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    • CommentAuthorRodstar43
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2019
    It's been almost 6 months since my wife died and I have not been on this site in awhile. I have not made any major changes. Seems that it is still the unexpected little things that trigger an emotional memory from me. I still stay on my side of the bed. I survived the Alzheimer's experience, barely and this forum helped me immeasurable in that survival. In 2015 I tell the story that Alzheimer's almost killed me twice. I February of that year I had a urinary tract infection that went sepus in hours. My wife thought I was just sleepy. I came to long enough to call 911. Temperature was 103. They saved me. October of that same year I had a TIA and went unconsciousness for 20 hours with blood pressure over 200. Again, my wife thought I was being lazy. She did not know I was in trouble. Her reasoning ability had slipped - a lot. Not her fault. But the doctors said you need to move out of the boondocks and off your little ranch there in Texas and get near one of your children. Thus the move here to New Mexico. Little did we know that almost two years later that the wife would come down with an untreatable cancer. That sped up the final stages of Alzheimer's up dramatically.
    As I reminisce over 56 years of marriage I would do it all over again but, with out the ALZ.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2019
    Rodstar, It’s good to hear from you. I’m so glad you survived the Alzheimer’s experience. I think Elizabeth is right in comparing us to combat veterans, but I would add that we were in the midst of battle for a decade or more, with no R&R to speak of. Alzheimer's also turned me into an old woman. There are good days now and to come, but make no mistake, life is not long enough for the wounds to heal.
    • CommentAuthorcvh*
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019 edited
    It's been a year since I last posted on this site. My husband passed on Feb 3. - two months ago. I am a jumble of emotions, and feel like I have been on a tread mill for the past 10 years. I have a constant lump in my throat, but I was unable to cry for the first month after he passed, now I seem to cry daily. That first month is a blur.
    I have been checking this site over the past year and reading your stories. This site has helped me so much with the plethora of information that has been shared over the years. When ever I did research on his symptoms, I always started here, because many of you had already dealt with the same issue.

    I put off a funeral service for my husband, because the weather was so bad here in Feb, with constant storms. I am planning a memorial service in June instead.

    I am still having issues with his family. They have been sticking knives in my back since this started, and I've had enough of it. I asked them for help planning this memorial. I thought they may want to be involved with their fathers memorial service. They don't even bother to answer my emails. I asked for pictures, no response, I asked for what they wanted, no response, So, to hell with them. I will do this on my own, as I have done everything on my own for the past 10 years, with no help from them what so ever. It just makes me so angry that they treated their father so badly, and hardly visited him over the years. I'm sure they will come to the service and be critical of it, but, I keep telling myself that is the last time I will ever have to deal with them.

    This is a rant, I know, but, I needed to blow off some steam.
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019
    Cheryl, families can be interesting.
    I had many problems with my husband’s first family.
    Now that his ex-wife is in a care facility (chronic obstructive lung disease and dementia), they seem to be treating her the same way.
    I conclude it’s not personal, as I had thought, but that they are evil people.
    Don't put your guard down right away. They can still throw a few sucker punches.
    • CommentAuthorcvh*
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019
    Thank you Mary75. For years, I felt that I must be a really terrible person, that they could dislike me so much, and actively plan against me. My husband and his ex had split long before I came along. Then I did some research on it and found out it is pretty normal. One of the ladies in the support group that I attend on occasion, said that her husband's family had even gotten physical with her, pushing her against the wall. I guess I just don't understand how people can be like that.

    I was told that my husband's ex plans on attending the funeral. The only reason she would be coming would be to cause trouble, as she has tried to do though out our 27 years together.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019
    Too bad the date can't be changed not telling his family. Let them show up and find nothing going on!!

    Hang in there. If you have people close to you ask them to hang out with you the whole time to act as a buffer. In the meantime try not to think too much on the problems they may cause. You have plenty of grieving to get through and probably still paperwork. Use this time to take care of yourself.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeJun 4th 2019
    Just thought I would share an update of living in the time after my partner's passing. The tsunami waves of grief have passed. I have sold my home (a good thing to do while I am still cognitively and physically able to do so). I made the decision last Thanksgiving. In January I began emptying an attic, a cellar, and a garage. And then began the process of downsizing. I got rid of a lot of stuff, but still kept way too much. Sigh. I moved to the DC area to be near my son and daughter-in-law, and my brand new baby granddaughter. They live a half mile away from me. Close enough to walk to, far enough away that we can all still have our privacy.

    I miss my love. I miss the friends I left behind in Massachusetts. But I am working hard to establish a new community of friends down here. The older you get the harder that is to do. It would be impossible to do if I were still in caregiving mode. I'm hoping old friends will use my location near to DC as a reason to visit me. :) There is a lot to see and do down here.

    I visit the website close to daily, and offer my heart and best wishes to those still in the trenches. I'm visiting the virtual Cottage on the Lake next and spending time with MaryinPA.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeJun 6th 2019
    Hi Lindylou. Congratulations on granddaughter. Cool to be able to walk over.
    I’m still battling the tsunamis. Ok when I’m outside working. Thankfully lots of projects. Can’t decide if I’m getting the place ready to sell or fix up just for me. My patio is nice. The sun is going down and the orioles are chattering in the tree.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2019
    As if the daily memory jolts aren’t bad enough, there are so many anniversaries. I was a basket case in July - his birthday. But the actual day turned out to be a peaceful pretend birthday party with all his favorite things. Continued basket case in August - one year since he died. Keep reliving that and second guessing and blaming myself. I know, I know... don’t do that. Then, of course Labor Day will forever be associated with his funeral.

    Spent September kind of recovering from all that sobbing. Surprised that I do feel somewhat different after the one year anniversary. Closer, I think, to finding “... a home within myself for my grief.” Jan Warner, “Grief Day by Day” (and thank you Jan K for that referral).

    I really thought I’d be so relieved when he died, but that has not been the case. I agree with Jan Warner, “Why would I stop mourning a person who had been central to every part of my life? I didn’t need to let go to move forward. I needed help in finding a home within myself for my grief.”

    But Monday would be our 37th anniversary. Last year I went to the beach where we got married (yes barefoot -no ties). Can’t decide what to do this weekend. Probably check out Camp Pendleton. There’s a beach there with cabins even. Maybe I can set that up for next year.
    It's taken me five years to really feel like I've got myself back. I can tell I'm different now--really and truly looking forward, making plans, enjoying my life fully. It's hard to explain, but I feel free. Like that old cliche...was it in a TV commercial?....."Free to be me." That's what I finally feel like--free to be me. I think a lot of the damage has healed up.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2019
    Great job ladies. My childhood friend who lost her husband just before Memorial day (it was sudden) has friends telling her it is time to move on. I tell what I have learned from all you here - we each have our own timetable to grieve, some are short some can be even a few years (some never get over it). Good to hear how you are both are going through the healing process.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2019
    Today on Facebook Katherine Cox Stephenson (She’s one of us) posted something about grief at the holidays. It was so right on and even helpful I looked into the guy some more. He writes a blog “Stuff that needs to be said” Interesting. On the blog there was an ad if I sign up for his newsletter could get a free ebook about grief. Rather than sign up I googled the book title and just found it available free as a pdf. This guy lost his father. Most times writings about losing a parent has absolutely no bearing on losing a spouse. But this book says a lot of it very well. Lots of things about this kind of physical pain that I didn’t have words for. Also the recognition that I don’t really want to “get over it” and why that is. Here’s a link to the pdf
    • CommentAuthorAfterwards*
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2020 edited
    I lost my wife 6 weeks ago, at 66 years old. I held her hand continuously in the final week, when I was told she could no longer swallow. I held her hand as she took her last breath. My wife had Early Onset and the final 6 months went at warp speed. The final week was terrible, but her final minutes were peaceful. It's as if she saw something in her final minutes, staring straight ahead, fixating on an image or possibly a light. She was an angel in life and my soulmate.
    I am now going through several stages, I believe. I still work a full time job as well. My house is quiet, except for her little chihuahua who snuggled close to her on her final night. He doesn't understand where she is.
    I now have more memories of how my wife was before the disease. This makes tears come to my eyes at this new stage. I see things around the house that remind me of her. She was so artsy and a decorator. Everything is still in place, the way she left it. I can't seem to get over this grief. Every word, every thought is about her. I talk to her all day. I ask her what she is doing in heaven. I protected her all of these years but lost control of that when she transitioned and wonder what she is experiencing. It is worst at night and when I am alone. Also when I drive long distances, tears come to my eyes. Her daughters are also experiencing grief. I am not a person who cries. But this has breached that strength in the past to handle things emotionally. I don't live near any family and have few local friends. My company was trying to relocate me to another state last summer but I resisted because of my wife's condition at the time. Since they were waiting me out, I knew I would not be able to stay, so I buried my wife next to her/our daughters, in another state. I didn't want to leave her here alone if my company moved me. So, now I cannot even visit her final resting place until I fly across the nation to see her. Her/our daughters are grateful for the move.
    I can't seem to cope and putting up a facade at work as if I am interested in what the company wants. I can't even concentrate or hold back the emotions. I feel so alone without her. She was truly my best friend.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeMay 10th 2020
    Glenn - so sorry for you loss. Grieving is a personal journey and can take months or years to get through. Nights usually are the worse. My husband is still alive in memory care but others that are still here will be along that know exactly what you are going through. I will say think hard before you move. It is a big change when they die. To leave your home together can make it worse. I would suggest finding a counselor who deals in grief. Alzheimer's Assoc. might have some locally or if there is a hospice in your area they usually do.

    Most of all - give yourself time. Do not listen to others who tell you to get over it and move on. They don't know the depth of your grief nor how fast you can process through it. Some never really get over it. Take it one day at a time.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeMay 11th 2020
    So sorry for your loss Afterwards*. Two years is swiftly approaching for me. I still cry while driving. Have to force myself to pay good attention whenever I am out. Thought I knew and liked being alone. Thought I’d already grieved the loss of us. This is different. I’m experiencing grief as physical pain. The years of Alzheimer’s makes it all more complicated. Much of what I read trying to help people through grief was just silly.
    I live alone and am retired. The fact you are working may actually help fill the days. My world had gotten so small and our diet so limited that, at the beginning, just grocery shopping was a traumatic event. I still reach for things he loved and then realize he’s not there. I’m still experimenting to find out what things I like. There are so many new choices.
    I’ve changed some things around the house and yard and find myself wondering just why I never tried it that way before. (It was because he’d have a tantrum if anything changed.) But the house and yard is filled with memories, both good and bad.
    I’ve been working almost nonstop on the property getting things back in shape after the long Alzheimer’s neglect. Friends and relatives took some of his clothes last year. I was just about ready to go through the closets when this virus hit and no one can take them now. So sticking with yard work. We were about the same size so sometimes I wear his sweatshirts and jackets. Gonna make a T-shirt quilt eventually.
    I stopped wearing my diamonds a long time ago, but now wear his wedding band. It was awful checking the single block on tax forms this year. I don’t consider myself single.
    When I get the property in shape I think I’m going to sell. I don’t know where to move to. I think I’ll take the things that remind me of him with me. Wish I could just move the house the way it is. I don’t plan on getting over him. He was my best friend and soulmate. I have to find a way to go forward with just the memories. I’m not going to lie. The journey is way more difficult than I expected. When we retired I had back up plans for everything. None of those plans considered being single at age 66. This wasn’t supposed to happen for twenty years or more.
    I’m allowing myself to feel whatever I feel. I sleep when I’m tired. I eat when I’m hungry. I eat whatever I want. Not tied to a schedule. Could be breakfast at nine pm or three am.
    I keep withdrawing from people. That’s really easy with this pandemic. They say that’s not healthy, that we need social interaction. I do have some girlfriends who check on me now and then. And the mail lady keeps an eye on me.
    Anyway, Afterwards*, Be kind to yourself, cherish the memories, I hope your company moves you to near where you buried your wife. Don’t be in a rush to get rid of things that remind you of her even if you move.
    Afterwards*, I've been thinking about your post, wanting to comment but not sure I have anything really helpful to add. Time will help a lot--and I know that is a cliche--but it's true. Larry has been gone for five years and eight months, and I find that he's with me all the time, and on my mind so frequently--but in a good way. I look back with a smile because I was fortunate enough to have had him--not with tears because he died.

    But getting back to those agonizing, miserable, black, (can't think of a word bad enough) early days of hopeless, overwhelming grief--all I can say is that it sounds like you are doing what is necessary to get through it--and that is just to get through it. Don't try to avoid or evade the pain--just take it head on and muddle right through. As hard as that is, that is (believe it or not) what is necessary to integrate the loss into your heart and soul and be able to move forward into the sunlight again. And you will.

    Be kind to yourself, get lots of rest, don't put a lot of "shoulds" on yourself. It astonishes me now, looking back, how much time I spent in leggings, a hoodie, and Uggs--just browsing the Internet until my eyes turned red from eyestrain. Not doing a darn thing that was productive or worthwhile--it was a good day if I brushed my teeth. You'll slowly start trying new things, figuring out how you want to live in that new world where it is just "me" instead of "us." It really is a huge lifestyle change in a million ways both large and small--and it takes a while. I do think it's best to delay making any major changes or upheavals for a year or so. That's another cliche, I know, but I think it's a good one. You don't really know who you're going to be quite yet, in this new universe without your loved one--so probably best to wait until you have a better handle on what you want your new life to look like before doing anything too drastic.

    There is no timeline--the process isn't linear--you'll be in pieces one day--not too bad the next--and you never know when something will set off the heartbreak again--I can remember the first Christmas after Larry's death, when I put up my Christmas tree and decorated it--just sobbing the whole time. (Why did I even think I was emotionally capable of setting up the tree when he had only been gone three months and three weeks? Well, anyway....a dumb thing to do, but I had been feeling fairly calm, and didn't expect that huge tsunami of grief.) So good days and bad days, and the bad days can really come out of nowhere and catch you by surprise.

    But you'll find with time you will have more and more good days, and find goodness, peace and joy again. Trust me on this, Afterwards*, because if I could get through it, anybody could get through it. Sending hugs (((((( ))))))