Why, God? Why??!!
November 15, 2005 12:54 PM   Subscribe

GriefFilter : My boyfriend died yesterday.

My world fell apart yesterday. My partner, George, died suddenly in his sleep. He was 54. I talked to him on the phone late Saturday night. He had a history of heart problems, but all I care about is that he's gone, how he died is irrelevant.

I am in the UK and I was due to fly out to Ohio on Friday to spend Thanksgiving with him on his farm, but instead I will be going to his funeral.

In May he asked me to live with him. We talked about it some more in July and we were going to finalise our plans and tell his family at Thanksgiving. I feel like my soul has been ripped into shreds. The only comfort I have is that the last words I said to him face-to-face, as I looked into his eyes as we parted in July were 'I love you'.

I have got through the worst 24 hours of my life by taking little baby steps. I am 4,000 miles away and am feeling pretty helpless in terms of what I can be doing to stop myself from coming apart. How the hell do people get through this pain? I am a recovering alcoholic so I don't have the luxury others do of being able to seek oblivion in drink or drugs.

What did you do to get through the loss of a partner?

George's family have asked me about a couple of things - music for his memorial (I've chosen 'Pilgrim' by Steve Earle) and a photo.

I would like my favourite photo of George to be enlarged and framed for the memorial service on Sunday. It's this one. He was the best man I have ever known, he was the epitome of a 'good man' - honest and true in all his dealings and I love him completely. This photo, taken in May 2004 when we were brand-new-in-love, shows the goodness radiating from him.

Could someone out there in MeFiLand crop the photo to take me and the background out and put it on a plainer background. Maybe take the reflection off his glasses? I have no idea how to do that kind of thing but know that there are people who have amazing skills with Photoshop.

I plan on putting the photo onto a memory stick and, once I get to Ohio on Friday, getting it printed at WalMart in about A3 size, and framed. Is there any way of making it higher resolution to preserve the quality?

My email is in my profile to re-send it to me if there is someone who can help.
posted by essexjan to Grab Bag (81 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I am so very sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, I am unable to help with the picture. However, I urge you to look into grief counseling. You may be able to find grief counseling specific to the loss of a partner. Several women I know have lost their husbands and found grief counseling key to getting their lives back together. While I recognize you were not yet living with him, the fact remains that you were committed to him and love him. Clearly, his family also recognizes this by their inclusion of you in planning his funeral.
posted by onhazier at 1:00 PM on November 15, 2005

Sorry to hear that
posted by growabrain at 1:03 PM on November 15, 2005

I am so sorry for your tragic loss, essexjan. You are in my thoughts.
posted by terrapin at 1:08 PM on November 15, 2005

This poem has helped me to grieve and then survive. I'm sorry to hear of your loss, and I wish you all the best in remembering George and honoring the love you had.

After Great Pain

After great pain, a formal feeling comes--
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs--
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round--
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought--
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone--

This is the Hour of Lead--
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow--
First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--
posted by hamster at 1:08 PM on November 15, 2005 [8 favorites]

The poem is Emily Dickinson's.
posted by hamster at 1:08 PM on November 15, 2005

What did you do to get through the loss of a partner?

I have not lost a partner, but I lost my mother at 15 and my father last year. As you said, the beginning is toughest. I found comfort in my friends and family in times of such devasting loss. Lean on them. They love you and they need you too.
posted by terrapin at 1:11 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry for your loss. My condolences. This must be a nightmare. My thoughts are with you.
posted by davar at 1:21 PM on November 15, 2005

I once met a Hell's Angel-like fellow who had ENTROPY tattooed across his chest in gothic capitals. I asked him why he had something so depressing written on him, and he replied that he didn't find it depressing at all - "Every story needs an ending." The meaning of anything only comes by contrasting it with when there is nothing.

Before his birth, from the beginning of time, George didn't exist. The period of his existence is no less meaningful and is no less to be celebrated just because it is in the past. The present is fleeting and memory is all we ever have, so celebrate his memory.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2005 [4 favorites]

I'm very sorry for your loss essexjan. I've sent you the photo you asked for. I hope it's OK.
posted by gfrobe at 1:30 PM on November 15, 2005

essexjan, I am sorry for your loss too. Do you have people around you now who can be there with you? I think that's important right now for you. Being so far away makes it even harder.

As for your photo, to be honest the image (and especially how you described both of you in that image) says a lot about him and your life with him. I would forgo the cropping and print it as is along with some form of your description.

As for how to get through this, it is one day at a time. I can only offer what has helped me. In similar (albeit not identical) circumstances I asked myself "will I get through today?" and the answer always was yes.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 1:34 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

I have no advice, but offer my condolences.
posted by justkevin at 1:34 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm so sorry, essexjan. I've never lost a partner, but my mother died earlier this year. I got through it by curling up in a ball and crying a lot, getting inappropriately angry a lot, and spending a lot of time on the internet talking about my mother, my grief, and occasionally things to take my mind off both those things.

Reach out and know there's support there, in whatever form you need it, but also know the only thing you have to do right now is take care of yourself.

Feel free to email me if you want to talk.
posted by occhiblu at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2005

I can't imagine your pain. My condolences.
posted by melissa may at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2005

Like some others here, I haven't lost a partner but last year lost my 19 year old brother (fell off one of those little motored mini-bikes).

I can only tell you this: as rough as it is right now, you *will* heal over time. How much time exactly depends on the person, but just hang in there and find comfort wherever you can. Some may find comfort in memories of the person, while it may make it even more unbearable for others to even look at pictures, read letters, etc. Just make sure you do whatever's best for your own personal sanity, but don't block everything out completely. And find someone you can talk to!
posted by Ekim Neems at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry, I don't have much advice about dealing with the pain. But for the image, unfortunately, there is no way to increase resolution after the fact. If you have an original of that image somewhere in a higher resolution, you should host that for someone to photoshop. The version you posted has nowhere near the resolution you need for a print, especially a large print. Sorry again, I hope that you find solace somehow.
posted by knave at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2005

I too am sorry.

I can take you out of the picture if you'd like. The image is not very big though so it's going to blur as you make it larger.

Let me know.

captain scared at gmail dot com
posted by captainscared at 1:38 PM on November 15, 2005

I am extremely sorry to hear of your loss. Know that your partner, since he was so good, will live on in you and those who knew him.

It looks like gfrobe has helped you with the picture; I could also help if I had a larger original image--the one you supplied was too small for me to enlarge to A3 without artifacts of the process. My email is on the website in my profile if you want to send me a larger file.

Keeping busy until the funeral may help you a little bit...

Sincere condolences.
posted by CaptApollo at 1:42 PM on November 15, 2005

I'll do my best to make the changes you want to the photo!
posted by mrs.pants at 1:42 PM on November 15, 2005

oh I'm sorry!

CaptApollo is on the job!

If you need anything else I'll try to be of service!
posted by mrs.pants at 1:46 PM on November 15, 2005

I'd offer to help with the picture, but it looks like you've already got a bunch of offers, from people who are probably more capable than I.

I do, however, offer my most sincere condolences. I can only imagine the pain you're in, and hope that you have family and friends who can help you through your time of grief.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:47 PM on November 15, 2005

essexjan, you have my sympathy and best wishes as well. I'm a rather good Photoshopper myself - I see gfrobe took a swing at it, but if you'd like another, drop me a line. My e-mail is in my profile.
posted by Tubes at 1:52 PM on November 15, 2005

The body may be gone but the spirit will live on through you. Be thankful for the time you had instead of regret for the time you didn't. That Steve Earle song is beautiful.
posted by any major dude at 1:52 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Here is a much bigger copy of the picture, if it's of any use.

Thank you all for your help, advice and support. I am sticking close to AA right now - although I am not thinking about a drink and haven't done in years, I need to protect myself when I'm vulnerable.

The grief counselling is a great idea. I'll check that out.
posted by essexjan at 1:55 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm so sorry, essexjan.
posted by Frisbee Girl at 1:56 PM on November 15, 2005

Wow, lots of posts while I got sidetracked during my comment. I see you have several editing offers.

One other thing you might look into: when my uncle died the funeral home took a small photo of him and reproduced it as a nice oil painting which was displayed at the service. I believe it was done using a projector to enlarge the image for "tracing," and they replaced the original photo background with a dark, velvety portrait-style background. Maybe you could have something like this done.
posted by Tubes at 1:57 PM on November 15, 2005

Essexjan, I did get a therapist, which helped, and I also found that talking to my friends who had suffered similar losses helped tremendously -- I didn't have to worry about offending them with my grief, if that makes sense. So if you have friends like that you can lean on, that can be a good thing.
posted by occhiblu at 2:00 PM on November 15, 2005

Best answer: I'm so sorry, Jan. I know when I've gone through deep, deep grief, the thing that I had to hang on to (to keep me from thinking I was losing my mind) was to keep telling myself that I wouldn't feel that much pain forever. To know that I would always miss someone -- to know that I would always feel some measure of loss in their absence -- to know that my life would be changed in ways I couldn't even yet know -- these were painful and honest but also comprehensible and, if not exactly comforting, at least allowed me to cling to my own sanity and a belief that I could, indeed, go on -- despite my fear that the deepest, darkest moments of grief would last forever.

I don't know if that makes any sense. I guess in the end I just kept telling myself "no matter what happens, I will survive."

Again, my deepest condolences on losing your beloved George.
posted by scody at 2:01 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have not lost a partner, but I lost my 18 year old sister in a tragic motorcycle accident three years ago. What helped me the most was staying away from people who tried to gloss over the very real pain I was feeling. These were the people who told me that God is in control and the reason I was depressed is because I was not praying hard enough. I am a religious person, but could not handle people telling me that I was bad to be feeling what I was feeling. I want to tell you to grieve however you need to grieve: scream, swear, cry, watch his favorite movie. Don't do something because you think it is how 'people are supposed' to grieve or because it is what others expect of you. Find someone who understands why you need to feel the way you do. If you can find that in a family member or friend, great. But if you can't, you may want to seek a support group for someone who can understand exactly what you are going through.
posted by rhapsodie at 2:07 PM on November 15, 2005

I've never lost a partner, but a lot of very close friends have died over the years, and, I'm sorry, but you never really get over it. All you can do is have a wake, celebrate his life, say goodbye in whatever way you feel is appropriate, and then embrace your emotions. You'll get through this.
posted by cmonkey at 2:17 PM on November 15, 2005

essexjan, "I'm so sorry" seems like such a feeble inadequate response, but please accept my sincere condolences. My mate came very close to dying three times in 2003, and she has major heart problems that are being addressed, but will require more invasive treatment further down the line. In any case, she has greatly reduced life expectancy.

I think a support group and therapy may help you deal with your tragic loss. Think of the good times the two of you had and how you brightened his life and brought him joy. Also, try not to be alone. Be in the company of good friends and family who will give you emotional support, but who also know when to be quiet and let you gather your thoughts.
posted by Devils Slide at 2:33 PM on November 15, 2005

Give yourself time to grieve. Don't let ANYONE, anyone AT ALL, tell you that you've grieved "long enough." It is different for everyone, and you will almost certainly think you're done grieving at some point but realize later that you're not. Allow yourself as much time as you need to deal with this pain, and don't let ANYONE, anyone AT ALL, tell you when it's time to "get over it."

That includes yourself. Don't supress your feelings because you feel like you "should be over it by now" or any such thing. Go to your meetings, own your feelings, share with your friends and loved ones and his friends and loved ones and let the grief run its course.

You will get through this, though there will be times when you won't think that's possible. You'll think you don't have the strength, but you do.

My thoughts are with you.
posted by Gator at 2:36 PM on November 15, 2005


[that means, moment of silence]
posted by matildaben at 2:37 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm so very sorry for your lost.
posted by SoulOnIce at 3:05 PM on November 15, 2005

How the hell do people get through this pain?
You're asking the right question. I don't think we ever "get over" these things; but we do "get through" them, and the only answer I've found (although it may not be comforting) is with time: to endure every painful moment.

The only solace I've found is to look around and remind myself that millions of people have endured what I'm feeling; and although I don't see hope, somehow all those people made it through. I don't understand how they do, or how it works; but I can see that it does, and that's enough to help, a little.

As you can see above, many people's thoughts and prayers are with you. Good luck.
posted by cribcage at 3:07 PM on November 15, 2005

posted by five fresh fish at 3:08 PM on November 15, 2005

so sorry to hear of your loss, hon...please know that we're all virtually hugging you, and are here if you want to be distracted, or if we can help at all.


tell us more about him, if you feel like it--what a sweet face he had!
posted by amberglow at 3:17 PM on November 15, 2005

posted by nile_red at 3:22 PM on November 15, 2005

I haven't lost a partner, but my mother died when I was twenty-one. I survived but I still can't really believe I got through each one of those excruciating moments in the days and weeks after her death. My thoughts are with you. The photo is a honey - you both look like wonderful people.
posted by firstdrop at 3:25 PM on November 15, 2005

I have no worthwhile advice really. Everything I could have said has been said better by others. But I wanted to offer you my condolences.
posted by LeeJay at 3:27 PM on November 15, 2005

I wish you the best for getting through all of this. Safe travels. . .
posted by Danf at 3:31 PM on November 15, 2005

Please accept my most sincere condolences. I am very sorry for your loss.
posted by puddinghead at 3:37 PM on November 15, 2005

essexjan, I am so sorry. I have sent an edited photo (large version).
posted by grumblebee at 4:07 PM on November 15, 2005

I've done a scaled-up version of the larger photo here.
posted by zadcat at 4:18 PM on November 15, 2005

Dear Jan, I am so sorry to hear of your great loss. Sincerely, Kurt
posted by madstop1 at 4:30 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm so very sorry at your loss Jan. As amberglow said, George has such a lovely face and it would be wonderful to hear more about him when you're ready.
posted by ceri richard at 4:38 PM on November 15, 2005

My heartfelt condolences Jan. Your news hit me pretty hard and I don't know you. It must be awful for you. The only advice I can give is to just keep going... even though it is hard to believe, you will feel better. It will never go away but that's why you let him into your heart though.


posted by bdave at 4:51 PM on November 15, 2005

posted by oflinkey at 5:04 PM on November 15, 2005

May peace be with you.
posted by caddis at 5:07 PM on November 15, 2005

Best answer: My condolences, essexjan. Hang in there, and try to stay close to family and close ones if possible.

I lost my wife/best friend of 10 years in '99. I was shaken so badly I could barely speak for days. But what I did to survive was to keep her with me for a while. I though about how tragic it was and how she would guide me through it. I felt as though she never stopped loving me. I grew a garden in her honor and razed it taking all of the flowers to the ocean and let them go with the tide.

I am recently re-married and have two step sons who take up all of my time. But never a day goes by when I don't think of her or bicker with her in my head. I take some pride and comfort in the fact that what I have done with my life would make her very happy.

As others have offered, me too, please feel free to e-mail me (profile) if you feel up to talking about it. I'm serious about that.
posted by snsranch at 6:06 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

essexjan, I am so so so so so so sorry.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:16 PM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

My sincere condolences to you.
posted by amro at 6:34 PM on November 15, 2005

Be good to yourself.

posted by ugf at 6:50 PM on November 15, 2005

Best answer: Grief. Oh Lord, it's hard. It's just hard as hell. I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm afraid I have no easy message of comfort for you. There are only cliches and the truth. Sometimes these overlap. The truth is, there's no ducking the pain. It will hurt like hell, for a long time. The cliche is that time will heal. Both are true. You'll never forget George and you'll never be able to remember him without some sadness. But you will be able to move on, and remember him as a beautiful, enriching part of your life. You'll reach the stage where your joy at having shared time with him will be more important than your grief at having lost him. It won't seem like that for a long time, but it will happen.

I have never had a partner die but I have had a much-loved long-time partner walk out on me completely unexpectedly. And that felt... I won't insult your grief by saying it felt like she'd died, but it hurt beyond anything I'd ever imagined. I nearly lost it. I was 37 years old and I hadn't wept since my teens. I think I wept more in the year after she left than I'd ever wept in my life.

And now I'm okay. Better than okay: I'm happy. There are inevitable and relentless stages to grief. There is shock. There is denial. There is anger. There is emptiness. There is defeatism. There are thoughts of suicide. There is a sense of hopelessness and futility; a feeling that it's all over, it can never be as good again.

You need to go through these stages, because one by one, little by little, they teach you that you're wrong. It takes time. You need to weep. You need to see good friends and talk it through. You need to spend time alone with your grief, too. You need to get through the very harsh and very understandable feelings of vicious injustice and loss and find the place where the warmth of the memories can settle and be a source of fondness, not pain. It happens, eventually.

Remember how good it was to have known him, rather than not to have known him at all . Death can't take that away from you. Ever.
posted by Decani at 6:59 PM on November 15, 2005 [3 favorites]

He was the best man I have ever known, he was the epitome of a 'good man' - honest and true in all his dealings and I love him completely.

These words brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry, Jan.

Everything I'd say has already been said better by someone else - even that. Take good care of yourself and know you have friends here.
posted by tangerine at 7:06 PM on November 15, 2005

posted by lilboo at 7:14 PM on November 15, 2005

I looked at the picture. He's beautiful.
posted by generic230 at 7:14 PM on November 15, 2005

i lost my partner and i went crazy. it took me close to 10 years to get my life back together. the only advice i can offer is be patient. i wish you strength and peace.
oh yeah, and be kind to yourself.
posted by brandz at 7:28 PM on November 15, 2005

posted by sillygit at 9:15 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm so sorry for your trouble, as we say, if I can assume that the specific help you asked for has been given, can I just say please keep talking about it, to whomever will listen, which will help as much as anything can. Also, please just be good to yourself whenever and however you can, as all loved ones who we lose would want that above all.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:16 PM on November 15, 2005

posted by Lynsey at 9:21 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm really sorry.
posted by 6550 at 9:46 PM on November 15, 2005

I'm sorry, essexjan.
posted by interrobang at 9:59 PM on November 15, 2005

Best answer: Jan: there are no words I can say that can change any little part of the hurt you are feeling. Just know that you have family here on the Blue, Green, and Gray who grieve with you- many of them silently, and in their own way. We will have you in our thoughts and prayers.
posted by pjern at 10:03 PM on November 15, 2005

posted by heeeraldo at 10:40 PM on November 15, 2005

Oh, Jan! I'm crying for you, and for all of us who have had or will have to face this one day... everybody. As others have said, there are no words to console or to help lighten your grief in any way, but we are embracing you. If you need to talk to somebody, you know where you can find a whole lot of willing ears. Our thoughts are with you.
posted by taz at 10:57 PM on November 15, 2005

My deepest condolences. Lean on your friends and family. And good for you for staying close to AA. Knowing that you need to seek out support is so very essential to healing.
posted by chiababe at 11:51 PM on November 15, 2005

I've retouched the photo to remove the glare on the glasses (as well as fixing the lighting and other odds and ends) and put everything on a plain black background.

Version 1: Color balanced/corrected for color photo prints. [thumbnail] [original] [upscaled 2x]

Version 2: Monochrome conversion for black and white photo prints. [thumbnail] [original] [upscaled 2x]

Version 3: High contrast black and white for easier reproduction (programs, etc). [thumbnail] [original] [upscaled 2x]

In case there's more work that needs to be done on them (adding new backgrounds, toning the B&W's, etc), I'm posting these here so that others can pick up where I've left off. Best wishes.
posted by DaShiv at 11:57 PM on November 15, 2005 [2 favorites]

DaShiv did a great job.

I wish I was closer to Ohio. I'd like to have a meetup to be there for you to lean on, Jan. That's a long way too travel alone with such grief as baggage.

Be good to yourself.
posted by terrapin at 5:48 AM on November 16, 2005

I'm so, so sorry.
posted by tr33hggr at 6:14 AM on November 16, 2005

Best answer: Essexjan, I am so terribly sorry for your loss.

You are already asking the questions and looking for the answers that will help you through this pain. By taking care of yourself, and letting others care for you, too, you are doing the best you can.

Grief is highly individual, and I would not presume to know how you experience it. But maybe I can send you a small token of encouragement. My partner died in 1997, and I could not imagine continuing the suddenly empty path of daily life. It seemed so banal.

That banal daily path is what pulled me out of my own dark spiral. The nuts and bolts of planning the memorial service, responding to condolence notes, going through his things... all the small and seemingly insurmountable tasks helped keep me moving at a time when I wanted to lie down beside him and die. I now believe that those rituals exist to guide us through a time when we could easily become lost. If that helps you, embrace it. If not, perhaps another ritual or observation would help. Plant a garden? Paint a portrait of him? Go out with friends and toast your love with espresso shots? His life was special, and yours is, too.

In the depths of grief, I knew in my head what I could not feel in my heart: that someday the howling pain would soften and diminish, if I could only hold on and keep going. I thought of my grief as a street on which I was walking, and the end of pain was around one of the many corners. "Of course you can't see it," I told myself. "It's around a corner! You'll come to it. Keep walking! You'll turn the corner somewhere." Keep going. Keep going.

And, for me, this stupefyingly simple idea came true. My life gradually regained flavor and meaning, and I one day realized that I was --- oh, how astonishing --- happy. I will never be the woman I was before I lost him, but I like this woman better. She's smarter and stronger, more patient, more appreciative of love and of friends. He would have liked her.

I highly recommend grief counseling, or any counseling. In retrospect, I wish I had begun counseling immediately after my partner died, instead of struggling through the first few months alone.

My email is in my profile if you wish to contact me. My heart is with you.
posted by Elsa at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2005 [5 favorites]

Essexjan, my thoughts are with you. Please remember to take care of yourself.

And I don't think it can be overstated - everyone grieves differently. DO NOT let anyone give you a hard time about how you're taking this loss.
posted by deborah at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you every single one of you. I am so grateful for the care and support. For everyone who edited the photo, my gratitude is immense, you all did the most fantastic job.

I learned that Walmart could only do 8 x 12, so I found a photographer in Logan (where George lived), talked to her on the phone and she asked me to email them all to her and she'd choose the one she wanted to use for a 16 x 20.

I think the hardest part right now is that I'm so far away from everyone who knew George. Apart from a few people who met him briefly last summer, nobody in England knew him, so there are no memories to share or anecdotes to hear from other people about him.

I've been into work the last couple of days, because it's easier than being here alone, at least when I'm occupied on something else I have a respite from the grief for a while - it seems to hit me in waves, every hour or so.

I managed a little sleep last night, and for a few seconds when I woke up, I had 'forgotten'. Then it hit me like a sledgehammer. I'm told that's normal.

George was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Here's the type of man he was. A woman he knows is a hospice nurse. She happened to mention to him one day in passing that she was nursing a man with terminal cancer who talked a lot about mushroom hunting (for those who don't know - and I didn't until I met George - mushroom hunting is a favourite country pastime in Ohio and Michigan - those morels are prized). The patient knew he was dying and that he'd never get the chance to hunt mushrooms again.

So George found a spot on his farm where the finest white morels grew, got his sons to take it in turns to guard it from interlopers, and carried the man up the hill to pick morels for one last time.

That was one of the big kindnesses he did. But there was an immense accumulation of little kindnesses that made him such a special person.

I realised I was in love with him when we were in a supermarket one day and he was talking to the guy on the meat counter, asking him about a particular cut. He treated the man with such respect - George knew the guy wasn't just a grunt working at Festival Foods, he was someone who deserved to be treated with dignity. Right there and then my heart melted and I knew George was the man for me.

And he did all these macho 'real man' things that London blokes don't do, like driving a tractor and chopping wood. He was sexy as hell, especially when he came in from doing some hard, manual job on his farm covered in clean sweat.

He was a great cook, a computer whiz (he wouldn't have a Windows machine in his house, it was Linux or nothing) and a wonderful father. His sons are 18 and 19 and if I am bereft, I can't begin to understand how those two boys must feel.

Thanks for everyone who's said one to the Big Guy for me. God and I aren't exactly on speaking terms right now.
posted by essexjan at 3:30 PM on November 16, 2005 [5 favorites]

essexjan, I'm speechless and weeping with your story of him. What a beautiful man. My heart is with you.
posted by snsranch at 4:03 PM on November 16, 2005

So George found a spot on his farm where the finest white morels grew, got his sons to take it in turns to guard it from interlopers, and carried the man up the hill to pick morels for one last time.

this anecdote has me, quite literally, in tears. Your man really was -- is! -- a true hero. What love and light he brought into the world! How grand it was he was here, even for such a damnably short time.
posted by scody at 4:52 PM on November 16, 2005

and for a few seconds when I woke up, I had 'forgotten'. Then it hit me like a sledgehammer. I'm told that's normal.

Yeah. It is. That awful, "Something's wrong.... oh no..." moment. It passes too. Honestly.
posted by Decani at 6:44 PM on November 16, 2005 [1 favorite]

Aw, essexjan, he sounds like an absolutely amazing man. Once again, I'm so sorry.
posted by LeeJay at 12:00 AM on November 17, 2005

i'm with scody, crying...what a wonderful guy. i hate that it's often good people who go too early.

thanks, jan--now everyone who reads this will know him and remember.
posted by amberglow at 7:12 AM on November 17, 2005

He sounds like a truly, truly remarkable man. You are so lucky to have had him in your life. I'm crying now after reading your story about him.

I will remember what you have said about him, and I will do a kindness for someone in his name.

posted by jennyjenny at 2:23 PM on November 18, 2005

I'm so sorry. He sounds like a wonderful man.

In case you're still looking for advice on how to survive, here's my .02. Five years ago, my husband of 7 years died, very suddenly.

Honestly, not much helped. For months I'd catch myself thinking that he was just away on a business trip, or in the other room - somewhere, just out of sight. I finally just started talking to him, all the time- that was a little bit easier, and certainly more normal than not talking to him.

I told stories about him to anyone that didn't move fast enough - didn't matter if they didn't know him, they knew me, and I was much more focused on surviving the day than making them comfortable.

I also started writing down every memory I could think of. You won't think it now, but in a few years, reading over that file or journal will actually be soothing. Hard as hell, but its good to know that there's going to be a record.

A lot of people will suggest counseling - I tried it soon after, and couldn't talk. After five years I'm starting to see someone. I think its a good thing, but not sure if I could have done it before.

A number of folks I know have found widowed persons groups to be helpful. You may want to check one out. They understand the need to talk, and you may feel more comfortable falling apart in front of people who have been there.

Good luck with it all.
posted by korej at 10:08 PM on November 18, 2005

Wow, Jan, what an amazing guy. We are all thinking of you and hope the recent memorial was a time for all of you to come together and celebrate such a great person. We all wish to have someone as incredible as he, and a relationship as full of adoration as the one you had with him. Our thoughts are with you.
posted by fionab at 4:06 PM on November 28, 2005

You have created a moving memorial to George here. I feel unlucky never to have met him, but thanks to you I know that a beautiful light went out when he died. Sincere sympathies, I live on the South Coast near Hastings in the UK. If I can help my addy's in the profile. So sorry I missed this due to travel.
posted by Wilder at 8:16 AM on December 8, 2005

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