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Thursday, February 11, 2010

recent and not so recent loss

From an e-mail to another widow written this am:

Since Bruce died, I have been reaching out to other widows - feeling more comfort in knowing that they have some inkling about how devastating this loss is. I read the book by Dr. Joyce Brothers and a few others and may be sending others along to you. I am reaching out to you as I can. This month has been particularly hard. In some ways it is like losing him again because this past year when I have looked back on the calendar-I could remember spending time with him. After February 20th that too will be gone. Valentine's Day was the last weekend that we spent together and we spent it very simply, going out to a nice dinner and doing work around the house. This year I am finding it hard to think about Valentine's Day-and am so aware of the ads and the frivolity around the day. I am still stunned by the loss although I am coping and doing work (am submitting a NIH grant next Tuesday).

It is good to be surrounded by people who love you and loved him. The memorial service sounded like it was lovely and I am glad that others put together a party to celebrate his life. These events bring back some memories that will both help you remember the wonderful times you had and also make you miss him. Not sure about how dogs grieve-Bruce left behind his dog Bebe. She is a very energetic 4 year old, weighing 75 pounds, and always a trial to deal with. Bruce would often come through the door greeting her before me. She still has symptoms related to grief, I think. But she is also a comfort to me-again partly because of her link to him.

Dealing with a loss like this is the hardest thing that I have ever done-harder than dealing with Bruce's illness. I think it is different for each individual experiencing such a loss. Some of the symptoms are common-the inability to sleep, the loss of interest in food, the roller coaster of emotions. But I think what each of us brings to the loss is different - in essence we are the same person we were before and deal with it in much the same way we deal with anything. If you have been a caretaker for many years then the exhaustion from that also affects grieving.

I hope that each day can bring all of us a little sliver of something that helps.

More tomorrow.

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