It's always there- it never leaves me. I find that whatever else I am doing or thinking about, it's there- in the background perhaps but somewhere in my consciousness, and as soon as I stop busying myself with anything else it floods into the foreground, it takes over if I give it a chance. I think about it an awful lot, I mean in the sense of giving it my full attention. Everything in life is now slightly darkened and the point seems to have gone out of some things altogether. But I've got to accept it because I've got no alternative. SAME - Me on my husband Nick's death, Jan 2013.
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Hi Virginia Wow you have been through such a lot with Nick’s death (and your dad’s too?). Your grief is so close to your consciousness/awareness. It’s hard coming back to this site, feelings get freshly reignited …and slowly the flames lessen as I welcome back this old friend, these feelings Lots of hugs Geoff
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Hi Geoff, Thanks for your kind thoughts. Nick passed away in Jan from an aggressive brain tumour. He was diagnosed and operated on in Feb last year and given a year to live. Knowing this made us pack in a lifetime and have beautiful memories. Our love is eternal and I feel him around me all the time, but the loneliness never leaves - no soul mate to hug you, kiss you , share stories with. But life goes on. You also are sharing this journey. Your wife sounds special. Virginia x
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Although the memories will never go away they will be less painful with the passing of time . It's never easy dealing with the loss of someone so close to you . I can't imagine what it feels like losing a spouse . I do think about it from time to time but can't feel it . My dad was killed by a drunk driver back in 1973 and I still feel sad occasionally that he missed seeing his children grow and become parents and grandparents and we missed having him too. It's sad that my mum has lived so many years as a widow . So I only know about losing a dad . Remember to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself .
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Hi Virginia We walk parallel paths, so yes to your observation Lorraine died in October, so about 3 months earlier than Nick. A brain tumour too, commonly called GBM grade 4 brain tumour. My intense memories are/have been fading and I do not want them to go for they are what I have left, but they go. Anniversaries are intense times:- - Monthly, - 6 monthly - Times when things turned for the worse (when Avastin treatment failed to further control her tumour and we were told. Then I was vague driving next day & got booked for speeding - bastard cop - he copped the edge of my grief on that day - I don't envy them their jobs) - when she had multiple fits, then for 2 weeks in hospital, then back home with hospital bed & wheelchair. That was the start of the final stage………… this is an anniversary that looms for August They are some of the major anniversaries what I have experienced Lorraine was special. She taught an art of forgiveness. I forge my memory of her around this and it’s something I travel. Her specialness gets more so as time goes, it’s a by-product of grief process and my memory - I try to keep her in perspective. I made a special ritual for Lorraine’s 6 months anniversary. Another small gathering for Lorraine’s burial, just before 6 months after her death. …..her ashes have been with me since she died. She wanted to be buried with her son (he died from heroine OD and that is another story a grieving process I don't want to experience again seeing her travel through those dark days). I scattered a small portion of her remaining ashes off Manly Point and Fairy Bower – Sydney. There was a small group of people doing a baptism in the quiet ocean bay of Fairy Bower near sunset, just after I did the last of her ashes nearby,…….. One of those synchronicities in life it was a nice touch…….. a made up perception of mine is of Lorraine having the same experience on another level. There is so much death of close significant people around me this last year – Some close friends in this Cancer site, (Rel died 2 weeks ago), a friend at work suiciding just as Lorraine entered her last 2 months, Lorraine and now her sister Sim who could die shortly (another cancer) In some ways I apologise, the above is my story of anniversaries and is what you could expect or can happen. The experience of Lorraine dying has stripped my caring of what others think so I tend to bare all these days. In another ways I like to be self-indulgent. I don’t have a clear boundary where that line is, what is appropriate. And back to your story ……yes the loneliness never leaves………. it does change though, it transforms “ - no soul mate to hug you, kiss you , share stories with”….. No but thank you for sharing your story with me I am touched by your journey and heartache  ……………………and Silly too (she has posted to your tread too) She has her own story of sudden death - her dad, a significant other being stripped out of her life, and then her own cancer story. Kind hugs to you both, Virginia and Silly Geoff
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Hi Silly We crossed treads a few times last year in this site. How are you and is your ACC still under control? and the memories of your dads death so long ago. Just hugs 🙂 Geoff
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Hi Silly, I believe the sudden death of someone is in some ways more difficult than the prolonged one. I at least had the chance to spend quality time with Nick and be with him at the end. I do empathise with you with regards to your father's passing. My dad died in 1981 and although we knew he had cancer my mum told us that he was getting better. She hid it from us as I guess she didn't know how to tell us or how we would react and she never shared her grief with us. I found her hand written note in the back of an old book of hers. I wish she could have shared her grief with us as my sister and I were going through the same thing. We were called up to Prince of Wales at 4am and informed he was dying. For years I had such strong grief. I wished I had spent more time with him. I grieved for the fact that he would never see his grandchildren grow up. So our experiences are similar. The loss of a spouse is quite different. This is your best friend, your other half. Your loss is much greater. Your plans and dreams, your very identity is shattered and you are left to pick up the pieces of your life. But as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved, and I belive this website is a safe and caring place to express grief and receive support from like minded people. Thank you for your kind thoughts. x
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Hi Geoff, I know what you mean about forgetting them. As time goes on you forget their face, their voice, the funny little ways they had, and all the things they shared each day. When memories come I try to cling on hard, but they fade. I have videos of our travels and when I am down I watch them. They bring immense comfort to hear his voice, see his silly faces and jokes, remember our journeys, share our love. His battle was hard in the final months with daily seizures, confusion, deterioration in mobility, daily changes in medications, clinical trial and a dogged stubborness to deny the inevitable. My psychologist pointed out something that made me feel much better. He was my best friend that I shared everthing with, hopes, dreams, plans for the future. Yet who could I share my grief with when he was deteriorating. Not my best friend. I had to be strong for him, to co ordinate the care for him, push aside everything else, move mountains for him. So now I allow myself to acknowledge my gief. Anniversaries - not looking forward to them. The scattering of Lorraine's ashes sounded beautiful - the cycle of life continuing. I don't believe what you felt was a 'made up perception'. It sounds like strong intuition and Lorraine's presence. I believe there are two parallel universes - one with us in the physical form and one with our departed loved ones in spirit form. It is only the body that dies, the spirit lives on and is still a part of our lives. It is 13 weeks since Nick died but it may as well be a lifetime. We sometimes walked at Bronte and Clovelly and Nick loved the coloured shades, textures and shapes of the sandstone along the walks. So for his headstone I looked online for weeks till I found the perfect piece of sandstone with orange swirling lines through, and sanded it into shape. Because we both have Celtic heritage I sourced a brass Celtic cross from Ireland and that was placed on the headstone with a brass plaque. On the plot, surrounding his headstone I created a collage of things we'd collected from his beloved NZ - shells, stones etc. That was my gift to him. I really feel for you, that last year was full of losses and that there are more to come. I sense you are strong and caring and will continue to be great support for those around you. Sharing in your inappropriateness and not caring what others think -Virginia x
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Hi Virginia Wow the sandstone you found and sanded sounds /paints a warm scene…. a nice compassionate memory. Did you bury Nick in Bronte cemetery? Nick came from NZ? Re my use of 'made up perception'. I am aware of my history and culture that I relate to and mainly co-shared with Lorraine. She had ‘A Course in Miracles’ (it’s a left wing Christianity with no hieratical structure) amongst others - Kwan Yin important female in Buddhist teachings (Compassion) With the death of her son Craig, the experience propelled her in deep places of long term grief and through this she found forgiveness of herself She later practiced it on others in everyday life with varying degrees and with detachment from outcomes. With her tumour she seemed to further refined it ( or it was a part of the process for her grief of her own death and losing the need to control outcomes and the attachment to the material things…... well most things …there was one area she ummm f#ck up in - one that I relish for her humanness. With this I reckon that I got her cornered I can kick her back downstairs for another reincarnated experience…(she said that she was finished with this world, The world is old and tired - never coming back). I on the other hand have got something’s to work out ....so I reckon she’s now nearly a bodhisattva and the thing to do is to kick her out of the comfort area.... Well I did say that I need to work a few things out After Lorraine’s death I lived in an intense world of Beethoven’s 9th the Ode to Joy each time perceiving/projecting her for her spiritual reunification -so I am so coloured by what I want for her, thus I use the terms made up perception. The experience may /may not be true – I do not know but I embrace this thought of her experience Me… not so “strong” … I am frayed and a tad deeper than,” at the edges”, resilient maybe better word but sometimes I wonder. Re your Bronte area -Lorraine and I used to live in South Coogee 1989 then again for 5 years 94-99. Many walks along the cliff with our dog Jetsam for him to socialise with other dogs at Trenerry Reserve sometimes up to Clovelly..... Memories and Nick with NZ - Lorraine during her teenage years lived Christchurch then Wellington before coming over here to Sydney. Her mum and sister live in Martinborough Parallel universes - Quantum physics quarks and the elusive Higgs boson particle whatever it is- get to the finer life experiences, perceptions dissolve. Thank you for your inappropriate sharing/caring comment. That was nice, I found comfort. Hugs Geoff
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Hi Geoff, Nick is buried at Shellharbour cemetery in a plot with his mum. He lived in Coogee in the 80's and did coastal walks every weekend so when we became a couple he showed me his favourite Sydney walks. Nick & I are English. I came out at 8yo and Nick the following year at 9yo. We used to catch the same school bus to different high schools and can remember all the others on the bus but not each other. Bizarre! Then our paths crossed again at 32 when we were brought together on a blind date by a mutual friend. He went to NZ twice before he met me and a further 5 times after. We both loved the wildness, the raw beauty of nature, the snow covered peaks, the walks and the warmth of the people. His soul was always in NZ and mine in nature. I studied The Course in Miracles after the breakup of my first marriage. I went through a rough time with my son going off the rails after his father and I broke up and experienced incredible guilt, regret and grief - where did I go wrong, could I have done things differently. The Course helped me get through all that and I have taken it up again since Nick died. Seeing everyone as in love or fear (a cry for love) changes my perception on life and brings me peace of mind. Although we may all seem different, when you scratch the surface we are all the same. We all share the same experiences in one form or another. Emotions are transient, only love is real. Sending caring and compassionate thoughts. Virginia x
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Thanks , Geoff . All is well with me . I'm now on 6-monthly checks.
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Hi Virginia Shellharbour - South coast it has a rugged beauty about it I now live at Forster surrounded by national parks and large lakes, its a softer beauty. I also lived in Coogee during the 80s so Nick and I possibly crossed paths? I recognise the phrase from Tthe Course in Miracles – there is love or fear, in the end there is only love, all else is illusion.....This can be my perception when I am quiet and ‘in torch’ Lorraine was born in Jersey - England. She lived in England till 5 or 6 years old (then Fiji till 11-12; New Zealand till 17, then Sydney Australia) Lorraine’s depression after the death of her son was related to the same type thought process, the incredible guilt, regret and grief. Relationships of mothers and sons have such deep bonds and ties. (well both of you do). Maybe not of your choice, your respective sons have been strong teachers for you……….and I look on in awe of your experiences. Interesting you and Lorraine have lived seemingly parallel lives (with some differences in the detail). You maybe interested just heard of a book (just ordered) called ‘Levels of Life’ by Julian Barnes. His wife died from brain cancer 5-6 years ago ……. I believe that he is open/ raw with his emotions, I believe he tells a story of his grief and thoughts of suicide (what kept him from suicide was the memory of his wife would die as well) You are a very insightful and caring woman Virginia, Nick was blessed to have been with you. Thank you for your thoughts Geoff
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Hi Geoff, Thanks for the recommended book Levels of Life. Read some good reviews of it online. Can't wait to read it. Another review I read was of The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. She deals with her grief after the sudden passing of her husband from a heart attack. Although it is a different disease, death and the associated emotions of grief are the same. I feel her poignant description in discussing her grief - "the unending absence that follows, the void, the relentless succession of moments during which we confront the experience of meaningless itself". She saw herself in others who had experienced death of a loved one and recognised "the look of vulnerability, nakedness, openness, invisible nature". Interesting to think that you and Nick may have crossed paths during your time in Coogee. Stranger things have happened! South Coast does have a wild and rugged coastline very reminiscent of South Wales. Nick and I complimented each other well. He loved the rugged beauty of waves crashing against volcanic headlands, while I loved the serenity of still waters -lakes, rivers and inlets. Our holidays usually combined them both. On our last holiday, we drove to Old Bar and came down the coast where Nick could satisfy his soul with the relentless sound of pounding waves on headlands like Crowdy Head and Seal Rocks. I could also enjoy the calmer waters and beaches of the Central Coast. I remember we had stopped at Foster for morning tea on our way home. We walked along the entrance and I will never forget the childlike excitement on Nick's face when a pod of dolphins swam right past us and down the inlet, so close we could touch them. Beautiful! Hope you are having a happy Anzac day. I'm heading off to work now. A welcome distraction from thoughts. Virginia x
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Having a hard time making sense of life. Moving forward after death is so hard. Being the sole bread winner. Coming to terms with life alone. No longer a couple. No shared memories. Creating a life alone. A new identity. God give me strength.
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Hugs Virginia........ hugs Geoff
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I am having a bad night and feeling vulnerable. Saw a psychologist today and she said when you share everything with your best friend that is good. But when your best friend is mentally and physically declining toward death and you are caring for them, who do you confide your worries with. Nick denied death and could not come to terms with it. His confusion escalated in the last week and he tried to escape at night with me trying to calm him and keep him inside, dead bolting the doors and hiding the keys. He wanted to " go home" run from the inevitable. I cannot remove his terror from my mind.
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Thanks Geoff x
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Hi Virginia The last week is where where I got stripped high anxiety and its so raw Its OK my experience the intensity lessens with some time.. Its OK guilt comes through that rawness words don't capture If you want to talk phone no is 65558428...anytime Geoff
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Thanks Geoff. Seeing psychologist yesterday uncovered those raw emotions. Today is a new day, the sun is shining, a new beginning. Fake it till you make it. I really appreciate your support. Virginia x
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Virginia Full moon too so it entices the crazies:) ----meant in the nicest of ways Welcome to the club Hugs Geoff my phone is still available
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Hi Geoff, I work in dementia aged care so am aware of the impact of the full moon on behaviours. Full moon certainly brought out the crazy in me last night. I went to bed after my last blog so didn't see your phone call offer till today. But that was probably a good thing as I was not in a good place last night. Nick would not want me to be like that. I would like to chat though. Virginia x
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