A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
I am slowly learning who I am as I make this journey from WE to ME. I discovered that when I am in a bad place that I do not take care of me nor anything else. I am beginning to take better care of me both physically and mentally.
I was the type of person who kept my feeling to myself. I would not even talk with a stranger. I find I am more outgoing now than before. I don't put up with the BS any more and find I am saying what is on my mind. I can accept that Jim is no longer with me physically but I know he is here and he will forever be in my heart. No one can take away what we had and he will always be a part of me.
I can look back now on both the good and bad times without crying. I can even look at the picture of him that I took in Belize at Jam Rocks and smile. I remember the wonderful time we had there and the plans we were making to retire there.
I look back now on a time when things were not going well with us and know that those times made us both stronger and deepend our love for each other as we slowly worked through them. It took awhile but we did get through them.
So now as I focus on going from the WE to ME I can see how much of an influence he had on who I am becoming today. I like the new ME as I a travel this journey. I have learned that for other to like ME I have to like myself first. As this new ME emerges, I find that sometimes it is painful but it is not impossible so for the time being I will continue to work and focus on the ME.
So for now as I will work on ME, I will incorporate the following poem called "Take Time" as part of my life.
Take Time to think...It the source of Power.
Take Time to play...It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take Time to read...It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take Time to pray...It is the greatest power on earth.
Take Time to love and be loved...It is a God-given privilege.
Take Time to be friendly...It is the road to happiness.
Take Time to laugh...It is the music of the soul.
Take Time to give...It is to short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work...It is the price of success.
Take Time to do charity...It is the key to heaven.
This is wonderful. I love that - "from WE to ME"! Yes, with what we've been through I believe we should take all the time we need to focus on ourselves and create a healthy life for ourselves.
I truly admire your progress, Janet. I just don't know how to get there. We had a large family gathering this weekend for my parent's 70th wedding anniversary. I was doing OK until the minister started expounding on the blessings of marriage during his prayer. I grabbed my nieces leg and dug my nails in. Fortunately for her, she had on jeans, and she completely understood what was happening. I don't think I'm moving fast enough on the recovery road for quite a few members of my family. That really bites! Do you know when you've turned a corner and are going to make it? I'm struggling minute to minute and it's been almost 6 months.
We can only try to not let let the expectations of others affect our healing, no matter what they might be; there are no set guidelines or timelines to our journey through grief as we are all different. I'm not sure any of us know how to ''get there''...most of us have no experience at losing the one person closest to us...we slog along, trying a suggestion here, taking a piece of advice from there, trying them to see if they work for us...it is my belief that only we know when we ''moving'', or making a ''shift'', but I am finding that the process has to run it's course and the very fact that you are asking your question, is proof to me that you are moving too, are trying to find out just what is to be done next.
My wife of 40 years, DJ, died 7mos ago from colon ca., and today, at times, it is as you say, a ''minute to minute'' struggle to maintain any reasonable grasp on the present reality...by coming here and reading the posts of others and the other material available, I have been able to at least understand what is happening along the road, and make some choices as to what to try to make the trek easier. The one thing I have gained so far and what I can personally attest to is the true belief I have in hope...hope for the future...
Wishing Peace and healing for you...
Hi Hendrixx, Thank you for your perceptions on this journey. I feel so much the same way you do. It is a journey, only those who have experienced it can understand it. It helps to know you're not losing it...or maybe you've only temporarily lost it. I too believe in hope for the future.
Juliana, at 6 months I did not know where I was going either. It is strange that one of the first things I found as I was clearing out alot of my junk was the poem I ran across called "Take Time". I taped it to the bottom of my monitor so I could read it everyday. The two that have a way of just jumping out at me ever so often are the "Take Time to play...it is the screteof perpetual youth." and "Take Time to laugh...it is the music of the soul." It is almost like they are trying to tell me something so every time I see them I take a moment and reflect back on our life and what my husband would want me to do.
This is a very hard and difficult journey to say the least. I can't say I am progressing any faster than you but I am learning that I do have choices in this journey. I can either chose to stay where I am or I can move forward from the WE to ME, however painful it may be. I chose to move forward and to live life and enjoy it to the best of my ability and know that I have one thing that no one can ever take away from me and that is the memories from 25 plus years of Marriage.
Jim always said that he hoped he went first because he did not think he could deal with me going first. In a way I am glad he did go first because I know that he would have not been able to deal with this painful journey. I think it would have destroyed him in the end. Jim always said that he wanted me to go on and hopefully find love again and maybe one day I will but I am not looking for it. I need to learn who I am now and focus on ME instead of the WE.
I feel very fortunate to have had him as long as I did. He was 58 when he suddenly passed away and he never really expected to live past the age of 53 but he was always thankful for each year he made it past 53. He lost is dad at the age of 53 due to a stroke and his mom who was also 53 only 6 months later in a car accident. He was 13 at the time he lost both of his parents so his life growing up was not an easy one.
He use to tease me and say "I hope you never talk about me they way your relatives talk about their spouses who are gone." I always had to reassure him that I was not them and that was not the way it would ever be. We had our bad times but those just made the Marriage stronger and seemed to solidify it even more. I miss him very much but I do know beyound a shadow of a doubt that he is happy and free from all the pain that he suffered. I will always love him but for ME it is now time to move forward with my life and try to learn who I am without him by my side. No one can ever take the memories from ME and they will live in my heart forever as will my love for him.
It definitely is a choice that one must make...move forward or stay in misery. I know a woman who just can't seem to move forward. Her husband died 7 years ago. Despite having a loving family encouraging her to participate in life, she doesn't seem to be able to do it. I think it might be a feeling of safety issue. I know that everything that has propelled me forward has scared me. I've learned that I can go into a situation and have a meltdown and nothing horrid happens. I've had to learn to accept that. I don't know if that awareness has helped me stop having so many public meltdowns or not, but it is getting better. I think our society wants us to show no "negative" emotion. I don't feel that an expression of my grieving is "negative". I believe that it's a sign of my letting go of the past to move forward. I'm not just grieving the loss of my husband, I'm also grieving the loss of a life that I somehow believed that I would have forever. I was very naive, and I think until you are forced to face this loss, you probably don't truly appreciate the value of happiness and peace. OOOOOOoooo! I'm getting all philosophical. I hate it when that happens. :)
Thank you for sharing this Janet. Every bit helps!
Janet, I can identify with "From WE to ME". Isn't that the truth! I think that the people who don't make that transition end up either 1) in perpetual grief, or 2) jumping into another relationship to fill the void. I don't want either of those, so I am working on me.
After Tom died, I realized that the last time I was captain of my own ship was 35 years ago when I was still in college. I went directly from college to marriage, like many of my friends did. I never had an apartment by myself, even in college. Never lived completely alone. What was I going to do without him? Couldn't picture living with anyone else, but couldn't picture living alone.
For awhile, it was just "put one foot in front of the other and get through today". Then I fianlly came out of the fog and started trying to be 'me'. I felt guilty about doing what I wanted, when I wanted, and with whom I wanted. "Others will think you selfish" I said to myself. I learned to ignore that. After the year I went through, I deserved to be a little selfish, I NEEDED to be a little selfish. In the course of uncovering what it is that I really want to do, am rediscovering "me", or rather I am "reinventing" me, because the me that I am now is not the me I ever was before. I LIKE the new me. I can't say that any other place but here because it's like I'm glad he's dead, but I'm not. I just couldn't become the me that I am if he was still here. And I wouldn't be the me that I am without the life I had with him. I am so much more because of his influence on my life. But I have grown even more because I am now fully ME.
Who knows what's around the corner. I refuse to put much effort into "finding a man". Instead, I will put myself into "finding" me. If a good man turns up too, well, I can only think that Tom would approve.
I have found reading this discussion very therapeutic and particularly helpful for me today as I struggle with an overwhelmingly sad day. Its 6 months since J died. 2 days after his funeral was Christmas,then my birthday then what would have been our 40th W.A. Last week I had to rehome our puppy. For the first time in 41years the only person I have to look after is ME. I cared for both sets of parents,our kids,foster children etc,etc, and now I am only responsible for myself. Reading all your comments has made me realise I have to approach this unwanted and unplanned situation as a chance for me to finally grow into whoever I choose to be. I also feel guilty if I put myself first,even in simple things. Maybe being a bit selfish would be a good thing to try! From WE to ME is going to become my personal mantra for a while.
Disflog, it is definitely a growing experience. The being selfish part is still my biggest hurdle some days. I do feel guilty when I decide to do something just for me.
It is still hard but sometimes fun to realise that the only person I have to please now is me. I haven't done what I've wanted to do in over 25 years. I always put family and job first. It is definitely a new but strange feeling. I will difficult for me to decide if I wanted to attend Camp Widow West. I finally realised, it was something I needed to do just for me in order for me to grow and move forward in this journey.
I like the new you, too.
Hi from Australia. This is my first post and I am trying to move from WE to ME.
My beautiful husband John died on May 24 from leukemia related illness - his counts had dropped very low, there were signs of blasts in his blood and he developed aspirational pneumonia. He was first diagnosed in February 2009 so we were on a rollercoaster with relapses, treatment, a stem cell transplant, clinical trials etc.
I guess we knew when we cried and hugged each other in mid 2010 after the first relapse was confirmed that we would never grow old together. It was a second marriage for both of us and we'd clicked instantly on meeting.
In the first few weeks I had panic attacks in supermarkets because that was where I had to confront the fact that I was't shopping for "us" and trying to tempt John's appetite but suddenly it was just for me and I could buy food such as prawns that he never ate....though my interest in food is down and the freezer is full of leftover packages.
To me food shopping is one of the most confronting things because John loved trying new recipes and usually shopped with me when he was well enough.
I haven't been on my own since before I met John in 2007 and previously had cared for my mother and my daughter so it's hard to adjust to cooking for one. However, because I didn't have the luxury of a wonderful marriage for decades I perhaps have more of a sense of who I am as an individual. Though that individual has changed - for example, John introduced me to playing music and we had a casual band. That was in another state though so I hope to create music connections where I am now because music brought me such joy. But finding a band is harder maybe when your 62nd birthday looms.
Also I need to find some type of work. The media industry has been decimated here in Australia and hundreds of newspaper jobs are going. So it looks like opportunities are limited. And I don't think I'm ready yet to put together a CV.
What I've found is that interesting times in beautiful locations with cheerful friends have helped in recent weeks and I've been in the moment being ME. Last Saturday I went on a beach walk featuring art sculptures and celebrations of different cultures at beaches along the route, plus a jazz band, drumming, other music, free lentil soup, sandcastles and much more. It was a sunshiny day (though it's winter here) and I realised later that I'd actually felt happy.
I was happy going to a movie with friends and staying the night at their place in Sydney. And I was happy Thursday evening having drinks with an interstate friend on the deck of a sailing club and then checking out a cool new bar.
I feel I need distractions like this involving ME while with other people because at home there is so much of WE and all the issues I have to deal with. Must finalise car rego this morning - that was a John thing so that's all new and I need to get my license again so I can drive the car.
Anyway, thanks to creators of this board. Ann