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Born in the 50s

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Comment by LP on October 20, 2018 at 6:16am

It is a sunny, mild autumn afternoon, with a cloudless sky (rare in England), so I went into the garden to try my hand at pruning and tidying. It makes me feel closer to Chris, because was the gardener in the family (and I haven't a clue what I'm doing but I'm learning). even though I cried a bit while doing it, I felt better. I thought he would have been pleased that I was taking care of his project. 

I especially talk to him when I tend to his roses - some of his ashes are buried under them.

I miss him so, so much, I can't put it into words.

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on October 20, 2018 at 3:38am

Shelley:  You are absolutely right about how something has shifted in your friendships, almost as if the earth's axis has shifted.  You are right about how they just don't get it.  They don't get it because they can't.  It is a unique grief and loss that is different from losing a pet or even different from losing a child, though that loss is probably closest.

I always regretted that we didn't have "couple friends" when my husband was alive, but it sure made things easier after he died, because I wasn't that "third wheel" all the time.  But even my married friends just didn't seem as close.  Their efforts to understand and comfort seemed absurd to me, especially the "get over it" part and the "You will meet someone else because you're awesome" part.

The friend who got ME through and with whom I remain closest is one whose young adult daughter died of an overdose and then she and her husband divorced.  That is also pretty cataclysmic.  She comes close to getting it.

The "getting over it" and "moving on" stuff is about them, not you.  They want THEIR discomfort to go away.  As long as you are actively displaying your grief and loss, they are going to be uncomfortable.   

I am recently back from setting my husband's ashes free at sea in Jamaica.  It was a lovely event, it went just the way I'd hoped it would, and every time I see a photo of the beach off of which his ashes are, I feel content with the decision.  But I have been unable to do the falling apart stuff of grieving since he died, and this has set some of it loose.  And my sister, who is happily married and fancies herself to be a life coach, was just the other day telling me "At some point you have to work through it."  She thinks she's being understanding, but she doesn't get that there IS no "other side" after which you can look back at it.  It never goes away, not completely. You find a place for it in the life that you have to build, but it never disappears.

Comment by LP on October 20, 2018 at 2:57am

Shelley, I know just how you feel around friends. My friends are very dear and have helped me a lot since Chris died almost 9 months ago, but none of them has suffered the loss of someone close (they even still have their parents), and they just don't get how that experience fundamentally changes you forever. I am not the old friend they knew before, and there are things now that I can't talk to them about because they just don't get it. I too have a hard time in large groups of people. I too ask C to come and take me with him, because i just simply don't like life without him. 

This past week was C's birthday. A very close friend, who showed me unstinting support when C died, was having her horse put down that day and I knew she would be upset, so I had to put a brave face on and go over and comfort her. I cried at work, in the bathroom, in my office but managed to get through my lecture. I went to my friend's house that evening with a bottle of champagne to toast the lives of both C and her horse (C was a great animal lover so would have understood). But her husband expected me to put my grief on hold because of his wife's grief over her horse, and he doesn't understand why I haven't "got over" it yet. I hate the feeling that my friends think I'm not "moving on". It's infuriating on top of everything else. He was also upset because I had told her some days ago that I didn't see the point to life. He thinks I should keep those feelings to myself because it upsets my friends. But if I can't tell my friends how I really feel, then I feel even more isolated than ever.

I'm just all at sea.

Comment by riet on October 20, 2018 at 12:03am

Shelley,

This is so true. We too are the first in our circle of friends who have been torn apart.  Especially in a larger group you do not feel at home anymore. You feel like nobody knows about the pain you are in. Nobody can't even know.

I went at two from these bigger occasions: a wedding party, and this week for a guided tour in our city with a circle of friends. At the wedding party I could escape after a few hours, and everybody understood.  But at the guided tour I could not  disappear and was obliged to join for the whole day. I I experienced this tour as in a bubble. I was cut off from the rest.

And I knew: this never again.

In small companies, with our best friends, I feel good.  But all of those people came to see and help me and my husband almost daily and they speak about him in just a normal way.  And above all: they know what it means.  They just drop in from time to time.  Often find an excuse to have dinner or supper together with me.  Which makes me laugh a lot. Magnificent excuses.

Today, it is already 6 months I lost him.  What more can I say what hasn't been said already a million times: I wished we still were together. Because this is as it was meant to be. 

The rest is chaos 

Comment by shelley on October 19, 2018 at 10:59pm

Thank you, Melissa.  I don't know what to do.  But I will do something.  I thought I would just get through the day and deal with whatever.  But it's clear from feedback that I should at least plan something- a movie, museum, something.  So I will do that.  But yuck.  And yes, if anyone had told me I would still be here a year after his death.....  The days/nights where I ask him to take me with him because it's just so hard- are fewer.  But it's still so hard.  Hope you're as okay as possible, Melissa.  

Comment by shelley on October 19, 2018 at 10:51pm

So tonight I went to my friend's 70th birthday party.  The birthday girl is an old friend and part of a couple that my husband and I spent lots of time with.  It was the first time I'd seen this friend in months and the first time I was brave enough to celebrate an event without my husband, with couples we'd hung out with.  It was hard.  I was determined to keep the focus on the birthday girl and not on the widow.  I lasted two hours.  What I realized at this event is that I am a different person now.  I am the first person among these friends/couples to lose a spouse and they have no idea what it feels like or who I now am.  These people were very special to me before, not sure what our relationships are now.  I felt so out of place, so awkward.  A square not fitting in a round hole.  I love my old friends, but not sure we can continue to be the friends we were.  The depth of our old friendships has shifted.  I feel like they don't know me at all now.  I feel like I'm moving into a different stage in my life and these old friends can be treasured for what they were/what we had.  But now I want/need something else.      

Comment by Tekwriter on October 16, 2018 at 10:36am

I am coming up on the 6 month anniversary of his passing two days before my birthday and just as we are moving into the new house. I realized this weekend I had not thrown away his toothbrush yet. I guess that will happen this weekend.

Comment by Barzan on October 15, 2018 at 4:05pm

Shelley and Melissa,

pits been 7 years for me and I still can’t spend that day at home.  I always plan a trip that covers that day.  You will have to find the best solution for you that will cushion the grief.  Hugs to you.

Comment by Melissa on October 15, 2018 at 12:13pm

Shelley, I have no idea what I'm going to do on that day.

I was thinking about inviting his closest friends over to listen to jazz and drink champagne; that was something he loved to do. If I don't do that, I might watch one of our favorite movies.

I will acknowledge my own strength. If anyone had told me I would still be here a year after my husband's death, I would have thought they were crazy. I couldn't imagine surviving an hour without the man who was as necessary to me as oxygen.

I hope we can find something to make the day easier. I will be thinking about you and John on the 10th. So much love to you.

Comment by shelley on October 15, 2018 at 10:05am

Hey Melissa and all,  My husband died 11/10/17 and the 2018 date is quickly approaching.  I haven't been able to think of anything to do that might make the day softer, easier.  I figured I'd just have to deal with whatever feelings come up.  But some events are happening again, events that happened just before John died.  And I'm already freaking out a bit.  Do you have something planned to help you through the 24th?  

 

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