A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
We're so sorry for your loss... and we're here. Say "hi" here, participate anywhere on the site.
This group's greeter is @Janet.
Latest Activity: 2 hours ago
Thanks everyone for all of your comments. All of the discussions have helped me make sense of my own grieving process. I feel that grieving is like having a chronic (not terminal) illness. I have good days and bad days, 7 good hours in 1 day and 3 good hours the next. When someone asks how I am doing, I don't feel I can summarize what life has been like for me over the last 10 weeks. My emotions and outlook have been all over the place!! I can certainly answer the question based on how I am feeling at that moment. However, what I have learned and what most non-widow/ers don't realize is how I am feeling in that moment could change at any point in time. I have not been grieving long enough to be able to speculate how I will feel the next hour, day, or month. Because my response to "how I am doing" will change from hour to hour and day to day, I told one friend I feel like I am bi-polar. I mean no disrepect to those that are living with this illness and I am aware of the nature of this illness through my education and experience. I am just thinking how strange I must seem to friends that get a different answer from me each time they ask. Reading about everyone's highs and lows has helped me feel normal (whatever that is). I am now okay with my own highs and lows and not being able to predict how I will feel in the near and distant future. I don't think I could write a book about grieving at this point because with everyday comes a different emotion and sometimes I have 6 high moments and 4 low ones all in the same day. If I waited after one year of grieving to summarize my journey, I still would probably not be able to predict what my second year of grieving will look like. My other thought is in the near future when I may think I am ready to do something I would normally do with my husband, I may not be ready at all. I have read on posts and in chat about how widows/ers thought they were ready to do something they have not done since their spouse passed on. What disturbs me about the comments is how people are so hard on themselves when they try something they thought they were ready to do, but really weren't. If I can't predict my behavior from day to day, how can I really be sure I am ready for anything new? I say the only way is to just jump in and find out!! There is nothing wrong with jumping in and realizing we were just not ready!! There is no reason we should be mad at ourselves for trying!! As one chat leader said one night, if you promise something to someone or can't commit to something (i.e. going out with friends, going on a date, starting a new relationship) it is best to let people know you are a widow/er and your emotions may pop up out of nowhere and they can be unpredictable. I believe with this qualification, people will understand if we have to cancel last minute (because we just want to be alone and grieve) or change our minds about something we thought we would feel comfortable doing. If a new widow asked me how the grieving process will go or how mine has been, my best advice would be "hang on, it's going to be a bumpy ride"!
Hi, My husband died a year ago and people tell me how great I look. Of course, I am not caregiving anymore. I did it for years and years. I am sad and miss him but I am also moving on. He is in my heart forever. This month was extra challanging. The one year anniversary was an important date. Also I have faced other deaths, my dear friend of 15 years died and 2 family members. Also my daughter had breast cancer and it was stage 0 and she is fine. Wow what a year. I am still standing thanks to support groups and W. V. and my spirituality. Thanks
Thanks to all for sharing their feedback and support. I feel very inspired every day from the strength of those who have endured insurmountable obstacles in life and live to share their experiences and insight with others. I feel blessed to be amongst such a courageous group of amazing individuals. Tonight at my son's hockey gathering one of the moms said to me, "you are doing so well....I just CAN'T imagine". I am betting a few of you have heard such a response and it used to anger me but tonight I simply replied, "well I hope you never have to experience such a loss however, I want you to know that these life altering experiences do not always result in life of misery...it is not a death sentence and although I would have him and my life back in a hart beat, I am stronger now than I ever have been in my life and I find joy in every day no matter how tough they may be". She cried, then I cried and then then we had a good laugh and a glass of wine! Cheers to all of you inspiring survivors!
Wow, Chris..well stated and a different way to look at that article. I really took to heart your very final comment...I don't think my David would want me to curl up and wither away waiting to join him...that made m think..thanks for that.
@valerie: My husband passed on Oct. 11th and so often I've said the same things "am I too sad" and on a day if I feel even halfway alright, I think OMG, I'm not sad enough what's wrong with me. I finally figured out that if I don't think I'm sad enough, just too wait for a couple of hours and it catches up with me.
One thing that you said really made me laugh, I went to see family in NJ in December right before Christas and my own sister-in-law said to me "Wow, you look good, you look a lot better than I thought you'd look".... umm, what did she expect.....lol
Chris, Danielle,Lilterrisue, Kelli, I just want all of you to know I have only been on this site since New Years Eve, and it already has made a BIG difference in how I am viewing things. I also started seeing a psychologist immediately after my husband died on 10/13, because I was worried about my kids. He has helped me immensely. All of your comments today have really hit home for me, as on some days I wonder "am I too sad" and on others "am I sad enough?". Then when you see someone and they say "you look really good". I think to myself - was I supposed to let my every day hygiene suffer because my husband died -(he would be laughing at me right now for thinking that by the way!) You all are an inspiration and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts.
Danielle, you're my new hero :-).
The article seems pretty much on target with what I've observed in myself and people I know. The first "myth" they look at is: "that the bereaved inevitably experience intense symptoms of distress and depression". I don't think they're suggesting that it doesn't hurt like hell or doesn't turn your world upside down, just that most people don't go into a tail spin, become clinically depressed, contemplate suicide, require medication, and all that. Personally I have some first hand experience with clinical depression, but I'm really quite surprised that my wife's death has not triggered a recurrence (knock wood, right?).
Widow Village is a self selecting support group. Almost by definition it attracts people who have been deeply hurt by their loss. In many cases the grief is compounded by post traumatic stress, crazy in laws, legal proceedings, gut wrenching long term care, and so on. So the fact that many members of Widow's Village disagree with the study does not invalidate the study. We make up the tail of the bell curve.
Support groups are good when the encourage and support their members to move forward, groups are bad when they encourage their members to stay the same, when the validate people's depression. On the whole Widow Village does a good job and it has been very useful to me. But there are times when I read things and I think "Boy, that person is stuck in some complicated grief, and everyone is telling her that it is okay." I'd like to challenge that, if your grief hasn't changed in two or three years then isn't that a red flag? It is not okay to get stuck and be in pain for years. It is not okay. Shouldn't we as a group point this out?
One final thing. I don't think the depth of one's grief is based on the depth of your love for your dead spouse. I understand why this is an attractive idea, but there are enough counter examples that make me doubt that it is true. I think this would be a good area for some research.
One very final thing. I'm not trying to get anyone upset, but I believe life can be sweet, super sweet. I want everyone on Widow Village to be happy again. Everyone who meets their beloved in heaven (or that other place) should be able to tell them with pride what they did in their extra time on earth. Did you sit around counting the days until you die, or did you continue to do the best you could with the life that God gave you? You do have a choice. God, I know how hard it is. Peace.
My mom handled her grief by not talking about it to anyone, ever. My dad died 10 days after we were married...so 32 yrs ago last August. She became a hermit and withdrew from life. She was never angry or depressed, well maybe depressed but you could never tell..she continued to function in her own way, just solitary. She developed Alzheimer's and spent the last 10yrs of her life fighting that..she lived 20 yrs after dad passed. I am determined not to be that person. I insisted my grown children attend some grief counseling for family and we continue to try to keep his memory alive, painful as it is at times. I hope to continue on the path to healing and recovery, some days the emotions are just so close to the surface it does not take much for the tears to come
That is so good to hear Lilterrisue! It will be one year on January 29th. You are in the right place and have a great outlook on your healing journey. I immediately accessed all the resources I possible could for me and my children. Support groups, grief camp, family counselling, individual counselling, grief yoga, meditation and I have literally read every grief/loss book I could get my hands on. You WILL live again to experience the happiness and joy this world has to offer you. I remember thinking to myself on those lonely scary and just plain brutal first months, "ok girl, dig deep....this is the worst of the worst but NO giving up". You have probably hear this before but "this too shall pass" and what you do with the remainder of your life is entirely up to you. I still have bad days but thats ok with me because I know my heart is strong and I am exactly where I am suppose to be. Use your strength and courage to guide you and baby yourself each and every step of the way. I had like 6 baths a day in those first few months so much so that my skin was literally flaking off but those baths helped me de-stress and feel better in that moment. I also run, swim and bike and I recently became fitness certified so I teach group fitness and I just love it. Exercise brings clarity of mind which in turn makes me feel all around healthy and capable of what the day has in store for me. I think allot of people do get "stuck" in grief and my mother was one of them. My father committed suicide when I was 13 and she never really lived again until she died of brain cancer two years before my husband died. I was determined to not live her life which was a life of sadness, depression, regret, anger, and continual mourning. I can safely say I am in the clear and really enjoying life again. My loss is a badge I wear with honour and pride.
But the confusing thing about the article and grief conversations in general, is that the terms sadness and depression are used interchangeably when they are in fact two different things. The way one of the palliative care psychologists summarized it for me is that grief has moments of relief, that there are small bits of light that break through every now and then, and with depression, the sadness is unremitting. That's an oversimplification of course, but I think it's good to keep in mind. I can definitely say that with my last loss (I had a partner who died of cancer in 2007 as well) I was depressed. This time I am not. But six months out, I am functioning really well, as far as getting work done and taking care of myself. But I definitely have moments and even days of intense sadness. I don't know if anyone has collected 9/11 widow data, but there definitely is a difference in how different people reacted (of course) even though the situations of the actual death were mostly very similar. One 9/11 widow remarried seven months later, others still have not remarried. Although I don't really believe that being ready to be in a relationship and being through the intense sadness period are actually always the same. And I wouldn't say that feeling "ready to move on" is actually a good indicator that one is ready to move on, at least for me. I got involved with someone nine months after Heather (first partner) died and it was really a mistake. It kept me much rawer than I had to be, I think, for longer. I'm determined not to make that same "mistake" again, although I don't have much desire for that kind of intense connection right now. I am very fulfilled with my friends and my work. I miss Cheryl but don't want to be in another relationship, although I also think about timing sometimes. If another eligible person came along and we were clearly compatible, would I ask them to stay single for another six months while I healed? Would that even be fair? Lot to think about. I think the central take away is always "grief is different for everyone, always, every situation" but I'm always interested in what builds resilience and such.
Join yourwidowed peers
Sign Upor Sign In
Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.
Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.
We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."
Use TAGS on blog posts, photos, and when starting discussion topics. They keep content together and are a fun way to browse the site!
© 2013 Created by Supa Dupa Fresh.
Report an Issue |
Terms of Service
Please check your browser settings or contact your system administrator.