Widowed Village

A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation

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Long-term illness

For those widowed by cancer AND other illnesses or long term conditions that required caregiving.

We now also have a "Long Term Illness" discussion forum in the PERENNIAL main forum. Questions? Widville@gmail.com

Members: 626
Latest Activity: 8 hours ago

Group Greeter

Please welcome Patience (Diane) as your group greeter.

Discussion Forum

Retreats?

Started by katjames. Last reply by katjames Jan 18. 12 Replies

Has anyone been to any retreats in the last few years that were especially meaningful and good????   I know there is Camp Widow, but I'm wondering if anyone has any organization they can recommend.…Continue

Grief and release at the same time?

Started by Germaine. Last reply by goingon (Cynthia) Dec 21, 2014. 31 Replies

I am aware of two different forces acting from within me.  One is the downward weight of grief. The other is an upward energy that comes from the release from caregiving.  After 16 years of part time…Continue

I'm Lost

Started by MickeysLove (Sandi). Last reply by my roses Dec 9, 2014. 19 Replies

So, 4 days ago marked the 2 month period.  I had joined a support "group" where you go and sit with other people and talk about whats bothering you. I had went 2 times, I'm not going anymore - I…Continue

Looking to Put Together Resources for soon-to-be-widowed

Started by Mozzie. Last reply by MickeysLove (Sandi) Dec 3, 2014. 32 Replies

I found being the spouse of a terminal person very frustrating.  We were getting care at a prominent hospital, and there were social workers, but I didn't feel like anyone ever gave me useful…Continue

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Comment by Patience (Diane) 8 hours ago
How's everyone doing today? We in the NE are expecting yet another ... Snow storm... Hoping and praying that it's not a bad one - thinking of all of you :)
Comment by Patience (Diane) on January 22, 2015 at 7:18am
Thank you for sharing, Steve! Wish everyone could see life the way you do!
Comment by Steve on January 19, 2015 at 3:41pm
Continued, steve, I think it's time you get a new car. I said, what kind of car should we get, she said a Lexus or Benz. I said ok. I started to look at cars and found out just how expensive they are, and I thought I was doing a good thing, by shopping around and discovered a very nice car, brand new, a Nissan full size car and they only wanted $ 31,000 for this car compared to 55-65000 for the Lexus and benzs. So I walked into the Nissan dealer and told them I wanted blue with black interior and as we signed the papers the man told me I needed a special coating on the paint, and a special program to fix dents scratches, and a special alarm, called LoJack on the car. I had never heard of these things but thought that was the normal car buying process, so I wrote a check to the dealership for 36,000 and drove home the new car. Well come to find out I totally got ripped off again. I was supposed to negotiate the price of the car, didn't need all the extras the dealer sold me and told me I needed. The car has turned out to be an absolute lemon, and I recently had to hire an attorney to file suit against nissan and we just recently settled with Nissan through my attorney for 37000 . What a hassle. So as soon as I get the check, my new partner and I will be looking for a new car and he will go with me, to help me in the process. Of course mom says to me, " I told you to get a Lexus or a Benz", but new partner says that we can get a good new car without spending the dollars for those cars. We shall see. I have felt very stupid for being so trusting, and ignorant, but, I'm hoping I am learning lessons along the way. It's tough learning to live without Mike, learning how to handle money and everything about life I could have learned earlier in life. At 52, it's like I'm 17 just learning to live on my own. I really thought the world was a much better place than it is, never realized how many facets of life one can be taken advantage of, I never realized how protected and numb I was to the real world. I am the type of person that never takes advantage of people, always tip generously, pay people that drive mom or take care of mom generously, and make sure they are happy. Anybody I hire to clean my apartment or pay to help in some way, give very generously too, I know they work hard and deserve to be paid well, and so on. It has been painful, that not all people are as kind or generous as I am, with their honesty or morals. Chris and I went to a show a few weeks ago, to see a comedian, whom I love, we hired a car and driver so we could drink and not worry. I offered the driver a ticket to the show, told them to eat at the buffet on me, and so on. It's just the way I am. Again, I don't mean to toot my own horn, it's just the way I operate. When I stay in hotels, I leave tips for the maid every morning, and tip the valets and bellman generously . So it hurts a lot, because I expect that everyone is that way with me too. It's been tough to be more aware, and yet try to find the line where I don't become bitter and not trust anyone, yet, still be kind and generous and give of myself in a helpful way.
I'm still learning this lesson.
Comment by Steve on January 19, 2015 at 3:14pm
Hi gaining strength and everyone. Oh yes, I have never been a landlord, but I have had plenty of friends who were and it always seemed a nightmare to me.
although I have to say, Mikes best friend from high school, rec'd a small apartment conversion condo from his parents as a high school graduation gift in 1976. He lived in it for awhile then borrowed money against it to rent it out and he bought another place. This turned out to be his business and by the time he was 35, he owned about 28 rental properties throughout Orange County. When he was around 40, he rec'd a serious health diagnosis and decided to sell all of his properties and retire at the peak of our crazy market. He cleared just over 15 million dollars. So the headaches he always complained about during our 30 yrs of friendship turned out to be worth it for him ! Lol.
I was raised in a VERY protective family environment, behind gates, with staff and was rarely alone. All my childhood I rarely had friends, my friends were nannies and maids and gardeners, and a few "play dates" from time to time. I was an only child. My parents were gone a lot with my fathers career, they travelled, and so did I with them at times, but then when I was 16, I realized that I was for sure gay, and my father was hugely disappointed and angry and told me either change or get out. Mike and I were already in love at this point so I left. The reason I share this with you is because of my childhood, and the way I was raised, I'm too trusting and have not yet developed a tough skin. I was very lucky that, Mike took on the protector role in our relationship, and I was always getting myself into messes with people taking advantage and trying to get something over on me. Mike was always t here to kind of take over the situation, and help me with those type scenarios. I was so lucky that Mike was a good man and over the first yrs, learned quickly how "innocent" I was and so thru the yrs we learned how to set things up. Although we didn't really discuss it, Mike handled all the money and finances, and I just handled taking care of our lives and home and supported mikes career. If there was a new friend I met, of course Mike would meet them, and would tell me, this is a good person, or watch this person and so on. Well, sadly Mike passed and he was very worried about me, on my own. So I have had to make a lot of mistakes and have been taken advantage of many times, but I hope I am learning. I had never bought a car before in my life, Mike always bought the cars, when it came time, Mike would say, we need to get you a new car, let me know what you like. As we drove throughout the days following, I would say, "that one is cute" or, " I think I want an Suv this time for the dogs, and then a few days later a car would be delivered. He handled all that stuff. When Mike passed, a few days after the funeral, one of our long time dear friends came over and tossed me some keys, I looked at them and said what are these? He said, Mike gave me some money when he knew he was going to die soon and asked me to get you a new car after his funeral. I never felt. Comfortable in this new car. I still had my prior car, and I felt much more comfortable driving it then the new one. After about 6 months I was watching tv and a commercial came on, that they bought cars. So I took the new car down to the lot and they paid me $15,000 in cash for the car. When our friends who originally bought the car, came by to see me and asked me where. The new car was, I told them I couldn't drive the car, it made me too sad, so I sold it, our friends said, " oh my god steve, how did you sell the car and how much did you get for it, I told them, about seeing the commercial and I had rec'd $15,000 for the car. They both put there hands over their face, they had paid $60,000 for the car. Yrs later, I had taken over the care of mom and dad and one time mom was in the car with me and she said
Comment by Gaining Strength on January 18, 2015 at 1:20pm

Hi Steve,

WOW! This was quite a learning experience for you. Along with becoming more empathetic and understanding of our fellow human plight, we also have to watch out that we do not become sitting ducks for those who are out to take advantage of others. The one thing that I have a lot of experience with is tenants, squatters and their antics. I trust NO ONE where it comes to my real estate. After my husband died, I had problems with someone who rented one of our properties. He died Sep 16 and she stopped paying rent Oct 1. She said that she  prepaid the rent to him and  he has never given her a receipt. I went through our bank statements and could find no such deposit. I knew she was lying but decided to check anyway since my husband had chemo brain for a lot of the time. I had to get the court to toss her out and the process took months. When she left, she had removed every single light fixture, the range hood, two refrigerators, and one stove. She left all types of garbage inside the house and strewn around the backyard. Five months after my husband died, I was in court fighting her. At this time, I have everything in order and fully rented so there are no issues at present. I also experienced people asking to borrow money. I believe many people generally assume that widows collect life insurance payouts.  So I have come up with rules to govern my own life going forward. These rules are written in stone and they are to protect me from my own weakness. The first rule is never to lend money since my collection skills are weak. That is not to say that I will not help out someone who is suffering. Second rule is never allow anyone in my property except family who are on vacation.  So that definitely rules out a boyfriend. It is practically  impossible to get rid of people who live in your house.   There are other rules like not lending my car etc., but they are less strict.  Widows have to watch out because we are all vulnerable and easily manipulated. After the funeral, most people move on and we had to fend for ourselves.  On the other hand, I am more understanding of how people  end up in difficulty. I realize that some circumstances are due to choices and some are due to situations so I have become a less judgemental person.

Onward and upward my friend. My best to you as we trudge along on this difficult journey. Peace be with you.

Comment by Steve on January 18, 2015 at 4:08am
Hi Gaining Strength and thankyou for your response. I am certainly no angel either, i am surprised by this new me. I am learning to like the new me. I am also experiencing some hard lessons, by being more open, also inviting people into my day, that are not always the best people. One of my new friends became homepless about a year after I met her. She was a widow twice and we had spent countless hours spending time together and sharing our experiences.
Around the same time, she became homeless, i was in process of moving my parents to my town, and preparing thier home for sale. I was driving 100 miles each way several times per week back and forth for the move and preparations. My new friend offered to "help me out" by going up to my parents home, staying overnight at a week at a time, to help me pack, and get the home prepared for sale. This allowed me to spend more time getting my parents set up in their new place in my town and just spend more time with them. After weeks of this going on, I went up to the house to check on things and to get an idea of how much more work needed to be done. I found my parents home in horrible condition, trash everywhere, food, dirty dishes, and nothing packed. She had excuses, hurt back and blah blah blah, which i accepted, and that weekend, i hired a crew to help me get the place cleaned out. At that point I advised my new friend that it was time to move out of my folks home, as i was going to list it for sale, she offered to stay on and spic n span the house, wash all the floors, vacuum all the carpets, wash out all the toilets and so on to save me hiring a cleaning crew. She claiamed she was completely healed and ready to work. I spoke with her almost daily, and she told me about her being so tired from her hard work that day, everyday, and so on. Approx a week later, i had chosen a real estate agent, and the agent wanted to know when he could come in and inspect, and list the home. I spoke with new friend and she delayed me and delayed me, with one more project she needed to get done, so i would get the highest price for the home. Well, I finally had to go up to the home surprising her, to see what was going on. NOTHING WAS DONE, and also the horror of it was, that, she intended to take over residence in my parents home, by changing name of utilities to her name, and having mail delivered to the address, this would legally permit her to claim that she had rented the home and i would have to hire a lawyer to have her evicted through the courts, giving her free rent in a multi million dollar private gated community for months.
Well, my new boyfriend saw the writing on the wall, I still didnt, and we called the utility companys and sure enough she had them transferred to her name. I called the head of security, in my parents gated, highly secured community, and advised him what was happening. My parents neighborhood even had their own police department. I called my new friend and requested her to leave the house, nicely, and she hung up on me. That night, the security followed me to the house, and assisted me in throwing her out. She attempted to call the city police, but the private police officer, new people in the city police and advised them what was happening, so, she was unable to force us to let her stay.
I WAS SO LUCKY that my new bf new what was ahppening, and i was able to get her out when i did. it was so sad to me, i couldnt believe that such a good friend, could do such a thing to me, I had helped her so much with so many rides, and money and meals and so on prior to letting her help me out at my parents home. I was absolutely gobsmacked. Sadly, i have no idea what she stole if anything, my parents were affluent, and had alot of art work and sculptures and collectibles. When i hired the moving crew to pack and move everything out, I still trusted her and had no idea to take inventory first.
Lesson learned I hope.
Comment by Gaining Strength on January 17, 2015 at 3:16pm

Hi Steve,

Thank you for your post. I understand what you have said. I have come to the same understanding that we control nothing. I could not put my thoughts into words the way that you did. I find that letting go of "wanting to control" has made my head a lot calmer.   Being able to accept is a great relief.  Even when people are being mean to me, I seem to understand where they are coming from. I have not become an angel by any means, but the way I react to disappointment is so different from before.  So multiple losses have changed me for the better.

Comment by Steve on January 17, 2015 at 2:08pm
I know that medicine saves many, many lives from the brink of death, but also, just as many people dont survive from the exact same malody, and the exact same treatment. Anyway, I amjust sharing that i have found a way so far anyway, to allow myself to love openly again, but differently, a step in the right direction I hope.
Comment by Steve on January 17, 2015 at 2:04pm
hi everyone, I can identify too, with mutiple losses. Living through the 80's and 90's aids epidemic, was rough, it seemed there was a time period that we discovered another dear friend was diagnosed or passed from aids. I lost my best friend from childhood at 31 to aids, and the quilt just kept getting bigger and bigger, each year I saw it on its tour. Death is such a hard part of this wonderful life. It sucks that it is part of this journey, here on earth. I wish it wasnt. Or I wish that we had a bat phone that was a direct connection to our loved ones on the other side. I have considerdd many times, since Mikes passing, that i would completely cut myself off from loving anyone, anything, because the pain is just too great when they are gone. I thought it might be a good idea, to love hobbies, love a beautiful place to live, love beauty and art and culture and literature, love classic cars, love travel, and so on, omitting people and animals all together. ADmire them from afar, but not allow myself to fall in love with another being. But, I have found I need warmth, caring, love, companionship, and so on. Its not a life to me without it. I lived a good many years without a hug, without a deep conversation, without caring in my daily life, and I found just for me, that I had to bring that back into my life. It wasnt a choice for me to live without it, it was either death or love. But it took years for me to realize this, and to fight the fight to let go and allow. I wanted Mike in my life until I passed. It didnt happen. Sadly, the deal we made when we fell in love was, one of us was going to be left alone, some day and its up to me what I chose to do with this time I have left. Many, many widows choose to stay alone, its a very valid understandable choice. My grandmother never dated or remarried for 25 yrs after my grandfather passed suddenly on his 61st birthday from a brain anurysim. When I asked her why she didnt date or try to find a new man, she said to me, "I picked up dirty socks and waited on a man for 40 yrs, why would i want to do that to myself again' ! lol. Although I abandoned the idea of staying alone a couple yrs ago, I think I still love differently now. I have been burned so hard, scorched beyond recognition, by loss. I now love freely, through kindness, generocity, patients, Im of service to loves and strangers. I give my parking spaces to people, hold doors, help with packages, smile at most people, most times, and give patients to the customer sefvice agent thats having a bad day. I now take care of elderly parents, and I am teaching my new young boyfriend how to give freely, to be generous, and kind and not expect in return. I sit down and really talk to a stranger, that is in pain, i see. I talk to cancer warriers and offer my help and assistance. Im honestly not sharing this with you to toot my own horn, Im sharing this with you because this is how this painful, devestating journey has effected me. I was once very self centered, and selfish, and self absorbed. I walk carrying this pain with me 24 7 and it creates passion for others. But I also notice, that I love my new man in a different way. I dont know yet if it is better or worse. I sit back and enjoy him. I give him complete freedom, and Im much less demanding of him than i was of Mike. This is beause I now know I have no control of his destiny. He will die when he dies. I will die when I die. All we have are the moments we are blessed with, the time that is ours forever that we share, the memories, the love the caring the laughter, but we dont own or control our time. We think because of media, or modern mediine that we can control our destiny, our time here in this world, but i know without doubt, when it is our time, it is our time period.
Comment by alwayshopeful (Jocelyn) on January 17, 2015 at 10:49am
Hi Cynthia. Thanks so much for your kind words and helpful advice. We've come a long way together here on WV! Best wishes for some peace this weekend.
 

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