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Born in the 50s

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Comment by booktime (Susan) on September 12, 2018 at 4:09am

I have decided to retire on June 30, 2019. This is big for me and earlier than I thought. But it is time. I need to leave before work really sours for me and I need to experience a different life. I want to travel, take courses, volunteer, concentrate on my fiber arts, and generally relax. Not be woken up by work thoughts at 4 AM. I know others have retired. Any comments or stories to share on this experience?

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on September 12, 2018 at 3:30am

Oh, riet....5 months is so little, and in some ways it is the beginning of an even worse time because the numbness is wearing off.  But I want to say something:  I've read your posts.  And I will tell you that the ME who is riet is hardly "miserable poor."  You are a loving, giving, sensitive person.  If you weren't, you wouldn't have such a strong support system.  

My mother had early-stage lung cancer when she was 65.  She had half a lung removed.  They gave her exercises to do to expand the remaining lung capacity sufficiently so that she could breathe normally.  That half-lung had to learn to handle the load.  She didn't do the prescribed exercises and so she had shortness of breath for the rest of her life.  

You are someone who devoted her life to others up to this point.  And you still will, and you still should.  But you are like the lung cancer patient who has to do work to get the remaining part of the lung to expand its capacity.  You WILL find the "ME" that isn't "miserable poor."  It can be hard, when you've always put others first.  I know this is very different but I put all my hobbies and interests -- writing, counted cross stitch, home improvements -- on hold when I started my last job.  That job pretty much ate my life and now that I'm retired, I have to figure out if what I enjoyed then is what I enjoy now.  

Give yourself time.  Susan has given you wise advice below.  This grief journey is a long road and there are no shortcuts.  You don't really "heal" in the sense of "getting over it."  What you do is find a place for it in a life that has changed.  You will get that extra capacity of the soul.  Be kind to yourself and give it time.

Comment by booktime (Susan) on September 12, 2018 at 2:00am

Terry's girl and riet, I was just reading my journals from 5 years ago when Ed died. The entries are full of talking to Ed and missing him so very very much. I asked Why an awful lot. I didn't understand at all.

A month or so before Ed died, I remember looking over at him and literally crying How am I going to live without you? At his side as he died, I promised him I would be OK. (I believe to this day that helped him go finally)

I can't tell you when this pain dulled but gradually, oh so gradually, I began to write about other things. My mother was a huge factor. My dad died in 2009 and her sight diminished to almost nothing. She could have just survived until she died but she decided to thrive in this different world. Friends, phone calls, visits - the lady had a busier social life than I ever did. She was my model in trying to make my way in this new world and I at least could see.

Don't get me wrong. At this time of year, approaching Sept. 15th, I find myself unusually moody and more reclusive. I find myself reliving those days up until 6:00 AM on Sept. 15th. Then I am released once more.

Live in the moment, gals. By looking ahead into the void, you aren't ready to do so.  It really is a moment by moment life. Riet, I can't believe it's already 5 months for you! I remember your first posts.

Terry's girl, you will find your way. It takes time and grief. I guess I am there now without the WE but Ed is truly a part of my life and though I still miss him, I cherish my memories of him.

I also take great pride that he would look at me today and nod his head and say You are doing OK, sweetheart.

Hugs to you both.

Comment by riet on September 12, 2018 at 12:18am

Hi Terry's girl.

A while ago, someone on this forum explained to me it is much worse as only loosing the WE.  You loose also the HE.  And all what is left is the ME.  Two- thirds of what was the most important in your life has gone.

And now you are there with only ME. In my case, after being 50 years together and 47 years of marriage, I seem to have big difficulties to find ME again. 

And what I find is so miserable poor , compared to the glorious WE and the loving caring interesting HE that filled my life before the love of my life was killed by this terrible brain cancer.

I really can't imagine how my life has to go in future.  I only want HIM and that is not possible. 

I am supported really well by children and grandchildren, neigbors and good friends, but sometimes I only see a big black hole before me. 

For me it is only near 5 months now.  I read and believe all the comments that tell it will change and I will find again some fulfillment and satisfaction in my life.  But at this moment I only miss him so very much.

Comment by Terry's Girl on September 11, 2018 at 7:04pm

For the last 48 years it was always "WE", but for the last 8 months it's only been "ME". I don't like the ME without the WE.

I would be talking to my husband on my way to work each morning, but that would lead to tears that I would have to suppress before I got to the office which would end up in a massive headache. Now I talk to him when I am alone at home and don't need to stop the tears from coming. 

I have to force myself to accept dinner invites from relatives, even though I would rather stay home in my comfort zone, I know he would want me get out, which I do at least once a month, and most of the time I feel better for it.

I agree that weekends are really hard.  I get out of bed and sit in my recliner & binge watch shows on Netflix. Before I know it, it's already Monday.

I'm just not sure what the future will be like without the "WE" :-(

Comment by booktime (Susan) on September 3, 2018 at 2:32am

LP, weekends were the worst and some, but not many now, still are. Once you get through this fog of grief (and you will in your own time), you can begin to make them better. I get the looking forward to Mondays though! Honestly if it wasn't for my job in those early days, I don't think I could have survived.

But now, I can see my way to making weekends mine again. Sometimes I overdo it and they are so busy! I find I do need a down time to reconnect. Getting used to just your own company is probably the biggest challenge. Especially since in the beginning you don't know who the heck you are any more.

I still struggle with that but it becomes easier to be with just yourself at some point.

Grief is tiring. The whole impact on the brain is amazing. I made some pretty big mistakes at work in those early months. Thankfully my staff was so supportive as was my Board.

Be gentle with yourself. Care for yourself. Most of all, take the time you need. Hugs.

Comment by LP on September 2, 2018 at 4:24pm

Thanks, Irishlady and Susan, weekends are really the worst. Before, it was just Chris and I pottering about at home and relaxing after a week at work. I still have work, so now I -weirdly-  look forward to Mondays! How perverse is that?! 

I suppose I could do work on the weekends too (I’m an academic so work is not 9-5),  but that seems sad. So I potter by myself, clean the house, water plants, read endlessly. But still, it all feels like distraction. It has surprised me how tiring grief can be.. 

Comment by irishlady (jan) on September 2, 2018 at 9:43am

LP...I have always disliked the weekends since my husband died 5 years ago. Everyone is busy with family and activities, which I totally understand, but I can go the entire weekend without hearing for anyone. I think it is just because when he was working, weekends were my favorite time as he was home. But now, all days run together, but on the week days seems like more people are available than weekends. So, I try to treat myself like I was working. Busy during the week and then relax on weekends. That said though...I have been doing fall cleaning all weekend. That's my go to when I am trying to escape or having a bad day. Like Susan said....its still so new to you. Do what makes YOU feel okay. Hugs

Comment by booktime (Susan) on September 2, 2018 at 8:27am

LP, it is still such a new voyage for you. And one that is taken so very reluctantly. I wish I could say what it felt like for me at 6 months but honestly I have no memory of it. Pretty much of a blur. I am fast approaching 5 years on Sept. 15 and I live a very different life. It's not better, it's not worse. But I am enjoying most of it. I do have those stretches of time where I know what would have been.  But now I do choose happiness.

I do hope you find that point in your life that you too will choose to be happy. And it is a choice. It doesn't just happen. There is no time limit though in this journey. You are what you are feeling and as long as it will take.

Hugs.

Comment by LP on September 2, 2018 at 7:54am

Does anyone else have days like this? Sunday- I get up late, distract myself, cry, distract myself some more with ‘busyness’, walk the dog, have a glass of wine and some cheese, take a sleeping pill so I can go to bed early and get another day of life over with.  6 months of this - it feels like a life sentence without parole. 

 

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