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Old 08-08-2009, 12:35 AM   #1
goopysolelady
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Coping with first anniversary after husband's death

Disney Friends,
Advice is needed on how to deal with an upcoming anniversary. My 26 year old DD lost her husband in March. August 14 would have been their 5th anniversary. I am dreading this upcoming week knowing that she's remembering the joy of their Wedding Day and missing her husband. They honeymooned at Walt Disney World.
How do I help my precious baby girl get through the next two weeks?
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:07 PM   #2
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26 y/o, wow I am so sorry for her. I don't have any great words of advice. I just think you will know when the time comes how to support her.

I wouldn't plan anything big. No trips or big dinner or anything. Maybe just bring her some comfort food, give her a big hug and ask her what can you do?
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:12 PM   #3
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I am so sorry to read this story of your DD's loss at such a young age.

When widowed, the first year is horrific. Everything, holidays, birthdays anniversaries are all the "first" without the beloved spouse. Grief recovery can be very helpful during this first year to help cope.

Though I was in my 40's when widowed, I was still relatively young compared to those I met in a widow group. Even to this day, I am melancholy on the date of my wedding anniversary with him. In fact, my dear second husband has at times sent me flowers on this date to try and cheer me up, and to commemorate the date for me as well...

I hope you can help her get through this occasion and your DD will welcome your support I am sure. Hugs...
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:59 PM   #4
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Just be aware that it sometimes hits harder a few days after the "anniversary". You let your guard down and the feelings hit you.

I would just be there to listen, talk about memories. It does get softer over the years but you never forget.

I am always touched when someone remembers that day when they are talking with me.
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Old 08-09-2009, 12:24 AM   #5
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Good advice from all. Have tried to get her in grief counseling but she refuses. She leans on us and, thank God, her 2 nieces (ages 7 & 3) always bring a smile to her face. We'll "keep her close" for the next couple of weeks. I just can't imagine what she's (and some of you) going through. DH and I celebrated our 38th anniversary on 8/7. Please keep advice coming.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:23 AM   #6
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Been there...

Though it has been 10 years ago this year, I can speak from the perspective of a 26 year old widow. Everyone deals with grief differently, please keep that in mind. So when I tell you what helped me and what I needed at that time, only you know your daughter and what she needs from you right now.

On the first wedding anniversary I spent without my husband, I felt like each breath I took simply had to be my last. I couldn't bear the pain and agony of being here on earth without him. Of course, that was typical of most days during the first year, and for probably close to another year after that. What I REALLY needed and appreciated from both my parents and his was that our anniversary was not forgotten simply because he was no longer here on earth with me. My parents lived out of state, but sent me an anniversary card and called frequently during that time to check on me. They would've came down, but I insisted that I just wanted to grieve alone and wasn't up for the company. My mother-in-law was still reeling with her own grief from the loss of her only child, but she made sure that she came over the day of our anniversary. She brought me an anniversary card along with a touching and sentimental gift. The visit from her was the most meaningful and helpful because our loss, though in some ways different, was for the same person, and we felt very connected in that loss. I remember I spent a great deal of time alone at the cemetery that day.

My advice, for whatever it's worth, is to find a balance between letting your daughter know that you love her and are hurting for her right now....but also know when she needs some space and time to process through the intense grief she is feeling right now. Talking about him helps. Just sharing funny stories about him. Looking through the wedding albums and watching the wedding video is something she will probably want to do, whether it is alone or with friends and family who also loved him.

I know you are worried about your daughter right now, with good reason. And I know if anyone ever told her that she will be alright, that she will one day look back with a bittersweet smile and just thank God for the time she did have with him, but that her life will go on....she would just as soon cut your tongue out of your mouth with a butter knife than to hear you suggest that her wounds will ever remotely heal. At least that is how I felt. For a while I didn't even want to heal, because I felt like I would be a traitor to him and my marriage if I did. Oh...I could share a LOT of what I went through back then and how I felt, but that's above and beyond what you are asking and would probably only be therapeutic to me anyway. And I'm rambling on and on....see it IS therapeutic for me even after all these years. One will never "get over it", we just learn to embrace what was as we are forced to move on. I am now very happily remarried with great kids, and I wouldn't change a thing.

During the first couple of years, I remember feeling very strongly that no one could even remotely understand the pain I was feeling unless they had been there as well. I found comfort in reading about how other young widows processed their pain. I could relate to that. So...for whatever it's worth....I am here, if either of you want or need to talk further.

May God bless you and your daughter during this difficult time with strength and a sense of peace. One day, your daughter will look up to the sky, with the sun shining in her face, and smile....knowing that she is loved even still. And that it's OK to be happy. And she will then find it.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:29 AM   #7
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I cannot imagine the pain she must be feeling - but I think you have received valuable advice here - let her know that you remember, send her a card, and ask her what you can do for her. It has only been 5 months, and it must still be extremely difficult.

I also think gentle encouragement from you to go to grief counseling when she is ready is important as well.

Bless your family.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:52 AM   #8
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I'm sorry, I don't mean to be disrespectful of ANY of you who have posted to this thread. But with respect to attending a grief support group and/or counseling, I was not a fan of either one. Nearly all of the grief support groups were for the elderly. I couldn't find one were majority of the widows were younger, and by younger I mean that they were still upwards of 20 years my senior.

I tried the grief counseling for a while. I honestly got NOTHING out of it. Nada. Zip. It was much, much more healing for me to sit around with family and friends who knew and loved him and talk about old stories. I got SO much more out of that than talking with some person who had no idea who my husband was. One of the BEST and most helpful things that I experienced is going to a "party" in honor of my husband with all of his old high school friends. Just hearing the funny stories they had to tell me about my husband was so healing, in some strange sort of way. That is something a counselor could never bring to me.

But I do have to say again that it is different for everyone. It is so important to remember that and not try to fit your daughter's grief into some sort of mold or box. Your daughter knows what she needs right now, and she will tell you.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:36 AM   #9
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Sometimes we need to reach out and sometimes we just need to work through it ourselves...without the help of others. She is so young to have lost her loved one, that breaks my heart.

I am not there, but I do face death everyday with my husband battling pancreatic cancer. I belong to a support group for caretakers and these people are my lifeline........I am not sure I could get through this without them and thank God I found this group online. For me just knowing that they understand daily what we go through battling this cancer is incredible.. I do not have to explain constantly, they get it. We help each other, discuss treatments, what works for some, and just in general are there for each other.

There is a bereavement group attached to this online site and some have gone on and said it is not like our caregiver group and have not continued. I am not sure what I will do, but if I feel I do need some sort of counseling when my time comes, I will reach out for it. If it does not help, I will get through it on my own.

I think I would acknowledge her special anniversary with a card and visit and a hug and take the cues from her on what she wants to do....maybe she will feel like getting out of the house with her Mom and doing something.. or maybe not, but I would make some sort of effort. I am the Mother of 3 daughters, this is how I would handle it if it were one of mine, but I would clearly respect what they said on what they wanted..

Hugs to you Mom,
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:43 PM   #10
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You guys are GREAT! Thank you all for your advice and for "listening". My "very best friend in the whole wide world" had to move 120 miles away, due to job re-location, right in the middle of all of DSIL's medical problems. While she made frequent trips "back home" to be with us, it just wasn't-and isn't-the same without her to talk too. (We had a really, REALLY hard 18 months ... dealt with other "problems" also!) We lived on the same street ... 3 houses apart ... and we'd often meet "half-way", in our PJ's, at midnight (!) if we needed to borrow something ... or just talk out a problem. She was DD's ROCK also (is a former nurse), making many late night trips to the emergency room with her and DSIL. Anyway - what I'm getting at - it's wonderful to "talk" with fellow Disboarders. You've helped me prepare for this week more than you know.
SMITHFAN7: Your advice "hit the nail on the head"! I have purchased cards (one from DH & I; one from her DS & family) but DH is hesitant to give them. (Now I can say "I told you so" one more time with a smile ... we've been having a lot of that between us lately. Like the "cash for clunkers program" ... he said "yes"; I said "no way". Finally won out on that one too!!! ) I've also made a special photo collage of his favorite Disney character, Eeyore, as an anniversary gift (something I'd wanted to give him before his death but never got to it). I had no clue as to what to do about the wedding album and video. We'll ask what she wants without hesitation. She's already made the statement "if I hear one more person tell me it's going to be okay I'm going to hit them" ... just like you. Her MIL was, and still is, living with her. She also lost her only daughter, to a diabetic coma, 2 months previous to loosing her son. They do seem to help one another. DSIL was cremated and has a special place in their home, so he's with her always.
We're fortunate to live only a few miles apart, so we'll have dinner together, as we do every evening, and just remember the happy times. I would LOVE to put her in touch with you but don't know how she'd feel knowing I've been "talking about her" on Disboards! Would you mind sending me a personal message with your email address? After a few weeks I'll casually ask her how she would feel about corresponding. She currently spends A LOT of time on Facebook; to much time in my opinion, but that may be what she needs. At least she's "talking"! We're anxiously waiting for the day when she "looks up at the sky with that special smile on her face". The night of his death I told her I'd been "talking" to my Dad (who passed away before she was born) and asked him to "be there to help DSIL" She looked at me and said, "Mom, do you REALLY believe in that? Do you really look at the sky and talk to Papa Lonnie?" I answered her, "You bet I do. I talk to ***** (a good friend of mine who passed away a few years ago); to ***** (a high school friend of hers who died in an auto accident), etc." She got this strange look on her face and said, "Oh my God! Mama, I feel sooooooo much better", as the tears were running down her face. "A few nights ago ***** woke up from sleeping and started asking me questions about Papa Lonnie (he'd NEVER asked about her Grandfather before. I don't even know if he knew his name!)" We both had goosebumps covering our entire body. We KNEW my Dad had ALREADY visited ***** and prepared him for what was to come.
DISNEYMOONJESS07: We're going to continue asking about the grief counseling. She's a dog groomer and one of her clients is in charge of the counseling at our local (we live in a very small town) HOSPICE. We will not push but remind her that it's available.
MACKEY MOUSE: My thoughts and prayers go to you and your husband. After 13 months of "in and out of the hospital" ... and just trying to get a DIAGNOSES, we defiantly know what you are all going through. A few years ago a good friend of mine lost her husband to colon cancer. His diagnoses came to late for him to get more help. She relied on her support group a great deal and her attitude was wonderful. They were her "life-savers".
Thank you for giving me a heads up on the Disboards bereavement group. I will ask DD if she'd be interested in checking it out. Would be a different alternative to Facebook and she's a huge Disney fan also. We always have a good laugh during our family gatherings when talk turns to "Disney World talk". Both son-in-laws just couldn't understand what our obsession with Disney was about when they first joined our family. ***** would never admit it, but HE turned into a huge fan too and other s-i-l is such a fanatic now (since he's seen how much happiness those trips to WDW give his young daughters) HE convinced DD to buy into the Vacation Club!
We'll take our clues from her. Maybe we can have a "planning session" for her and her Dad. Since DSIL passed away, he's been attempting to do things on his "bucket list". He's always wanted to see the Vietnam Memorial (this December will mark the 40th anniversary of his departure to Vietnam) in Washington, DC. DD couldn't bring herself to go to DW this year (they honeymooned there) with us, so I'm going with other DD and her family and she and her Dad are going to DC. After talking about wedding memories (if she chooses to do that), planning their trip would give her something else to focus on for a short time. Am accepting your "hugs" with gratitude!

Once again, you have all been great! Don't stop! I am no longer dreading this coming Friday and am a lot more comfortable with HOW to handle the day. Keep the advice coming! God Bless you all and God Bless DISBOARDS!
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:21 AM   #11
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Hello
I just lost my husband we were together for 17 years.. its been a month and its so hard and I haven't slept well for the past month. We have two boys ages 14 and 12. He was my first boyfriend and I miss him so much. I'm really not looking forward to any of the holidays coming up as well as our 13th wedding anniversary in July we were talking about renewing our vows. I'm only 38 years old and a widow. He was only 44 when he passed away. I'm hoping someone will email. Thank you
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:26 AM   #12
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Welcome to the DIS jaxjax. I have walked in your shoes. I was widowed at 42 with 3 children. Try to take comfort in your memories.

We did the holidays differently after my husband died. We couldn't take it doing it the same old way.

Just try to take care of yourself. Just handle life minute by minute if that is all you could do.
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Old 04-24-2012, 01:25 PM   #13
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Condolensces to you on your loss of your beloved husband. There are a few other widows (or formerly widowed) folks here on the DIS. So, you will find some to share your thoughts and questions with. Here is the text from a post I recently placed on one of the DVC Boards. I hope you can take some comfort from some of my words. Hugs..

I will try to help you (and your friend & her family) by sharing my story, which I have shared before here on the DIS.

The details are eerily similar to your friend's: My husband passed suddenly from a heart attack at age 50. My daughters were 17 and just turned 15 - we still had balloons, streamers and wrapping paper strewn about the living room from the week before when we happily celebrated her birthday.

We had spent a wonderful vacation at OKW the month prior, and were one week away from our pay in full date for our second Disney Cruise scheduled for two months later.

The shock is extreme, needless to say. But, I knew that by the following week a decision had to be made. So I spoke to my girls and told them I was going to listen to what they wanted. They were my entire world at that point and I wanted more than anything else to be sensitive to their feelings and to only make them be happy and maybe smile again..

So the three of us talked and the girls wanted to continue on with the Disney Cruise. They told me many times that daddy would have wanted us to still go.. and we did. I had no regrets, and the girls were able to spend some time together, and with me, with some beautiful memories of their dad, too.

When it came time to visit WDW again, we could not bear to visit our beloved OKW. That would have brought back raw feelings that we could not yet face since that was his favorite resort. But we adopted BWV as a new favorite and started with that resort next time. It was perfect since the girls were at the age where they enjoyed the Boardwalk atmosphere and proximity to Epcot.

During this first WDW trip, we traveled with several dear friends from here on the DIS. Rock n Roller Coaster had just opened and the girls were devastated because during the last trip with daddy, he promised to ride it with them next time as it was not yet open. So, I stepped up to the plate and promised them prior to the trip that I would take his place, and I would be there on the ride with them. I do not ride anything wilder than Spaceship Earth, so you have to understand that this was not easy for me, but I was determined to be there and make the ride something the girls would have a good memory of.. So with our beloved friends on board, we road Rock n Roller Coaster and still fondly remember when mom did something she never does, blasted off and shrieked the whole way, through tears, in memory of daddy.

Give them some time. Once the funeral is over, things will get back to a "new" normal for them. Hopefully with some grief therapy they will find their way back to enjoying a WDW vacation. But, let them do it on their own, and just be there to support them as you have been doing.

Hugs to you all...
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:17 PM   #14
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I just lost my husband on April 6th. I have two daughters one is 21 and the other is 26. I guess I just want the reassurance that things will get better and that the pain will lessen.

Things are so mixed up right now - taking care of all the business of dying, such as funerals, wills and lawyers.

I had to cancel his cell phone today which was my lifeline to him as we lived in different cities during the week. That was one of the most painful things I had to do. I dreamt that I needed to get cell phone service connected, so that I could talk to him. When I woke up, I realized that even if I did that, I wouldn't be able to hear his voice. I am so afraid I will forget what his voice sounds like.

This all so painful.
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louise-Montreal View Post
I just lost my husband on April 6th. I have two daughters one is 21 and the other is 26. I guess I just want the reassurance that things will get better and that the pain will lessen.

Things are so mixed up right now - taking care of all the business of dying, such as funerals, wills and lawyers.

I had to cancel his cell phone today which was my lifeline to him as we lived in different cities during the week. That was one of the most painful things I had to do. I dreamt that I needed to get cell phone service connected, so that I could talk to him. When I woke up, I realized that even if I did that, I wouldn't be able to hear his voice. I am so afraid I will forget what his voice sounds like.

This all so painful.
All the "first" things are difficult. I called my late husband's work phone several times just to hear his voice on his out of office message. They finally disconnected it.

First Thanksgiving, Christmas, trip to WDW..and on and on. But it does get better. Check around for grief recovery groups, or widow/widower groups in local churches or towns. But hang in there. Time passes and you will begin to adjust to your new life.

And after 11 1/2 years, I can tell you that you will never forget his voice....
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