My New Life

 

In December, nearly a year ago, I wrote that my husband had been diagnosed with a form of leukemia. However, that was not correct, we found when we visited a specialized cancer center. He was quite sick, but it was a liver problem and some kind of blood cell problem…just not cancer.

He died on October 27, 2022, a little over two weeks ago. We had a lovely funeral here for him. Our five children were all able to come, and our four grandchildren. Many friends have comforted me in person, and I’ve heard from many more via the internet and snail-mail.

We were a team for 48 years. We became “us” in February of 1974 and married in May 1974. But you know, I wasn’t ready for it to be over yet! I was hoping we’d get to ride the motorcycle for many more years. We had more places to visit and books to read.

He needed to go. He was in terrible pain and had been unable to walk for two months. He’d just gone downhill gradually, then the pace picked up over the summer until I found myself praying fervently for his release for several weeks this fall. Ooh, be careful what you pray for…God answered that prayer.

I think what I really wanted was to turn back the clock.  He’d been sick for so long that we only had a few fun things we could do anymore. We’d play dominoes; watch Jeopardy! on television each evening; see a great movie for the eleventh time. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know that I was playing dominoes with him for the last time. Or that was our “final” Jeopardy!  Or the next time I watched “That Thing You Do” would be by myself.

I won’t pretend this isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done. But life is just surging onward every minute. I’m substitute teaching for a good friend whose baby was born a few days ago, so that is going to keep me very busy herding cats in First Grade until Christmas break. It’s a good thing. I’ve never done this before…losing the Love of My Life…so I’ve got a lot to learn. Thanks, friends, for listening to me.

1974

2020

Published in Marriage
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There are 37 comments.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I am so sorry. It will get easier, as you’ve found a little bit already. Life does pull us along. Every day I think of the people I’ve known and loved. It’s almost as if they are just as much here as they ever were, just not in pain anymore.

    I will keep you in my prayers.

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Oh, Judy, I’m so sorry.  You had a long, productive life together, and your children and grandchildren testify to that.  May your husband rest in peace, and may you  have peace too.  Those first-grade kittens will be good therapy, and they are so lucky to have you for a teacher.

    • #2
  3. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Thank you for telling us about him and your life together, and your new voyage. 

    When you mentioned that you watched “That Thing That You Do” together, I immediately heard that opening drum riff, and as ever, it brought a smile. 

    • #3
  4. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Love never ends.

    • #4
  5. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I lost my husband of 35+ years a little over a year ago, and can tell you that it has been the most awful experience I have ever faced. This is very, very recent for you, and be aware that grief can hit you unexpectedly, and hit you very hard. It’s only been two weeks for you – don’t expect that the way forward is a straight line. Be prepared for hard times, and be easy on yourself. It’s good that you are busy – I too was teaching when my husband died, and it was a godsend, just what I needed (at first). Some aspects of your loss will hit you harder as time goes by as your life has changed in a profound way. I figured out that the reason it felt like my life was over was that it was over. The life I shared with my beloved husband was gone, and I have had to build a new one. It won’t be easy – if you have friends who have lost their spouses, I would strongly suggest talking with them as they know what you’re going through in a way that no one else can and it can be a real help. PM me at any time.

    • #5
  6. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Cow Girl: It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know that I was playing dominoes with him for the last time. Or that was our “final” Jeopardy!  Or the next time I watched “That Thing You Do” would be by myself.

    Someone told me  that the year after a loss was the year of “firsts.”   The first day without someone.  The first birthday without someone. The first Christmas… I think that is why it takes a year to fully mourn.  I am so sorry for your loss and wish you and your family peace and comfort as you start the difficult adjustment. 

    • #6
  7. Susan in Seattle Member
    Susan in Seattle
    @SusaninSeattle

    My deep condolences and thank you for writing about how you were ‘us.’ 

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Cow Girl: I’ve never done this before…losing the Love of My Life…so I’ve got a lot to learn.

    God bless you, and condolences on your loss.

    • #8
  9. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Love to you and all your progeny.  Bad boys are missed the most.  Xoxoxo 

    • #9
  10. Dave L Member
    Dave L
    @DaveL

    I am so sorry for your loss. Love to you and your family.

    • #10
  11. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    You and Mr. CowGirl were a great team. I’m so sorry.

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    So very, very sorry. I can’t imagine the pain. Take care of yourself.

    • #12
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    You are so blessed to have had 48 years with the live of your life.  So, so blessed.

    I’m sorry for the pain you feel now.  But I’m happy for you, that you got to share your life with your true love.  Just wonderful. 

    • #13
  14. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    You are so blessed to have had 48 years with the live of your life. So, so blessed.

    I’m sorry for the pain you feel now. But I’m happy for you, that you got to share your life with your true love. Just wonderful.

    Dear Cowgirl – Very sorry to hear of your loss .  Dr. Bastiat’s comment here is what you can hold on to.  Blessed.  So many never find or have that.  Your husband lives on through your children, grandchildren and memory. 

    • #14
  15. She Member
    She
    @She

    Oh, Cowgirl, I’m so sorry to read this.  My love, thoughts, prayers are with you and your family.  There will be ups and downs over the next couple of years, and–gradually–a settling into your new life.  But the sense of grief and loss won’t go away and will become a part of it.  I’m glad you have such wonderful memories in your heart.  They won’t go away either and summoning them up can be such a great comfort.  Thanks for sharing your adventures and your travels with your husband over the past several years.  They are one of the joys of Ricochet, and I look forward to hearing more about your life as you go forward, and as you have time.  Much love.

    • #15
  16. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Sorry to hear about your loss.  Every now and then I think ahead to a future time when my wife won’t be with me.  She is seven years old than I and isn’t in as good health as I am.  But I realize that sometimes it is best not to look too far ahead.  The future can be scary.

    I hope you find joy and happiness in your new circumstance.

    Best.

    • #16
  17. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    So sorry for your loss, and hope your memories provide you comfort.

    • #17
  18. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Cowgirl, one more item I wanted to mention: it takes a while for memories to be a source of comfort instead of a source of pain. Unless you have friends who have also lost spouses, your friends won’t necessarily understand this and can unwittingly make you feel worse by bringing those memories up. You will need to take care of yourself, to the point where you might even need to tell your friends that you can’t talk about your husband right now.  

    • #18
  19. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Girl – his suffering is over, a blessing.  It seems you have made peace with this.  Cherish the good memories; toss the disappointments.  Take up something new you never had the chance to do together.  I’m thinking about taking up fly fishing, as an example.  You have a rich life ahead and an angel to keep you company.   

    • #19
  20. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    May the love of your family and friends warm your heart as you grieve this monumental loss. It’s a sad thing to lose such a daily love. 

    • #20
  21. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    I have a book to recommend:  “I Wasn’t Ready to Say Good-Bye.”  I have given out more than 100 copies of it to people who come to my office and are still in pain.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us.  We are here for you.

    • #21
  22. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    It is a very hard thing to lose a spouse.  Give yourself time and don’t worry if seems to be taking longer than people around you think it “should”.   Grief is a very personal thing it doesn’t operate on a set time scale.   One thing that may be a comfort is to establish a routine.  Repetition can help you keep the little things going, there will be times when it will seem very very hard to deal with those little things that are necessary for you to function.  As others have said be gentle with yourself.  I would also say try not to be alone on special days.  Those are hard at first.  

    • #22
  23. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    My profound condolences. May you be comforted.

    • #23
  24. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    So very sorry to hear of your lose.

    • #24
  25. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one that is so close to you is so very difficult to bear.

    • #25
  26. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    We are so sorry to hear of your loss.  Those are beautiful pictures!

    • #26
  27. Down To Earth Thatcher
    Down To Earth
    @Elizabeth Perkowski

    Strangely, a difficult thing I encountered when becoming a widow was “pronouns” of all things. I would be talking to someone, saying,  “we” built this house, then realize the “we” who built the house were a “we” of the past.  

    Yet the sentence seems to refer to two people in the present that did something in the past.  It no longer felt right in sentences unless I had already placed the context in the past.

    Gosh, I should have majored in English!

     

    • #27
  28. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    • #28
  29. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    “A grief shared is a grief halved.” That’s what they say. I don’t know, but I hope sharing with friends on Ricochet helps a little. Certainly, it has helped me put my petty troubles in perspective. Blessings to you.

    • #29
  30. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    What sad news, Cow Girl. You and your sweetheart have been in my prayers since you first wrote about his health going down.

    I feel awful that this is your life lesson and I have no recipe for making lemonade out of this batch of crappy lemons.

    Wish there was something to say to make it easier.

    I’m glad that you know this community is here for you and that we all are only a keyboard away.

     

    • #30
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