A Memorial to My Husband

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wealthy Widow or Not...

Just some thoughts rambling around in my head the last few days.

It is sad that so many people automatically think that if you are a widow you are a "wealthy widow" because of the insurance money, house, possessions, etc. This is not always true.

So if anyone wonders, "Yes", I consider myself one of the wealthiest widows alive because I had the unconditional love and protection of a good man who was also my best friend and who sacrificed much in his life to protect our country in the United States Army for 30 years.

My dear husband: It's been a little over a year now since you left me that early Sunday morning. I love you and miss you today as much as ever. You are on my mind and in my heart every day and always will be and I know you are still watching over me.

I love you Rea Bradley Ellithorpe.

Mrs. Rea Bradley Ellithorpe (Monna)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Angel Day - 1 Year Ago

Rea Bradley Ellithorpe 08/1/1955 - 08/17/2008
SGM U.S. Army Retired / Deceased

I thought of you with love today but that is nothing new
I thought about you yesterday and days before that too,
I think of you in silence I often speak your name
All I have are memories and your picture in a frame
Your memory is my keepsake with which I’ll never part
God has you in His keeping I have you in my heart.


Mrs. Rea Bradley Ellithorpe

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Beginning of the End - August 2008

Rea Bradley Ellithorpe (SGM Ret. US Army) 08/01/1955 - 08/17/2008

I have been attempting to write this blog post now for a week or more and today I am going to try to get through it.

One year ago yesterday, August 7, 2008 was "the beginning of the end" for my husband and I. I wish I could just sleep away this month of August.

We were planning our wedding for August 13, 2008 and he was admitted to the hospital on August 7, 2008. We didn't realize or want to even think of the possibility that he would never come home from that hospital trip.

August had always been a good month for both of us. His birthday is August 1st, mine is August 13th and 2 years earlier in August of 2006, we had starting living together and the date of our marriage was also going to be in August. Instead August has turned out to be a month I will now dread for the rest of my life.

We did go ahead with the wedding in his hospital room on August 15, 2008 with my daughter, my 2 grandchildren, my best friend of 40+ years there and a friend of my daughter's who married us. Considering how sick my Rea was and the pain he was in, we were both very happy and he suffered through the pain to make that day very special for both of us; especially for me because he always wanted me to be happy and looked out for me in every way possible. After the ceremony and everyone was gone, I could see the toll it took on him to try and ignore the pain. He was given some pain medication and I left my "new husband" to let him sleep.

I came back later in the evening to be with my new husband. I didn't care that ours was not a normal wedding, I was just so proud and happy to be Mrs. Rea Bradley Ellithorpe.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 was not a good day for Rea. I could see that he was exhausted, still in a great deal of pain and the fight for life was draining from him. He had told me when he first went in the hospital, that no matter what happened, he was going to hang on until we were married. I still did not want to believe that he would never come home with me.

He wanted his hair cut and I contacted his best friend Jerry who came and cut his hair for him on Saturday afternoon. They were able to spend some time together. Through the pain and agony, Rea and Jerry laughed and clowned around as they always had. Rea was exhausted and we left. I drove Jerry home and went home myself to get some rest. I was going back to the hospital the next morning, Sunday, August 17, 2008.

About 5 pm, August 16, 2008 Rea called and asked if I was coming back that evening. I just sensed something in his voice, so I drove back to the hospital to spend the night with him. Those last few hours between 6 pm, August 16, 2008 and 3:15 am, August 17, 2008 is something I have not and probably never will tell anyone exactly what happened. Those hours are mine and Rea's last moments together. My dear sweet baby passed away at 3:15 am on August 17, 2008.

I became a bride and a widow in a matter of a few days and entered the "widows fog" that still surrounds me from time to time. That moment of 3:15 am on Sunday morning, August 17, 2008 seems as if it happened only hours ago and then at times it seems as if it was a million years ago.

Would I do it all over again? You bet I would, even though the pain of losing him is as great today as it was that Sunday morning. Rea was the best thing that ever happened to me. We loved each other very much and we were good together. We had only about 4 years together but I would not change anything about those 4 years even to escape the pain I am feeling now.

My heart is hollow and empty. I feel I am just existing but I am attempting to go on with a different life without him physically being here, but he is with me always 24/7. One of his last wishes was that I go on to be there for our daughter and our 2 grandchildren and I will do that for him and for them.

I will finish this post with a poem I found a few days after:

Love Shared.
Listen for my whispers in the night as they come across the miles to where you sleep.
I will be the lightness in the dark to comfort you and hold you as you weep.
Never will you be alone again, for you hold a special place within my heart.
Always will you have a home with me, you are close to me e'vn though we are apart.
Forever in tandem, our lives are tied by a silver strand that crosses o’er the miles.
Sharing conscious thoughts and Godly faith we help each other find again our smiles.
© May1998Brenda "Rion" Sewell

All my love forever my dear sweet husband. Rest in Peace with no more pain and torment.

Mrs. Rea Bradley Ellithorpe

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day - June 21, 2009

Today is Father's Day all around the country (I am not sure about other countries) and many families will be joining together to show their appreciation and love to their fathers, grandfathers and even some great-grandfathers.

Some of us will be spending this day alone remembering the previous Father's Days before when our loved one was still with us. No matter whether you are a widow or a widower, it is another holiday we have to endure alone again.

I had a very special sign from my husband this morning on this Father's day. I was outside checking his rose bushes that he loved so much and a butterfly came up to me as I bent down to smell one of the roses. It only stayed for a minute but it reminded me that my Rea is and always will be with me.
Photo credit: http://mrg.bz/qnEK0e

Just because your loved one is not with you physically you can still honor them on this day by starting a new tradition.

* Take flowers to the cemetery and release balloons in the air to celebrate the father he was and the previous Fathers Days spent together.

* Light a candle for him or her, which is what I will be doing later this evening and writing a note to add to the box of other holiday notes I have written since my "dear sweet one" has been gone.

* Go ahead and buy that Father's Day card and write exactly what you are feeling on this day. Men can also buy a card for their wives and tell them how much you appreciated them for making previous Father's Days special for you.

The first letter of each line of this poem spells out; Happy Father's Day

How can I touch you when you're far away?

A poem is not as salient as a kiss.

Poems but poorly presences convey,

Perhaps because of all that words must miss.

Yet write I must because you are not here,

Father farther from my eyes than heart,

A face more frequent than it might appear,

Tempered by the tyrannies of art.

How might I be with you in ways that are

Equal to the passion of my yearning,

Reaching for a grace beyond the bar

'Ere there's any word of your returning.

So may the time between us quickly pass,

Days of longing that long cannot last,

A time when but through words we may embrace,

Yet know that soon we will be face to face.

Poems For Free Thank you for this poem.

Photo credit: http://mrg.bz/oj8K7J

I want to remind everyone to enjoy, love and embrace every one of your family members. We never know when it will be the last time we have the chance to say "I Love You."

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

I have been thinking a lot in the last few days about Memorial Day and my husband. Although he did not die in action, he did die as a result of his 30 years of service to our country and our freedom, as did many, many other men and women.

I am so proud of my husband and the sacrifices he made. I always made a special effort to tell him how proud I was of him. I have also started at every opportunity that I can, to thank any one who is in the military or was in the military for their service and sacrifice too.

Until you live with someone who is in the military or has been in the military, you have no idea of the horrors and cruelty that they see and go through and are left to deal with the memories, most of the time on their own. These men and women relive these memories, sites and sounds in their minds over and over. It is something they can never really erase from their minds.

My husband told me of some of the things he endured, saw and had to do during his many years of service in the Army. I now have those visions engraved in my mind too. I did not live through those moments like he did but they are now with me forever as they were for him. Hearing the stories and living through it are totally different. I don't have the nightmares and the sleepless nights like he did but the visions I do have are real enough.

Every day we see on TV the things that our service men and women are going through but we just kind of pass the pictures on the screen out of our minds when the news report is over. They cannot do that.

On this Memorial Day, please take it upon yourselves to remember the ones we have lost and make a special effort to "THANK" the ones who have served and are still here with us. Please don't take for granted what their sacrifices provide to each and every one of us every day of our lives.

I thank each and every one of our service men and women who we have lost and those who are still protecting our freedom even now. May God be with you and protect you.

To my husband, Sergeant Major Rea Bradley Ellithorpe:

I miss you and love you now and always. I am so proud of you for the sacrifices that you made risking your life for our country and our freedom. I am also angry that this sacrifice has taken you away from me so soon.

Rest in Peace My Love. Your pain and torment is over now but my pain is still very real while trying to go on without you.

Part of me died with you that Sunday morning of August 17, 2008. My heart is always with you and you are always with me until we are together again.

Memories Of Sergeant Major Rea B. Ellithorpe

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Medications to Cope With Grief - Yes or No?

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the Grief groups that I belong to concerning the use of medications while you are going through grief. I would say the opinions are about half and half.

Some believe that medications should not be used because it delays the grieving time and some believe there is nothing wrong in using medications to help you cope with the pain and grief you are going through.

While each of us grieve differently and have different opinions on the subject of medications, it ultimately comes down to what your doctor believes is best for you and your situation. Your doctor will know best, what medications you can be put on, if any and determine if an anti-depressant or an anti-anxiety medication will react in some way to other medications you may be already taking.

I suffer from clinical depression and have most of my life, so if I am to function at all through this time of my life, I have to take both anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. More than likely because I have a history of depression and anxiety, I will have to continue with medications for the long term.

Situational depression such as what people experience when they lose a loved one is most generally a temporary condition. You can choose to "suffer through it" or talk with your doctor about temporary help with medication. If you do not have a past history of depression, a short course of medication may help you through the rough times.

As with any anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication make sure you are closely monitored by your doctor. It is not advisable to simply stop these medications; you have to taper off of them gradually.

I believe it is firmly "embedded" in most people's minds that if you have to be on an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication that there is some kind of mental problem and they shy away from the idea of taking the medications. While clinical depression is a medical condition, it does not mean you are crazy or ready for a psychiatric ward.

My doctor explained "clinical depression" to me in this way:
Imagine you are driving on a road with lots of hills and valleys, you drive down into one of the valleys in the road and your car stalls. You cannot get it started to be able to continue with your ride. With clinical depression there are chemical imbalances that react somewhat in the same way. The chemicals in your body drop down and you are in one of those valleys and you are unable to bring yourself out of it without medicinal help.

Situational depression is a reaction to the death of a loved one, losing a job, an illness, children moving out of the house and many other reasons can cause situational depression.

If you are completely against medications to help with your depression and anxiety through your grieving process, Neil Nedley, M.D. has written a very interesting book if you are seeking an alternative to medications.

Dr. Nedley gives you a well-referenced, in-depth comprehension of how depression affects the person mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Depression: The Way Out

So whatever your beliefs are, remember you have to do what is best for you to get through this time of grief.

If you are trying to deal with your grief on your own, there are plenty of Yahoo Groups that you can join to talk with people who are going through the same thing that you are and know exactly what you are feeling.

The two internet grief support groups that I recommend and belong to are:


Veterans Widows

I am lucky to have the support of my daughter, son in law and my two grandchildren and close friends but I also needed to talk with people who were feeling the same as I was.

I don't think I would have made it as far as I have without the support and comfort from the people in both of these groups and I thank each and every one of them for being there for me when no one else was able to be around.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Signs and Messages From Your Loved One

This is a topic I am a little reluctant to write about because some people may think that it is crazy. They make think the grieving person is out of touch with reality and ready for psychiatric help. This is not true, so do not worry about them.

Of course I am sure there are exceptions to this. If a grieving person you know is acting totally out of character, erratic in behavior and it seems as though they have lost total touch with reality or suicidal, then by all means step in and seek help for them.

If a grieving person tells you they have had signs or messages from their loved ones who have passed on, regardless of what your beliefs are, it is real to them. It can also be a way for them to deal with their loss. They want to keep the spirit of their loved ones close to them in whatever way they feel comfortable.

Unless you are a widow or a widower, you would never understand the peace that it brings to feel that your spouse is still right there with you in spirit watching over you and still letting you know they are there to guide you.

I am not ashamed to admit that since my husband has passed away, I have seen and felt his spirit with me still and I have seen signs that he is still here with me. I am not crazy, I am not losing my mind and I am not ready to be committed to an institution. I find great comfort in any kind of sign I see, feel or smell that reminds me he is still with me.

Some of the things that have happened in my home since I lost my dear husband cannot be explained in any other way. I choose to accept that these signs are from my loving husband and welcome them anytime he wants to make his presence known to me.

I have talked with many widows and widowers who have also had similar experiences. Some have told me of their grandchildren talking with their deceased spouse who would tell them things that there is no way the child would know unless the deceased was relaying a message through the child. It is believed that a child's mind is less cluttered than an adult mind and they are more open to contact with someone who is deceased.

The signs and messages that widows and widowers see, smell, hear and feel are very personal to us. Many, including myself may not want to even mention it to anyone for fear of being thought of as crazy or "losing it".

I am opening up a whole new world here with this topic but I want widows and widowers to know they are not alone in this. I am not talking about anything like mediums, spiritualists, voo-doo or seances; those topics are a whole different subject and meaning.

Okay, I will be brave here and tell you some of the things that have happened since my husband's passing that cannot be explained any other way:

* My husband and I had our cell phones programmed to play "our song" only when we called each other. A few times that I have had to make a tough decision and I did not know what to do, the phone has rang playing "our song" and has played at no other time.

* I woke up one night to find my husband's favorite blanket spread out over me. When I went to sleep the blanket was folded neatly and laying on the corner of the bed.

* My husband loved to play jokes on me and still does. Many times I will go to look for something and it has disappeared; to be found located somewhere else at a later time.

* His new LCD TV was one of his prized possessions. A few times I have been awakened to find the TV on that I absolutely was positive I had turned off before going to bed.

* I went to tell my husband's best friend of his passing. Later on he told me as he was sitting outside later that day thinking of his best friend being gone, a butterfly landed on his shoulder and sat there for a few minutes and then flew away.

* As we talked about this a few days later, we determined that at approximately the same time, I saw many, many butterflies fluttering around my husband's Jeep. I have seen a few butterflies since that time but not so many as I did at that one time.

There are many other things that have happened but I will not go any further in describing them. Judge me as "crazy" if you will but I believe he is still with me and watching over me.

I hope that you never have to go through the experience of losing a spouse but if you are ever in that position, be receptive to the fact that they can and sometimes will let their presence be known to you if you believe.

If you would like to share any of your experiences or stories, your comments are welcome. If you would rather not, I understand because it is a personal and touchy subject.

I invite you to visit ADC Stories if you are interested in other experiences of ADC (After Death Communication).

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coping With Grief – Where is My Support?

When you are grieving the loss of a loved one that is when you need family and friends around you for support the most.

I am a member of two widows groups myself and I hear many stories of family and friends being unsympathetic or disappearing all together leaving the bereaved to cope with their loss all alone.

Some people are fortunate enough to have constant support through this journey of grief they are on and sadly some have no one to comfort them or give them any support.

Death, no matter how you look at it is a tragic loss of a spouse, a child, mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather or friends and will affect many people in different ways.

The loss of contact from family and friends at a time like this is a double loss to the grieving person. Already they feel like their world has been turned upside down and part of their own life has died with their loved one. They no longer feel they have a place in this world or how to live or exist and often times they don’t even want to live without their loved one. To have family and friends disappear makes the experience even more devastating.

Maybe you are guilty of this yourself. Maybe you realize it and don’t know what to do about it or maybe you don’t even realize that you are doing this to someone.

* You don't want to face the thought and/or realization of your own mortality.
* You are also dealing with the loss from a different standpoint.
* You don't know what to say or how to act around them.
* You think the grieving person wants to be alone.
* You are afraid you will make them cry or feel worse.

Don't abandon someone suffering the loss of a loved one. Even a short phone call to say "Hi" can mean the world to them at this time. Offer to bring them something to eat; offer to take them for a ride; or offer to just come and sit with them for a while.

Even though it may be hard to make contact and keep in contact with someone who has lost a close loved one, it will mean so much to them and you will have provided some hope and a future life for the one left behind.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

7 Steps In Writing a Grief Journal

There are 7 stages of grief that we all go through after the loss of a loved one. Writing or writing in a journal (sometimes called journaling) is one therapeutic way of helping yourself through this traumatic experience and grief.

I have found that once you let the thoughts flow and get them down on paper it is out of your head for the time being and some of the pressure and torment is released. Some people choose to write and keep the writings to read at a later date to see how far they have progressed in their healing process. Some people decide to burn their writings as a form of closure for themselves. Another form of writing is writing a "letter" to your loved one. If it makes you feel more comfortable to write as if you are talking to them, then by all means do that.

Free form writing; just writing as you think, with random thoughts and without any structure whatsoever can help with the anger part of grief. If you are a more structured writer, then using an outlined form will help if maybe some day you decided to publish a book or something to leave to "your" loved ones after you are gone.

1. ANGER: Write what you feel about the anger of losing the loved one, whether it is anger at the loved one, anger at yourself for something you felt you should have done differently or just anger in general because of your loss.

a. Who are you angry at?

b. Why are you angry at them?

c. If you are angry at yourself, why?

2. SHOCK AND DENIAL: Shock and denial is another stage of the grieving process we go through.

a. What happened?

b. Why did it happen?

c. When did it happen?

d. Could you have prevented it?

3. PAIN, REGRET AND GUILT: We all have pain, regret and guilt after a loved one dies. It is how we come to terms with these emotions that will help in the healing process.

a. The pain you feel, is it from loneliness, sadness, the loss of a future that is never to be?

b. Regret. After the death of a loved one, there is always regret. Do you regret something you said, something you did, something you did do or did not do?

c. Guilt. Do you feel guilty about something you should have told your loved one? Do you feel guilty about not trying to change something that happened that day? (maybe one more kiss would have kept him or her from being in that accident; maybe if you had taken him or her to another doctor or hospital).


a. Loneliness: How do you feel about being alone? Have you ever lived alone before? How will you manage alone?

b. Depression: Is what you are experiencing normal grief or temporary depression or maybe clinical depression? If you have thoughts of suicide or joining your loved one; seek medical attention immediately.

c. Emptiness: Describe what you are feeling, how you feel inside and why?

d. Despair: Do you feel there is no hope of ever coming through this? Do you feel that there will be a future for you but you just have to grieve in your own time?


a. Describe how you feel having to make all of the decisions alone now with your loved one gone and you are unable to talk to them about it?

b. Are you financially able to make it on your own or do you have to make major decisions concerning your living arrangements?

c. Do you have hobbies or interests you can resume or begin one that you have always wanted to try?

6. ACCEPTANCE AND HOPE: Whether you decide it is better to accept or acknowledge what has happened is up to you. You have to go through this journey the best way you know how to.

a. Do you accept what has happened?

b. Do you acknowledge what has happened?

c. Do you accept or acknowledge that you did all you could do that was within your control?

7. MOVING FORWARD VERSUS MOVING ON. I do not like the term moving on. In my way of thinking it seems as though I am leaving my husband and my memories behind. I choose to look at it as moving forward with my life but taking my husband and my many memories with me.

a. Write about what you feel as time progresses.

b. Write about what you plan to do or would like to do as you make a new life for yourself.

I am a firm believer in writing to clear your head of all of the jumbled thoughts you have running around in there causing more confusion, stress and ultimately health problems.

Again it is your preference of how and what you write on or in. You can purchase journals with or without lines, journals with or without quotes for prompts to help you get started in writing. You can also just use a regular spiral bound notebook or a composition book for your journal or even a scrap of paper tucked safely away somewhere. It doesn't matter what you use, just write and get all of those feelings out and down on paper.

I have created a text document called My Grief Journal that you can download and print to get started. You can print as many of these as you need for each day and put them in a 3-ring binder to start off your writing and then transfer to a more permanent journal. If I have written on other pieces of paper or scraps of paper, I fold them and insert them into my journal book, secured with a paper clip or if the piece of paper is small enough, just glue or tape it to the journal page.

I am now 7 months into my own "journey of grief" and I will admit I do much better at giving advice than taking it myself but I am working on it. If something I have written here helps someone else or even me, then I will have accomplished what I have set out to do.

Amazon.com has lots of different journals and books to pick from. Just enter "blank journal" in the search box.

I am here for support. You can email me at: Grief - Life During and After

If you have any problem with the text document My Grief Journal, let me know.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Major Decisions

No matter what your circumstances are, you have suffered a great loss that has altered your life forever in so many ways. There are so many decisions to be made and it can be a daunting task without help and support and living through the shock and "fog" that seems to surround you. You begin to question your own sanity and wonder if you will ever be able to make a rational decision again…ever.

If at all possible DO NOT make any major decisions for at least a year. There may be circumstances beyond your control that would necessitate making a decision because of financial and/or other reasons. Seek advice from someone you trust and try to make the best decision that you can at the time.

In my case I had to make two major decisions within a couple of months after losing my husband, Rea. One was to find another job as I had been laid off about a month after my husband passing away. The other major decision I had to make was to move to a different apartment. I could no longer afford “our home” on my own income. These were two more traumatic experiences I had to endure in the middle of the most traumatic time of my life.

I hate to use the word "lucky" in writing about the loss of a loved one but if you are "lucky" enough to not have to work and are able to stay in your home if you choose and not have to make any type of major decisions, take this time to let yourself heal.

If you find yourself in a position where you have to move to another home or even move in with relatives, life can be more stressful at this time for everyone involved and your recovery may take longer. I also do not like the word recovery.

You will never recover to the point of "life as you knew it" before this event. I should use the word adjust because that is what you are learning to do; adjust to a new you and a new life without your loved one by your side.

I will admit I am having a hard time dealing with the loss of my husband and I don't have all of the answers; I don't think anyone does. I try to take the advice of many members of my GriefShare Yahoo Support Group to get through this time of grief and rediscovery of myself and a new way of living. It seems for every one step forward I take, the next day I will have taken three steps backwards again. I know there is light at the end of the tunnel; I just haven’t seen it yet.

Try to remember:
  • Unless absolutely necessary, DO NOT make any major decisions for a year.
  • Take the time you need for yourself; cry, rant, rave and talk to someone.
  • Join a support group to help you through this time with people who know exactly what you are going through.
  • If at any time you have thoughts of "joining your loved one", please seek help immediately. Call a friend, get with your support group or even go to an Emergency Room. Your loved one would not want you to harm yourself in any way. You have to live on to keep their memory alive and be proud of knowing and loving them and the time you had together.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. (I have to work on this one myself).

  • As always, I am here for support and sure could use some myself at times. You can email me at: Grief - Life During and After

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Grief - Unresolved Feelings and Regrets (Should-a, Could-a, Would-a)

    Your loved one is gone now.

    Maybe your loved one went through a long battle with an illness and you were the caregiver and gave your all but you still think, "I should have done this. I would have done this or I could have done that".

    Your situation may be that it was a sudden death. You never had a chance to say goodbye. Maybe you had an argument the night before or that morning and said things you cannot take back.

    In my case, my husband and I buried our heads in the sand and didn't want to face the fact that he was really that sick. After all, he was an Army Airborne Ranger, having served 30 years in the US Army. He survived many near death situations and close calls but he made it through those times. Why wouldn’t this time be any different? We still had the belief, strength and hope that he would make it through this crisis.

    In the days following, you mull over and over in your head what you "should-a, could-a, would-a" said and done if you had only known. I have and am still struggling with the "should-a, could-a, would-a" regrets and guilt.

    We all need to learn (including myself) not torture ourselves over what we have no control over now.

    1. If you were the caregiver, he or she knew you loved them by the time you spent with them and caring for them.

    2. If you had an argument before. You know in your heart it would have been resolved. We all say and do things at times that we don’t really mean. Your loved one knows that and I can guarantee they do not hold anything against you for it.

    3. If you tried to get him or her to go to a doctor or the Emergency Room and they refused, you did all you could do. They were going to do what they wanted to do and nothing is going to change that.

    Whether you were with your loved one at the end or not, I can almost without a doubt say they were thinking of you at that last moment. I was with my husband at the end. I was also with both my mother and father at their times of leaving this world. Since those times I have said more than once, "I never want to go through anything like that again, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be any place else at that time".

    Again, if you were not able to be with your loved one, your love was with them at the time and they are with you now.

    I have a friend who lost her husband in 2006 and we were talking and venting about grief and dealing with life after losing a spouse. She copes with her grief in her own way.

    She believes that if on the day her husband passed away of an undetected inherited family medical illness and it had been a normal day with her husband driving their son to school; she would have lost both of them. Her sister in law would not have known she also had this same condition, as well as the daughter. My friend now knows that her son should have a medical check up periodically to monitor this inherited condition. As we ended our conversation she also mentioned, "How many lives would have changed and been lost if he had been driving on a freeway that morning?".

    Don’t misunderstand, she loved her husband dearly but she has chosen to see the other side of "Should-a, Could-a, Would-a".

    I thought to myself, "What a unique woman to have learned to cope with her loss in this way". I cannot apply her thinking to my situation. I see no benefit to anyone whatsoever for my husband being gone. Maybe one day when I have been on this journey a little longer I may be able to look at things from a different perspective, but not yet.

    The point I am trying to make is that we have to help ourselves along this "journey we never wanted to be on".

    1. Just remember you loved him or her and that will never change. Tell them now. Talk to them.

    2. Do you REALLY feel that you did all you could for your loved one? Tell them now. Talk to them.

    3. Whatever happened that "day or night" it was their choice such as not going to a doctor or an Emergency Room.

    4. Whatever happened that "day or night" was out of their hands also; they didn’t plan to have a car accident or be a victim of some other event.

    I still have my own issues with questioning why this happened and questioning my faith in God and I will discuss that in another post but The Serenity Prayer does seem appropriate at this time.

    Serenity Prayer
    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    the courage to change the things I can;
    and the wisdom to know the difference.
    ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

    As always, let’s help each other on our "journey". You can email me at: Grief - Life During and After

    Saturday, February 14, 2009

    There Is No Time Table for Grieving

    There is no set time limit to your grief. Some people may start to recover in as little as three months or six months and some may still be grieving a year after or even longer. Don’t let anyone tell you “It’s time to move on”.

    Your grief and loss is your own and no one else’s. Just because their lives have continued on as if nothing has happened, yours hasn’t. Something major and life changing has happened to you and your total way of life as you know it.

    Maybe you are a younger person whose life was just starting with that special someone. You both had so many plans, hopes and dreams for the future that will no longer be. Maybe you find yourself now as a single parent wondering, "What do I do now and how can I go on?". Or you may be like myself, a little older and finally found love again and it has been taken away from you.

    The shock and the "fog" you are living in right now is nature’s way of protecting you from the harsh reality of what has happened. As you begin to heal some of the reality of the event and the impact it is having on your life seeps in a little at a time as you are able to deal with it.

    There will be days of non-stop crying and days where you will not cry at all and think that you are all "cried out" but then something will happen to trigger those emotions all over again. Don’t suppress the need to cry. Even though it is exhausting, it is also a part of the healing process to "get it all out".

    Many times I have wanted to scream, cry and break everything in the house but then I would hear my husband’s voice telling me, "You will have to clean it up" and I stop thinking about breaking things. I sometimes wonder if I could have dealt with things better if I had broken a few dishes to vent my anger and frustration of being left alone.

    To quote from another website on grief:

    Time does not heal in itself

    "It is what you do with it, and it is important to remember that the length of the course of grief is not a sign of weakness. Each person will be unique in their time of grieving." Reflections on Death

    Remember, take some time for yourself. If you need to:
    1. Sleep.
    2. Cry.
    3. Break things, unless you hate cleaning it up afterward.
    4. Talk a walk,
    5. Listen to music.
    6. Talk with a friend.
    7. Find a support group either locally or online.

    JUST DO IT !!

    You need to take the time YOU need to heal without anyone putting any "time limits" on your grieving.

    Take care.

    As always, I am here for support. You can email me at: Grief - Life During and After

    February 14, 2009 – First Valentine’s Day Alone

    As I sit here on this Valentine’s Day of February 14, 2009, this is my first Valentine’s Day alone without my husband. He has been gone now six months on the 17th. I still bought him a Valentine’s Day card and a rose and lit a candle in his honor which I will continue to do on “our special days”.

    I started this blog for my own healing process and hopefully I can help someone else along the way. If you have found my blog and continue reading, you are here for a reason – the loss of a loved one; spouse, mother, father, child and unfortunately the list can go on.

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. This is coming from my heart as I am dealing with a loss myself.

    Grief is a heart wrenching and deep in your gut emotion to go through. I believe that the grief process affects each of us in different ways depending upon who the loved one is.

    They say there are 7 stages of grief that each one of us will go through but not necessarily in the order listed.

    1. Shock and Denial.
    2. Pain, Regret and Guilt.
    3. Anger; Lashing Out on Someone Else and Bargaining.
    4. Loneliness, Depression, Emptiness and Despair.
    5. Adjusting to Life Without Your “Loved One”
    6. Moving Forward versus Moving On.
    7. Acknowledgment and Hope (I believe there is never total acceptance).

    In the wee early morning hours of Sunday, August 17, 2008 as I left my husband’s hospital room with his belongings in hand, I took my first "Widow’s Walk" to the car. It was the longest walk of my life and I still only remember parts of it. I remember dropping some things and wanted to just sit in the parking lot and scream and cry but I also knew if I did that I would probably never get back up for hours. I picked up what I had dropped and continued on to the car. I sat there in the car for what seemed like a few more hours before driving home to our empty apartment. I don’t remember driving home but for some strange reason I remember sitting at one traffic light. Why I remember that one traffic light, I have no idea.

    In addition to the shock and disbelief that I was feeling, I was also a new bride of two days. I thought to myself, “How can I be so happy and so sad at the same time?” We were married in his hospital room on Friday, August 15, 2008. We both believed and hoped we had many more years together and we “just knew” he was going to pull through this crisis; however, it was not to be.

    If you are in the stages of grief, I hope you will follow along with me as I go through my healing process and share in my goal to help someone else through their own trying time.

    I have learned a lot through these last six months and I hope to share my experiences with you, as well as become support for those of you who need it. Maybe you have friends and family who are there for you or maybe you have no one but yourself to deal with your loss. Sometimes other people just do not "get it" especially when it comes to losing a spouse. We feel as if part of us died at the same time our loved one did. We are no longer whole. We have to learn to live life as "one" again and exist as a completely different person.

    I plan to discuss many topics concerning Grief – Life During and After; some of which will be…

    1. Self-help: Support Groups locally and online and books.
    2. Dealing with funeral arrangements.
    3. Taking care of yourself during this major ordeal in your life.
    4. Dealing with children and their loss – now that you are a single parent.

    and many more topics I have had to deal with.

    I am just one person going through my own process but I would like to be there to discuss any feelings, issues or problems you are going through. I am not a professional in any sense of the word, no degrees or titles, just a grieving widow trying to find my way in the world again.

    Let’s help each other. You can email me at: Grief - Life During and After