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I was married to my husband for 38 years. We had been together for 41 years until he passed on 12/26/20. He was just 61 when he passed from a rare form of dementia. I thought I would be good after he passed away but I'm finding out it is hard. I have a hard time making simple decisions around the house and I can get overwhelmed easily. I am making mistakes at work that I never made before. I wanted to work full-time until age 70 but I'm thinking maybe in 6 1/2 years when I'm 65. I find peace when I have my weekends to myself.

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My condolences over the loss of your dear husband. I'm sure it's very hard to cope with such a loss, especially after being together for 41 years!

Can you join a support group for widows in your area? Grief counseling can be a valuable resource for you, perhaps one-on-one with a therapist even. Elisabeth-Kubler Ross has written some wonderful books on the subject, you may want to check out on Amazon or from your local library.

I think it's hard to focus & concentrate when a person has suffered a major life change, such as a death, so it's not surprising you're making mistakes at work. Making decisions on your own is tough, too, since it's easy to second guess yourself when you don't have another person to roll ideas off of. I'm sorry you're alone now & processing all these changes along with the grief.

Do you have children who can help you? Good friends to call on to have coffee with or share a meal with? Reach out to people now and ask for help and companionship. Being alone can be peaceful, but being with loved ones can also bring a level of comfort during times of grief. Maybe join a book club when you feel able to focus on reading again *if that is something you enjoy* or perhaps take a cooking class. Learning a new hobby can be a good distraction, too.

Wishing you all the best as you go through such a difficult time, my friend. May God bless you and bring you comfort.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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I am sorry for your loss. I feel your pain. I lost my husband of 26 years in Sept. 2020 at the age of 72. I am 61(almost 62) He had vascular dementia, along with many other issues and I was his caregiver for many, many years. I thought it would be a relief after he died in many ways, but like you, I am finding it to be harder than I thought. Because I was under so much stress while caring for my husband, I now find that I don't want to deal with any kind of stress,(if I can help it) and am instead choosing peace.
I've been finding it very therapeutic to write stories of my husbands journey. One of the very first things I wrote was a long list of things that I was grateful for with my husband. Thornton Wilder said that "the greatest tribute to the dead is not grief, but gratitude," so I thought what better way to honor his memory than with a list of all the things I was grateful for. These were things that I let him know when he was still alive, but I like to on occasion, now that he's gone, go back and read that list as it always makes me smile.
All cities offer support groups called Grief Share, that meet now on Zoom(although I think some are starting to meet in person again). There are usually many different meetings at different times and days, so if you're not already involved in that, that might be a good option for you.
I was a single mom for 7 years before I married my husband, so I was used to making all the decisions, and a year and a half after we were married my husband had a massive stroke, so I've been making all important decisions for as long as we were married, so that isn't an issue for me, but I can certainly relate to the getting overwhelmed easily. That's why I'm trying to keep the stress out of my life, as I've had more than my fair share.
Please take care of yourself, and do something special for yourself every day. It doesn't have to be anything big, but it has to be something. They say it will get easier over time. I'm sure it will, but it's important for both of us now to allow ourselves to grieve how ever long it takes, for the men we loved. Praying for God's peace and comfort to be with you, as you go on without your husband.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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We had been married for 32 years and he was 62and 1 week when he passed. We did everything together shopping, church,just everything. Still miss him .he even helped to plan his furneal even what he wore.. so I understand where you are coming from . Be mindful we will miss our spouse till the we did. But we do learn how to accept that we are alone and we will get through this it takes time and Gods grace."his grace is sufficient".we don't need loved ones loss until we lose them. God gives us grace as we need it.
I would suggest that you get some counseling til you get through needing.take one day at a time,keep putting one foot in front of the othér one day you will realize you are doing the bills, grocery, shopping going to church all on your own.Remember the poem call "Footprints". Right now there are no footprints cause God is caring you one day soon you will see your footprints cause God is no longer carrying you but walking by your side. "He will never leave or forsake thee". God bless
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Reply to Sharon45caregiv
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I agree that you need to give yourself much more time to recover from your loss.

But another point is the pressure you've been under. Early onset dementia is hard, and how long were you living with it? Imagine an elephant has been sitting on you (and gaining weight) over that length of time, and now the elephant has got up and moved away. The unremitting stress and tension are gone but you'd hardly expect to feel straightforward relief. Your whole world is different. *You* are different.

I won't guess at a time line, although it's good that you are at work and I hope you have an enlightened employer? Recovery is different for everyone, and often doesn't follow a simple forward path - there may be times when you thought you were feeling better only to be knocked off your feet again. The absolutely critical thing to hold on tight to is that you will not feel like this forever.

Back to basics, too: are you taking reasonably good care of yourself physically? Diet, exercise, sleep?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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My husband passed away seven months ago after struggling with Alzheimer's for eight years. The last three years were a total nightmare. There's such a thing as post-caregiver burnout that's a lot like PTSD. Would your work let you take some time off, like family leave? I promise you things will get better, and you might wish you still had your job. Having something meaningful to do is a wonderful antidote to grief. But first you need to give yourself time to heal.
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Reply to Ziggi71
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My deepest sympathy.
My husband of 23 years was killed in a car accident .We knew each other for 27 years. It was sudden and hurt all family members. His side of the family and my children decided to process things on their own. That pretty well took me out of a lot of support. I almost ended my life.
26 years later my children are beginning to talk with me. I have 3 grandchildren and I suppose that is why.
I am thankful for the counseling support I received. I have formed a different life than what I ever thought. But, I am well and thankful for this new life God has provided me with.
Please be patient with yourself. Please find non- judgemental support. Maybe talk with your Dr. I went on medication for a short time. In my case it helped.
I have found all of life has changes that we didn't think would happen. It becomes a matter of resilency if we come out successful. But, it does take more time than we want usually. In America and most of the world we want things to work NOW. All of life takes time. Please give yourself the luxury of time.
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Reply to Peace1
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You are still in a period of shock after your husband's death. Indecision and poor concentration and making weird mistakes and being easily overwhelmed are totally normal. Take things slowly, break tasks into smaller, easily managed steps, do one thing at a time and appreciate that you even did that one thing! "Today I put the silverware away.". "Today I paid the electric bill."

For quite awhile after my husband died, I could not read so much as a sentence in the newspaper, and I dissolved in tears when I had to speak to Customer "Service" on the phone. I wrote checks for the wrong amounts and I was certain I needed to sign myself into a Home for the Mentally Deranged.

It gets better. It takes time. For me it was at least 8 months before I could cope more adequately with every day demands and could begin to build on "What's next."

Your confusion sounds very familiar. Take all the time you need. Ask for help with legal paperwork and decisions. Professionals will know how to do things correctly. You will get back to yourself in time.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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This is normal when grieving.

I found myself in a mental fog. I also couldn’t make simple decisions.

I would go out with a good attitude, and sometimes leave the grocery store in tears, simply because the cashier would ask, “How are you today?”

This will all clear. Be gentle on yourself. Work out. Get out of the house.

The fog will lift. You will be stronger.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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Do be sure to give yourself time and space to feel disoriented and distraught and distressed. Don't pretend you do not feel sad and lonely and confused. Feel them. And then continue on with your day.

Your brain fog will not always dominate your day and your grieving response will take its appropriate place in your life.

I love the quote that eventually you "put your grief in your pocket and carry it with you."
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Reply to RedVanAnnie
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OldAlto Apr 29, 2021
Of all the responses I have read so far, your saying, "Don't pretend you do not feel sad and lonely and confused. Feel them," is extremely important.
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I am so sorry for your loss. You need time to heal from this tremendous upheaval in your life. It has only been about four months. First, the shock of his rare diagnosis, then caregiving and then his passing. And now trying to manage on your own while facing all those well meaning friends and people at work who, if they can bring themselves say anything at all to you, might say something so cliche you just want to scream!

In our culture it seems that we expect those that suffer loss to recover quickly and “just get back in the saddle” within a short period of time. I mean, what is the average paid leave benefit for the death of a loved one nowadays? In my last job, (years ago maybe things are better) the paid leave for the death of close family members was three days. You could request more, but it wasn’t paid unless you wanted to use “approved” vacation time. And even good friends expect us to get back to normal and just get out of the house. But it seems as if nothing feels the same.

If you can pull yourself together try to find some individual counseling for your grief and then move to a bereavement support group. Contact your local hospice and see if they have, or can point you to resources. If there is someone you can trust, perhaps they will come to the first few groups with you. But above all realize you have been through a traumatic experience and allow yourself much, much more time to get back to baseline functioning.
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Reply to Mepowers
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