Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My heart goes out to Japan

Over the last few days, an immeasurable amount of people have been affected by Japan's earthquake, tsunami and the deaths that have resulted. Today my heart goes out to the young widows and widowers who will be coping with this terrible tragedy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dear Lisa...

(I wanted to share this letter with you -- the author has given me permission -- because I wanted to share other widow experiences on this site too. Since I'm quite more than 10 years out as a widow, I thought it would be good to share letters from widows who are closer to their initial grief. Thanks)

I was having a really bad day and find it hard to speak to people about how I truly feel so I Googled 'young widow blogs' and came across your sight. I read a few blogs and I cried and cried, because for the first time in almost 4 weeks I have found someone who makes sense to me.

My late husband and I had been together since 2004...we were friends for years prior but never took it to the next level until then. Shortly after we got together I became pregnant. It seemed like our worlds had fallen apart. He was living at home with his parents back in our hometown, I was living two hours away attending university and living with three other girls. I thought my life was over, but we tackled it head on. I moved home we got our first apartment together, I had the baby (a girl) finished school by distant education, worked full time and graduated with my degree.

Our life was starting to come together and we had gotten through what I though was going to be our biggest challenge. We had a lot of good times and a lot of trying times, but after 2.5 years we got engaged and bought our first house. Life was good, but to me it was never good enough. I always wanted more, bigger house, better paying job. Life was a party and it seems now looking back that I took advantage of our precious time together.

We got married in 2008. We had a beautiful wedding with over 300 guests. He wanted to expand our family right away, but I was more interested in stabilizing my career and becoming successful. We finally took our honeymoon in 2010 in Jamaica with other people. It was WONDERFUL.

We got back and I found out of was pregnant, but I was so mad. I hadn't wanted to start a family that quickly, I had a wedding, weight to loose etc. but then, what I thought was yet again another bad move, turned into a HUGE blessing.

In 2010 he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia. He literally was golfing one day and in the hospital getting the most devastating news of our lives three days later. From there our last journey began.

He went through a strong cycle of chemo, which he flew through. The doctors were amazed. I never left his side. For every round of chemo and hospital admittance I was there on my cot beside his bed. I never left, I couldn't leave. He did awesome, he would be golfing a week after he'd be out of hospital and everyday in between rounds.

In September he underwent what we thought would be the cure, a stem cell transplant. Once again he did amazing, astonishing the doctors. Everyone thought we had this beat. Our friends and family were great and extremely kind and supportive. Although everyone was hopeful and optimistic, for some reason I had a feeling that it wasn't it. I hoped and prayed every single day and every moment in between that he would get better. We had another little girl on the way and an older daughter who absolutely adored her daddy. How could god take him?

On Oct 26th our world came crashing down again. He had relapsed and treatment at this point was difficult as his body was already so weak from the transplant. Doctors were not hopeful and tried a few things and nothing was working.

He was admitted to the hospital and as a last resort they started him on a low dose maintenance chemo in hopes to control the disease and bring him back into remission. Then, they would do a second transplant to wake up his new cells and get them working in full force to overpower the disease and cure him. Prognosis was poor and successful outcomes were slim due to his type of illness, but it was our only hope.

It looked like the chemo was doing something and it may have been working, but they had a meeting with us and asked him was his short term goal was. He said it was to see the baby born. They didn't foresee the chemo working long term and thought that two weeks was all he had left. So that week, at 38 weeks, I was induced and we had our baby girl here. She was/is perfect. He was so proud, he couldn't be there for most of my labor but came in when I was ready to push and together we brought into this world another beautiful baby.

We continued with the weekly maintenance chemo and, in the mean time, I searched for an alternative. I found a trial going on and contacted the doctors to see if he could join. It looked like this was the miracle drug that was going to get us to the point to be able to do the second transplant. They told me to hang tight that the trial was on it's way within a few weeks. In the meantime, miraculously, the chemo was managing the leukemia enough to keep him alive even though every week, he got weaker and weaker. He fought on and enjoyed time with his new little baby and other princess. We waited for this drug and knew that this was it, this drug was going to be the miracle so many were praying for.

Finally we were off to get our prayers answered. He started the drug in November and was sent home to wait. We were to get his blood tested to see if the drug was working but that morning he took ill. We brought him to the hospital and found out he had an infection in his blood and within four hrs he was gone. His body had had enough and he left me.

We did get some blood results and it looked like the trial drug was working. I whispered in his ear to hold on and told him that the drug was working so he had to fight a little bit longer. I really thought he was going to pull through. Before he went unconscious he looked at me and said "I love you"... and then that was it... he started failing and failing fast.

So that was it, all my hard work had failed because I couldn't save my husband. He was so scared in that hospital and I couldn't save him. I keep picturing them doing CPR all I could do was squeeze his foot and hope that he wouldn't give up. I can't believe he gave up. He promised me he would never leave, and that he would beat this. At 29, he's gone and NEVER coming back.

I didn't know how I was going to tell our 5 year old, I just cried in my dads arms, crying and crying and wondering how I was going to tell her. I failed our family... I should of pushed to go to the states to start the drug back November when I initially came across the drug. I knew that waiting was deadly because this disease has no mercy and every day could of been his last.

I hate hearing now that I was amazing throughout his illness and that they don't know how I did it being pregnant and all, but I did and I would do it all again if he could just come back. I know that my pain is selfish because he would of suffered longer and most definitely had long term health issues that would of prevented him from living the life he wanted, but sometimes I don't care I just wish he was still here lying in our bed.

I'm mad because now I have 2 girls to raise alone. I am ever so grateful that I have 2 kids and that for some reason I got pregnant when I did. I have the 2 most beautiful girls and I wouldn't change that for anything.

It makes me mad to hear people say how much they admire me for what I did and what I went through, because I feel like what I did was minimal compared to the battle he fought. He didn't want to die... he was so scared to die.

I miss him so much, I still find it hard to believe, I'm mad because everyone else gets to go home and be with someone and I get to stay here and be alone. I know I'm not alone because of the girls, but I am in my heart. I no longer have the person to lean on, and cuddle with, to yell at, to cry with, to just be with. I am alone, and it really, really sucks. The worst part is, is that there is nothing I can do about it.

So when I read your December 21st blog and just cried, because that is exactly it and for the first time I felt comfort that someone else knows how I feel. I'm sad that that brings comfort to me, because that means someone is hurting like I am, but it really does feel good.

So I just wanted to thank you, because for today, you've helped me to get through this moment and on to the next.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

UK Followers, can anyone help?

I received this note and couldn't help. Can any of you?

I am male and not young (59) so you may consider this as a fraudulent message. However I lost my partner who was 53 five months ago to a brain hemorrhage and have decided it may well be a good idea to chat with people who have suffered the same or similar type of loss. Could you recommend any web sites or chat rooms in the UK which may be suitable.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Crazy Red Haired Lady

There are some days I just don't feel like I can be of help to other young widows and widowers anymore. I'm not in that same raw emotion from the first few years. Of course, if I think about Jeff long enough (okay, really only a few minutes) or I'm so overtired that the emotions just pour out of me, I'm back to square one even after all this time. Then there are other days I wonder how I've gotten here...ten years later...without losing it completely. There are days that I hate the situation I'm in and days I'm glad I'm so far along.

So to balance how I feel, I try to give you the resources of others who have also started to help other widows and widowers because they know that you might be young, but you're not alone. I'm still here...I'm still going...I'm still trying to help, but I'm not the only one. Check out this site too because you may relate to stuff that she's saying as well:


Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting through the holidays...

I know I'm a little late and I'm sorry, but my mom broke a rib and it's been a little crazy. I hope everyone got through the holiday okay. If you still need some help through the upcoming New Year's Eve holiday, here's a link with some good suggestions for you:


Remember, you may be young, but you're not alone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How do I get through it?

Been receiving a lot of letters lately and am trying to get through them, but someone asked me, 'how do i get through it?' She lost her husband 3 weeks ago and has two young children, 2 years old and 5 months old. Here is my response to her:

I'm so sorry for your loss. and yes, it is three 'short' weeks ago. How do you do all of this...one day at a time. It's cliche but it's true. You get up for your kids and show them that life goes on. You show them that you hurt and that you get better, you show them that you fall apart and cry and then you know how to pull yourself together and do what needs to be done.

You show them how to make daddy proud.
You show them that no matter what's happened in your life you never use it as an excuse to do something bad or give up.
You show them how to survive adversity.
You show them emotions and you show them how to grieve and then you show them how to laugh and through them you get through it.
If you see a couple, you might be jealous/angry/grieving and it's normal. How do you go to the store by yourself? You take a big deep breath and go in or, if you have home delivery, you take advantage of that and go in another day.
How do you celebrate your daughter's first Christmas? It's very tough, but you give her something special. i'm sorry to say that 'she' won't remember this, but you will. Give her something special -- a framed photo of her dad or something
You ask for help and say thanks and then, when you need to, you lock the door and spend time with your children alone and you giggle and laugh because they're babies and that's what they do.
How do you get through this? With your husband's love and guidance from above, it's there.
And you know you can do it, but it's one step at a time and you do it for them and you be the best mommy you can be. And you'll do great. And it will hurt and suck and you'll hurt later on special occasions and then on other special occasions you'll be okay.
You get through this...one day at a time...with or without friends, with or without family...because you have to.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From the widow in Uganda

She has asked me to post her email address in case any other widows want to write to her and offer some support and advice. It is dorothymulungi(at)yahoo.com. Please take out the (at) and replace it with @.