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Everything posted by Wheelerswife

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Wheelerswife


    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
  7. Wheelerswife


    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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. Wheelerswife

    Newly Widowed Again

    xoxo Maureen
  11. Wheelerswife

    Sad Loss Of WifeLess

    Love and hugs to you, Bluebird. Wifeless was such a kind and humble man and his word have reached so many of our young widowed brothers and sisters. Maureen
  12. Wheelerswife

    Widowed Jan 16, 2019.

    Powbesh, this is so early for you and your friends just don’t understand what you need. You don’t have to make yourself go out with them. Is there anyone that you can talk to on a very real basis to try to explain what you need? After my second husband died, I really needed my space and was bothered having people in my house. Although I had room for some people to stay at the time of his memorial service 4 weeks after he died, I told one of my sisters that having people in my house exacerbated the anxiety I was experiencing. She was able to tell the rest of my family in a way that respected my needs, and they all decided that they would stay at a hotel if that was better for me. Realize that we would not have known what this was like before having the unfortunate experience of losing our spouses. You might just have to have a really honest conversation with SOMEONE who can relay information to other people that you know. Or...perhaps you can write one email to a group of friends thanking them for reaching out to you, but explaining that you are not up to accepting invitations at this time. It can be uncomfortable, but perhaps this approach might be better than continued intrusions into your very personal space right now. Xoxo Maureen
  13. Wheelerswife

    Widowed Jan 16, 2019.

    Sometimes, we do get short periods of relief. Embrace them. As you can see, they don’t make us forget anything. But any moment of solace is good. Hugs, Powbesh. Hugs from me to you. Maureen
  14. Wheelerswife

    Widowed Jan 16, 2019.

    Well said, Bunny.
  15. Wheelerswife

    Sobbed on new girl

    Great to see you, Grace! Congratulations! Maureen
  16. Wheelerswife

    Widowed Jan 16, 2019.

    The pain can be so intense in the early days. It can feel unbearable. One thing I know is that I have survived every single day since I was first widowed 9 1/2 years ago. I remember saying that I wanted to just lay down on my side of our burial plot and fall asleep and not wake up. That way, all that people would need to do is dig a hole and roll me in. I was also a long term caregiver. For me, I had to have something to focus on to keep moving forward. Work and returning to college were some of my vehicles for moving through each day. I also connected with other widowed folks and developed friendships that have persisted for over 9 years. You can can do this. We have all survived this nightmare. Hugs, Maureen
  17. Five years ago today, my second husband died unexpectedly in his sleep just 5 days shy of his 57th birthday. Sometimes, I cannot believe it has been 5 years. He was a beautiful man. I told him he was beautiful even before I met him, as we had “met” in a chatroom associated with the prior iteration of this website, and we took to the telephone to be able to converse more intensively. When I describe him to people who never met him, I have a list of adjectives, yet I never seem to be able to fully describe this accomplished, yet humble teacher, mentor, and scientist, as well as my husband, friend and lover. We met at just 6 and 2 months after having been widowed, and against the odds at that point, we quickly fell in love and decided to embark on life together. We lived 1600 miles apart, and within 6 months, I had quit my job, sold my house, and moved to be with him. We married a year after our first conversation. We carried our prior loves and our grief with us as we built a new life together. I decided to leave my career and go back to school. He continued to teach at the university where he was chair of his department. We traveled extensively. We loved being together and we spent 2-3 hours a day in conversation when we were at home…and many more hours when we were traveling. We had grand plans for our future, including taking a semester to travel in Europe on his upcoming sabbatical. I don’t know how we could have been happier. And then he died. He died! How could this happen to me again? And so soon? We had not even had 4 full years together! On some level, I am still angry at the universe about this today. I have spent the last 5 years recovering from the shock of losing him and all of the fallout from that loss. It didn’t help that I developed medical problems within 2 weeks of his death that led to surgery and a diagnosis of a rare and aggressive cancer. I have had some unusual luck there…in that the cancer…which by statistics should have killed me…has not recurred, even though I refused chemotherapy. In the last 5 years, I completed 2 more degrees, moved back near where I have spent most of my life, and I have finally launched my new career. So…there has been some progress. Am I happy? No…not yet. Am I less unhappy? Well, yes. My thoughts today…besides missing my husband…are about grieving the loss of who I was with him. I wish I could retrieve the confidence and competence I had when I was with him. I wish I could shed the PTSD-like anxiety that has been my constant companion since he died. It has improved significantly, but it was not a part of my life before and it impacts so much in my life and I resent having anxiety. The last year has certainly brought me progress, and I feel much more ready to perhaps meet someone new. My angst is not usually as high on normal days, although the recent holidays certainly drove home just how alone I feel. Although I am fortunate to have wonderful friends and extended family at some distance, I have lived my adult life in a family/partnership of 2…and 1 can be a very lonely number. Tomorrow, I hope to focus more on hope for the future. I will check my online dating website and connect with friends to get out of the house. I know that life is for living…and I want a full life and happiness for myself. So…I will persist, and I hope that next year’s memorial post will have a more cheerful tone. Hugs, Maureen
  18. Wheelerswife

    We are on this board because.......

    Welcome back, Mark. We have missed you at bagos. Maureen
  19. Wheelerswife

    Starting a new Hobby to eat up time

    No, you aren’t crazy! It can be incredibly hard to fill time that feels so empty without a beloved spouse. Nothing feels normal. Some people binge watch movies. Some just sit paralyzed. Others find exercise, shopping, reading, painting... or just plain nothing. If it helps you and isn’t destructive, go for it! Maureen
  20. Wheelerswife

    A holiday ramble...

    Hello, my fellow wid sisters and brothers. I'm sitting at my parents' home, being a dutiful daughter. My parents are 92 and 82, and I can't in good conscience leave them to celebrate the holiday without at least one of their scattered offspring with them. This is the 10th Christmas season without my first husband and the 5th without my second husband. 5 years ago on Christmas Eve, I was driving from Kansas to Wisconsin with my second husband, on our way to visit his elderly mother and some good friends. We talked for the entire drive - 13 hours - about our future, and in particular, planning the semester-long sabbatical he was scheduled to take in another year. It was a great conversation - full of anticipation and excitement for the months that we would spend in Europe. The only glitch in this picture is that he died unexpectedly in his sleep just 15 days later. Holidays have been hard ever since. My family truly doesn't understand what it is like to lose the love of your life...much less having lost a second great love. It was hard to lose my first husband, but I was fortunate to meet a beautiful man - also widowed - and we embraced life fully and found wonderful love with each other. My life was turned upside down with the shock of losing my second husband...including being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer just 6 weeks later. It has taken me quite some time to feel like I have my feet underneath me. I am in a much better place...and the last year has allowed me some rebuilding that eluded me the year before. But...holidays are still hard. People ask me now if I am happy. I'm less unhappy. Perhaps that is the best answer I can give people. I'm working on myself...getting healthier on several levels, connecting with friends, trying to acclimate to a new career and job, and marking the passage of time. In a way, that is what holidays are for me now - measuring the years as they go by. I'm fortunate to have good friends, particularly widow friends I have met through this board and its predecessor. I spent the first Christmas after losing my first husband in the chat room associated with he old website. For those of you who are freshly widowed...reach out to people here. It has been kind of quiet on this board, but don't let that deter you. The people who will understand you best are those feeling a similar kind of pain. You can "meet" people virtually here and become true friends...and if you are a traveler like me, you can meet them in real life. I have friends from this board (and its predecessor) who are now my truest friends. I'm not going to tell you to suck it up and put a smile on your face this Christmas. I'm going to tell you to do what you want, go where you want, leave when you want, and always park your car where you won't be blocked in...because it is your right to make your own decisions about joining in the festivities...or not. My folks will be home from church soon, so I will close. Just so you know...Puffs makes a tissue with lotion...it is much easier on sore eyes and noses for those who are filled with tears tonight. Hugs, Maureen
  21. Wheelerswife

    Two things can be true at once

    Hi, Kater! Thanks for for sharing your story about Stoni and NG! My second husband John was widowed and understood these things so well, and it is good to see how your new love can reach out to you when you are remembering Stoni. I will keep you in my heart over the next couple of days. Hugs, Maureen
  22. Wheelerswife

    On line dating vents and laughs......

    Wonderful, Matthew! I hope to someday find the right man for my Chapter 3. Chapters 1and 2 were wonderful, and I don’t want to settle for anything less than that! Maureen
  23. It is time for another bago. After talking with some of our members, we have decided to schedule a get-together at my home on the Connecticut/Massachusetts border (just south of Springfield, MA) on Saturday, December 8th. We are hoping that the location will allow some folks a few hours north of us can make it as well. The location might make it harder on people further south...but this time the compromise is toward the north. People can arrive any time after noon. We will stay with our tradition for pot luck. Bring something to share...if we all bring chocolate, we will feast on chocolate. You should know that we already have a chocolatier in the group...so perhaps something other than chocolate would be good! We are always open to new people. Please feel free to PM me for more information. Why attend a bago? You will meet people who understand what you have or are experiencing. You can feel free to share as much or as little of your story as you want. You can laugh and cry and nobody will think anything of it. You can make new friends. And you can eat. I hope to see you all! Maureen
  24. Wheelerswife

    Bago - Northeast/New England - Saturday, December 8th

    We will miss you, Marie!!
  25. Wheelerswife

    16 Years- One Tough Cookie

    Hi, Judy. Thank you you for your beautiful posts and your essay. My heart goes out to you today. I also miss the incredible library of wisdom that was lost when YWBB shut down. I used to read for hours in my early weeks and months. I’m now facing my 10th “everything” without my first husband. I just passed the 10th birthday that he missed, the 10th Thanksgiving that we didn’t host.... I am also coming up on the 5th anniversary of my second husband’s death. I also met him on YWBB. Our relationship was so full of life and passion for living, especially after having been widowed ourselves. His life and his death have had such an impact on my life, but losing him crushed me even more. I fight to keep living and finding purpose. I’m getting there...at whatever pace happens. Persist. Remember. Miss them. But...we have this life in front of us and, for me, at least, I have a drive not to be miserable, so I will continue to persist (often with the support of people I have met along the widow road.) I wish you the best... Maureen

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