Copyright July 2000, Dave Palmer

For what it is worth, here is a log of correspondence which shows some of the issues a person deals with when facing grief caused by death of a loved one. There are duplicate entries and entries which might make no sense at all. This is not an attempt to convince you to treat your grief a certain way. Everyone responds to grief in their own way.

In this case it was the loss of a spouse, loss of a marriage, loss of a 20+ year relationship, and loss of future plans and hopes that triggered these notes. To respect the privacy of others, all email addresses have been removed. In most cases the email shown is only mine.

This is presented only for purposes of illustrating the range of feelings and the way in which these feelings might change over time. This is not an attempt to solicit feedback or response to any issue. As the reader will find out many of the issues have been resolved through various techniques.

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Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 12:50:13 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] San Diego beach house

Dearest Lisa,

A belated response to your wonderful note about your Dad.

My heart surely goes out to him on his journey. I don't read much into his conduct. I think everyone deals with grief in the correct way for them, and it certainly isn't always what others expect. Some avoidance is necessary for the soul and mental peace.

This morning two grandchildren are playing Monopoly and all of a sudden I am in the bedroom cleaning out an area that held Ellen's 'treasures' (one of many). It has been 5 months and I am still approaching tasks when they feel good and right to me.

Fortunately the grandchildren, one from each side of the family, are great and sensitive and there's been no problem over my lack of participation in Monopoly. Frankly they do quite well without the ogranization and rules of an adult .

If you and your Dad have not seen or read, "How to go on living when someone you love dies" Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., originally published as "Grieving" paperback,(published by Bantam Books, August 1991 ISBN 0-553-35269-5) I strongly recommend it. It has wonderful passages that help bridge the differences between people and how they approach their grieving work -

I pray the days get easier for everyone in your family.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 12:58:00 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Just need to type

Dear Jaunita

Your note did bring back some of the pain of watching Ellen progress from health to death. It was a terrible time for her, and now that it is past, it was a terrible time for me, only my pain woke up after she died.

Now, on the brink of a wonderful relationship, the painful parts of the past are beginning to fade. Strange, but the fading of painful memories causes more pain, as though my mind feels it is necessary to continue to mourn and process more suffering.

I'm taking your advice and going where the water flows.

Fortunately the lady I've fallen in love with is extremely empathetic (in an appropriate manner) and has helped me to acknowledge the issues I am dealing with and at the same time let me find my way into a new future. It is neat and I am wallowing in it!

The best part for me was that much of the past grief work had already led me to the point where I was ready to leave grief behind, I wanted to enjoy life, and I was finally beginning to care again, and we met at a time when it just 'felt right' and was something I really wanted to do.

Though, I have to admit, I had no idea things would move so fast. It is truly amazing what Ellen's death taught me.

The need for honesty, open mind and heart, trust and confidence where each things I learned from the past, and they have helped me so much now in the present!

Thanks for the neat note, and may your life blossom every day!

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 13:21:15 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Dave Re: [F-AHEAD] Just need to type

Mom and I have been doing ok lately. We miss Dad an awful lot but all in all doing pretty good.

Dear Anna,

Thanks for the kind and reassuring note.

I hope you and your Mom had a great dinner (June 28) and fun just browsing around.

The grandkids are here. Two days of driving and finally one full day together.

Yesterday it was a July 4th parade (on July 1), a reenactment of a horseback bank robbery (which really took place in our small town - and the bank is still standing and in use as a bank), followed by an afternoon at a rodeo (complete with popsicles and new cowboy hats), and we were all exhausted.

Today we are 'laid back', I've done some grief stuff, and they've entertained themselves with Monopoly. Great kids and I am so pleased they get along so well. They've cut me a lot of space and know that I need 2 hours to try and catch up on the email and stuff.

The chemical brain alteration (xanax) does seem to help me deal with anxiety - but I find myself further behind, and just don't care about it! :-) - but time will work that out as I find my balance.

I had a wonderful experience. The lady I've met (Judith) had never seen either grandchild. Esai misses Ellen, but Leigha misses her "Grandmother". It wasn't very long into the first evening when Leigha started talking about her 'pain' and took Judith to 'grandma's craft room' (which Judith has never seen) and they talked, and then later they vanished together on a walk in our forest land - and again they vanished into a bedroom for another talk.

You can't begin to know the joy and relief I feel seeing my granddaughter with someone who truly cares and worries about how a 10 year old is dealing with grief. It brings tears to my eyes and happiness to my soul. Finally Leigha is able to release some of the things that she could find no support for at her home. She has talked to me about her grandmother, but somehow there is a connection between two women, that a man cannot enter into.

Hug your kids, your Mom and have a wonderful day, everyday and treasure the memories of your father, those must have special times and special places to be

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 13:28:43 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] FACING-AHEAD Digest - 22 Jun 2000 to 28 Jun 2000 - Special issue (#2000-1 .

On Wed, 28 Jun 2000 22:11:25 EDT, Betty Alberti wrote:

I hope and pray that I may be able to have the strength that you have to do this. My son Tommy is going down hill so fast now. The hospice is calling it >his "Burst of Energy" stage. His lungs are failing, his kidneys have almost >stopped producing urine. His memory is gone and he constantly talks about >leaving soon. His "Hot air balloon" trip he calls it.

I am not giving up hope I still pray every night for a miracle to occur. I >guess that's the mother and believer in me.

You hang in there Dave and you follow your heart to wherever it may take you.

You deserve to be happy!

Dearest Betty,

My prayers have been with you and your son. My belated reply is inexcusable, but the days and nights have shifted so much.

Part of me prays for relief for you and your son, and part screams and prays that he can stay and somehow recapture health and live forever. I just hope my note does not come at a difficult time.

I simply cannot fathom the grief following the loss of a child and I pray that God will guide and shelter you along the journey you surely will take some day.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for the kind words and support. I'm always amazed and humbled by the gifts from the email group. In the midst of personal loss and pain, almost without fail, a person reaches out and gives the gift of hope to another human. I am touched in many ways.

Of all the gifts that Ellen's death brought, the most important has been the love and help each one has shared with me, and those many kinds acts have forever altered my approach to life and become a real living part of who I am.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 13:41:34 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] FACING-AHEAD Digest - 22 Jun 2000 to 28 Jun 2000 - Special issue (#2000-1 .

Dearest JoAnn,

Your anquish and despair is so real and painful to read about. The loss of a spouse is such a cruel event and something few can ever be prepared for.

I know I am late in responding, but your pain is so real,

and I've personally known the same feelings. Ellen died 2/8/00.

I felt utterly demolished. It seemed I had only 1 leg to walk with and everytime I used a crutch or a stick, it would break and I'd have to find another one.

Not only was Ellen gone, but so was our 'coupleness' and 'our future' - and all of a sudden where there once were 3 (Ellen, me and the couple), there now was less than one.

I turned to 3 chaplains at the hospital for help, I found a grief group, I went back to our psychiatrist for help.

I've screamed out loud, I cried countless times and paced the floors and avoided ghosts. I've seen friends and family turn away (out of fear of hurting me), and more. It is truly a hellish period of time.

Finally I found a book, recommended by a chaplain, that began to give me some peace of mind, and some sense of 'I'm okay, grief is real, grief does hurt, and it is okay to grieve'.

"How to go on living when someone you love dies" is the book.

It was written by Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., originally published as "Grieving" paperback, published by Bantam Books, August 1991 ISBN 0-553-35269-5 It covers adult, child, spouse, parent death.

Until recently this book has been a bedside companion, and it truly saved my sanity and eased some very lonely nights and allowed me to find some peace in my soul.

I attend a grief group meeting locally every two weeks.

Some of their handouts are great.

Don't tell me that you understand Don't tell me that you know.

Don't tell me that I will survive,

How I will surely grow.

Don't tell me this is just a test,

That I am truly blessed,

That I am chosen for this task,

Apart from all the rest.

Don't come at me with answers That can only come from me,

Don't tell me how my grief will pass That I will soon be free.

Don't stand in pious judgment Of the bounds I must untie,

Don't tell me how to suffer,

And don't tell me how to cry.

My life is filled with selfishness,

My pain is all I see,

But I need you, I need your love,

Unconditionally.

Accept me in my ups and downs,

I need someone to share,

Just hold my hand and let me cry,

And say, "My friend, I care."

by Joanetta Hendel, in Bereavement Magazine

A friend sent me this; it was attributed to Herry Scot Holland, Canon of St.

Paul's Cathedral.

"Death is nothing at all. I have slipped away into another room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old famliar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of soleminity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Pray,

smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was; let it be spoken without affect, without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.

All is well."

And finally, from the book I told you about:

Your sorrow is an emotion, not a disease.

The only cure for grief is to grieve.

You don't have to prove that you're "so strong" and "doing so well".

My heart goes out to you JoAnn, and I pray God has begun to lead you into some peaceful moments and allow you to know that you did all that anyone could ever do to help your husband.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 13:44:54 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] For Dave

On Thu, 29 Jun 2000 13:25:48 EDT, Donna Rollier wrote:

>Just wanted to write and thank you for what you write. I only started this journey May 30. What you write often is close to what I'm feeling. I wish you a happy and healthy holiday weekend with your grandkids! Donna wife of Arthur dx CNS Lymphoma 2/00 body at peace 5/30/00

Dearest Donna,

Thanks for the kind wishes and very kind words. I am sorry we are on this road together, and yet so glad there are so many kind souls with us, as we journey along.

If only the real world - as opposed to the e-world, would allow us to so easily relate to each other in these wonderful and so necessary displays of concern, love and support.

I hope your journey finds you on smoother roads and with a bright sun shining and leading you to new days, with renewed hope and eagerness for living

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 13:58:06 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Need help

Dearest Kathy,

I almost can imagine your frantic feeling. A number of days ago I learned of cancer diagnosis related to my eldest daughter, having lost Ellen in February, I went into an immediate shutdown. My panic was real and terrible. Our story came out okay as a number of days later the diagnosis changed to precancerous, and finally 6/30 was confirmed by the patholigist report. So your shock, anger and fear don't surprise me.

My body wasn't able to, did not want to and refused to deal with Betty's potential problem. How could I go on? I'm still not done with the first loss and now the panic is shutting me down. It has to be self-protection. It has to be a desire for sanctuary.

Obviously I didn't handle it well, as that, along with an issue of mine, have produced some real anxiety symptoms.

Not being very proud, and knowing I needed help in order to survive (and I have no children at home) I called my MD and asked for help. So I am on a drug, xanax, and it eases things for me.

Frankly prayer has helped, and I am sure the grief group would help (but the meetings aren't until July 12 or so) - and I couldn't wait to work things out by myself or through prayer - even though prayer is powerful God also allows us to bandage cuts, use splints to heal broken bones and I think medicine can help hurt emotions and torn souls.

You are in my prayers and I hope things have improved for you .

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 12:35:32 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] FACING-AHEAD Digest - 22 Jun 2000 to 28 Jun 2000 -

Dear JoAnn,

You wrote, 'when will my heart stop hurting'?

It will take a long time, and it will take a lot of work.

I've never had to do such hard work. Work means looking at clothes, or a flower or a book and dealing with the reality that you look at it alone -- never again through or with the eyes of your loved one. It hurts and hurts. But each hurt seems to subtract from the total hurt and slowly the heart stops hurting.

Death is so sudden and my body could not deal with it all at one time. It took day after day of feeling and letting things wash over me. The washing of feelings was cleansing and over time and with the help of this group, with my favorite grief book, and a grief group and a psychiatrist - with all these efforts and helpers - things have gotten better.

I truly learned 'It is not a choice of pain or no pain, but how you will manage the pain for today'.

I'll pray your journey, painful as it will be, ends with a future full of remembered happiness and dreams of future joys and pleasures.

Hugs,

Dave Palmer

"It's hard for me to get used to these changing times. I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.", -George Burns

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Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 15:56:57 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] San Diego beach house

Hi Lisa,

So far behind, I hope my comments are not out of synch with your experiences.

I see what you mean about your Dad.

I wonder though, comments like that sort of hint at desparation and anger at the futility of life without her.

I know I felt like that when Ellen died, though I did not express my feelings to others (mainly because they left so fast)

I suspect he is still processing all the issues and maybe isn't listening to his own internal shouts of grief. I found that I really had to be alone, private and then let things vent. For me the best times were out of the house and when I was walking or doing something physical.

His feelings though, are his own. My schedule would not be his and my way would not help him - but one thing is certain - the feelings will come out. A big crash is probable, but maybe if he is connected with a grief group or a counselor of some type, he can start the process in a safe environment.

My biggest help was to be with people who were hurting even more than I. Somehow seeing them talk, or try to talk,

about their grief allowed me to give myself permission to let more escape from me. Does that make sense? If they could talk or cry or vent, then surely I could to, and maybe, just maybe, it would be okay.

Of course, once I did let go, it was more than okay, it was a God sent blessing!

Dave Palmer

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Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 16:13:30 -0700

Subject: Update .

Hi - I've worried about the absence of email too. But I've been so involved in my life that I've not spent any time on the internet in over a week, or was it longer?

When last I wrote - a long time ago - I was anticipating the arrival of grandchildren (two for 10 days) and had started 'dating' . a lot has happened since then,

including fears of my own mortality . which brings an entire new set of anxious moments to life .

Here is what I have just written to my older sister, who has supported and followed me along life, including the journey which started with Ellen's death 2/8/2000, and my ride along the grief road, departures into dark tunnels and deep, wet pits

====

We celebrated with a parade on the 1st, for the 4th,

followed by a simulated horseback bank robbery , and the kids first rodeo. A real good day!

The 4th we set off fireworks ($5 spent by Leigha and $8 by Esai) - and then watched the Chehalis Tribe light up the sky through our picture window seats!

Two kids for 10 days was a bit much, especially with doctor stuff. Found out I have high blood pressure, a leaky valve and maybe some other issues. Go in tomorrow for a cardiac angiogram . nervous? You bet.

Have completed a will, today, and am as ready as I can be for tomorrow.

Judith and I have moved rapidly from strangers to engaged and I am totally delighted. She has been a part of my life on a daily basis and seen me through a couple of anxious periods as I met doctors, tests and the loss of Cloudy.

Cloudy joined us in 1980 and was Ellen's horse. She was 38 years old and never had a sick day in her life.

Cloudy died last week. Peacefully. I found her lying down in the pasture. Not a sign of struggle. Simply a tired horse who laid down for one last rest.

A friend, who rebuilt the flood ravaged road to the house,

came out right away to bury her. He buried her standing up and facing the rising sun. A very tearful and difficult afternoon - yet very moving and in a way, settling. I am glad Leigha was there. I couldn't have told her over the phone and her ability to grieve would have been destroyed.

Fortunately Judith came to the house at a run and Leigha had a shoulder to lean on and someone to bind to - and the next day we added dried flowers from Ellen's ceremony to the grave, and now we have a memorial on the place to two very beloved creatures of God.

I could write a book on Judith - but won't - only to say everything I learned from Ellen about honor, commitment,

truth and dignity is preserved and enhanced by this new relationship, and I am sure that Ellen would bless it with all of her heart. We met with a minister for a 'red flag' consultation and walked away with a blessing which only confirmed what we already knew.

Assuming I walk out of the hospital tomorrow - which I plan to - here is what we have decided .and appears on an invitation we plan to mail then .

===========

We met through an exchange of memories,

then a gate opened rapidly into a new beginning between two new people.

Miracles did enter our lives swiftly and quietly allowing us to honor the past and cherish the future together.

We will marry July 23rd and would welcome your presence

Judith Eklund Dave Palmer

Sunday July 23, 2000 4:00 p.m.

Westminster Presbyterian Church 349 North Market Boulevard Chehalis, Washington

Reception to follow

As we share our beginning with the gift of life any gifts honoring this union lovingly belong in Ellen Luttrell-Palmer's name to either:

International Myeloma Foundation 2129 Stanley Hills Drive Los Angeles, CA 90046

The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon 4440 S.W. 148th Beaverton, OR 97007 =====================

(I met Judith through and during my grief process as I made weekly trips to 2 senior centers and a clothing bank to donate craft and clothing articles to people who would appreciate them and put them to good use in their communities - nothing was planned, nothing was thought of, and then when the grief turned into hope something joyous happened .)

I know I will still be processing grief issues and I plan to stay connected. There is much left to do, but I need not do it alone. I know there will be more to share as I start a new journey with wonderful memories and equally wonderful dreams of the future.

My prayers for all continue every day. I know all to well the darkness of the night -

Hugs to all, and hold on to your dreams! Dave Palmer

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.", -Alfred Adler

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Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2000 16:13:30 -0700

Subject: [F-AHEAD] Update . To: FACING-AHEAD@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG

Hi - I've worried about the absence of email too. But I've been so involved in my life that I've not spent any time on the internet in over a week, or was it longer?

When last I wrote - a long time ago - I was anticipating the arrival of grandchildren (two for 10 days) and had started 'dating' . a lot has happened since then,

including fears of my own mortality . which brings an entire new set of anxious moments to life .

Here is what I have just written to my older sister, who has supported and followed me along life, including the journey which started with Ellen's death 2/8/2000, and my ride along the grief road, departures into dark tunnels and deep, wet pits

===

We celebrated with a parade on the 1st, for the 4th,

followed by a simulated horseback bank robbery , and the kids first rodeo. A real good day!

The 4th we set off fireworks ($5 spent by Leigha and $8 by Esai) - and then watched the Chehalis Tribe light up the sky through our picture window seats!

Two kids for 10 days was a bit much, especially with doctor stuff. Found out I have high blood pressure, a leaky valve and maybe some other issues. Go in tomorrow for a cardiac angiogram . nervous? You bet.

Have completed a will, today, and am as ready as I can be for tomorrow.

Judith and I have moved rapidly from strangers to engaged and I am totally delighted. She has been a part of my life on a daily basis and seen me through a couple of anxious periods as I met doctors, tests and the loss of Cloudy.

Cloudy joined us in 1980 and was Ellen's horse. She was 38 years old and never had a sick day in her life.

Cloudy died last week. Peacefully. I found her lying down in the pasture. Not a sign of struggle. Simply a tired horse who laid down for one last rest.

A friend, who rebuilt the flood ravaged road to the house,

came out right away to bury her. He buried her standing up and facing the rising sun. A very tearful and difficult afternoon - yet very moving and in a way, settling. I am glad Leigha was there. I couldn't have told her over the phone and her ability to grieve would have been destroyed.

Fortunately Judith came to the house at a run and Leigha had a shoulder to lean on and someone to bind to - and the next day we added dried flowers from Ellen's ceremony to the grave, and now we have a memorial on the place to two very beloved creatures of God.

I could write a book on Judith - but won't - only to say everything I learned from Ellen about honor, commitment,

truth and dignity is preserved and enhanced by this new relationship, and I am sure that Ellen would bless it with all of her heart. We met with a minister for a 'red flag' consultation and walked away with a blessing which only confirmed what we already knew.

Assuming I walk out of the hospital tomorrow - which I plan to - here is what we have decided .and appears on an invitation we plan to mail then .

===========

We met through an exchange of memories,

then a gate opened rapidly into a new beginning between two new people.

Miracles did enter our lives swiftly and quietly allowing us to honor the past and cherish the future together.

We will marry July 23rd and would welcome your presence

Judith Eklund Dave Palmer

Sunday July 23, 2000 4:00 p.m.

Westminster Presbyterian Church 349 North Market Boulevard Chehalis, Washington

Reception to follow

As we share our beginning with the gift of life any gifts honoring this union lovingly belong in Ellen Luttrell-Palmer's name to either:

International Myeloma Foundation 2129 Stanley Hills Drive Los Angeles, CA 90046

The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon 4440 S.W. 148th Beaverton, OR 97007 =====================

(I met Judith through and during my grief process as I made weekly trips to 2 senior centers and a clothing bank to donate craft and clothing articles to people who would appreciate them and put them to good use in their communities - nothing was planned, nothing was thought of, and then when the grief turned into hope something joyous happened .)

I know I will still be processing grief issues and I plan to stay connected. There is much left to do, but I need not do it alone. I know there will be more to share as I start a new journey with wonderful memories and equally wonderful dreams of the future.

My prayers for all continue every day. I know all to well the darkness of the night -

Hugs to all, and hold on to your dreams! Dave Palmer

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them.", -Alfred Adler

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Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2000 18:29:54 -0700

Dearest Kim, (and I hope you don't mind if I copy your question in here:) I am lonely but cannot even imagine dating someone else.

Jim and I were married for 20 years. I am young to be a widow at 43. I am reasonably attractive and men do approach me but it just makes me ill. I still feel married to Jim.

Please tell me how do you go on? How do you give your heart to someone else? Please do not misunderstand, I am very happy for you. You deserve to be happy. I was just curious about how you go about doing it.

========================================================

You asked a hard question and it demands an answer. I could only open my heart when I felt deserving of a happier life. I could only get to a happier life by trying to deal with some very painful issues.

Please don't take my answer as preaching - or as a checklist. I only know what I experienced. Here goes

The most painful event was Ellen's physical death. It haunted me for a long time.

It was followed by the emotional death related to our 'coupleness' and then the emotional death related to 'our future' (the hopes and dreams that were shattered). These emotional deaths came to me well after the physical death.

They were extremely painful to face and deal with.

These emotional deaths came close together, but it still took separate events to handle them - and by events I mean really painful periods of tears or fears or pure anguish.

They were hard to give up - but I learned that I couldn't be a 'couple' or have a 'future' with someone who was dead.

I was finally and actually alone -

I also had to face and look at my caregiving for Ellen and how it might have impacted her or caused her death. It took a lot of effort to come to grips with caregiving and to realize that nothing I did led to her death. But that 'guilt' was hard to wrestle with and it took some tough reading (as in "How We Die"), to show how limited my caregiving impact really was. It sort of forced me to face the realities of cancer and the amount of energy expended in trying to defeat a disease - even if it costs the patient some quality of life . not a nice topic to have to review and think about .

Sometime after that it dawned on my that I was no longer loved and cared for. I was now totally alone and there was no one, no where, anyplace in the universe - who loved me as much as Ellen had. Boy that was a shock. I really felt alone - and scared and terrified. This was a painful time.

It was uncomfortable. But it was a confirmation that Ellen was dead and could do nothing to help me ever again.

Then I had to wrestle with 'I don't care about anything either'. That was a dark period for me. I just quit caring. I sort of thought, if no one cares for me, then I don't care for anyone or anything either.

As you can tel I was really hitting the bottom of the well.

It was cold, dark and wet. It was not a nice place to be.

That was when I started climbing out. I knew I could stay there - at the bottom - or I could try to climb out. I didn't want to stay there and blame Ellen's death for my troubles. I began to realize that my troubles were simply a mental prison that I had climbed into, so I had to climb out.

It was about this time that I finally yelled out in defiance about Ellen's death. Up until then I had been sort of quiet. Then one day I screamed my anger out loud and broke down sobbing - that was a real purging experience and almost immediately things began to change.

That was when I started to care about myself and look forward to caring about others. I really knew that everything about Ellen was dead, and I knew I didn't want to die - emotionally or physically.

Then I found myself suffering more as new pleasant memories began to displace painful memories. I think I was almost comfortable having painful memories and losing those painful memories was itself painful. This happened one day while loading the clothes washer. All of a sudden I realized that I was enjoying life and those new memories were taking the sting out of old memories. I sort of felt guilty feeling good

When Judith and I first met I then started feeling guilty about being happy.

But these guilty periods soon ended as I found out how wonderful it was to see a new world and new people and yet still be able to recall Ellen without all the gut wrenching pain and terror.

This is a short version of all the details I went through.

But I did not go through all of this alone. I went to grief group meetings. I went to a psychiatrist. These folks were terrific support and helped me in ways I can't begin to describe. One image does come to mind - a person who still, 12 months later, was still almost speechless when it came to talking about the deceased spouse. I knew in my heart that Ellen would never, ever, ever, want me to be so crippled that I could no longer live. That image helped change my behavior .

Most of all I learned to pray. I prayed and pray daily.

I simply pray to learn how to surrender myself to life,

thank God for my life, and ask God to reach out to Ellen.

I went through clothing, I went through jewelry, I went through pictures, I went through closets, bathrooms,

medical supplies, and I tried to touch and handle everything that was ours. It was hard. It was painful.

But I knew, from reading and in my heart, that I had to examine all parts of the past before I could release them and let them dwell comfortably in my memory and heart.

I even listened to favorite music and danced and cried by myself. These things might not make sense, but I firmly believe I had to find, touch, look at, think about and deal with everything that mattered in our lives. It became easier and easier each time - and most of all each time the earlier pain lessened.

I can now talk with Judith, with Ellen's mother - son - and brother, or with friends about Ellen and laughingly recall wonderful times and wonderful events. It is truly a joy to remember Ellen and her dignity, honor and strength. It is delightful to hold these characteristics up to others as I describe the woman I loved so very, very much.

"How to go on living when someone you love dies" by Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., is in my mind the best book to read for practical and appropriate advice. She gives so many choices and approaches to grieving that I felt there was someone talking to me directly. I read and reread many parts for 4 months - then, one day, I simply stopped picking it up. It was then that I realized that there is a future, that the future can be bright, and that it is okay to go on living with a heart full of good memories of a wonderful person .

This is only one person's version of a story of grief. I know others have conquered it in different ways. I could only write of my experience. Like most I wish there were a pill or a prayer or a magic potient that would work wonders. But there isn't.

While unrelated to grieving, I found that the parts of Ellen's personality (honor, integrity, family values and loving) that mattered most, were primary attractions for me when I met Judith. Since then I have learned that she has many of the same or similar characteristics which Ellen and I shared.

The point is that even though this is a new relationship,

with a new person, with new feelings and expectations - that none of this would have happened with a person whose core values differed from Ellen's. Does that make sense? I can't and will never replace Ellen. Yet she lives on through memories and emotions that are tied to all the things which made her so very special in my life for all those many many years.

I've rattled on long enough Kim. I do hope there was something useful in all of this.

Love and hugs and hopes for happiness in all ways! Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 15:54:43 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] No Mail / intro

Hi Sarah,

You already have learned how valuable this list is.

Your pain is so real to me. While Ellen and I only enjoyed 20 years together, they were great and a major milestone in my life. My neighbors aren't even visible from the house and though they are only 1/2 mile away, the isolation is both nice and bothersome.

You mentioned the sleep problem. My psychiatrist had an easy solution.

Regardless of when you go to sleep, always get up at the same time. It works wonders. A couple of short nights sleep, and I started sleeping better. Sure worth a try and it doesn't cost anything.

If this hadn't worked I sure would have tried my regular doctor and gotten some type of medicine to help me through this period. Sometimes we have to use extra spice to fix up a meal, sometimes we need extra medical help to get through a tough period.

I am so sorry you lost your husband - and I hope you can get a copy of my favorite book. I found it really helpful and worth a hundred times its cost. The book is:

"How to go on living when someone you love dies" Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., originally published as "Grieving" paperback, published by Bantam Books, August 1991 ISBN 0-553-35269-5 Covers adult, child, spouse, parent death. Sudden or anticipated.

A couple of my favorite quotes, and they have helped me,

are:

Your sorrow is an emotion, not a disease.

The only cure for grief is to grieve.

You don't have to prove that you're "so strong" and "doing so well".

Hugs and prayers to you - this is a new journey and you have friends all along the way.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 16:44:23 -0700

On Wed, 12 Jul 2000 10:59:56 +0000, Juanita wrote:

Life is strange and sure throws many curves but it does appear to try to balance it out somewhat

Dear Juanita, and all,

Thanks for the many kind wishes and thoughts - you know how well appreciated they are, as any kind word to a fellow human - is always loved and meaningful.

I have to 'laugh' at your 'curves' statement. I've a couple of real life examples to throw out on the table, not for sympathy or additional support, just simply REALITY .

While the grandchildren were here (10 delightful days) Ellen's first, most important, and most loved horse, died.

She died quietly and peacefully in the pasture. I observed her first and called upon Judith to come from her home to help me with my granddaughter Leigha.

Leigha was in love with that horse and getting to "ride" grandma Cloudy (as she was called) was her life's dream.

Judith arrived and I got to tell Leigha. God certainly was in my corner as having Cloudy die peacefully, while Leigha was here, solved what could have been an insurmountable problem had she been at home with her parents. A friend dropped everything to help bury Cloudy. He was an artist and a saint, as he buried Cloudy standing upright and facing the rising sun. That helped to settle Leigha a bit.

The next day we took the last dried flowers from Ellen's service and buried them with Cloudy. I think Leigha really benefitted from this and it helped her get some much needed grief support. But Grandpa was really stretched out on this one. Cloudy had been in the family for 20+ years and it was a major loss. Yet the tears and saddness of Leigha will stick with me (Grandma and Cloudy were here ALL MY LIFE and I miss them both). I have to admit that I felt some relief knowing that Cloudy had died peacefully - it made up in some small way for the journey Ellen had to walk along - and it brought things full circle for me.

The day you wrote to me I was in the hospital for an angiogram. Just another curve. I see my doctor and the cardiologist tomorrow. There is talk of a bypass, followed by another thing to deal with a AAA (no need to go into that now).

Despite the angiogram process, it was a great day for Judith, as she got to meet two of the chaplains who had known me and Ellen. Both of them are supportive of our wedding plans and that was a wonderful experience for Judith - unfortunately I was too doped up to appreciate the support they gave her.

The day before that we had a meeing with Sam (psychiatrist that Ellen and I had worked with). He and Judith got along exceedingly well and he endorsed what we are about to do (get married on 23rd).

So life does throw curves and sometimes they balance out.

My curves are still in a medical balancing act, but I will trust to God and the surgeons God provides to get me back in balance.

One thing is for certain. The recent events by comparison are so easy to deal with. The loss of Ellen and the grief process surely changed me. Nothing recently comes even close to what each of us is going or has gone through.

Maybe that is a benefit to the loss of a loved one - at least in my case, it certainly put things into perspective,

and when trouble comes my way now, I can really say 'this is a nit' - and let it go - and when happiness comes my way, I simply wallow in it, all the way up to the top of my head!

Hugs and prayers - Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 17:10:50 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Update . On Wed, 12 Jul 2000 13:55:35 -0700, DENISE JONES wrote:

>I was absolutely delighted to read of your impending marriage. It's so nice to read of the little rays of sunshine we all so desperately search for. I hope you stay in touch with us and keep us in your thoughts.

Dear Denise,

Thanks for the kind wishes. On one hand I am truly amazed by the support we are receiving. On the other hand I am not amazed. I simply had the good fortune to meet someone who was honest with me right from the start and someone who allowed me to be honest too. We started a relationship with the right tone, and it has paid off. And basing a new relationship on honesty and openess seems to have attracted a lot of support.

One of these days I'll post the story of the courtship - it is simply uncanny and yet so real. Judith wasn't the first person I'd talked to - but she was the only person who truly displayed the characteristics that I'd learned to love in Ellen - and I thank God that I stuck to those core values - and as different as they are in personality - there is a great comfort in knowing that beliefs and hopes I once held sacred can continue in a new relationship. So hold on to your dreams!! Don't ever let go of them.

Judith and I know that I am not 'done' with 'grieving'. I expect to be here on the list for some time - maybe from a different perspective - but still going through more issues.

Just feeling good again, brought on a grief episode with Judith.

Feeling happy brought on another episode.

I had occasion to see Judith next to a picture of Ellen the other day, and that brought on another grief episode (seeing two loved people at the same time was quite a shock!).

I've called up the counselor who runs the hospice grief group and asked for sometime with her for the two of us. I just know that there are other grief issues waiting in the wings and hopefully, with her vast experiences, she can point out where in life those issues might lurk.

Fortunately for me - and the relationship - grief is not new to Judith. In her past she has gone through a lot of pain and a lot of loss and in the last 6 years she has put together radiance and hope in her own life. She has a tremendous amount of empathy and that makes all the difference in the world for me. She and I can talk about Ellen, I can tell some of the funny stories about Ellen,

and we can also build our own funny stories and memories.

Without her support this relationship never would have gotten off the ground.

Grieving is hard work - the loss seems devastating at times - but thank God there are days when the sun shines,

there are people who really care, there are folks like you who always help, and when you least expect it there is someone you will meet who truly can open doors that you thought were sealed forever. Trust in your faith, keep your beliefs and be willing to take a risk when 'it just seems right'.

Hugs to all, and you are and will be in my prayers.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 17:13:28 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Update .

On Wed, 12 Jul 2000 15:52:22 -0700, Michelle wrote:

>Life is full of surprises and adventures. I am glad your heart was open to this one.

Michelle - you said all my thoughts - so simply, so honestly - life can be fun if we let it be. Our loved ones, wherever they are, are surely participating in their new life with joy and enthusiasm - and it is okay for us to open our hearts like you describe!

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 17:20:20 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Hi!

Dear Donna,

My God, My God - such a wonderful romance and such a cruel ending. I cannot begin to imagine the 'scab' you have and the pain it must bring.

Sometimes I just don't understand how we keep hoping and dreaming, loving and marrying, except that in between the beginning and the end, there are days of bliss and happiness.

My prayers and thoughts are with you. I hope your family can wake up and lend some love and support to help you through this grief journey.

You have a new family in this group and I hope you stay with us and write often.

Hugs and prayers.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 17:27:50 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] feeling bad

Hi Louise,

I wish words could help you overcome this loss. But I'll bet they can't.

Ellen's favorite horse died recently. That was a loss, but since Cloudy was very old, and an outside animal, the loss was easy to take.

On the other hand the cat (Spartacus) is so identified with Ellen, that I panic anytime he does something strange. I even took him to the vet this week, simply because I didn't like the way he appeared to be breathing (turned out to be hairballs). Point is a personal house pet is so unique and so valuable, that the thought of losing one is almost devastating to me.

So it is hard for me to write encouraging words to you about your dog. I'm simply so sorry you have to go through yet another loss and period of grieving, and I pray you will find the strength to overcome it xxAn 11 year relationship is a long one and pets are so loving and devoted to us, that their loss is truly great.

I hope you find peace soon.

Hugs and prayers,

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 17:35:06 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Congratulations

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for the very kind wishes for me and Judith.

I can guarantee there will be tears - both joyous and sad.

Judith and I arranged the wedding process - the vows, the music, announcement, and all.

Judith picked the music - it will appear strange to some - but the opening number "Amazing Grace" was the closing number at Ellen's service. She knows that now - and it will not be changed - so for whatever reason there is an emotional bridge between two events - and you all know me well enough by now to know I will shed tears - grief and joy .

and perhaps that is how it should be - as we need to honor our loved ones - no matter where they are

FWIW this arrangement starts out as almost a funeral song but builds to a glorious sound that literally changes the piece into a celebration of life. I will be a mound of melted butter when it is done

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 17:41:54 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] feeling bad

Dear Beck,

I so sorry to be one of the many that either didn't read or didn't see your introduction.

Ellen and I faced some of what you described. I was so blind at the time that I think my ignorance helped mask some of the fear you are feeling.

Had I known then, what you know now, I would strip away any pretense and talk and talk and talk of love, of dreams, of pain and of all my fears. I know in my heart that Ellen would have helped me start this journey had I been able to know what she was facing.

Even better I think she would have talked to me of her fears and her dreams and her wishes for me and her son and granddaughter. I wish I had been there for her.

You are in a hideous place - and only by sharing with us,

with your family, and your husband, can any light get in and drive away the demons. My heart truly goes out to you and I pray you get this in time to be of help (if it can be)

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 17:51:57 -0700

Subject: [F-AHEAD] Repeat: I am there To: FACING-AHEAD@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG

This has been a frequent bedtime reading companion for me.

Maybe it will be of help again for someone else .

I Am There

I Am There By James Dillet Freeman

I wrote "I Am There" when my first wife was dying. When I first found out how sick she was, a doctor told me there was no hope for her. This just came to me; I wrote it down; I didn't think of it as writing. I wrote it down as I prayed for my wife.

Do you need Me? I am there.

You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.

You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.

You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.

I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.

I am at work, though you do not understand My works.

I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.

When you need Me, I am there.

Even if you deny Me, I am there.

Even when you feel most alone, I am there.

Even in your fears, I am there.

Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.

I am in you, and you are in Me.

Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of "yours" and "mine." Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.

Empty your heart of empty fears.

When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.

You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.

And I am in all.

Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.

I am there because I have to be, because I am.

Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.

I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law's fulfilling.

I am assurance.

I am peace.

I am oneness.

I am the law that you can live by.

I am the love that you can cling to.

I am your assurance.

I am your peace.

I am one with you.

I am.

Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.

Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never wavers, because I know you, because I love you.

Beloved, I am there.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 07:52:07 -0700

Subject: [F-AHEAD] Off topic: Dave's story To: FACING-AHEAD@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG

Thanks to all for the many wonderful notes about my trip from the loss of Ellen to a planned wedding this weekend.

Since more than a few have wondered about how, I took some time to try and share it.

If you are interested it is at:

http://www.theblackriver.netdaveandjudith.html

As you will find out there are no secrets - and as I've learned the nice thing about telling the truth is you don't have to remember what you said. I hope this tale is easy to read and accepted simply as a view of events.

Putting it together this morning triggered some new grieving. Love for a lost spouse doesn't ever end and the tears are no less painful, but the hope for the future does offer peace.

I am so thankful for this group of wonderful people and my prayers are with each of you.

Love and Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 11:06:07 -0700

Subject: Re: somewhere along the way

D'Arcy,

Thanks for the good wishes!

Happiness is a new and wonderful feeling and I pray we each get more than our fair share!

You are in a world that is unique. I recall all too well when Ellen and I were there all the fears of the present and the fears of the future.

Going through the door that will open is exceedingly hard.

I wish I had prepared for it. I wish I had talked more to Ellen and listened a lot more. I wish I had joined a grief group (real or e-group) and I wish I had prayed more.

As it turned out, I did do those things, but it was much harder than it might have been.

I pray that you and Jerry have all the best that life can offer and that your journey together is the very best ever - it is a precious time - for you, the children and Jerry.

Do hold on to your dreams! Hugs and prayers,

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 21:18:35 -0700

Subject: Off topic: A Special thank you

Thanks to each of you for the exceedingly kind wishes on the day of the wedding.

Judith and I truly had a special celebration in a church officiated by a minister friend of Judith's.

We were honored by the past friends (of my marriage to Ellen), family members, and new friends who attended.

It was an undreamed assembly of the past, present and future. We expected maybe 30 folks and over 100 showed up. Surprised? Yes! Humbled? Yes!

Ellen's son and wife, their two children, the other grandparents and 2/3rds of my children, plus Judith's Mom,

brothers and son and daughter were all there. We were thankful for their willingness to join with us on this day.

As an aside, Judith chose the wedding music by herself.

Rather than the traditional wedding march, she innocently chose 'Amazing Grace' (which had been the closing number at Ellen's memorial service) - so as one union formally ended,

another was begun. As one who shared both experiences - it was awe inspiring to feel the difference between the two events.

Patricia so kindly wrote:

"May your days be filled with the love that you both have in your hearts . days filled with sunshine and happiness!! May God be with the both of you watch over the two of you bless you and keep you safe and warm! All my loving wishes and hopes to the both of you!!"

And we are really indebted to all for wishes like that - your support of this union has been worth more than all the gold in the universe.

Judith now joins me on this grief road - and her support and company will ease some of the bumps, but we both know that it is still up to me to navigate and deal with my issues.

I'm not leaving the list. I know there is more in front of me. I know too that only with the love and support of this group is it possible to keep a reasonably sane mind, and open heart.

Thanks again for all the support and kind words

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 21:18:35 -0700

Subject: [F-AHEAD] Off topic: A Special thank you To: FACING-AHEAD@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG

Thanks to each of you for the exceedingly kind wishes on the day of the wedding.

Judith and I truly had a special celebration in a church officiated by a minister friend of Judith's.

We were honored by the past friends (of my marriage to Ellen), family members, and new friends who attended.

It was an undreamed assembly of the past, present and future. We expected maybe 30 folks and over 100 showed up. Surprised? Yes! Humbled? Yes!

Ellen's son and wife, their two children, the other grandparents and 2/3rds of my children, plus Judith's Mom,

brothers and son and daughter were all there. We were thankful for their willingness to join with us on this day.

As an aside, Judith chose the wedding music by herself.

Rather than the traditional wedding march, she innocently chose 'Amazing Grace' (which had been the closing number at Ellen's memorial service) - so as one union formally ended,

another was begun. As one who shared both experiences - it was awe inspiring to feel the difference between the two events.

Patricia so kindly wrote:

"May your days be filled with the love that you both have in your hearts . days filled with sunshine and happiness!! May God be with the both of you watch over the two of you bless you and keep you safe and warm! All my loving wishes and hopes to the both of you!!"

And we are really indebted to all for wishes like that - your support of this union has been worth more than all the gold in the universe.

Judith now joins me on this grief road - and her support and company will ease some of the bumps, but we both know that it is still up to me to navigate and deal with my issues.

I'm not leaving the list. I know there is more in front of me. I know too that only with the love and support of this group is it possible to keep a reasonably sane mind, and open heart.

Thanks again for all the support and kind words

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 06:33:25 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] BIG MOVE

On Fri, 28 Jul 2000 20:04:13 -0400, Joe & Patricia Oponski wrote:

I get so angry for being so negative all the time. I can't wait until the day that I can rejoice and be just plain happy for no apparent reason!!

Patricia - that day will come!

I recall, and will never forget, June 15. That was a the first day I truly, truly enjoyed life again. It was a wonderful experience. It triggered some grief, but I fought to return to that happy feeling.

Keep fighting for yourself and your happiness. It is okay.

It is normal. It is part of living.

One book I read describes marriage as two hands clasped tightly together. Death robs us and takes away one of the hands. If we were to leave our hand as it were, trying to clasp a hand that is gone, then our hand would atrophy and wither. It is necessary to release our hand and return it to use to help us build a new life.

You can do it, alone or with help from friends and family.

It is okay to climb out of the well and breathe fresh air and see the sun rise and set.

Hugs and love

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 06:26:25 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] JUST TO VENT

Dear Patricia,

Your writing of the feelings you had when the house sold,

bring back fresh memories.

It seems that everytime I did something which took me further along the grief road there were those very painful moments that signaled that an old memory was now being replaced or shoved away by a new experience.

Those moments were extremely painful. At first I felt like a traitor. I felt that it was wrong to do something like that. But after a while I realized that I could not stand still, frozen in time, and continue to be alive at the same time.

That brought on another painful awareness. Nothing would bring Ellen back. Every step I took in living simply re-enforced that awareness. For me I found that in order to live I had to release some dreams and desires and it wasn't until then that I realized that I had been keeping those dreams and desires alive even though Ellen was dead.

Now I face a similar anniversary. Ellen's birthday is a few days away. I plan on celebrating and honoring it with our Granddaughter and Grandson. We will have a special celebration and enjoy knowing that our Ellen is safe and happy in her new life with God.

I truly admire what you wrote:

" But, I know now that God has a plan for me while I am here on earth and I hope that I meet his plan. I am doing whatever it takes to make myself happy some days I do good deeds for people some days I do things for myself .

some days it just is plain hard! But, I continually pray to God and ask him for strength and his Love . that is the only thing that is keeping me here on earth and is making me stronger every day! I really don't know where I would be if I did not have the faith that I have in God today!! I just can't imagine!!"

I wouldn't be where I am today without God's help. God has been with me, and I with God, everyday since Ellen's death. I trust in God, I pray to God and I believe there is a plan for each of us to continue living and continue enjoying all the beauty and goodness that life provides.

I hope you continue to honor Joe's life and death, and I hope and pray that you find more happiness in life everyday and that you find all that you desire in life and that you rejoice everyday that you live!

As you wrote: " May God be with each of you and love you eternally!!"

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 09:53:02 -0700

Subject: [F-AHEAD] JoAnn

Hi JoAnn - Your pain after the meeting reminded me of my first grief group meeting. It was a painful experience. I can recall barely being able to say my name and I could hardly say why I was there.

We used a pebble or rock that passed from person to person.

No one could talk except the person holding the rock. I think I held it 45 seconds and was able to talk only 15 seconds or so. It was so hard.

No way could I have talked about Ellen - in fact it took meeting after meeting before I was able to comfortably begin to talk about events and the loss. The good thing that happened through that experience was to see others and to learn I wasn't alone or weird for having those feelings of loss and pain.

The other benefit came when I realized it helped to have a safe place to cry and say what I was feeling. Finally being able to talk about grief and pain sort of freed me up from the power the pain had over me. Once the words came out of my brain and through my mouth I felt almost liberated and the pain slowly began to decrease.

You mentioned 'doing so well' . one of my favorit quotes (from someplace I don't remember where) is:

Your sorrow is an emotion, not a disease.

The only cure for grief is to grieve.

You don't have to prove that you're "so strong" and "doing so well".

I don't know if you've read or seen my favorite grief book.

It is:

"How to go on living when someone you love dies" Therese A. Rando, Ph.D., originally published as "Grieving" paperback, published by Bantam Books, August 1991 ISBN 0-553-35269-5

It covers adult, child, spouse, parent death - various causes - including illness, and anticipated and unanticipatd death. It was truly a godsend for me.

Try to be gentle with yourself. There is no best way or right way to go through grief. I learned to let the tears come and go when they wanted to. Whenever I resisted them the grief always hurt more - when I gave into my feelings and let them wash over me, the new feelings were always more comfortable than the old feelings.

Keep your faith in God. My faith and thousands of prayers helped me on this journey. Even when I was in the deepest well, or in my worst nightmare, prayer and God helped me out.

Here is something I found useful

I Am There By James Dillet Freeman

I wrote "I Am There" when my first wife was dying. When I first found out how sick she was, a doctor told me there was no hope for her. This just came to me; I wrote it down; I didn't think of it as writing. I wrote it down as I prayed for my wife.

Do you need Me? I am there.

You cannot see Me, yet I am the light you see by.

You cannot hear Me, yet I speak through your voice.

You cannot feel Me, yet I am the power at work in your hands.

I am at work, though you do not understand My ways.

I am at work, though you do not understand My works.

I am not strange visions. I am not mysteries.

Only in absolute stillness, beyond self, can you know Me as I am, and then but as a feeling and a faith.

Yet I am there. Yet I hear. Yet I answer.

When you need Me, I am there.

Even if you deny Me, I am there.

Even when you feel most alone, I am there.

Even in your fears, I am there.

Even in your pain, I am there.

I am there when you pray and when you do not pray.

I am in you, and you are in Me.

Only in your mind can you feel separate from Me, for only in your mind are the mists of "yours" and "mine." Yet only with your mind can you know Me and experience Me.

Empty your heart of empty fears.

When you get yourself out of the way, I am there.

You can of yourself do nothing, but I can do all.

And I am in all.

Though you may not see the good, good is there, for I am there.

I am there because I have to be, because I am.

Only in Me does the world have meaning; only out of Me does the world take form; only because of Me does the world go forward.

I am the law on which the movement of the stars and the growth of living cells are founded.

I am the love that is the law's fulfilling.

I am assurance.

I am peace.

I am oneness.

I am the law that you can live by.

I am the love that you can cling to.

I am your assurance.

I am your peace.

I am one with you.

I am.

Though you fail to find Me, I do not fail you.

Though your faith in Me is unsure, My faith in you never wavers, because I know you, because I love you.

Beloved, I am there.

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Hugs and prayers and

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 10:03:51 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Grief Sessions

Dearest Noel,

I am truly proud of you for joining this group. We shared a journey on the Multiple Myeloma list and I always looked forward to your MM posts.

Now we share another list and I have mixed emotions now that you are here. It hurts so much to see another human truly suffer as all who join this list do. It hurts so much to know that cancer, whatever its form, has claimed another loved and treasured human. I hate that disease so much. I pray we learn not only how to cure it, but first how to prevent it. I am so tired of the suffering that it brings our way.

Your first grief group experience is a mirror image of mine. I won't bother to repeat all that I just wrote to JoAnn - but please know that I would have sent it to you,

too, had I read your note first.

Another saying that remains by my desk and is helpful everyday is:

"It is not a choice of pain or no pain, but how you will manage the pain for today."

Sometimes I had to manage the pain minute by minute - then eventually hour by hour and finally I got to day by day.

It is a tough journey. You are among good friends.

The pain of your loss is so intense that these words will be like a tree in front of a hurricane. Perhaps one seed from one tree can someday create a forest to protect you.

May God be with you and protect you.

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2000 19:14:41 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] FACING-AHEAD Digest - 25 Jul 2000 to 27 Jul 2000 -

Special

issue (#2000-1 .

Dear Betty,

May God bless and protect you and the family as you face Tommy's death.

A friend sent me this; it was attributed to Herry Scot Holland, Canon of St.

Paul's Cathedral.

"Death is nothing at all. I have slipped away into another room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old famliar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of soleminity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Pray,

smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was; let it be spoken without affect, without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.

All is well."

Love, prayers, hugs and

Regards, Dave [Multiple Myeloma Caregiver 1996 - 2000]

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Date: Sat, 5 Aug 2000 19:21:05 -0700

Subject: Re: [F-AHEAD] Grief Again

On Sat, 5 Aug 2000 20:31:04 EDT, Carol Niehus wrote:

>So what is the reward I wonder? After one year a certificate? Two years some kind of medallion? How about my mom back? For just one moment, just one more warm touch, one more smile and one more wave good-bye.

Carol - your story touched so many of my nerves and so deeply. I thank you for the bravery it took to write -

I shared tears, not too long ago, with a dear friend whose husband died 14 years ago. It seems we continue to honor and recall our loved ones for a long time.

I guess the reward is knowing that those people were with us and part of us and even though their physical body is long gone, their love, memory and sweet days together are still alive inside of us, and that we continue to honor them every day we live.

Ellen has been gone almost 6 months on the 8th, and I get to honor her with my son and then with our granddaughter.

It will be a moment for each of us to dread, fear, and then, I hope, feel good about. Like you Mom, she was a special, special human and lady.

Your Mom is well honored and loved by your memories. She is both the source of your pain and your reward. May God be kind to both of you and each of us.

Love, hugs and Dave Palmer
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