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Hi all. I am nearly 18 months out and am so itchy about formulating a new life for myself. I lacked (and lack) a lot of self-confidence, so it was difficult to make choices before, now since the loss of my husband it has been amplified. He was my cheerleader and someone I could always bounce things off on before I committed to anything. Now I have to trust my own judgement and it feels impossible. Some would say it is too soon after the loss, but I really don't think it's the timing, I think I am always going to struggle with decision making. I think what is particularly painful is that I would love to return to school to finish my graduate degree and I feel as if whenever I mention it, no one ever reinforces my ambition to do this. I know it is my decision, but someone saying I think that is a fantastic idea would go a long way. The same goes for me selling my house and relocating closer to my daughter. I get no feedback, so here I sit in a house I really want to sell. Does anyone have experience along these lines?

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I know exactly what you mean.  I consider myself a strong independent woman but never realized how much I depended on Dennis' ear to listen to my thoughts, agree/disagree/offer other opinions, etc.  Now it is just me making the decisions and it is a little scary.  I tell myself not to worry, in time I will be able to trust myself.  So, I'll tell you the same thing.  I too am thinking of selling my home.  Dennis has been gone for 7 months and he died suddenly in our home, where I discovered him when I returned home from work.  Not sure I want to stay here ....


Good Morning Tess!  My husband was my cheerleader too!  I felt that with him behind me I could do anything.  A little over 4 years out, I've gotten stronger in my decisions, as most have worked out well for me. Timing is tricky, but it is also each person's own timing.  What seems too late/ too soon for another is perfect for one.  I don't have children, and my  sister has graciously included me in her family with two grown sons and their families.  I was going to move closer to 'family', but the further I get from losing JR, I've decided my neighborhood 'family' is whereI need to be for now.  I thought of replacing my housekeeper, my veterinarian, my dry cleaners, not to mention my friends and community I have here, and I decided for me, to stay put for awhile.  Any move will be predicated by my health, which for now is good.  18 months, for many, I think is still in the 'numb & dumb' stage of grief, so don't rush yourself.  A decision making trick I've used for years is this: take a sheet of paper, at the top put down the decision need.  Then draw a line down the center of the page.  On one side list the 'pros' and on the other side list the 'cons'.  This has worked for me for many, many decisions; it usually is very clear to me, which way to go.  Good Luck!  

I think finishing your graduate degree is a great idea -- very self-affirming and an accomplishment that will help you redefine your sense of who you are -- something it's very important to do in order to keep living.  (Does that go a long way?  I know you don't know me, but it's from the heart.)

As for relocating closer to your daughter, well, are you close with your daughter?  Do you know anyone else in that area?  Are there things to do where your daughter lives where you could make new friends?  Do you have a good support system of friends, acquaintances and activities where you live now?  I am asking these questions because I think it is not always wise to move closer to an adult child if you are assuming that your adult child will make a life for you.  I have known any number of people who did this and  regretted it, because the adult kids have their own lives.  I don't have children, but I relocated to the area where my sister lives after realizing that I felt like a fraud in the area where I'd lived with my husband for 30 years.  I had been visiting this area for 15 years, I'd always wanted to retire here, so it was a place I wanted to live anyway.  And I did not want to just attach myself to the life she'd built over 35 years here; I knew I would have to make my own way. And so I have.  It's important to do this, even if there is a family member nearby.

If you are thinking that your life in the new area would revolve around your daughter, you might want to reconsider, and if you want to sell your house, consider renting a place in your current area until you work out the answers to the other questions.  I know what it's like to feel you can't live in your house any longer.

Hi Tess,

I don't know that it's self confidence you lack as most of us bounced ideas and shared decisions for so long with our mates.  We have all been there.  Personally, I think it's a fabulous idea that you go back for your degree.  It will give you new purpose and you will meet lots of new people.  As for selling you house and moving, is your daughter encouraging you to do this?  If she isn't, you may feel let down if she doesn't have much time for you.  If you just feel need to be out of the house you shared with your husband then do it.  I might suggest a short term rental before you commit.   My grief counselor told my after my husband passed that it was commonplace for newly widowed (inside 3 years) people to make rash decisions.  

Make sure you are kind to yourself and take the time you need to navigate this road we are on.  Please keep coming back here to share your thoughts and feelings.  We all are here for the same reason.  Hugs to you.

I know how you feel. Making decisions on my own after being married for 35 years was and is still very difficult. I stayed in my house because my neighbor (who was also a widow) wanted me close to her but I found that as time went on she began a new life for herself while I remained stagnate in mine. Four and a half years after my husband died I moved to a new house in another city. It's a little further from my daughters who live five hours away but still close enough to my work that I can commute for the next four years until I retire. I like my home but am lonely at times. I am making new friends in the town I live in. It has been a challenge I have always wanted to face but sometimes wonder if I was wrong in doing it. All normal feelings. Would I change what I have done? No. Moving was the best thing for me. It's challenged me in ways that will allow me to grow. Follow what your heart and head are telling you to do. This is the time in your life that you will be challenged the greatest but will have the most growth. I would love to learn what your decision is.

It Hello Tess,

My name is Sharon and it has been 3 years for me. I struggle with making decisions not knowing if it is the right one so I do nothing. I need to sell my home it is to big but it is overwhelming to me. I need to find a smaller home but not sure if I want to stay in the NE  but if I move to Florida I will be all alone. It is a dilemma and my confidence is at a low which is so different when Peter was alive. These are major decisions and at the moment I am accepting I am not ready yet.I am still grieving and am trying to be patient with myself. It is a difficult journey. I find that I am doing lots of internal work,asking questions and digging deep. I know I will get to the other side . It is very difficult not having your partner to share these things with. I feel very vulnerable, in this new life. I will know when I am ready things will become clearer. Again it comes down to me accepting me where I am at this time.I am learning self compassion and self kindness and noticing my self talk. I keep showing up in the day to day. I know I have made a lot of progress. 

Thanks all for your kind and sage advice. Your support in my returning for my graduate degree brought me to tears. Thank you so much for that. As far as my house and relocation. Of course I want to retain my independence. I don't want to depend on my daughter for my life, but there are reasons surrounding my push to do this. She lives in another state and if something should happen to me, I don't want her jeopardizing her job and life trying to either visit or relocate me. If I relocate soon, then I can also more easily establish a new life. I don't think that gets easier as you get older. I will try to take it one day at a time for now, but I would love to have a general direction and timing in mind. It sure beats limbo.

I just want to add my voice to those encouraging you to go back to school to finish the graduate degree.  It's something you "would love to do", so I'd take that as a clear sign!  :)  


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