Time Frame > Shock Wears Off, Reality Sets In ( 6 to 12 months)

Intro, new here, 6 months today, not sure WTF I'm doing...

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I lost my husband, Justin, on July 19, 2017, to stage four esophageal cancer just 7 weeks after his diagnosis. He was 40, I am 42. We were married three weeks after he was diagnosed, and were married a month and two days before he passed, with me laying in the hospital bed with his arms around me. I can still hear the sounds of his fast, then slow, heartbeat, and the rattle in his lungs, in my right ear that was pressed to his chest. I get afraid when those sounds dim. It was the most horrible, painful sound, but I am the one with the distinct privilege to have that memory, and I will hold onto that forever. The details surrounding his sudden turn for the worse are too long and painful to get into in this introduction, but maybe someday. I’m positive my story is not unique.

This was a second marriage for us both, and between us we have 5 children, two young teens, two tweens and a little guy. We met in 2015, me coming from a 20 year relationship with an emotionally abusive ex-husband, and him from a relationship of similar length, although his ex cheated on him and that is why they split. So our stories were very different, I chose to leave after horrible abuse, and he was left for someone else. When we met we were both still going through what we coined “the divorce shakes,” but we quickly became each other’s best friend, most trusted confidant and our hearts were instantly connected. Neither of us was looking to get into another relationship (both just 6 months out of our marriages), but we know we were meant to meet, and in our two and a half years together we achieved a happiness neither of us knew was possible. We both finally knew what it meant to love completely and to be loved unconditionally. We both learned to trust again. I didn’t know a love like ours could really exist — we were told by people around us that it filled a room. And it did. It was the thing of fairytales. Finally, after years of misery with my ex, I was safe. I was protected. I was happy. I was loved unconditionally. I was put on a pedestal. We were planning our future together, remodeling my home to add more bedrooms and living space, so that each of our children would have what they deserved. Justin proposed to me on a mountain top in Colorado, in front of our very best friends, in April of 2017. We were planning a July wedding, until he got sick and just wasn’t getting better. After too many visits to the doctor and specialists to count, when he completely lost his voice and nearly the ability to swallow, his chiropractor found the huge mass pushing on his esophagus. We were determined to beat this (we knew it wasn’t curable, but it was treatable, or so we were told), and we decided to get married right away. We married in our backyard, in a beautiful, surprise ceremony for those same best friends who were with us on that mountain. I can’t say it was the best day of my life, because every day with Justin was the best day. And now he’s gone and I am lost. Completely and utterly lost.

I have always been the caretaker. I got my shit done and I did it well. I am educated, a professional, and my career was great. Now, as I face the 6 month anniversary of Justin’s death, I can barely work. I hate everyone, I hate everything, I have been diagnosed with severe depression, and I have tremendous guilt that I can’t yet function. I have primary custody of my three kids who loved Justin so much, and by the grace of something, I still get Justin’s kids part time. Our children bonded as quickly and preciously as Justin and I did, just another sign to us that we were meant to be. People keep telling me “but you have your kids, they need you!” And I want to scream “no shit!” but I just nod and exclaim my undying love for them. But the truth is that these children represent pain to me. And it’s a horrible thing to admit. Is this a thing or am I a terrible parent now to boot?

In the aftermath of Justin’s cancer and passing I have realized that a lot of Justin’s friends (who I thought were also mine) just can’t handle this. These are people I know Justin would want me to count on for help, but they have disappeared, almost as if they blame me for what happened. I am constantly being questioned, whispered about, accused of lying, second-guessed...about finances, his diagnosis, his belongings, etc. and it’s painful and exhausting. I can’t even get rid of his toothbrush for God’s sake! It’s almost as if this tragedy has fueled people’s love of drama, and it’s not helping me heal at all; it just makes me isolate further.

Even as I write this I can hear my best dude telling me “get your shit together!,” as he’d often tease me. I just want a fast forward button, because the constant pain and sense of failure I feel is killing me. I’m not suicidal because I am not selfish, but I understand it. I just want to be where he is.

Ah, kflex,

I'm so sorry you had to join our club.  Your beautiful post, as sad as it is, is a tribute to the great love you had/have with Justin.  If you continue to read here, you will find so many similarities to the stories of others, including the loss of friends, holding onto a toothbrush, the expectations that others place on us to function, and how we do that ourselves.

You are grieving just fine.  You don't have to rush anything.  You have been through enough in life and you have every right to miss what you have lost.  Be kind to yourself!




In the early days, and you are still in the early days,  I too wasn't suicidal, I couldn't do that to my kids, but at times I hated their existence because it prevented me from fading away to be with him. You're not alone. You've been through a horrible experience, your world that had finally been righted has been thrown off its axis. You will find your way through this though, one hour at a time in your own time; all of us that are further out are a testament to that.

Keep posting,  keep reading, keep drinking your water.  We're here for you.

Thank you for saying this. I'm very hard on myself, always have been, so being a shitty mom just adds so much pressure and guilt. I feel like I'm failing at absolutely everything, except for binging TV...work, cleaning, kids, family, friends, all of it. The guilt on top of grief is paralyzing.


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