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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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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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Sweetie, please accept my condolences. I can empathize with being overwhelmed with things. I find it helpful to just stop and breathe! In through your nose. Out through your mouth. Big deep breaths.
Then pat yourself on the back for every decision you do/can make. Cereal or pancakes for breakfast? Soup or salad for lunch? Easy decisions you can make. You seem to be going thru what I did after my dad died. I was depressed. Couldn't decide to turn left or right leaving my house. Couldn't decide to wear my black flats or navy blue flats.
Can you visit with your doctor and see if a mild anti depressant could help? I take them now since my husband's diagnosis of dementia. It helps keep me level. I no longer spend everyday sitting on the sofa in my nightgown.
Can you take a week or so off from your job? And just pamper yourself. Long bubble bath. Mani/pedi, hour long massage?
Sending you a huge hug and waves of comforting energy.
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Alzdone, I offer you my condolences on the loss of your husband. You are in good company with this forum. Some of us have gone thru the tragic death of our beloved spouse. We all ask, “now what?”. What do we do with our lives? How do we fill this void? You will never fill the void, but you can build a new life, you can make things better. Funkygrandma mentioned a couple of things you can do to help, journaling and gratitude. Try journaling the good times you've had over the years. It may be sad writing down those experiences, but it can also be therapeutic. I find that being an advocate for Alzheimer's and dementia awareness and speaking to groups has helped me. In order to overcome the grief that follows a spouse's death, you have to work thru it. Just waiting around for time to time to go by doesn't work.

Your grief can cause loss of concentration at work, make simple decisions more difficult, and zap your energy. There are many emotions and feelings you can go thru during this grief journey. Grief, guilt, gratitude are just three. Grief comes at the loss of a LO and you can't prevent it. Some people feel guilt because of something they did or something they didn't do, but guilt is self imposed, it needn't be. Gratitude, however, can overcome guilt and help lessen grief. Although you would have liked to celebrate many more than 38 yrs of marriage, find gratitude in those years that brings a smile to you face.

A book I found very helpful is “Getting to the Other Side of Grief, Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse”. It's not too late to find a dementia support group. Many of them also serve as grief support groups.
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alzdone May 2021
Thank you for recommending this book. I am reading it now and I can't believe how right on this book is. I can relate to so many things the talk about. Again THANK YOU.
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You are GRIEVING.
I hope you are talking to someone either a Bereavement Counselor, Therapist anyone that can help you.
What you are describing is the very reason "they" say not to make any major decisions for at least 1 year after the death of a loved one.
Have you taken any time for yourself?
Yes you need to keep busy but you also have to cope with this tremendous loss. Make no plans now for what you will do in 6 1/2 years. A LOT can happen.
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Guve yourself time to mourn.

It takes time to heal, years even, you have just begun the process.

Just remember it's a day to day process and know that it will truly start getting a little better every day..

You should find and go to meetings, where others have lost their spouse.

It's good to talk to ones that are dealing with what you are going thru.

Try to do more fun things just for you like getting a manicure, massage, ect.

Start a new hobby, something you've always thought about.

Go on a Vacation.

Good idea to retire when you can.

Prayers
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I am sorry your husband died. The first 6 months is the hardest. Been there with my mom. I know. One thing about life--you have to try to get a grip on yourself because jobs are hard to get, and the bills keep on coming in no matter what your life situation is. but at least he is through with the ordeal of life, and you no longer have to worry about him. He had a terminal illness no different than cancer or other malady that terminates life. He no longer suffers. Because we are alive we are left with the burden of suffering, because that is life.

Nobody is going to escape death so it is natural to die. You are going to have to give yourself time. What you are going through is natural.

You have to carry on because what other option is there? Crack up? It won't bring them back. Nothing will no matter how much you cry or wish them back--they are gone.

Have you any friends to hang out with? You need that. Go out and enjoy yourself with them. That helps me out a lot.

What helped me adapt to mom's death is keeping a schedule or routine and just go through it. I ride my bicycle everyday too.

But yes those first six months are the hardest. you are going to need friends. If you don't have anybody you can talk to, see a counselor. If your husband was on hospice they will connect you with support.

If after one year you still cannot get on with the pulse of the living, keep this in mind about "complicated grief".
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complicated-grief/symptoms-causes/syc-20360374

Try to keep a schedule and try not make any drastic changes since this death is a change in itself.
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I just lost my partner of the past 20 years also and the pain and, in my case, guilt, is almost unbearable at times. He was a relatively young 70. He had delusional behavior from the dementia that had increased so much that his PCP was able to get him admitted to a GPU for evaluation and stabilization. He never left the hospital, he just shut down a few days in and a week later we moved him to hospice and a week after that he passed away.
I run the moment when he went through the door into the unit, explaining to the nurses how I had bought this special cane for him and laughing, and I want to pull him back and just run away with him. I wanted to help him get his demons under control, not to die. And even though others tell me this rapid progression is not unusual I can't get past it.
Like you, if I had my druthers I probably would have quit work and any other obligation because it all seemed too overwhelming, but to do what? Sit in silence, or tears? I was glad to read about not making any major decisions for a year and I may cling to that. I haven't even unpacked the bags from the hospice stay and it's been two weeks. When I made it through an entire meal or television show I counted it as victories.
I am in therapy though the sessions so far are just me crying. It's so quiet, and all that sleep I thought I would catch up on seems elusive.
We just have to get through it. I don't think there are any shortcuts.
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NeesaLee Apr 2021
Hi Dara
I completely understand how hard it is to comprehend how fast the brain deceases can move. My hubby had hospice care less than a month. He went into a hospital bed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov 26 because he kept falling randomly. He died 12 days later on Dec 8th and all the while his body looked as healthy as ever. I’m still processing the speed with which FTD took him. The grieving is real and we must feel it to process it. However we all will go at an appointed time, so do your best to let go of any guilt, it wasn’t up to you. I tell my hubby I love him everyday just like when he was alive. In God’s mercy, I’m hoping he might hear me! Blessings
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Hi Alzdone,
Our stories are so similar that it’s a little eyrie. My husband of 40 years died on Dec 8, 2020 of Frontotemporal Dementia, a very rare brain decease. I was his caregiver for 6 years and it was without a doubt the toughest years of my life. We previously had wonderful jobs, beautiful children and grandchildren. I am a very young thinking 61 and he was a very young 67 at the time of his passing. Though his brain could no longer tell his body what to do, he was the most gorgeous man and his body still looked amazingly healthy even as he died. I like you thought his passing would mark a new start in my life. I had the wisdom and foresight to begin counseling early on after his diagnosis in 2015 which has proven to be one of the best things I could have done. According to my counselor for many folks, the 3rd and 4th months after a loved one dies can be the hardest time. The rest of the world has gone on doing what they do and here we sit. I thought too that I had done much of my grieving BEFORE he died. However much of my grieving now is over the wonderful life we had together and the loss of that life. I was so engrossed in his care 24/7/365 and exhausted from it that the good life we had before FTD had just faded away. Now I have time and energy to process that loss. Which could be what you are experiencing as well. I am looking for opportunities to help others when I can. I had quit 4 different jobs to take care of my hubby so I don’t currently work. So I’m volunteering at my church one morning a week. I’m taking my daughter’s pups out at lunchtime a few times a week and taking people who need a ride for medical appointments. Trying to fill my days with helping others until I figure out what moving forward looks like for me. God bless you on the road of new starts!!! I think we’ll get there if we just take our time, feel what we’re supposed to feel and be kind to ourselves. My counselor also says about grief “ there’s only one way to deal with grief and that’s straight thru the middle of it. No going over it, no side-skirting it, no going under it!!! Don’t know if any of this helps you, but it helps me to share. All the best to you!
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I felt the same way after loosing my husband of 41 years to a brain tumor. I also had to close our business abruptly which we’d had for 40 years as well so I lost not only him but my means of support at the same time. It was very hellish but I was able to get private counseling and I also went through the GriefShare program. Both helped a lot. When your life partner is suddenly gone it turns everything upside down.
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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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Dealing with grief from a LO passing is very heartbreaking. The grief never goes away you just get used to it over time. If you have family and/or children you can focus your love for them with, it will help alleviate and distract from some of your pain. If not, it will be more difficult for you, and you need to find other ways to refocus your life. While you may look for job, do some volunteer work until you find one. See your neighbors and/or friends as much as can. You can even travel alone within a group check with a travel agency. You are only limited by your imagination. Good Luck and God Bless You.
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Quite challenging.
The amount of loneliness is unbearable at times. You had made that strong bond knowing that part of you would attend to other matters that concerned you.
But, I advise you to get a genuine man friend to help you where faminimity over rides you. Men can be understanding and helpful.
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Tynagh Apr 2021
Seriously? Sorry, Passion, but "a male friend" is not the answer. Friends are lovely, but she needs to decompress and then learn to take on each day and challenge. And "femininity" doesn't override people. Women are strong as steel.
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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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You can also seek for counseling and engage in activities that can boost your mood.
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Caregiving is draining and the reason you feel overwhelmed and mistake driven is because there is often no room left in your body, mind, soul for anything more than recovering from caregiving. Congratulate yourself for taking one step at a time. Did you file insurance papers today? CONGRATULATIONS! Did you remember to pay bills today? WELL DONE! Working while caregiving is like having two full time jobs and your entire being is just crying out for recovery and time to decompress.
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Please consider that you are still in the midst of the grieving process. Don't make major decisions right now. Give yourself extra time to complete tasks at home and lots of grace when things haven't gotten back to "normal" or "easier." Life goals for now are safe and healthy -keep it simple.

May I suggest that you join a grief group - either online or in-person. I highly recommend GriefShare, all the members are going through loss of a loved one or have completed walking that path awhile ago. They give the best guidance.

If groups are difficult for you, consider meeting weekly with a counsellor to help process your grief and all these new changes in your life. Some can meet online and others in person.

Talk to your boss or clients about the fact that you are dealing with a major life event. Consider cutting back on responsibilities or hours for a couple of months - come to an agreement - in order to have time you need for this transition. Then, gradually add back your former responsibilities or hours until you are back at your "normal." This may ease the job stress you are feeling. Most work situations are more sensitive about changes due to major family events (marriages, births, moves, deaths). If this can not happen, then cut back expectations on the home front until you are managing work well. Then, add home expectations gradually.
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Four months is not enough to overcome the deepest of grief and sadness; it will take longer but it should get easier. What really helps is being around spiritual, positive, supportive people and being busy helping others.
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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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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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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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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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OldAlto Apr 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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Alzdone,

I am so sorry for the loss of your husband.

I am married 43 years today.

Even though we are individuals our spouses truly are a part of us.

We do become ‘one’ in our married lives.

Is there a specific time table for grief? No, I don’t think so. It’s different for all of us.

Some people keep on moving and won’t allow themselves to grieve which isn’t healthy.

Others stay in a deep state of grief and do not even attempt to move forward. They miss out on life which is sad because their deceased spouse would never have wanted them to grieve forever!

Those who have lost a spouse deserve to live a full life. I wish peace and comfort all in this situation.

You are in the grieving process. Give yourself time. Don’t rush.

Don’t hesitate to see a grief counselor.

I wish that I could recommend a good book but I haven’t read any except for children’s books which I read to my daughters when they were younger and lost grandparents. Maybe other posters know of a good book about losing a spouse.

My husband was recently diagnosed with cancer and I was beside myself. He has responded well to his treatments and only has hormone treatments left.

I can’t imagine how it feels to lose your lifelong partner. I am so very sorry. It must be your biggest heartache. It would be for me.

Wishing you peace.

Take care.
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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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I am not even sure what to say to console your grief from the loss of your husband. I can only say that you must take care of yourself first and keep the memories of those 41 years close to your heart. Give yourself time to grieve and do this on your own terms. If working is what you want to do or have to do just do your best to do your job to the best of your abilities. My husband of 32 years has type 2 diabetes and heart problems and his short term memory is fading. It is not easy to lose a loved one my mother passed away almost four years ago and I miss her so much. I hope you reach out to loved ones and friends to help you pass the time without him.
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alzdone: Imho, you must give yourself more time to grieve and please understand that there exists no time limit on grief. Prayers sent and I am so sorry for the loss of your husband at a relatively young age.
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sorry for your loss. I am sure that your brain is still grieving and trying to sort things out. Have you seen a grief counselor? its worth a try and it might help to relieve some of the stress you are feeling. Try writing down what you need to do in a list and do one at a time, once that is finished move onto the next. Do you have any children that could possibly give you suggestions on how to handle some things? Does your work allow you a certain amount of time "off work" for a death of a spouse? did you take advantage of that? I know some places are hard to deal with in those situations, but others allow you several weeks to get back to some kind of normal. I wish you luck and take one step at a time.
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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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Hi: Sorry for your loss. I am a School Social Worker and on the side do bereavement counseling. Your husband’s passing is so recent that it is fully understandable how you feel.

In understanding that you are not thinking clearly because of your grief;
One Major recommendation is to not make any major decisions for at least six months (some say a year).

While individual or group counseling may not be a viable option (especially during the pandemic) the I suggest you Google; Hope for Bereaved, Syracuse, New York. They are a wonderful resource for many reasons.
The have produced and sell a dynamic book, I believe by the same name. It is a collection of letters that touch on all emotions and across all categories of death, including the loss of an elder partner in life. If gotten, you may find comfort in knowing your not alone. They also offer a host of other services free of charges and are truly an example of ‘Angels amongst us’.

Be forgiving and patient with yourself...

wayne
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I'm so sorry.
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