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THE LOSS OF A SPOUSE

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 7, 2020

BRYCE ON LIFE

– It is not the same as an elder.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Just before the holidays, I suffered the pain of losing my spouse due to complications resulting from COPD, something she suffered with over the last few years. I cannot begin to describe the incredible pain my family experienced as a result of her passing as it is very personal. I have attended a lot of family funerals over the years, including both pairs of grandparents, a set of great-grandparents, and my father. As much as we mourned their passing, it was somehow to be expected. The passing of a spouse though is different.

One of the first things I observed was the outpouring of sympathy and love by our friends, family, and the community during this terrible hour. We were overwhelmed. As a young man, I learned, “We enjoy life through the help and society of others.” This was particularly true since we lost my wife. People were very kind.

From this experience, I have learned there really is a lot of love out there among us, but we have somehow forgotten how to express it. It’s a shame we have to wait for tragedy to strike to express our feelings. Love represents such things as acceptance, affection and belonging. When you think about it, we all crave love but are either clumsy or mute in how to express it. There is nothing wrong with a hug, a handshake, a slap on the back, possibly a gentle kiss, or a word of kindness now and then. We, as human-beings, all need it. Just reach out and tell someone how you feel about them; take nothing for granted.

Since my wife’s passing, we have been on an emotional roller coaster. I think I’ve experienced just about everything;

* Denial, that she is gone. I still expect her to be there when I come home, with all her breathing tubes and medicine. In the morning, I used to prepare her medication, her breathing treatment, and her breakfast. I would also pick her a hibiscus flower for her in the morning and set it on the table to brighten her day. She was my delicate flower. Since her passing, I wanted to just hold her hand and talk with her again. I found myself even going into her closet to smell her clothes, just for the memory.

* I also experienced guilt, that I could have done something more in those last few moments, an image which will forever haunt me, but I felt so helpless. I felt like I let her down.

* I even felt a little anger; that she would leave me so suddenly. We all knew her day would come, but we weren’t prepared for it so soon. I always thought it should be the husband who passes first.

* In the end, I finally came to the conclusion that it was her time. That her lungs and heart had been through enough. And so, reluctantly, I had to accept she was gone.

Yes, her passing still hurts, but I am starting to figure a few things out; three things in particular:

First, I have learned how frail we are as human beings, both emotionally and physically. So it is important we enjoy every moment God has given us and take nothing for granted. It’s the little things in life that are more important than material possessions. For example, I always enjoyed giving her a kiss in the morning, and before going to bed. I still pick a hibiscus for her every morning. And I relished our talks, particularly this past year, and we laughed together, a lot.

Second, I have learned why the emotional pain hurts so much. As I mentioned, the passing of a spouse is different than someone from the family tree. If you have a strong marriage, you become one. Allow me to explain:

As a notary public, I have married a few people over the years. Before doing so, I admonish them that marriage is like dancing the Tango. “It takes two to Tango,” and it’s a matter of the couple working together as a team, both equals, in a spirit of cooperation, give and take. And if you do it right, it’s a beautiful dance; so is a marriage. And when your spouse passes, you are actually losing a piece of yourself, which explains why the pain is so hurtful.

As part of this, I have learned no matter what you do to help or comfort your partner towards the end, I can assure you it’s never enough, and you will beat yourself up over it. I know I have.

And third, I have come to the conclusion the pain never goes away; it never subsides; you just have to learn to live with it. There is no magic pill to get you through this, and sometimes you just have to take the pain; plain and simple.

I want to thank those of you for your kindness over our family’s tragedy. I cannot believe the overwhelming outpouring of sympathy expressed through cards, calls, and social media comments. I hope I can repay you someday. You really are special people, and I want you to know how much your love has affected us, and the spirit of my wife.

God bless you all, and goodnight my D.F.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form. Great holiday gifts!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2020 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

6 Responses to “THE LOSS OF A SPOUSE”

  1. Joe Duhamel said

    So so sorry to hear of your loss, brother. Please accept my heartfelt condolences for you and your family. God bless.

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A W.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “So very sorry to hear you recently lost your wife. I lost my wife 16
    years ago after 36 years of marriage. She had Multiple Sclerosis and I
    had been her primary caregiver for about 20 years before we had to put
    her in a nursing home at 51 because of the need for skilled nursing care
    pretty much around the clock. Eventually, she got the flu, which
    migrated to pneumonia, and she died shortly after because as a
    quadriplegic, she couldn’t expel the gunk out of her lungs, and
    according to the doctor, if they drained the fluid, they could never get
    it all, so they’d only have to keep doing it over and over and over
    again which she didn’t really want.

    I can tell you one thing – it will NEVER get “easy” to deal with the
    loss. It will get easi-ER over time, just never easy. You will
    experience “triggers” from time to time – always unpredictable when and
    how – whether it’s a word, a smell, a sight, or whatever – that suddenly
    brings back a rush of memories and that grief associated with the loss.

    My wife’s best friend from childhood lost her first husband to brain
    cancer at 30 and she once told me that losing a spouse is “almost” like
    losing an arm or a leg – the eyes tell you without doubt that the limb
    is gone. The brain, on the other hand, tells you that the eyes are
    lying – because, ‘see, I can wiggle my toes/fingers” so the limb MUST
    still be there – even though the eyes tell you otherwise.” Over time,
    you gradually adapt and eventually the brain tells you that it was
    really the one lying, because now you can finally accept the loss and
    move on – but the triggers and experience of the memory of the grief
    will never leave.

    If you ever need to just chat, be aware that I joined the “club that no
    one wants to join” a long time ago, and I’ve probably experienced just
    about everything one can associated with this loss, so feel free to just
    engage in a chat when the mood strikes.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    A J.B. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “I was moved and touched by your post about your wife and your frame of mind, and dealing with all this randomity in life.

    I’ve been following you for over 10 years now, and we’ve never met.”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A U.V. of Largo, Florida wrote…

    “Dearest Friend, just learned of your loss. And my heart is breaking for you and yours. Sue was a great gal with a wicked sense of humor. COPD is no joke to deal with as I know. Be strong and take comfort in her being free of her illness, home now and happy and well. The pain of loss is brutal but if you believe she is happy, you will be happy for her too. And time really does help. It doesn’t change things, but it makes it easier to bear. You are all in my prayers and she will be too forever. “

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A P.D. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “I cannot thank you enough for this article. How very honest and true. It touched my heart in so many ways.
    The pain doesn’t ever go away, how well I understand that.

    I am going to forward this to a friend in New Jersey who is also suffering the loss of her husband.

    Thank you again. I look forward to your articles. “

    Like

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