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Dealing with emptiness and idle time and low energy

Since I lost my dear husband to liver cancer, December 1, 2016, the first year went by in a haze. Now I am starting year two and it has finally hit me that I will not be seeing Gil anymore. This Christmas was pretty hard. I just went through the motions, but I could not get into the festive activities and parties. I bought a few Christmas sweaters, and a new dress. I did get to wear both of the sweaters. The dress is still sitting behind my bedroom door. 

I don't know why I bought the dress. There are plenty of things to do here in DC, but I don't have any real friends here anymore. I don't like going places by myself. This place is full of stuff to do. Sometimes I feel like that I'm just biding time to get through another day. I don't feel numb and the pain isn't as raw, but some days I just have a weird feeling I can't explain. It can appear out of nowhere and then my energy is zapped followed by a low feeling. Has anyone experienced this?

I have plenty of clothing, but I have resigned myself to wearing jeans and sweaters. That's all I have the energy for. The short and dark cold days aren't helping either. I just want to get out of this funk. 

If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to reply.

Thanks.

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Comment by Peach on January 8, 2018 at 11:39am

I found out that I don't have real friends. My husband was my best friend and hanging buddy. I pulled out the comforter set he bought for me on my 59th birthday. I didn't know that would be the last birthday we would celebrate together. Funny thing though, I found a fourth birthday card that said for my wife when I was cleaning out the file cabinet during my spare time. We were only married for three years. 

Christmas will never be the same again. We celebrated nine Christmas holidays together in the flesh. I will have to learn to celebrate the holiday keeping him in the presence of spirit. I put up two Christmas trees this year. They were beautiful. My three cats enjoyed them. My daughter loved them as well. I'm not too concerned about having friends to hang out with for now. I have other support groups and I don't feel ready for friends yet. I will continue to come here and talk with you guys.

 

Comment by soulmate on January 8, 2018 at 11:25am

I wish I could make it go away. "It" meaning your loneliness.  I wish I could make the sun come out and it would be 70 degrees by 0800. I don't have that kind of power.

I resist doing things alone as well. This was the second Christmas without my spouse. Last year was almost unbearable, this year was tolerable but I did not put up a tree, not certain if I ever will again. The culture around Christmas, everywhere I/we go, seems to imply that if your'e not happy then there is something wrong with you. I don't want to hear Perry Como, Andy Williams, Karen Carpenter Christmas songs anymore. Nothing personal against them, it's just not pleasant to hear now.

There are weeks when I make a point of seeing someone, for lunch, breakfast almost daily. I struggle at night, I HATE being alone at night. I am coming ot the point of acceptance, that being alone while unpleasant for me, won't kill me. It's taking over a year to come to this point.

Comment by Thankfulheart on January 7, 2018 at 6:05pm

HI, i am sorry for your loss. I can relate my husband has been gone now  7 years  I still fill like I’m still trying to see where I fit both my kids are grown as I still feel some days that all my energy is gone I have lots of friends but it’s not the same. I try to stay focused on the positive and just live one day at  a  time.  Life is different and hard to accept. I think though that your loved one would want you to be happy and try to be happy. There is no one formula one size fits all. It really is sad to lose a spouse. It gets better and one day we will regain our energy to be happy again .   

Comment by Peach on January 3, 2018 at 11:01am

Hi KayeL,

I don't have any words of wisdom. I'm am so sorry for your loss. Your story sounds a lot like mine except I didn't have any children by my husband because we were in our late fifties when we tied the knot. My husband got sick around the holidays as well and stayed sick the entire three years we were married. I thank God that I did find my soul mate and got the loving and blessed experience in knowing what it feels like to love another human being to the capacity that I loved my husband. Does it still hurt like hell? Yes it does. I just chalk it up that this is the journey that I will have to walk through. I wish I did have a child by him. That way, I would have a part of him still with me. I've been reading a book called Love Never Dies by Jamie Turndorf. You might want to check this one out if you haven't done so already. I know about the tears. I can find myself doing okay one minute and the next minute I'm having one of my crying fits again. I'm glad to see the holidays come to a close. I put up the two Christmas trees like I said I would and did get a chance to visit my daughter and grandson. I just take this journey one day at a time.

Comment by KayeL on January 1, 2018 at 7:16pm

I lost my husband in January 2016, when he just turned 40, and me was only 35.

Yes, my first year went by without me knowing what was going on. My sister-in-law, my parents and cousins came to care for my then 2yo. Last year I forced myself to pick up my reading again. I don't work because I still can't function very well. I am now just a FT homemaker and a mom. I miss my husband terribly.

Festive... my husband and I started dating young during college and were so in love for that whole 14 years together as couples. He was sick in hospital for the entire Dec in 2015. When doctors thought he was well enough to go home on new year's eve, then he died very suddenly few days later after his discharge. X'mas and new year simply mean painful memories and experiences. I feel terrible for my son because I told him I will never celebrate holidays in this household again. I miss my husband terribly. Geeze, I am still quite young, I have no idea how I am going to live like this. Last night I was sitting in our home office. My laptop on his desk but I had no idea what I could do to spend my time. The young family next door were having a blast time while I was planning what books I should read in 2018. I bathed myself in tears. 

I will hit my 3rd year without him in few days. Sometimes I wish I have no kid so I could bury myself in my bed and cry myself to death.

And there are days I wish I have never been in love. 

Comment by Peach on December 30, 2017 at 10:47am

Thanks Callie2 for your response. This is what I needed to hear. You are so right there is no guarantee that things would have turned out differently. I think what I need to do is let go of this false sense of illusion of control. 

Comment by Callie2 on December 29, 2017 at 1:28pm

Peach, I remember well the first year and dealing with "guilt", or at least that is what I thought I felt. My husband passed suddenly and for months, I kept reliving it, trying to determine if there was more I could have done or somehow, I should have known he was about to have a massive heart attack. Maybe we want to believe if we can figure this out, we can go back and change things? Then, I began to realize that this was something out of my control and I responded as quickly as I could and even if I had done anything differently, there was no guarantee the outcome would have changed. We just don't want to accept they are gone. There is nothing gained by guilt. We may regret not doing something, however, we cannot see into the future. I struggled to then forgive myself and accept that neither one of us were in control of death. So, I guess my point is let go of any guilt you may be feeling--it serves no purpose.

Don't worry about what others may think of any decisions you had to make. We all do the best we can!  I believe we have earned the right to not give a hang what people think! That would be their problem and not yours. Wishing you peace and a better upcoming New Year!

Comment by Peach on December 29, 2017 at 10:25am

Nancy, thank you for your comments. The questioning is getting less thank God. I will be glad when I can wake up one day and actually believe that my husband and I did the best we could have done under those circumstances. I'm taking on too much responsibility by asking myself these questions over and over again on the verge of complete torture during those earlier days. But like you said, it's all part of the grief process. I have to remind myself to be gentle with me.

Comment by NancyD on December 29, 2017 at 7:37am

Peach:  I too have the "zapped" low energy times.  I can barely function when they hit.  I am sure they are caused by the grief, so I haven't freaked out about them, but wow!  It's all I can do some days to get dressed in the morning, or drag myself to bed in the evening.  This is so unlike me to feel so wiped out.  I hope this will pass; I can't imagine living the rest of my life this way.  In the meantime, I try to have low expectations and be gentle with myself.  I can't drag myself to the barre classes I used to love, but I can do some stretches here at home, and take a walk around the block.  I do think the short and cold days of winter are of no help and I hope I might feel at least a little bit more energetic as we move slowly away from the winter Solstice and towards spring!  

Also, re those questions that rattle around in your brain about how the last days went, should I have done something different, guilt,  etc.  I think it is normal for your  brain to obsess a bit.  It is just trying to make sense of something that cannot be made sense of---our beloved's death.  (The brain thinks it can sort everything out to make sense, the way it does about many things---but cannot do about this terrible loss.) I experienced this painful obsessive thinking over and over in the first days and weeks after my husband passed. It has slowly eased...I did the best I could, he did the best he could, the doctors did the best they could, and I can't change any of it now.  And instead of remembering what I didn't do or what I did that wasn't perfect, I try to remember that I took as good care of him as I could and that he was grateful for my love and help.   Hugs to you, all of you, struggling with our sorrow and grief... 

Comment by Peach on December 29, 2017 at 5:24am

Thanks guys for replying to my blog. After I thought about it, it's not about the clothes. Those clothes are just a reason not to discuss my true feelings. This is my first time at this. So it is grief and mourning. There are so many emotions that can be grouped with the grief process. Questions I ask myself, like did I do the right thing, if I had taken my husband to another hospital maybe he would have survived,, and so on. I had to deal with the guilt of feeling not doing enough, not keeping up with the meds. Then I dealt with his horrible exes that was like pouring gasoline on the fire. I thought my family was bad, but I found out that there are some really horrible people in the world. I would say what happened, but I was wondering do we call each other in these groups. I'm a little leery of putting TMI on the web.

I've been taking meds thinking that it's depression, but it is not working. Grief is another issue. I tried grief therapy for a while, it worked a little, but I was in the throes of the raw emotions.

I think the way society treats losses and growing older is get over it in six months or we will medicate the hell out of you. I was taught not go explore other spiritual options to feel better. There is a new grief therapy called trans-dimensional grief therapy that teaches clients how to reconnect with their love ones in spirit. More and more therapists are using this technique to help clients who feel they are too old to connect or want to date. It sounds pretty radical but it is a big change from the way grief has always been handled. I think they are on the right course, but it will probably take some years before people fully grasp these techniques. 

Some of my family members feel at a loss, and I think when death hits this close to home, it puts every one in touch with their own mortality. I have a niece that is a minister and she was at a loss for words. My brother's wife started avoiding me like the plague and didn't want anything to do with my non-conventional way of how I handled my husband's arrangements even though I didn't have much choice in the matter. There was very little money for a traditional church service and we weren't prepared to handle this financially. I was working two jobs to catch up on things until I started getting very tired from the lack of rest. I recently had hand surgery, so I have had a break from this second job.

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