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Everything posted by Wheelerswife

  1. Wheelerswife

    There are worse things than death

    I don’t even know what to say.
  2. Wheelerswife

    Anniversary

    Hugs to you, Donna. I was also married 17 years to my first husband. In June, we would have been married 27 years. I didn’t even get 4 years with my second husband. I can’t predict the future, but I hope I won’t grow old alone! I hope you have good memories on your anniversary. Maureen
  3. Wheelerswife

    When to go back to work

    Hi, Melissa (and all of the newbies), I was a long term extreme caregiver (18 years, with the last 16 months 24/7 with a night ventilator). I was also a physical therapist. I took some time on FMLA after my first husband died. I did go back to work, but ultimately, within a year, I made some changes, and I never went back to my 26-year full time profession. Only you can figure out whether work can help you put one foot in front of the other. I was back back in school, playing around, really, when my second husband (a professor) died unexpectedly. If it wasn’t for school at that point, I don’t know how I would have gotten through my days. School (like work, for some people) forced me to read, write, and show up somewhere 5 days a week. I finished the degree I was working on, added another, and finished my career change. Perhaps work will be good for you, as school was for me. Hugs to you! Maureen
  4. Wheelerswife

    Another anniversary

    8 years ago today, I married my second great love. Sadly, he died before we reached our third wedding anniversary. We married on the beach on the island of Hawaii. It was a small and poignant ceremony. Two days earlier, we had released leis into Hilo Harbor in remembrance of our late spouses. We spent both of the anniversaries we had together in Peru, traveling with students. I have so many wonderful memories of this date. But my heart breaks, knowing that if he hadn’t died, we would have had so many more amazing experiences together. Sigh. Thanks for the space to share. Maureen
  5. Wheelerswife

    Wish I could die today

    Sending more hugs to you. It has been over 5 years since I lost my second husband. We had an intense and amazing run that lasted less than 4 years when he died unexpectedly in his sleep. We had never been happier. His death (and subsequent health issues for me) knocked me off my feet. It hasn’t been easy. But - I persist. I truly hate being miserable. I know it is possible to find a way to be happy again after losing a spouse, because I found happiness after losing my first husband. This time, that search for happiness is different. So far, it has not included meeting someone new. But it does involve changing careers, slowly getting my feet under me again, and keeping contact with great friends who have seen me through my own version of hell. I have to believe that I can have happiness again (in whatever form it takes) because the thought of living the rest of my life miserable or just “meh” isn’t good enough. I still I’ll miss my guys terribly. I think about what I have lost every single day. Moving forward doesn’t diminish the past or my memories or the pain. But it allows for something new that can bring purpose and richness to my life. I’m going to get to a place where I can honestly say I am happy again, because for me, staying in this place of pain isn’t a good choice for living out the rest of my life. I feel your your pain and I hope that it will start to abate for you. Maureen
  6. Wheelerswife

    Ashby MA, Flash Bago

    I have an event at the college on the 6th and will drive up afterwards. I don’t know the exact hours of the event, but I will let you know when I know. Maureen
  7. Wheelerswife

    Ashby MA, Flash Bago

    I don’t have anything impeding me at this point.
  8. Wheelerswife

    Ashby MA, Flash Bago

    I am open on those weekends. I can flex with what works for others. Big hugs. Maureen
  9. Wheelerswife

    This loss really got me

    Compounded losses. I’m so sorry, Eileen. Hugs, Maureen
  10. Wheelerswife

    Not sure where to start

    Hi, Lisa. I’m sorry to have to welcome you to our club. I had the opportunity to meet Michael a couple of times and I was saddened to learn of his death. I hadn’t seen him in at least a couple of years, but I had also heard of the tragic death of his son. I hope you find this website to be a place where you can share your thoughts with others who understand. It has been awhile since I was in your area to get together with other wids, but perhaps we will get a chance to meet in the future. I won’t be able to attend Michael’s service this weekend, but I know that some of my friends are planning to be there. I will be thinking of you then. Hugs, Maureen
  11. Wheelerswife

    How to handle triggers?

    I don't know if there is a right and wrong answer here. Your wife was a vibrant part of your life and I think that you might naturally want to reach to those things that trigger memories. It seems like you have a balanced approach to your life at this point...and it really hasn't been that long for you. I think it would be a bigger problem if you tried to suppress your memories and if you don't find ways (like crying) to express your grief. It won't always be as emotional as it is right now. The intensity fades over time. I hope you can keep your optimism. I know that I hate being miserable, and I have to keep hope that life will be better in the future. Hugs, Maureen
  12. Wheelerswife

    I'm an orphan

    Welcome to our club, Sheryl. I’m sorry you had to pay the price of admission. Sometimes, the very early days are the easiest for addressing logistics after we lose a spouse. Take advantage of the energy when you have it. We we will be here if you get to a slow down or standstill. Maureen
  13. Wheelerswife

    Michael797 Radio Hell

    I got this news this afternoon. Michael and I talked quite a bit in the early days after he lost his wife. It has been quite awhile since we were in contact, but I am still saddened to know that he is gone. He was someone who wasn’t afraid to put the stark reality of his despair out there, and I believe that allowed others to express themselves as well. Hugs to his fiancée. Maureen
  14. Wheelerswife

    I'm an orphan

    Hugs to you. Maureen
  15. Wheelerswife

    Widowed on Dec 29, 2018

    I’m so sorry you newer widowed folks had to join our club. I’m not a parent and haven’t had to figure out how to grieve and hold life together for young children. I just want to say that each of us has different circumstances that we face, and while it is helpful to see how others cope, we cannot be hard on ourselves if we don’t seem to be able to manage as well as someone else. I lost my first husband after a long decline. His death was somewhat sudden, but not unexpected. My second husband died unexpectedly in his sleep. My reaction to each loss was very different. Be be gentle with yourself. Let your own coping strategy be okay for you. Use whatever resources you find helpful. Reach out and make acquaintance with others wearing similar shoes. Hugs to all, Maureen
  16. Wheelerswife

    Signs- Pennies From The Other Side

    Ah, Judy. I just read read your essay. Thank you so much for sharing! This is the kind of writing and insight that I miss from YWBB. There truly were some individuals who could articulate their thoughts and stories in a manner that could feed my broken soul. The writing of seasoned widow(er)s balanced some of the raw and acute pain of newbies and others who finally found a place to openly share their stories of loss. I would love love to see more posts like this one, as well as questions and vents from people in all stages of widowhood. Maureen
  17. Wheelerswife

    A new WIDDA heading your way

    I, too, found YWBB after my first husband died - just 4 weeks after he died. I took a leap of faith and attended my first bago just 2 weeks later. The people I met that day are amongst my dearest friends. That was in 2009. I took advantage of just about everything that YWBB had to offer, including the chat room that was affiliated with the site. I spent my evenings chatting with people across the US and abroad. We laughed, we cried, we shared our stories. I met my second husband through a group conversation that started in that chat room. YWBB was a treasure trove of wisdom and experience. I read there for hours every day in my first months. Over the years, I started posts of my own and responded to many, many others. I attended many bagos over the years. After I remarried and relocated half a continent away from my earliest widow friends, I would return back and call for everyone to get together. I had traveled back east for social reasons and I was surrounded by my widow friends from YWBB the day my second husband died unexpectedly. That night, I posted on YWBB about my husband’s death, and I received an amazing outpouring of support from people who I knew, as well as so many that I didn’t know. Just days later, I started developing medical problems and eventually had surgery. I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. Again, there was an outpouring of support from YWBB members. One friend that I had not yet met in person compiled a book of messages from board members. A couple of weeks later, board members from several states came and spent the weekend before my first oncology visit with me - and although it was just a couple of months since I had lost my husband, we had a wonderful weekend. That is true friendship. I was was so dismayed when I read that YWBB was shutting down. YWBB held such an integral part of my history. I frantically tried to save posts and messages that I was afraid of forgetting. It was as if my hometown had been destroyed by fire. I know that sounds dramatic, but it was the home base of dear friends, as well as the physical space where I had met my first husband. I know that many seasoned members of the old board had stayed on to offer the kind support that they received when they were newer widow(er)s. When the board shut down, many made the decision to pass the torch to others. I understand. They had paid back for the support they received. Others stepped up to the plate and started this website. This is site has definitely been quieter. Social media has options that were not available or as prevalent when I joined YWBB. Perhaps that is one reason for less traffic here. I found YWBB through my good friend Google. Perhaps this site doesn’t have as big a presence. This site could be stronger if more if more people who read would feel more comfortable posting and responding. I should respond more often. I challenge others to post and respond more frequently. Start conversations. Seek out others who live near you or have circumstances to which you relate. Others on this road can be a great source of support. Hugs go to all, Maureen
  18. Hi. I'm no expert in mental illness (although I have PTSD-like anxiety myself). I'm so sorry for your loss. Grief can really throw you a curve ball. You are asking what you can do to hang on - and you don't want to be hospitalized - I assume against your will. Perhaps you can contact a hotline? Is there a therapist or trusted person you can confide in? Do you have any say in when the memorial service will be held? Can other family members be trusted to consider your needs and relay them to your partner's family? It seems pretty critical that you take care of yourself - and if you are harming yourself now, taking care of your mental health needs seems to be the biggest priority right now. I wish you well. Maureen
  19. Wheelerswife

    Going back to work

    Hi, beanless, I was able to take several weeks off from work after my first husband died under the Family and Medical Leave Act. My doctor was willing to complete the documentation with some kind of vague mental health diagnosis, if I remember correctly. My employer bought it and I felt protected - I kept my benefits while I pulled my exhausted self together. I didn’t find a lot of sympathy once I returned to work, but I did take advantage of flex time to align some of my hours for when there were fewer other employees in the office. A year later, I ended up in what turned out to be a career change. I lost my tolerance for people who didn’t care (I will admit that I didn’t know what their pain could be) but I worked in health care and and I didn’t want to be a part of a team of people who didn’t give patient care the attention it deserved. I wish that that people could understand widow brain. I also wish my challenges were better than they are. I’m a list maker. I overthink everything. I wish I had my former level of confidence. I’m still a work in progress! Maureen
  20. Wheelerswife

    New loss, old pain

    Hugs to you, my old colleague. I’m sorry for your additional loss. Your new husband has not lived this history with you and you are left reliving old grief with new grief for your dear friend. I’m sorry Tim isn’t here for you. I don’t know about you, but most of my family just doesn’t understand that grief resurfaces around days like birthdays and is compounded by additional losses, especially for those of us who experience the unnatural loss of someone who has not made it to old age. I’m glad you have a place to express your grief here. Hugs to you. I’m not a believer in the afterlife, but it sure would be nice if there is one where our spouses and other friends and family are having peaceful reunions. Maureen
  21. Wheelerswife

    Hello

    Hi, Cae. The group that is loosely based in southern New England typically gets together for afternoon bagos on weekends. The last time we got together in December, it was at my house just south of Springfield, MA. However, some of us got together last September for a weekend on the southern Maine coast. I have the travel bug, and I have been to many get-togethers that we call bagos (there is a story about how that term was coined) across the country and in Canada and Australia as well. I have met with just 2 or 3 others - all the way up to 25 or more. Most have not been huge gatherings. The last one at my house had perhaps 7 people. As RIFF said, you can post something in your area - perhaps meeting at a restaurant -and watch for responses from others. Feel free to PM me if you want. Maureen
  22. Wheelerswife

    Hello

    I'm not in VT or NH, but we do have a couple of people in those states that have joined in gatherings in Connecticut and Massachusetts. And Maine, too. Keep an eye out for future get-togethers if you are interested. I don't know of any currently planned, but we do try to advertise them here if we decide we are getting antsy to have a widowbago (or bago for short). Maureen
  23. Hugs to you. I’m so sorry you lost your wonderful love. This is an incredibly sad situation, and that is made more difficult when you don’t have any control over what is happening with the arrangements. There are important things to remember. Patrick chose you as his family. That matters, even if his family doesn’t understand that. You can always choose to find a way to celebrate Patrick’s life that reflects the person you knew. His family’s experience and perspective might be very different from your reality. You don’t have any control over what they think. It may be very difficult, but you may have to take a back seat to his family. No matter what, nobody can take away from you what you had with Patrick. Hold onto your memories. Grieve as best you can through the next days and weeks. The limelight will fall away. (It always does, no matter what the family circumstances are.). You may need to negotiate with his family to get anything you might want in regard to his arrangements. If you can do your best to respect their grief under difficult circumstances and maintain a certain amount of decorum, you might have more success. The loss of a life partner is something that many others can’t understand or fathom. This is especially true for people as young as you. This is one reason that this site exists. I hope you find support here. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. Maureen
  24. Wheelerswife

    Widowed Jan 16, 2019.

    We all survive. Eventually, in different timeframes, we learn to function without our love with us. Many of us truly thrive again, even though we thought it would be impossible. It it is hard to have hope at this point for you. I am glad you found this site and are reaching out. It was through the predecessor of this board that I first found connection with other widowed people. I saw them laughing (and crying) and I knew then that I could laugh as well as cry. I have actually been widowed twice. I found a second great love (although that is not what happiness might mean for everyone) and then I lost my second love as well. I’m still upright and working to make my life happier. I truly hate being miserable, and that motivates me to keep working toward being able to live a more satisfying life. Hang in there. Perhaps you can find a grief counselor (try a local hospice for recommendations) and just keep getting up every day and taking things one day at a time. Hugs, Maureen
  25. Wheelerswife

    Newly Widowed Again

    xoxo Maureen
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