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  1. I didn't really fall apart until about month 7. I mean, I wasn't ok but I was functioning up to that point. I had a very hard time during the second half of the first year. I tried very hard those first few months to run from grieving by staying busy and trying to keep everything the same as it was before but it eventually backfired spectacularly. In fact, I remember the exact moment when I thought to myself, "OMG, this is actually real. I'm going to have to deal with this." The lesson I learned was that I was going to have to "sit with it" for a while, let it wash over me and through me so that I could start to come out on the other side of it, which, for me began around 15 months. At that point, I felt steadier. I still wasn't ok but I was better. I felt like I could carry my grief. Feeling alone/out of place in social situations is something I experienced, as well. My solution to that was to isolate myself. I do not recommend this. This, too, backfired. Fortunately, because I had a little kid, there were things I had to go to so that forced me out. To be honest, I am still quite reclusive, which I never was before. One thing I did do was identify a small circle of people who I trusted could "take me as I am" and I maintained close relationships with them and that helped me get out more. I also went out alone to gigs and bars and talked to strangers or to no one at all, just places where no one new the (very public) story of my husband's illness and death. And I leaned in on the former iteration of this board to reassure myself that I was not, in fact, losing my mind, just as you have done with your post (you're not). So yes, it does get harder but it also gets better in time. Time was my very best friend in grief. Sending virtual support and solidarity.
  2. All I have to say to this conversation about blending or not blending families is this: blending is #$%^-ing brutal. I'm deep in it and I'm not giving up but it is no walk in the park.
  3. Toosoon2.0

    Asking in-laws for help and feel ashamed

    I'm sorry you're dealing with this. My father in law - who is on a fixed income - would do literally ANYTHING for his only grandchild, my daughter. I am grateful I've never had to ask him for help with something major but if I was in a situation like yours, I would probably pose it like a problem I am having, reaching out to them to discuss it or talk it over with them, see if they have any ideas, rather than asking for the money outright. It might just be a good way to open up the lines of communication about this. Does that make sense? Also, my husband was a teacher and I was a college professor, and we had childcare issues for a few years. When our daughter turned three or four we realized (much to our surprise) that she could go to a local private school that was actually far less expensive than daycare because we qualified for a "scholarship" based on our income. She's been in public school for years now (and as public school teachers that's where we wanted her to be) but it did solve a dilemma (including all day kindergarten) for us at that time before 1st grade. It was not free but it was an option we never considered because we figured it would be out of reach. Might be worth looking into?
  4. Solidarity, sudnly! You can do it! We are getting our house ready to put on the market, also for a big, long distance move (emotional post about leaving this house coming soon). We have to get rid of pretty much everything because we'll be in a city apartment instead of a suburban house. My 12 year old really doesn't like any of this. It is hotter than blazes here and of course our HVAC unit died on Sunday night @#$%^&* But we can do it! Good luck and vent here if you need to!
  5. Toosoon2.0

    Let's Celebrate!!!

    RAM - this is a great post! Congrats on completing your degree - that is major! - and to everyone else for their victories, big and small! Thanks for thinking of it. It is important to celebrate the victories, the big ones and the seemingly small ones (which, when you're grieving, should be celebrated perhaps even more than the big ones!) It has been a long time for me (6.5 years) but of course our loss remains a huge part of our lives. I will share a small victory. Here's the background: I somehow managed to survive keeping my kid on the swim team even during my husband's cancer and those early years of grief when I very much felt like everyone at our pool looked at us like freaks and thought or whispered "oh those poor people" or "did you hear what happened?" Because we were such "pariahs" during my husband's illness (he had brain cancer and a surgery that left scars that could not be hidden at the pool) and after his death, I came to despise (and still do) the pool and the petty, snotty moms there. But I suffered through 7 years practices sitting alone and through exhausting volunteer work timing races, etc. My daughter has never been the strongest swimmer, and neither one of us has a competitive bone in our bodies, but I liked - and still like - the fun, the solidarity and supportive attitude of the coaches ("We're all in this together.") - aspect of our swim team so I sucked it up. It was often the last place I wanted to be, but she enjoyed and still enjoys it, so I forced and force myself to do it. So, the small victory: On Tuesday she won a qualifying race for the first time ever. Blue ribbon in back stroke. She was so happy after many seasons and so many meets that ended in tears because she felt like she was letting her team down. It took us 7 years, but it was a real relief for me and also a small victory for us both.
  6. Toosoon2.0

    New Relationships....Post a Pic

    Congratulations! So happy for you both. If memory serves, we're somewhere along the same timeline; I remember you from YWBB. May you enjoy much joy, love and, as your tagline mentions, laughter in your new lives together. ❤️ Christine
  7. Toosoon2.0

    widowed 3rd may 2019

    Yes, I agree with Julester - do whatever you need to do. I actually called my late husband once from the office; it was just a natural impulse I guess. Sometimes, I did things not knowing at the time just how much I needed to do them. For example, having never had one iota of interest in soccer in my life, I spent an entire summer watching EVERY SINGLE match of the World Cup......wait for it.....in Spanish, which I, regretfully, do not speak. All of them. Every single one. It just kept going every day and I kept going with it and in some small way it kept me going as I became more and more invested in it (am now huge soccer fan). I think at the time, I just needed something to care about that wasn't my life. I also continued to sleep in my daughter's bed (with her, obvs) for months and months even after he died (had started doing it in the late stages of his illness). I knew I was sleeping poorly, the two of us crammed in a tiny bed but it didn't matter to me. That's what I needed at the time so I did it and didn't question it. I'm sorry for your loss, but I am glad you've found this safe, supportive space and hope it will give you some relief, as it has for me.
  8. Toosoon2.0

    Will it ever feel better

    I am sorry you are struggling. I am a college professor, and my husband died in February 2013 one week after spring semester started. Somehow I managed to get through spring semester but I found the end of the school year to be the world's most horrifying prospect - all of those events you cite, all of that time to confront reality, having to go out in public with my then 6 year old daughter (to the pool, for instance). It was not the lowest of my lows but it was a difficult time of year for me and remained that way for the first couple of years. Its great that you have realized that you need to work part time. I tried to do too much, too fast, and I paid for it dearly later on. Take this time to grieve. Grieving takes both time and energy. It took me longer to get to the realization that I couldn't just "power through," but once I got to that point, I started to treat grieving like a job. Something that required my attention and intention, but like I said, I didn't get there until about 6 or 7 months. I second what RyanAmysMom said above - the first year I went into Thanksgiving without a plan and it was a disaster. After that, I decided to skip Christmas entirely by taking my daughter away on vacation. With time, you will find your way through this. From the vantage point of six and a half years now, looking back there is no way I ever could have imagined the course my life would take. It does change and it does get better. But as I have said before and will surely say again, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Above all else, be kind to yourself, be forgiving of yourself, and try to remember that there is no timeline; there is no "proper" way to grieve - we all have similar but unique paths through this. Also, I made a lot of friends on the former iteration of this site, mostly people along the same timeline as me. We clocked hundreds of hours on the telephone, sometimes met up in person and many of those people I still count as trusted confidants to this day. I cannot stress enough how important those relationships were early on when I felt like no one in my "real life" could relate. If you feel comfortable reaching out to others here, I encourage you to do it. The people I connected with here have saved me and my sanity countless times. Sending support.
  9. Toosoon2.0

    I am so inexperienced at communication....

    I understand what you're saying. I met my now husband about 5 years ago, just under a year and a half after my husband died. It was long distance for two years and then he moved here but still traveled a lot for work and job interviews and trips back to the UK for family stuff. it took me a while to figure out that I (and my daughter) still re-experience some trauma related to people leaving, even just for the day (all people, not just my now husband). My late husband was in and out of hospitals and hospice so many times I lost count. Every night that he was in the hospital or in hospice, we'd go to bed not ever knowing if he would ever come back. That got deeply ingrained in our psyches and even physiologically. At first when my now husband would leave, I held that in. I tried to act like I was fine and cool as a cucumber but I eventually broke down - I will never forget it - it was the day after the 2016 election and we'd been up most of the night and I had an 8:30 am meeting and he had to go to a job interview for a few days in another state - and I just folded. Completely melted down in the driveway. It was like a scene from a movie. Since then, we have gotten much, much better at communicating and managing these moments when he goes away. He also became much more attentive to communicating with me while he is away. Its made a big difference. But he didn't know I was experiencing any of that because I didn't tell him until I finally hit my breaking point and let it out. I must sound like the world's most codependent human being and maybe I am but it was an aspect of my grief that I didn't know I had until our relationship started. He didn't know it because I hid it until I couldn't any longer. Telling him gently and in a non- defensive way how you feel in those moments could go a long way in resolving or improving that dynamic. Its not trivial if it doesn't feel trivial to you.
  10. Even though I do not consider myself a "young hot widow" (the name of the group she created), I feel a kinship with her as my husband died from the same horrific form of brain cancer. I also agree wholeheartedly that I would not be the person that I am today had it not been for my years with Scott and the child we brought into the world together. Also, I think every single person I know sent me this video in the last week or so.....
  11. Before we worked out our trans-continental arrangement two and a half years ago so we could be together full-time and permanently, whenever we could get together it was either "our time" exclusively, especially at the beginning or we were doing something as a family. One or the other, and we made sure the children understood that. That way, the expectations of five different people of vastly different ages with vastly different interests did not get all tangled up. Once we tried to blend it all together permanently, it became a much more complex organism, one that has challenged the strength of our relationship more than once. There was a lot of guess work involved and we missed the mark a couple of times (and we inevitably will again) because we were both doing it for the first time. Even though his children are older and in the UK (and we are here in the States), there have been some tough times (jealousies, miscommunications, disappointments, etc.). It takes a lot of patience and energy and forgiveness and commitment to blend families, in my experience.
  12. Hi SB - you know my story so I won't retell it again BUT I wanted to say that although I spent a good deal of time with Andy's parents and his sister at Christmases and visits in the summer, when they died, I chose not to go. I felt that, as someone relatively new to the family, it was my place to leave them to grieve with memories that had nothing to do with me and to make decisions without my distracting presence. Andy understood and agreed. Now, when his daughter graduates from college in two years, I will want to be there. Though it is not always smooth sailing between us, I have been a part of this whole process and feel like I should be there, unless she says she doesn't want me there. I think you need to do what makes you comfortable; each situation is different; if it was me, in the situation you describe, I would be supportive but I would not go. Hugs.
  13. Toosoon2.0

    It has been a whole week

    Hi there. I am sorry for your loss and sorry you had to join us here but I am glad you found us. It has been six years for me and I have three bits of advice that I wish had had or had taken then. 1) when people offer to help, let them. I should have done this but didn't. 2) If you can take time off of work, do it. I didn't do this either, which in retrospect, was a crazy thing for me to do (ie. go straight back to work) and 3) Don't be to hard on yourself and don't try to do too much, too fast. This is a process that takes both time and energy. I ran so fast and so hard (telling myself it was all of the things I was suddenly responsible for on my own, and I wore myself out and eventually hit a massive, painful, ugly grief wall (ie. nervous breakdown) that nearly lost me my career. I see now looking back that it didn't have to play out that way. Lean on people here; I know this board saved me many times from madness and I have made lifelong friends here both in real life and virtually. As others will most certainly say, above all, be good to yourself. This truly is marathon, not a sprint. Sending you so much love and empathy.
  14. Toosoon2.0

    Getting Rid of His/Her Clothes

    Hi there, that therapist doesn't know what he's talking about. My husband was in a coma in hospice for five weeks. I was working full time and had a 6 year old so was splitting my time pretty much 24/7 between those three things. My husband had been bedridden for weeks before hospice and the coma and the bedroom and everything in it felt like it was no longer a comfortable space (I had also been sleeping with our daughter for months at that point). I no longer remember what prompted me to do this (insomnia, perhaps) but I just felt I needed to give his things away. I actually did it before he died. I got everything together and asked some friends to take it all the men's shelter. I was so helpless at the time and felt a strong need for his things to be distributed to those in need. I also knew I couldn't bear to come home once he died and have it all there. However, it took me a full year to clear out his basement studio - to even go in it for that matter (he was an artist). And even then, I called the young man who got his teaching job at our district's high school and asked him to help me. He took pretty much everything for the school or his own art practice and then called a friend and they hauled away the things no one wanted. I definitely needed the presence and support of others to accomplish these tasks. After that I took to Facebook and gave away major items like his bicycle and power tools. I wanted them to go to people who could use them and would appreciate the connection to Scott. This took me even longer for some reason. I also kept a lot because I do have space and I wanted some things for my daughter who is now 12. Thus far she's expressed little to no interest in them but I have a feeling that will change. Anyway, your grief, your timeline. Don't let anyone tell you there is a right or wrong. Sending support your way.
  15. Toosoon2.0

    There are worse things than death

    There but for the grace of god go I. Words absolutely fail. Unimaginable, incomprehensible. Portside, if Andy and I can do anything, please just let us know.


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