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Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

Do you understand life, death, and the big things more than you used to?

Are you more aware of what matters, and less tolerant of the "small stuff?"

Will you ever care about your friends' kitchen renovations again?

How about other changes... in your confidence, your self-definition, your actual life circumstances (not just financially)... are you more "YOU" now? Are you working on it? Or do you just want to get back to the way things were?

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HI--you might contact your local office of the E.O.C and see if they have any help programs that would help  you fix your roof. They do here in Calif, but its a federal program. Thank President Jonhson and his  'War On Poverty' program of the 60's, the current congress hasn't dismantled it yet.

Still live in the same house, same kids, same friends, same job.  The outside looks no different, and I'm hugely grateful for that.  But all the rest.. the inside, is different, sharper, brighter, and at the same time, more attuned to sorrow.  There is an urgency to living now that was not present before, a need to notice and appreciate even the most mundane things that would be treasured if they weren't here:  watching my little guy work on tying his shoelaces for 5 minutes, the shape of my other son's nose and the smell of his hair.., just regular things that are so easy to take for granted.  I observe butterflies.  I want us to LIVE our lives, to not miss a minute, and to fill our days with experiences that enrich our hearts.

Hi,

   I don't know about being WISE or WISER... But I think I'm bolder. Bolder as in speaking up. 

Susan

I am now MORE tolerant of the small stuff.  Get cut off on the road, have to wait in line at the store,  --bring it on. I took care of Frank for a year and a half of cancer and held his hand while he died. Gonna take a lot to get me upset these days. Why waste your days being miserable, enjoy every little moment you can. Spread happiness instead of anger.

Also, take advantage of every chance to tell your loved ones that you love them.

Great question-hard for me to answer. It's been almost 11 months since I lost my soulmate. There were days I would tear up at anything, a little less now. I notice that people tell me "You apologize too much" "You seem nervous" "You overthink things"

That is likely true. When my wife died the smaller issues became bigger ones, I felt insecure, filled with anxiety, loss, blame, longing, torn apart. So for people that make those observations I nod and then I cut myself slack, yes, I do feel insecure, I am anxious, I am nervous, I do overthink things because I have experienced the death of two wives that suffered tremendously with cancer and I lost them both.

So to those who make observations and tell me the above, my thoughts are "Learn to live with it for now. I am!"

That's how I am changing.

I love how you are full of questions Soaring Spirits.  So am I.  How are YOU?

Yes; I understand it better.  I had a couple medium readings so I know they still exist.  We are all parts of some kind of complex kalaidascope puzzle that somehow fits together.

After 3 years and 4 months I am more Me now.  It took me a while because I was trying to publish what he left undone and I got some online, and then they disappeared because now I would have to pay a monthly fee.  Well, he does not need tenure and I tried to set up a website and got frustrated and asked for help from his 'friends'  to no avail.  

So after much anger and many tears I realize it is ME time.  Which means I need to express myself as well as be there for those who ask me for help (within reason--not the robo-calls or every single charity).  I bought an old piano to fill the space of his desk which his daughter took away.  I play every day.  I give my dog as much love as I can because I am aware he will die too.  

I will care about kitchen renovations only so that I can send my crocheted towels to match.  I donate and give things tangible and intangible to those who really need them.  

When I was taking care of my late husband and mother I was too overwhelmed to do any of these things.  I no no longer want things the way they were, taking care of sick people and dreading the end.  I miss them but don't want that life again.  I have become a recluse and do not go out much, except to walk my dog and shop for groceries.  I guess I ignore the 'small stuff.'  If I see a bug in the house I try to deal with it immediately.  Or  just ignore it.  And I don't clean as much as I used to.  Is that small stuff?

Most people think that is unhealthy not to go out.  It is just the way I am now.  So I don't have confidence and still hate to go out without my husband. I have no energy to get dressed up and I never wear jewelry any more.  I wonder if that will ever end?  How about you Soaring Spirits?

Hi cloudwatcher. This is an old thread - one that was started by Robin (SupaDupaFresh) who created the Widowed Village web site. She handed the reins over to me a few years ago. There are a lot of old Forum discussions and every now and then someone will respond to one of those and bring it back to life. I like that.

As far as me ... well, I'd say I do understand those 'big things' more than I used to. I cared for my husband during his 4+ years of cancer and like Barb, I too held my guy as he died. The reality of life and death is much more clear, even though accepting it is still difficult. I live in Las Vegas and the mass shooting here has been very hard on me and everyone in my community. But seeing the kindness and compassion displayed by so many people in the wake of this devastation has been heart-warming.

I'm definitely more aware of what matters most and feel I've changed as a result of my loss. I can enjoy others' good news most of the time - but I recognize that many may be like me ... posting just the happy things on Facebook and social media and keeping the hard stuff to myself.

I've made some really big changes, and believe that those hard cancer/caregiving years were preparation for this part of my life. I've traveled alone, attended art retreats with people I don't know, got certified to teach the Brave Girls' Soul Restoration curriculum and have held women's retreats. None of that was ever thought of before my guy died. If I could have him back healthy, I'd do that in a heartbeat. But I could never wish him back to have to suffer again.

So I accept that this is my life - the only one I have to live - and I'll do my best to live it well. I'll admit that I don't do that every day. I give myself permission to have those hard days - and that's when I just hunker down in the house. So I have to push myself out the door. I volunteer for Soaring Spirits here in the Village but also at each of the Camp Widows. I started a Soaring Spirits regional group here in Vegas that meets 3 times a month and I really enjoy those times with my widowed friends. I purchased season tickets to the Broadway shows that play here in town. Those things force me to get dressed and leave the house. I'm 7 years out - and no, it does not feel that long. 

I just looked at your profile and see you're in Durham. We have a new Soaring Spirits regional group in Raleigh/Durham. Maybe it would be worth a try to go to one of their meets ... a little push out the door. The group leader's name is Mary and she's lovely. Here's a link to their MeetUp page where you'll see details about when they meet. https://www.meetup.com/Widows-and-Widowers-of-Raleigh-Durham/

Dianne

Interesting perspective at 7 years out, I felt the same till it dramatically changed at 8 years out ...

At 10 years out, I only identify w/being a widow when I'm here or I meet up w/a talking head or when relating my kids' grief, otherwise, I have a tendency of forgetting ... 

It's no longer sad or depressing or feels like I've surrendered to life being all about widowhood, however, I do have to remind myself of the grief process to understand as well as relate to each of my kids' level of grief ...

They are now in their early twenties & were much too young to comprehend the reality of their dad's death to fully grieve him. Grief is much different for kids than adults - many parents don't even recognize it ...

I hope in the following year or so, you will feel the final & complete end of grief ...

Blessings ...

I can totally relate to the taking care of my husband and my mother! My husband was diagnosed with cancer and lived about 10 years with it. It was his last year that was wretched - full of pain and appointments and research, non-stop (he passed in 2013). In the last two years of my mother's life (she passed this past March), there was a lot more care going on with her. She was not in pain and she was a trooper. But there was a lot to do to manage her being home.

I find that for the first time in years I don't have any commitments on the weekends unless I make them. There is no one to care for. I'm thinking it is ME time and I just have to figure that out. I have taken up knitting once again along with my spinning and weaving fibers. I work full time so that keeps me busy. I've begun fitness classes because I am so aware of aging now. I have my cat to love.

Just wanted you to know your words resonated with me.

 I am 70 now, five years out, five years older.  I don't know what life changes are due to being a widow and which are due to being older I do know things have changed a lot.  But some things haven't changed since the early days of widowhood. For one thing I have never got used to the loneliness, the missing being a member of a couple, part of a complete family. My children and grandchildren are not close by, a lot of people I once hung around with have gone out of my life.  Life is different, I am different.  I still don't have anyone special in my life, which is something that brings me to tears from time to time and yet most people who know me would say I live a full and interesting life.  That is the way it looks from the outside, from the inside it feels like it is purposeless.That may be because in my caregiving years life seemed so full on, especially as  I too took care of my husband and my mother. I wish my life was different but it is the life I have.  Next year I will be 71, the following year 72,ageing is inevitable. I don't really know what it is I want so it is hard to make changes.  So I guess I just settle for what is and don't sweat the small stuff.  There is joy in living, just not in the same way there once was.

I find I understand now why we are born, what life is about.

I have no use for people's petty problems, & make it clear I don't want to hear about their self inflicted problems. (house renovations, anything to do with children, you made the choice to have them).  Every thing is even more black & white.  which I know isn't good. but I struggle with that.  

I have so much more confidence now, after 4 1/2 years of doing everything myself, having trade people try to screw me over, mechanics etc.  No patience for that & I let them know.  Treat me better or my money goes somewhere else.  If someone treats me poorly, I no longer let it slide.  

I am wiser now but I also know that death is a part of living. Our days are numbered and we have no control over when our time is up. I find I am less tolerant of the BS people try to lay on us. Small stuff or big stuff it is just stuff and nothing more. What's important for me is to live each day to the best of my ability and to pay it forward to not just the widowed community but to everyone one. Life's not guaranteed which we all know. I could be gone tomorrow but if I made one small difference in someones life then that means more to me than anything else. We can't change what happened but we can move forward and look for the positive things in life the things that truly matter. I  don't mean material things either.  I mean friendships you develop, a smile to brighten someones day, something to help a homeless person be able to have some hope for the future be it giving them blankets to keep them warm in the winter or something else to help them get thru their day Life holds so much promise for all of us and for all of mankind. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a warm place to sleep so I am blessed and appreciate more than ever what I have. One thing I have leaned traveling this journey is that it's the small things that matter. I've learned that you can't put your all your hopes on tomorrow because tomorrow is not promised. I've learned that a smile or a hug may make someone elses day better than what it was. I've learned than family isn't blood but the people who are there for you when you need them the most. I wish all a safe and peaceful journey as you work to discover who you are now. We are all a work in progress and always will be. Remember to say their name.

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