A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
Following Deb's passing, I was very aware of everyone elses grief and accommodated them for the most part. I am not talking about my kids, that may or may not be a different subject. But, family, co-workers and friends. We had a memorial at the one year mark, my children told me to restrict it to family only. I excluded Deb's closest friends, but called them to inform them of the kids wishes, three years after her passing they have little or nothing to do with us.
The other part of this was, that after about 4 months or so, I saw a woman at the market who was a friend of Deb's, she asked how I was, I told her terrific, and you would have thought I killed her dog, I lowered my head and said, "as good as we can be". She was happier with that answer and went about her business.
So, would our grief be diferent, if we didn't have to worry about other peoples thoughts and feelings, I am interested in your opinions.
My family is very supportive however I still try to put on a dry face not a happy face same goes for friends. I too have a couple of friends who are also widowed and with them I can let it all hang out. Most people do not know how to deal with someone grieving. They are afraid of saying something that will make us sad. I don't know when I'm not sad. I lost my husband on March 12th, 2011.
I would say definitely! My husband's family made it a point to make their grief much more important than mine and belittled whatever it was that I was feeling. It was a very difficult year after his death. I kept telling myself that I needed to be aware of everyone else's grief and made excuses for them not coming around. However, I hit about the 9 or 10 month mark and said enough. On the one year mark - I made a promise to myself that this second year would be about me and setting up a life for my son and I and make sure that we are grieving in our own way.
My mother-in-law is quite a downer and doesn't move forward. She is also a widow and has not dealt with much of anything over the past 10+ years. I am not that person. I have to move forward.
Making this decision has been one of the best I've made in a year and a half since my husband's death.
It is hard all the same.
Totally -- and things got much better once I realized I didn't HAVE to accommodate other folks' feelings... I could allow them to have theirs, without denying my own. Too often I think this results in our cutting ourselves off because we just can't stand to be around other folks with their weird tolerances (and their expectations of us). But you've already heard that sermon...
I do think we start to heal in a different way once we understand that (1) there isn't a right way to do it and (2) it doesn't matter if other people think there IS. It takes excellent boundaries and terrific confidence to do that without just avoiding people altogether.
I agree that kids are a completely separate subject, but then, many widowed people with older kids have HUGE conflicts with their kids, sometimes over related issues, so maybe not?
I have been so lucky that I have been allowed to grieve the way I want to by my close friends and of course by my family. It may be because I am so busy anyway that has meant that I am able to grieve in my own way and in the time that I have available. Maybe that is the change in the way I have grieved. Just being super busy this last few months has helped me to come to terms with the way my life has been.
As I have my daughter living here at the moment we are able to talk freely about Keith and his dying and also her boys speak of Grandad all the time. As in "Nan - where are Grandad's tools?" , "Nan - where did Grandad put.....?". It is so natural here that it helps us all. To us Grandad is not very far away at all and even though we can't see him he is here. The kids are sure of that and they are comforted by it too. When strange things happen they always say Grandad did it. lol It's not an adjustment for me, it is a natural progression for the kids and not hard to take at all.
Last night at the volunteer training I was approached by someone who I had not seen since Keith's funeral who was quite shocked to see me back with the group, (this is the first time they have been since December), and when they asked how I was doing seemed quite shocked to find out that I had been back with the group since early January and was coping okay. They did not understand at all that no matter what life goes forward and hiding in the house is not an option for me. I would go mad if I stayed here all the time.
I have seen the conflicts with older kids - middled aged in one case - who thought that Mum should stay at home and become dependant on them. She is a strong lady and has refused to do this and the family are angry that she won't depend on them. At 63 she is not ready to stop doing the things she did prior to her husband dying and the more the kids get angry the more she goes out and keeps busy. I think she is finding having her kids living so close a trial as she has little time to herself at home and they keep wanting to interfear with what she feels is the best for her.
I won't give advice to her, just told her what I tell everyone, follow your heart and do what is right for you and your needs at the time, bugger the rest of them
I wish I had realized what you came to know so much sooner. But there were/are so many extenuating circumstances, as with everyone I am sure, that I have been on "hold" for too long a time and it's probably very confusing to people now that I am probably "grieving". I can "talk the talk" so very well, it's the "walk the walk" I'm not so good at.
So much was happening prior to my husband getting sick. His business was failing and so for years I worked an 80 hour week at 2 and sometimes 3 jobs to keep us afloat. This impacted on my friendships as I look back now as who had time to nurture them? I/we had friends but it was "weekend" stuff". Always coupled. When he got sick I needed to fit in his treatments and care but most definitely could not give up the two main sources of income/insurance. So, I worked around it. Somehow. When he died I needed to continue working to pay off debts and to support myself. And, because of what I do professionally others thought nothing of coming to me with their issues, problems and dramas and I, unfortunately was not able to say "Gee, i am so sorry for what you are going through right now, but i am going through a bad time myself and can't be really helpful right now". The one person, "friend", I did actually say those words to never spoke to me again. Whew, learned my lesson! So everything went on hold. My daughter even told me that i "was angry". When I tried to explain that I was grieving she became angry with me. Another lesson...stuff it. And so I did. Quite well if I may say so. Until......and now I find myself long past the time that people will 'understand" and needing to do this. I read everyone's posts. That helps. Many i can identify with, some make me envious. The ones with the supportive friends and family make me think what I did wrong. And want to right the wrongs and reach out to others to make sure they don't err as I did. It's okay to be "selfish"...it's not a dirty word. To self care is to truly respect what you need and who you are. I am struggling now with loneliness, seeing all the "couples" and wistfully wishing that I was one of them with my Lane. That my life could be easier at this age. That I had women friends, or that it wasn't so hard to make connections. I am so grateful I found this site, as I can write when I want, but I also can read, and comment, and maybe be helpful to one or more.
So from someone who didn't do it....do it. Take the time to feel whatever it is you are feeling. As confusing and scary as those feelings may be. Whether others like those feelings or not. They are yours. You have the right to them as you are grieving. Be able to say the words I struggled to say; "I'm so sorry, I can't be as helpful to you right now as I'm not in a real good place myself. But I care about you" The first person to care about is YOU! And if you have children, all the more reason to self care. because if you are okay, hey will be too. All this from someone who should have known better but did not listen to the words she would tell others. Don't be me.
I've met my twin, lovesdogs and it's you. Two months after my husband's death, my mother "faked" demetia. Her doctors said, "This happens a lot when they first loose their spouse." I wanted to scream, "I lost my spouse and my manipulative mother has been divorced for 42 years." My mother always claimed "widow" status b/c she was divorced in the 50s when it was not socially acceptable. And, here is the person who should be supporting me at this time but she was sucking the life out of me and getting MY sympathy. Then, the church that my husband had given his musical talents to freely turned their back on me. I sent the pastor a letter questioning why I had been abandoned and his response was, "You always seem to be so strong, no one thought you needed help." Duh! a widow w/an 8 year old & 13 year old, psychotic mother, husband's failing business and I don't need help.
Then my husband's adult drug-addict son from his first marriage stole my husband's credit cards, ruined my credit and I did not qualify for the loan on the house we were in the process of buying. I tried to sell my husband's business but got taken advantage of and it eventually was left in ruins and there went our insurance. Then my step-son sued me over his estate, lost, sued again, lost, sued again and I spent our children's college funds on lawsuits.
Eventually, the stress destroyed my health. I cannot work and everytime I almost get back on my feet, the rug is jerked out from under me. If I ever opened my mouth, the words would be quite foul. And, believe it or not the worst words my children ever heard come out of my mouth were "crap" and "damn" when I got stung by a scorpion. I thought they were going to die of shock. Even though years have passed since my husband's death, it was not until the last three that I finally sought counseling. I tell her everything and don't tell others anything except those of you on this website.
Thanks for listening!
Yes, i think I am doing it. I was reminded I have a son to take care of. Since I work in an important office I felt like eyes were on us. I did not want people to sympathise or feel sorry for us so I put up a brave face. I did not want my grief to affect the mood in the office or my disposition when at work. It is hard but I am lucky that I have an office so I could cry in private . I keep a tissue box in case I am overwhelmed.
I lie a lot. When people ask how we are, I would say 'We're ok... or sometimes I could be more honest to closer friends and say 'Trying to be ok'. When I was single I thought I was strong and tough but when I lost him, I felt devastated, incomplete, crippled' I felt that in order to survive, I should put grief aside the soonest and get on with the means of survival for us. I have to find my strength back immediately.
However, privately, at home, at night and on weekends, away from everyone, I could grieve in peace, without questions and worries from friends. It is hard but we are trying...
I hope that you are doing ok. I just read what you wrote about Deb's friend and not hardly seeing them anymore. I so understand the feeling. Since my husbands passing I hardly ever have any visitors here at my home and it hurts. They say that it is to sad here at my home without my husband. I live it each day and every day for almost two years. We were married in 1974, I knew my husband since I was 16, we started dating when I turned eighteen. I miss him so much, my heart hurts so badly. He was not only my husband but my best friend and soul mate. His name was David, he died from cancer. I fight the sadness and lonliness each and everyday. There are many days that I wonder if I am going to my it through this journey of grief. It will be two years in Nov., feels like forever but feels like yesterday.
As to your answer to people that ask you how you are doing. I think sometimes they don't know what they want to say and what they want us to say. I hear from people that say, "Well you look good!" How am I suppose to look? Is my question?? Or... " You are so strong, I am sick of being STRONG!" We just do the best that we can.
I am new to this site. I don't know much about it. I would like to hear about you and your loss of your soul mate, best friend....your wife, Deb and your journey of grief. If you would like to share that with me ...as I understand your sorrow. Diane
I feel I have had to hold it together because of a family member. It seems to me that I am expected to hold it in or else I must be "losing it". The strain of that has made me "stuck". I am retired now and letting go of all the feelings that have been bottled up for four years. The anniversary of my husband's death is Nov. 7. I have been feeling that there is something wrong with me to be grieving this long but my father died Oct. of last year. His death brought it all back. My father lived until he was 90. I miss him but I know it was his time.
I know we respond to how people try to comfort us. Some don't know what to say and some say the wrong things but they are trying to comfort even if they don't know how. So you end up comforting them, sometimes. I guess we have to deal with the people in our lives even when we don't have the strength or will to want to deal. I know what you mean about the woman you met. I think that has happened to all of us. People ask how you're doing and your knee-jerk reaction is to say fine because you think they need to hear that you're fine. If you told them how you really feel you would freak them out.