When I hit two years I decided that I was going to stop wasting my life in sorrow and heartbreak. I decided that I would focus on feeling grateful for the wonderful life I was able to share with an absolutely incredible man even if it was traumatically and suddenly cut short, cut to half of what I expected, cut to me on my own trying to make sense of the enormity of my loss. I was so lucky, afterall, that people came up to me at the funeral and told me how lucky I had been. Intellectually, I knew that they were right, and I could hear it in their voices, the ones who told me that, that they had not been as fortunate in love. But I was so devastated that I was not ready to take in their message. But maybe it lingered inside of me, and at 2 years, I decided they were right. It went pretty well for a couple of months, and I felt like I was going to be okay. But then I would be sitting around, thinking of nothing in particular, and this physical pain of heartbreak would grow in my breast filling me with emptiness, as if my body was going to mourn even without my head having anything to do with it. I keep seeing the image of a burn starting on a piece of paper, the hole it creates, the red ring, the black char around it, and then, just the hole getting bigger and bigger. It's gotten to the point now at which it feels like there is nothing left inside of me at all except the pain. How can it be this bad at 2 years out? I was terrified at posts like this when I was new, and now here I am. I'm afraid that its never really going to be better on the inside, and that faking it is all I am going to be able to do until I lay there on my last day thinking, thank God it is over.
This old camp song/story came into my head, Can't go around it, can't go over it, can't go under it, gotta go through it. My sincerest sympathy and long-distance hand holding to you. I'm a little over 3 years out, and for me, 2nd year mark was absolutely the worst. I was a beast at work and just hid from people, and my two dogs listened to a lot (and got me out of the house to walk them). Don't hesitate to find a therapist (and shop around until you find a good fit, if you can afford it). Won't make it go away but may help your get through. At two years, I had to literally force myself to contact friends, go out, etc. Also maybe sign up for soup kitchen or something to help others, it will lift you up a little bit anyways.
I don't agree that you are not wasting your time on sorrow and heartbreak. Like the other people here have said, you have to go through it. You loved your husband. You still love him. I'm almost four years and out and yes, I still have bad days. Sometimes, I wonder why I can't "move on" like some other widowed people I know who have remarried or are in new relationships. The fact is that we all grieve at our own pace. I've been trying to get comfortable with it. A woman I went out with last year commented to me that I was still in love with my wife. My answer to her is: So be it. There are worse things to be. it''s part of who I am now, like it or not.
Thank you Widow85, Callie2 and Lupe's Husband, your replies helped me start to breath again. Thank you for your wisdom, each of you. Now that I've broken down in grief and just accepted that this is going to be me regardless of how I might prefer to be, I don't feel quite as bad. Or rather, I feel sad in a way that I had hoped to leave behind, I feel pretty bad, but at least not that incredible physical pain of denied grief asserting itself like I was when I posted. I give myself up to the feelings! Maybe that's progress, and I hope that it is, but I'm the boat on the ocean now, and I admit, the current is stronger than I am. I have no idea where I'm going to wind up in the end. Or who I'm going to be. So be it, like you say, hoping for peace, and going through it.
In a short time from now, it will be 10 years. It's so much different now from the active or waning years of grief. Not until Bob died did I actually start being true to myself in everything I felt or did. Faking it never was an activity I could commit to since I could feel okay in one moment & the next I'd be moping around only for it to cycle around again. It wasn't for a lack of trying to keep up my spirits, but the persistence of trying to grasp a long lasting understanding of Bob's death pre-occupied every area of my brain whether I was fully aware of it or not. It was around 6 years out when my life started coming together - mind, body & soul. Meaning, I was becoming whole again & w/it I began to quickly shed many aspects of grief I was not aware of. The really nice part of it was heightened energy & feeling of lightness. I was actually surprised that many silly things I would cling onto or worry about actually no longer mattered. While I was grieving it was the angry or despondent "I don't give a f**k", but now I'm good w/them being gone & I can smile w/out regret or remorse. Just keep true to yourself, you might find in the end, like myself, you've let go &/or worked out issues small & large w/out being consciously aware of all the good things you've doing for yourself!
Last weekend, we celebrated my kid's consecutive b-days including my deceased mother's. To her delight, she would say w/each birth - I was meant to have my babies around her b-day. Anyhoo, this was a very good year for the kids - we sang, we laughed & shared far more personal stories about Dad than at Christmas. I have to say, it gets better every year for all of us. BTW, I've never dated as well as continue to not be interested. The reason for it - is I always knew my loneliness would pass at some point. Everything I thought or felt then is no longer a part of my life. What is left are sweet memories & the continuance of a life worth living! :-)
Thanks SweetMelissa, I find that too, that I am becoming more and more true to myself, but its still a process. I wasn't aware of "faking it" when I decided to change my perspective, I felt as if I was taking charge, picking myself up off the floor, and etc. But I see it now. I do struggle with the fear of letting myself down and having a less than good life as a result, and the dating question is a really good example of another fake it to make it urge I struggle with. I don't "want" to but I feel as if looking for another companion is the next step in healing my pain, and that I "ought" to. I am getting a lot of pressure from a friend of mine who is beginning to get angry that I "won't even try." (And she, ironically, is mired in an awful marriage that really showcases the potential downsides of finding someone new.) I think I've gotten impatient with myself, and I really appreciate your hopeful message from the path ahead.
Every facet of grief is a process - that's what makes it suck. Learning to cope w/unknown emotions while carrying them them around is no easy feat nor is it fun as well as clouds the reasons for doing it. I've never dated, but that doesn't mean I didn't struggle w/loneliness by looking for ways to ease the pain. Grief does test a person in unthinkable ways, some can cause self recrimination. I got into looking for a wedding ring on every man I came in contact with. It didn't matter if he was young, old or passed out drunk on the street. Sometimes, it was wondering if he had someone who loved him - if he was alone in the world like myself. Then there was the looming question of "how do people meet someone" to date or be friends w/at my age. Or the "how to act normal" when widowed. There were times I would fantasize about dinner w/a particular man who quickly became Bob. They were all shocking, but they did bring me back to reality. Following all the astounding questions, I routinely beat myself up from guilt & remorse. The fact was everything was unknown to me, however, it took alot of time to learn to cope w/each issue as well as allow for many trial dips into uncharted waters w/the innocence & ignorance of a newbie. Eventually, I came to find taking charge of my life meant exploring my feelings, looking for books on coping skills to deal w/my ball of confusion including how to effectively lower them from hyper state &/or reactiveness. When my loneliness became overwhelming, I was in my very own "fight club". I cried & wrestled w/myself repeatedly screaming "no!" or "you can't go there" or "stop it". When the episode ended, I focused on soothing my broken spirit in finding ways to forgive/love myself to be able to feel okay w/the things I needed to do to keep from creating harmful situations I would soon regret. I know it sounds ugly, however, it catapulted me out of many depressive moods. My dealings w/grief are probably very uncommon. I've never been able to contain toxic emotions w/out them coming out in some way or another that only masked their true cause. Learning how to cope proved to be a far better prescription for the new life I was developing on a daily basis. Either way, dating &/or singlehood will challenge you; the choice depends on the reason(s) you choose one over the other. From what I've been told by other widows is when dating, it becomes multi-tasking grief & pleasing another person, however, you gain opportunities for socializing & going out dancing w/a designated partner.
As for myself, I never gave into pressure from others. I made it perfectly clear I owned my grief journey; it was a part of me that was deeply personal & off limits. Meaning, I will figure it out on my own w/the help of other widows ... thank you very much. By the 2nd - 3rd year, most everyone thought I was finished w/grieving anyway. Those who knew I wasn't done just seemed to forget unless I mentioned feelings of grief or they said something that got my haunches up. The one routine thing about grief that can really be annoying is all the choices & decisions one must make or ignore just to stay sane ...
Try your best to be true yourself. If need be, put your shields up or remove yourself from a situation or conversation that is taxing on your nerves. Take care ...