How my grief feels


You can imagine the question I hear most these days.

"How are you?"
"How are you?"
"How are you?"
"How are you?"

I love how this shows people care.

Yet however well-meant their gentle checking up, I'm often stuck for words.

Sometimes I want to retort: "How do you think I f****** am?"

My closest friend told me the other day how well she thought I was doing. We discussed if I was 'back to normal.'
But I have lost half of me.

I will never be back to my old normal.

Sometimes it's all I can do to put one foot in front of another. Today I can't manage it. I'm going nowhere. I had a panic attack yesterday evening when I opened an important and troubling letter. Its catastrophic effect is still with me.

Other days I'm unshakable in my insistence I'm going to be okay. 
I don't know what doing well means. I suspect it means times like yesterday. I was at work, being productive. I walked the dog at 6am, made sandwiches for school for my girls, went to an important meeting. I smiled and shook people's hand, but inside I was struggling so much. I couldn't remember a thing.

I know I've been changed by grief. I still had a cry at dinner time yesterday. And again last night, imploring out loud: "Where are you Baby?" and dissolving into tears when a new TV advert rang out with At last my love has come along, words so carefully chosen among other precious tunes for Neil's funeral. Sitting on the sofa, I reach out for a cushion and squeeze it hard, imagining it's Neil's hand.

I've been thinking about the ways I have been changed by grief.

I thought that writing this down could help people who haven't experienced such loss understand a bit, if they want to. The way I feel will be different to anyone else facing such a close bereavement but I'm sure there are common threads recognised by others.

I feel

Anxiety

I've had three panic attacks in the last three months. This is a terrifying experience. They came when I was at my most crushed, I didn't know what day it was or what planet I was on. Fuelled also by rage, I feel like I tumbled into a black hole of these frightening episodes where I appeared to be choking. I wail and my breathing is heightened and rushed. They happened thanks to immediate unbearable stress. I can't say what those instances were - it's too much of a trigger for me to again feel so bloody anxious but they are caused by the pain of the reality of certain elements of all we have been through.

In general, I'm worried about stuff anyone would be - work, getting to places on time, cost of fuel, but I'm also stressing about ridiculous things - What if one or both of my daughters is in a car crash? What if someone complains that an article I've written is a complete load of shit and the editor agrees? How about the dog opening the locked front door in the middle of the night and saunters off down the road, attacking every cat in her way?

Things that would normally cause the slightest of worry are suddenly magnified out of proportion, bringing on too much stress. If I can't find the pegs when I'm hanging out some washing, look as if I'm going to run out of petrol or forget my pen, it's a disaster of epic proportions.

Shift this up a gear or six so I'm dealing with bills, banks and important documents and I'm practically on the floor.


Fear

I am scared of dying. I am frightened of getting ill. This is multiplied for everyone I love. Most of all I worry about what will happen to my girls if I'm not around.

Sadness

No shit Sherlock. 

Pain

I physically ache to feel Neil's arms around me or in the car, to stroke the back of his neck like I did when we weren't arguing about maps. I imagine sometimes he is there with me or I dream about him. When realisation dawns he's not here, I hurt like I didn't know anyone could.


Guilt 

I feel like I have failed. I didn't protect Neil from his illness, his anguish at leaving us or his passing.

Helplessness

I'm divorced from reality, I don't feel capable of going to the shop for veg for our tea or of accepting my friend's invitation for tea at her house. I'm in a different world and it's not one I think much of, thanks. Sometimes I feel like I'm on the outside looking in on other people, in the supermarket or at school meetings. Such mundane places are filled with the pain of loss as everyone else goes about their business like nothing has changed.  

Stuff that would under normal circumstances would inspire, move or entertain me, leaves me cold. I've lost interest in favourite TV programmes, can't be bothered to join friends on a night out and all the excitement around a magnificent British summer of pomp and sport has passed me by. When I think how much Neil would have loved it, I am inconsolable.

Rage

I've always been such a big softie but I have anger inside of me that needs to come out. Tears aren't enough. To watch someone you love affected as Neil was, to be faced with the incompetency and insensitivity of so many people who should have treated us better, as we both have, has completely changed my outlook on life. I think of the doctor who prescribed Nurofen gel when Neil had tumours growing in his back, the hospital staff who have filled five pages of apology for the way we were treated in his last days, the district nurse who came to our house on Christmas Eve and wanted to talk about end of life care with my children around us, the social worker who spoke to us like Neil's life was over months before it was, the ambulanceman who wanted to put my gentleman of a husband in handcuffs and the undertaker who failed to let anyone know when the funeral was and I could scream and never stop.
Our family did not deserve these body blows, least of all Neil. He isn't here to see an apology that came yesterday, bringing it all back and sending me into a panic attack. That's what makes me angry and there is nothing anyone can say to make it better. Cruel and unfair doesn't begin to cover it. 

Cheated

Married four months, there won't be a single wedding anniversary we can mark together, there won't be any more Christmases, no more birthdays, no more laughter together, no more holidays, no more cuddles, no more joint pride at our beautiful daughters' milestones. And then I think about the physical side of our relationship and I am lost, utterly bereft at the prospect of such closeness being snatched away. You find me anything to make any of that make any sense and I'll find you the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Clumsy, forgetful and accident prone

I'm dropping things, losing keys, glasses, handbags, money, packets of biscuits you name it. I can't find the right words often, saying the wrong thing like Hilda Ogden or Mrs Malathrop, (see, Mrs Malaprop I mean, typical.) I feel an idiot. I've driven the wrong way up a one way street and parked in the middle of the road. When someone wags their finger or shakes a fist at me because they don't like the way I pull up over a white line, I shrug back at them and think:  'Tell someone who gives a shit.' 

Intolerant and rude

This upsets me, I love to care for people, to be there for them, but now I'm more likely to be annoyed, particularly may I say, by people who tell me they know how I feel. I am being an arse. 

A lack of confidence

Every minute of every day I suspect I am talking bollocks. I think I'm right 80 per cent of the time. I think everything I have worked on since I've been back in the office, or out on appointments has been a let down because of me. It can't be judging by what people say but I think they're maybe just being kind. I ramble on more than I ever have.

Exhausted

I want to sleep. A lot. I am sleeping deeply so that's a relief.

Lonely and isolated

My family and friends are amazing. I also seek comfort from compassionate strangers online. But my heart aches for someone who truly understands where I'm coming from. Lovely kind people want to empathise so they share their experiences of grief, when they lost a parent. It  makes me cross that my grief is different, I'm sorry for their loss but what can I say? This makes me disappointed in myself. Grief is not a competitive sport.
I'm going to contact the WAY Foundation to see what that's about. First thing in the morning and last thing at night, I think of Neil and what we would be saying to each other. Throughout the day I miss his conversation, shared jokes, kisses, and love. Standing at the sink or walking the dog, I repeat: "Love you Neil, love you Neil" to nobody but myself.

But there are still ways that my life is on track. I will not allow my new-found unabashed pessimism to derail me completely. I know this isn't what Neil wanted and my daughters don't need a mum who snaps and bickers all the time.

My resolve to make sure we are all okay is as strong as it was the day I promised Neil we would be. I have a clear vision of priorities, newly defined goals, a never before realised determination to look after myself and an abundance of love from my amazing family and friends.

I will always carry my grief with me, but just as Neil said, I will not let it beat me. I am not ashamed of my grief, it's the price we pay for love. Thank you for reading.

And thank you for asking how I am.

116 comments:

  1. Oh I am so sorry, so sorry for your devastating loss, I will remember you in our prayers..big love your way

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    1. Thank you Becky, I'd like that very much.

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  2. There are no comparisons with - or in - circumstances of anybody's grief. It's a vast uncharted ocean, with tides which ebb and flow: sometimes the waves are gentle little laps of water of unhappiness swirling round ones toes, other times huge, crashing rollers of misery, missing, longing and the feeling of being alone and crushed in the breakers.

    I remember reading something years ago which was along the lines of "there's no train timetable for grief". Sounds ridiculous, but there's so much truth in that: there's no departure time you would wish to deal with, or even think about. When it happens, and this hole arrives, it seems all trains have been cancelled. But the trains do run again: when you feel ready to clamber aboard.

    Not sure this makes an iota of sense. A



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    1. It makes a great deal of sense, thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to respond so very fully, I am very touched by your comment and I can tell you I will read it plenty more times.

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  3. Grief is a complete and utter fucker, like an intruder storming into your life and shitting all over your belongings. It takes time to get over grief, although I don't know if you ever get over it. Really you get used to it until it no longer engulfs you but becomes a part of who you are.

    Linda, you are a fucking amazing woman. I have no doubt that you will get through this even if you aren't so sure yourself. Keep on blogging and blarting and letting us hold your virtual hand for as long as you bloody well like.

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    1. Hi Cath thank you, you know I'm going to disagree with you about being amazing and say you're not so bloody bad yourself! Thanks for saying it is like it is, big big kiss to you, please come and have a posh lunch in Brum this Xmas xxx

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  4. Words are not enough! I can offer no advice but you will be in my thoughts xxx

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    1. Thank you that's very kind if you, I love it when people feel enough of a connection to share such kindness.

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  5. No answers, no sympathy, no words will ever make this better. I am sorry for the pain

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    1. Thank you Jen, I'm so grateful for your support. I hope you are doing okay, much love xxxx

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  6. Lots of hugs to you Linda. You are very brave putting your feelings out for the world to see. I hope it gives you a little relief.
    Thinking of you
    x

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    1. Hello Elpi, thank you for the hugs, I am not brave, I'm helping me here, I owe you a book I think xx

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  7. I could never say anything that would make it better for you but i couldn't leave without saying something. I'm so sorry for your pain, I wish there was a way to numb it and to make everything seem OK again.

    I lost my mam and brother a few years ago within a year of each other and the pain and anger still hits me sometimes - usually when I least expect it. It's hard not to think 'Why me, why did it have to happen to my family' and I feel cheated that my mam's not here to see my lovely children or to talk to every day.

    It gets easier but it doesn't go away, all you can do is do what you're doing and be strong for your girls x x

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    1. Cass thank you for such thoughtful words, in my current state of mind, it really does mean a lot. I am so sorry to read what you have been through and admire your strength. Xxxx

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  8. The most powerful piece of writing I think I've ever read. Life stinks at times and all of this is beyond awful. It has to get easier. Life can't be this cruel forever. Really hoping you can look back on this post in the very near future and see the progress you've made. Hugs Linda. Keep writing. xx

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    1. Hi Rosie, wow that's quite a response, I have held back a fair bit :) I honestly have made a lot of progress, we had a wonderful holiday relaxing but I was absolutely knocked for six yesterday when a long anticipated letter in response to points I had raised arrived, it vindicated what I had said but was so upsetting xxxx

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  9. I read this with sorrow. I haven't got the right words to say anything except I am so sorry.

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  10. You're living out most people's worst fears. It frightens the hell out of me to even imagine how it might feel. I think this piece would be incredibly useful for anyone who's lost their soul mate. I only hope that it gets easier, or different or...just anything that's not as bad as how you feel right now.

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    1. I promise I will be okay, some days are much easier you know, honestly, lots of love to you, you know where I am if you want a squeeze xxx

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  11. I feel I ought to comment but I'm at risk of saying "I know how you feel" - I don't, of course, but I've been there. Been through the rage, the fear, the anxiety and stress, the awful reminders that catch you unawares and trigger tears... I bought Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares 2 U just a fortnight before my lover died - the lyrics have been agonising ever since and 22 years on I still run out of the room if it comes on the radio because I break down by the 2nd chord every time.

    It's a foreign country and you have to find your own way through it. It does get easier, but I'd be a liar if I said you get over it. You don't. Not ever. It's like scar tissue - eventually it sort of heals and fades but it's still just visible, the reminder of how you got it. The first year is undoubtedly the worst - all the anniversaries to get through, birthdays, Xmas. All ghastly and painful and to be endured. Then the first anniversary of their passing is suddenly behind you and you're shocked that 12 whole months have passed and you're still surviving and then it does slowly start to become just that tiny bit more bearable.

    You are definitely stronger than you think and you *will* get through it. Just don't worry too much about the days you feel shit and useless and think you're letting people down cos you're not any of that. You're just feeling your way into living another way and it takes time. Remember that the ones who mind don't matter and the ones who matter don't mind.

    Wishing you much love and strength xx

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    1. Thanks a million, I will be reading this lots of times you know, this song moves me to tears without the whirl of heartbreak you have had to endure so closely linked to it, thank you for such compassionate words to help me. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this, lots of love to you xxx

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    2. I so agree with this post. Mine was 27 years ago, almost to the day, three weeks before we were due to marry. Many times you can steel yourself to cope with situations but the little unexpected things get you every time. Those who have been there know that we don't "know how you feel". We just know that you *will* find a path that helps you find your own way through it.

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    3. Thank you Karen, lots of love to you, I'm so touched by your comment and help in finding that path.

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  12. I just wanted to let you know I'm listening.

    xxxx

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  13. Anonymous is very wise. And you know, no one knows what you're going through because everyone's grief is personal and different. For those of us who've gone through loss, it's painful to realise that there's nothing we can do for you. Time will heal a little but it's a journey you can't avoid. I am so sorry for what you are going through.

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    1. Thank you. I was reluctant to share about this but I have been hugely encouraged by and grateful for comments such as this, I'm touched and humbled that so many people who have experienced loss or are facing huge personal challenges have chosen to pass on their wisdom as a result, thank you very, very much.

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  14. I just wanted to say you have been heard. I know there is nothing else I can say right now, but your post was wonderful nevertheless. xx

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  15. Linda, I read and couldn't go without commenting. I have nothing to say that will help but your words were too personal to read and run. You are in my thoughts. Mel x

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    1. Thanks Mel, past months have been hell and I didn't have any intention of sharing anything about it, but I think it was inevitable that I would in the end, thank you for listening xx

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  16. Annemarie Flanagan8 September 2012 at 13:04

    Keep writing Linda. It's raw, heartfelt and compulsive.
    I never had the privilege to meet Neil but he sounds a top bloke. He was, no doubt, really proud of you - and would be even more now. No matter how awful you think you are coping - you really aren't. (HIPPY DIPPY WARNING) When things are really crap and bleak try and think Neil is with you - what would he say? I reckon he probably helped you with any confidence wobbles in the past - let him now. Take care and remember you have loads of love and support to call on whenever you need it... xxxx

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    1. Absolutely a top bloke for so many reasons and he would have known so many people that you do! I think about what he would say or think so many times, thanks for reading and being so lovely xxx

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    2. 22 years on, whenever I'm confronted with a difficult situation or decision, I automatically ask myself "what would L have done?" It always helps.

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    3. I am also doing this, it does bring a smile to my face sometimes, asking myself 'what would Neil do?'

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  17. Oh my love, my heart aches as I read this but I am gripped and I had to read. Thank you for your openess and giving me an insight to something I can hardly imagine.

    With much love, Mich x

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  18. Thanks Mich for reading and sharing your love, I need to come and read all about Ethiopa x

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  19. I'm in your shoes too. Heart is breaking for you Linda. x

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  20. And you Tracey. Can we keep in touch? Xxxx

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  21. Wow this is such powerful writing. Your grief is your own and no one can truly say to know how you feel. I hope I never go through what you have been through but I know I would never be able to express myself so well in writing and so intensely. That in itself is a rare gift. Good luck to you and your family. I don't believe time heals all wounds but I do believe it softens over time. Be kind to yourself.

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    1. Thank you Meggsie, that's so kind of you to say about my writing, I have just bashed this out if you will pardon the expression, like other posts on this blog, it could do with some editing but I don't care, I just wanted to put my thoughts down. I am genuinely trying my best to be kind to myself, I have returned to work but we need to look at the hours, we have a bereavement counsellor and I have sorted out some complimentary therapies. We've just returned from a very posh holiday where we managed to chill and be pampered in the spa. Unfortunately I knew a certain letter was due and if I ever thought about it, that cast a cloud.

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  22. I really don't know how you're feeling, I do remember being knocked for six when I heard my grandfather had died, doing that thing you see in the movies where you angrily beat the chest of the person who told you with your fists in disbelief then collapse sobbing when you realise it's not a cruel joke. And I remember being so angry at the world for carrying on when we'd lost someone so important to us. But losing a grandpa, in the natural order of things, is so different to losing your other half at our age.
    I hope it at least helps to know we hear you.

    Jen xx

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  23. Thank you Jen it does help, I think death of someone we love at whatever age affects us In so many ways and nobody can know how others are feeling, the temptation is to diminish other people's grief when their death is the natural order of things, but I don't think that's fair, they may have had longer here with us but they are still fiercely loved for all their nurturing, friendship and shared life together, I reckon.

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  24. I shared this post with my mum on Facebook and she immediately rang me up, in floods of tears, because she feels so many of the emotions you have mentioned. Losing her husband after 50 years of marriage has been such a shock, even though she knew it was coming. She can't imagine how raw your grief must be. She wakes up in the morning with no-one to talk to, it's the loneliness that is so hard.
    She asked me to thank you for writing this down. She hopes it has helped you in some way. It helps her to know she isn't the only one engulfed in these waves of sadness.
    Much love, Trish (and Eileen) xx

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  25. Hi Trish as you can imagine, the way I'm feeling isn't easy and writing and sharing this wasn't easy either, what swung it fit me was that I hoped publishing it would help me and there may be some way that it could possibly help other people. So now to see a comment such as yours is humbling and appreciated, I can imagine that for your mum, she may have well meaning people telling her to take comfort from her memories, not to put too fine a point on it but if anyone days that to me on the outside I smile and say thank you, maybe or I tell them that no it's no comfort whatsoever, it's too raw and you know what I miss him and would have liked to create a lot more memories, much love to you both, thank you so very much for your words of understanding and love.

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  26. And apologies for garbled message on my iPhone.

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  27. Thank you for writing this.My heart aches for you as you are living through what I cannot bring myself to even imagine. You will stay in my thoughts and although my words are not enough I hope the collective thoughts and love of everyone here somehow helps, even a tiny bit. Sassy x

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    1. Thank you Sassy for reading and commenting, I didn't know what to expect when I wrote this but writing it has helped me and so have the wonderfully supportive comments such as yours.

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  28. You express the way you are living through my worst fears so very eloquently Linda. We all think we know how it would feel but we have absolutely no idea.

    You also highlight how important it is for professionals to understand that they have to be at the top of their game ALL the time. One slip up can cause devastation.

    You are wonderful. Take care x

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  29. Hi Suzie, thank you. The devastation caused by professionals here goes deep. There are episodes I cannot face recalling but I am glad to have raised certain points and to have received a fulsome apology. While I feel vindicated, the thought that my complaint was necessary and valid, has set me back a lot, to see my precious man treated as he was at times was beyond shocking and the trauma lives on for me and for those also close to Neil and me who witnessed these terrible circumstances.

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    1. As a nurse working in oncology (outpatient), one of my biggest concerns is treating my patient with love and dignity. Do I always manage that? If I am honest-probably not to the standards I would like to.

      Most of that is due to the understaffed conditions I work in. It is not humanly possible to hear the subtleties of someone's remarks or lack of remarks when you have no time to listen. Every patient and especially every oncology patient should be able to be treated by medical staff who has the time and patience to listen to them, answer their questions and calm their fears. Sadly, the lack of nursing staff does not allow us to give the best care possible. I give the best care I can, with love and smiles, but I do not always have enough time.


      The other thing I have been working hard on improving is remembering that every person is different and what I think is right is not always right for someone else. People come to realizations at different speeds, some people are more open to receiving help than others. Everyone has their own background.


      As someone who wants to help heal people physically and emotionally, I have learned the hard way that I have to listen and respect the person's path.

      Thank you for this post that has reinforced to me once again why I work at the job I do.

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    2. Susie, thank you for this and please be assured that I have nothing but praise for the amazing, compassionate people who helped look after Neil all the time he was on an oncology ward, despite the circumstances they find themselves in due to resources avaiable. The concerns I raised were in connection with care on general medical wards and I asked about how much training staff had in meeting the needs of terminally ill patients. I have had lots of reassurance and saying sorry in my answer from the hospital but the trauma we all faced was too painful to revisit xx

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    3. I would be interested in reading a post by you about what you feel are the needs of terminally ill patients.

      I know that the more I hear from people about what their needs are, the more sensitive I am to them and to their needs.

      It's funny how many oncology nurses I work with who are uncomfortable talking about death with their patients.

      I think you might appreciate this post I wrote a while back:
      http://www.newdaynewlesson.com/name-your-fear/

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    4. Hi Susie thank you I will check that post out. As far as I'm concerned the needs of families like mine are pretty simple and widely recognised, I wouldn't be telling you anything you didn't know, honestly :) being treated with dignity, compassion and empathy about covers it I think :) xxxx I will have a think.

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  30. brilliant blog xx tears in my eyes when i type this and my heart breaks for you. love you loads and always here for you all xxx

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  31. Linda, you are the most amazing woman and I'm reminded of this every time I read your blog. I hope it's helping you a little, I'm sure it will help others. Take care xx

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  32. I truly hope that writing it down helps you, if only a little bit. I am sure that it will help others as you are awonderful writer. I wish there was more we could do to help. Xxx

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  33. I ache when I think of you. It's shite. Sorry that's not very articulate, but you know what I mean. Much love.

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  34. Oh Linda, you are so wonderfully honest. I wish there was a way to take your pain away. But then that pain is a testament to your love for Neil. Much love xxx

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  35. A brilliant piece of writing, FWIW, Linda. Grieving is a journey, and you're only at the beginning of the trip. In some ways, it gets better; in some ways, not at all. But the totality, at the end of the day, is that we had people in our lives, for however brief a time, and their lives touched ours in a way which forever transformed us - mostly, for the better. And that's pretty much how life goes. Again, FWIW, I believe you will see your beloved Neil again. Prayers with and for you. x

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  36. Hello Rachael, Melanie and Aidan, thanks for being so kind, I am glad I shared this now as I felt I needed such words of kindness, like people letting me know they're there if I screamed out in what I think is an empty room. I know it's not easy to know what to say but I'm very grateful. I am feeling delicate this morning, mainly to a demon dog being a pillock through the night but I feel better for having written this and the conversation people have added to because of it, thank you.

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  37. Another heart renching piece Linda, you're so right, I have no idea what you are going through, I lost my beloved dad but you're right its not the same, maybe I should show your piece to my mum, I'm sure she would understand every word and emotion. Please keep writing this, through tears people do care so much and do read xx

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  38. Only just found your post Linda, and wanted to let you know it has touched me, too. Sounds to me like you're holding it together pretty well, in spite of your fears. Keep writing won't you? x

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    1. Thank you Hollie, I do think I will at some point, xx

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  39. Big big hugs. This is really uncanny because last night before I fell asleep I wrote something in a notebook. Something I thought I was writing with a particular friend in mind but now I know that it was written for you. When I get home I will type it up and email it to you.

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  40. Linda, I also think you are amazing. I just can't imagine what you're going through and even though we have only met 'virtually' I think of you and your girls often. This is so touching and of course, dreadfully sad to read but it helps your friends to have an insight to how you're feeling and helps us to understand a little more. You will be strong for your girls and yourself. Remember you are just fab! Please come to Brighton one day, I'll treat you to candy floss on the pier. With much love, Tracey xxx

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  41. Just wanted to say how moving I found your post- sending you lots of love and hugs

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  42. Dear Linda,
    I wont ask you how you are...Ive read your article,,,with tears streaming down my face...Your words ,,,could have been my words written 7years when my partner passed suddenly...
    All that you have written ,,it was like there I stood 7years ago ,,,
    transported back to hell...
    All of it ,,,panic attacks ,,,anxiety attacks ,,,loss of confidence
    fear,,,etc,,,etc,,,etc,,,2years of my life missing ,,,just vague blurs of events ,,no time frame,,just an empty nothing ...
    But slowly ,,,so slowly,,
    Things started to calm,,,
    One foot in front of the other,,,you will slowly go...
    You will rebuild your life,,

    Not the life you wanted,,but a life
    A life of learning to walk solo,,
    Hard ,,so very hard...

    But each step you take ,,,on the new enforced life

    Be proud,,be very proud...
    The simple things that you manage to achieve...

    Like going to do the grocery's,,
    And managing to do that without a panic attack,,

    Walk slowly,,,ever so slowly

    This is your journey,,
    A heartbreaking trek,,

    A never ending roller coaster of pain ,,loss ,,guilt,,,fear etc..
    But slowly ,,it starts to dull to a dull roar,,,
    When I hear you say,,that I cant tell you,,
    Each of us that have to walk this hell
    Walk at our own pace...

    Till one day,,,you will feel the warmth of the sun on your face again,,and you will feel it and register that it feels good...

    Never be ashamed of your grief,,its *your* loss,,,
    Do it at your pace,,,
    Grief cannot be side stepped,,

    Something that you have to work through,,
    *YOUR WAY*

    All I can say to you is One day You will live again,,
    The pain never goes,,,it changes,,,to a more manageable level

    And one day Dear Linda ,,,you will realize
    That you are living again,,,

    A new life ,,not the one you wanted ,,but a life nerverless..
    Be kind to yourself,,,

    I was given the advice of inviting my grief in...
    And that it would leave when it was ready..

    Didnt understand what it meant at the time,,
    Such strange words,,

    Lots of counseling to help deal ,with all the emotions you talk about..
    Grief support group ,,with others that had lost their partners as well..

    And together we helped each other to learn to walk solo and rebuild a New life,,,

    Walk slowly ,,invite your grief in,,,deal with the emotions that come with it,,
    One by one ,they disappear ,,then come back ,,over & over ,,
    Till one day ,,,you will find your inner peace ,,

    (((((HUGS))))) Xx



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    1. Hello, your wise, wise words, your hugs and the light you shine here is amazing, I know I will read your response here a million times, I promise I am doing my best, for me and my girls, I needed to get this down, I needed to hear what you are saying, I am very moved and grateful, thank you.

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    2. Just popping by to say Hi..Thinking of you...
      Hope your learning to walk slowly and that you are being kind to yourself....Take care ,,,look after you...
      ((((hugs))))) Xx

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    3. Thank you, your kind thoughts mean a lot xx

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  43. Thank you very much Tracey that is far too kind of you, I'm going to ask a very nice lady who has invited us to Brighton if we can come, I think, I'm pretty sure she asked! I have never been and have always wanted to go! Xxx

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  44. Thank you for being brave enough to share this. Your courage helps others to understand if even just a little bit better. I know this was painful for you to write & I am so sorry for your loss. I have a friend who recently lost her husband & this truly helps me get a glimpse of what she is going through because I knew better than to tell her, "I understand." Though I had a boyfriend of just a few months die while we were dating, I could not understand losing a husband of nearly 14 years under situations much like you described in your blog. I hated that I could not relate to what she is going through and feeling but I wasn't about to pretend like I did either & she seemed to appreciate that I admitted that to her. Thank you again for sharing your pain, I hope you find comfort during this time & I hope I didn't say something stupid in my comment.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts and love, seeing such detailed and honest feedback has helped me very much. Please don't worry about saying something 'stupid' here, I'm sorry if I sounded harsh, I didn't mean to. There can never be anything stupid about expressing such compassion. We can all worry about saying something crap but better that than turning away. Xxxxx

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  45. This is an uncomfortable read, possibly because grief like this is something few of us have experienced. I know a friend who lost his wife (my friend) once told me "You never get over it, you learn to live with it." I hope one day you will be able to live with it. I think the worst thing you could do is to try to be 'brave'; you are doing exactly the right thing by putting down your thoughts. You are a lovely person, Linda. Hold on to that and much virtual love. x

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  46. Thanks Olivia, I can't be brave or bottle things up, I just need to get it out, I am so not ashamed, I am blessed with brilliant family and friends and also think of all the things I *do* have, really appreciate your kind words, I just need to do my best to be kind to myself. Xx

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  47. Never usually comment on blogs, but had to with this.. unfortunately there is nothing anyone can say, and nothing will take away that horrible aching in your heart, and the loneliness that creeps up every minute of the day to remind you that he is no longer here. But it is like a physical wound.. over time it begins to heal. That may seem inconceivable to you at the moment, and I'm not saying It will ever go away, but you will begin to accept it and live with it. Death is part of life, we all know that, but it seems so unfair and wrong. And never do we suffer more than when it happens to us. Grief takes away everything, it numbs and destroys and envelops you in a thick fog. Sometimes you actually truly believe you will not survive. Your panic attacks are very likely a physical manifestation of your inner feelings. They have to go somewhere. Let it be. Don't ever think you have to act a certain way. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to scream, do it. It has to be worked through in order to move forward. One step at a time, and most importantly, in your own time. Grief will not be rushed or silenced. I don't know if you like reading, but if so, (and you have the inclination) try Elisabeth Kubler Ross' book, on grief and grieving. I found it a great help. Much love x

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    1. Hi thank you very much for responding so fully here, as with previous comments I will be returning to your wise words, I need to dig out various books I have about loss and grief that I had some years ago when believe it or not I was working on my own, what a load of rubbish it was. Your comment about taking it one step at a time is what I need to take on board, I have been expecting too much of myself. Thanks again.

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  48. thank you..i lost my partner 18 months ago suddenly when he was 37, and your post describes exactly how I feel. I was told that the pain never goes, but you learn to live with it, and I am finally starting to understand this. I know we will all be ok - and I want to send you and your girls lots of love. xxx

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  49. Hi thanks so much, lots of love to you too, I can't imagine how you must have coped with losing someone you love so dearly as you have, we were told we had 3 months, we got 6, this gave us time to marry, but those months were hell on earth, I am very touched that I have written something you identify with, I was reluctant to but it has helped me. Thanks again, big hugs to you.

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  50. I've been away from blogging and all that stuff for awhile (emotionally removed and exhausted by my small trials and troubles).
    Yours is the first post I chose to read. I feel hopeless and at a loss, no words can help you, nobody can help you, only Neil and he's no longer here.

    I can't imagine your pain and I won't try to.

    Always in my prayers and thoughts Linda, be kind to yourself.

    An amazing piece of writing xxx

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    1. Hi Karen thanks for reading and responding so kindly.
      I've not had the best couple of days. We have a counsellor and this is a great help. Hope you enjoy blogging if you get back into it, I no longer have the time sadly.

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  51. I sobbed,wailed and cried as I read your blog. I relate so much to many things you have said. My husband is newly diagnosed with parkinsons,(two months),Our neurologist says is is progressing much more rapidly than anyone he has ever seen, (he can barely walk), Our primary care doctor told me to do as many things we enjoy now because there isn't much time. It feels as though I am standing in the blazing fire watching my life burn to ash around me. We had our 5th year anniversary 2 weeks after diagnose. thank you for sharing. It helped to know that I wasn't the only one who felt some of these things.
    Brenda

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  52. Hi Brenda. I'm so so sorry to read all you are goIng through, one of the toughest things for us was facing what was happening and living with that, I scoured the Internet for nformation about so called anticipatory grief, without much luck really. I know there is nothing I can say to make things better but I can genuinely say I will be thinking of you and will have had a similar experience in a lot of ways. All the time I am longing for one more cuddle, one more smile, like your doctors I hope you can treasure these moments, sending you all the love I can, thank you for reading and commenting xxxxx

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  53. I hear you. That's really all I can say, but I hope that writing it all down so powerfully has helped you in some small way. Be kind to yourself. X

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    1. Thank you Heather, I really am trying my best xx

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  54. Grief is scary isn't it. No matter how much you read about the theories of grief, the anger hits you like brick.

    There's no right or wrong way and you know that full well Linda, and you need to channel that anger, whether it be helping others, learning a martial art (I can highly recommend jiu jitsu) or writing blog posts, you need to get it out.

    Linda, you sound to me that you are also traumatised too, the churning through thoughts and the wrongs done to you and your husband. Keep talking, we are listening.

    And I think "how do fucking think I am" is an ok response some days x

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    1. Hi Kylie, thank you, the plan is that we will go to Africa next year to help some orphaned children in Neil's name, there's a lot of sorting out to do! Thank you for listening I am definitely traumatised and get flashbacks that make me very upset indeed. Our counsellor is wonderful, it has to be said, just lovely and understanding. It has definitely helped me to post this and to see the replies. xxx

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  55. 'How are you, but how are you in yourself?'

    Too right you want to reply to shit like that with an expletive.

    It irritated the fuck out of me, and all people needed to do was have a little ponder for a different opening gambit. In response I found a silent stare to be pretty good, or ignoring the question completely, or even: 'My husband just passed away, do you want to reconsider your question?' that one gets people dancing a bit.

    I think - in part - we have to be grateful for these ill thought out opening questions and the feelings they invoke. It's a way of getting out anger and I think the irritation helps with focus and distraction at the same time.

    You are incredibly self-aware Linda, self-aware of how you feel. That's a good thing. Not all your thoughts will be valid, or your suspicions of people treating you differently due to your loss right, but I understand why, and how, you feel this way.

    I was incredibly flighty, numb, living in a haze, unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes at a time. One minute feeling one way, and the next completely different. Exhausting dreadful shit way to be, but like you point out, totally worth it for what you and Neil had together.

    I was aware of the WAY Foundation, but didn't get much further than that. I found Cruse Bereavement Care very useful, and if you've not already I'd recommend looking them up. The Merrywidow message board was also useful when I wanted the ears (or eyes) of others who'd lost partners.

    I reckon it is a good idea to have things to look forward to. Tiny little things, having anything next on the agenda is a postive thing. I found the immediate lulls after 'highs' to be the most surprising. Like when Max did something new for the first time, it felt like I was being sledgehammered by both delight and devastation at these times. Or doing something that would distract me for a while, when that event, visit or whatever was over, my lows seemed even lower than before. I learnt to expect these feelings, and whilst embracing them, I pre-emptively combated them by lining up the next thing to be looking forward, a bag of sweets, event or taking the boy somewhere new.

    Like lots of others have said, try not to be hard on yourself, or waste time on self-critique. After all, you'd be picking on a lovely lady recently widowed, and what would that make you?

    Much love xx

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  56. Hello thank you Sir, we have had some lovely hoilidays this summer, an amazing posh one and a lovely time down the caravan with my mum and the dog, just what we needed, but now I am back to what is supposed to be reality and I am hating it and like you say finding it really hard to focus, we are going to Dubai in October *get in*. Thanks Ian for commenting and being so honest and sharing so much, you know I will be learning from it, I think I will continue to blog here when the mood takes me, but I am supposed to be doing some work, oh.I will be reading your comments again and again, just so you know.

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  57. Hi
    Just wanted to send my heartfelt condolences. My husband died 11 years ago, our children were 5 and 8 and you have explained just how I felt. It takes a while in coming, but you will get pleasure from life again. Don't think too far ahead. I found that people who I expected to be supportive/helpful sometimes weren't, but other people touched me so much with their sensitivity and care - including people I met through WAY, some of whom are now my dearest friends. I think you will get a lot of comfort from their online forums even if you don't feel up to actually meeting up with any of them for a coffee. Anne

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    1. Hi Anne thank you so much for all you say here, I am so sorry to read what you have been through, I think your advice about not thinking too far ahead is spot on but I am struggling with this, trying to race ahead sometimes in too many ways. Thanks also for flagging up the online forums xxxx

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  58. thank you for your kind words, we have had two very difficult days. I am absolutely exhausted and wanting to cry all the time.

    I will continue to pray for you and your family. Thanks again for your response and sharing

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    1. Oh Brenda I'm so sorry you've had such bad days. Lots of love to you, we have a counsellor and she would tell me that as we kept going, nothing would ever be this terrible or stressful in our lives again, at the time I think I somehow found this a comfort but I don't think I do now. People would say stay strong but I know you have no choice. Again wishing you so much love and strength xxx

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  59. Linda, I can't imagine all the feelings you are going through. And that is half the reason I haven't asked how you are doing lately, because I know there is no way I could understand your pain or make you feel any better. However, you have made me look at my life differently and I thank you for sharing your experience. Excuse me while I go hug my husband and children a little tighter. *sending you all the love in the world*

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  60. Thanks Kat, I hope we can all learn to appreciate those we love so much more, I am torturing myself wondering what I could have done or said differently, but I suppose that's life, thanks for your lovely comment.

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  61. I really hope that it's helping you writing all this down and seeing what love and warmth there is for you. I really believe that talking about it and opening up is the way to go. I was always taught to say nothing, to show nothing, in case it upset somebody and then, inevitably, it comes out in other ways. The anger manifests in depression perhaps or ill health or many different ways. The subject of grief and death seems to make so many people uncomfortable - terrified of saying the wrong thing, of prying, some people just want the person to get back to normal as soon as possible. So for people to read your story, is enormously helpful for them too, I think.

    For me as a reader, it has been lovely to read how you met Neil and your life together - you can feel the excitement coming off the page. I'm so, so sorry that you have lost the love of your life. I hope, in time, the shock and the memories of the pain he went through and all the horrible things towards the end that happened that you touched on, are replaced by happier ones. It must be really especially hard when you have to get on with "everyday" life, work and concerns.
    Sending love to you and the girls x

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    1. Hi Alison, this is such a wonderful comment, thank you, I appreciate this is close to home for you, I hope this doesn't sound like a flippant thing to say. I have sat and wondered what the point of me writing this was, I have been crying at times over the weekend, but you are so right that I can't afford to get ill, now more than ever. It means a lot to me that it could be helpful so having people tell me time and time again that it could be, has to be a help to me, honestly. I really do appreciate it when people respond to what I've written and yes meeting and falling in love with Neil - and having our gorgeous girls was exciting. Thank you xxx

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  62. I just want to say thank you for helping me understand. My daughter's husband died in January this year. It was unexpected and he died 2 days after my Granddaughters 15th birthday. Your writing has given me an insight to what they may be feeling. At this moment my thoughts are with them and with you and your girls. much love

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    1. Hi Pauline that's the sort of comment that helps me feel it was worth me writing this down, lots of love to you all, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know what you have, warmest of wishes x

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    2. Sorry Pauline, also meant to say, lots of love to you all xxx

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  63. I can’t even imagine your pain. I felt such pain losing my Mom and I know it does not compare. You expect to lose your parents, not your spouse nor your children. I just want to say how sorry I am for your lose and I wish the very best for you and your children.

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    1. Thanks Judy and so sorry to hear about your loss, I keep coming back to the fact we can think of grief as a price we pay for love, sometimes this consoles me, sometimes it makes me angry x

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  64. Linda, what can I say? Nothing much, except that I'm so sad that my incredibly kind, amazing, wonderful friend is going through this, and at the same time I'm so bloody proud of you, not that I have any right to be, but I just am. Lots of love, hugs & prayers xxx

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  65. Sorry it took me so long. Inside this post is what i had told you I had written the night before I read this post.

    http://www.newdaynewlesson.com/you-can-never-really-fully-understand/

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  66. I have never had to go through grief on this scale but your post really did bring it home to me how precious every moment with our loved ones are. I hope that in a small way you may find comfort knowing that your words, stemmed from the love you have for your husband, has made so many people stop and appreciate what is taken for granted every day.

    There is not much else I can say, especially being a stranger. Just didn't want to read and leave as it's such a brave/personal post.

    Thank you for sharing. xxx

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    1. Thank you so much for saying that, I know if I stop to think about it, that does help me, even if sometimes I could scream inside that it's our family who has been affected in this way. I love that you have taken the time to tell me this, so kind of you.

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  67. Mum's Gone To send me this and I thank YOU and I thank HER. My feelings, my thoughts put into words. My husband of 38 years died three weeks ago today after a long illness with only me caring for him (we live in The Republic of Panama)at home. The unmitigated grief, the guilt, the anger and the deep, deep despair. The well meaning "How Are You Doing"'s or "You will be fine, it will just take time, you are a strong person", make me want to scream and beat the living daylights out of them. Or, "There is light at the end of the tunnel" -- what tunnel, there is no tunnel, this is a total black void. My thoughts and love are with you and the girls -- you were robbed way too soon as was I, even after 38 years of marriage. Estoy Perdido Sin Mi Esposo.
    My Love,
    Marion in Panama

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  68. Oh Marion I am so very touched that you have taken the time to comment here, I am so very sorry read about your aching loss and to grasp some of the pain you are feeling, it's unbelievable to lose someone so loved. Thank you for your words of kindness, I tried to reason about why I was writing this and knew it was to help me, I also wanted to help others with no experience of loss to understand, but it never entered my head that what I wrote could be helpful for anyone also struggling like me, your response helps me understand that in some small way what I have written shows we're not alone, so thank you again, wishing you lots of love xxx

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  69. This is so moving Linda. What a great place to share how you're really feeling on this blog. People do mean well, but I guess their questions sound like pretty empty words to you most days. My thoughts are with you and your girls. x

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    1. Hi Suzanne thank you for saying that. I'm getting better at letting people in and realising they do care, sometimes there's a choice for me to believe that or believe these are empty words, I prefer the first option xx

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