How I Got Here

January 15, 2007, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. At the time, he was 45. I am a nurse so I had a pretty good idea that his circumstance (metastasis to the liver) was not a good situation but he was a "robust" man -- (that's how the doctors repeatedly described him and it was true) -- and I had seen him beat odds before, leaving both of us unrealistically optimistic. We live in NC and so we went to Duke for treatment. He participated in clinical trials and faithfully received his treatment but his liver metasis was basically untreatable with surgery and minimally responsive to chemo. He died April 19, 2009. We met each other in sixth grade when I moved down the street. Everyday we went to the same bus stop, rode the bus to and from school, and shared some classes. We went to our Senior Prom together. We saw each other grow up. He went to college in Tennesse and I stayed in NY and went to school. We married after college, he joined the military and became a helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps. During all of this we managed to have 4 kids (one set of twins) and in 2007 one of our twin daughters had twin daughters. I am eternally grateful about that! He was able to see grandchildren and enjoy them before he died. Much has changed since April 2009 but the one thing that hasn't changed is the fact that not a day goes by that I don't think of him. I dream about him and it feels like I've visited him after a long time away. I don't like being needy and consider myself independent but I feel exposed and vulnerable. I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life but I don't want to cling to my kids. They need their own lives. I can't seem to have a relationship with anyone because I constantly push them away. (I say constantly, I've tried twice but I am an emotional infant who can't get past the idea that "It wasn't this way before"). And as I write this, I chastise myself for appearing whiney and self-centered. I'm sorry to anyone reading it. Fortunately, I get to hide behind a computer screen. I desperately want to get past the loss and be grateful for what we had (which I am -- I realize some people look for that for years) but look back and feel regret and guilt -- can't shake it. The regret NEVER goes away. I wish I had told him I loved him more...I wish I had taken time to wrap my arms around him and comfort him more...I wish I had my priorities straight. (As I read this, I realize this might be a better story under the "I'm f***** up" experience.) It's been three years. much has changed and much has stayed exactly the same. Grief is a huge black hole that sucks you in and doesn't seem to let go. I came here looking for people to share in this experience. I'm sorry it is decidely negative. Just realize I am a big pile of crazy and if you are going through the same thing, your experience is uniquely yours. Thanks for listening. I feel a bit better!
pb5061 pb5061
46-50, F
1 Response May 20, 2012

You are really suffering. I am so sorry. I have been told it takes at least five years to be ready for a solid second relationship. I know many who remarry earlier and seem to do okay. Grief is such a personal thing. Please don't dwell on regrets. There isn't one of us if we were honest that couldn't list many but, you seemed to have had a good marriage, probably better than most. If no one is perfect, then there will be things that couldn't have been done better. That is just life. Instead, try to focus on all the times you shared the best that any human relationship could experience. I found so much understanding in something called, "Grief Share". You google the name and then enter your zip code for the group nearest you. I went through the program twice. It is free and such a safe place. To be a part of the group you must have experienced a loss due to death. Don't rush a relationship even though you desire one. I was told that the first year would be unbearable, the second, not much better. The third year would end a bit more positive. The fourth would have more better days than bad and the fifth would be the beginning of accepting the new normal and finding peace again. For some, I am sure it comes earlier, for others it may take longer. Allow yourself to heal completely putting your fears of future relationship aside for now. It is hard, very hard but, you will find what you are seeking when the time is right. I'll be happy to chat whenever you like.

Thank you for the thoughtful response.