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Jen

Our suggestions for the newly widowed

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This thread is to share our experience from those early days  for those  new to this life. There is no one perfect answer but we have recommendations.

 

 

Breathe. Drink water. Cry if you need to. Have lots of tissues handy everywhere. Eat if you can.

 

Allow people to help. Eat and rest when you can. Post often.

 

Don't make any important decisions until your head settles. Don't give anything away his/her things are yours and you decide what to do with them. An example of giving things away that I regreted later... I cleaned his closet 1 week after his death' date=' then I found out that some people made throws out of shirts. I would have love to do that but it was to late.[/quote']

 

Let family' date=' friends, people in your life that you can trust help you. Don't try to do it all and tough it out, it can overwhelm you.[/quote']

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Self congratulate for every achievement no matter how small.  Brushed your teeth?  Ate a meal without throwing up? Posted a letter? Say "Well done me!" to yourself.

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EC wrote in the old forum these points which I wish to add to this thread:

 

In the early days, everything is a blurry mess and decision making is heavily clouded for relatively long time. As choperette already said, making important and long lasting decisions is not a good idea for a long time and an important decision can be as seeming little as answering the question "what to do with your husband's/wife's belongings". Trust me, you are not in a hurry and taking time and allowing time to give you the answers is the best way to go. Surely some widow's want to get rid of everything as soon as possible and this is fine too but if you doubt even a bit, take a time out and see how things develop. I personally didn't move a thing for months and when I did, I felt really strong urge to do so. Else I did nothing. I also bought a camera and took pictures of my home and the things the way they were when my husband died. I wanted to have the option to return to that time should I ever want to do so.

 

Allow yourself options. I did. I also reserved the right for myself and others to cancel any agreed lunches, walks etc even at the last minute because I could not be sure I how felt when the time came. I did keep some agreed things and others I simply had to cancel due to my state of mind at the moment. If you say this in advance, people in general will understand and not get offended which they easily can do too.

 

The stuff around you is yours now and no-one has the right to take any of it nor tell you what to do with them. There can be people that come to you claiming something is theirs or that your late husband/wife promised them something or owe them money. If it's not properly documented, this is never the case and you do not have to "honour" any of these claims. Unfortunately some people do this and not everyone is good and kind. Anything you have is really now yours and if someone even politely asks you to give them say tools, just say that you will use them at some point even if you don't. My BIL asked for my husbands power-drill and I simply smiled to him and said: "yeah! can you imagine how good tools I have these days! I have a power-drill of my own now!!!!" Never asked for it again :)

 

Your finances are private. Do not discuss those with anyone unless you really trust them. Blunt people will ask about life insurances and other such things and it is not their business. Period! There are people who may try to take an advantage on financial level on a person who has been hit with this immense tragedy. You can reply with "That's a private matter", "Can we talk about something else, please" or just with a silence and a puzzled look. Also on the phone. EC adviced in the original thread that if someone asks about your finances over the phone, just stay silent until they break it and when they do just say "I got to run now. Talk to you later" and hang up.

 

I'm really sorry for your loss and I'm sad you have to walk this path! I know you would want to smack me for saying this (I did want to smack anyone who told me this in the early days) it will get better over time. It's a hard path to walk and there are so many ups, downs, deep black-holes and all on the way but you can pull through. Lean on this board! It will catch you if you fall. It did so many times in my darkest moments and I'm forever thankful for it. Join the chat when you feel like it! I've had such an incredible discussion over there (instructions on General -section) and made such a good friends that I'm overwhelmed. Go to bagos if/when you have energy (I'm heading for my first own :) ) and remember: You are not alone! Hugs!!!!!!

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  Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to write such supportive and informative posts.  Blessings to you all!

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This was me at 4 months mark in July last year. Very dark times.

 

I'm so sorry for even posting this for I know there are a lot of widows(ers) that lost their spouses to suicide. I'm at 5 months and I found myself one morning (few weeks ago) with his insulin pen...opened...wasn't a bad dream. I go on contemplating I'll just have to go through with the paper work and then I can just go with him. I've been suicidal before, that's no secret but when it hit's me, all I can think is I want to go. it's just so strong the feeling when it hits me (today not, thank goodness) and it's so real. I'm one of those that lurk. Recently I've posted a few. And everything is just awful. The flashbacks, the feeling everything was a dream (please wake me up from this nightmare!!!!). But why?

 

I gave myself one year. Either it gets better or I'm done. Why the F!!!!!!! Shiish this sucs!

 

Suicidal thoughts and thoughts of pointlessness are normal for us wids. Hang on and reach out to us! YWBB caught me. We shall do that to you. Don't be afraid!

 

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Thanks for reaching out to me Tweety.  I have not had any other out-of-body experiences or suicidal thoughts.  What happened next was panic attacks so severe that I had to be medicated.  My doctor also put me on Abilify to work with the Cymbalta that I take for fibromyalgia nerve pain and it seems to be working pretty well.

 

I also pray a lot!  You will be in my prayers.

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You are allowed to cry.  Cry as much as you want ... kick, scream, and have that temper tantrum.  I did it when I was alone, and it honestly felt good!  I felt so much better after I allowed myself to cry and throw a fit.  I was sick of people telling me how strong, brave, etc. I was.

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Channel the anger into something productive like housework or exercise. I had the cleanest house and yard for miles around! I do recommend exercise though. It was the absolute last thing I felt like doing but it makes us feel better, walking especially. Sometimes, it's just good to get out of our heads and not think for a while.

 

Eating as much healthy food as you can manage is also helpful with affecting our mental state.

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Guest nonesuch

I wish I had dealt with Late Husband's credit card account earlier.  As soon as I answered the phone from them and told them what happened, they closed the account and stopped running up interest.

 

The woman on the phone was quick to tell me that I was not personally liable for his debt.  Since there was an "estate" to sue, they did ask for the balance.  Since I know I HAD whatever Late husband purchased, I paid it. 

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One of the posts on YWBB described your grief much like a snowflake, unique to your relationship and who you are as a person. Your friends will likely change but that's alright because, in my experience, those who replace them are much better.  I would echo the advice to keep clothing as at almost 6 months I am having memory teddy bears made for my daughters.  Instead of the clothes he wore to their weddings they actually want to use his work clothes (complete with oil stains) so you never know what you might want to have later.  Dan had a business that I had to handle and liquidate it in those early months (while grieving hard) so I agree you do need to ask for help but be alert to those who may not have your best interest in mind.  I had a very small group of people who took care of anyone who was trying to take advantage.  I talk (and yell) at Dan on a regular basis and that has worked well for me.  Reading, particularly this board, talking to other widows to pick and choose from their decisions/path and journaling have all been helpful to me.  Finally, I would say in those early days having a notebook to capture notes and information was helpful to me as I was taking in next to nothing.  At almost 6 months, though,  I feel less like a zombie, laugh every now and then, and am feeling stronger every day.  And, I know you will as well! :)

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One other suggestion..I mentioned reading in my earlier post and wanted to share a blog that really spoke to me very early on largely because of the similarity of a sudden death but the words she has written, I believe, are universal and so beautiful.  I hope it helps others:  http://www.cragman.com/index.html

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I have some thoughts and suggestions for this post.  I am trying to get a post together.  I keep running out of time and losing my posts.  :(  I promise to set time out for longer and try again maybe tonight when I am less frustrated.  In the mean time.....

as I am telling myself.....

 

"Be gentle with yourself"

 

((((Hugs)))) and love to all my new and old friends.

 

Nancy

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Write long posts in Word and then cut and paste.  Word doesn't time out....I spend a lot of time there writing papers....

 

;)

 

Maureen

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Hey guys, when logging in, erase the numbers and leave it blank then check-mark "always stay logged in" and it hasn't been timing me out.  Then you can log out if you want when you're signing off, but I just stay logged in.  No one else gets on my computer and I have a password for that anyway. 

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My best friend was widowed 20 years before me.  She swooped in and slept with me that first horrible night alone. Talked when I wanted to, and sat in silence as well.

 

She then gathered a small army and cleaned my house for the upcoming memorial, however I believe with the cleaning she fulfilled a little OCD fantasy of hers  ;D. My clean is her filthy ha ha.

 

Anyway, the point of this post.  Before she went home after the memorial she sat me down and told me she was going to call me every night. I had to do one thing everyday, and taking a shower and feeding the cats didn't count they were mandatory. If I ignored said phone call she would come over.

 

It didn't matter how big or small the task was. It could be as small as watering the plants, or as huge as one of those horrible phone calls, to the bank, insurance etc.

 

I truly believe that it helped.

 

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I also get suicidal thoughts. However, I don't do it because of my daughter.

 

But I have no interest in living another 20-30 years. I am in my mid-40s, diabetic, high blood pressure, etc.

 

I see my parents, in their mid to late 70s. Not happy people... I'm fine, checking out in a few years or so. I'm just not going to do it, myself.

 

This was me at 4 months mark in July last year. Very dark times.

 

I'm so sorry for even posting this for I know there are a lot of widows(ers) that lost their spouses to suicide. I'm at 5 months and I found myself one morning (few weeks ago) with his insulin pen...opened...wasn't a bad dream. I go on contemplating I'll just have to go through with the paper work and then I can just go with him. I've been suicidal before, that's no secret but when it hit's me, all I can think is I want to go. it's just so strong the feeling when it hits me (today not, thank goodness) and it's so real. I'm one of those that lurk. Recently I've posted a few. And everything is just awful. The flashbacks, the feeling everything was a dream (please wake me up from this nightmare!!!!). But why?

 

I gave myself one year. Either it gets better or I'm done. Why the F!!!!!!! Shiish this sucs!

 

Suicidal thoughts and thoughts of pointlessness are normal for us wids. Hang on and reach out to us! YWBB caught me. We shall do that to you. Don't be afraid!

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I also get suicidal thoughts. However, I don't do it because of my daughter.

 

But I have no interest in living another 20-30 years. I am in my mid-40s, diabetic, high blood pressure, etc.

 

I see my parents, in their mid to late 70s. Not happy people... I'm fine, checking out in a few years or so. I'm just not going to do it, myself.

 

 

I'm pretty much in the same place. I was close to suicidal six months ago (had a plan and everything, though not a great one). That's passed now, I'm not going to do anything, but I have no interest in prolonging my existence. The really sad thing is that I'm 40, in better health than I've been in years (physically), and I absolutely hate that my life ended at 39. It's not fair. Sometimes I look in the mirror, and for the first time in years-- maybe the first time ever, to be honest-- I actually like what I see. And it's wasted, because I'm just waiting around to die. :(

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I also get suicidal thoughts. However, I don't do it because of my daughter.

 

But I have no interest in living another 20-30 years. I am in my mid-40s, diabetic, high blood pressure, etc.

 

I see my parents, in their mid to late 70s. Not happy people... I'm fine, checking out in a few years or so. I'm just not going to do it, myself.

 

 

I'm pretty much in the same place. I was close to suicidal six months ago (had a plan and everything, though not a great one). That's passed now, I'm not going to do anything, but I have no interest in prolonging my existence. The really sad thing is that I'm 40, in better health than I've been in years (physically), and I absolutely hate that my life ended at 39. It's not fair. Sometimes I look in the mirror, and for the first time in years-- maybe the first time ever, to be honest-- I actually like what I see. And it's wasted, because I'm just waiting around to die. :(

 

I know exactly how you feel. Personally, I have type 2 diabetes, hypertension stage 3 (blood pressure is sky high on a daily basis), and I don't care one bit...

 

I died on 2/19/15... I'm just waiting to stop breathing. I'm 46 and spent the bulk of that alone. No desire to do another 40.

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Going into my 9th month on this journey I have found that exercise no matter what it is has helped. I started out just walking the dogs, then I started using groupon to get discounts on classes that I now take with a couple friends weekly. (Zumba has been the best one so far) I have recently started to run 3-4 times a week its my 20 minutes of peace just me, my thoughts and music. I also try to drink lots of water. But most importantly be patient with yourself, rest and take the help when it is offered.

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Take time to do nothing sometimes !!!

Well meaning friends will worry or judge you for doing nothing or just starring at the dumbest shows on TV all day long.

But it's normal and it can help. I know it did for me. Picture your broken heart like a broken leg. You have to stay immobilized for it to heel. If others can't see the cast on your soul it doesn't mean it's not there (and helping). 

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I went to my first grief support group last weekend. Several suggestions seemed pretty helpful with some practical matters of daily living.

 

One was to put some lights, and maybe a radio/music/TV, on timers so that something would be on first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night; that way, you don't have to wake up in (or come home to or go to bed in) a dark, too-quiet house. (I still have kids at home, but when they're out, the house seems way too quiet.) Another was to regularly, even daily, make conscious plans for something you enjoy and write them on your calendar, to have something to look forward to. Another was that if you feel self-conscious eating out by yourself, taking along a book or sudoko or something like that to have at the table may help make you more comfortable.

 

Hope these might be helpful-

Sojourner

 

 

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Friends you thought were close will let you down--  not in a purposeful way, but some people just can't be around others in pain.

 

Friends you didn't really think of as close will be the ones over at your place with a hot dinner and an offer to do laundry.

 

Everyone will pitch in until about two weeks past the memorial/funeral.  Then they'll be back to their old lives, even family members like parents and siblings.  And you'll be in that empty house.  Be ready for that.

 

Be prepared for people to say incredibly insensitive things, often in the guise of wanting to help.  Don't take it personally--  no one ever really knows what to say.

 

Don't worry about "moving on" or anything like that right now.  It's okay to curl up with old love letters and photos, watch videos of your lost loved one, all that stuff.  They just died! 

 

Set a routine in the morning and try to follow it.  My dog always got me out of the house, because I lived in a condo and had to at least walk her to the corner in the morning.  Find something similar to get you going.  Tell yourself you'll go back to bed later if you have to.

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Some very good advice here, thank you. My husband, Jim, died less than a week ago from a blood clot in the lung. Very sudden and unexpected. It hurts because the man was so full of life and believed himself immortal. I had been with him for 10 years and though we would have 30 or more together. I have never experienced so much pain, but I don't want this to change me, I don't want to not be the man that Jim loved. I miss him so much

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Kevin, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband, Jim. I had about 10 years with my husband, Joe. He too was full of life and always made me laugh. I have changed over the last 15 months. There is no way I couldn't because my life had changed in worst, most dramatic way possible and I had to adapt. But, something I have learned is these changes do not mean I am further from being the person that he loved, but rather I am changing in ways he would be proud of and would understand are needed to survive this new reality.

 

I found this group of people very early out as well and I credit them with helping me process my grief in the healthiest way I could. I still credit them all with that because my journey is always ongoing. I hope you find this group of amazing people as helpful as I have. Take care of yourself the best you can and keep on sharing. We are here.

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