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  • Date Widowed
    July 2014

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  1. Justin

    Phoenix Area

    Hey everyone, I figured it has been way too long since we had a meet-up so I am bumping this thread. Does anyone have any interest in joining me and Jess sometime for dinner?
  2. Justin

    Do you go to church?

    I was raised in the Southern Baptist tradition - not the prosperity type that seems to dominate some mega-churches, but real "salt of the Earth" folk. For instance, our pastor's wages were a love offering taken up each Sunday. He had a day job. Although these were good people, their world-view didn't align with mine and I became an Episcopalian in later years. It became more and more important to focus on Christ's teachings of love and inclusiveness, and move away from themes of being judgmental and condemnation of those who think differently. I continued to attend church semi-regularly after Marsha died. It was sometimes sad, sometimes comforting. My church community was a huge blessing to me and did more than my own blood relatives. I held a position on my church vestry, and continued to fulfill my duties until the next election cycle (before which I resigned). And looking back, those days were filled with more of an allegiance and obligation to my church community than to God - although I am sure He had a hand in things. I have since moved in the last year, and haven't been looking for a new church. I miss it, but not sure that same format is the answer.
  3. Justin

    It's been a month . . .

    I'm so sorry, Pam. Our minds have a way of marking each significant passing of time - especially in the beginning. For me, it was just trying to get through each Tuesday, until one Tuesday I realized that I almost made it through the whole day without realizing it marked the number of weeks since Marsha had died. Then, it was getting through each 8th of the month.... The passage of time will dull the the pain. It will be gradual at first and you probably won't take much of an account until one day you realize: "Hey, I didn't even realize yesterday that X weeks had passed." There is a subtle comfort in that knowledge; that THAT day is losing its power over you. It doesn't mean that we are forgetting our loved one, or that they lose significance in our life. Instead, it means we are learning to move forward and not let death & loss strangle OUR living. In a lot of ways, I feel a duty to try to live my life to its fullest since Marsha doesn't have that option. And I know she would want me to.
  4. Justin

    Changes in the Home?

    The biggest change for me was changing up my bedroom to reflect my personality. I had defaulted to letting my late wife make most of the decorating choices, and I needed my most personal space to be about "me". Let's face it, it wasn't "our" bedroom anymore. It was strangely comforting to not have so many"ghosts" there - especially since she died in that room. Most of the other home changes were small, basically just to increase functionality for me in the new reality. In the span of less than I year, I had made the decision to move so I didn't feel like spending much time/energy to claim areas that I would be leaving anyway.
  5. I am a little over two years out, and lived in a small town in SE Kentucky when my wife died. I kept coming up empty when I tried to find any local support groups, other than for widows/widowers much older - or general grief support groups. Quite honestly, the best support I found was through this site and its now-closed predecessor. I reached out early to those widows & widowers that I felt are like-minded, and made many wonderful friendships here. Some folks I have only spoken with through messages here or calls and texts, but many others I have met in person. I really do feel that these friendships helped me more than other support group would. I've spent many late nights on the phone or messaging with them, and the advantage of speaking one-on-one is that you get a real sincerity that a group setting might not allow. Not knocking groups - I just think that this path worked best for me.
  6. Justin

    Return to work?

    Like Portside, I returned to work fairly early. My wife died on a Tuesday night, the funeral was on Saturday, and I went back to work the next Friday. I would lie in bed, and just stare at the ceiling and knew I had to add some structure. Plus being in the house where she died all the time wasn't doing my sanity any favors. Fortunately, I had very understanding bosses who let me return on an abbreviated schedule for a while - roughly 10AM to 4PM or so for quite a long time. I went through the motions a lot and wasn't very productive but at least it was the start of getting back to a schedule and "having" to do something other than feed me and my daughter. She was almost 16, so it wasn't like she totally depended on me for meals and was spending a lot of time alone in her room. Not having many close friends, work also forced me to interact with others and not withdraw into myself - which would not have been good for me. I did make sure to let my boss know that it would be a good while until I was back to my old performance levels - it was important to me that I did so and I think it helped with realistic expectations.
  7. Justin


    It's very common for scenes like that to trigger us - especially in the earlier days. Some times, it seems like any little thing can put us back there - remembering that day. Or the day of death, or a special day we had that reduces us to tears thinking about what we have lost. Time doesn't heal all wounds but it sure makes them hurt less, I think. I've found that as more days get between me and the day that I lost my wife, the hurt and pain are fading away and making more room for the happy memories. I am just a little over 2 years out now (7/08/2014) and actually went on a job interview yesterday at a mortuary/cemetery. I can honestly say I felt no trepidation, and just though of what a beautiful place it is for a family to remember their love one. I know it's not the same for everyone.... And yes, that was such a respectful gesture for that gentleman to dismount his motorcycle and stand. As a society, it seems folks just want to pay respects via social media ("thoughts and prayers") and then move on to the next thing in a busy life. For those of us stuck in the hell of losing a spouse or fiance or over, it's a real all-encompassing dark cloud that is slow to dissipate and never fully clears. Hang in there. The hurt never leaves, but it does change. And more importantly, we learn how to live with it.
  8. Aw, man! We were looking forward to finally meeting you. Ironic that we left Phoenix this morning. We just checked into our hotel in Anaheim and look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!
  9. Perhaps there is a technical issue? It is the address that I have been using to correspond with her. (Again, I want to state that I do not endorse or not endorse the project; I am just passing along the information.)
  10. I agree! I actually included this line with my initial email, before I knew the entire focus of the documentary: "Obviously, I do not know the scope of your project but I encourage you to not forget about the widowers out there, too. We are fewer in number, but no less in need hearing our voices heard."
  11. All, I received the following correspondence today from Shannon Powers, a casting director. In reviewing pending members today, I noticed that one appeared to be from a person casting for a documentary about widows. I emailed an explanation to her regarding my inability to approve her account, and received the reply below: "Hi Justin... I totally understand and thank you for your response. I hate stalking and leaving messages... I am not a widow, however I am a helper and by working on the projects that I do... I save lives. Emmy Nominated this year for Intervention I am really proud of the life-changing and heartwarming transformational projects I work on. i would be so very grateful if you could put the word out for me and individuals can reach out to me if they like. I am having a hard time reaching those women under 30 and newly widow. Here is the following: A Major Cable Network is seeking women under the age of 30 who were recently widowed (within the last two years) and would like to share their story. This project will not only be heartwarming, inspirational, compelling and uplifting...it will also be life-changing not only for yourselves but for everyone who your story reaches near and far, By sharing your story you may be able to reach healing in such a powerful different out of the box way in addition to helping other women who are going through the very same situation. We would love to talk with you if love and life was cut short because of illness, military, accident, saving someone else, heroic etc... we would be honored and grateful to hear any story you would like to share. If this is you or someone you know... Please email: Shannon @ clockistickingpr@gmail.com to set up a time to speak." I have no personal knowledge or connection to Ms. Powers, but here is a link to her Internet Movie Database profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2286596/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 . My goal is not to encourage (nor discourage) anyone, but just to pass along the information. Take care,Justin
  12. Justin

    random thoughts

    Every day is a victory, and should be celebrated! Some days are more of a struggle than others, but they all are important. As I near two years without Marsha, my life has changed so very much - my days are not filled with struggle anymore. I have those hard moments, but they don't fill the day. Keep living! That this best advice I can give, and I truly think it what Marsha would want for me and our daughter. In many ways I feel feel that I owe that much to her: to make the most of MY life. And I think your motorcycle therapy is good. My widower-mentor is also a motorcyclist, and he told me that he loves riding because he can't afford to think of ANYTHING else but the road and its changing conditions. It's healthy to give your mind a break.
  13. Justin

    New Relationships....Post a Pic

    That's fantastic!!!! Congratulations!!!
  14. Justin

    Consignment Shops

    DD and I love thrifting! But, as with many things, it's all about location. In our small hometown, there was usually not much to choose from but we have had fantastic luck here in the Phoenix metro area. There are soooo many thrift stores with much to choose from. I never buy underwear, and not shoes unless they are gently worn. We have found books, shirts, sweatshirts/fleeces, old film cameras (I collect/buy/sell them), and vinyl albums. It's as much about the hunt as it is buying the actual items. :-)
  15. Justin

    The countdown begins...

    Everyone, thank you all so much for all the well-wishes! We are still unpacking and expect to be doing so for a while, but we are just fine with it. I can't describe how great it is for us to be together without the looming specter of one of us having to leave at the end of a visit. I honestly haven't been this happy in a really long time

Personal Information

  • Date Widowed
    July 2014

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