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Everything posted by Wheelerswife

  1. Wheelerswife

    Movie alert

    The Art of Racing in the Rain. It can be a tearjerker for wids and kids. It has a dog in it, too, so it might look attractive for the family. As as an aside, Kevin Costner is the voice of the dog. Kevin knew my friend Fly - one of us - who died almost 2 years ago. I could hear Fly speaking to me in this movie. No, not literally, but figuratively. Philosophy of life kinda thing.... Maureen
  2. Wheelerswife

    Speechless

    I have had some terribly insensitive things said to me. About 99% of the time, I give people a pass. But...there are just some people who should know better...like my gynecologist. I saw her in the weeks after my first husband died. He happened to have a significant physical disability and needed a lot of care at the end of his life. When I told her he had recently died, she patted me on the back and said, "You will be better off without him." I was so shocked I didn't know what to say! Maureen
  3. Wheelerswife

    Returning to Oz…

    I haven’t posted a ramble in quite some time. It is time for another, I suppose. I will try to give the Cliff Notes version of my story for those who may not be familiar. I have been a member of this club for almost 10 years – class of 2009. September 22nd, to be exact. Just typing that statement leaves me gasping. 10 years! I lost my husband Barry to the expected complications of a progressive neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I bought into early widowhood when I fell in love with a man with a disease that would end his life early. He was initially predicted to die by age 5. He made it to 53. We were together about 18 ½ years and married over 17. About 6 months after he died, I started a conversation with a wonderful widower named John who I met on the previous iteration of this website (YWBB). We lived half the country apart, but we decided to meet, and we developed a very deep love. I moved to Kansas to be with him and we married a year after we met. We lived life as fully as we were able. We were happy. We still missed our late spouses, but we were able to move forward. If I can be honest, we were both happier than we had ever been. 5 ½ years ago, when I was back on the east coast visiting friends, John died in his sleep 5 days shy of his 57th birthday. He failed to respond to messages, and I called the police to check on him. Unbeknownst to us, he had significant heart failure. Fortunately, I was surrounded by widow friends the day he died and the next day as well, and then I returned home to face the emptiness. At 51, I had been widowed twice. And…to complicate matters, 12 days after John died, I started having medical issues, ended up having surgery 4 weeks later, and was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer. I just wanted it to kill me. It hasn’t, and I have passed the 5-year mark without recurrence (which is very rare for my rare smooth muscle cancer.) My first career was a 26-year jaunt as a physical therapist. Once I moved to Kansas, I came to the unexpected conclusion that I no longer wanted to practice. My husband, who was a university professor, supported me in my decision and encouraged me to take advantage of tuition reimbursement and go back to school to study whatever I wished. I was finishing up one degree when my husband died. The university community was devastated with the death of my beloved and well-respected husband and I found compassion and support at the university. I finished that degree (through surgery and a cancer diagnosis as well) and then went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Higher Education Student Affairs. 2 years ago, after finishing my degrees and still grieving, I decided to move back to the east coast to be closer to family, old friends, and wid friends as well. My 90-year old father had been diagnosed with lung cancer, I wanted to be able to support my mother through his illness, and I just needed to get away from the reminders of what I had lost. I rented my house in Kansas to a young professor. I spent a few months with my parents. My father remained stable – and still is 2 ½ years after diagnosis – not sure he even has a malignancy. It took me the better part of a year to find a job in my field. I loved my work and my students – but not my boss or the institution. It just wasn’t a good fit. I found out at the end of January that my renters of my house in Kansas were leaving. That started my thinking about the possibilities of selling my house, renting again – or moving back. My decision was confirmed in April, when I traveled back to participate in a day the university has named for my husband that celebrates research and creative activities on campus. I missed the small-town life in rural Kansas (hate the rat race of New England!) and I realized that 2 years away had brought me to a better place emotionally. So…I have clicked the heels of my ruby-red shoes and I have moved back to Kansas! I just started a new job at the university where my husband taught and where I earned my last 2 degrees. It feels good to be here. I never thought I would move back into my house – which I plan to redecorate over time – but I am here. I miss him. A lot. But…I feel more ready to build my own life again. I realize how I walked around the first 3 ½ years after John died with my eyes on the ground. I needed to leave here to start looking up again. The university keeps my husband’s legacy alive – and I have been welcomed back with open arms. I guess I am thinking…there’s no place like home! Thanks for reading... Maureen
  4. Wheelerswife

    New Here 💕

    Hi, Peg. I’m sorry to have to welcome you too our club. Losing a spouse is incredibly difficult, and it just doesn’t automatically start getting better after a few months. I’m sorry you lost your beloved husband. It has been 10 years since I lost my first husband and 5 1/2 years since I lost my second husband. My experience with 2 losses was very different. It is only recently that I have begun to feel like I can build my life again. Just know that whatever you are feeling is very normal. I have relied on my widow friends for support through both of my losses. You don’t have to do this alone. Hugs to you, Maureen
  5. Wheelerswife

    Unique and Devastating Loss

    Hugs, Bluebird. I wish it wasn’t this way... Maureen
  6. Wheelerswife

    facing my inner demon....

    My second husband died essentially of heart failure. He died in his sleep, and I was away visiting friends. I worked 26 years as a physical therapist and had ?how many? patients with heart failure in my career - and I didn’t recognize any symptoms in my own husband. But again - he was a competent adult and hated going to doctors and I promised him I would allow him to take care of himself. His mother had been very intrusive about these kinds of things and he didn’t want me nagging him. I didn’t. If I had recognized anything serious, I would have found a way to talk to him. But I didn’t. And he is gone. And that isn’t my fault. It is hard accepting that reality, but it is true. Hugs, Maureen
  7. Hi, Joan, Nothing is wrong with you, save the fucking reality that you lost the love of your life. Lots of us have crazy thoughts and definitely unmet needs after being widowed. I’m so sorry you have had to join our club. Hugs, Maureen
  8. Wheelerswife

    Wedding anniversary

    27 years ago tomorrow, I married my first husband, Barry. I have been thinking of this date for a few days. This will be the 10th anniversary that he hasn't been here. 10 years. Can that be possible? On top of that...the memories of this date are dominated by images of our last 2 anniversaries that we spent together. Our 16th and 17th anniversaries were spent with him in critical condition in 2 different ICU's. The first of those hospitalizations was the beginning of the end for him...severe bronchitis and Takotsubo cardiomyopathy...and the most intense fear I have ever felt in my life. I almost lost him then. 16 months later, a much more simple respiratory infection would overwhelm his severely weakened body and he would give up the fight - deciding he no longer wanted intrusive intervention to try to stay alive. I wish I could focus on other memories, but this tape loop that used to run constantly in my head just overrides my will. Fortunately, I don't think about it as often as I used to, and the full technicolor of past memories has faded some. Tomorrow will pass by...and I will move through the hours...and it will likely be another year before it takes my breath away again. I miss you, darling. Maureen
  9. Wheelerswife

    Wells Maine - June 14 - 16

    I’m leaving in a week!
  10. Wheelerswife

    Wells Maine - June 14 - 16

    Sigh. I will miss this one. Maureen
  11. Wheelerswife

    I am so inexperienced at communication....

    Okay....another opinion...I'm in a similar camp as my friend Hachi... It seems he legitimately fell asleep. You became worried and had other feelings. They are legitimate feelings, but it doesn't seem reasonable to blame him for anything. However, I'm a firm believer in communicating with your significant other. So....if I was in your shoes, I would talk to him about the feelings you experienced and the thoughts that went through your mind when he didn't call when you expected. Otherwise, it is possible that you will build resentment if something similar happens in the future, and he won't know your experience from this time, and he won't have important knowledge to be able to address your needs (to know he is okay if he is late, etc) in the future. Communication and intimacy go hand in hand. Best, Maureen
  12. Wheelerswife

    The Surreal Effect

    This is all so difficult for our brains to wrap themselves around sometimes. It is also different from person to person and interpersonally. I watched my first husband lose function over 18+ years, and he needed 24/7 care his last 16 months. I knew that I would lose him. Yet when he died, I realized just how unprepared I was for him to be dead. That dreaded day had come. I went to the cemetery daily for the better part of a year and talked to him there, even after I met the man who became my second husband. It was was even harder to believe that my second husband died. Over 5 years later, I still talk out loud to him. I would love to hear his voice again and feel his embrace, although I no longer think he is going to pull up in front of the house after a day of work. I think sometimes that these thoughts and dreams of sorts help us to embed memories of our spouses. I’m personally grateful for anything that helps me remember my guys. 7 months is still pretty early in this process. It takes time to integrate this new reality into our minds. Hugs, Maureen
  13. Wheelerswife

    My very own Widow Island

    Hi, Helen, It is nice to see you here again. Happy 50th Birthday, bittersweet as it is. I hit my 57th birthday a few weeks ago, surpassing the age at which my second husband died (5 days before his 57th birthday). Again - bittersweet. But this post is about you and your journey and I am a little envious that you have your widow island! It sounds like a beautiful place where you have the opportunity to refresh your soul! I am glad to know you are happy again. I cannot say the same for myself - yet - but I am less unhappy. I don't even remember if I ever posted on the Three Good Things thread, but I will now: 1. I am no longer working for a miserable boss. The job was worth the experience, but the environment was oppressive. 2. I have decided - after 2 years on the east coast (US) - to move back to my home in Kansas. It feels more like home than anywhere, and my sadness has lifted enough that I feel like I can thrive there. 3. Today, it is sunny and it isn't raining! Best wishes to everyone! Maureen
  14. I guess I have just gotten used to the concept of widowhood. I was widowed the first time at age 47 and the second time at 51. There have been so many changes in my life since losing my first husband, and if I am getting to know someone new and want an authentic connection with that person, things inevitably surface. I have developed the “Cliff Notes” version of my story and will elaborate if there is genuine interest in getting to know someone better. I don’t personally like being called “single”, as it seems to negate some very critical parts of my life. I’m not particularly concerned that others will be uncomfortable with my marital status. At this point, I can tell someone I am widowed without indicating that it is distressing. If people say they are sorry for my loss, I thank them and move forward. I’m all about having authentic relationships in my life, and if someone isn’t in that kind of place themselves, that’s okay. I let that person be where they are and I go on myself. I’m not currently dating, although I have been on a handful of dates. It can be interesting when meeting new people - dates or otherwise - and referring to my husbands by number. Again, this is a part of my life and what brings me to where I am today. Hopefully, in time, this will become more comfortable for you and you will find what works best for you to divulge or keep private, depending on the circumstances. Hugs, Maureen
  15. Wheelerswife

    Getting Rid of His/Her Clothes

    Ignore this demand! Take as long as you want to go through your husband ‘s personal possessions! Keep as many shirts as you want! Make as many quilts as you please! This is your prerogative. Maureen
  16. Wheelerswife

    There are worse things than death

    I don’t even know what to say.
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Wheelerswife

    Ashby MA, Flash Bago

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

    Ashby MA, Flash Bago

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

    This loss really got me

    Compounded losses. I’m so sorry, Eileen. Hugs, Maureen
  25. 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
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