Monday, September 13, 2010

The Gay Widower


In the days following the death of Michael I began to realize that in addition to losing my husband, I was losing part of my identity. I was having a conversation with someone about Michael when I began stumbling over my words. I hadn't quite thought out how I would describe him. Up until a few days prior, he was my husband, my spouse, my partner. He wasn't my ex, as we didn't end our relationship. Was I still married?

Why was there a need to redefine our relationship? Wasn't losing him enough? During the previous year we were part of a fortunate group of gay couples who were able to legally wed in California. The Courts even held that while gay couples were no longer able to wed as a result of Prop 8, we were still married. Suddenly I felt removed from this group.

I realized that I had no role model to prepare me for my new identity. Growing up there seemed to be plenty of female relatives who had survived the loss of their husbands. They were referred to as widows. But the men I knew who survived their wives were few, and the gay men I know who have survived their spouses were fewer. In the decades past we lost many gay men to AIDS, and many of them left lovers behind. Yet in recent times people of living with the disease, and fortunately we are not seeing as many gay men having to suffer losses like before.

At age 50, I find most of my friends are married or partnered. As I look around me, none are widowed. This awareness seems to emphasize my feeling of being alone. During this journey with Michael's illness I found support through an online brain tumor caregivers group. In the time that I was active with the group I was the sole male participant. How telling is this reality? To what degree is it that we men do not seek support, and to what degree is it that we are not provided with the images that support us identifying as caregivers, and later widowers?

So here I am, a widower, a gay widower. I feel as though I have undergone a significant shift in my identity. I went from being a lover and strong caregiver, to feeling like a broken widower. Broken, because my spirit is badly wounded. Broken, because I am feeling robbed of an identity that I loved.

40 comments:

  1. Boy, I can relate to your story on so many levels. I am not gay, but to me being love is still love no matter what form it takes. I too feel like I lost my identity, I still struggle with what to call my deceased love, recently I just say my late husband or deceased husband. I too was part of the cancer community which gave me a lot of support during my husbands illness. I know no no one my age either that is a widow- I am 46. I too feel alone, but find comfort in this wonderful blog that let's me know that I am not! I think for you it is a double whammy- being a male and being gay. I thank you for the courage to write about what you are feeling. i truly think that it let's us all know that we may feel alone, but we are not, which in it's own way brings all of us widows/ widowers comfort.

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  2. I think it is very true that it is an identity crisis we all go through. I also struggle with my "status" now. I received a call the other night to do a survey. I wasn't doing anything so decided to do it. As we were finishing, the operator said she had some demographic questions for me...oh boy...here it comes. She said "would you consider yourself married or not married". Wow...what to say. I said "I'm a widow". She repeated "would you consider yourself married or not married". I said again "I'm a widow". She went back to her script and repeated it again! I'll admit, I hung up - really pissed off. It bothered me that the world outside wants me to make a choice. This wasn't a choice and I refuse to buy in to being put into a category for their demographics study. It was such a small thing, but I'll tell you it didn't seem small at the time.

    You do have it worse I think because there are those who would choose to delegitimize your relationship. Don't let them. Love is love.

    Lynee

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  3. Thank you for sharing.I don't know which one is worse,the broken feeling or the identity crisis, they both suck! Stay strong!!

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  4. Thank you for having the courage to write as you do. I am sorry for the anniversary, it's a tough one, but I don't think it gets any easier. I am 16 1/2 months out, not easy yet. Love is love, no matter the gender, and does not make your love any less. I don't know what to say that you have not heard before, but we are all in this together. Be gentle with yourself.

    Sue G

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  5. Hi Dan ~ Your post is so touching, and my heart goes out to you. I don't know if you're familiar with this book and Web site: Finding My Banana Bread Man, at http://findingmybananabreadman.com/ ~ John, the author, is a valued member of our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups (http://www.hovforum.ipbhost.com) and his book chronicles both the ten months during which he cared for his beloved Jack, who succumbed to a brain tumor, and the grief he experienced in the wake of his loved one's death. You and John have a great deal in common, and I'm sure he'd love to meet you here in cyberspace. Wishing you peace and healing, Marty T

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  6. I lost the love of my life almost 6 months ago. I don't know exactly what you are going through but I have similar feelings. I do not know what to do anymore without him. I can't figure out how to define my life now without him by my side. I have always been Rob and Ora and trying to figure out who Ora is without Rob is difficult. The fact that I was not yet his wife and still his girlfriend have been difficult it's as if people expect me to get over it quicker as if I loved him less because we weren't married. I am sorry you are going through tough times. Sending you postive energy and love!! - Ora

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  7. I can also relate to so much of what you have shared. I too feel a loss of identity, I LOVED being a wife. In my immediate family & friends I am the only 51 yr old widow and it overwhelming lonely at times, but this blog is my daily web support. I too was a caregiver and would do it all again in a heartbeat as difficult as it all was to still have him here. As far as I am concerned my relationship didn't end either, in my heart I still am married to my wonderful husband and always will be, we're on hold for now, till we are together again.... Sending you hugs of support.

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  8. Thank you all for taking the time to share your comments. We are all struggling, and we each have something unique to us that we carry along this journey. I am finding that it is beneficial to know of each person's differences, as they help me appreciate my own. I learn so much from every person I meet.

    The irony of this post being presented here, on this day, is that today is the one year anniversary of Michael's death. Even today I struggle with this new identity. For many of us, what we called our loved one, or what they called us, were likely of little importance. Now that they are gone, it does seem to matter. I find that people allow us certain degrees of grief based on their interpretation of our relationship. This is really unfortunate. That is why it is so important for all of us who are widowed to reach out, and acknowledge each other's loss. We all know that whether we were married, boyfriend & girlfriend, partners or lovers, we are hurt with a wound that feels unbelievably deep. We are all struggling to find our way out of this deep hole.

    My thoughts are also with each of you.

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  9. I lost my husband a little over 5 months ago. I really related to what you said about the marriage vow, "until death do us part". I did not realize until about a month ago when it struck me that I was no longer married as his death had parted us. What a shock that realization was to me, I am still trying to get used to the idea that my 20 plus years of marriage is over, even now 5 months later.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, I saw more similarities than differences in our stories.

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  10. I remember you well from Camp Widow '10 because you had the courage to speak up during Michele's Angry @ God workshop. I was so moved that you had the courage to speak about what so few understand: the gay perspective on widowhood. While I cannot know your situation specifically, I can related as I am a young widow at 46. It's only been 5 1/2 months since my baby died. And I am in utter grief. I wish you peace on your journey.

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  11. I lost my much better half on December 9 at 3:40 AM, after 90 days in the hospital. This was his 20th hospital visit over a 13 year period. Be assured your pain is felt.
    Yet, I'm unsure if my mind is in some kind of protection mode or if this is all I'm ever going to 'feel' of grief. Were I to know that this is it, I would gladly take your pain away if even for an hour. I'm so sorry that anyone else is somehow enduring a tragic loss as what I am.
    Please know that even though this is cyberspace, there are plenty of people (myself included) who care about others and want to reach out to help in any way possible. May you somehow find peace in your mind, body and soul which you have most certainly earned the hard way, and again I'm so sorry for your loss. ♥

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  12. Robert in San FranciscoApril 10, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story of loss regarding Michael and for all of you who are going through the same grief and loss. My heart is with you all.

    I too lost my partner and husband not quite 5 months ago from cancer. We had been together for 17 years and were just planning Ricardo's retirement and this next chapter of our lives. Imagine,...we were skiing in Lake Tahoe in April of 2010 and he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in May. He left this world on November 13th of 2010 and he was to have retired at the end of December 2010 with the rest of our beautiful lives ahead of us. The grief and sadness has been indescribable as you all know. The pain and void left behind is challenging to say the least and the sadness of loosing the one love of your life is all encompassing.

    The 'business' of Ricardo's passing and all that was needed to complete.....legal, financial, work and retirement, bills, hospitals etc. took up so much of my grief time that I find now as the work part of the cleanup is almost finished, the grief is now so everpresent and flares up when least expected, like tonight's meltdown as I found emails from him. Through the tears, I attempted again to see if there was any local support and found this.

    I had tried to reach out to any sort of LGBT grief group couneling in San Francisco but was amazed to know that here,...the Mecca and birthplace of the gay movement, there is not ONE gay specific grief group available. It is sad to find this out knowing that there must be others who feel as lost as I do here.

    I wish you all peace and love through your most difficult journey that we share.

    Robert

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  13. We met in Dallas, TX. We had our Spiritual Union at The Cathedral of Light, for the first time. We moved to my home town in upstate New York and, per Martinez vs the County of Monroe 2008, made it legal by marrying in Connecticut. Now I live way out in the country in the house we have created over the past nine years. After a month in the hospital, blood clots in his legs, cancer recurrence, infections ... out of the pain and out of the pain medication, he told me he wanted me to kiss him. I did. Two minutes later I was yelling in his face as I watched the life leave those beautiful eyes. He's gone. I am alone.
    I buried him across the street in the old country cemetery. I am 48 years old. I made a life out of taking care of Craig. I made a life of making his life as beautiful as I could. What am I to do now? What will the rest of my life be like?
    I want to thank you for this post. It does help, to some degree, to know that I am not alone in this respect. Thank you.

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  14. Hi John. I wanted to leave you a response here in the event you find your way back. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Being a widower can be very isolating. Although we each have to go through the pain and sorrow in our own time, it does indeed help to know there are others around who know, and sympathize, with our experience. Please keep reaching out, and keep reading for support. If you haven't already found your way to my personal blog, please check it out. I have a couple of online support networks in place for LGBT widowed people like ourselves. The groups are not always very active, but do respond when someone new arrives, and is in need of support.

    http://daninrealtime.blogspot.com/

    Peace to you.

    Dan

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  15. John, I am so glad you found this blog, and Dan, though I am sorry you have a need for this kind of community. SSLF also has an active on-line community full of people who are also struggling with the loss of their love, and you would be most welcome there. The link is www.widowedvillage.org and you can join us anytime.

    Remember to be gentle with youself in the days ahead John, grieving is really hard work. I hope you will find comfort here, and also the assurance that even when you are sure no one could understand the depths of your despair...you are not alone.

    Michele
    WV Editor

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  16. My wife died of a brain tumour in May 2011. She was only 27. I cared for her at home for the last 9 months of her life. They were the hardest and most beautiful months of my life. I don't know any other widows, let alone lesbian widows. I just refer to Jane as my wife or my late wife since we had been together for 8 years and in a Civil Partnership (I am inthe UK) for 2 days short of 5 years.

    I can totally understand the shift in personality of which you speak.

    I kept a blog for the entire 6 years of Jane's illness which might be helpful to others: http://astrocytoma.co.uk

    I blog my life as a lesbian widow here: http://www.bunnyfactor10.com

    I would love to know of other lesbian widows online.

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  17. Dan sorry to hear about your lose. Its been 7months that my partner of 20yrs left this world for the heavenly gates. In Sept. 17, 2009 we were told that he had lung cancer this past March 12, 2011 he passed. I been looking for some place where I can look up resource and came across this site, I'm glad that I did, realize that I'm not alone.

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    1. Dear Dan and all who are in this sad and lonely
      place, YES I can feel your pain and I'm so sorry for you too. I just lost my partner/companion on December 2, 2012, together for 32 years, No one can tell you they know how you feel till they've really been there. He had been sick for some time, Yes I've had alot of hospital time, in and out.
      Each time he would come home, I just knew he would get better. But the last visit was to be his lsst, the doctors did all they could do. The pain was to much. They had to turn him over to Hospice care on November 9th. I was by his side every minute I could, We had Turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving day together. That was to be our last meal together, He really loved his turkey and dressing as It was always his favorite Holday to cook, that he really enjoyed his Thanksgivings. He had lost his appetite for the most part by now , eating very little. But he hung on for his birthday,
      December 1, he was 59 that day, I was able to be with him all the next day. I left to go home about 5pm. His nurse delivered the news to me by phone at 7pm, she called to tell me so graciously as one could he had just passed on. He was alone, and thats the way he wanted to be.
      Then I had the peace of knowing he would have to hurt any more, no more pain, no more meds.
      But no one can take away the pain in my heart, as it grows with each passing day. You feel so alone, No one knows the pain one feel unless they've been there. I feel like I'm in a bad nightmare and I can't wake up. They say the pain gets easier with time. I'll let you know ,
      Keep me in your prayers.
      Cliff

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  18. I lost my beloved Ed, 20 days ago. (35 mins shy of that to be exact) Our story is complex as was our relationship but we adored each other. I am 29 and I lie in my bed wishing to hear the soft sound of his breath or to hold him in my arms and protect him from the world. I can't do that anymore, so instead I cradle his clothes to my chest like a child, and rock back and forth, begging a deity I don't believe in, to give me back my love. I don't know how to do this without him. He is everything to me still and I miss him. Miss is such a small word, it doesn't sum up the true range of what it is I feel, what it is I've lost. It doesn't encompass the pain, the despair, the empty hopelessness that my days have become. The constant yearning to touch him, smell him and see him. I dont want to move on, I don't want to get better, as moving on and getting better feels like I'm leaving him behind and I can't let that happen. The memory of him that I hold is delicate, beautiful and fragile and as such I keep it held gently in my soul, protecting it from all the damnable do-gooders who persists in telling me that in time I will get better. Their pleasantry terrifies me, as don't they understand that Ed deserves my grief. He deserves to be mourned and mourned for as long as I can. To not do so, I feel betrays his memory. My old training as a counsellor keeps kicking in, telling me this is illogical and that this is ultimately a negative mindset to allow ones self to be in but I quash it's cold reason ruthlessly, screaming at it "Ed is gone! My ED! My beautiful amazing man!". I tell people I want the pain to stop and the optimists assume I want to feel better, the pessimists assume I want to escape but no one seems to guess the truth, the simple truth that I just want to be with Ed and until I am, the pain won't stop, it can't, as I gave everything to him when he lived and I never got it back when he went away. I phone my friends to talk about him and they think it's me working through the pain, but I sit there waiting in the silences in the conversation, for them to suddenly tell me they can go back and save him. That he isnt really gone and that they can do something to save someone beyond saving. How do I go on, when my only wish is to be with someone who's gone? I have no one to share this pain with, my family never knew Ed and his family were uncomfortable with his late admission of his sexuality and as such are uncomfortable with my existence. His children think they are taking the higher road that they allowed me to be at his funeral, not knowing that the fact they think they "allowed" me to be at his service is so grossly offensive to me, that I avoid any dealings with them, scared that I will tell them how despicable I find their bigotry and vulture-esque praying on his estate, after neglecting him so terribly during his illness. My beautiful Edward died 20 days ago and with him he took the sun and the light from my life.

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  19. I just lost my partner of 41 years, after a long period of hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice care, at home. I'm so lost I don't know what to do with my life. This house and my life are so empty. I wish I could find someone in my area to talk with. The few friends I do have, have their own lives to live and now I'm alone with my dog. I cry all the time. Sorry, I can't continue right now.

    Ron

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    1. Ron, I am so, so sorry to hear of your loss. My heart aches for you as you face this new life without your partner. One thing that made a huge difference for me when my husband died was having a widowed community that supported me with understanding and love. One of the Soaring Spirits programs (the organization that hosts this blog) is called Widowed Village. You will find other people their mourning the loss of their partner, and you will find people who understand the life altering loss you have experienced. Please, please check in at the village. You will make friends, and they will help you get through the many challenges ahead. You will find the village at www.widowedvillage.org I hope to see you there.

      Know that you are not alone, even in this.

      Yours in hope,

      Michele

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  20. I can't thank you enough for reaching out to other men who've lost their partners. I lost mine overnight, December 30, 2011. Since that moment I have lost all I can remember. Our friends, our home, my ability to be employed, my identity...all of my joy.

    As the only "holiday" approaches we cared about I am at a loss to try and convey my loneliness, anxiety and depression. The community I live in (Palm Springs) is filled with phoney, superficial gay couples who view me as some sort of loser because I'm now alone. I don't know what to do with myself as I'm finding the bereavement therapy groups and individual counsel to be contrived, irrelevant and forced. My status after 21 years of true bliss with the most loving man ever to walk the earth is now foreign, surreal and horribly forever gone. There is no family I can rely upon. My partner was the last living member of his family; and my "so called family" doesn't give a shit about me or what I'm going thru. The beautiful life we shared has ended. Neither of us ever thought this experience would ever occur. If anyone out there can offer me a kind word for a path forward, please take the time to write me. If you're into GOD...keep it to yourself. We were both atheist for good reason...life is but a dream, none of it is real, and to think for a split second otherwise is a waste of time, foolish, naive and above all delusional. If you had compassion for what I wrote prior to me professing my status as atheist, and now you've changed your mind...you've proven the point. I'm a scholar, talented, aware and loving...but I'm in such profound pain I don't know how to get out of it. papersurgeon@netzero.net

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  21. Hi, it was brought to my attention that you left this comment here. I'm so sorry for you loss, and for the pain you must now endure. I cannot know exactly what you are experiencing, as you and your love were together far longer than Michael and I were, but I do have an idea. As you say, those around you have been unable to rise to the occasion, and to adequately be there when and how you need. I too experienced that to a degree. What I came to terms with in time was that only those that have suffered this loss can come close to truly understanding. Others only have a sense of what you are going through, and unfortuantely they often don't know what to say or do. It's sad, but many end up doing nothing.

    I feel for you, as what I learned through this process was that we gay men often do not receive the validation from our families that our loving relationships deserve.

    You gave your heart, your body, and your life, to share with this wonderful man, and after 21 years you are expected to know how to move forward without him. I know how crazy that feels. It's a task that is not easily done. All I can say is that I took it one day at a time. I turned to online support when I couldn't find it around me. I found validation and healing in my writing, and that carried me through. In time I found support in the unlikeliest of places, and from people I never would have expected it from.

    Hang in there, and keep your heart open. Life will never be the same, but there will be days ahead that feel less painful, and more hopeful. I know it's not easy to grasp at times, but this is what I found to be true.

    I'm sorry to not have responded prior to the holiday, but thought of you and your beloved during it.

    Dan

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  22. I do understand where everyone is coming from. I just lost my partner due to heart attack and I am kind of lost. I live in a small town where there isn't gay guys here. I am to far away from the city so I spend lots of time in my yard trying to keep my mind busy. I know it's just a month now but a friend would be nice. I tried looking on the internet but I haven't seen any one that would be a good friend that live close to me. The holidays will be tough.

    Michael

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  23. Thank you so much for your beautiful story on your life with your husband. You are not alone! I too lost my soul mate on
    March 25 2009. His name was and continues to be Gary. I understand your pain. Words can not describe the sense of abandonment and loss. It will be four years, and not a day has gone by where I don't think and continue mourn my life companion. On that horrific morning when he died suddenly I went into a shock that I can honestly say I haven't
    recovered from even after 4 years. For me, what I concentrate on is just to surround myself with positive, supportive people. Although , I'm no
    longer the same person because I too, in many ways died on March 25 of 2009, this new person just tries to enjoy a simple peaceful life. I'm not going to lie , it's been terribly difficult and I often cry to this day but it helps to get out of the house and try to enjoy people in my community and church. "Gary , I feel your presence!!!!"
    Peace to all!
    Carlos

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  24. Tonight I was feeling very low, that's how I come to this blog. Reading this post makes me feel I'm not alone. I mean, early on, there was a time that I realized that I was not the first person that experience the loss of his partner, nor the last... but even I understood it, seems like there's nobody else around in that situation. I lost my partner almost 5 years ago, I can't believe it's been that long, I really can't say what I've doing all this time, it's kind of vague... Even it's been a while, the pain still hurts, sometimes the pain is strong, sometimes not, in my personal experience it changes over time, but it doesn't goes away and probably never will, I learn to live with it, is not that I woke up one day and said: "Well now I gonna try to live with it", it more like I was pushed and forced to. Sometimes I try to comfort myself telling me that he wouldn't want to see me broken like this and that kind of helps to gain some better mood.
    Something that didn't help was the fact that we weren't totally out, so I wasn't the first one they called with the bad news, I was there at the funeral and only his close friends and family knew who I was. There was I trying to comprehend what was going on, losing the person who I would like to spent my life with, the most important person in my life, and nobody but a handful of people noticed. The shock was of that magnitude that I couldn't call my best friend, I told her like 3 or 4 days after. As the time went by I realized that he wasn't the only one who I lost that day, the person I that I was during 28 years, all my life, was gone too. It's been a long and difficult road, actually I can't think of something worst... but hey I love him, he loved me to the last minute, the days by his side were the most beautiful, he showed me happiness... we only live once, I think that I'm very lucky that we met.

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    1. Thank you so very much for sharing that. It helps beyond measure to know that others are experiencing the same or similar experiencing. My thoughts & best wishes are with you x

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  25. I am bisexual and am not out to most friends and family for certain reasons. I had a gay partner called Nicholas for about 2 years and due to him being bullied at work and secret depression he hung himself last year. There is not a day that goes by when I do not yearn for him and my tears that I cry are cried in secret, the pain that I feel every single day is masked behind a false smile to the world around me. I would give up everything that I possess just to spend another minute with him to tell him how much I love him and to see his face one more time. They say time is a healer but the my heart is shattered into millions of tiny peices right now. Sorry to depress you all. xx

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  26. I lost my guy just 40 days ago, after 21 years of being oh-so-spoiled by the companionship of man whose charm and beauty overwhelmed me from the day we met until the day he died....and who loved me right back and let me know it.

    I know I have to go through this impossibly painful period of grieving; and I know that, if I want to survive, eventually I have to reorganize my life and rebuild its meaning. Initially I was quite focused, eyes-on-the-prize, on the latter; but after the initial of shock of the two weeks after his death, I tumbled deeply, deeply into the former.

    For a time the depth of my grief had, in a sense, some reward: while profoundly painful, it also bore witness to the depth of the relationship I was so lucky to enjoy for so long, and allowed me to revel in what I was so fortunate to have had. But day by day that pondering of my loss seems to become only painful, and more and more so.

    Yes, I cherish the memories. But they are just memories. It seems this new and future life gives no points for what was; memories provide no companionship, can share no joys, can give no sustenance. He is gone and I am alone. He was such a bright and shining presence; he animated my world; so nearly all of my happiness was articulated through making him happy or being made happy by him, through planning with him, or through caring for him. It is so hard to find any value in anything, now that it is just me.

    I do not want to descend into misery or literally perish from heartbreak (which feels like a palpable threat, believe it or not). I hope eventually I can start to engage the world with openness to finding some new kinds of joy, and maybe even with some of the robust appetite my guy had in spades. But the truth is that, for the moment, any attempts along those lines feel fake, forced. I don't have it in me.

    Thank you to the others who have posted here. Especially ones like the one before me, who apologizes for depressing the rest of us. I, for one, thank you and the others whose honestly about their raw pain and dread echo what I am feeling, and help make this a place I can freely express where I am at this moment, without having to accommodate anyone else by prettying it up with silver linings that, for now, I just don't really see.

    I hope in turn I can express back to you some of the understanding and compassion that I found from reading your posts.

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    1. I know this sounds strange, but welcome to our community. I apologize for time going by before responding to your post, as I've had computer problems at home, so came into work a bit early to write you. Here you will find a community of people who truly understand what you are going through, as each of us has walked this very similar path.

      I fully empathize with you worry of descending deep into misery, as it can be a daily struggle. I too had what I considered good days; days that I didn't want to just curl up and die, and others, where I had a better perspective with hints of hope. Just know that there is a light ahead. It doesn't take all your pain away, and it certainly does not make up for the person we lost, but it warms us, and allows us to actually begin visualizing a different life ahead, one where we does smile.

      Be gentle with yourself, and I'll keep you in my thoughts in the days ahead.

      Dan

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  27. Lymphoma cancer just took away my life partner, the love of my life. I feel like part of me just died. He was everything for me. I can only say thank you for the wonderful years you gave me. You were so full of life and left so soon. I am so proud of you because you wanted to live and fought until the end. I miss you so much.
    I love you Michael.

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  28. My. prayers are with you'' I lost my partner of 33 years 2 years ago. The pain is still here. I do think the time we had will sustain me. wonderful memories. God Bless

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  29. I lost my husband of 14 years 2 months ago. I am so lonely and sad now. I can feel all your pain and wish there were more resources in the Boston area. If anyone knows any please email me.
    Thank you and God Bless. Gary - huntgary539@aol.com

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  30. My husband and I met in November of 2001, and were finally legally married September 14, 2008. He was my life, and I his. Shawn left this world on April 25, 2014 after a relatively short bout with throat cancer. His surgery made it difficult to hold his head up, and the loss of lymph nodes caused extensive facial swelling. Although the pain meds kept the pain in check, the swelling got to the point where he couldn't open his eyes, and speak and be understood. He was miserable because of this. I was able to spend his final months by his side 24/7 taking care of him, with some assist by a hospice nurse. When his time came, and he went to a better place, I felt as if the rug had been pulled from under me. I am still lost, and hide from all of it be keeping as busy as I can, but those alone moments, my heart is breaking. The firsts without him are devastating. I have a huge support group through my dear friends, but I am still a functioning mess. He was my soulmate, and all that I want in this world is to be with him again. I know that the pain will ease, but the need for him will never leave me. Thanks for listening.

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  31. I lost my husband of almost 12 years on June 13, 2015 at the young age of 36. I totally relate, I feel like my own identity was so intertwined with my husband's that I just am having a huge struggle to figure out now who I am. I really thank you for writing this!

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    1. I'm sorry for your loss, Bobby. The Widow's Voice blogs have moved over to the new Soaring Spirits web site. You'll find the current writers there, along with all of these old blog posts which are tagged so you can easily search for the author or topic you wish. Here's a link to the blog page: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

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  32. My partner of 43 years died, unexpectedly, on 28 September 2015. He had suffered a stroke on 2nd march as we were driving to do some shopping. After five months in hospital and rehabilitation, he came home at the end of July. Sadly, there was a problem with an overnight feed that was being directly fed into his stomach. The result was that he regurgitated and swallowed the regurgitation back into the lungs. Despite this, once he had been removed to hospital and had the lungs cleared, he was scheduled to come home after some days. However, next morning, at 6 am, the hospital called to say that he had died.

    I am still numb from the news of his death and the funeral. I visit his grave in the cemetery, just two minutes from the house. But nothing helps. I was so defined by him in all our years together that I am now almost without an identity - a measure of how much of me went into the grave with him.

    I cannot see any future. All I can do is live from moment to moment and try to be satisfied with that. Perhaps at some point I will be able to come to terms with his loss. But at the present, that is just not possible. I dream of him most nights, and have even heard him call my name - all in my mind.

    Everyone has been so kind. Friends came from Ireland, the UK, Italy and Germany to support me through the ordeal of the funeral. I have numerous invitations for Christmas... But none of this kindness helps the inevitable return home to an empty house.

    We were both young men when we met and decided to bond. Now I am old and alone, apart from memories. I share with others here their sorrow and their loss. And I pray that they, and I, will one day find the great void in our lives filled again with understanding and meaning.

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss, Xotan. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to our web site: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog
      Have you joined us in Widowed Village? You'll find our 24/7 online community at: http://widowedvillage.org/

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  33. Every single loss is significant. I lost my partner of 9 years on 4/4/16. Suddenly, from a major cardiac event. There was no long goodbyes or even a short one. One moment he was here the next - his fate was in my hands performing CPR and i could not revive him. I failed him. I did not realize his fate would come down to me. I tried i really did, the lady on the 911 line said i was helping him, but i didn't.

    There were no warnings, he was fine when he woke up. How that day changed everything is an understatement. So much i needed to tell him, to ask him. I feel so empty. I know this grief is my last act of love i can give William. I loved him deeply so i am grieving deeply. We were just getting started... I dont know what to do William, i could always ask you, and you always had the best answer... I am sooo sorry i failed you, i failed you, i am sooo sooo sorry and your loss is my emptiness.... I love you William. I dont know what i will do without you...

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss, Sleeve. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to our web site: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog
      Have you joined us in Widowed Village? You'll find our 24/7 online community at: http://widowedvillage.org/

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