Author Topic: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?  (Read 1617 times)

Hgadams

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Hi there...
I have no idea how any of this works so here it goes... My husband, Clifford Forrest Adams, passed away June 25, 2016, in a single vehicle accident. We aren't sure what happened, honestly it was a straight stretch and a wreck there just really doesn't make sense. He flipped multiple times and wasn't wearing his seat belt. If he had been wearing it, it seems he would still be here from professional medical opinions. He has had much worse wrecks in his highschool days than the one that claimed his life. I personally believe he fell asleep behind the wheel as it is all that makes sense to me. This is something that I have seen happen to him before. I struggle sometimes because we had a fight that night and our last words to each other were not very kind. He should have been with me that night, but he was not because he was mad at me. But I do also know that the very next day it would have been as if nothing happened and from things he said to his friends that night it appears he had already forgiven me.

About him/us: He just turned 25 in April  (I just turned 25 in May). His life truly was about giving to others and doing everything/anything to make people smile. He truly was the kind of person that people could count on and he knew no stranger. He was an emergency responder and lived for it. He was Captain of his Fire and Rescue Squad station and had just graduated Advanced EMT school. He was set to start once he got his license in from passing his national registry test (the license came in after his passing).

We had been together six years and married for three. We had our ups and downs like all couples do and things we needed to work on; however, we were best friends. We truly had a wonderful relationship. I was incredibly blessed to have him and cannot imagine anything better. There is no doubt that our relationship was different than most. Our friends called us the "Ross and Rachel" of the group (if you've ever seen "Friends").

Okay on to the funeral and since.... there is no doubt that I was in shock through all of that. I cannot remember pretty much anything about any of it (except some of the cringe worthy stuff people said). They said at the visitation and funeral there was over 1400 people there (just to give you an idea of what kind of impact my husband made in only 25 years of life, I am so envious of him for that). I actually did his eulogy which is something people didn't seem to think I would get through but to me it really was something I felt I had to do. No way was someone who didn't know my husband going to speak about his life the way it needed to be done. I guess you could say this is where my self doubt started (the wondering if I was handling this the right way). Here is a link to a video of his procession they made (it honestly was a beautiful celebration of life with the emergency vehicles):https://youtu.be/U3YSNLeajzM .

I cry often at least once per day (not always waterworks, sometimes just a few tears). I also will admit sometimes that it doesn't feel real still even though I know it is. I have had my emotional breakdown in a restaurant where the waiter thought I was a crazy person. I have felt like my chest was literally being ripped apart and the emptiness that his absence leaves. I have also felt peace though. I am not sure if this is shock or if it is my strong faith in God. Sometimes I do not feel like being around people, but sometimes I love being surrounded by people. I can smile, I can laugh. I can go out with people (I only go places with his family or our close personal friends [the people who loved him too] but I can have a decent time and not feel guilty about it. But I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I feel like since Clifford passed that I have had this strong urgency to not waste a minute of my life (knowing how much of an impact he made in just 25 years). I feel like I need to make memories because he can't and that I would be disappointing him if I sat around in my room for the next few years doing nothing with myself (honestly I feel like THAT would make me feel guilty). I have definitely taken on a lot of his personality. I have never been that outgoing, but I feel like I am becoming much more like his fun self. He loved to do karaoke, dance, smile, and make people laugh. I have done all of these things since his passing. I feel like people look at me though and think I must of never loved him because who could smile after what just happened, who could be around people, what kind of girl that must be? Memories of Clifford make me smile though.... it is when I think of the things that will never be that I hurt. I know he is in heaven though and I would never begrudge him that. It sure sucks being left behind though.

Here comes the thing though... even though I breakdown by myself sometimes and I can honestly say I miss him so much. He truly was my best friend. I am lonely without him even when I am with people. I hate that he isn't there. I also know that having a good time without him and having a good time with him is two different things. I no longer have a level of true happiness that I once had. Oh and I started work back today...BUT I feel bad because his mom can't work. She is on all sorts of medication and is just miserable to be exact. She has social anxiety and really cannot be around people. I feel like I SHOULD be like that, and I am not. I honestly want to know what is wrong with me. Is this shock, am I functioning too well, is this dishonoring him??? Is this going to wear off soon and then I will be like her??

I need help!!

P.S. here is a link to a video I made about our love story:https://youtu.be/2SLXa9D_wdg.

Thank you for any and all advice. Brutal honesty will be appreciated.
- Hannah

[Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it's inspiring.]

Forever in My Heart.
Clifford Forrest Adams
04/15/1991- 06/25/2016
Our Love Story - https://youtu.be/2SLXa9D_wdg
Memorial - https://youtu.be/U3YSNLeajzM

Trying

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2016, 09:13:16 PM »
First Hannah let me say that I am so very sorry for the loss of your husband.  There are no rules when it comes to grief, you get to do it your way and honestly we have very little control,in the early months especially, on how our grief will manifest.  If you get comfort in being around others and honoring your husbands zest for life than that is what is right for you.  Those breaks from intense grief are a survival mechanism that you should welcome without guilt.  You most likely will go through many phases and in no particular order and the reality of your loss will hit you at different times.  People may judge you but that is because they are blessed to never have been in your shoes. Each of us here is unique in our journey but I have found I can always find someone here who can relate to what I am experiencing at any given time.  That alone helps me feel less crazy.
You will forever be my always.

SemperFidelis

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2016, 10:20:03 PM »
You are normal. I have felt some of the weird stuff you have felt.

I am 13 months out and still feel like my brain is protecting me from some of the direct pain. The pain I feel is indirect....whatever that means. It is somehow hidden even from myself. I am moving forward in life, but nothing feels the same.

You may have heard of compartmentalizing..... Probably something your husband did too for work. Google it.

greeneyedshannon82

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2016, 11:04:21 PM »
I don't know if it's normal or not... what's normal anyways?  I lost my husband 3.6 weeks ago in a car accident, and like you I handled things much better than I expected to. Then after I thought I was ok.. I had some days where I cried the entire day. I went back to work pretty quickly.  We delayed his memorial for a couple of weeks because his mother was actually the driver in the accident and she wasn't in any shape to attend the service. The two weeks leading up to that was busy and I threw myself into all the things I had to do... now though.. I'm getting into the nasty parts of the grieving process.  Anger.. anger is where I am right now. The thing is we ha e to grieve in out own way. You are going to hit highs and lows. Let yourself feel it all, but don't feel guilty because you feel however you do. It's your process not everyone else's and you have to handle things your way. I'm so sorry you had to experience such loss sonyoung. I'm sure you've heard it too many times, I know I have... but there is truth in this: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Portside

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2016, 06:50:06 AM »
I honestly want to know what is wrong with me. Is this shock, am I functioning too well, is this dishonoring him??? Is this going to wear off soon and then I will be like her??


Hgadams - please accept my deepest sympathies on the passing of your husband.

There is nothing wrong with you. Everyone responds differently to being suddenly widowed: For you (and believe me, there are many others that have done the same), you are able to function at a pretty high level while grieving. Other folks will have wildly different responses to their circumstances.

I honestly do not think you are in shock right now. Back in the day I was responsible for the care of combat vets and their mental health needs along with that of their dependents. From where I sit you don't seem to present those markers of a person in shock.

One other item - will you not necessarily have trouble in days to come. Oh certainly there are those that do but every personal experience is unique and you may simply continue to function well as time goes on. You will hear 'everyone crashes at X months/years out" etc. That is a well traveled myth. You will handle this differently than any other and your experience is as valid as that of others.

Functioning well soon after this tragic event is of absolutely no importance regarding the honoring/dishonoring of your late spouse. You loved him when he was with us and you miss him now that he is not. Getting up every day, dressing and going to work or getting out in the world while grieving is just your way of dealing with your terrible loss. It's okay. It would be a mistake for you to feel like you should be like your LH's mother. She does this whole mess her way, you do yours. Your way is fine for you.

Good luck - I'm pulling for you.

Mike

The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

serpico

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2016, 10:28:12 AM »
Your experiences mirror mine in many ways.  I lost my wife to a car accident and we'll never know why it happened.  She ran a stop sign in broad daylight and a friend had just talked with her on the phone so we don't believe she fell asleep.

I also gave the eulogy at my wife's funeral and by all accounts did a wonderful job - I'm not sure exactly how considering everything was in a haze and I had three terrified kids sitting in the front pew of the church.

Finally, I also did rather well and still do to this day - more than three years later.  I certainly had my moments and I did sort of 'crash' after a few months but as portside mentioned, that doesn't mean it's going to happen to you.  I suppose it could and it may be helpful to know that, but if it does you're just going to have to roll with it.

I had some rather unorthodox methods of dealing with my wife's death - at least according to my friends, lol.  I emailed about 40-50 close friends and family members and asked them to relate to me how they heard about the accident (I'm from a small and close-knit town) and how they told their loved ones.  A few weren't comfortable responding and that was fine, but most did and later told me how glad they were that I had asked them.  I ended up with tons of wonderful memories, because more than just their story of that day I heard about some wonderful things my wife had done that I never knew about.

I also read a lot of books about traumatic loss because I believe a sudden and unexpected death is very much different than one that can be anticipated.  As my counselor told me, I experienced actual trauma even though I didn't show any physical scars, and self-care is very important for any trauma victim.  Regarding the books, though, I was very careful about any 'advice' that was in them.  I'm one that would rather find my own way through things so while I educated myself I didn't worry about sticking to any set rules about my grief, such as the stages of grief and things like that.  Grief doesn't fit into any nice buckets, unfortunately.

I guess my point is that grief is a hugely personal thing and you get to call the shots as much as you can.  I've rambled, but your story was a lot like mine and so it brought up a lot of memories.  I wish you nothing but the best as you move through your experiences.
'I think I got some of your pickle'

jonesandjenn19781979

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2016, 10:42:37 AM »
Each person grieves differently and maybe some are stronger than others. I am so sorry for your loss. For your wound to be so fresh, you seem to be doing well. I lost Clint on 6/3/16 and I'll be honest, I can't get past it. You had such wonderful things to say about your husband. When I read posts, I always feel like I have so much to say but then I go to write and it all turns to jello. It seems harder some days and the crying feels so much worse each day. I am not okay around people right now; minus his family. I think it's because we all feel the same so we don't have to pretend so much. The shock is still there but reality rears it's ugly head as well. You want people to be there, but not say anything, then you don't want them to be there. The mood seems to change all the time but that pit is always there. There are a million thoughts running through the mind at one time, but there is one thought that is always constant. I broke down in the middle of Lowe's in the garden section 3 weeks after he passed and the employee just stood with me. I know it's awkward for outside people but when it hits you it just hits you. You seem to be so strong.

Mizpah

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2016, 02:58:27 PM »
Perhaps it is your desire to honor him by living that is motivating you and carrying you through, or your faith, or your strong social support network.  I don't know.  What I do know is that the world and others do judging enough - don't judge yourself.  The unbearable thing you've (we've all) been tasked with is so horrible that I believe if we have good moments, good hours, days, good weeks or months: take it.  You may feel paralyzed by hopelessness at points, but you may not. 

I never wanted to think of DH and be sad.  I always wanted to honor the person he was: full of life and love and so generous of spirit, so strong and confident.  I like to think I took on some of that, at least in the first couple years, to give me strength, to "make him proud," to live up to what he saw in me. 

(My MIL reacted in much the same way as yours.  You will not be like her.)
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Pauleena89

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2016, 07:09:32 PM »
Hello,

I'm still not sure how to start these, but first of all I am very sorry for your loss. My husband of 6 months whom I've been with for about 4 years passed away suddenly on May 30th. He was 28, I turned 27 a month after his passing. Let's just say that there was no happiness, I skipped my birthday. Didn't answer the phone. I did receive a birthday bag from a fellow widow which literally made me lose it. I'm about to cry as I write this so I will get to the part that I feel you need to hear.

I just like you went back to work, I actually went back a week after my sweet husband passed. We own our own commercial cleaning business and taking time off really wasn't an option, however I had the great idea to go and find another job to make sure I stayed occupied. I go to work, I smile, I laugh I tell jokes and listen to stories. If you met me you would never guess the pain that I feel in my heart. The last 9 weeks have been a blur, one day it feels like he was home yesterday and the next like he's been gone forever and I've been left here to fend for myself. We do not have children. So in reality it is just me and two dogs.

What I want you to know is that everyone deals with loss differently. I miss my husband, I cry when I'm home alone, I scream and yell and hug my dogs, kiss his pictures you can safely say that I lose it from time to time, but I think with how much of a front I put on, how much I try to seem normal, how much I block that he's not here anymore I don think it's weird or not normal. I can function, I have no choice but to function. What I will tell you is that it was easier to get out of bed a few weeks ago. It gets harder each day, each day I realize a little more that he's not home waiting for me, he's not going to text me and say he loves me or cuddle me to sleep. I hope you stay strong as you have been, and what you are feeling is normal do not feel bad.

widowat33

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2016, 12:42:16 AM »
First I want to say I'm sorry you had to join us here..
I don't post often on here anymore, but felt compelled to do so.
My story is similar to yours..my husband died in a single vehicle accident, was not wearing his seatbelt and his truck rolled several times. On a straight stretch, with no indication of trying to prevent it or stop (no tire marks on the road). They believe he fell asleep at the wheel as well..
I returned to college two months after his death, and did very well. I rarely cried over his death. I felt like there was something wrong with me...I will echo others here, but everyone experiences grief differently. Because I didn't cry a lot, or lie in bed all day, does not mean I didn't love him or miss him. I felt guilty about that as well. I don't anymore.
Two years later, I've finished school, have a fulfilling job and am truly happy. Some days are still hard, and I still love him and miss him, I always will. But through this I've gained an appreciation for life, and how we need to live each day to it's fullest. Life can be cut short as we all know. Recently my mom commented that when she heard he died she said she feared I would never be the same person. And truthfully I'm not. I've changed, in some ways for the better and in some ways for the worse.. But change is inevitable regardless of circumstance. Then she commented on how I'm a happy person, which almost made me feel bad, like maybe I shouldn't be happy..but I know he would want that for me.
Again everyone is different, and handles situations differently..there is no right or wrong way.

Hgadams

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Re: Am I functioning too well or just in shock? Is this at all normal?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2016, 02:34:54 PM »
I can't even put into words how thankful I am for all of your replies, your helpful advice, for making me feel normal, honestly it means so much to me and has been such a huge help. I think that Clifford was somebody I admired so much for being able to do all he did in such a short amount of time. His death has made me realize how short life really is . I have always been a procrastinator I guess and I'm realizing how time is not always promised. I have always been different than a lot of people so I guess having a widely different reaction to something shouldn't suprise me. Even though he isn't here, I still feel so connected to him. When I want to give up and give in to never leaving my room again, I can feel him not letting me if that makes sense at all. I guess I just want to honor him and live life because I still have one. It is so not fair that he doesn't. My heart hurts all the time, but I know I have no choice in the matter because nothing can be changed now. I just wish he was here to live life to the fullest with me.
- Hannah

[Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it's inspiring.]

Forever in My Heart.
Clifford Forrest Adams
04/15/1991- 06/25/2016
Our Love Story - https://youtu.be/2SLXa9D_wdg
Memorial - https://youtu.be/U3YSNLeajzM