THE VIEW FROM HERE

by Judy
(now in Melbourne FL)

My Barry has been gone for 3 years, 3 months.

I guess most people would say I'm doing okay. I handled all the tough financial stuff, sold my house, dealt with the short sale, traded my car in on a newer one that will last me as long as I am driving. I moved to a more economically reasonable rented home. I downsized-that was easy it's just things. I talked with the investment advisors and made some money changes toward retirement. I am making plans to return home to CA in January 2014. How I'll survive there financially I don't know but I am making the best plans I can and proceeding on a wing and a prayer. I've got it together, right?

Wrong. Actually I am living my life in a void of emptiness. I miss Barry everyday. Everyday that goes by without someone to love me, tell me we can deal with it together, sympathize when the day is rotten, act as my sounding board is throwing me deeper into a funk. I find myself not interested in work, the stress there is non-stop I am just biding my time until I can reach full retirement age and leave. I have not been able to make new friends I just don't care enough to make the effort. I'm a fat girl, maybe I am still afraid of rejection. Now I am beginning to have some health issues which terrify me to face alone. I don't know how to function in life without a partner to lean on sometimes.

Is this what WIDOW means? Living an empty life. Always marshaling your inner forces to face something alone. Walking along in an invisible shield to keep things away so I don't get more hurt flung at me. This isn't the life I want. When will I stop missing him? When will life look appealing to me again?

I know this is depression I am on medication now. Somehow I have to believe that life will have some purpose again. Can anyone tell me how that happens?

Comments for THE VIEW FROM HERE

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Feb 18, 2013
THE VIEW FROM HERE
by: Doreen U.K.

Judy you are an intelligent articulate woman who is GRIEVING. You can start by accepting that what you are facing is normal. Your energy levels dip and you feel broken. Take one day at a time and only do what you feel like doing. I lost my husband of 44yrs. 10 months ago after a 3yrs battle with cancer. I don't know how to go on each day. I just rise and let each day unfold as it does. If I feel like doing something I do it. If I feel like just watching TV I do. I don't know when things will change. But I do believe in time they will. Because Grief doesn't last forever. If you went to see a grief counsellor I feel this would greatly benefit you. I was amazed at how better life got for me years ago when I did counselling. I am able to cope better because of it. Life will unfold for you as and when you want it to. Grief cannot be rushed. For each of us WIDOWS our grief journey is different in duration and Pain. It is that daily interaction I miss. Having someone to share the day and the joys and sorrows. Doing it alone is hard. As a Widow we have a FREEDOM to live life how we want to when we know that we can do nothing about our loss of life partner. We can see it as a daunting experience. A mediocre one. Or an exciting one where we are in control of the changes we make. We have the freedom to cook what we want. EAT when we want to. Sleep all day if we want and watch TV all night. It is our journey. We can shop till we drop. Or hibernate into a wilderness and never come out. We have options. We may engage in some of them or none of them. But we are in the driving seat. It hurts where we are in our grief. I don't look forward too far as this is difficult to do. But I know I have the FREEMDOM to do something or nothing. Which is MY VIEW FROM HERE. thank your for your post. I am sorry for your loss and your depression. But this will pass in time. You will get your life back to make of it what you will. Best wishes.

Feb 18, 2013
Dear Judy,
by: Pat in Missouri

I hear your pain. You've done a lot over the past 3 years, going through the motions to try to move on. You are to be commended for your strength. But,your question "is this what widow means?" struck a nerve with me. I think you are identifying yourself with a label you really don't want. In the past 24 hours I have had an epiphany in dealing with my own losses. I hope what I have to say will help you too. It's been 18 mons., since I lost my fiance. In addition, I lost a brother and my father the same year. Instead of thinking of those I have lost, I have decided I have to figure out how to identify myself with personal pronouns and no labels. I am sick of the word grief. I have to ask myself, who am I? Through all my grief, I have been missing my loved ones, but have not really thought about who I am. Being alone now, it is finally coming to me. I have to find an answer to this question. Perhaps, this might also be a question you want to think about. You are only a widow, if that is how you see yourself. The question is who is Judy? I am also asking myself who is Pat? Looking at myself in the mirror is really scary. I do not want to be this 64-year old with thinning hair and poor health who sits all day and feels sorry for herself. I have to start reaching out. When my Frank was alive, I always thought about him first. Now that he is not here, I have to put myself first. This is a very strange position for me. I am the caregiving type, but I haven't been doing much caring for myself much at all lately. Does this sound familiar to you? I think we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for. You have moved, sold your house, made some sound financial plans, etc. Now you have to confront yourself. Me too. Living a life in a "void of emptiness," as you put it is as crappy for me as it is for you. I am sure your husband and my Frank would not want us to live our lives like this. Another writer mentioned that you seem to have some talent in writing. I agree. I have started a journaling class in an effort to identify myself. You might enjoy that too. Opening your heart with paper and pen is very therapeutic. If you have read any poetry or books about dealing with grief, they are all written by people who have been through the same thing. I think there is a good lesson in knowing that. The challenges of working ourselves through the journey of grief can bring us new directions in our lives. I have always wanted to write. I am sure there are also things you have always wanted to do. Take a look into your soul and see what looks interesting. I do not think you will have to always think of yourself as "widow" or "fat" either. You are a beautiful person with hidden talents. You just need to find them. Take care. Let me know how you are. I have hope for you. You are a strong woman. We will both make it through this and find new meaning in our lives. Pat

Feb 17, 2013
Judy - Fat is not were your at
by: Nancy

There are a number of groups in all communities that are able to help you out of your "funk". Please do not let your issue of weight hold you back. Fat is not who you are... I go to a group in my community called Celebrate Recovery...they have a group there called "Grief Share" and I have not got the courage to go to that group yet.. but I will one day. They have other groups that interest me in the meantime that I chose to attendant in the meantime. You say that you work. Can you make a connection with some of your co-workers, obviously they know that you have had a recent loss. What about family members - where are they - or children - do you have any - can they support you. Is there a church - or community center in your neighborhood that runs groups - not necessarily for grief - but anything that would interest you and get you out of the house. What about volunteering..that is something that I found helped me. The void I found in my life after a number of losses only could be filled by having other people in my life. I found when I isolated my life became miserable and I found it too hard to do the smallest things. Now I have tough moments..but not tough days and I recognize them for what they are and I move on. I have been able to make a couple of close friends now who support me and really care about me..and call me out when I become isolated. Until the day comes when you can make those connections - use this site..make your feelings know..share what you feel you can..and be encouraged by knowing that you are not alone. Others are here to support and we can only do that because we have be where you are today. Grief is a sad and lonely journey and each one of us travel it in a different way, there is no time table, no set path, we just do what we need to do, and then one day we realize, today it is a good day, to be alive and the pain is less than it was yesterday. I will pray that your journey and path is easy. Love Nancy

Feb 17, 2013
You're not alone
by: Anonymous

Hey Judy,

Sounds like you're really struggling. And three years is a long time. But, remember, there is no "best before" label on grief. So, grieve away, but do take care of you. Do at least ONE thing every day that gives you real pleasure. It could be something as simple as a chocolate bar (but only the BEST chocolate!), a glass of your favorite wine, curling up with a good book or a walk in the countryside. These can, and often are, solitary pleasures and there's no problem there, as long as your solitude doesn't become a prison of isolation. You must also reach out: friends, your minister, doctor, anyone you can talk truly to.

That's what happened to me in the past year. My lovely, charming, witty and intelligent husband had a massive stroke which has left him semi-paralyzed, in a wheelchair, aphasic and brain-damaged. He's now turned into a six year-old, who can only live in a long-term care home. Still charming, still loving, but no longer able to live with me or function at an adult level. Like you I had to struggle with horrendous financial fall-out, which has left me almost homeless, and the exodus of some friends, who couldn't cope with my grief. I'm sure you're familiar with that scenario. In 2012 I lived mainly on chocolate bars and ice cream, in a constant state of panic and terror.

Finally got hospitalized this month, and am feeling much better. This is thanks, in a very real way, to a psychiatrist who spent nearly two months just listening to me, and helping me re-frame my life. I have some idea now as to how I want to live, but have to work on getting everything into place.

I strongly recommend some kind of counselling or therapy for you. Friends can only do so much. You need someone who can listen to you objectively and help you work through your grief, anger, hurt, etc. It's heavy lifting, but you've survived for over three years, and this will help turn mere survival into something more. Dare I say "living".

If you'd like some friendly e-chat, I'm happy to share. Just post again, and I'll get back to you.

Jenn

Feb 17, 2013
New here but had to try to help
by: "Rebecca Dee"

Dear Barry's Love,

I'm new here and to deep grieving but perhaps my thoughts can help. Your writing...style, organization, word choice...is powerful. Your story is powerful. They both stopped me in my tracks, pulled me from my own "grief process", and compelled me to think of what may help you. After all, most everyone who's blessed to have a Barry in their lives and then loses him/her will face your needs exactly.

So what can help? In my brief (three years) experience with declining health and loss of loved ones, I've come to treasure the caring people and environments of the care community. I've experienced the enveloping, nurturing, oneness of it all. And I recognize that this community offered me the sounding boards, facts, wisdom, advice, perspectives, hugs, tears, and sincere prayers that were slipping away as my mother and dad became the needy ones. These angels even helped me with laundry, fresh coffee, healthy meals, and lots of ice cream!

Judy, you have a gift in your ability to communicate through writing. Your experiences of Barry’s loss are providing you knowledge, skills, and other abilities you may not have had before. I believe if you could spend some time as a companion to a few residents of a caring, high-quality assisted living community, it may ease your soul a bit. Perhaps you could help them to capture some of their life stories in your writing. Perhaps you could read their favorite books to them. Perhaps you could just visit with them, and help them to the bathroom at two in the morning. (My most precious and priceless moments with Mom were those bathroom visits…every hour and a half, every night til it was no longer safe for her to get up.) Bless your soul. Please don’t give up. Try to find purpose in sharing your gifts with those who are declining.

Sincerely,
“Rebecca Dee”

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