Does anyone else feel like they are living between two worlds?
Since my husband's passing 9 weeks ago, I feel like I don't belong to mainstream society anymore.
I feel like I've witnessed a horrific incident and I now hold information that very few are aware of.
I've watched a disease infiltrate my husbands body and chew the life out of him. I watched as he desperately clung to life right until the very end.
I'm terrified because I've seen what can happen when it all goes wrong and I feel guilty about going on living like this never took place.
How do I go back to my old life, my old self, when every cell has been touched by my partner. Where to from here?
I feel like a soldier who has returned home from war but is forever changed due to exposure to the horror.
I went out for the first time on saturday night and felt I was leading a double life. My body was in the bar having a drink, laughing away, but my soul was some place else...far away.
I can't seem to fit in anymore.
I recognise the feeling of "living between two worlds" as you describe it. That was my perspective as a survivor for many months. I'm interested that you feel the same thing as a carer (one who is feeling a great loss, I know).
After a while I started to shift out of no woman's land and began to find contentment in the reality I make every day. It's not a battle.
You know what? I think deciding that you don't fit in any more is a really good sign. Scary as it is..I do have to say "congratulations".
You are feeling loss, but that feeling is taking you somewhere real. I am sure if it.
My very great friend lost her husband and soul mate 4 and a half years ago. She and her daughters still grieve but they have tried very hard to make lives for them selves (her girls are in their 20's).
Often I still notice a cloud pass her face when someone mentions their husband or partner and my heart goes out to her as it does for you. I beleive that she felt like yourself, that she was somewhere in no-man's land and that she felt part of her stopped when Pat died.
As a survivor, like Harker ( a man of such wisdom), I too feel a sense of dislocation at times but cannot possibly compare it to your grief.
Maybe there is some kind of realisation that you will never be your old self and that things have irrevocably changed will help you to come to terms with what your life is now. My friend has never been bitter or angry abut her husband( I was and it was before I was diagnosed), just very, very sad.
Perhaps trust those family and friends who are really true to you and try to imagine how your husband would have wanted you to live, for live you must (excuse the cliche). Like we survivors and my friend, this awful experience makes us realise how special every day is and how important those who love us really are.
I think you have really touched on what life after cancer is for us all, we all talk about the sense of not being who we were BC (before cancer). Your analogy is perfect, this massive trauma has happened in your life and it’s a little hard just to slip back into your old self and life. The truth is I am not sure life will ever be the same, but what we all tend to do is re-define who we are and re-build our lives through new eyes.
It has taken me 3 years to get this far and I am only just touching on the what has happend and re-building my life. Your loss is still so recent and you shouldn’t put to much pressure on yourself to just flip back into being the old Sally.
It's always helpful hearing someone elses perspective and it's comforting when there's empathy.
Although, I know it's terribly difficult to empathise with feelings that are so complex, as are mine.
The trauma is not just about losing my life partner, I'm talking about the trauma caused by witnessing the human body deteriorate, shut down and then have the life sucked out of it.
I'm talking about death.
Oh God, I hope I'm not going to be so morbid for much longer. I'm putting myself off, expect it's worse for you!
Really should make an appointment to see bereavement counsellor-lol!
I know what your saying about watching someone waste away, I sadly watched my Aunt at the ripe age of 35 and my FIL go through the same deterioration. An experience like that is haunting and hard to erase from the minds eye, my memories of my FIL although it was 2 years ago are still very fresh.
I think a cousellor is a great idea even if its just to sort through your thoughts and give you the tools you need to life with what you have experienced. XX Amanda
I agree with AmandaC and would only add that the photo you two is a real winner. Talk to someone about making a distinction between the body and the person, for sure. Because there is such a difference between the two, isn't there.
And it's not coming across as morbid to me. Not at all. Stay on this, it will work for you and you will still honour him.
You guys are great! Thank you. I can't tell you how valuable this forum is to my journey.
I look forward to coming here (almost) as much as my 'made it through the day reward' block of chocolate!
Never thought about his body and spirit being different.
This idea reminded me of his final hours when he had had a burst of...himself.
He became really affectionate and humourous and thoughtful once again, despite being on the edge of death.
You're right Amanda.The images are absoloutely haunting, but I think I need to go deep into the emotions behind these images before I put them to rest.
Once I've delved and uncovered my thoughts and feelings, I'm going to bask in the beauty of his life and our love and walk away from the ugliness.
There was much more to his life than those few horrendous weeks.
To be honest, despite me describing his final moments as haunting and horrendous, it was also an incredible time. Really special.
Andy was not religious or spiritual, but in his final hours, he talked about seeing a medium, then seeing God(no, I'm not crazy! There were other witnesses in the room i promise!). He told me he was close to getting the answers. Those who know Andy, know he never asked questions. Unlike me, he just lived.
We were told that he was going to die on tuesday night-the night he arrived home from the hospital.His breathing became laboured. But our eldest son was at camp and wouldn't be returning till thursday. I kept asking Andy if I should go get him and he'd look at his watch and say no.
He continued to look at his watch every couple of hours for the next two days and he'd call out for 'Jordan'.
Thursday afternoon arrived and so did Jordan. Andy (I don't know how) gathered his strength and told Jordan that he loved him and that he was proud of him. Gave him a thumbs up when J said he got in trouble at camp for playing knock and run on the girls cabin!He kissed Jordan and wanted him to stay close to him by his bed.
Finally, Andy became agitated (terminal agitation or terminal anxiety).
He seemed quite distressed. The children kissed him good night.
I told Andy it was okay to go and that I'd look after the children. We told him that we more than loved him.
The kids played their favourite U2 song that we call 'Dads song' It's called 'Moment of Surrender'.
An amazing, well suited song. The kids just began to sing it to him from beginning to end. It was unusual really, that they felt strong and calm enough to sing to him.
They did cry, but there was some kind of knowing.
He died late that evening.
So, my point is, there was beauty and amazing grace intertwined in the terror of death.
I imagine my mind will be doing backflips between the two polar experinces.
Well, one experince and multiple perspectives!
Good night friends. Thanks for listening.
I won't lie I have just been through almost a whole box of tissues reading your last response, it is amazing how calm the moment can be. I see what your saying about polar opposite experiences, how incredibly special you experienced this together.
I am a massive believer in the body being a vehicle for our soul and that our soul does go on, it was great comfort to me when I lost my aunt and FIL just to know there was more install for them. I always like to say its not goodbye its see you later, by that I mean I think we will all meet again.
Writing really is the best way to sort thorugh your thoughts and emotions and Harker is right your on to something here keep it flowing.
I am not so slowly losing my partner in crime to GBM so I have an inkling of how you must feel. Its like you are at the end of a process I have just begun. Although my partner is still fighting the good fight, I have already begun feeling alienated from things happening around me. I attended a function last weekend with my mum and my girls and I felt so out of place. I didn't feel like dressing up to go out in the first place...then when I got there I felt under dressed and it just seemed like I was in the same place as everyone else but living an alternate reality.
I know I am not unique in my plight in that many women before me have lost their loved ones but that somehow does not make it easier.
Everyday he is less the person I know and more the person this disease is turning him into.
Hang in there and take time to just breathe.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.