The death of a spouse - in words

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The death of a spouse - in words

by karynk on Mon Sep 30, 2013 08:53 PM

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I wanted to share this with everyone.  It was something that a member of the young widows bulletin board wrote after the death of his wife.  He said it was fine to share it...but the words are his, not mine.  I know that I have shared the article about comparing losses before, I think to MavCav, but I thought this was such an amazing statement....I needed to share this one too.

Unique and Devastating Loss (by WifeLess)

With the death of our spouse (which here includes fiancée, significant other, 
partner, etc.), we grieve the loss of so much more than someone we merely
loved or were close to, like a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend or pet. We 
grieve instead the loss of: The one we loved most deeply, cherished and felt 
the very closest to. The one we swore commitment to in that unique human 
bond of marriage, which many consider sacred. The one we shared the 
ultimate partnership with to live as one and perhaps bear children with. The 
one who embodied our true sense of home. The one who was our best friend 
and who was to be our companion for life. The one we confided in, depended 
on and trusted most. The one who really knew, understood and accepted us 
as we were. The one we felt safe and protected with. The one we shared 
private moments and intimate feelings with. The one we mated souls with. 

But it is not just that this most precious person has been torn from our life, 
as unbearably heartbreaking as that alone is. With the death of our spouse, 
and only of our spouse, many additional profound losses must be grieved as 
well. For we also suffer: The loss of who we ourselves were while with them. 
The loss of the couple we were once half of. The loss of the life partnership 
we once formed. The loss of the husband or wife role we once embraced. 
The loss of the life we once lived. The loss of the plans we once made. The 
loss of the dreams we once shared. The loss of the future we once envisioned.

Amidst all this, we are also suddenly confronted with many hardships we 
never expected to face at this point in our life. Besides financial survival, 
increased domestic burdens and perhaps single parenting, additional 
challenges less apparent to others but all too real and terrifying to us. We
must now find it within ourselves: To create a new identity. To redefine 
our role in life. To establish a new connection to the world. To build a new 
network of social relationships. To discover a new sense of purpose. To 
formulate a new set of goals. To decide on a new direction for our future.

And we must accomplish these without dishonoring our former life, but while 
suppressing bittersweet memories of that life, so that they not hold us back. 
Memories of happier times mostly, but also those of our spouse’s death, 
either sudden and shocking or after prolonged illness. We must further 
endure the feelings of guilt and disloyalty that follow us as we attempt to 
forget and move forward, but with our heartstrings tied so tightly to the past. 

And all these tasks must be taken on at the lowest possible point of our life in 
the worst state imaginable. When we are the weakest, most vulnerable, most 
insecure, most isolated, most heartbroken and most emotionally exhausted 
we have ever been. Without that one person we long ago became accustomed 
to relying on to help get us through life's greatest challenges. The one who, 
just by being there, would have provided us emotional comfort and moral 
support to draw upon, as well as the strength and confidence we need to 
complete those tasks and so much more. But now we face all this alone. 

Profound indeed is the death of our spouse. Unique and devastating. For 
nearly all of us, much more catastrophic to our life than the loss of any other. 
And truly comparable, many of us widows and widowers often feel, to one 
other death only. Ours.

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by SarahGrey on Mon Sep 30, 2013 09:48 PM

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Beautiful - thanks for sharing!!

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by mavcav on Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:09 PM

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Thanks so much for sharing this and the other things that you have. :)  What WifeLess wrote and so generously said you could share is just so well written and exactly how I feel as do so many others that have lost a spouse (other half).

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by eternalife on Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:30 PM

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Thanks Karyn, oh so true. We are all in such a state of confusion when we lose our life partner, our best friend, the one we truly wanted to spend the rest of our days with.

I just broke down today at the bank, in front of the teller as I tried to explain I needed to cancel Mark's credit card. It was one more time, I had to put myself out there as a " widow" , it just felt awful. The employee just grabbed both my hands and held them, she wouldn't let me go and that felt real good. This new life is more of a roller coaster ride than I ever expected.

Best to everyone, we will make it... it just takes time and patience..

Take care,

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by karynk on Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:58 PM

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It just seems that we have a lot of active widows right now on the site.  And I thought since I actually sent this to my Mom (who is amazing & a retired hospice RN), that perhaps it would be something that you would all like to have...in case you need to share as well.  This is so hard to put into words, and someone already did an amazing job of it.  

-Karyn

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by Ozgirl on Tue Oct 01, 2013 08:11 AM

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:(

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by eastwest on Tue Oct 01, 2013 01:35 PM

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Words so true. I remember telling my son a couple weeks into this new life that I felt I'd lost my indentity. No longer wife, caretaker towards the end, partner. All our dreams up in smoke or down the cancer toilet. I knew loss of mother and family but nothing hit like this. I knew the technicalities od death and dying from working as a hospice nurse for so many years. I had taken grief seminars on how to help my patient's families and my patients themselves with life changes along the way. It is not the same. And no one who hasn't gone thru it can really understand.  Irene

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by debz3j on Tue Oct 01, 2013 01:47 PM

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That was absolutely awesome.  Thanks for sharing...it is so hard explain what we are feeling and to me, that says it all.

Love, strength and prayers,

Debz

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by marysch on Thu Oct 03, 2013 07:27 PM

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Wow...exactly how I feel and many of the rest of us too. So very sad and so very true. Sometimes I just feel like I'm tired of trying to feel better; just tired of fighting it, you know the reality that life will never be wonderful like it was, manageable maybe, but never wonderful again. Years of that, I don't know.....

RE: The death of a spouse - in words

by Hammy0426 on Thu Oct 03, 2013 08:01 PM

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So true. I am recently widowed and I have not been able to put the loss of my husband into words. The words really brought home all the other losses I have gone through (selling our house, losing my job, moving back to my home town to live with my parents, failed IVF treatments, losing my couple identity, etc). I could not have explained my loss and feelings any better. Thx, Meg
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