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    • CommentAuthorAdmin
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2015 edited
    Well, I somehow managed to get through it. I was determined to do it for Sid. He deserved my best, and I tried to give it to him. I invite you to log onto the home page - - to read the entire text of the eulogy I wrote and delivered at his Memorial Service on Friday, June 19, 2015.

    This is all so unreal to me. I cannot believe this. Thank goodness my son and sister are with me. And Xanax.

    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2015 edited
    Beautiful Joan, well done.

    From someone who has been there:
    Remember breathe deeply and grieve deeply, dont try to short cut the process.
    Cry long and often. Dont let anyone tell you it will all be over in a few months.

    Do know that the grieving will eventually subside but only when you have done all you need to do and not a minute sooner.
    Dont rush things, you are building your own future. Success depends on incorporating this experience into your entire life story.
    • CommentAuthorrachelle
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2015
    Joan, I haven't posted here for sometime but have been checking in every now and again. Just read of Sid's death. I am so sorry for your loss. Even though you've been grieving the impact of Alzheimer's in the life of your loved one for many years, death is still a hard good bye. Your eulogy is a beautifully written tribute to a very special love story. I was especially touched by your description of how Sid took your hand and drew it up to his lips so he could give you a farewell kiss. Very, very precious. Thank you for sharing this with your community here.
    Joan, what a wonderful thing to be able to deliver a eulogy like that for your husband…I don't know how you did it. (Sid was probably supporting you through it.) I agree with everything m-mman said above, especially, "Don't rush things, you are building your own future." I still miss Larry dreadfully…reflect so much on our life together…like you and Sid, the sum of the marriage was greater than the two of us separately…and that is a rare and beautiful thing. I'm still not very energetic or productive…spend a lot of "down" time just vegetating and looking back with a bittersweet smile as I ponder how to best go forward. I do know one thing, and I hope this doesn't sound Pollyanna-ish or like I'm just clutching at that cloud to try to find a silver lining: My life over-all will always be a better life and a happier life…a more meaningful life…a life with a good "feeling" (hard to explain)…and I will be a happier and better person going forward…because of our marriage. He is with me in my heart--I feel it more and more--and it's a happy feeling…and I feel that he's cheering me on to move forward to a meaningful and happy life. He was very supportive all of our years together, and I feel that he's supporting me now, too. So hang in there, dear Joan--I know that amid all the misery and heartbreak you are going to find that there is some sunlight there amid the shadows, and that as the grey clouds and mist eventually dissipate, there will be even more sunshine and blue skies. I know this because I'm living it.
    • CommentAuthorBev*
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2015
    Joan, I hope I have the courage to deliver the eulogy for my husband. Your eulogy was beautiful. I spent almost my whole life with my husband too. I was only 17, he was 19. We married when I was 19 and he was 21. We have spent 57 years together, raising three children. He was a truly wonderful husband and father, and I'm so grateful to have him.

    I wish you peace in your life now. You were so blessed to have such a love. You can rest now knowing you did your best for him and for so many other people you don't even know. So, because of Sid's disease he, unknowingly, contributed to all the help you have given to others as well as to him.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2015
    Dear Joan, That's a wonderful description of your life together. I can picture you both vividly. How you must miss him after so long a journey together!
    I am so proud of you! Beautifully written. knew at age 10. Your story needs to be a Hallmark movie! You have both been very blessed. Not too many folks ever experience that great of a love affair. Time for you to rest.
    • CommentAuthorMoon*
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2015

    I really admire your tremendous strength.
    It is so sad that your life together had to come to an end, but how lucky you were to have shared such a wonderful life.
    Thank you for sharing your emotional send-off - my eyes are filled with tears.
    Take care of yourself.
    • CommentAuthorAdmin
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2015 edited
    Today (June 21) is our 45th wedding anniversary. I cannot believe how fast 45 years went by. I cannot believe he is gone. I can't believe any of this.

    Joel went home yesterday. My sister will go home tomorrow. I am taking the weekend to decompress. I am not talking to anyone on the phone. I am just resting. Arlene and I will probably go to the beach later. The ocean always calms me. It is where Sid and I spent so many happy times. We both loved the water.

    To those who have wondered how I was able to stand up and deliver the eulogy - I wrote it in about 3 hours, then read it to myself and out loud to practice at least 10 -15 times. After reading it so many times, I was able to compose myself. The first 4 or 5 times I read it, I sobbed myself sick, but after reading it many times, I was better.

    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2015
    That's rough to have that anniversary come up raw like this. Try and find somewhere you can sit where the outside things happening take your mind away from going too deep - but doesn't require your input. By the ocean with it's calming affect is a good idea. Every little partial refuge however momentary I found helped me in the many moments ahead. For instance when I play Free Cell/Solitaire, I don't think about anything else.
    Dear Joan.
    That was so beautiful!! I made a healthy dent in a Kleenex box I must say.
    Such an amazing tribute to the amazing life you shared.
    The world is a better place because of you and Sid.
    I live near the ocean and will sit on a log today sending much love and support to you on your anniversary. The longest day of light for the year.
    • CommentAuthorBama*2/12
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2015
    Joan, we were both married on June 21st. Today would have been our 59th but we had over 53 years together. I have been remembering that day and smiling at all the good memories.
    Joan - There is so much similarity in our stories, except it was he who fell in love with me when we were ten, my classmates told me. But I had no feelings about it, there were trees to climb, monkey bars to hang upside down on, and eventually lots of boys to mess around with. But he waited for me until I grew up and asked me to our senior prom. I went rather reluctantly, but by the time he brought me home, I knew I'd spend my life with him. I just didn't know that AD was also my marriage partner, arriving early on and causing such trouble, but I knew I'd never leave him.

    I, too, wrote and rehearsed a eulogy several times and was able to get thru it OK. It rained that day, I began by saying, "Even God was crying." I say all this, even tho I am not a spiritual creature, but I know, once again, he's still waiting for me--and where else would I go?

    So live your life, Joan, take your time. Sid will be OK, he's just patiently waiting.
    Joan, I was married 45 years also. For about the first 2 weeks I could not believe he was really gone. I had spent so much time wondering when it would end and then when it did I simply could not get my head around the fact. It is so good that you are resting. You will need to continue resting for a while. Hospice told me to make as few decisions as possible for a while. They encouraged me to eat
    Sleep, walk and talk. It is imperative to take good care of the body so it can heal. I was told in my group last week that because we have spent so much emotional energy caretaking, that we need to replenish these emotions (healing the heart) by basically taking it slow and easy until we can regain our foot hold again. God bless
    Yeah, at the nine and a half month point, I'm still resting! (Not kidding, either.) This bereavement stuff is tiring…saps your strength…not for wimps. I think it is just the emotional weight of it that is tiring. I am getting into much better physical shape, so it isn't that. I agree with the advice about holding off on major decision-making. It's just too soon…you have to find a landing field first, I think.

    Joan, just take it very, very easy. You've had a rough time and you must rest and recuperate.
    • CommentAuthorMim
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2015
    I haven't known what to say about the beautiful & touching eulogy ... still don't. Joan you & Sid have had a wonderful love story through all of the years (even through Alz.) & you have been blessed to have such a relationship. To be quite honest (& this will sound weird), I don't think I could muster up that kind of eulogy for hubby. I'm almost envious of you. I remember the funeral service for the husband of one of my friends - before the service, in church, "You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings" was playing very softly...I will never forget that. He was her hero, just as Sid was yours. What a compliment for the one who has passed to be always held in such high esteem, with such love.
    I don't know what it's like to lose my spouse (physically), maybe I will feel differently about things then, but I should not be making this about's about your courage & example for the rest of us.

    Find peace & comfort....
    I don't nap. EVER! Today after church I layed across the bed. I woke up 2 hours later. That never happens people! So, as others have gentle and patient with yourself as you grieve. It sucks the life out of you. It will take a lot of time to establish whatever is our "new normal".
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2015
    I now attend a weekly grief group. It is run by a woman who was widowed 30 years ago. She has run the group for 28 years She knows a lot about grief. (More than any psych professional I was forced to deal with)

    However lately something has been happening that she is has not seen in her many years of doing grief work. For many decades it was cancer, heart attacks and traffic accidents. Now there are survivors of chronic long term illness.

    In my group there is another ALZ widower and widows who have survived Multiple Sclerosis, Huntingtons and Traumatic brain injury. Years and years of care.

    One night during our discussions it suddenly occurred to us that we also needed to MOURN THE LOSS OF OUR BURDEN.

    Nobody liked doing all that chronic care but now that it is gone(?)
    It insidiously became a part of our life and our personal identity. Now that it is gone we all have to not only grieve the loss of our spouse we need to rediscover what a normal life is. A normal that ended a long time ago. This is something the cancer care survivors dont seem to have.

    I suspect it is kind of like when someone loses a child. They mourn the loss sure, but they also have to replace all time they spent doing childcare.

    It is hard to describe but identifying this need has helped a lot of us put our chronic care experience into perspective and recognize that there is a lot that needs to be mourned for in our life besides our spouse.
    M-mman*. Thank you for sharing this. For me that will be the more difficult task of grief--how and what to do now that I am no longer caregiving. It is like finding an entirely new identify. That is a big reason why I believe that long term caregiving and the death of especially the spouse is very different.
    • CommentAuthorAdmin
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2015

    Something you said a few posts back really described what I am going through now. You said, "Joan, I was married 45 years also. For about the first 2 weeks I could not believe he was really gone. I had spent so much time wondering when it would end and then when it did I simply could not get my head around the fact."

    That is exactly what I am feeling. Because he had been in the nursing home for 2 years, and I have spent 2 years struggling to learn to live alone, be a single, build a single life, not having him here is no different than my life has been for those 2 years. When everyone went home, I was not in shock at having an empty house or getting into bed alone. I've already dealt with that as had you.

    But I just can't believe he's dead. This is what I wrote to my sister tonight, and it explains what I am feeling - " I can't realize that Sid is really gone. It's no different around here than it has been for two years, then it hits me that he's dead, and I can't wrap my head around it. I just can't believe that he is dead. I can't. He can't be. It just can't be. My Sid died, not the Alzheimer Sid, and that makes it even harder for me. It's like I'm walking around in a foggy nightmare. Like the one Scarlet O'Hara ( Gone With the Wind) kept having. Sid isn't dead. He can't be. I'm sure all of this that I am thinking is normal at this stage, but I am glad that I am going to see my counselor on Friday."

    Reading you saying the same thing I am feeling made me feel like I'm not crazy.

    I feel the same way. I can't really absorb the fact that my husband died a month ago. Like you said, he had been
    Placed since August so being home alone is not a sudden event.

    I find myself numb most of the time. I have been very busy taking care of security, pensions, medical bills etc. Each time I explain that my husband is deceased it seems surreal. I feel as if I am saying , " by the way,
    My husband is away on business." Just about as much feeling as that.

    I wonder why I am not sobbing hysterically all day?? But, last night alone on my pillow, I wept when I imagined
    All the little and big memories that will never happen again.

    I am scared that one day it is going to HIT me and the pain will be so deep and unbearable.

    Seems a bunch of us are going through this together at this time. It helps to hear how others feel too.

    I'm with you on this next journey. May we all find peace.
    • CommentAuthorAdmin
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2015

    As I mentioned at the end of my post, I am going to see my counselor tomorrow (Friday). We know each other well enough by now that I am pretty sure I know what she is going to say to me at this point, but tomorrow will tell. I will let you know. I probably should write a blog for recent widows/widowers based upon what my counselor says is "normal" in the early stages.

    I can tell you with absolute certainty that Hospice grief counselors are the best at what they do. I went to two other "counselors" before this one, and they were worthless to me. Absolutely worthless.

    I did feel a tremendous sense of peace after I gave his eulogy at the service. When he was first diagnosed, I promised him that I would take care of him forever, and I feel that writing and presenting the best eulogy I could was my way of keeping my promise and completing the circle.

    Joang*, Yes let us know how your counseling goes. I have met once with the hospice person and called again but he is so busy and has not called back. I am going to set up a meeting with the grief person at my church just to have someone to talk to about this. He is certified whatever that means. I do not care what the education is. I just need someone to listen to me.

    It is almost 2 months and it feels like I am dead inside. Like Lorrie mentioned, I am not crying a lot and wonder about that although I know everyone deals with it differently. I cried so much when he was placed so I am not too worried about that. I realized yesterday I have spent the last 45 years raising 5 kids and taking care of him for 12 years and I honestly do not know who I am anymore. I had been so involved with caregiving and that whole identity is now gone. I am able to function but nothing feels good. It is like going through the motions. I ordered his grave marker and have not paid it off yet and am still waiting for another check to come from the proceeds from the funeral. I went to the bank on Monday and she said not to close out any accounts for 6 months in case "he has any bills."

    Another thing I am noticing is that I am overwhelmingly tired all the time--taking naps--which is something I never do. I have always had lots of energy. I did get a handout from the Alz association on grief and loss. I will list some of the things on the list as I think they are good:

    1. Do gently. Don't rush too much. Your body needs energy for repair.
    2. Do not take on new responsibilities right away. Do not over extend yourself. Keep decision making to a minimum.
    3. Accept help and support when offered.
    4. Ask for help. No one can read your mind. It is very important to find someone who cares, understands and with whom you can talk freely. It is okay to need comforting.
    5. Subdue pain. It cannot be outrun. Let the grief-healing process run its full course.
    6. It is okay to feel depressed at times. Crying can make some of us feel better.
    7. Get adequate rest. Go to bed earlier. Avoid caffeine.
    8. Good nutrition is important. Limit sweets, salty and fatty foods. Eat a balanced diet with lots of water.
    9. Keep a journal. It is a good way to understand what you are thinking and feeling and when reread later you will notice progress.
    10. Read. There are many helpful books on grief. If grief is understood it is a little easier to handle.
    11. Exercise. If offers an opportunity to work off frustration and aids sleep.
    12. Do not have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Grief takes time. It comes and goes.
    13. Do things a little differently. Yet try not to make a lot of changes. This sounds like a contradiction but it is not
    Lorrie, Joan and CO2, I am in the same position, having lost my DH just 5 weeks ago. Still doesn't seem real and I miss him terribly. I'd give anything to have him back as a whole person,
    but since there is no magic wand for that little trick I just have to go forward a day at a time - some are better than others. Like others, I haven't really cried - I have moments that can be triggered by almost anything, a song on the radio, a commercial, etc. At nights the loneliness is palpable - I guess I just find it hard to accept the finality of it all. My husband had been in care for the last 15 months of his life, so I am used to the empty house, etc. but the fact that there will never be another hug is so tough. I know there is no one-size-fits all for the grieving process and hope we can all just do what's best for us. Those 13 points you have listed are good reminders = other than the 'avoid caffeine' I'm not doing too badly - just wish I had more energy for the exercise! Stay strong everyone. I take great comfort from the fact that there are many others here struggling towards the light.
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2015
    I will add somethings that I have learned in my grief journey.

    Yes, you will FEEL like you are going crazy BUT YOU ARE NOT!
    Grief can sum up all kinds of symptoms that completely match many psychological illnesses.

    BTW - Memory Loss is a major symptom of grief!
    Yup, you may think that you are developing ALZ. You are not, it a symptom of grief!

    "Grief Attacks" (sudden crying spells) can occur anywhere and at anytime. They are normal. Experience them, go with the flow. The crying is a necessary recovery mechanism.
    While there is great pressure to not cry in public, DO CRY in private. In my group some grievers have walked out of a market leaving behind a cart full of groceries so they could go home and cry. It's OK It is normal.

    It is NOT going to be over in 6 months or even a year. It is going to be as long as it takes. You have to work at grief. It may take years. But if you do work at it, then it WILL get better eventually.

    Dont worry about trying to improve your health during your grief.
    Sure some foods are healthier than others and certainly DONT get into drugs or alcohol . . . BUT . . . sometimes ice cream makes for a very good dinner.
    They are called 'comfort foods' for a reason. Let them comfort you.

    You have alot to think about. Dont add more guilt to yourself because you are "not eating right". You are not going to be killed by the comfort foods you ate during your deepest grief.

    Grief work is very specialized. Not everyone can OR SHOULD do it. You cannot learn it from a book, but a lot of 'professionals' think they can.
    In my particular group all the facilitators have suffered a loss. People who have not lost someone are not allowed to try to help others.
    If your counselor does not seem to be of help, ask about who and when THEY ACTUALLY LOST someone.

    Poor counselor? Chances they have never really experienced grief. LEAVE. Go to someone who gets it.
    And a good counselor doesnt have to be a professional, but they DO have to be a good listener.

    So kind that you have come back to help us.

    I am coming out of the numbness I first experienced. I thought I should be feeling the first month and NOW it is becoming so painful!!

    Today, I am handling necessary paperwork and have to face things related to my husband's care. I read how angry and upset he was when first placed. I got a panicky feeling followed by guilt and sadness...great pain.
    I started to be upset at the thought of his first placement and how he told me when he saw me that I had abandoned him. I feel like I will never get over the pain and guilt I felt at that moment.

    I know grief will be long and difficult ... But, I hate this feeling Soo much.

    Today, I feel Soo lonely for him.
    m-mman* Thank you, you have helped me so much with your post. Also for some reason, this Father's Day was so much harder for me than last year. And was for older DD to I found out. And for some reason, I was missing my FIL all the more. He passed away 10 months before DH.

    Someone told me that grief comes in waves, and that is true for me. It just seems you never know when a rogue wave of grief will hit.
    m-mman* Thank you for your insights on grief. Yesterday I honestly did feel as though I was going crazy. But today is better. Although I realize I cannot learn how to grieve from a book I do feel that I am learning from books about what other people have experienced when losing a spouse. That helps me. I am working on not ruminating about the "what ifs or regrets." I honestly did the best I could given the resources I had. What is amazing to me is that I actually survived when there many days I doubted that I would.
    I didn't realize that so many of us have lost our spouses in the last several weeks or months. It's been 8 weeks for me now and I have mostly finished all the paperwork and legal stuff. What now? It's hard to comprehend they're really gone, not coming back and we're alone. For the first 3 or 4 weeks, I kept thinking about his body actually dying while he was still breathing and I was relieved that it was over. Now, after 8 weeks, I'm beginning to think about the times before he had Alzheimer's, when we were working in the yard together, going places, doing things and living life. The feeling of relief is being replaced with real grief. Strange things cause waves of grief, like walking through the men's department at a store or getting a catalog with men's things in it or something happening that I want to tell him about. It's good to read this thread and know others are going through similar feelings. Will look forward to your blog, Joan. Many of us are dealing with the same thing you are.
    • CommentAuthorBruce *
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2015
    like m-mman* said so well. crying is part of the grieving process. My spouse passed almost 4 years ago and even though I have moved on and found someone to share a life with I still find myself crying at times like right now as I read what has been shared here. So cry if you feel like it it is therapy and you probably will never get completely over your loss. You just go on one step at a time because there are no other choices. do what you have to do but keep one foot in front of the other.
    May God bless you all for your loving and caring ways.
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2015
    CO2* when I talked about not learning about grief from a book I was referring to those helping professionals who have read about the topic BUT have never experienced grief first hand as related to someone they loved.

    They only way to REALLY understand grief, is to experience it first hand.

    Example: I had a psychologist ask me about my loss, what happened that day and how I was informed . . . . Of course as I told the tale, my eyes got wattery my nose started to run and my throat got smaller.
    He stopped me and asked "Uhh . . . is this bothering you . . . ?"

    A Marriage-Family Therapist (who was in charge of a grief group!) told me that . . . "You should not tell your story to other people because it is too difficult for others to have listen to it".
    Yeah, I guess I should just keep it to myself . . . . That'll help wont it??
    A lot of people just dont get it.

    A lot of people (professionals and not) will say a lot of 'dumb' non-helpful things to you. Do your best to ignore & avoid them.
    You know in your heart what you need, other people who have experienced true grief know too, seek them out.
    Oh Joan, I am so sorry about your beloved Sid. This is the hardest thing imaginable, and I'm holding you in my heart with love. Your eulogy was wonderful - you did Sid proud!

    All my love,
    • CommentAuthorblbrown
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2015
    Dear Joan, I just want to let you know I have been very encouraged by this web-site and i am deeply sorry to hear that your Dear Sid is now no longer here with you. I loved reading about your beautiful love story. My husband is in the last stages of this horrible disease and I feel so sad that he no longer can do the things we use to be able to share with one another. I know one day my loving partner will leave me ,but i have beautiful memories of our life together. We were only married four years when he was diagnosed and it broke my heart. It was ten years ago that I received that sad news. I pray that you will find the comfort that you need at this time. I have not posted anything in a while but, I just wanted to let you know how sad I felt when i read that Sid had died. May you find peace at this time of your lost.

    My prayers are with you