Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Time .......

                                                                       photo source

...... does not heal all wounds.

Or maybe I haven't experienced enough time.

No, I don't really believe that, either.
I don't think that my heart will ever fully heal from being ripped in half on that December day in 2007.

But I do think that I will be happy again.  Truly happy.
And maybe I'll be loved again by another man ..... just as much as Jim loved me.
Or maybe I'll be peacefully single for the rest of my life (which is what I want at this point in my life).
Either way, I think I'll be happy.

But I don't think that I will be "healed".

I know I'll be thrilled when I watch the first of our children fall in love and get married.
But I'll also feel pain when Jim's not there to walk our daughter down the aisle ...... or tell our son that he hopes he's as happy as we've been.

I know I'll experience joy at the birth of our first grandchild.

But I'll also experience deep sadness that Jim is not there.

I know this because I'm living it now.
Time has passed.
I've learned to smile and laugh again .... on a daily basis.
I've traveled with my children and loved spending time with them.
I've seen them graduate ...... both high school and college (and grad school).

I've traveled with friends ...... and had fun in new places, as well as in "old" (like my college campus!).
I've enjoyed a lot of things, and a lot of people, in the last few years.

But my heart seems to beat differently than it did before that day in December.
I know that physically, it looks the same.
Just as I know that I look pretty much the same.

But my heart is not the same ...... and it never will be again.
Just as I will never be the same.

In some ways I am better.
In others ...... well, in others I am different.
And in still others ...... I am not.

But I am not "healed".

Our youngest son and I found out last night that he has been accepted to the college of his choice.
It happens to be the same college that Jim and I attended.
Which also happens to be the place where we met.
And fell in love.

He is the first, and only, child who wanted to attend this college.
He's known that for several years.
Jim and I loved that ...... and hoped that he wouldn't change his mind, though we never told him so.

I am thrilled for our son.
I'm excited for him and for what lies ahead.
I expected to feel happy for him.

But I didn't see this part coming.
I didn't expect to feel so much sadness mingled in with the happiness.
My heart feels like it's taken a trip back through time.
Back to an earlier part of my grief when I cried a whole lot more than I smiled.
Because Jim is not here.

He's not here to be thrilled for our son.
He's not here to be excited to attend football games and Dad's weekend.
He's not here to be happy with me that we'll have a child walk some of the same paths we walked at school ...... and wonder if he, too, will meet the love of his life there.

I am happy.
Yet my heart still hurts.

There are some things ...... and some hearts ...... that time simply cannot heal.


  1. Congrats to your son on his acceptance! And you, too. He wouldn't be where he is today without your influence. I, too, think about those important days (weddings, grandchildren) to come with sadness, I told my daughter not to plan a wedding anytime soon, I don't think I could be there right now w/o him by my side. Has anyone else gone through this yet? If so, how did you get through the event? I can't even go to weddings, the contrast of their joy and my pain is just too much for me. I too think that time will not heal some things, my broken heart is just in too many pieces.

    1. Cathy,
      A friend in my Circle (a group of young widows I formed about a year after Jim died .... we started with two and now we have almost 20) just experienced the marriage of her daughter last month. She's almost a year and a half out, and yet she did well. It wasn't as horrible as she expected. She walked her daughter down the aisle, which made it easier than standing there and watching someone else do it, or watching no one do it.
      Her experience gives me hope that it won't be as horrible as i expect, either.
      It seems that the days leading up to these kind of days are usually worse than the day itself.
      I'd like to think that I can be truly happy for our children on the day they each marry ..... and not want to lock myself in a room and cry at his absence.
      I guess we'll see.

  2. Thanks. Nice Post.
    I've come to look at grief like something chronic, abating and then rising again, sometimes when I least expect it. Not easy.

    My spouse will be forever in my heart. I soon will be leaving the house we shared for many years and going to another place--my first move without him--to make a new home. It's the good memories that we shared that fortify me to do this. But my heart will ache also.

    Virtual hugs come your way.

    1. Thank you .... and know that i'm sending hugs back to you. I am ready to make that move, too, knowing that it will be a good change for me, yet a change that will also bring sadness at leaving our home.
      But it's a home, and a community, that almost 5 years later is causing too much sadness and pain. I never thought I'd want to leave here, but it's not the same. And I need to go somewhere else.
      I wish you the best with your move .... and would love to know how it goes for you. I hope that it's less painful than you expect.

  3. As always janine
    Your posts are so poignant. There will always be things to grieve and to rejoice. Our journey is never over just moving along the path.

    1. Thank you for your kind words.
      Yes, I guess our journey will continue. Until we get to end it and go see them.
      It's not a day that I wish for anymore (as I once did in the first 2 years on this road) ..... but it is a day that I look forward to.
      Until then I will do my best to make the most out of this journey. Even when the waves come.
      And I'll be thankful that they don't come as often as they once did.

  4. Heartbroken Forever

    I know exactly how you feel! My husband passed away from a fatal heart attack 17 months ago! We would have celebrated 32 years of marriage this October. I still cry for him everyday! It is funny how we feel both joy and sorrow at the same moment when something wonderful happens with our children & grandchildren! My son is to get married next October and I am so excited and happy he has found his love but at the same time I am so overwhelmed with the sadness of missing my love and already thinking if I will be strong enough to enjoy this beautiful union without his father & me alone without my husband. Time does not heal & I am finding that with time it is getting more difficult in missing my life that I loved so much...

    1. Janine's post was almost perfectly said for me, though some of the details are very much like Anonymous "heartbroken forever" comments - it is almost 19 months for me and we were going to celebrate our 32nd anniversary....
      Janine, you do such a great job with your words expressing the reality, - the happy and sad, the highs and the lows. At this point, my wound is still too raw to really think I will be happy; I will say that now I have fleeting "moments" of happiness; one thing I like about Janine's post is that she does such a great job of actually describing how good and bad we feel at the same time; non widows don't get this...they see us in a snapshot of time and figure we're "doing well" wish while may be true in some cases, there is a ton of heartache that accompanies "doing well". Must say that I hate this journey. And I long for my Marty. Never in a million years did I think "we" would end this way now - he was only 50 years old.

    2. Oh Anon who is Heartbroken Forever ..... my heart aches for you. I want to tell you that you are in the worst part of grief. The second year tends to be the worst time for most people (though, as in everything else, not for all). At 18 months I went into my therapist's office and asked her why I felt worse than I did at the beginning. I wanted to know what was wrong with me .... why wasn't I "getting better"?
      She showed me a "grief chart" (which I need to share here .... maybe I'll post that next week) which showed that grief typically peaks at around 15-18 months. Its peak is higher than it was at any point before. And yet it drops quite rapidly after that .... which was good to see. It was good to know that I was "normal". It was a relief.
      I just wanted you to know that.
      You're normal. This sucks. And it beyond sucks at 17 months. But it will not stay at this awful place forever. The waves will ease up a bit. And you're stronger than you were 16 months ago ...... so you'll be able to stand up against them better.
      Hang in there.
      You're not alone.

    3. Mjay .... thank you for your kind and encouraging words. They mean more than you know.
      This journey really does suck .... especially at where you are. But I believe that you will be happy again. It's ok that you don't believe it .... that you can't imagine it. I'll believe it for you .... as will so many others here.
      That's why we're here .... to extend a hand to those of you behind us ..... and help you however we can. You are not alone. But you know that .... because you come here. I wish that you didn't have a reason to be here .... but since you do, I'm glad you are here.
      You will gain strength. Even though you don't feel it. Even though you may not want to. And as you get stronger, you will find that your grief is easier to carry.
      It's a long road .... there's no doubt about that. But then, you have loved Marty for a very long time ..... it makes sense that you will grieve for a very long time.
      There's not time line for grief .... it is what it is. And it's different for everyone. But know that it will feel a bit easier as you continue on this road. And we will keep extending our hands to you .... any time you need them.

  5. this makes me feel validated... everyone tells me "it will take time".... but I was starting to think "they" were all liars. So, no, they aren't liars, they just don't know what they are talking about. You do... & I'm comforted. Thank you...

    1. Erlinda,
      I am so humbled .... and so very grateful .... by your words, and your feelings. If I can connect with even one person, then I know that Jim's death wasn't wasted ....
      that his death has made a difference.
      So thank you for commenting .... and telling me that you feel validated. For me, those words are huge.

  6. "But I don't think that I will be healed."

    I agree but maybe for a different reason. This is what I have come to believe...grief is not an illness or injury from which to heal. For me, grief is simply a human response to loving deeply and losing that love. Illness/injury/healing, very common metaphors in our culture, imply that we are broken or flawed somehow. That way of carrying grief doesn't work for me.

    Grief is a healthy reaction to what we have experienced, a learning process. I am learning to live with the loss and live without my husband. I'm learning to love him in a new non-physical way. I'm learning to hold the joy of events at the same time time I feel the deep sadness. The loss is being integrated and, like you, I don't think I will ever be "done." Learning is a lifelong process.

    1. Tamara,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As I've said many times, grieving is different for every person. We all go through it, experience it, and feel it in our own way.
      We may use different words to describe it, but the thought is the same. It's a life long process.
      I'm just thankful for all of you who are on it with me.

  7. "I am happy.
    Yet my heart still hurts.

    There are some things ...... and some hearts ...... that time simply cannot heal."

    Oh my!! This is exactly what I want to say to everyone in my life!! So much is going on, in the past month I've gotten a new job, made new friends, started talking to "a guy", changed my hair style, began to live a little for the first time since my "that day in December". So many can't understand that I am happy but my heart can still hurt (ache & bleed) at the same time!! Thanks for this post!! Tonight we are blessing his grave and this helped me know that with everything going on I'm "normal".

    1. Dear Memories of Ron,
      Thank you for sharing how you feel, too. I'm thankful that my words can help you to feel "normal".
      That's my goal .... in a nutshell.
      To let everyone who grieves know that they are normal .... however they are grieving.

  8. Thank you so much Janine. My husband of 22 years died at the young age of 60 just 9 weeks ago and I'm in so much pain and heart ache. Everyone tells me " it will take time." I don't think the heart ache will ever go away. Ever! There was so much love between us. I can't even smile yet, everything is so hard. I'm a teacher and have started back to school. This fills my day but my heart aches none the less. Thank you for your insight.

    1. Anon,
      Thank you.
      Thank you for coming here and thank you for commenting. I'm glad that you found our site so early in your grief. I wish you didn't have a reason to be here, but I'm thankful that you are.
      Try not to listen too much to people who haven't experienced this. Most of them are speaking from their heart, to be sure, but they really have no idea of what you're going through .... they're only parroting what they've heard.
      They're trying to make you feel better, but that's impossible.
      And that's ok. Of course you can't smile .... when you try (for other people) you know that it's false. But we still try to please others .... even in our grief. Let them talk, and remember that it's from love. But remember, too, that you have no obligation to follow anyone's advice. Just grieve. For as long as you need to. For as long as it takes.
      Not that there's an end to it, but there is an end to the intensely hard part. The part that makes you not want to go on.
      Just breathe.
      And know that you're not alone.

  9. So true, all of your comments. I realize I can be happy and sad at the same time. I can be fine, and cry a moment later. There is no "how are you today?", it is "how are you this minute?". My husband passed away almost a year ago (Sept 17). Since then our oldest son graduated from college, my stepson got his PhD, we had a reunion for my 90 yr old mom, and my stepson got married. Glenn was looking forward to all these events. So much joy and so much pain. At the wedding, I cried outside under the trees; but I also danced with my sons. I cry when I look at my 16 year old and realize Glenn will never see him grow up. Grief is a process.

    1. Anon,
      Thank you for sharing your experiences .... and letting us know that we're being normal in this life long process.

  10. Thank you for your honest posts, Janine. I can always relate to them. I was widowed 3 years ago at the age of's been a nightmare ever since. Time has not been a friend. At the end of the day, my heart is still broken. It's a wound that will never heal. Again, thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Anon, for your kind comment. I'm thankful that you can relate to my words. Since Jim died I have strived to write my honest, dark-as-they-are-sometimes, feelings. I don't believe in sugar coating this thing called grief. That serves no purpose, except to make other grieving people feel like they're not doing something right.
      We all know that this sucks. And that it's the hardest thing we've ever done. When we're honest with each other about our experiences, we're able to connect with one another. And I believe that's huge. As someone who's lost the love of her life .... I need to feel that I'm connecting with others.
      So thank you for letting me know that I've connected with you. You've helped my hurt a little less. And that's something. :)

  11. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Janine. I am so grateful for your support in this horrible journey. I am at 23 months and feel so much worse . Your words have given me hope. Hugs to you .

    1. Anon,
      It's so ironic that we can write about such horrible emotions and experiences, and yet make another person feel better. You have done that for me. Thank you for reading ...... and for telling us your thoughts. They mean so very much.
      Hugs back to you. You will feel stronger soon. :)

  12. Boy, I get this. Coming up on 4 years in October. Just attended destination wedding of John's nephew with John's 4 sisters and families in attendance. Was my first wedding since John died in 2008. I was doing great until we were saying our goodbyes. Then I broke down in tears, thinking how much I loved being with John's family and being with a large group for a weekend and then feeling deeply how alone I am since John died. Everyone comments on how well I am doing and we all talked about how much we miss him and that his spirit was with us in so many ways. But the sadness and hurt over his loss are so deep and never goes away. I'm learning to live without him, but my heart is still broken.

    1. I'm sad ...... and yet glad, that you get this. Thank you for commenting.
      We seem to live between and in those two emotions, don't we? And sometimes ...... at the same time. Our hearts will never be the same again, but they will be able to contain love again, if that's what we want. They may be forever scarred, but still very capable of growing bigger to fit a new love, whether it's children, grandchildren ...... or another love.
      The heart is an amazing thing.

  13. Thank you Janine. I finally know that there is someone out there that understands exactly how I feel. It is quite a comfort. ♥

  14. Thank you, CapeCodWidow, for coming here and not only reading, but taking the time to comment. And thank you for letting me know that my words, my thoughts, gave you comfort. I can't tell you how much that means to me. :)