Time Frame > Newly Widowed (1 day to 6 months)

First Birthday without him

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Hi everyone first post here.  I lost my husband Douglas at the age of 28 back on June 11th after complications from anesthesia after surgery. He was born with spina bifida and paralyzed from the waist down but he worked full time and drove a big truck. He loved skydiving and wakeboarding. We were together for almost 10 years and married almost 9 of those. We met when we were 17 and got married at 19 years old despite everyone's opinion on how we were too young and we were still going strong. I feel so empty and lost without him, every day is just so hard.

Today is my 28th birthday and the first birthday I am spending without him. I wanted to include him as much as possible so my father in law and a group of his friends did a skydive jump with his ashes. I thought with that event maybe I wouldn't feel so alone but the loneliness was worse than ever, even when surrounded by all those people. I just wish so much he was here with me today more than ever. I know this is just the beginning of many firsts without him and I'm overwhelmed thinking about how to handle it all.

Hi, Megan,

I'm so sorry you lost your beloved Douglas and at such a young age.  Douglas sounds like an amazing man and I'm glad the two of you knew such beautiful love together.  My first husband also used a wheelchair full time because of his motor disability.

Loneliness is hard, eh?  Even amongst people who love us, we still can feel the yearning for that one very special person that was our spouse, lover, partner in life.  Fortunately, most younger people have not had to experience such great loss and they cannot understand.

But we do. 

Your loss is so recent and your grief is so fresh.  It is almost impossible to think long-term at this point.  For now, try to survive each day.  Focus on taking care of yourself right now.  The future will still come and you will gradually be able to think about it more.  Anticipation of the future is often harder to cope with than what actually happens.  All of us have made it through those first weeks and then months.  You will make it, too.

Keep reading and posting and venting if that helps you.



Hi Megan,

I'm sorry for your loss. The year of firsts is simply hard and navigating it is tricky. All you can do is try trial and error and see what works. It's tough but be kind to yourself and give yourself as much slack as you want. There are no strict rules and there is no timeline that any of us can give you but what makes sense for you.

Birthday hugs.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this pain. It's been 16 months for me now but I had my first birthday just 3 weeks after my husband died and just 2 weeks after that was his birthday and 3 weeks after that was our baby's second birthday.

At the time I thought I was going to die from the aching in my heart but somehow I made it through those first horrible milestones and you will too.

My advice is just survive and the day will pass. I know the loneliness feels unbearable at times but that too will eventually lift a little. Hugs to you, birthdays suck!

The firsts are so hard.  It's hard when there are no longer any firsts.  It's all just hard.  I'm so sorry for your loss.  I spent my first birthday without him alone, to avoid that feeling you describe - of feeling alone among people.  Either way it's just hard, there's no way around the pain.  The firsts also come with a lot of second-guessing and a feeling I describe as "if I was inside, I wanted to be outside, and if I was outside, I wanted to be inside."  But, now, from a few years out, I realize that all my decisions (even ones I would do differently) were right for me at whatever time they were made.  My widow friends and I, on each other's birthdays, didn't feel, "Happy birthday," was appropriate, given how much pain we were in, so we started saying, "Birthday," to each other instead.  So: Birthday!  I'm thinking of you. 


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