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Is this part of the process of letting go? Let's recap and consider...

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As a young(ish) widower, and the only one in my extended circle of friends, acquaintances, and past co-workers to lose his wife before the age of 50, I have always felt (and continue to feel) so alone in my experience.  Even now, more than 3 years after Rhonda's passing on December 12th, 2016, I'm still regularly confronted with new and unexpected feelings and emotions, to say nothing of the all-too-frequent moments of self-doubt and uncertainty of whether I have made any meaningful progress toward reconciling her death, and accepting all the resulting changes to my life.  To be truthful, I question these emotions and feelings of bewilderment constantly.  And I do this, honestly I believe, in a two-fold effort to try to make sense of everything, and to ultimately let her go - whatever that eventually comes to mean.  


Many of you will agree that, over time, the "sensations" of grief change and transform.  They are still never comfortable, but at least now, 3 years on, I recognize them for what they are -- momentary "sensations".  In the first several months, by contrast, the grief was so raw, and her absence so painfully tangible and "in-my-face".  Everything, absolutely everything, seemed hollow without her, and in these early days it was the simple, little things I missed most of all:  her voice, her mannerisms, her presence in our home, her affection.  And because I had just lost her, all of these things after 23 years together were able to be recalled in perfect detail.  I spent endless hours desperately trying to cling to my memories of all the distinctive things about her that I loved.  I also struggled to get past the horrific memories of her last weeks in hospital and palliative care.  It took many months to rid my mind of most of them and to be able to remember her more often as she was when she was healthy and, well, herself.  It affected my sleep, and gave renewed rise to those feelings of helplessness and uselessness that I experienced while at her side in her final weeks (Rhonda died from an aggressive cervical cancer and its complications only 8 months after her diagnosis).


In those extremely difficult first months, as I've come to learn, insufficient time had elapsed to prepare me for the larger, more complex "sensations" that lay ahead:  the anniversaries and birthdays, returning for the first time to those favorite places we always enjoyed together, or the university campus where Rhonda worked, ran, and studied, all places that now serve only to remind me of her.  With time, I suppose I've gained perspective, and eventually as the disbelief of her loss lessened so did the outward expressions of my grief.  I cried less often, and was able to enjoy playing hockey with my friends again, and feeling capable of participating in the "witty banter" that typifies a beer-league hockey locker room!  Even inadvertent mentions by others of their wives or of their shared vacations, for example, no longer felt like a stomach punch.  But it's still not easy - certain music still has a way of making me crumble to my knees (figuratively speaking, mostly).  :(


Here are some of the things I have noticed recently that I find troubling, but at the same time give me pause that maybe I'm actually somehow, however slowly, letting Rhonda go.


     - my memories of her are less specific, less detailed.  I remember her now more in the abstract.  Is this normal?

     - I can't recall with the same certainty how she would have reacted in certain situations; I've lost that sense of familiarity and predictability that I treasured about our relationship.

     - since nothing ever stays the same, I feel less connected to her as things change, even mundane and seemingly unrelated things such as new buildings or restaurants make me feel distant from her

     - I no longer always think of telling Rhonda first whenever something of interest comes up; I think it's part of accepting the solitude and silence that comes with living alone now, but is it more than that?


It's a long journey, one with direction but without destination.  What are some of the indicators that lead you to believe you're allowing yourself to let him/her go?







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7 hours ago, Minny9 said:



     - my memories of her are less specific, less detailed.  I remember her now more in the abstract.  Is this normal?




This is So Very Normal...... and so troubling.  I am impressed that you are so in tune with these feelings and sensations......  Just keep talking about her. Your relationship deserves a legacy....a story. 

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A lot of your experience resonates with me.  I lost my wife a few months before you lost yours, Steve.  I was 42 at the time. I don't think of it as letting go of the person. I think of it as learning to live life as an individual again, learning to live in the moment again, no longer living in the past when your partner was alive (I believe they are still around us as spirits).

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