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Bereaved Spouses

A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.

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This might be a rough time for many of you. Do what you feel you need to do to get through it. Remember, someone is here almost all the time to talk to you.

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Grief so great it hurts

Started by Bonny Jones. Last reply by Diamond Jan 31. 13 Replies

Navigating Widow-hood

Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Michele Jul 21, 2019. 5 Replies

Finding the new normal

Started by Sharon Kinsey. Last reply by Frances C Younger Jun 24, 2019. 12 Replies

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Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 27, 2013 at 7:47am

Thanks Marsha, for confirming my belief in my abilities to make decisions for myself.  

Like you, I intend to stay in my home.  My husband built this house for us and I would not leave it under any circumstances -- they would have to carry me out -- but it is a large house and I won't deny that I need help with certain maintenance and upkeep -- and family members have helped.  

And, it's not really about finances, either.  I have a budget.  I do my best to stick to it.  There aren't a lot of extras, but I have everything I need and want.  Occasionally, I help out various family members with small amounts, when they need help, but, I am acutely aware that I live on a fixed income and any savings must last me the rest of my life, so I am very careful.  

The differences are more about life-styles.  People keep trying to force me into what they believe would be "good" for me -- or -- into activities and circumstances that never would have been a part of my life when Chris was alive.  And it feels like manipulation, because, although they tell me its for my own good -- it always has an element of their own interests or convenience.  Am I making myself clear without being too specific?

And, oh yes -- all of a sudden, I need help down the stairs or driveway, as you mentioned -- while I somehow manage to do all my own housecleaning, laundry, baking, cooking, sewing and care of my pets, as well as doing some of that for my daughter, as well!!! But, poor, feeble Mom!!!

I know, I know!  I am worn out and tired from the effort of keeping Christmas -- and a bit short-tempered.  But, I have always reserved the right to live my life as I choose and I don't enjoy being steam-rolled into activities, practices and circumstances that basically serve the interests of others and which I never would have participated in when Chris was with me.  

I reserve the right to say who, how and when, I will entertain people in my home.  I reserve the right to refuse access to certain parts of my home (specifically, Chris's workshop).  I reserve the right to accept or decline invitations, as the mood strikes me.  I reserve the right to run my household and maintain my home in the manner that Chris and I have always enjoyed.  And, I particularly refuse to allow others to guilt me into taking on issues, concerns, problems that are not my own.  I don't have the energy or strength -- and am a firm believer that people need to find their own solutions!

There -- I guess I have been on my soapbox long enough!

Marsha -- I just hope you know what a treasure you are to me!  

I cried more over this holiday than at any single given time in the past 8 months.  I had to leave the room so many times to go and be alone.  And, I have talked to Chris, so much more often, during this time, too.  But, I know that crying doesn't mean I am weak -- and talking to Chris doesn't mean I'm crazy.  I am sad -- but NOT depressed.  I am engaged in my life -- and I have enough fight left in me to want my life on MY terms.  Actually, I think that's rather healthy, of me.

Love and hugs -- and so much gratitude

Barbara 

Comment by Marsha H on December 27, 2013 at 5:08am

Mike ...  I am so sorry you had such a rough time through Christmas, but be assured you have NOT regressed at all.  Even to those who have not grieved over the death of a spouse can get melancholy during the holiday season.  The first 2 Christmas' I went to at my brother's home I felt just like you.  When I got home it really hit me and I felt so alone as if I was on a desert island all alone and knew no one could possibly understand how I felt. This year was a better year for me.  I have been getting out of my comfort zone (that's what you are doing by being out at Christmas along with family and missing your Molly.)  Yes, it cuts deep into our hearts, but the more you do get out into society and are active with others the easier it does get.  Leaving our quiet space (comfort zone) is difficult, but it can be done. 

After the holidays you'll get your balance back and grow stronger as time goes on.  Of course like the rest of us our spouses will be on our minds and in our hearts often, but the hurt begins to get a little softer and more tolerable where we can move ahead.

Hang on my friend, you'll be fine and what you are feeling is very normal. 

Comment by Marsha H on December 27, 2013 at 5:00am

Dear Barbara ... I know where you are going with this as I too often have to remind family or some friends just because Ernie passed away I am still able to think for myself and have the smarts to know if I don't know something to go to a professional or ask someone who has been in a similar situation.  I was tired of being treated like a mindless twit, helped down stairs or driveways.  Nothing has changed physically with me and although mentally going through grief reality has smacked me so hard in the face it was a wake-up call of reality and I'm quite capable of making my own decisions although others have been tempted to interfere in a couple of my decisions.  I stand fast and sure-footed and I suddenly haven't become 90 years old where I need help getting down the stairs or driveway.  Ticks me off! 

I do think family is trying to keep you safe as possible until they feel you have grieved for a year or more. As we all know the first year of even possibly two years we shouldn't make any rash decisions as far as selling our homes unless absolutely necessary or spending too much money too fast.  It's good to have a Financial Advisor go over options with the griever and invest wisely for them as well.  Barbara, they can't over-rule your decisions and make it good and clear to them!  I have had to have some blunt conversations with family and friends who wanted me to consider selling my home and moving into a condo or townhouse, but since my small rancher is just that, small, I intend on staying here and they won't get me out unless it's feet first with my snow boots on!  They got the message!  I am agile and can do a lot for myself when I need to and prefer to remain as independent as possible and asked them to respect that and if I need help I'd appreciate any help they could give me.  So far so good.

Keep your chin up girl, hold your own and keep your dignity and independence, but don't rule out the odd opinion from family or friends as sometimes it can help.

Hugs

Marsha

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 27, 2013 at 2:20am

I have often worried that I was losing my mind -- now, I wonder if the only sane people I know are all on Legacy.  Don't ask -- having issues with family.  

Apparently, SOME PEOPLE think that just because I no longer have a partner, they can just over-rule my decisions.

Comment by MikeF on December 26, 2013 at 11:05pm

This is a rough week for me. Molly's birthday was on the 23rd.  This was the first time in 34 years that we were physically apart on her birthday. Then Christmas get togethers with my family and her family heighten the sense of loss for me.  All leading up to the one year anniversary of her death on the 29th. 

It is like I have regressed to where I was last year.  All of the progress and understanding that has occurred in the last year has been obscured by a tidal wave of pain.  Grief is clearly not a linear path.

Comment by Marsha H on December 26, 2013 at 2:08pm

                Comment by Marsha H just nowDelete Comment

Good Morning Diane ...

I am so proud of you!  You did it ... got out of your comfort zone!  I know it's very difficult, but, it can turn into a routine and during the year we can keep gaining strength perhaps by having the off dinner for friends and the summer months can bring picnics of BBQ's.  Even though we may have to go off somewhere to be alone for a bit we will get stronger with the routine of it all and not feel so lonely.  During preparation for my first buffet and even the second one my anxiety was on high alert and I felt nauseous and had a lack of energy, but pushed myself 'do or die' sort of thing. 

I feel blessed already, but other than this forum I don't have a friend who is a widow.  I have met a lady on the dyke who is a widow, but she has 5 grown children and many grandchildren and is kept busy.  We exchanged phone #'s, but I haven't heard from her yet and with grandchildren I imagine she is very busy.  All my other friends have spouses so it makes things a little more difficult.  My mother, like yours was a widow for years and never had a companion in her life or remarried.  She passed in 2004, had dementia and was 'soul weary.'  No parents left on either side of the family.

I bet your dinner was delicious and like my two buffets everyone had a good time, but like you I would go off somewhere just for a break and get a little peace and then go back out to join my guests.  You should be very proud of yourself as that's a giant step forward.  WOW!  Brunch too!  I am impressed.

I am happy to hear you had a some quiet moments with your dear Rich.  I do believe they are with us in spirit. 

Sorry to hear you are getting snow.  We have frost here in lower mainland Vancouver, B.C., but no rain or snow thank heavens.  Thank YOU for the support you have given and continue to give Diane and I appreciate you more than you will ever know. 

Now we can sit and relax. I am going to go out with my girlfriend today with the dogs and walk along the dyke just to enjoy the peace and nature, then just loll around for the day.

Hugs

Marsha

Comment by Diane C on December 26, 2013 at 7:54am

Good Morning Marsha,

Thanks for the great advice. You make a GREAT bereavement counselor. I made it through Christmas Eve. That was the best idea to keep busy. If I still have anxiety as I did this year, I will do the same and host the festivities. I had my moments, which is normal, when it got too strong, I excused myself and went to my bedroom, and let the moment take over. Then I went back out to the festivities and continued on. Everyone had a nice time and I made sure my moments of sadness were kept to myself. At the end of the day, I was proud of myself too. Then yesterday, I had everyone back for brunch and then those traveling got on the road home. I then had my mom over later last evening for dinner. During the break between brunch and dinner, I drove to the cemetery and spent a few quiet moments with Rich. I think that helped me too. It was a beautiful Christmas day, with all the snow. But now it is snowing again, and not so beautiful anymore. Thanks to everyone for the support and advice, it certainly helps, a LOT!!

Diane

Comment by Marsha H on December 25, 2013 at 3:13pm

Barbara & Carol ... thanks and the same to both of you.  I have a feeling 2014 is going to be better for all of us.  Keep the faith!

Prayers, love and peace

Marsha

Comment by Barbara Sullivan on December 25, 2013 at 12:39pm

Wishing you all comfort, peace, health and , yes, even happiness today and in the coming year.

Prayers and Hugs

Barbara

Comment by Carol Kayser on December 25, 2013 at 12:33pm
To everyone here on the site my wishes for a Merry Christmas, some joy in this most special of days, and peace for 2014.

Love,
Carol
xoxo
 

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