion i feel for you. i tell myself that i need to find strength every day, and every day is a struggle; even 4 years later. does it get better? i guess in a way. it gets familiar. the pain, the sorrow, the loneliness, i think we change and adapt and adjust to the feelings that surround us after loss like this. i pray that you find a way to keep going each day so that your daughter has joy in her life, can grow and see the world with her fresh view that only a 5 year old can have, only a 6 year old, a 10 year old. she is going to grow up and you are the storyteller for the people you knew and loved and lost. you can recreate their lives by showing her photographs of them and telling her all about them. it will be your gift to her, to them, and to yourself. i will keep you in my prayers. i wish you peace.

MrsG29 on April 22, 2013:

My husband passed away suddenly 8 days ago in the house, he had heart trouble, was born wth it, had had heart surgery at 11 and then needed another op. he never got the chance for surgery he just never made it, i tried so hard to bring him back and he wouldn't wake up!! he was 33 and we have a beautiful 5 year old daughter who he adored but right now I am too consumed by my own grief to recognise the struggles that my daughter may also be having. I lost my dad, 3 brothers and sister when I was 14 and now nearly 15 years later my husband, who was the heart and soul of my world. We had 8 wonderful years together but being there when he passed without being able to help has destroyed me, I need to find strength to get up every day but I just do not have it in me anymore, God has already taken too many good people from me and I can't take any more heartbreak...

Jokylu from Waratah North, Victoria. on April 18, 2013:

I have just read this and found it to be refreshingly honest and open. Thankyou for sharing on such a deeply personal level.

I also found it a very well written piece of work that was captivating all the way through.

Tom on April 03, 2013:

Dear womanNshadows,

Thankyou for your kind words both of consolation and of encouragement. I appreciate that you took the time to reply to me with a thought out answer even though I am a stranger. Time goes on and people live their lives as they always have, unaffected by the grief of those around them. Last Sunday was Easter Sunday so I had a family meal with my grandmother and family, it was good to see everyone coming together and laughing and eating but I fear for my grandmother. She in particular is not taking it well, Sunday was 3 weeks from the day he passed and seeing her break down quietly in the corner was very hard. I did my best to console her but what help could I offer but kind words she wanted to hear and an arm to support her?

I'm sorry to hear that even after 4 years you can get overwhelmed but I am glad you are managing to move forwards, and more than anything I would like to thankyou for what you are doing here. You seem to be helping a lot of people, I know that you helped me. You should be proud of who you are and what you've done for people around the world.

I did not know your husband but I feel confident in saying he would be very proud of you.

My heartfelt gratitude,


womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 22, 2013:

dear Broken heart, i am so very sorry for your loss. i understand about wishing it had been you and not him. i understand the feelings of confusion. it does pass with time, and how much time is a deeply personal thing. it is just past 4 years for me and i still have times when i am completely overwhelmed.

as for wanting to feel like he is okay, i believe he is. you must try to believe it, too. you spent 37 years together. you know the goodness in him. he is okay. and i believe he is waiting for you. another widow i have "met" online had a story to tell me about her widowed aunt. when her aunt lay dying, and all her family was around her, she called out to her husband saying, "you're here. you came to get me." she seemed content and at peace. this story has helped me hang on through the darkest times. i give it to you to hang onto. please believe he is fine, at peace, and happily waiting for you.

i am here if you need me, because, i do, i completely understand and know what you are going through.

Broken heart on March 21, 2013:

I lost my husband three weeks ago today.I woke up to find him dead from a heart attack.I feel so empty, lost and confused.We have three grown children and a nine year old we adopted.We were together for thirty-seven years, married for thirty-five.I wish it had been me instead of him.I feel like if I knew he was ok, then maybe I can go on.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 14, 2013:

dear Tom,

i am so very sorry for your losses. the expectation of a death due to a lingering illness is very much different than the loss from a sudden death. i have experienced both and i can tell you that, just my own personal opinion, that the grief from sudden death is harsh and raw. not seeing it coming, there is no expectation, no preparation.

i hope you and your family got through the funeral of your uncle. you are blessed to have so much family around, even though everyone hurts.

as for your comment that you do not know if you "would ever put yourself through it," my advice is to "put yourself through it." if you are talking about love and marriage and the risk of death parting you, take the risk. to quote Nicholas Cage from the film "City of Angels," "i would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss of her mouth, one touch of her hand than an eternity without it." the pain of the grief is worth the moments of love.

Tom on March 12, 2013:

I'm not sure if I should post here or not. This isn't something I'm very good at, but you have inspired me @womanNshadows .

Last October my grandfather died. He was the center of our family, a wise, peaceful and highly religious man, I can't recall him ever shouting or showing anger. He lived to the age of 86, and had to be hospitalised towards the end because of his failing body. On the last night I was there with my father, watching over him, the rest of the family were taking a break and getting some sleep. He seemed to be in a great deal of pain, though unable to communicate verbally he was moaning and squeezing our hands.

This night has been played over again and again in my head at night. I think it was his leg, because he was lying on his side to aid his breathing and his leg might have been going numb or simply suffering from bad circulation. If either my father or I had simply had the presense of mind to try help turn him we might have eased a lot of suffering. My father kept telling him to rest, stop struggling, he could finally rest now, but he didn't. He fought the pain and lived to see the morning, finally dying on his 60th wedding aniversary. Say what you will, I refuse to believe it coincidence.

My grandmother took it very badly of course, but she was glad that his struggling was finally over. She had been married to this man for the last two thirds of her life. I miss him terribly, the stories he would tell from life during wartime, his days courting my grandmother, his recollection of holding his first grandchild, his recollection of holding his first great grandchild, his smile and laugh, his words of wisdom. An incredible man.

The funeral service was beautiful. I am not religious, but I soundly respected him for the passion with which he held his beliefs and his refusal to force them on others, and I'm sure that if he did hear the service he would have been smiling. The priest was a friend of his and told a story or two from their time together. I helped my father uncle and cousin to carry the coffin from the hearse to the front of the church for the service, then from there back down the aisle and out. My grandmother said ther was something in seeing his sons and their sons carrying him that seemed peaceful.

The church was completely packed, I live on an island of about 450,000 inhabitants so it is a relatively small community in each village (while family ties are even tighter). The turnout showed how highly he was thought of and how many wished to pay their final respects. I was sitting close to the front, and when the time came to take communion I was suddenly and unexpectedly hit by a strong wave of emotion. As the occupants of the church queued down the aisle, slowly moving forward, I saw everyone stop shortly as they walked right by the closed coffin, and take this moment to rest a hand on the coffin in passing, sometimes brushing the side, sometimes firmly on top, while looking down and saying their true goodbye inwardly. The scene was more moving than I could handle and it took me a while to recover.

I miss him greatly as does the rest of my family. It has been hard knowing that I will never again be able to sit with him and have a conversation.

Unfortunately this is not the end of my story.

Last Saturday night my country held the elections. This is a very big deal for such a small country. My second uncle, brother to my father and son to my passed grandfather and grieving grandmother, was driving home at about 11 in the evening on his motorbike. He crested a one way hill and was hit by an old local farmer who had had a few drinks while driving his pickup the wrong way down the one way street. He landed and broke his neck instantly.

Sunday was terrible. The streets were full of celebrations, cars driving slowly, honking their horns (the political party which won had not been in power for the last 25 years), while my family and I tried to make sense of what had happened the night previous. Sudden. Shocking. Pain.

My grandmother has not taken it well at all. She cannot understand why God would take her son so soon after taking her husband. She cries that he hadn't even had time yet to look at a set of books my grandfather had left him. She is taking 2 Valium in the morning and 2 in the Evening and is barely containing her grief.

My father I believe is in shock. I haven't seen him cry. It is very different from when his father passed. I worry greatly for him. He usually confides in me. I hope he knows what he is doing and doesn't snap under the stress. I can only imagine how my Aunt and her two children have take the loss of my Uncle.

I shall see tomorrow. It is just got 4 on Wednesday morning. I have not slept. The funeral is to be held today at 3. I shall again be carrying the coffin with my father, uncle, and cousin. I have been switching from the feeling of uncertainty whether or not I can do this to the certainty that I have to do this so that I can be there for my family.

I am sorry for writing so much and so long and putting down so many details. I just wished to share my sorrow and confusion as I have seen others do.

I have yet to turn 25 and already I see the keen effects of pain, grief, and loss on those around me. It leads me to ask myself why would I ever put myself through this? I have read your stories, I have seen your pain, and I feel sorry for you. I truly hope you get through the bad times.

exuma on November 12, 2012:

I, too am so sorry for your pain. It's nearly unbearable to accept the loss of your fiancé to be compounded by selfish people. Know this, your fiancé is still with you. Listen and sense his spirit. This is the only thing that keeps me going .

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on November 11, 2012:

i am so very sorry for your loss and the pain that these people have put you through. you were right to cut off contact. you need time to work through your grief. to need space and time to accept what has happened without anyone reaching into your mind to hurt you.

i wish you peace.

Cindy on November 11, 2012:

Like so many others, I often find myself scouring the Web for stories like these -- to find other humans who can relate to this awful awful pain. My fiancé died just over a month ago. We had been together 3 1/2 years and our wedding date was set and in the planning and deposits stage. I don't need to tell any of you how much I miss him and how hard it is to comprehend the rest of my life without him. I cannot imagine that it is even possible.

Like others, Lesson #2 hit home for me. My fiance's sisters and ex-wife showed themselves to be incredibly selfish, narcissistic, rude, compassionless and greedy. They "included" me in the funeral planning only because I made the mistake of telling them who his insurance beneficiaries were -- one was me -- so they wanted me to pay for nearly half of a $10,000 funeral that neither he nor I wanted. He wanted to be cremated. When it's all said and done, his ex-wife will have received over time ("for the girls") nearly a million dollars, and she had the audacity to steal our Christmas decorations from his garage (because "the girls want to go through them") and also ask me "Where is his recliner." I said "The recliner that we bought and that has been in our home for over two years is in my living room and that's where it is going to stay." After that, I ended all communication with her and his horrible sisters -- blocked e-mail, phone and texts. It doesn't take away the pain of missing my fiancé, but at least I don't have to deal with their mean ways on top of it.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on October 22, 2012:

dear exuma, i'm very sorry for your loss. i am glad my words have helped. i wish you peace.

exuma on October 20, 2012:

For the woman who wrote, The things I learned from my husband's death.

Profound words and lessons you have come to know. My fiancé passed away aug. 7 , this year and would have been a 2nd marriage for the both of us. Since his passing I've been sinking myself in books/web pages, etc trying my best to comprehend the sudden loss of the true love of my life. I just want to say each word you wrote hear I wholeheartedly can relate. This is the 1st story I've read in 11 weeks that seemed I could connect with. I'm very sorry for your loss, men with such integrity are seldom found.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 16, 2012:

dear Tami, i am so very sorry to learn of your mother's death. as time goes on, the pain ebbs and flows around us and we just seem to be stuck in the middle of that stream. i, too, have had God's comfort and it helps, but no, there is no way around it only through it. i will keep you and your father, your whole family, in my prayers. i wish you peace.

Tami Fite on September 15, 2012:

I lost my mom, who was also my best friend six months ago. I find myself replaying her last days and the last weeks over and over in my head. She is as real as always in my mind -- I miss her calling me to see if I need anything from the store, I miss her knowing when something was wrong or I was ill and asking if she can help. I miss everything about her -- even her songs she would sing so silly -- my children miss their nana, and I tell them to remember the good times and to look forward to seeing her again in Heaven...as my heart breaks again and again. My dad said this week that he misses her more now than he did a month after she died, and I agreed with him. It almost seems more difficult now. God has sent His comfort to us when we are hurting most, but the pain of grief can not be escaped...the only way through it, is THROUGH IT. Thanks for you beautiful hub. I am so very sorry for your loss, and the loss of those who have commented. Thank God there is hope in Heaven, for without it, why would we want to live? Bless you all.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on August 31, 2012:

meme, you are so blessed that your husband's death was peaceful. being with someone when they die is a paradox. the memory of their passing before us is very sorrowful but it is also comforting to know they knew we were there, hearing us, knowing how much we love them. people shut out impending death and hopefully those who did not visit your husband will also shut out the pain of refusing to be part of it. there is grace in dying slowly. we can learn so much from those who go before us. it is so very hard and continues to be hard; to not have them there day in and day out, but you can talk to him as you talk to God. it is my belief {not infringing upon anyone else's} that the Lord will keep you and yours. know that the pain gets more familiar.

Sally, i am so very sorry to learn of the death of your beloved husband. your situation is much like mine. intense love/soulmate the second time around only to lose him in so short a time. you will eventually come to cling to the memories of your time and hold them sacred. it does become comforting but you will still have moments when you fall apart and all that is very normal. grieve the way it is best for you. cutting ties with anyone who is mercenary in any way, questioning your every move or lack of movement, etc. is the best thing to do for right now. i would say, "give me time. i am grieving." and then turn away. do what feels right to you. honor your grief for it is yours and yours alone. no two people grieve the same way. vent here or in the other articles about grief all you want. if you wish to vent privately, you can write to me personally by contacting me directly. i have several people who have found me here and do this. all private. all off the public page. i am here if you wish me to be.

i wish for both meme and Sally peace and light.

Sally on August 26, 2012:

My husband passed away April 11, 2012. It was a second marriage for both of us. We were married 8 yrs. I am lost without him. He was my life. We had so much fun together. I miss him so much. I don't know if I will ever adjust. I have never felt so lost and alone. I cut ties with my in-laws a month after the funeral. I couldn't handle their intrusive questions and negative, rude comments. For example, do you still have his car? What do you plan to do with it? He knew he was going to die, don't you think so? He looked terrible when I saw him in March. Why isn't the grave marker up yet? Don't you have enough money to pay for it?

These are just a few of the inappropriate comments. I could not take it any longer. And honestly, my husband would be proud that I cut ties with them. Initially, I believed by having a relationship with his mother , I would feel a closeness to my husband. I couldn't have been more wrong!

Thank you for allowing me to vent.

meme on August 10, 2012:

my husband past on the be with the Lord on Monday aug 6, He was able to walk my granddaughter down the isle and lived to allow me the go to my the granddaughter engagement party aug 4, He made his own funeral plans so that his family could not give me a difficult time. He was sick for so long and no one from his family came until Friday after noon by then he was in and out. My oldest granddaught was with myself and our two dughters when he took his last breath. It was a blessing for me to be able to keep him home and God was so good he used to nap but did not have to stay in bed until friday morning when they had to put a catheter in him. as he was passing to be with the Lord we sang to him prayed with him and repeated our favorite Bible verses I know he could hear even when he could not open his eyes as his eye lids would futter. He didn't have any pain. That was a promise I made to him when I took him home on Christmas eve day. We had a private service on Wednesday with just our close friends and family. Even still there where about 70 people sad that only 10 people in 8 months came to see him. I kept telling them he was really sick but because he didn't look to bad even one of our girls was sure he would go on for years and she missed being with him. I cried before he passed but as of today the tears have not come. I am sure that I will break down on of these day It is so good to be able to write to people that know what it is like. The Lord will keep me but the house is so still with out him. We slept in the same room and every night he would say I love you and I would say I love you to the last nights not hearing him answer was the hardest thank you all for the lessons I hope they will help me

Meme on June 15, 2012:

the Pastor my husband asked about is coming today to talk with us. I am praying that he will have the confidence that God will take care of everything in a way that is right for both of us. We do trust in God for every thing and this is an answer to my prayer. Hopeful this will ease his heart and lift his spirit

meme on June 13, 2012:

Thank you for letting put into word what is in my heart. After writing the otherday I realized that I must try and do something for Him. In the wee hrs of the night unable to sleep I wrote a letter to a friend that I haven.t heard from since Jan. asking her to get in touch with the Pastor who is very close to her. At one time he preached at our church for about six months, Thankfully she called me and said she would try and reach him. I was afraid to tell my husband for fear he would get upset, but when I tolded him he was very happy. You never know what some=one is feeling so it was a relief to find out it did not unset him. Praying that it will be soon that the Pastor come to see us. We pray together and read our bible but sometimes we need more than a tv or bible can give I shall let you know what happens Thank you again for allowing me to put into words what troubles my heart

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on June 12, 2012:

dear meme, i am so very sorry to learn of your husband's impending death. knowing it is coming is a very difficult journey to walk. God will keep you strong, even when you feel weak. lean on Him. talk to Him. you cannot stop the tears. they are cleansing and must be allowed to flow. you cannot keep things pent up inside. talk to your husband about the things he wishes to. let him get everything off his chest. write notes. let him see you paying close attention to his wishes and then assure him you will act upon them. comfort him. support him. let him know you will make it because you do not want him to worry about you. and meme, you will make it. there will be times when you do not believe you will, but, your husband's love and faith in you will keep you going when all you want to do is lay down and give up.

as for advice, all i can say is allow yourself to feel everything that you feel. do not deny yourself this grief. it will have its way sooner or later. you cannot put it off. it is a journey like no other i have ever known. i am here to be a voice that helps you know you are not alone. cling to those who will and want to help you. allow them to. you will need them when you feel so very weak. trust. protect yourself. if it feels wrong, then follow your instincts. i wish you peace.

meme on June 11, 2012:

I just found this site today, my husband has been on hospice for six months after several heart attacks CAD Afib and kidney problems they say keep him comfortable. We have had a wonderful 53 yrs together and he isn't a lot of care hospice helps with bathing but knowing that any minute he could be gone it hard. Forty years in a church that has left us with no-one to come and visit his family calls about every other week but has yet to find a time to visit. We love each other dearly and one of his reasons for hanging on is so as to not leave me alone. How unselfish. One daughter has been a blessing the other is a distance away. I know God will keep me strong but I cry alot. How do you stop the tears he must know it is getting close as yesterday he said we must start to plan his funeral please help with advise

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on June 06, 2012:

it is so beautiful to see everyone supporting everyone here, feeling safe to say what is in their heart. Linda, your words are beautiful and i completely agree with the word NO becoming a new best friend. peace to all who read. peace and light to all who grieve.

Linda on June 04, 2012:

Hello everyone my heart goes out to all of you. I lost my husband 14 years ago and I can tell you that I can not remember many things that happened in my life for the first 6 years after his death. All I can remember is anger and pain. My saving grace the reason I woke up every morning was my 2 year old son. He is now a teenager and we have a bond that is unique however he and I were talking recently and he told me that he cannot remember years of his childhood.What I can say is that my head began to clear after those initial 6 years it was like coming out of a fog and little by little the pain began to subside. It is a very long road try to hang in there life will be very different but you will be stronger in the end. I was very young when my husband died I was 28 years old. All of the pain does take its toll I recently lost my dog and I couldn't cry i have no more tears. I don't deal well with chaos I have a need for peacefulness in my life or else I get overwhelmed easily. So what I am saying is there is a light at the end of the tunnel and in the mean time keep yourself as busy as possible and when people try to take advantage of you channel some of the anger you have toward not taking anyone crap. And learn the word NO and use it whenever someone wants something from you that YOU find too painful to give or do. That includes ex wife's ex anything. My mother in law wanted MY DOG that was our family dog just because the dog favored my husband well the answer was NO you know what she got over it. People will try to take advantage make the word NO your new best friend. I wish you all the best.

Evelyn on May 22, 2012:

Hi, I just lost my spouse on May 14 due to lengthy health conditions. I am so lonely and miss him so much. I miss his touch his voice and all he was. I don't know how I can go on. Thank you for the list of lessons, they sound exactly the same stuff I am dealing with.I get angry and then question why I am thinking negative. I need to know he is okay and we will be together as we promised when it is my time to go. Thank you these posts it helps a bit to look to the future.

kat on May 14, 2012:

Hi, I just found this site. It is 19 months now that my husband died. I am so very lonely. I miss him so much. I think it is getting worse, not having him here to talk with and to share with. I am scared of the furture alone without him. He was my rock and always was there for me. I don't know how I am going to live without him. I guess I will keep moving on. Thank you for your blog and for all the others who have posted. It helps.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on May 10, 2012:

SoLost, i am so very sorry to hear of your husband's death. i very much understand your pain and confusion. i know you will be okay. you have your children to look after and that will bring a strength to you through this time that will help you when all you want to do is go to bed and sleep. i will keep you and your children in my thoughts and prayers. i wish you peace.

SoLost on May 09, 2012:

My husband just passed away April 20.. I'm lost without him, he was my heart and soul, my best friend. We have two children 15 & 8.. It's so tough right now, I imagine it will always be tough but after reading some of these posts I'm hoping we'll be ok.. Life is way too short :(

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on March 27, 2012:

Angie, so new to this journey. just breathe and take it one minute at a time. i am out here if you wish to write.

S. on March 27, 2012:

My heart sings songs of uplifting joy for all the women here who have lost mates. I know it can be difficult in our grief to feel thankful for the time we were allowed to spend with our loved ones, especially when we are faced with negative influences during and after their transitions.

My much loved husband of 8 years is now in hospice, slowly transitioning due to an aggressive and painful lymphoma as well as bone marrow cancer.

I, too, am learning from his dying.

The "attempted coup" began a few weeks ago, the day my husband went into hospital. His family has tried to usurp my position at every turn.

I understand that they are in shock, angry, bewildered. We all are. What I can't understand is people who come into the middle of an ongoing crisis situation by making assumptions and planning covert ops without getting the facts.

They are praying for his healing yet they are negating their please to God by sapping my husband's energy with negative behaviors.

I want my husband's last days to be filled with the things that make him happy: prayer, love, peace, and positivity; good food, laughter, music, his children, his family.

It should be all about him right now but unfortunately, because they are unable to perceive that this is an opportunity to be examples of their proclaimed religious beliefs, his extended family is creating obstacles.

I had to come up with a plan of action for my continued peace of mind and keep it foremost in my thoughts.

I will continue to facilitate the best possible environment for my husband while he sorts out his arrangements with God.

I will do it in the least combative way possible, in an effort to help him have serenity during this process.

But when he breathes his last breath, I will begin to sever the ties I have with his extended family. I will communicate with them in writing only. There will be no more phone calls or in-person conversations.

Moving forward, because I love my husband, I will keep all his loved ones in my prayers.

I feel sad about it all but as womanNshadows said in Lesson 2, people who were never nice will get worse.

I am seeing it in ways I could never have imagined and at this time, I feel my plan of action is the best way to protect myself emotionally.

God bless you all as you continue to move through the stages of grief and healing.

Angie on March 26, 2012:

I lost my husband on Wednesday. What you have written here hits close to home for me. Thank you for this!

ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on June 08, 2011:

Thank you. peace to you also.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on June 07, 2011:

it's been two years since i wrote this hub. the lessons still stand. i am sorry for your own loss, ruffridyer. your sense of humor is nice to see. i still have mine but, even now, i have a hard time keeping it close when i am home alone. i can fake it out there, but inside my head, i haven't laughed like i used to with him. i wish you peace.

ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on June 07, 2011:

I am sorry for your loss. My wife passed away 3 yrs ago and I am still trying to put my life back together.

I was blessed with alot of support. However my wife died sat, the following day in the church lobby one of our friends told me, "The single adults meet on monday night." I thought that was nice, maybe I could pick-up a date for the funeral wedsday.

I wish you the best.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on February 18, 2011:

i am so very sorry for the way your husband died, the long road. one thing i've learned since i wrote this hub is that grief lasts. i am presently at 2 years out and i still miss him with the weight of all those days and nights without him. it does get more familiar. i wish you peace.

Debbie on February 18, 2011:

My husband passed away in my arms as well and that was his gift to me, but one that has left me a broken woman. The last words he ever heard from me as he took his last breath were "I love you and wait for me". He had suffered a massive heart attack on 2-18-08 and from that day on the course of our lifes changed forever. I've learned many things since my nightmare began. Hospitals, Intensive care, ER rooms, Cardiologist, Heart Failure Clinics, Heart Transplants, Liver Transplants and yes "there is nothing medically possible at this time" were the terms we lived with daily, and the refusal to believe that it would all end the way it did on 8-7-10. Lesson#1: Life can be cruel at times! As we searched and prayed endlessly for a cure we didn't allow ourselves to consider that our prayers would go unanswered. We believed if only we could find the right doctor or connection it would be our miracle. Lesson#2: Prayers are not always answered the way we want them. Lesson #3: There is a heavy price to pay for loving someone so much. Profound grief is that cost when losing them. Lesson #4: Till death to us part is a vow that I never thought would become my reality.

My husband was my life, my foundation, my rock and my soulmate. Perhaps one day or not I'll understand it all but for now I grieve for the loss of the man who completed me.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on December 30, 2010:

Fossillady, i wish for peace for you.

Kathi Mirto from Fennville on December 30, 2010:

Its beautiful that you were in his arms when he returned home to the heavens! That is the only place he would have chosen and did choose, with you, his beloved in his arms. I thank God everyday that I was there when my husband passed and think of it as a gift! I hope peace finds you today!

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 21, 2010:

Lorraine, my heart goes out to you. i am so very sorry your love, your husband, i'm sure your best friend, has died. i am sorry you are going through some of the things i experienced. and sadly, am still experiencing. i am still here. it has been 19 months now and i am only getting use to my grief, not in any way over it, or moving past it.

i, too, do not know what happens after we leave this life so going to find him will have to wait until nature takes its course.

i want to let know that you can reach me via the contact link up there on the right. i will email back. if you wish "company," if you wish to vent, talk, or rail against the awful fate that has linked us, i am out here and i understand what you are going through.

peace to you.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 21, 2010:

Lorraine, my heart goes out to you. i am so very sorry your love, your husband, i'm sure your best friend, has died. i am sorry you are going through some of the things i experienced. and sadly, am still experiencing. i am still here. it has been 19 months now and i am only getting use to my grief, not in any way over it, or moving past it.

i, too, do not know what happens after we leave this life so going to find him will have to wait until nature takes its course.

i want to let know that you can reach me via the contact link up there on the right. i will email back. if you wish "company," if you wish to vent, talk, or rail against the awful fate that has linked us, i am out here and i understand what you are going through.

peace to you.

Lorraine on September 21, 2010:

In looking for some solace from my grief, some answers to why, for someone with whom I can connect; I found you and this story.

I lost my husband on September 1, 2010. Never mind that your story is older and mine is fresh as dirt dug in the graveyard for tomorrow's service; I will venture to guess that you still, after all this time, feel the same way you did when the story was written.

I can tell you do; you sound like me, you did all the things I did, you are heart broken and grief stricken and lost and don't know what to do. You are different. Different meaning one person before HD (husband's death) and another after. We'll never, ever be the same. I know that already and tomorrow it will have been three weeks when my world was rocked to its core, when everything I loved and cared for was taken from me, when I became the 'new' me...one I don't quite like either.

I could have written this story exactly as you have written it...nothing needed to be changed. The cast of characters in my story included a nasty ex wife (they had been divorced for 34 years.) their children, his sister, vultures, persons who didn't go to the funeral because of something I did or said, persons who walked out of the funeral because they had been treated poorly..?????

My 'fair weather friends' are no where to be found. People have shocked me with their outpouring of kindness...people whom I never even spoke to...people I didn't know I could like. The people that I thought would be helping me bear this cross were non existent. My own sister said, "I just realized life is short. I'm going to Disney World." That's the honest to G-d truth.

I have been here alone for three weeks. I cry alone, I grieve alone. I have no one. His friends were golf buddies, nice guys but I'm not Angelina Jolie so I guess they don't care to visit. Their wives aren't my friends, we are mere aquaintances. Yes, in times of need you do get to know who your friends are. I have none.

Hospice was supposed to help me with grief management for a year after his death. Like your story, the woman never answered my calls, never spoke with me and never came over. I imagine because she's a volunteer she thinks it unnecessary to come when needed, she's not getting paid after all.

I am drenched in and dripping with sarcasm. Perhaps this will pass...the meaness I am exhibiting, but it's easier to be angry and to be mean than it is to just melt into a puddle on the floor and leak away. I would love to be with my husband but I am not smart enough to know what happens after we leave this mortal plane so I am forced to stay and marvel at the lack of empathy in the world.

I hope you're better, I hope you are coping, I hope you come out of these dark shadows and have a wonderful life.

trish1048 on May 25, 2009:

You're very welcome womanNshadows :)

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on May 24, 2009:

thank you trish1048. your kind words mean a great deal.

trish1048 on May 24, 2009:

hi again,

You have my heartfelt condolences in your time of grief.  All I can offer you is an ear, a shoulder or open heart, if you ever feel the need to talk.  Your loss is in its infancy, whereas I've had 23 years to deal with mine. 

Hugs to you, and if you care to contact me, just send me an email thru HubPages.

womanNshadows (author) from Charlotte, NC on April 10, 2009:

thank you Lisa HW, AEvans, Jewels, and KCC Big Country. it is nice to have others reach out to you. and to clarify to all and to anyone else who read's this particular hub of mine, after the funeral I stopped at the funeral home. they took his box and gathered two sets of ashes; one for his son whom they notified for me since they were refusing my calls, and the other set for his beloved Boy Scouts who took them and spread them under a tree they planted in his honor at the camp where they summer.

the woman who i worked with at the funeral home called to let me know that all his ashes had been gathered. she concluded by saying that his ex-wfe had come with her financee and that she was rude to the point that the funeral director himself came out of his office to personally deal with her. she wanted to sue me and wanted them to testify that i had withheld ashes. he stood there and explained to her that the laws of the state had been complied with and that there literally had been nothing i personally could have done to get her son a set of ashes any faster than i had. he said his "funeral home would play no part in any lawsuit against the bereaved for something he knew she stressed over at a time when anger should have been set aside."

but in writing about it, i can put it behind me. thank you all for your kind words and thoughts.

KRC from Central Texas on April 09, 2009:

*hug* What a beautifully written hub. Thank you for sharing the details of your recent loss. You have certainly made some good observations and have offered some things that will be beneficial to others experiencing the loss of a spouse.

Jewels from Australia on April 09, 2009:

That was beautifully written. I send heartness to you and thankyou for sharing your experience.

Julianna from SomeWhere Out There on April 09, 2009:

I know your pain with loving a loved one and I have written about it as well, my heart ached for you and it saddened me that his ex-wife was so cruel, heartless and inhumane. The son may have had the right to a part of his ashes, and that would have been up to you. But after years of being Divorced the ex truly didn't have any right. You are a kind soul to do what you did and you will see him again, you will. (((Big Hugs))) Thanks for opening up your heart and sharing with complete strangers..:)

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on April 09, 2009:

womanNshadows, condolences for your recent loss.

My mother was 53 when, like you, her husband/my father had heart attack in the bed next to her. I was living at home at the time (21 years old), and she came to get me and said, "Dad is really sick, and he won't let me call an ambulance." I followed her back to their room, and I felt my father's hand, and it was "clammy". With his other symptoms I just knew it was a heart attack and a big one, and I said, "Dad, I don't care. I'm calling an ambulance." To this day I wonder if it was wrong of me to disregard his wishes not to call one, but there is always that instinct to try to save someone's life. My father lived for three weeks in the hospital, getting increasingly weaker as the weeks went on.

A social worker my mother knew told her not to make a big decisions for at least a year after he had passed away. She talked about how "everyone's" emotions are just running too high for at least that long. What I've learned about losing not a husband, but a father, as well as others close to me, is that everyone hopes things can be done in the way that makes them feel is "right". People tend to instinctively try to find ways that will make the loss more bearable to them - and everybody deals with loss differently.

Based on what I've run into with loss, I would expand on that social worker's words about emotions running high, and add that the potential for misunderstandings and misinterpretations of intent run just as high. Sometimes everyone just has to let a little time pass and then agree, "We were all upset. Let's let the differences go, and let's start clean, now that we're all calmer."

I guess my point is that while the lessons you've learned are real, they don't necessarily reflect "the real" people, if those people were not grieving too. When my close friend died her sister came and offered me a couple of pieces of her most treasured jewelry. At the time, I was thinking only of my friend and of how I knew what her death must have meant for her family. I didn't want to be a "vulture" and accept her ring or bracelet - and years after her death, I now wish I had accepted something that was hers, just to have something special.

My mother lived the remainder of her life as a widow; and although she always said she wished she had had my father longer, she built her different life by herself; and even grew to be able to joke about how it was "kind of nice not to have to be home to make dinner at a certain time". Stay strong. Hang onto the thoughts that give you some version of mental peace. Somehow, even the most devastated people usually find their way to get through the grief. (As you can tell, I am, I suppose, trying to think of something to say to either let you know you're not alone; or offer support; but we all know, inside, that there is nothing much anyone can ever say to make someone else feel better.)

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