On being a widower: I can't understand this new life

In several weeks my late wife will have been gone 4 years.  I have been lost in a new world that I have never understood. I met my wife when we were both 18 and began our life’s path toward a happy marriage of 55 years. We were fortunate to have 3 children, (all adults now) six grandchildren and 2 great grand sons. I am grateful to the Almighty that she was alive at the time to share in our joys and happiness.
During those years she developed the habit of smoking cigarettes.  Yes, we fought over her smoking, pleading with her to stop. But pleading, arguing, talking softly with a loving voice; nothing worked.  On April 12, 1993 she fainted in our bedroom and was banged up by the fall. I called 911 and within minutes the paramedics arrived. She didn’t know where she was at and also didn’t realize people were in our bedroom. In the hospital she was advised to quit smoking or else she would develop serious lung complications. That was the start of the nightmare that eventually cost her life.
We moved to Wisconsin where the only person we knew was our son.  Everything seemed to have settled down but then one health problem after another began occurring. One day she had a cough, went to the Dr. and was misdiagnosed with pneumonia when she should have been diagnosed with the start of lung cancer. The nightmare began. It took several years before the inevitability occurred when she went to her eternal sleep.
My faith helped me through the days of her illness, watching my beautiful wife slip in and out of consciousness   My life stopped with her death . . She wasn’t supposed to die first. My partner was gone. First I was in denial that she passed away and then acceptance came along with the loneliness of life without her.
No longer was I able to discuss with her family matters, plans for the week end, how my day was going along with listening to daily news of the family.  And now I began this 4 year journey into a world I was never prepared for.  And still do not fully understand. My adult children have been my guiding light during this period.  Their love for me has been my strength. I’ve heard the expression of feeling like the fifth wheel and now it's meaning became clear.
My social life was gone.  After all the social director was no longer there to plan. I stopped eating in restaurants with wait staff and eat alone in fast food restaurants.  I have joined a widow/widowers club that has been helpful. Believe it or not someone recommended the widow/widowers chat room on line.  It is surprising that I have found it to be a source of strength. Everyone is the room has lost their spouses and speak to the blank faces reaching out for support.
In the meantime I have met a lady whose husband and my wife were in the same care center and died at the same time. We have become great friends and support for each other.  But, no matter how close we are in friendship the ache of not being with my wife who was my life never leaves my senses.
When I see a person smoking I want to shake that person and shout out to them the perils of that cigarette. But, I don’t.  They wouldn’t believe me. I thank God and my faith for being with me as my support system.
So, dear friends, smoking and lung cancer took my beloved and placed me in a world still unfamiliar to me. Don’t let it happen to you or your family.
THS MEMORY DOES NOT THE LIGHT THE CORNERS OF MY MIND.  BUT, I PRAY THIS WILL HELP YOU.

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