Florida update from Judy

by Judy
(Rockledge FL)

Hi Hope and my others friends at this site.

Hope asked my to let her know how I was doing and how I did it since I now see some light in this grief tunnel.

I am doing quite well, I have fully recovered from the illness at the end of last year and even the afib business is under control although it is something I will have to live with apparently. I also had a recent loss in the sudden death of my dog, the infamous Great Dane Sammy. It was a sad day but next to losing my beloved Bear it was easier to handle.

How am I getting better? I've become a bit selfish and put myself first. I have left all of the places that Bear and I frequented together, church etc. I have tossed out all the cd's we listed to on our many trips and bought new ones and I intend to get more since music is a pleasure for me. On the weekends I watch reality shows and movies that he never would have watched. I have redone many parts of the house to a more feminine style in colors that are more me. This is a fairly inexpensive way to make a big change with new comforters, bedside rugs etc. My current project is to redo the kitchen from palm trees to cobalt blue accessories and redesign where everything is stored since Barry cooked most of the time and I can't find anything in there.

I am trying to keep a positive attitude about the future. Barry always said life is an adventure and I'm trying to remember that as I attempt to figure my own future out.

This is not to say that everything is hunky-dory. I still get very lonesome, especially on weekends. I've started to scroll around the on-line dating sites but there's something wrong with every one of them-not ready yet I guess. I am engaged in a tough inner struggle with myself about whether or not to move back to CA and at what point. My kids, friends and best friend all live in CA. My daughter and BFF are always asking when I am coming back. BFF even offered to let me move in with her! Everyone out there is pro my coming. However I have some real concerns, such as walking away from a job in this economy, getting rid of my house without still being it debt (I'll have to short sale) and how I will survive in a more expensive place if I can't find work. I really don't know why this is such a quandary because I really have nothing in FL but I am spinning in circles mentally over it. I've asked the Lord for guidance but so far none has been forthcoming.

I am better in that I can talk about Barry without dissolving into tears, can actually say "when Barry died" instead of the other covers like "when he left me". Barry would never have left me if he could have stayed.

I still have not got rid of his clothes and just have a huge problem even facing this chore. I just never open the closet so they are there like the 100 lb elephant.

But really the biggest change is in how I am looking at myself. I am feeling like the strong capable woman I was before, and always was, just couldn't see it through the swirling emotions. I have confidence that I can handle whatever comes along, and I am less scared than I was of the future, whatever it turns out to be.

I love everyone in this site and know I never would have made it this far without you.


Comments for Florida update from Judy

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Feb 17, 2011
Some words for Hope
by: Judy


I think it is probably true of all of us who have spent some months or years as caretakers that we try to get in charge of things and make them go the way we planned. I myself did this for years and was constantly disappointed that my plans were always going awry. Barry actually taught me not to waste my energy because you never know what's around the corner even if you have planned everything-it's part of the adventure that is life. It's the same in dealing with grief. From about 6 months on I kept fighting the feelings and telling myself I was ok. Finally I fell into that really bad depression and in the middle of it somewhere I realized that I wasn't ok, it was dumb to claim otherwise and I let weakness, sadness grief and fear wash all over me. And then it was all out, I had faced it all and I was still here and standing in the face of this emotional wave. After enduring that I knew I could handle whatever life was going to throw at me.

Don't be too hard on yourself. In addition to dealing with grief you have the responsibility (which I do not have) of raising a still fairly young child and dealing, as Mom, with his issues of loss of dad, and the confusion and sadness that Paul's prolonged illness brought to your household. And then there's the everyday hassles of juggling money, dealing with the house, car issues, work issues, shoveling snow etc. by yourself. All this is exhausting and leaves you little time and energy to swim through grief

Remember I said everything is not hunky-dory. I still have teary moments, I still miss Barry every day, I still get very lonely and pine away for my old safe, secure life. Sometimes I dread driving home at night because I just have a silent empty house waiting for me. Weekends last forever and are boring.

If you had been gut shot, you would not hesitate for a minute to get medical attention to get well. I believe that grief and the grief process is the emotional equivalent of being gut shot. If you need a bandage go get it. You don't have to tell anyone if you don't want to tell them. It's not their business. It's only yours.

Keep hanging on,


Feb 13, 2011
florida update from Judy
by: jules

Judy - how wonderful it is to hear you so positive and pro-active. I love the way you have changed so many things, to the way you want them to be - it means you are living your life now.
I too have made a lot of changes, and I feel they are for the better - I am making new friends, have joined the local squash club - won my second game - yahoo!! now I know that the real me is back - ok - sometimes I fall in a heap, or the tears spill over, but a lot less often now.

Judy - keep going the way you are going, make the decisions you need to make, at your own pace - and always know we are here for you.

Every day - one step, one breath
take care

Feb 12, 2011
What An Inspiration:)
by: TrishJ

How inspiring to read how far you've come. It was 10 weeks yesterday that Joe "died." Yes he died. You are so right~he never would have left me. Those words alone are comforting. Joe never never would have left me if the choice was his. It was God's choice and I somehow have to deal with that. As I'm sitting at my computer I can see 8 pictures of him. I have pictures everywhere.....pictures of him with my daughter, with my son, with our grandsons, a picture of him and I at a friends wedding 25 years ago when we were both still young and hot looking.
The problem I have been having is in resuming the activities he and I used to do together. If I'm trying something new~I'm fine for the day. Visiting friends and going to places we used to visit together is what is tearing me up inside. I can't not communicate with our old friends and our family so I will gradually have to ease into those situations. I will make an attempt to explore new things. You are so right about the LifeTime movies. Joe was a Charles Bronson~Stallone "chase em' and shoot em' up" kind of guy. I forced him to see the movie Bull Durham years ago and while my eyes were glued to the screen he was snoring so badly it was embarrassing.

Thank you Judy and I hope you continue to make tremendous progress. I hope I'm just somewhere close to where you are when I reach that point. I can't speak full sentences about Joe at this point without breaking down. I'll get there. I know I'm a strong person.

Feb 12, 2011
happy for you
by: Jackie

Hi, I am so glad for you. It seems you have turned a corner toward the new future. I am not anywhere close to that yet, but I'll get there also. My birthday was yesterday and my daughter and her boyfriend took me out to dinner. It was fun, but I was still very sad that my husband was not there. Keep strong and try to do things for you that make you happy. Take care.

Feb 12, 2011
A confession


I am so proud of your progress. I am not at the point that you are from a long shot. It has been pointed out and rightfully so that I am trying to push the grief process. It cannot be done I guess we are lead instead of leading. We have to be ready for the steps and progress of grief. I am much talk but little action to change things, to make a new environment. I have wondered why I push myself. And I think it is because Paul and I together always had something going on with our long list of chores. I am shamed that I just don't care like I should.
I am lead by guilt and we have all had enough of that right? I also made an appointment for a consultation but the stigma of "mental health" just the mere word makes me want to clam up. I want to be the confident chatty kathy that I was before. I miss Paul but I miss myself too.
You are a positive grief survivor story and I hope to rejoin life soon as well. My best to you always...

Feb 11, 2011
You are an inspiration
by: M Mack

Hi Judy,

Your story is an inspiration for all and thank you for sharing. We are so fragile when we are suddenly faced with the harsh reality... Life will NEVER be the same. I am alone and I don't have the love of my life. February 23rd will be 7 months for me and so far, I still have some very lousy days. Last week, I tried to put myself first, you know....a little pampering. I joined the park centers exercise class, had my hair highlighted and even had a facial. I needed to tone down my swollen eyes. I'm dirt broke but guess what? This is the first week I've felt a little normal.

There is a fine line with grief and depression. I know I was so down, I didn't want to cross the line. So yes we can make lemons out of lemonade. I am so glad you are planning and trying to put your life together. This site has given me comfort and hope.....the people here don't judge and I can be who I am. They are always there for support....Zoe, Jen, Julie, Hope, Pat, Kay, Colleen and too many more to mention. Thank you for your kind words.

I hope we all follow your lead and take those baby steps one day at a time. My best to you with hugs and prayers.

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