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Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
First I want to say how sorry I am about your loss. It sounds like you and your husband had a wonderful and fulfilling relationship.
When someone grieves such a loss, it is a very personal and private process. Every person is different in how they grieve. And the range of emotions can very greatly. You can feel anger, sadness, deep depression, regret, even disbelief. Some people can take a short time to grieve and others can take years.
What you are experiencing is the last stage of letting go. The image people may get of letting go is allowing the memory, experiences and even the very essence of the person drift into the past. But that is not what happens. Letting go is allowing yourself to live your life with grief no longer as a constant companion. It is allowing yourself to feel yourself again. This does not alter your memories and experiences with your husband. They will stay the same.
You may also be experiencing guilt at moving on. If you enjoy your life, what does that say about how you feel about your husband? Does that mean he was not important to you? But it is quite the opposite. By living your life, you are doing what he would want you to do. You honor his memory by moving on. It will not make you forget because he was such an important part of your life and who you are today. He lives through you and the relationship you had together. When you think of your life, most of it was spent with your husband. He is woven into your life. So leaving him behind is not possible. It would be like forgetting most of who you are.
Try this- write out a letter to your husband explaining how you feel. Tell him about what he did for you, how he affected your life and what you want to keep with you the rest of your life. You don't have to do this all at once. Write as you think of things and keep it until you feel it is done. This will help you identify how you feel but also it is a way to "communicate" and express how you feel.
If you find that you get stuck and cannot move on, consider talking to a counselor at least short term. Your doctor can help refer you to someone. A therapist can help you find your way through your feelings so you can go on with your life.
I hope this helps you,Kate
That really helped me understand myself and our marriage better. Thank you.
How can I best express my gratitude to him, in a way that actually matters and shows honor and respect for him? I am thinking in terms of a memorial of some type that would say something about him.
I think that is a wonderful idea. A memorial would provide a place or way for you to express how you feel about him. You may want to start with something he loved to do or a place he liked to visit. Either go there and place a memorial (if possible) or bring elements of the things he loved into your home and have a memorial there.
You could have a book made or a special memento that you can share with friends and family. Or you could start a site on line.
Whatever you choose, having a memorial will help you by providing a way to remember what made your husband special and to celebrate the bond you both shared.
If I can help you with any other ideas, please let me know.
I thought this book might help as well:
Remembering with Love: Messages of Hope for the First Year of Grieving and Beyond by Elizabeth Levang and Sherokee Ilse
Thank you again. I really appreciate it.
You're welcome! If I can help any further, just let me know.