Widowed Village

A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation

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Widowed in 2010

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Members: 258
Latest Activity: Apr 3

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Comment by Cathy on April 3, 2014 at 6:25pm

Thanks to all who write, it is good to connect by words, and know others are doing and thinking like I am. Hal, good luck in your house purge. I have been doing that for several years, with no timeline to be done. It does get easier once you start, I can go back through a closet and purge it again, saying to myself "why did I think I needed that?". Out it goes. I cleared out my parents house of 55 years, my inlaws house of 40 some years, I don't want my kids to have to do the same. Stuff is that, just stuff. The burden gets lighter as it gets recycled, or reused or gifted or tossed. I had been after my husband to do this for years, he is probably watching and saying "no, no, don't get rid of that!".

I love to hear about everyones volunteer activities. I have yet to find my nitch, TIP does sound like a good fit for many of us. Maybe after I'm done with the house purge and move, I will feel the urge to do something. I think in helping others we also heal ourselves.

Comment by IwillNeverBtheSame on April 3, 2014 at 1:20pm

Corlene- Wow, I wish TIP had been there for me when my husband died. I really needed emotional help and guidance. I did not even realize how much shock from the trauma, etc. I was in. As the years go by and I have found appropriate help, I see my healing happening and I feel happy about that. I applaud you for becoming a part of TIP, I'm sure you are having a positive impact on the world.

Comment by goingon (Cynthia) on April 3, 2014 at 1:10pm

Corlene -

Lately I have responded to just a few posts, but yours is such an inspiration!  Nov. 12 last year was 3 years without my Don, and yes, it gets easier in some ways; harder in others.  I'm having major back surgery - and I mean MAJOR - the doc estimates 9 hours of surgery - next Tuesday and it's the first without Don; it's very depressing and stress-producing to wonder how I'll manage.  My daughter's live in two different states also; We lived in CA and raised our family there, and after he died, I cared for my mom for a year (2 years after he died) and when she moved to assisted living, I moved to Flagstaff in Arizona which I love; but it's lonely.  I'm making friends, and I'm volunteering my time which I love doing.  I never heard of TIP but I am going to look into them.  I'm a retired therapist....

Your training to run a marathon is an inspiration to me, too.  Every time I think about training and losing weight, my back is my sticking point.  So maybe getting it "fixed" (let's hope this works!) will help; I really want to get a bike - it's so beautiful up here and there are so many places to ride. And hiking - as soon as I finally got a good pair of hiking boots, well, my back... so I'm waiting to try them out on a trail nearby!  By then it will be summer and I won't have to worry about snow.  Maybe... we have snow on the ground from yesterday! 

Thank you for your post.  It helped me, for one. 

Comment by Corlene on April 3, 2014 at 12:12pm

April 14th is fast approaching.  That will mark the 4th year without Jack.  Looking back on those years, i realize how many holes are in my memories.  Widow brain is real.  I lost a dear girlfriend 5 months before Jack.  When Jack was gone, I asked my friend's husband, 'When does this terrible ache inside me, go away."   He said it would get better.  Well, it did get better but it took years not months.  Macduff, I too moved across the country.  I( left CA to move back to Florida.  We bought a house here in 1980 but in 82, Jack got orders to CA.  We ended his military career there in 1991, but had children and grandchildren living close who needed us.  Well, maybe we needed them.  :=)  By 2010, when Jack died, the reasons to stay in CA were gone.  Granddaughter moved to Portland, OR, grandson joined the Army.  By 2012, i was mentally ready to retire from working.  Moving back to my little house near the beach made sense to me.  While I still miss Jack every day in so many ways, I can truly say I am happy again.  I didn't think that would be possible but we are resilient.  A few months ago, I joined a volunteer group called Trauma Intervention.  TIP is nationwide with a big group in Portland, OR (Macduff)  and 25 other groups around the country.  I have been on calls to assist a wife who woke up to find her husband dead.  While the EMTs, law enforcement, & other first responders dealt with the husband, who is there for the widow?  That is where TIP comes in.  My family thought I was too tender hearted to do this work but I have found my calling.  Some calls are very hard.  A 20 year old rides her bike into traffic & dies.  Her family is all in Asia as she is here on a work visa.  Her young friends are in shock.  Who helps them regain their balance?  TIP. 

Sorry, I didn't mean to make this sound like a pitch for TIP.  What I want to tell all my widowed friends is there is good left for you to do.  Don't rush or push yourself but be aware of a need you can fill. It wil fill you as well.  BTW I will be 65 on May 31st.  AND I am going to do my 1st 5K on that day.  I am way overweight & haven't exercised much since I retired.  I am still going to do this.  Training has started but it is slow!!  :)  

I tell people Camp Widow saved my life.  This site has been an inspiration to me.  I have shared your grief & your triumphs.  Even if I never see your faces in person, I will always treasure you all! 

Comment by feelinglonely on April 3, 2014 at 8:09am

Phaedra--My husband died 2 months shy of his 64th birthday.  We always talked about that Beatles song "When Im 64"---we never got to play it for his birthday--and now, whenever I hear that song, I get choked up.

You know, I never felt old before--but I do now. I look in the mirror and think who is that person looking back at me?  The person I used to be is gone.

Comment by Macduff (Hal) on April 3, 2014 at 7:37am

After my wife, Betty, died, I was nearly insane with debilitating grief. I felt like a raging perfect storm threatened to sweep me under. Indeed,  for months I cried so hard I felt like I was gasping for breath.

I sold my duty gun when I retired from the auxiliary police but kept a small revolver. I have to admit had fantasies of ending my pain with a quick trigger pull. But every time I did, my mind went to the solemn promise I made, when, a month before she died, I told Betty I couldn’t live without her.

She made me promise to stay alive to care for our dogs, Mac and Duff, who she loved just a smidgen more than she loved me.

I never believed I could survive the death of Betty. However, as all the grief counselors, and the books about surviving the death of a spouse say will happen. Eventually, life began to feel like it was worth living.

I ended up with only one close friend left here after our couple friends fell out of my life. With no children, there was really nothing to keep me from moving one last time. I love New England, but every place I went reminded me of good times with Betty.

I will miss my friend who, more than anyone by far, help me through my worst periods of grief.

I will miss my 92 year old father-in-law, who is a recent widower himself. Together we grieve the loss of our wives, and we grieve the loss of his daughter. While I don't cry real tears very often when I'm alone these days, when we talk about our losses, I usually do.

Until recently I’d been very reluctant to consider moving to a top notch continuing care retirement community in Portland, Oregon. Here I figured Betty and I would just grow old together and find enjoyable things to do as a couple or with a few married friends.

Now I feel like I’m replacing the Atlantic coast with the Pacific coast, Boston with Portland, and Cape Cod with Cannon Beach. Perhaps I’ll learn to like their clam chowder as much as I like New England clam “chowda.”

My 70th was a birthday I didn't anticipate as having any emotional impact. Then I had some physical symptoms which concerned my doctor. I had an X-ray, an ultra-sound, eight blood tests, and an exam by a neurologist. The result: I am healthy.

My house sold last week in four days. My new duplex will be ready on June 1st. Now, in the process of downsizing from a house twice as large, I am discovering that the things we collected and accumulated over 40 years of marriage are mostly just “stuff.” 

The entire process of deciding what else to take and what to give away or sell is another story.

I see that making such a huge change is a recognition, very deep down inside, that Betty is gone forever. It took four years; but finally I accept that this part of my life can never be approximated, let alone duplicated. I now feel I must construct something entirely new for my final years.

Photo: My first visit to Oregon was in 2012 when I drove across the country. The picture along Route 80 is The Great Salt Lake, a sea of tears for me and perhaps the graffiti writer.

Comment by Phaedra on April 2, 2014 at 9:33pm

Feelinglonely, I am now also 2 years older than my husband was when he died. I remember so vividly, the first time he was hospitalized it said on his wristband "Age 60 years, 21 days." He didn't make it to 61.

I was calling myself old the other day, and a woman said, "Oh, I'm 70. You're not old." I told her, my husband died at age 60; anyone older than that is old.

Comment by IwillNeverBtheSame on April 2, 2014 at 7:11pm

Hi Cathy,

For the first 2 1/2 years I worried about everyone's feelings. I knew all of my family and friends wanted me to be okay, so I pushed myself to show up at everything, putting on a Mask and inside it was just creating more pain. I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I was wrong. Now I lean into the pain, I don't resist it, I don't like it however, I do accept it and, it helps me get through "special days". Thanksgiving 2013 was the first time I allowed myself to stay home in my PJs and it was the best Thanksgiving since 2010, when my hubby was still with me. I hope you are honoring yourself and if you want to crawl back in bed and not answer the phone I say do it. 

Comment by feelinglonely on April 2, 2014 at 3:08pm

I am now 2 years older than my husband when he died.  It is such a sad and strange feeling to know he never made it to my age.  You are all right on--birthdays are now just another day that I dont care about, along with holidays and anniversaries.  Nothing is ever the same without the one you love by your side.

Comment by goingon (Cynthia) on April 2, 2014 at 10:32am

To me, my birthday is just another day.  Yes, I get cards, and I do appreciate that people thought of me.  I don't dwell on the cards or what they say; it's the thought that counts, and to me, it says my family and friends are thinking of me.  I tell my kids please don't do anything for my birthday; don't spend money on me or send flowers.  But i usually get a call or a card from them, which is okay with me.  But it's your day - if you want to stay in bed, stay in bed! That's okay!  And don't answer the phone - if you have an answering system, they'll leave a message. 

 

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