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Finding it so hard to recall better times


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Hello everyone, my lovely husband Stewart died from PC five weeks ago today. He had been ill for eight months and it was horrendous. I am devastated. I am finding it so hard to remember the good 16 years we had together before he became ill. My mind just goes over and over the horrible times. I was trying to recall the feel of his face under my fingertips today and all I could remember was how hard and solid his face felt when he went to sleep for the 12 days before he died. I try looking at photographs ( on everyone of them he is smiling) and I remember how sad and frightened he was while he was ill. Its seems impossible to get the bad thoughts out of my head. Everything he would have loved just makes me so very unhappy - a sunny spring day, wild birds at the feeder, music, nice food - everything. I feel I am just going through the motions and managing to get from one day to the next. I can't talk to people face to face as I just cry- even if it's not about Stewart. I feel physically ill although I know its the grief. I can't wait to go to sleep at night (with the help of a sleeping tablet) as I know I can stop thinking for a few hours. I feel like I'm going mad. Is all of this normal? How can I stop my mind going over and over the bad stuff? I'm not quite sure what I hope to achieve by writing this post but it may help to get it out of my head.

Thanks for listening

Linda

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Hi Linda,


Thank you for finding the strength to write this post.


Firstly, what you are feeling is perfectly normal. However anyone grieves, is normal. The ignorant people that say to get over it etc, have never lost someone the way you have.


I remember someone telling me that grief can be a physically pain. I never understood how that could be, until now.


I so completely understand how you feel Linda. Everything, all the beautiful things your husband adored and loved, now seem so pointless.


I lost my Dad nearly a year ago. I still replay his last week in my head constantly. It has never left me. Sometimes I get a glimmer of Dad before the illness come into my mind, but it is soon replaced by the cruelty of his passing. He too was very frightened about dying, and the knowing of how frightened he was, breaks my heart, until my chest physically hurts.


I have to induce sleep as well, as all I can see is my Dad so helpless and afraid. Life is very cruel Linda.


You are not going mad, you love your husband very much. That is what grief is. Deep love for the person no longer visible.


Leila xx

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Hello Linda


I am so pleased you've posted. I hope that you will find a little bit of comfort here. I know exactly what you mean about thinking only about the bad times. Since my hubby was diagnosed with PC, I keep remembering the day my dad called me and told me he had cancer. I keep thinking about how my dad suffered and how he didn't want to die. I can't explain why we focus on the bad things, I suppose because the loss of a loved one hurts so badly - perhaps it's the minds way of coping or part of the grieving process but all I can say is, I have read back on your previous posts and saw you mention about the time when good memories WILL shine through and I think however hard it is, you just have to hang on to that faith.


But to reassure you, it is perfectly normal and you are most certainly not going mad. It is such early days for you. A friend of mine who we met on holiday in November and exchanged numbers because she wanted to support me when the time came, called me 5 days after we returned home to say her husband had out of the blue been diagnosed with PC and liver mets after suffering kidney stones (same as my hubby). He died just 11 weeks later. I still can't get over the terrible coincidence but my friend, like you, will sometimes go to bed at 7pm because she finds the evening alone so hard.


I can only speak from experience but I find writing about how I'm feeling or what's happening really does help. When you are ready and up to it, share Stewart's story with us. If you have trouble talking without crying (and I know that feeling only too well) this is a great way of expressing yourself in the privacy of your own home.


Please do come on here when you are feeling low, we are all here to support one another and my heart goes out to you that you're in such pain.


Take care xxxx

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Just want to add to what PW said. I don't know how you feel making this first post, but for me, I feel this forum is the only place I can say how I feel.

People in real life have really no idea what is like to lose someone to this cancer. We grieve the moment our loved one is diagnosed. People in real life can be cruel, even the ones that are supposed to love us. They don't understand.


If you need to be here constantly, then do that. People here are wonderful, and we all understand. Post as much as you need to.


Leila xx

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Hi Linda. First as others have said, each grieves in their own way - there is no right or wrong way. Neither is there a right or wrong way for others' comments - what some will find caring others will find irritating or upsetting. Having lost 2 partners now to cancer, I found that the horror of the last ill weeks will finally be replaced with memories of the well person. That, however, does not always bring relief. In my case it made me miss them more as I was now mourning the healthy person I had lost rather than the very ill person I was glad was not suffering any more for their sake. it's very early days (although it may not seem like it - I remember being told when my first husband died that it was too early to join a Cruse group and I replied that he had died ages ago - a good 2 weeks!). Do start as soon as you can, planning little outings or social occasions, even if you don't feel like it. It is essential to start putting some happy new memories in the bank, even if you would have preferred your dearly departed to be there with you. If you get to 6 months and no progress has been made (and I mean that every day is wretched and you feel you cannot escape it) that might be the time to consider counselling. But the online forum is great for letting vent and you will get great support. Because of the very high death rate this is a forum like no other and I think that is why it is so very hard for those involved right from the start. Take care, Didge xx

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Linda, just wanted to add support to you. There are some very wise people here who have posted already. I think you feel as many of us do at this stage and think of recent difficult times as well as thinking about how much our loved ones would have enjoyed the Spring, the flowers and so on. I think that's natural and I'm sure in due course in however long it takes each of us that we will be able to bring happier memories to the fore. Catherine

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Hello Leila, Proudwife, Didge and Catherine, thank you so much for your replies.


I joined the forum last September and used the helpline a couple of times (phone and email) and I found the advice and support given invaluable. I did make a couple of posts but not many. During the time I have been a member I have read many, many stories and posts and cried a river. You all seem like such strong women!


Leila, I read your posts from when you were caring for your dad and it broke my heart.

It is a wonderful tribute to him that you are able to provide advice and support to others now. I agree with you that, unless people have experienced pancreatic cancer, they do not realize the horror of it all. I think we grieve from diagnosis - until forever. I hope your little glimmer turns into a bright flame to help you remember your dad when he was well.I long to know the joy in the simple things that Stewart and I used to love. The physical pain of his loss is so strong right now.


Proudwife, I admire you so much. I am so sorry to hear about your friend's husband - that is a horrible coincidence. 11 weeks is no time at all. I know how your friend feels, there is some peace in sleep if only for a few hours. I have thought about writing our story but there is very little in it that is positive or encouraging so I don't think it would help anyone reading it. Stay strong- my heart is with you as you continue to care for and fight for your hubby.


Didge, Oh my! You give me hope- you have been through so much yet here you are, able to provide support and encouragement to others. Our families have supported us throughout and continue to do so. I have visited my sisters a couple of times but only for half an hour as I feel overwhelmed. I visit Stewart's mam once a week (she is 87 and very fit and active) and I forget that she has lost her only son (she has 4 daughters) and then I feel bad for crying to her. I find it hard going to the local shops in case I meet anyone who asks how I am. I have a very good friend of many years (Pauline) and she visits me a couple of times a week (if I want her to or not!) and that helps. I can't see myself doing any more than this at the minute. I will heed your words though.


Catherine, I know your pain, yet you feel able to offer me support - where do you find the strength so early following your loss ?


It has taken me about three hours to write these replies, buckets of tears and a whole Easter egg!

Many thanks to you all.

Take Care

Linda G

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Hi Linda,


Thank you for posting again. I just want to say, your 'story' about Stewart, if it helps you to write it down, then that is all that matters.

I made my posts about Dad, to help me. To get it all out, to people that cared and understood, and to get advice to help Dad. And to be honest, what you might think will help no one, you never know. Just something in your post could help someone, but if not, you have got it out, written it down. I think just doing that could help no end.


Have a think, there is no rush.


Stewart has been gone in no time at all. It is so early days. You were probably numb at first amd then just riding the motions until after the funeral. There is always so much to sort out. I think you are only just starting your grieving process.


Did you have any children?


I know it is a different relationship to yours, but I think what upsets me the most, os the cruelty of how Dad passed, rather than the fact he had cancer. Because we were so close, he would tell me his inner thoughts and feelings. I knew how scared he was. Seeing him cry, hearing the sad things he would say. Seeing the fear in his eyes. I think from what you have said, these are your thoughts too?

I don't think I can give you advice on how to get through, but I am hopeful that in the future, I can think of Dad before this cancer.

For now Linda, I think all I can tell you, is not to try to rush things. Cry rivers and buckets, don't try to stop the grief.


I do believe that Stewart is with you, I really like to believe that. That they never leave us.


Post again. Doesn't matter how long it takes you or how much chocolate you get through.


Leila xx

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Hi Leila, I will think again about writing our story. I say "ours" because (like you and your dad) I was with him every step of the way. We talked a lot about how he felt, how scared he was and how he did not want to die. He was only 64 and a very young, healthy 63 before diagnosis. He used to walk everywhere, go on 40 mile bike rides. We had no children together but Stewart has a son and daughter from his first marriage. I was never married before and no children. I have a three year old step grandson who we used to care for together. I have had him twice since Stewart died and its fine when I'm with him but I break my heart when he goes because Stew loved him so much and he won't see him grow up. I am crying again now but I think you are right, it does help to write it down,. I wish I could believe he is with me but how would I know? he just smiles at me from the photos and I feel nothing but sorrow.

Thanks Leila

Linda xx

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Oh Linda,


I really do feel your pain and I so wish I could help you.


No one knows and the living will never know what happens when someone dies. I like to feel Dad is with me, and that he is watching me, but I don't know this.


I think we are quite alike in how we are feeling. Different loves and relationships I know, but the hurt is still the same. Dad was 61 when diagnosee, and 63 when he passed away. He had a wonderful life, he loved flowers, birds, his friends, the outdoors and was very popular. Out of everyone, I thought he would be here forever. He didn't know what pancreatic cancer meant, he thought it was ok. He would hug me and tell me he didn't know how many cuddles we had left. He asked me not to forget him, as if!

He loved life so much much and to pass away at 63 is just heartbreaking. Your husband sounds so much like my Dad, my Dad never drove, he walked everywhere and loved bike rides too. He was very very healthy, and really looked after himself.


Some people grieve differently. Some don't want to talk, and that's fine. I get the feeling that you, but that you are scared to? Maybe it will make it real for you, I don't know. I personally want to talk all day about Dad.


I have recently started seeing a Cruse counsellor, he asks me about Dad before he was ill. I struggle to remember, and soon get back to when he was ill. I think when we are THE person that is always there, loving them, caring, seeing them so ill. We have to be desperately strong, so they think everythig is ok.


I think when you look at photo's and Stewart is so happy and healthy, you just think why, why him. When Dad passed away a nurse said to me " he always takes the best ". Just wish Dad wasn't one of the best. So many bad people in the world and yet they are free.


Leila xx

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Sweetie, I am early in this path and it is awful. I have no advice I can really offer you, even though I want to wave a wand and make it better for you. I never understood the word desperate before now. I hope you have people around you and the veterans that have posted here... you know what you mean to us. Even though I do not have the capacity to respond right now... keep posting. I will join the ranks of the strong eventually. x

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Linda, your one before last post brought tears to my eyes. You've been so considerate and sensitive to others despite your grief and pain, that to me shows great strength of character. You will get through this.


Totally and utterly agree with Leila. I think it will help you tremendously to write your story. It's such a good way of venting all emotions and it's somewhere that you can "go" when you feel the need to talk and can do so without having to hold back the tears (not that you need to do so in public anyhow).


Take care

xxx

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Hi Leila, PW and Dandygal thank you again for your kind words of comfort and support. I do want to talk about Stewart all the time but it is hard to say the words out loud. Maybe writing the whole thing from beginning to end will be easier. I went to the hospice this morning with Stewart's daughter to take gifts for the wonderful staff and the donation raised by his friends and family. Neither of us realised how hard it would hit us - we both ended up in pieces. But it's another tiny step forward I suppose. I will keep posting and following all of the ongoing journeys (its hard not to when you are so aware of what everyone is going through).

Take care.


Dandygal, thank you. You are already stronger than you think you are - you have to be- you have no choice. I remember that feeling of desperation only too well and wondering how I could possibly cope with what was happening for all those months - but when you love them you just do! You sound so knowledgeable about PC and the treatment available. Your dad must be so proud of you and thankful that you are strong enough to fight his corner.

Linda G

XXX

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Linda

I remember going back to the hospice to thank them. Very difficult but I did it. It's not for everyone but my way of coping has been to have a plan for the following day. Often it's simple such as planning a shop or going somewhere for a coffee or meeting a friend or just getting my household papers in order or clearing the boot of my car of overflowing articles. That gives me a sense of purpose and then when I do it a sense of achievement. Sometimes when people ask how I'm doing I just say I have to carry on because there is no alternative. You are right we find strength from somewhere. I am determined not to define myself as a 'widow' and associate with widowed groups. I know they help some people but not for me. Mind you they may be more reliable than my young friend who forgot we were meeting for coffee today and stood me up!

Catherine

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How are you doing Linda? You will remember the good times and you will get through this. Remember the first meeting, remember the first time he said I love you, remember the first time you cuddled in bed. Get those photos out. You have so many good good memories. Don't let PC beat you on this last thing - you still own the good times. His smile, his laugh, his passion... it is all still with you. And talk and talk and talk. We are all strong. We can all do this, whatever stage we are at. People have done this... we are in a line of many many people before us. Sending so much love to you. x

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Hi Catherine, I felt I needed to visit the hospice, not quite sure why, other than to give the gifts and donations? Although it was very emotional it felt like the right thing to do. I do plan tasks for the next day otherwise I feel I have no purpose. Just routine, household stuff like yourself. I have not yet had the desire or courage to meet up with anyone outside of home. How long did it take you to feel strong enough and able to meet friends or family in a public place? I agree with you as I don't want to define myself as a "widow" either, or join any such groups - not my cup of tea. Ah don't be too hard on your friend- I bet she felt terrible when she realised! Take care.

xxx


Hello Dandygal, so - so today, thanks for asking. I know what you are saying - I suppose I just feel so sorry for myself right now. Your message made me cry (again!)but because for a fleeting moment I did recall those things. I will keep trying and talking and crying until the good memories return and bring pleasure instead of heartache. How is your dad feeling at the moment? And how are you coping?

Regards

Linda

xxx

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Hi Linda,

Sorry I haven't replied to you before, I lost my husband Trevor almost a year ago now to this horrendous disease, after 20 months battling the beast. He had surgery then 6 months of chemotherapy, then 5 months summer 2014 without treatment, when he was amazingly well then another 5 months of chemotherapy, until about 6 weeks before he died.

He was very pragmatic, and had always said he wanted to die first as he wouldn't cope without me where as I would cope without him. I could hear him and still can, saying to me, you just have to get on with it you have no choice and of course I don't have any choice, its done.

Whether that has helped or not I don't know, but I have always made myself think of a happy time when those awful pictures of the end crowd in, and remember him smiling his cheeky smile.

Its truly awful loosing your special person, your soul mate, who knows you better than you know yourself, and was always there for you, but we have to do our best to cope, to honour them and their memory.

I hope you start to feel stronger soon, its very early days yet and every first thing you do without them is especially hard, but try to do them for him as I am sure he would want you to.

please take care, sending you a cyber (((hug))) sandrax xx

PS We were together 49 years 3 months and 9 days and married for over 46 years.

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Hi Linda

The friend who stood me up is a chap! I am a member of a Rotary Club and know him through that. But there was a bonus in that to make up he invited me yesterday to a family breakfast at his home with his wife and. 11 year old daughters. You asked how soon I went out in company again. In the last 20 years I have lost four significant people. An uncle who lived with us, my father and my mother and now nearly three months ago my husband. With each of them I tried to carry on my routine. The day after my husband died I went to my Rotary Club meeting. My sister in law who is very wise suggested that if I really wanted to go that I thought about arriving just in time and leaving just as it finished. So I did this and the young friend I mentioned above looked after me and made sure I was OK. But it's different for everyone. Take the time you need. Also, yesterday, for no reason I can explain I felt that I was turning a corner by accepting that I had to start a new life. I think this will happen to us all at different times. Just take things as they come but as you say planning simple things and achieving them helps us move on.

Catherine

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Hello Sandra, thank you. So sorry to hear you lost your husband Trevor. 20 months is a long time to fight PC and its great you had those good 5 months in 2014, I bet you made some memories then. I never thought Stewart would die before me - don't know why. We were only married 5 1/2 years so I feel very cheated. It was my first (and only) marriage at 55 yrs old. We were together 16 years. We only shared a home for nine years. I loved being his wife and doing "wifely" things, I love him and miss him so very much. I envy you your 49 yrs together. Thanks for your encouragement. Take care.xxxx

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Hi Catherine,

I bet a family breakfast was better than coffee in a cafe - worth being stood up for! You sound so brave and strong. The very thought of meeting anyone I haven't already seen since Stew died, reduces me to tears. Your strength has made me think about visiting a good friend of mine tomorrow (just think about it, but that's a start). I have not seen her since Stewart' diagnosis although we do speak on the phone a lot. He didnt like many visitors when he was poorly. I'm glad to hear you have reached a more positive place and wish you well. Thanks for sharing.

Take care. xxx

Linda G

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Hi Linda

Yes the family breakfast was great fun. I am downsizing my possessions just now so I took along four teddy bears for them. The girls were delighted. How are you getting on today? Are you thinking of visiting your friend? My husband was much the same with visitors and we generally didn't say too much to people about what was going on.

Catherine

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Hi Catherine, I bet they were thrilled. No I didn't visit my friend, I just kept busy with housework all day. Kept wondering why I am bothering really but it passed the day. Cried on and off all day till Iv'e given myself a headache. I will try again tomorrow. Have a good weekend.

Linda

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