Monday, December 12, 2011


from here

Time is healing me, I suppose, but it's also taking me further and further away from Dave. Each day that passes is more time without the love, comfort and stability he so freely gave me. As the days pile up, I'm going more and more crazy for the comfort a loving spouse can bring. It's been so long since he's told me he loves me, wrapped his arms around me, made love to me, cuddled me. It's withdrawal and it seems to get worse as time goes on.

Of course it does. People aren't meant to go so long without those things. We're biologically programmed to need physical touch. And I don't mean the physical touch I can get from the massage therapist. I mean touch with mutual love involved. Most of us aren't meant to be alone. It's not a state we seek. We seek out another. We seek love and companionship.

It's been so long since I had that and so far the need for it has just grown. It's so frustrating that this desperate need corresponds to a time when I am without that kind of love. It has been taken from me.

I keep thinking of a scene from the movie Things We Lost in the Fire. Halle Berry's character's husband has just died and her husband's best friend comforts her. She asks him to get in bed with her and hold her exactly the way her husband held her just so she can fall asleep.

All my married girlfriends can rest assured that I'm not going to ask their husbands for that kind of a favor, but I can so relate to her need for that brand of comfort. It's not logical or conscious. It's brain stem stuff. There is no out-thinking it. It just is. And it seems to intensify as time stretches on.

I'm jealous of Halle's character in that scene, but I also imagine that in real life, it would still feel hollow and empty to have a simulation snuggle. There's no love, just need. Desperate need for comfort and being held. Maybe it's a short term fix, but in the long run, the loved one is still gone and maybe afterward it would feel even worse. The minute that person's no longer holding you, you have to face reality again. Face day to day life without a partner. Face the fact that they held you close, not out of romantic, mutual love, but out of a desire to ease your pain for a moment. It's a fake.

And the truth is, as great as it sounds and looks on screen, I know me and I know that I don't feel fully comfortable with touch unless there's a level of trust that's built over time. I also know with deep conviction, that I would rather be alone than be with someone who doesn't enrich my life. But guess what alone means? That biological need not being met.

This is just how it is. There isn't a way around it, only through it. But knowing that doesn't make this easier.


  1. Oh Cassie, you have expressed how I feel perfectly. No-one could replace the intimacy built up over time with my loved one. It seems that there is no relief from this pain. I hope you find some comfort.

  2. I have entered the withdrawal stage, but I am not as far along as you. I understand what you mean about not wanting just any touch, but wanting a loving touch. However, I still yearn for Reggie's (my husband's) touch--not just a loving touch. One day, I may grow to where you are. I am just not there yet. I still yearn for his touch--the only man who touched me on all four levels (physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually). There was love in that touch, but Reg did more than touch me lovingly. Reg touched me completely and I still yearn for that.

  3. Great post Cassie! Been there...done it... just to have someone to hold me. It feels fake because the "love" isn't there. I, too, would rather be alone. Although I remain hopeful as I desire mutual love, that I'll find it again.

    Thank you for your very honest post!

  4. My pain is raw as my husband just passed last week; but his disease has been progressing for over a year. I thought it would be easier at the end since so much including intimacy had already been taken. But through it all and now what I miss the most is having someone to hold me. As one of our favorite songs puts it "I wanna hold you til the fear in me subsides."

  5. Thank you for you lovely post. It describes exactly how I feel. Miss my Bob so much and I keep thinking there is just no way, another person could fulfill my need for touch and intimacy. I hope we all feel better in time>

  6. I, too, yearn for that touch again. That is what I miss the most, after being with one person for 38 years, I'm not sure if I can be touched by another in the same way. But after being without him and his touch for 2 years, I am awakening to the possibility again. It all comes down to love.

    Lovely post, Cassie.

  7. Hi Cassie,

    I know how you feel as well. I'm approaching seven weeks tonight at about 10:12PM. My fiance was in a car accident on Halloween night. Right before he left we made love, I felt guilty bc I wasn't in the mood but I wanted to make him happy. I didn't know that would be the last time. I was actually angry with him that night over something stupid. I've been in withdrawal mode for a while now for all levels of touch that only he could provide. We have a son who turned one four weeks ago. He is the only thing that keeps me going. I've been thinking about the possibility of trying again (not any time soon, those thoughts have just been passing through in my head) and I just can't conceive that for myself. Will (my fiance) was everything to me and I didn't see it until he was gone but he was perfect for me. There is no way I can find that again and even if I did, it wouldn't be the same. I'm 26 he was 24, we were together for 5 years. I'm afraid because I see myself in 20 years and I look back at who I was in my twenties and I'm afraid of not knowing myself anymore. Who I was when I was in love with him. Seeing him differently. I'm terrified of that. I don't know how you can even get into the mind space to think about trying to find love again. Maybe this is just the way I think because this is still so new to me. I'm still not used to having him around. I hate not knowing what the future holds.

  8. Hello Cassie,
    It has been 3 years since my beautiful husband Michael passed. I understand, I tried to make a friend understand that I had poetry, romance and unconditional love. I miss these gifts. I feel so alone and really need a hug that has full meaning. Thank you for your post.

  9. Thank you for the post. It's been a little over 2 yrs for me and I continue to have withdrawal. We were very happy and always made it a point of showing each other, besides love making but always the I Love You's were said and the hugs were given and most of all we were Always holding hands. I miss his touch so much it it hurts. I too can't imagine another without the same connection and love behind the touches. So for me I choose to be alone. I do go for messages and my poor message therapist - I always end up crying - because I miss being touched and as I lay there getting my message it always makes me miss my husband and his touch- I always leave the room w/a runny nose and red swollen eyes (LOL) .....something that relaxes me also makes me sad - geez this all SO difficult!

  10. To the post of the woman who it has only been a week.
    All I can say is I am so grateful you found this blog.
    come back again and again.
    On the moments you think you can't hang on - come back here and it will help you.
    I am at 14 months out and my husband was critically ill and living and dying for a year and a half. So it seems like I have been grieving for years.
    I am carrying on, so tired some days but carrying on and looking for any beautiful moment to help me. They are out there (even though it will feel like that is completely impossible) but trust me they are.
    My husband and I had a passionate and intense love affair for over 35 years. I will never have him again.
    But i hope and believe I will have love some day.

  11. I have followed this blog for awhile now, and contributed comments. I must say that in these comments I see a woman who lost her spouse one week ago, another only seven weeks ago, and not one of the bloggers is responding to these women who are so fresh in their grief. I am one who has tried to keep an optimistic approach, but as my first critique here, where is everyone when a new widow shares and no one is stepping up to the plate (weekly bloggers)? I appreciate what you do voluntarily, but this is crisis mode for these women, where are you? And my personal message to the new women...I am at 2 years. The first year, which is still unimaginable to you to get through, just be very kind to yourselves, go with your gut, don't have any expectations about anything and grieve whenever the need arises. Ask for help when you need it, and isolate when you want to. There is never a more appropriate time in your life to put yourself first. It is very hard, but you will make it to the second year. And although you will still have grief, you will most likely at least be able to think, by year two. I'm sorry the bloggers here have not responded to you, but regardless, keep coming back, because other widows who have traveled this road will support you and understand your feelings, on many levels. God Bless you, and I am so sorry for your loss.

  12. Dear Anonymous,

    I appreciate your effort to be positive, and also your response to our newly widowed people here on this post. Our efforts on this blog are those of human beings. One of the reasons we have a link to the online support that is available 24/7 at Widowed Village is to provide an outlet for those who may need immediate responses to their blog posts. Many times there is some relief in just having the opportunity to post your feelings, and to read that your feelings are not crazy or unusual or even that you will feel exactly as you do forever. That is what we endeavor to do here. And we count on our readers to help us with that. So thank you.

    I am the only person who gets comments delivered directly to their inbox. My blackberry notifies me of comments and I post them on the go as often as possible, because I want people to know they have been heard. Responding to all of them is impossible, but being sure they get posted is something I do at all hours of the night and day 7 days a week.

    I have been working on a new page for the blog which will explain that comments may not be answered right away as all of our bloggers have jobs, many are only parents, and all of them volunteer their time specifically to share their own widowed journey in the hope that they will somehow communicate to those who read that they are not alone. I will be posting on the new page some links to older posts, as well as the links to follow when you need some support right now. This is the best we can do, and we always hope that what people find when they read here is a place to affirm that they can make it through, because we all are one day at a time.

  13. To our newly widowed people on this post, my heart aches for you because I know how hard it is to miss not just someone, but YOUR someone. Know that you are not alone, and that even when your comments are not answered right away, or addressed directly, we write for YOU. So that in our words, and perhaps very similar feelings, your feelings of loss and love and longing will be validated.

  14. Thank you for your response to my post, Michele. I want to clarify that I have been a regular visitor to this blog for over a year, it has been an immense help to me, and what you have done here for others, in your own grief, is phenomenal. I don't write in the spirit of ill will, by any means. In reading the words of new widows, I feel compelled to reach out to them. I understand you are people with busy lives who are sharing your journey. May I make a suggestion? Would it be possible for the person who posts a blog on a particular day to take ownership for the responses that come in, just to check in and see if someone is new, or having a particularly bad day and needs a word of encouragement? I know you don't need my two cents, but I feel for the people who just lost someone or are having an anniversary day, or whatnot. Again, you've done wonders and I'm giving unsolicited advice, this comes with all due respect to you and the bloggers. Feel free to tell me to tune out, it's OK.

  15. Thank you for your kind words Anonymous. We really do the best we can here. The person who wrote this blog is only six months out herself, and so I don't feel that I need to ask more of her. We do our best to respond to comments, and as you notice many bloggers DO answer, sometimes multiple times on one post. I admire the way your feel compelled to reach out to others who are new or struggling with an anniversary. We count on people just like you to help us fill in the gaps. If you could continue to do that, you would be providing all of us with a great service.

    And I rarely tell people to tune out. This is our space, and I take all comments, whether I agree or not, into consideration. But I am currently burning my family's I will leave you with this. You can make as big a difference as we do...just by being that welcoming voice anytime you feel compelled to do so.

  16. Thank you for sharing your viewpoint, anonymous.
    Reading comments from widows who are very newly widowed always pierces my heart. Often times I have a hard time even composing a response in my head. The words "I'm sorry" sound so useless. I have bared my soul and written a few "for the newly widowed" entries on my personal blog because when I was newly widowed, others' stories helped me through.
    I am currently going through a scary time as my closest friend's husband is having heart problems (a HUGE trigger for me as my husband died of heart failure). I am barely holding it together with the holidays approaching, and the fear that my friend might join the club no one wants to join sooner than we thought is a constant companion right now.
    Frankly, coming to this site to read comments to my post had to take a back seat for a day or two. When I checked them this morning, I found your comments.
    I suppose I can say that baring my soul on this blog and on my personal blog is the way I feel I reach out to new widows. Beyond that, I'm doing what I can do. As you said, if ever there was a time to be good to yourself, right?
    I will make an effort to respond more often, but will also continue to conserve energy for my own journey when I need to. I'm surviving too. It's a delicate balance.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  17. I've been widowed just over a year and this is what I struggle with most. I have a great friend that I snuggle up with and even if he doesn't know it, that is the greatest gift. I miss being held and protected. Right now I am going through some things and I really just need someone to hold me and assure me that it's going to be okay. I am strong, but sometimes I need someone to lean on.

  18. I am so sorry for your loss. It has been four years for me and I remember thinking how alone I felt and the thought of always feeling that way, even while surrounded with loved ones. I kept thinking of that kiss and bear hug I would never again feel. It was the WORST feeling in the world. The dread of having to face every single day for the rest of my life without it. It seemed like the impossible, something that could not be done. The little things hurt the worst. Never being able to buy his deodorant for him or the food he'll never eat again. And yes, his arm not around me every night. Millions of things...
    I would never wish this on my worst enemy. It breaks my heart to know that others are experiencing this pain. No one deserves this and I wish I could make it all better for you and so many others. Thank you for sharing. My prayers are with you.