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Reflections at 5 years out from my second loss…

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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.



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Hey there sweetheart,

You have such a capacity to love and I hope with all my heart that you find someone who loves you the way you deserve to be loved. You will always miss John, and Barry. They are a part of you and will always be. I'm glad you have made (and continue to make) progress. I've always felt you are stronger than you think. Sending my biggest (((HUG))) your way today!


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Thank you for that. Please know that I always wish you the very best. I think of you often- how inspiring you are in the face of so much adversity. You have helped MANY of us strive to keep going.

 I so hope you keep interacting and find fulfillment and peace; you certainly have inspired many others.

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