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Born in the 50s

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Comment by riet on October 2, 2019 at 8:21am

Today I did a lot of work that my husband used to do. I brought the car to the garage for maintenance. The central heating maintenance engineer came by and approved the installation for another year.
I pretended to know everything about it. But of course I know next to nothing, and I miss my husband so much again. I can't tell him how much I do my best to keep everything going. That takes a lot of effort for me. In the past those things all went so  naturally.
Now, looking back on this day, sadness comes back. He just had to be there.

Comment by Claire on September 29, 2019 at 11:45am

Jules, if you enjoy working with children, you might look for a Start The Adventure In Reading program in your area.   It's an after school reading program for kids with reading difficulties.  

Comment by Jules on September 29, 2019 at 11:35am

I have thought about doing some volunteering but am unsure what to do. Most of my background is working with children. I’ve though about reading to people in nursing homes and assisted living places but ....  Someone mentioned gardening. While it’s never been my forte, my husband has created a beautiful berm in our front yard. I want to make sure to keep it up so I have to figure out the difference between a weed and a flower. Maybe taking classes would help.

Looking for other suggestions for volunteering.

Comment by LP on September 28, 2019 at 10:51am

Of the things I’ve started to do since C died 20 months ago, I have found joining a choir (I never sang before) and volunteering to work in the local gardens (I know next to nothing about gardening) the most enjoyable. I was completely  surprised but this , but that’s widowhood for you. Our old selves are blown away and we have to discover the new us.

i know what you mean,Riet, when you say you couldn’t volunteer in a medical capacity. We often think that volunteering means having to deal with people who are in really Terri le circumstances. But public service can also be something like helping to create a garden which brightens up other people’s lives. On my latest gardening day at the National Trust, I lost count of the number of people who stopped by the rose beds I was weeding to express their admiration and the pleasure it gave them - people from all walks of life, some who come every week.

and the choir too is a good way for an introvert (such as myself) to contribute and create something beautiful without having to talk and divulge too much of myself. A diverse bunch of people are there simply for the common purpose of making wonderful music. This autumn we’re preparing a Christmas concert of Haydn’s Creation. Besides being shy, I am also a life-long depressive and not given to being positive about things at all, so this is a big experience for me.

i still get awful days! Of course! But I accept them as part of the deal I made all those years ago when I fell in love with my husband. 

I went to a memorial service yesterday for my husband’s niece, who died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 50. Even sadder was the fact that in addition to her  three barely grown-up children, she also left behind a new baby that she had just had miraculously at 49 with her second husband. Her mother, C’s sister, was devastated to lose her only daughter only a year and a bit after losing her brother. It is all such a lottery. 

Comment by Tekwriter on September 28, 2019 at 4:58am

Thanks everyone. It is at least good to know I am fairly normal. I had retired when I had breast cancer or so to speak. I never went back to work. I had to many lymph nodes removed to make doing my job feasible. I stayed fairly busy though. I volunteered to chair a cookie table for church last year and then a week and a half later realized it was a mistake and resigned. We belong to a huge church and while I love the service which is Anglo-Catholic but the curate we worked with when my husband passed is ill and now we are adrift on our own. I am considering a smaller church closer and then I waver back and forth and do nothing. There are a lot things I feel like I would like to do such as sewing and baking. I guess I could start there and as I become more comfortable venture out. Thanks to all of you.

Comment by riet on September 28, 2019 at 4:33am

Dear friends,

How well you could put that into words. I am also not ready to do volunteer work that requires some organization and structure.
Something I can't do at all is work in healthcare. People are looking for so many volunteers there, but I can't. When I see the word "hospital", my throat tightens. I don't understand myself because during my husband's illness we got so much help from volunteers. But I can't do it myself.
I have found something else: a group of people from my neighborhood are trying to save and preserve the historic castle. They organize and plan everything. I am now a small cog there: I sometimes make coffee on Sundays when the castle is open to the public.
So little, but even that is a major effort. Because the people there are so sweet and friendly, I don't tend to disappear and walk.
The last few weeks I have had a lot of trouble to pick up the thread of my life again. It went better for a while, but now I wanted to hide and be home. Everything cost me effort.

What also didn't help is that my daughter has decided to keep all "negative influence" out of her life from now on. My husband's 4-year illness did not produce much positive indeed. The least of all for himself.
I now feel that I have lost 2 people in a year and a half. My dearest in 2018 and my only daughter in 2019. She wants to be left alone for "many months".
Fortunately I still have my sons and grandchildren.
But so you see: never think: the worst that could happen is already over, now not much can happen.
What a wrong idea.

Hugs to all of you.

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on September 28, 2019 at 12:30am

(((Hugs Jules)))
For myself, the lack of motivation was about not being ready to rejoin the world full-time, I still had work & convalescing I needed to do at home b/c my mind & body said so. What I thought I wanted to do - unbeknownst to me, I was not mentally or emotionally prepared to cope with. My plate was overflowing, but I still thought I had to do more. I found out the hard way w/just a couple of major anxiety attacks out in public. My body wanted to go, but my wounds would not allow me to expose myself to anything that taxed my nerves or interfered w/processing my grief to a more functional state ...
One thing I made a big mistake in was thinking I had to do major things rather than convalescing & taking baby steps to build up strength. Grieving weakens a person & makes them vulnerable to triggers from sights & sounds. It's like the babies we hear in public crying from over stimulation ...
I suggest testing yourself first before committing to anything. Time yourself to find out how long it takes you to get out the door, length of time you can be in public & if you can be an attentive driver. Don't push yourself, the time will come when you will be ready - just be patient & test yourself when you feel the urge. Give yourself an out with 1-3 changes, then call it a day. The need to feel safe is highly important. If you only think it but don't feel it, an anxiety attack could be triggered when trying to do more than heart, mind, body & soul are ready for - its your cue to retreat to take care of yourself in your safe place till the next time. Many people do not know the depth of the pain they are suffering till they are triggered. Bob was missing from my life - he was my connection to life. His death left me disconnected even from myself ...
As for starting w/small things, I found clipping loose threads & lint balls from sweaters, socks & towels facilitated the grief process by making me sit still in letting the grief process, it also gave me a sense of accomplishment in having done something that made a difference. I did this for a long time. To make a long story short, it lead me to making sewing repairs. When it became evident I needed more thread & supplies, I simply walked out the door w/out thinking twice. My mind had processed out the fear & anxiety in restoring enough emotional stability to get going. After that I was good to go, however, I was still not able to commit to anything structured or scheduled for awhile. Lots of back & forth baby steps as well as roping myself in to learn more coping skills, soothe my wounds & build up confidence to move forward even if it was inch by inch ...
Be gentle w/yourself ...

Comment by Jules on September 27, 2019 at 8:14am

Tekwriter: you don’t know how grateful I was to hear you drift through your days. I find there are lots of things I COUKD/Should do but can’t seem to get motivated to do it. I told s friend I would help out in her classroom.. have I done it yet? Of course not. I just joined a new gym and hired a personal trainer for 12 sessions. I figured if I can get in the door... I’m hoping that will help. My priest called this AM to see how things were going. I told him I don’t like going to church right now. That was a special time for my husband and I and I feel so isolated there now. I need to find some peace from somewhere, I just don’t know where. Everyone says to turn to God. I try but I just don’t hear or feel Him right now. I’m hoping with time this will get better. 

Take care, you are in my thoughts.


Comment by Claire on September 27, 2019 at 7:18am

Tekwriter, I was volunteering long before I was widowed. I volunteer with my dogs. We belong to a group that takes our pets into nursing homes, hospitals, reading events at the kids library. I have always found it be very rewarding. And it keeps me busy. I also exercise/workout almost daily. But then that was also something I did before I was widowed.  There are a variety of volunteer options out there. You just need to find what will be rewarding/fulfilling for you.  Take care.  This is not an easy road we are on. 

Comment by Eddiemoney on September 27, 2019 at 6:57am

I so understand Tekwriter. I retired only 10mon ago. One month before my husband died. I kept working beyond retirement age as it kept me engaged with people, getting out, etc. Today at 9mon I find myself thinking. Why didn't I retire sooner to enjoy the time with my husband. We thought we had time. I commend you for doing what you are doing. At 67 young, or I used to feel this way, I have no motivation, energy to do much of anything. Isolation and loneliness creeping in, afraid I will never regain the happiness and energy I once had. Each day brings something different with emotions and thoughts. To find peace of mind would be such a blessing


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