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Hi!

    My guess is that everyone here feels as " Half Of A Person / Couple  ".  Paul made up the other half of me. ... Am I now alone ? I hate being alone. ... What have you done to make yourself a bit more whole?  Please tell me... Maybe I can try what you have. 

Susan 

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Hello Susan I'm so sorry for your loss and terrible grief xxx
I am exactly that half a person. I lost Steve and I've lost me somewhere too. I actually feel more like some kind if little lost ghost drifting around and completely invisible. Steve and I were like one and I am having a problem just trying to exist on my own.
I'm afraid I have no answers it's early days for me. 2 months this Monday and it's such a rough time. I'm looking forward to reading replies here too. I need to have some hope even if just a glimmer that life can carry on with some kind of normality even if not any pleasure xxxx

Hi Alone,

    Thank You... But we'll get there. Paul passed on Dec. 7, 2016. So I'm about 3 & 3/4 months in.  I just need to find a way to re configure my life.  I just don't know how to start.  I need someone to say " THIS IS WHAT YOU DO" ... But I don't think anyone knows how to do that. It's likes we're all in about the same place... But I keep checking back here hoping someone has an idea of what to do or how to get started on a new life. To be ME again.

Susan

Sending you an understanding hug Susan xxxx thank you xxx I will keep checking in too. What a life! How could this happen???? xxxx hugs xxxx I'm so sorry about your dear Paul xx

Thanks Alone :-)  

    I sat down to think about other family members... And I think I'm the only widow in the family. Which means, I have no one to really relate to. So I come here ... :-)    At least here people understand.  .

    My youngest sister is divorced, so since she's alone, she tries to relate. I just don't have the heart to tell her that it's not the same.

    I feel like I have friends here.

Susan

Hi Sissy --

I wish I had an answer for you, or something to offer to make you feel less alone.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that for myself yet, so I certainly can't do it for anyone else.

What I can say is that I've been trying to get a better handle on just what my wife's death left me of her, if that makes any sense.  Yes, her life is gone, as is her physical company, the effects of her activities (such as her towel being damp in the morning, her teacup being used, etc.), and a host of other things that were inseparable from her being alive.  Those things are irretrievable to me.  So what does that leave me?  I've begun making lists of things, as they occur to me.  Here are some of them.  I'm doubtful as to whether or not they can help make me "feel whole" again, but they're what I have to work with, so I don't want to ignore or squander them.

The people whom she loved, and who loved her. I'm trying to stay connected with them, and to be a good steward of her memory for them.  I've taken a few trips to her grave with various of her friends, and want to keep doing so for as long as I can keep them interested in going.  One of the positive things about cemeteries is that there are few distractions, and being able to be near to her, and to share happy memories about her, has been helpful for them, and for me.

Her unfinished projects.  My wife was big on taking on new projects -- especially ones that she could learn something from -- whether is was redecorating our home in an entirely different style that she had recently discovered, or trying her hand at writing a book on her experiences and discoveries in genealogical research.  I'm beginning to delve into some of those projects, and to attempt to "channel" her, to complete them in as respectful and authentic a way as possible.

Her relationship with our cat.  Kelly loved all cats (and they loved her), but she was especially fond of our cat, and had a wonderful rapport with her.  I was always more equivocal about the cat, who clearly misses my wife terribly.  So I've been making an effort to be a better "cat father", devoting more time, attention and patience to the cat.  I know Kelly would approve and appreciate this, and I know the cat does as well.

My development as a human.  I'm far from perfect, which my wife couldn't help but notice.  But she saw me through the lens of thinking that I was the kind of man she always wanted to be married to, and she seemed to consider my shortcomings as just par for the course for any human.  At the same time, she was very big on her own self-improvement -- not like people who just buy self-help books and think that they'll be able to "fix" themselves by reading them, but by identifying things about herself that may have been less than ideal about herself, and then taking concrete steps to change them.  I'm well aware of some of the things about me that she considered "works in progress", and I'm trying to focus on improving those things.

Preserving the artifacts of her life.  When my father died, my mother had his old study cleared-out within a month, and was ready to donate most of his things (thousands of books and magazines, his wardrobe, etc.) to charities.  This wasn't because she didn't care for him; they had a very happy and committed marriage for 53 years.  Rather, it's that she isn't sentimental; she just doesn't feel a connection between those objects and my father.  I, on the other hand, am very sentimental, and I keenly feel Kelly's connection to her clothing, her collections, her books, etc.  I've kept her close, her kitchen, etc., exactly as it was, and I won't be getting rid of anything.  She was a very stylish person who loved putting together beautiful outfits from vintage clothing, and I even want to use one of the basement rooms as a place for 5 or 6 mannequins, and to dress each of them in one of her different favorite outfits.  To some, that might seem weird, but for me, it will help keep her more immediate in my life.

Anyway, those are a few of the ways that I'm trying to approach "making myself a bit more whole".  We'll see how much they help.  They certainly can't hurt.

Hi RCH,

   I like the list you made... Portraying her clothes on mannequins isn't  weird. After all, they do it in museums for people to enjoy. :-)  

   I DO like the idea of keeping up her friends and finishing things she started. I have always kept in touch with his best friend and kids. We had many of the same friends which makes that easy.

   Thank You for you Post.

Susan

Susan, I can relate to that feeling of being "alone" in a family. I'm sorry you lost Paul, I'm sorry we are all here, but I, too, am very grateful for WV.

RCH, thanks for a beautiful post, what a touching tribute to your wife!  Also, thank you for reminding me (some days it feels like my brain has turned to onion dip) that my husband, the writer, never had a chance to finish the third book in the trilogy he was writing.  I need to find the strength to finish that book for him. We talked all the time about his plans for book 3, so I do believe I can honor his artistic soul by eventually finishing it.  Courage, Camille! 

Things to Make Myself Feel Whole:

Gone for grief counseling
Given myself a makeover: a completely different hairstyle and new clothes
Started power walking (until sidelined by an ankle injury)
Given every room of my apartment a complete makeover
Got a memorial tattoo in honor of my husband
Recently started playing the flute again: I met my husband at a concert rehearsal, so this one's particularly special.

Hi SpringLight,

   I don't go to Grief Counseling... I tried it and it's not for me... But I DO enjoy going to  Bereavement Meetings that our church holds. I had no idea so many people i knew were widowed. 

   I love the idea of giving the rooms in the house a makeover... But I think I need the money for that first. ... I already did the master bedroom. ... It's a bit more feminine now.

   Thank you so much for the ideas ;-)

Regards,

Susan

Susan,

I think you bring up a good point obviously I didn't have to face until this happened. I've had to relearn how to make decisions about consulting my partner, do things on my own that we did together and feeling places with our kids but now it's just my job.

It's been almost a year and I have made some decisions about what I'd like to do. Much of the winter I spent doing nothing because I had foot surgery that left me nonweightbearing. All of those cold dark winter nights I fluctuated between feeling sorry for myself and trying to be occupied. I'm not the best at hobbies or going out and taking classes.

I don't feel like half of me is missing though. I'm heartbroken, miss my best friend and I've had to learn how to be kind to myself.

I don't know if I have any answers other than trying to build relationships and friendships and not always be so hard on myself.

I know you will find your way.

Lori

Hi Lori,

   Something tells me winters are going to be the worst. Cold Lonely evenings.... But I digress...  Maybe by the time winter gets here, I'll have found something to occupy my time.

   I have heard people say that they had to learn to be " Kind To Themselves " ... But I imagine how you would do that ...  

I hope your hard days are over. :-)

Regards,

Susan

More like a single person who has been ripped in half and is all raw edges . . .

Been about 3 1/2 years and my brain is finally re-engaging. I have not much recollection of year 1 and year 2 was just a painful slog. I have started doing some political work (my husband was very active with the state party). I seldom dream of him, but I handed out buttons and flyers at a metro station the day of the climate march and I dreamed the night before he was helping get ready for us to do that together. It was a sweet dream. I always know at some level in my dreams that he is gone and it is not real, so I am able to enjoy them without them grieving me.

I am on the board of a small theater; my spouse and I did a lot with high school theater boosters and in fact one of the kids is now a production stage manager. I still drive his sports car with the car club; sometimes it's just me and a bunch of guys at our events!

So I am carrying on with our and his interests, which seems to help. We were so simpatico on values and politics. Sometimes I worry that I am distracting myself in busyness, but I have always had a number of things going on (work, volunteer, learning); so I've decided not to fret about it.

RCH, I walked around at home WEARING my husband's clothes for awhile; whatever makes you feel better you go for it.

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