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[This is a response to my post of 1/13/03. Josy sent this to me as a private email on 1/14/03. It is reproduced here with her kind permission. -- Robert Young, Webmaster]

a woman in grief Since Thursday will be the 4th anniversary of [my husband's] death (diagnosed Fall 94) this is a good time to reflect on some of the questions you posed.

Perhaps some personal information to put my reactions in context.

I was 62 when [he] died. We had been married 36 1/2 years, had 3 children who live in the Carolinas. (We live in NY state). No religious affiliation. I was, and am, working at a University.

I think there is no preparation for the grief which seems to came in waves, like a bad storm, but some things have helped.

[My husband] often said, "I am so lucky to have you." At the time I thought the remark was a bit silly. What did he expect me to do, walk out on him? Now I cherish it, especially when I get the "should haves" (I should have done ...) It reassures me that whatever I did do was appropriate.

[His] dying was so peaceful that it was a consolation.

Right after his death the children and my sister were there to help with the arrangements. It might have been easier if he had left instructions, but perhaps not.

The children stayed two weeks. They took some of his things, left others to be dealt with later. Gave a lot to a charity I knew he approved of. That helped.

I was anxious to get back to work. I didn't teach that semester but found that doing administrative work was a reason to get up and dressed in the morning. It was a routine. After his death I was asked to become active in several organizations and accepted. Another (new) routine.

Being alone was/is both a comfort and a curse. Two days was fine, three depressing. Too many people can be tiring, people who knew and loved [him] less so.Sudden reminders of him, a quote of one of his reviews, a reference to his opinions have become a comfort - he is remembered.

It was very helpful that [he] had once told me he was glad to be dying first because he knew I would be all right. At the time I thought he underestimated the degree to which I relied on him, now I see it as a vote of confidence.

He kept the household accounts and informed me of where things stood while I listened with half an ear. At his death bills were up to date and there was little problem picking up.

As I re-read this it seems the most important thing [he] did to get me through his dying was to give me the confidence I needed. He let me know he thought I could cope and I did. It was the greatest of his many gifts to me.

Peace, Josy


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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.