Young Widow Forum

Time Frame => Newly Widowed (1 day to 6 months) => Topic started by: Elle on February 20, 2018, 07:56:56 AM

Title: New Member...but not so "young" :-)
Post by: Elle on February 20, 2018, 07:56:56 AM
Hello, I am a new member. Thank you for having this forum.   I like the catchy name and hope to become friends with many of you.  Four months ago my 66 year old husband passed away from a heart attack.  He had a pre-existing heart condition and was suffering from COPD.  We had met at work in 1980 and been married 33 years. He worked there up till when he went on disability.  I am still working at the same company.
 I was looking forward to retirement and being able to finally spend more time with my husband.  But, that never happened.  I have many happy memories of us together over the years; including some of the difficult times which we weathered through.
I think I became desensitized after five years of marriage with the first shock of my husband’s major heart attack in 1989.   I just kept going like the “Ever Ready Battery” on “work mode”. I didn’t have time to relax or be by his side.  We were young then, and I had to keep on working at my fulltime job if I wanted us to still live in our house.  Relatives and coworkers were very insensitive then.  And looking back, I think they had no idea of the stress I was under.  I HAD to work while he was recovering at home.  We had a three year old child at the time, and it was my daily chore of taking him to daycare and then off to work I go.   My immediate family seemed clueless.  And they gave very little moral support.   I worked fulltime through all the four other heart attacks he had over the years as well; and my husband and I soldiered on.   The doctor told my husband after the fifth heart attack that he would not survive a sixth.  I felt forewarned, and prepared for the worse.
One of the best things he did was quit smoking 15 years ago which I do believe extended his life a few years.  Although the previous years of his smoking caught up to him later when he was diagnosed with COPD. 
During the past 1 ½ years while he was home on disability for his COPD, I made sure that I could be around him as much as possible on the weekends.  I also planned several mini vacations last summer which were a lot of fun for us at Cape Cod and New Hampshire.  I knew that he had a short life expectancy because of the dramatic shortness of his breath.  Simply walking on the beach took a lot of effort out of him.
I still think of myself as married to him and have no interest yet in meeting someone else (now).  Almost every night I have dreams of him.  I suppose it is my subconscious sorting things out for me.  
I have begun rearranging some of the rooms of my house.  I’ve given many pieces of his clothing to a friend who takes things to the homeless.  Other clothing items I will donate to the Salvation Army and then a few  pieces of clothing I’ll keep for myself or give to my son or grandson.
I am storing in heavy duty bins some of his personal items I am not quite sure what to do with.
Since his death, the only time I went out to eat by myself at a restaurant was on my birthday.  I don’t want to EVER eat alone in a restaurant again.  It is so saddening.
My husband was the cook.  He often said to me and I agree, one of the things I will miss about him when he gone is his cooking.  I think he would be quite amazed how I’m doing!   I actually find some comfort in cooking.   Thank goodness for my crockpot and Pinterest!   
The biggest challenge I have now is where to go and what to do on vacation this summer?   I always enjoy going on vacations.   It is a time for me to breath.  But I don’t want to feel “alone”, if you know what I mean.   Any suggestions? 
Title: Re: New Member...but not so "young" :-)
Post by: beth_krkswidow on February 20, 2018, 06:57:33 PM
So sorry for your loss. No suggestions other than give yourself whatever you need. At your point i was catatonic. You sound so very much better and farther along than I.  But be prepared for many manny ups and downs. There is no roadmap. There is no normal. Just know this is a life saving place to come when you want or need. Again, so sorry you had to join us here
Title: Re: New Member...but not so "young" :-)
Post by: Julester3 on February 20, 2018, 09:31:45 PM
I read this earlier on my phone but I needed a laptop to better respond. Sorry for your loss of your husband. We all have our quirks as widow/ers and we all cope and handle different facets of life differently. Just remember this isn't a race and don't feel rushed to make any decisions unless you want to. I am sorry to read how you've had lack of support through your husband's illness. I know how on-going and difficult heart issues can be. My father had several strokes and heart attacks and every time I had to watch my mother try to work through it all when he had to finally retire due to his health. My siblings and I stayed home as long as we could to offer support and help so my parents could keep their home. I know this made our family connection stronger. One Thanksgiving morning, his heart just gave out and he was gone. I remember my mom being okay though. She was sad because they were married for 40 years the year he died. She was relieved that the pain and discomfort was gone for him and he could be at peace. She hated to see him struggle through the years and decline/lose abilities with every heart issue set back he had. She was also a mind over matter type person and if she cried, she never did so in front of us even though we were all adults at that time.

I do think it's wise to put things you don't know what to do with aside for the time being and tackle it when you are ready. Seeing you have a kid, don't forget to consider things or mementos that they might want or you might want to consider for them. An interesting thing I've learned from friends who lost a parent as a child was the lack of mementos that could have been saved for them when they got older. Adult children still yearn for a connection to their lost parent. My kids are teens and I have been sure to be mindful of their wants from their father's things and ask when I am in a mood to tackle something.

You do sound like you have some things worked out and that is good progress. You don't need to have solutions for everything but knowing what you can handle and work on it good. I am an advocate for using one's interests as personal therapy. I craft - a lot. But, it keeps me grounded and helps quiet my busy mind which can run a hundred different places all at once. It also fills the quiet times as well for me. It's great that you've picked up cooking and traveling is a good idea but maybe try a group tour or a vacation centered on another activity like an expo or convention of interest. Go on a cooking tour or a wine tour. That way you are with people and not necessarily too alone but can hold back and stay at the hotel and chill if you so choose. Just an idea. I tend to go on trips with either my kids or with friends for like a "moms retreat."

So hugs for you today.
Title: Re: New Member...but not so "young" :-)
Post by: Elle on February 21, 2018, 07:20:49 AM
Thank you, Julester3 and Beth,

I appreciate your replies.  I haven't discussed in depth with anyone about my widowhood other than here and it is great that there is a group such as this to share what is on ones mind. 

Presently, I am preparing for income tax season.  My husband did the taxes all those years with our accountant.  This will be my first doing it myself.  I think I have everything in order to present to my accountant.

The other thing I am preparing for is a "will".  Neither of us had one.  And I feel it is very necessary now that I have one made.  I have put together a folder of important papers to go over with my lawyer soon.

And lastly,  my saving grace is I am also a "crafter", Beth. :-)  Also, a gardener.  I tend to have a good size garden every year in the summer.  But, I think I will downsize it a lot to just a couple favorite veggies and flowers.  Last summer, my husband was able to water the garden.  He enjoyed it.  Recall him telling me that hummingbirds hovered over him.  But, since I work, I don't really want to spend an hour a day watering the plants.  And, it is just "me" now.  I kinda like to discover some good farmers' markets.  :-)  And also check out Boston's market near Faneuil Hall a few times in the summer. 

That's about all for now.  Elle
Title: Re: New Member...but not so "young" :-)
Post by: Toosoon2.0 on February 21, 2018, 12:30:32 PM
Welcome.  I am sorry you have had to join us.  I just wanted to say regarding gardening: my garden has saved me over these few years since my husband go sick and died.  Reading probably ranks 1st among the activities that saved me but the garden is a sanctuary where, for some reason I cannot explain, everything is ok.  Maybe it is taking care of growing things that cannot talk back (unlike my 11 year old) or the fact that it produces new life, I don't know but it has been my safe haven.  This year I actually cried when I had to admit that my brussels sprouts and cabbages got zapped by the cold before Thanksgiving - I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my veggies!  I hope you will continue to cultivate your garden this summer.  I wasn't expecting my garden to be the gift of comfort that it has become but am grateful for it and cannot wait for winter to end so I can get back out there.  Sending virtual support to you.