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I've begun to realize that I'm actually doing less with other people, and becoming more and more afraid of going out anywhere as a woman who is obviously alone.  After Phillip first died last January, I still had a sense of what to do with myself - I just did everything we used to do together, but alone.  As time has gone on, however, I can see how so much of what we did was fun simply because we did everything together.  And I feel self-consciously alone and vulnerable to attacks of any kind - whether I'm fearing being mugged or raped, or I can feel the criticisms of others pointed towards me, and I have no white knight to defend me anymore.  

I guess I sort of feel as if I'm shrinking;  not only have I lost the only man I ever truly loved, and who loved me completely and unconditionally, but I've lost the sense of security I felt as someone who had a partner even if he wasn't right there at the moment.  When Phillip was alive, we used to enter into various social and other situations with such confidence and exuberance that everyone everywhere we went knew who we were.  Now, instead of making an entrance, I slip in and out as invisibly as I can.  And there have been countless nights now when I have planned to go out and listen to a band we loved to see together, or join a few fringe acquaintances to shoot some pool, and by the time I'm nearly dressed and ready to go, I don't feel like going anywhere, so I just undress, put on sweats, wash my face, and hope I can sleep that night.

Has anyone else ever had this experience?  Or should I be seriously alarmed by my own reclusiveness? 

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Up until about 2 weeks ago, I was a hermit for 16 mos since my LH died. I met someone who pursued ME and have turned the corner on deciding to get out and do new things. I was so sick of being me and being me here. Even if this relationship doesn't last much longer as I suspect, I will be forever grateful to this man for helping me see that the world has color and is not just black and white. I quit telling myself NO, I quit setting up rules for my life and decided to LIVE. That's what my LH wanted for me.

It's been 5 months since my husband died. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends who call, text & email me everyday. I have been pushing myself to go out & do things. I joined a class, have been to the movies, out for brunch, lunch & dinner. I would really rather do none of it. I'd rather sit under a blanket, feel sorry for myself & ask why am I a widow at 42? But, I know that's not what he would want me to do. I also know that if I don't take people up on their offers, they will eventually stop asking. I am thankful to my friends who have not allowed me to sink into the depression that is so easily in reach. 'We' lived life to the fullest before & now I have to live enough for both of us.

I am experiencing some of the same.  When Clint was alive, I was always going somewhere.  I belong to five senior centers and I would leave in the morning and come back in the afternoon.  Now, I make plans for the next day and not go anywhere.  I really think too, that the weather is a factor as I live in Illinois.  So I'll see after the snow thaws and it gets warmer, if I will be more motivated.  Clint passed away July 27, 2013.

Thanks to all of you for the reality check - forever56, Polly, AngelAKLauren, and praised:

I guess passing the 1-year mark, then being deluged by memories of his birthday, Valentine's Day, and soon, our 3rd anniversary (together 7 years, but I was too scared to get married until 3 years ago.). It has all just engulfed me in a whole new consciousness that Phillip is gone forever from this earth and the whole world is the worse for it. I often wonder if anyone else - his daughters, mother, sister, brother - feels his absence as I do. It NEVER ends, this feeling of being abandoned by the only person who ever defended me, loved me, praised me, told everyone he was the luckiest man in the world - just writing this makes me want to go into church (I'm Catholic) and announce how terrible a thing God has allowed to happen to me - and that all the faith in the world that well be reunited some day is not one damn bit of comfort to me when I feel as though not a soul in the world knows or cares he's gone and my life has just spiraled into nothingness ever since. No, I am NOT suicidal, nor do I look to anyone as if I'm falling apart - but I am. I am in the sense that I've been doing what I'm supposed to do and it makes no difference whatsoever - activity makes time go by more quickly, I guess, but who cares? W hat am I waiting for anymore? Nothing. I live and breathe and behave myself well enough so that my friends and family won't lecture me on moving forward. I hate it. Before January 22, 2013, I loved my life every single day. Now I hate it - just more on some days than on others.

I feel this way.  I have done the very same routine when it comes to going out.  I'll get ready and then all of a sudden something changes within me and I become doubtful, scared, and decide going out is not the right decision. So I undress, get PJ's on, and sit and flip channels.  I've pretty much become a hermit, other than going to work.  I've closed myself off from most people and have no desire to be around people who knew my husband and I as a couple.  I've tried going out with my friends, but it's hard for me.  It's not them, it's completely me.  I'm widowed young. All my friends are married  or married with kids. It is hard being the widowed wife with all of them watching me or having the feeling of being the 3rd wheel.  It's not them. These are my feelings. They want me around, I'm just not comfortable in the same situations that my husband and I enjoyed together. I do hope it passes. I'm terribly lonely.  I'm only 7 months in and i'm worried that it will only get worse. 

Hi IndiaKai -

Thank you for responding to my dilemma.  I think that what is really happening to me is that I'm not recovering from losing Phillip as fast as I hoped, and certainly not as fast as everyone around me wants and expects.  I am riding the roller coaster that so many others on WV have talked about - and it's been mostly a swooping ride down so far, but that is at least partly because my marriage was a wonderful one, and short enough for me to remember all to clearly how it feels to be alone and without the knowledge that a wonderful miracle like Phillip is anywhere in my future.  The bottom line is that we have no choice but to endure, hoping that we will someday wake up and feel joy at a beautiful day, or the love of family, or whatever.  And there is no timeline - we are each travelling a different, if similar path.  Hang in there - it may get worse before it gets better, but you'll be living and breathing through all of it, so some days, it helps to just resign oneself and sit back for the ride.  Hugs to you, my dear fellow sufferer.  Maura 

Maura- you will never ever 'recover' from this loss. There's no magic time period when you can say, "well I'm glad THAT's over".  I have a neighbor who lost her husband 20 years ago and still cries when she dusts his picture. We are forever going to mourn the loss of what our lives were supposed to be, what we had made plans for and what it feels like to always have someone in your corner.  At 16mos I am getting used to living alone. I notice that I use the words, 'my' and 'I' instead of 'we' and 'our'. I still go through a gazillion mood swings and feelings and wonder if I'm sane or crazy from moment to moment.

Maura, I am only 7 weeks out and have had this happen.  I don't want to go out much at all.  I go to work and will go out with my brother and his family or a very close friend maybe once a week at most, but everyone and everywhere else makes me very uncomfortable.  I am merely existing, too, but I guess I expected that.  I don't know (or much care) how long I will merely exist.  And if anyone close to me tells me to get over it, that person will get the sharp side of my tongue in response.  I don't want anyone else, I don't need anyone else, period.  If I can't have Terry, I will be alone by choice and be much happier for it.  My poor pathetic heart can't handle any more hurt.

Denise

Lauren -   oh-so-right on target.  I keep warning God that if he lets anything happen to one of my children (23 and 19 - in school in NE) I won't be responsible for the consequences.  Yup - I'm a survivor - of way too many really bad things in my 50 years on this earth - how often do I have to prove it??

I am surviving - from one task to the next - that's what my life is made up of - everything is a task without Phillip, and the things that are really tasks, which used to be fun when we were together - are now just a huge worry and I HATE dealing with everything alone.  I know how to live alone perfectly well - I did it for years before Phillip and I met - and it was awful then, but it's worse now that I know the difference.  Aaarrrgh.

I read this a few minutes ago and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I was just thinking the same thing. I'm finding I have to talk myself into going out at all. My "Mother Hubbard" pantry is quite bare and I'm finding out that the thought of going out is becoming frightful! Do you find that friends and family keep telling you it is not good for you to feel this way?

Please be kind to yourself and take good care. Karen

Karen - wow, do I know that "God there is NOTHING to eat or drink here - how long before I'm forced to shop for groceries" feeling.  Phillip used to do all the shopping, - I've hated it ever since my kids were small and it seemed like I was at the supermarket every other day.  I stop at the convenience store when I have to put gas in my car and put off anything as long as possible.  I can keep doing things, but I can't make myself care about anything.  Only my children, who are far away and thriving in their own live mean anything to me.  And I have always had deep faith, a busy social life - with Phillip - and I've been reading and praying - but nothing really gets through, except all the things that make me sob like a madwoman.

I feel like you are my twin! I know exactly what you are going through. It took a lot of second guessing to get me out of the door today. First surprise was the garage door wasn't working.  I was able to do it manually but it's just one more thing to think about. have you found that PBJ will get you through a few days?! Do you feel alone when you come home? Are there days when you just want to give up? I pray as well but find myself not wanting to finish anything I have started. I keep on telling myself every morning that I will tackle something around the house but find myself taking breaks all day long. We moved into our house right before "the Bear" became ill. Now living in a town where I have met several people. Both tell me I need to move on and get out more. Needless to say you know what I would love to say to them!! I just put on the "smiling face" and dive back into my cocoon and hide from life. I have so many thoughts and so many questions to ask. My daughters are very busy as well. One lives out of state and my other daughter lives about an hour and half away. She works and has a hubby and daughters of her own to take of. We were able to get together more often at first, but Mother Nature took her issues out on travelers! She was going to come and visit tomorrow but snow/ice will end that thought. I'm all over the map with things to say.  I can appreciate your feelings regarding friends that fade away. I don't know if they are uncomfortable or since I'm not a "we" anymore they have moved on. I'll end for now and I will send warm thoughts your way.  Be kind to yourself and take good care. (Thank God for sweats)!!

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