Eddie: "In the beginning, the dreams were vivid. I remember one particular dream where I woke up and saw her silhouette coming at me, kind of a white energy, if you will, but I saw a silhouette. I didn't see her face, but I knew it was she and I saw her coming at me as I sat up and it was frightening. Frightening at first and then as it engulfed me, I felt a sense of calm and so to this day I associate her love and her protection in that moment of being engulfed in her silhouette".
Danielle: “Grief counseling. Whenever I would feel lost, I would give them a call. That really helped a lot.” “I just think everybody deals with it differently. A lot of people have opinions on how you handle it.”
Ronnye: “So he had his interests. And I had mine. We had our interests together. So I had a life apart from him. Not exclusively apart from him but I had a life. And I think that was important. It is important.”
Darrell: "We had a cocktail hour every Saturday evening after Roger came home from church and before going out to dinner. It usually included wine or champagne, cheese, some fruit, nuts, and crackers. We would have some unobtrusive music on. This would be our time, every week, to really talk to each other. About life, our shared or personal histories or any plans we had for the future."
Jane: “After he died I joined a bereavement support group which was a really good thing to do. The social worker who led it said 2 very important things that I found helpful: ‘Keep busy. And time will make things better.’ There’s a lot of pain and it’s almost like a physical pain.”
Jane: “I’ve read that when older people lose their partners then you don’t get touched. To be without touch is a terrible thing. It’s like up there with food and shelter. And that’s why it’s good to get out there and meet people and yes, have companionship. I think people sort of go back to their usual state before a spouse died. I mean if you’ve been a person with a sense of humor you will go back to having a sense of humor- you retain your basic self.”
Diana: "I was never a therapy person, never, never had a therapist growing up, adulthood, until I realized that I couldn't handle the grief, not because it was grief, but because it came to me when I didn't expect it and oftentimes not conveniently. So,the grief is not the problem at all. I mean I want to feel the grief because it's the only place where I can visit him, where he exists now. There's such a sense of relief when it interrupts your day, when you're in the middle of business or when you're in the middle of Barnes and Noble shopping and then you'll hear a song...and I realize that maybe I need to have it more often and not on the rare random moments where I'm doing my thing and and it hits. Maybe I should be more aware of it as this living breathing organism and incorporate it into my life more."
Diana:"Part of taking care of yourself is taking care of your kids because it's all the same. That's what I say. And my therapist or a friend will say, what have you done for you? And I say, you're only as happy as your most miserable child. The best thing of all is these two kids and when they have suffered trauma,you are that much more fierce about your happiness being in large part about their being able to adjust and cope and function with the grief and sadness in their lives, and to also learn that they can experience joy and pleasure."
Sue:"I was a member of the “Y” in which I still am. And when I came in after sitting shiva, everybody said, just keep on going, keep on going. And if anybody asks you to go out, go even if you don't like them, go, just get out. And that's what I did."
Sue:"I went to a bereavement group at the “Y” and I said the problem that I had was that I had no women friends. We were all couples. And so one of the yentas said to me, ‘when you stop playing bridge with all the men you’ll have women friends’. So I started to play Mah- Jongg."
Dennis:"She died the second month of this year, February. I'm seeing a lot of people from all walks of my life. I'm getting together for lunches, dinners, hanging out with people and I'm also seeing my therapist twice a week. So I guess I'm taking care of myself the best I can. I'm scared because, you know, I'm 72. Judy and I found love relatively late in life and I thought we would grow old together, I really feel lost,really feel like the wind kicked out of me and I feel like half a person. So every day is different. Some days. are more weepy than others.I'm not sure what brings it on. I don't like being home by myself in the mornings, and the nights are very hard. I wake up with a lot of anxiety in my chest."
Judy:"Wow. It's kind of romantic. I loved it. It was kind of a wild story. It was like God put his hand in and said,'here are two people who might enjoy each other's company'. And indeed we did. We were best friends, we were lovers, we were adventurers together. He was just my favorite person in the whole world. We shared so much. We each had a lot of interests, some of which we shared, some of which we didn't share, some of which we taught each other to share."
Judy:"I feel his presence very strongly sometimes and I mean I've never tried to pin down what it is that triggers that. I know sometimes I get into bed at night and I know there's something I can discuss with him and then it sort of hits me - 'well no. you can't'. Um, it's very jarring. And his presence is very real. Sometimes, I'll be in the bedroom or I'll be here in the living room and I know he's in the other room. I just know he's in the other room."
Paula: "The things in my life I do, I do for joy and if it doesn't bring me joy or someone doesn't bring me joy, it's not in my life. That's how I survived and I have to say too that my friends were unbelievable. There's one couple who fed me for a year because they knew I wouldn't bother and I would come home and there would be this gift package on my front porch and they'd even provide, you know, the surprise, like a cookie, which I would never do for myself."
Barbara: "Friends were in touch and some people wanted to come by right away and bring things. And actually I wanted to be quiet and alone. Didn't want a circus. I never wanted a lot of people around. My daughter pointed it out because she came after and she said, ‘it's so quiet here’. And I stopped listening to everything. The news, music - I always had music going - and I didn't listen to music for at least a year, not deliberately.
I just wanted to be with myself and I think that was kind of alarming, and actually it was very instructive because now when I turn on music, it's very deliberate. Today I want to hear Beethoven, tomorrow, I want to hear Motown or ragas, because I have a very broad interest in music, but it's not just background. It is very much part of where I am at that moment. And that happened at that time, which I thought was kind of interesting. It happened quite naturally. I didn't think about it."