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Other People’s Stories

I have received many messages from well-wishers and they have helped me enormously. One of the things these messages have helped me to do is to recognise that I’m not alone, I’m not going mad and that other people in a similar situation of grief after the loss of their partner are experiencing very similar things.

The following messages have had all personal details removed, but I wanted to post them here firstly as a reminder to myself, but also to help anyone else that finds this website. If you’d like to send me a message please complete the form here, or add a comment by scrolling to the foot of this page.

These are all genuine messages, read them, notice the similarities in your own story and take comfort from the fact that you are not alone and are indeed not going mad!

9/1/17

How are you doing? ūüôā
I am so sorry for your loss ūüôĀ you both seemed to be very good couple.
Your blog really made me cry and I can understand how you must have felt. Well honestly your pain is obviously bigger than mine since you both were together for more than 2 decades and married too. Me and my gf were together for 5 years and we both lived in different countries and had big cultural differences but we loved each other. we waited 5 years to be together. in these 5 years we were practically together for only 28 days. I used to save money each year to visit her for 2 weeks. Last I met her in September 2016. I was planning to permanently move there this year but unfortunately she died last week. It feels really terrible. I feel so empty and incomplete inside. People tell me that this pain would heal with time and I should move on, but honestly I don’t want this pain to heal, I am afraid to love her any less than I love her now. They tell me that maybe its pointless to move there now because she was the only reason I was moving there. But living where she lived and seeing things she saw would make me feel closer to her. SO what if she isn’t alive, my love for her would always remain the same.

I don’t know what or why I am saying this, just need some advises from you to cope with this pain without moving on ( if moving on means continuing with my life by thinking less of her or look for any other partner at some point in the future etc ) don’t really want to forget the tiniest memory of her or replace her with any other girl ever.

I needed tips so that I could feel more closer to her, maybe doing what she liked or visiting places she wanted to visit etc, this type of stuff.

I am truly sorry for your loss. You are a really strong man.

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19/12/16

Mark, I am sorry for your loss but happy to hear you are enjoying life now. I don’t know how I found your blog but it has been a great read. I lost my partner of 23 years on 17th July, he was 57 and I loved him so much it hurts. I am at that time (5 months on) where I just miss him so much, miss him standing beside me, giving me a hug – o I miss his hugs, enjoying a glass of wine together, dinner together, chatting, laughing together, listening to him play his guitar and new song he wrote. He was one of these guys who lived in the “now” and always telling me to slow down, enjoy the minute your [sic] in and it drove me mad sometimes but I would love to have one of those conversations now, so when I read one of your messages about the Now, it was like listening to him and it was great, I cried of course and cried but it was great! Everything you have written I have felt and I’m sure will continue to feel for a long time but you have given us all hope that yes if I go into that dark tunnel (I am just skirting around at the edge of it now – too scared) then I will come out the other side where it is bright and sunny. I hope you keep writing, Thank You.

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14/12/16

Hi Mark, I want to thank you for your blog. Making time to grieve really resonated with me. Frankly, this entire blog is incredible. My husband and love of my life died 9/5/2016. He fought cancer for 10 years. We were married for 23 years. I really appreciate your positive attitude about this entire process and I think it is essential. I hope that you continue to post regularly as your blog is invaluable. Warmest regards

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3/12/16

Thanks for your blog. You did very nice work by creating this blog. God bless you. I have lost my everything(wife) on 1/11/2016. Before 1st Nov. 2016 I was feeling that I m a happiest person because every thing was going superb, suddenly like mountains fall on me and everything lost. She actually commited suicide. I’m not understanding what it happened. She was 36 and 31st oct 16 was our marriage anniversary. I have 3 children, elder one boy of 16 and 2 girls of 12 and 8 respectively. Kindly guide me as today I have no ways, no dreams, no emotions, no hunger, no thurst…….

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9/10/15

I am now mourning the loss of my partner who died only one week ago. I had known <<name removed>> for only four years. My wife died 7 years ago in Spain with ovarian cancer. 3 years after her death I met by chance <<name removed>> who had lost her husband 2 years before. We became good friends and often talked about our lost spouses. We became a perfect couple enjoying our compatibility and fell in love. We were to be married this Xmas, she was diagnosed in March this year with the same illness Ovarian cancer that had spread quite rapidly. She was a strong woman and she fought all the way. Now I miss her terribly, I feel so empty and alone, I realise that time will help once again but also feel that life has been so unfair to both of us.

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25/9/15

My sweet wife passed away four months and two days ago. We were very close and had a wonderful marriage, and were blessed with four daughters and nine grandchildren (seven of them are also girls). I have so many memories that it seems like she is still with me, maybe only in thought, but so many things remind me of her. We were married 54 years, 1 month, and 1 day. She passed on May 23rd of this year. I am Christian, and my belief in Jesus is the only thing now that gets me through each day. My oldest daughter has moved in with me to be my care taker. I am now 77. I am in good health but have trouble walking. I walk around the neighborhood and have made many new friends. I would like to take a short vacation and maybe see the Grand Canyon. I never knew it was going to be this hard, but my wife had been ill for some time, but I was not really prepared for it. My thoughts go out to you for your loss, I know what you must be feeling.

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6/7/15

I just found your blog today. I have read and discussed loads on grief and coping with it and honestly your blog has been the most useful thing so far. It gives me hope, gives me techniques to try out. My darling husband, soul mate, best friend etc etc…..<<name removed>> died on 17 April 2015, two years after your Claire. He died unexpectedly in Spain after two months travelling in a motorhome through France and Spain starting on¬†2 February. It was our getting over cancer holiday and the start of new lives for us after both having cancer last year. On 18 Dec 2014 we were told <<name removed>>’s¬†cancer had gone and would not be back. He had a chest infection when we went away and got worse and worse. The last month of his life was in hospital in Spain initially being treated for pneumonia and getting better before he deteriorated and spent last 3 weeks in ICU. Sorry, did not mean to go into all of that. Just wanted to thank you for your blog. I have just read some of the postings so I will go back now and read more. I hope all is going ok with you. I will think of you and Claire with love especially on¬†17 April. Take care,¬†<<name removed>>

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5/5/15

Thank you for sharing your journey. I lost my dear wife of 39 years on Jan. 13, 2015. I feel as if part of my soul disappeared with her. The feeling of loneliness and lack of purpose and direction weigh heavily. Eventually I will learn to deal with the loss…your shared commentary is helpful…thank you and God bless.

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10/3/15

Hi Mark..
I’m glad I came across your site and blog..You’ve helped me tremendously..I¬†lost¬†my wife 1 month ago yesterday..We would have been together 36 years this Friday..She was my everything..She took care of me and I in turn took care ofher¬†in¬†her¬†last 5 years..She was very ill and was hospitalized the last 2 weeks when she passed..I still have regrets not being there when she got¬†her¬†cardiac arrest in the morning..I always think I could have made a difference..I got there 1 hour later and spent 10 hours with¬†her¬†when she took¬†her¬†last breath that same night..I talk to¬†her¬†constantly..I hope to get through this with the help of my family and a few close friends…
Take it easy..<<Name Removed>>

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Dear Mark,
I came across your blog about life without your wife Claire only just today. I sincerely commend and admire the strength that you resonate as you and your family go through such a difficult time. I just felt that I had to write to you, as there is so much courage and hope that I was able to take from your blog.

My story is very different but some of the emotions you describe I can completely relate to. In particular the one where you say you feel as if you are consciously planning your actions, as if delivering a training course. I am finding that when I talk to people about what happened to my husband its as if I have an outer body experience and am observing my conversation with my the other person – almost as if I am having a reality check with myself and confirming yes it happened, and yes you are sitting here telling this person what happened so it has happened. I also completely get where you are coming from when you say you have to find a new you. I have been married to my husband for 18 years, I am 39 and he is 45. So to redefine yourself, your beliefs, your goals and your future on your own is so difficult and there is an overwhelming fear. ¬†A feeling of being lost – previously I knew where we were heading, even if we hadn’t cemented those plans I knew we were doing all the things to make it happen.

Life changed for me and my two children (ages 12 and 13) on <<date removed>> . My husband had a cardiac arrest at home in the morning. This was totally unexpected no previous heart problems or symptoms. ¬†The paramedics managed to revive him but due to the lack of oxygen to his brain he has not regained consciousness. It’s been a long hard 5 months, he has been moved from 5 different hospitals and currently at a rehabilitation hospital. Life has become unbearable – he is such a nice man, made everyone laugh with his big warm and loving personality; and now there is nothing. Everything feels empty. There is too many unknowns that I fear dealing with now. It’s amazing how as adults we lose our resilience to change.

I cannot believe that it has happened, somedays it feels like a nightmare. The news has been a real shock to everyone that knew him work colleagues, family, friends and even those whom he only met once. It is unfair, we live with a glimmer of hope that he may regain consciousness and be able to recognise us.

I just wanted to say I have gained much strength from your blog and really admire the way you have dealt with it. The love you and Claire have for each other is clearly what has helped you deal with it. Even though my story is completely different I really can relate to your emotions. Your blog has brought forth nonstop tears and helped me to control and see things differently. I have had days when I think I am going to fight this and be strong keep myself busy and remain positive. But I have also had days whereby I want to curl up and disappear hoping I do not have to face the reality of what life has thrown at me.

Apologies for such a long message. My thoughts are with you and your family. Your Claire is certainly proud of the way you have managed to keep going for her, yourself and the children.

 

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Once again your writings come from deep in your heart and soul where Claire resides.
The good news is that you are infact getting to the end of the day … Yes, you are shattered, but nonetheless, getting there. ¬†Shattered is normal for now, in time you will pick up all the pieces of your shatter and much like a piece of fine china put it back together again. It might not resemble what it once was, ¬†but it will be together. ¬†Believe it or not, the kids, the huge move, packing, sorting, the school, the busses, college, cooking, laundry, shopping and what ever else is buzzing around masquerading as insanity could very well be your therapy to distract you or to engage you even if for a minute or two.
When I faced my own edge of suddenly losing [name removed] to a sudden illness and while at her funeral I got a phone call from a hospital that I lost a child (age2) … Yes indeed I was on the edge after losing 2 people whom I loved so deeply just a couple days apart.
¬†After weeks on the torturous edge I went to talk to a grief therapist ¬†who gave me a very therapeutic homework assignment. ¬†¬†Hey… I had kids to raise and I needed help, I needed to function and I needed to not fall into the black hole of despair and most of all I needed to not shatter into smaller pieces than I already had. ¬†So the grief therapists assignment to me was… I can pick ONE hour a day in which to fall apart, grieve, cry, pray, scream, punch my pillow, etc. and give the deaths my FULL emotional attention. I was to set a clock for one hour.
¬†I chose¬†4 pm to 5 pm¬†for some reason maybe because I knew I would not be driving at that hour. Well, the first few days it was very difficult as I had to condense 24 hours of grieving, pain, despair, crying and being on my edge into one hour a day!! ¬†I also started taking a shower at the same time maybe to muffle the sounds of my deep sobs. Well…Now…. What do I do with the other 23 hours I asked the therapist…. She replied ” you live!”
And so… At first it seemed like I was living every day¬†¬†for¬†4 o’clock¬†to roll around…My hour to fall apart… Then when the alarm went off at¬†5 o’clock¬†¬†I had to pull me together and live, engage with my friends and family, cook, clean, shop, and function. Well….interestingly enough, within a couple of months I found that I missed a few¬†4 o’clock¬†grieving hours because I was busy re-inventing my life and starting to live. I instantly felt guilty that I did not give my sister and little boy their hour of my falling apart over them time. I was then told that THEY were letting ME go because THEY had to move on too!
And so it worked…and it worked very well. I savor all their memories, sometimes that alone brings my heart to pounding and eyes to welling up, but to honor my loved ones, I got off the edge and figured out how to live again… whenever I notice that it is¬†4 o’clock, I just look up and smile, they have moved on, I have moved on and take them in my heart wherever I go.
And Mark…you will too… I Promise.
P.S.   What hour will you pick?

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I started reading your blog on your recent loss of your wife. I myself, just lost my wife on [date removed], after a 4 year battle of cancer. Still, it was sudden and unexpected at the time, which shocked me. We were married for 7 1/2 years and have 4 yr old daughter. She was only 50 yrs old. The first two months was just a fog, with much angry, frustrations and confusions. I have seek helped through my doctor and local hospice, which has helped. But the grieving and sadness is were I suffer the most. Reading your posts reminds me what my wife and I wanted to do in our lives. But now, I am a single dad and do things without her. It really sucks. But we all know we are going to die one day. Some of us sooner than later. But for those living, we must push forward. Not easy, but hopefully we succeed for our wives and most importantly, for our children.

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I live in [place removed] by the sea, I lost my beautiful, caring, loving, adorable husband four and a half years ago.  ( I could add so many more adjectives to describe him) but will stop there for the moment.
The first part of today’s comment was so true for me when I lost him, to me it was like drowning and I was fighting against the tide.
I really think that your different view of looking at the loss that you share today is so amazing after such a short time.  I wish I could have had that positive view sooner( normally I am an optimist). But my excuse is that I also lost my son only nine months after losing [name removed].
So my message to you is hang on in there as I don’t think it will take four and a half years for you. But it is so true time heals your wounds, and for all of us that has lost someone we loved one day we will all have some smiles in our lives.
Your last paragraph will one day come true for you, but everyone is different and grieves at a different pace.  I can still cry at a glimpse of something that reminds me of my [name removed] it can be possibly 5 or 6 times a week, but it used to be 30 times a day.   The only difference is now when some memory flashes by I can smile and think of it as a beautiful and wonderful time of my life, one I will never forget but hopefully as every day passes by will get easier, because I know I can never have him back in this life.
You are such a positive person and you always finish your comments on a positive point and that is admirably.    I also think that with the love of your children you will always have Claire right by your side, even though eventually your life might take a new road.
God bless you and keep writing your wonderful story.

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If it helps, I know that one day, and I honestly can’t remember how far on it was, I realised that I had got to dinner before bursting into tears. It was a small measure of how grief was progressing.
Of course, then there’s the whole thing that actually, we don’t want it to stop hurting – but that’s a different thing altogether…
Thinking of you and your kids,

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Mark, I am so sorry for your loss. I hear what you are saying…the chapters in our lives change and then it is a new “book”. I was married for 29 years and raised four children. Our youngest went off to college in August 2011. We were empty nesters, adjusting yet excited about our new life together. Then October 2011, my husband did not come home. He died of a massive heart attack in route to home. What happened to all our plans? No longer plans…just where do I go from here. Almost two years and I am still struggling.

One sermon I heard at church…you are really excited about your vacation to Italy, you plan, map out and are all set for a fantastic vacation. You board the plane with your plans, maps, highlighted spots to visit, etc. and you land in Holland. What happens then?…do you embrace the beauty of Holland and all that Holland has to offer or do you just focus on Italy and what your plans were? Food for thought but food for thought that I am still trying to figure out.

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I have just found your blog. I lost my beautiful husband suddenly on [date removed] 2013. I have just sold my house to move to another one we had bought and planned for together. When I read about your heartache I feel like I am reading my own parallel story.

I am too starting to wrestle with my new self. All I know is life seems unfair and all I can do is try to make it fairer for someone else. The real tragedy is not the pain, but if you lose hope itself. I am determined to find happiness again. I am thinking of you.

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I don’t know how exactly I found your site, but I have been following your entries for a few weeks and have only just built up the courage to join you.¬†My wife passed away on [date removed] this year after a brave fight with cancer. On [date removed]¬†we would have celebrated our [years removed]¬†wedding anniversary.¬†My heart goes out to you today- it will not be easy, but if I got through it I know you will too

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Mark – I’ve been reading your posts through a mutual friend – I am so sorry for what your family is going through. My husband’s brother died suddenly a year ago age 44- it was the one year anniversary on Friday. I spent the day with his widow at home with our small children. I think for her it’s the fear of the events that are worse than the actual day. For the first time though I think I can see a glimpse of her making plans for herself – its a long slog but there are tiny gains which time allows. There is no avoiding grief it is powerful and exhausting but vital.

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“I am following your blog and my heart goes out to you, it really does. ¬†Is putting things in writing helping you? My brother died far too early at age 45 and his wife was 41, with two lovely young children. ¬†My sister in law was just recovering from aggressive treatments for breast cancer and they were on holiday to ‘celebrate’ the end of treatment, when it happened. ¬†It is several years now and she is still mourning ‚Äď I am very close to her and the children and do as much as I can for them (financially it has been a nightmare for her) but she says to me that it is the inner loneliness that still gets to her ‚Äď she understands that he was my brother and I miss him terribly but she says that it is a completely different type of loss for her as his wife ‚Äď they were like you childhood sweethearts and there was never a question of anyone else in their lives but each other. ¬†Last year she had a grandchild and for the first time in years I saw her smile and really mean it ‚Äď this has brought a new dimension to her life, but also another reason to be sad because [name removed] is not here to share the joy. ¬†So I think this is something that lives with you for life because how can you not miss someone you loved so deeply.”

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“I have friends that have lost parents etc and they think it’s the same, but it’s really not the same, [name removed]¬†and Claire were literally our other halves and learning to function with that half missing is going to take time! One thing that I seem to be doing alot, is stepping back and imagining what [name removed]’s¬†reaction/answer would be to certain things! Like my shopping trip, he would be saying, come on girl get a grip the kids want feeding it’s not all about you!!! This is what he really would have said and makes me feel like he’s still around! I also hate the fact ¬†that I will never feel his arms around me or have the everything will be alright cuddle, knowing nobody will ever be there to comfort me is not a nice feeling! I always had the comfort of knowing whatever the problem we would be there for each other, now I’m top of the ladder expected to make everything better for everyone else!
I’m sure in time we will adjust and I hope I always feel some of what I feel now, because it shows how much I loved him, I truly hope I never forget little things like his scent, sure you have spent the last 8 weeks smelling pillows and personal things of Claire’s? Hope sits not just me as that makes me think I’m going mad!! And still have his toothbrush in the bathroom, silly me eh??

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“I really feel for you. It looks like I’m about to lose my wife to¬†cancer, and you’ve described what I fear I will feel in the future. It’s that deep understanding that can’t ever be replaced. And not having them to share all those moments and stories with.”

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