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Wheelerswife

We need to be there for each other – let’s start a roll call

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Posted (edited)

So…here goes another ramble – something I have been known for in the past.

 

Let’s just start by acknowledging that this site has been awfully quiet.  I know that I check in frequently, but I rarely post, and I think there are many of us in the same place.  For those of you who are more newly widowed, many of us here – and the originators of this site – migrated here about 5 years ago from a site called Young Widows Bulletin Board (YWBB) when it suddenly closed its virtual doors.  We were all pretty devastated, as that board had become an amazing lifeline.  We grieved that loss.  I do believe that 5 years later, some of us are still grieving that loss.  We are also 5 more years from our own losses, and our needs for widow support are not the same as they were “back in the day”. 

 

But – one of the things that made that site so valuable was the wisdom from those ahead of us on the widow road.  Other things – the ability to connect with others in the same timeline – or with a similar kind of loss – or the ability to find others in our geographic areas to meet in person – these are all still possibilities, but I don’t know how much they are really happening.

 

So  - I propose that in this time of social distancing/isolation/quarantine/work from home/job loss and economic uncertainty – that we give this site a boost, start with a roll call for those who are comfortable, and avail ourselves of the opportunity to connect, since others in our local communities don’t have the experience to understand what we have been through or how things are magnified by our experiences of loss of a spouse or partner.

 

I will start.  My name is Maureen. (I have always felt comfortable sharing my first name – but you may not, and that is okay.) I live in western Kansas.  I was widowed 10 ½ years ago at the age of 47 when my husband died of respiratory failure – the expected complications of a genetic neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  He was 53.  At the time, I lived in Connecticut.  I met my second husband on YWBB.  I moved to Kansas to be with him and we were married in March of 2011.  He unfortunately died in his sleep of unknown heart issues 6 years ago.  He was 5 days shy of his 57th birthday.  We had an incredible relationship that didn’t even give us 4 years together.  I am incredibly grateful for all those I have met through YWBB and WIDDA and I keep in regular communication with a fairly large group of friends, although none live near me.  I have met many, many of them in person over the last 10 years.  But right now, I sit home alone with my dog Rosie.

 

Please post with whatever information you feel comfortable sharing. 

 

Maureen (and furbaby Rosie)

Edited by Wheelerswife
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Hi! I'm Jennifer.  I'm 48...  I live in Northern California.  I have two teenagers, Ryan (19) and Amy (16).  I lost my David nearly 5 years ago.  He had a life-long heart/lung condition that he struggled with, and it eventually took him from me.  

 

I also come to this site nearly daily, to check in with those whom I know understand this experience.  I look for advice on everyday things - how to help my kids,  how to keep my sanity, what's normal grieving, relationship advice, spiritual advice, and just to know that others have walked this path before, and there is a lightness at the end of the tunnel...  

 

I'm having a terrible time with this quarantine for a variety of reasons....  First, I teach elementary school - and I desperately miss my students, their families, and my co-workers.  I feel terribly isolated.....  My teaching is my purpose......  and for the past few days I've felt lost....  

 

I have been dating a wonderful man for a few months - and he is working throughout this ... and he has other obligations as well - so I feel isolated from him. 

 

As we're doing our best to isolate, I also feel distanced from family and friends....  Facebook has been a savior, but it's not going to be enough.  

 

I feel terrified for our community's future - for our nation's future - not because of the virus - but because of the behavior of citizens - they terrify me.  I am afraid for our economy.  I'm watching my husband's life insurance dwindling in my investment accounts, praying the markets will bounce back eventually. 

 

Yesterday, a friend of mine, a very close friend of my parents, discovered her husband slumped over, dead of a heart attack in their home.  All of the trauma, the shock, the disbelief came roaring back to me.  

 

Here's what I hold on to:

 

1.  My kids need me.  I thank God for them every day....they provide my purpose, my direction, and my hope. 

2.  My dogs need me.  I know.....  but they comfort me, and I believe they are better off for living with us. 

3.  My God knows what's going on and is in control.   I don't like it, but he knows.  

4.  I'm healthy, and so are my kids and my family.   This is one thing I have some control over - so I'll take care of myself and those I love as long as I can. 

5.  I can use this time to grieve, to grow, and to remember.  I can choose my perspective and choose to be patient, and to savor this time with my kids and make good use of the time. 

6.  This will pass.  The only constant in life is change. 

7.  It's ok to fall apart.  Because it's happened before.  Over and over.  And every time, it has passed, and I pull myself together again.  

8.  I'm not alone.  And neither are you.  

 

 

  God bless..... 

 

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I'm Julie. I'm 44 years old. I lost my husband 4 years ago April 7th to a sudden heart attack. He was playing tennis at his club and had a heart attack in the locker room. The kids and I were home at the time. We have 2 girls: the eldest is now 20 and the youngest is 16. We were married for 15 years, together as a couple for 22 years. I met him in 7th grade.

 

I too come in daily to check in and I do my best to post whenever I can because I recall how isolated I felt in the beginning and needed greatly to find people who I could relate to and would understand me and what I was feeling. I do some grief group/family work near where I live in the Chicago area but it's only once a month. I feel I did the best here reading stories and allowing it to help me process and think.

 

For me, I feel that you never have to get over it. It will always suck. However,  I believe you need to learn to accept it. I found many kindred spirits here. I also did a lot of journal writing on my laptop on my own that first year to help me process and understand our new normal. My girls would like to read it and I will let them someday. I rarely feel the need to write anymore because I have peace and understanding within myself. I understand that there are things I cannot control in life and his passing was beyond what we could have done. We lived a good and happy life. We had good health, ate well, and did physical activities. We had good jobs, hobbies that made us happy, and a good circle of friends. We were devoted to our families. He had no history of heart problems and was checked for them so this blindsided us greatly. I initially pulled through for the sake of my kids and I found I needed to work on myself equally hard as well. 

 

I know now that I am more than okay for me, for my girls, for my family, for my friends, and my colleagues. Even our pets. I try to do and be more for my family and my circle. I try to live life in the now and to enjoy it. I am now in a relationship with a good man and things are progressing well. Before I could never contemplate my future without my husband but now I can imagine several scenarios for myself now. I am no longer afraid. 

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Hi, I am Marie, 

 

I was 52 when my husband died from esophogeal cancer with mets to the bones. This time of social distancing for me has been easier than the isolation of losing a mate to cancer. The isolation I felt then was staggering. Incomprehensible. I didn't understand it at all. 

 

These days, I realize that I don't have to go anywhere to be connected to the people I love. Technology has made that easy. I don't feel the need to run out in the snowstorm because I feel confined. I am ok with staying away. Staying home. But staying connected. 

 

Thanks Maureen, for the jumpstart, I hope others check in. 

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Tybec here.  Was on the former board. Did one Widdabago in STL.  42 yrs. old when my husband of 21 yrs. died in a car accident driving to work on a Friday morning. We had been together since I was 14,  28 yrs. total. It has now been 8 years. Went through his cancer, infertility and my dad's alzheimers disease early 30s. Thought we had our full share of stuff. Was wrong.

 

The board was/is helpful in so many ways. Sharing things I could not with others is so good. 

 

Finally dated and was in a relationship for 3.5 years. It did not work. Dealing with dating and new relationships here was helpful, too, as I had no one else to turn to, never dated in adult life. My life was surrounded with coupled people like my former  self.  That connection is great.

 

My son was 8 when his dad/ LH died. He is now 16, driving, and we are talking about his college choices.  It is a whole new world. 

 

I miss my husband every day.  I will always love him. Our marriage is over, though, as it is not a living and breathing relationship.  It took me years to get to that.  That is me and my thoughts.  I will always be his widow. But I can be someone's girlfriend or wife, too. 

 

I do well most of the time, except when it comes to my health. I am terrified of not being able to raise my son to independence. I also get scared still of not having help for myself.  My parents are now both dead, too. I am the youngest in the family and my much older siblings have their own challenges. I am 50 now. 

I am a Christian and can share about my faith. I can hear others' beliefs and not get into some debate. The board opened up a world wide view of folks outside my view.  I don't have to agree with others about all that, and I don't have to try to convince you otherwise.

 

We all come from different experiences and backgrounds, so our perceptions of all is skewed to that.  Things typed here are small snapshots, so try not to get bent out of shape here with different views, opinions. That is growth, also. 

 

Rambling now. Welcome to the board!

 

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Thanks for starting this post, it is much needed at this time.

I am Nancy and my husband Don died 5 years ago of a sudden heart attack.

He had just turned 51 the week before.

This board and the people on it ,helped me more then I think they even know.

Please continue to reach out and let us all know we are not in this alone.

 

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Hi everyone! My name is Jen. I became a widow at 38 years old, six years ago. My husband was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and died four months after diagnosis. 

 

I have three daughters, 20, 18, and 12. My work officially closed Monday. My daughters have been home longer. They are all extremely worried and anxious about the virus. They didn't just lose their dad in the past six years. My mom died three months before my husband, ALS. My dad died last year, stroke. They've seen a lot of medical facilities, ill people, funeral homes, too much. 

 

I'm trying to distract them with house projects. Doing something physical always helps me. We're going to be doing a lot of cleaning, purging, organizing, and painting. We're all excited about getting the house more organized and updated. 

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Hi, rather not give my name, no bad reason but where I live is a pretty small place so prefer to keep some privacy!

My husband died at 43 in an accident back in 2011, a few days before a devastating quake hit my town. It was like the Four Horsemen of the Feckin' Apocalypse had all turned up at once. Now Pestilence has made an appearance (fortunately Famine is unlikely to soon, as the supermarkets are still open!) and my country, surreally, goes into Covid-19 lockdown for at least a month in just under half an hour.

I have two daughters now aged 11 and 14, and a new relationship of some years. I still have days when I can't believe my lovely husband is not here, but we have come a long way. It has been hard work but thanks to good friends and family and love and sheer bloody-mindedness, we are doing OK. That my youngest does not remember her Daddy, and my oldest barely does, breaks my heart. And the pain for my in-laws, who are such lovely people.

 

Julie, your post resonated especially with me, and Maureen, you have always been a wonderful presence. I joined YWBB soon after my husband was killed and used to read it all the time; bizarrely, the social posts especially. I think I wanted to be reassured that there was a life beyond the hell I was experiencing.

 

My heart really, really goes out to newer widows and widowers compelled to self-isolate or in national or local lockdowns. I just want to give you all the world's biggest hug. If this had been 7 or 8 years ago, let alone nine, I would be absolutely beside myself, devastated at being stuck at home like this. I know for some folks it is the opposite and hibernating is soothing, but I needed a lot of distraction and human interaction. As it is the prospect of isolation doesn't thrill me, but I know I'm strong enough to make it work now.  Virgo, I'm impressed you're all excited about that, apparently DIY stores here too were inundated with customers! I work from home so juggling kids too, but intending to make as much time for them as I can.

 

 

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Hi I am sugarbell,  I was on the old board as well. I was widowed at age 36 to suicide with 3 kids under the age of 5. Fast forward 12 1/2 years- they are all teenagers, two driving and the other one in middle school.

 

This quarantine has made me reflect more on my early days of being on the board, widowed, having  tiny kids. This is the first time in years that all 3 of my kids are home 24/7. I am also a high school teacher, so I am home with them. It's a bizarre familiarity to me. Reminds me so much of when I didn't work and they were all home with me. It also has made me think of any new widows out there with young kids during this time ( I don't know how many times I have thought "thank goodness my kids are older while we are on lockdown)- 

 

I worked through A LOT of stuff on the old board. This is a great sounding board with great people from all walks of lives. I will be eternally grateful to those who I met along the way, and those who gave me a listening ear when it seemed like no one else was available. 

 

I am not here very often, but will be checking in more since we are on "Lock down" for a while in my state. Hugs and support to anyone new joining us. 

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Hi, abitlost here. I was widowed by brain cancer at age 41 with two young kids. 11+ years later, here we are in lockdown. I know we can get through this, because...well...we've been through much worse. 

 

I truly feel for the wids with young kids. It was helpful for us in those days to be able to go out into a lively world and socialize with people not in our grief circle. 

 

abl

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Hello, I used to be called DT on the old site.  DragonTears -- named after my husband who had dragon tattoos on his arms.  And he was a huge fan of the "the Dragon" Bruce Lee.  I found the old site in 2009 after my husband died.  The New York Times labeled it the "summer of death" because of the large number of high profile deaths that summer (link below).  I had been laid off from my job six months before and I remember watching all these funerals on TV and sobbing my eyes out.  It's not like I personally knew these people, but the collective deaths of all these people that I remember watching from my youth just brought about a heaviness.  Anyway on 6/25/09 Michael Jackson died and one month to the day later, my husband died suddenly in a car accident.  There were a lot of extenuating circumstances, as well.

 

Anyway, just checking in while my state is on shutdown.  It seems like he was there for every major tragic event in this country and we shared tears together.  Now here I am alone with no one to share my tears with.

 

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2009/08/summer_of_death.html

 

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OMG...  My check-in 8 days ago seems like a lifetime ago........  And my mental state has deteriorated so much in the past 8 days.  I'm in a near constant anxiety attack.... crying, hyperventilating, stressing, etc.....  I have to start back to work teaching tomorrow, and somehow I have to put on a sane face for my students and their families.......  not sure how that's gonna happen....    

 

Please, God, make this stop....  or send someone to hug me....  

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