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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

I'm a few days away from it being 4 months since Jim passed away. A couple people I know and respect came to me last week both with the same concern that I'm not grieving, I'm avoiding. Aside from all the stuff I have had to take care of in the beginning, like we all do, Jim gave me a list of things to do. The first was I couldn't run away, the second make all my appointments and take care of me. Over the last few years I haven't done much of that and he was always worried, so over the last couple months I have constantly doing just that. They both agreed I need to get back on track medically, but their afraid I'm doing so much at one time I'm not allowing myself to grieve and by having so many things to do in a sense I'm running from myself and the emotions. One told me I need to be still to hear and listen. I kind of feel like they may be right but I don't understand why I would be doing it. I've always handled things head on. Any advice or thoughts will be much appreciated. Love and thoughts to you all.

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Comment by Nance63 on August 7, 2019 at 7:20am

I came to this page thru a friend request (which, btw, I am sorry I have not replied yet... I will!) and I have just only read flower girl's comment, Dee's response and then I paged up and read Ozzy's original post. You all have my deepest sympathies for the tremendous loss you've had and your suffering hearts...

The posts I read brought tears of recognition to my eyes. I get you. I remember... I feel for you.  As Dee says, we are ALL so very unique. I see some things that I would not do, that turn me off, here on these pages, and other times I am hit with a feeling of resonance by someone's post... Every person who has lost someone has their own ways, and their relationships were unique as well... so the grieving will be unique. I think that's the thing that so many of us here "GET" the most, besides understanding all those invisible ways this hurts so much, and for so long, so much longer than others who have not experienced it might expect.  it's hard for some people to disregard what others think or say (I suffer from this unnecessary caring too much of what others think, and I project what they think, even if they are not saying anything! argh) , but if one has not experienced the loss of a spouse, it cannot be understood. 

ozzy, it sounds to me like you are doing the busy work that is soooo crappy but keeps us going, keeps us moving and getting out in the world when we maybe don't even want to move.  It can be overwhelming, all the things to be done after a death, and you are also taking care of business for yourself, which is exactly what you SHOULD be doing. It helps to have that busy~ness in the early days. YOu might (or you might not) hit a wall and become paralyzed for a while after you get a lot of this accomplished, and then it will just be a season to give yourself over to that..... all in due time.  Others do not see what's inside your mind and heart, nor how you present in one way to the public, but in private, ouch, watch out!  They do not know... they cannot.  I'll tell you one thing I have thought many times... EVERY organization should be taught how to interact with clients who say they've just experienced a loss... there are so many things that we have to do and it's hard to SAY it and cry, and have the person on the other end ignore it or say something very insensitive. it ought to be part of job training, because many people who... bank, let's say... suffer a death of a loved one and have to deal with it... smh... I digress..... 

flowergirl, I like your spirit and your approach to this. it is hard and awful, no matter what, but you have tools you've honed and you are using them... and comforts that are important to take as your own.  I'm really glad for you that you know you did all you could in the very best of ways and also that you and your husband talked and shared and prepared well as is possible...for these days of loss.  

My husband died a little over 3 years ago. It was rather sudden.. well, it WAS sudden. He had a cardiac arrest at home. He was ..."revived" and hospitalized for a week, but I know he "died" that night in my home, with my poor (then 19 yo) son who happened to be watching tv there as it happened in my husband's sleep on the sofa.  ugh, the memories of it all are dreadful to call back... But, even though they got him on life support and such, he was not really alive, and , well, I don't know how to say this other than to say that in the way that you know you were an excellent caregiver, I also know that. I am caregiver to a special needs daughter, now 17years old and have also been told many times how I have really been the best for her. While my husband was in the hospital, I took notes on every single thing. I followed up on everything, I made sure I understood all that was being done and I grew to understand that nothing would bring him back to life.  that week was a gift to my family. I have five children and at that time had 3 grandchildren and we were expecting twin grands, and since his death there have been two more grandbabies born. Our husband/father was not really capable of being a husband and father, but he was a good, nice guy, and he WAS my husband and their father... but we needed that week, to make our peace with him.... to talk to him and to come to terms with the loss we were experiencing.  He was 58. He died on my 53rd bday. At that time, my oldest daughter was out of thehome, with her own family, but I still had four at home.... teens and young adults. In short order they were moving on though... my son bought his house, and moved out, he got married, then my daughter and close friend married and moved out and my college aged son moved into a house with some college mates. wow.  It was a terrible terrible whirlwind I never expected, all coming one after another. 

I attended grief groups, and they were of some help, but I was very distraught over my special needs teen's rough time and so, while I WAS depressed and scared, I needed to take care of getting HER help first.... thenI found a good therapist, finally. LIke you, I read voraciously on grief, grieving, etc. It really helped me to understand when the things I thought or experienced were understood by others... Because my relationship with my husband was not great and many of my family and friends knew that, I felt awkward and 'weird' about how much I was grieving, truly grieving. It's such a brain fracturing time, I believe.  It changed me significantly and suddenly. 

I was also suddenly afraid, so afraid. I was afraid of everything and nothing. I was left with financial worries, unprepared for his death (I was a homemaker and I have a chronic illness... we got by, barely, but it worked for us; my husband worked hard to support us..  What was going to happen to us? what should I DO?? etc. but I was also feeling anxious in all sorts of situations that had never been a problem before.  I learned that I was stuck in the fight/flight mode and I learned to take deep breaths; I was barely breathing!  It makes a huge difference to learn to breathe deeply and it resets that terrible fear and anxiousness that is really a physical symptom (sometimes).

I'm afraid you've opened my floodgates. sorry for going on and on. I rarely come on here anymore. Once in a while I will get an email of a post I relate to and come on to reply, but I don't spend much time on this site. I am still so very busy, all the time. But this is a wonderful, welcoming resource and I am so grateful it is here, because we NEED to have others who understand. SOme people might only read, and be comforted by that... others might need to express what they are going through. Some need comforting, some give comfort, some have questions, some have answers...

We're all in this together, even in our very varied ways and experiences. 

Comment by Dee1960 on July 20, 2019 at 7:27pm

Ozzy and flower girl , both of you, 4 months, 6 weeks --- you both are still in shock... please just be kind to yourself, take it day by day, one thing at a time, I'm four years out and still don't have my shit together... tiptoe, one day at time, be gentle with yourself., cry when you need to, do stuff when you need to, watch TV and just zone when you need too --- and so so sorry for your losses, though what can anyone say but it just sucks. And take care of yourself and don't ever feel guilty about not "grieving" properly.

Comment by flowergirl537 on July 20, 2019 at 7:12pm

My spouse died 6 weeks ago. I've realized in that short time that I'm going to be a feisty widow. I was a caregiver (by myself) for 9 years.I am a retired social work. I'm confident I did an excellent job as a caregiver as his Oncologists often advised spouse as to how fortunate he was to have someone like me as a caregiver.

I've walked that path on my own with confidence and awareness. I created a medical interdisciplinary team that I knew and trusted that listened, gave objective suggestions and were always compassionate but HONEST with me at all times. I am grieving. I am deeply grieving. I am terrified often. I am over-whelmed often, I am exhausted most days. I am accepting this "roller coaster" of grief the best I can. Yet I know to "get quiet" and listen to my own intuition and to trust that intuition.

I had a well meaning neighbor that said "you're really handling his death well". My response "I'm just a very private person and I'm sure to the outside observer it appears I can handle anything. On the inside I'm a mess emotionally and physically" Yet without commenting I thought "you nor anyone gets to project their "grieving widow" expectations on me. I will do it my own messy way with the help of others that "have danced in my shoes, healed, survived and thrived". I just refuse to "fit anyone's expectations for my grief". 

During the 9 years of caregiving we talked about EVERYTHING. His fears, hopes,dreams, "do-overs in parenting, life work" which included his hopes and dreams for me. He was very clear with me OFTEN that he wanted me to "have the retirement his illness put on the shelf for us", to have adventures, to reconnect with my female friends, to take his ashes with me and place them in a place where "I felt welcomed, safe and happy" as he too would be happy to share that space with me in my heart. Those many, many conversations helped us both through anticipatory grief. Those chats were the "gifts" that the dying can and often give to their many loved one. I tried to be as open as possible to ALL those gifts as I knew when he died those very gifts would sustain me through the craziness of widowhood. 

I do wonder if I'm in denial. Yet I don't believe I am. Perhaps "just where I should be at this point". Deeply grieving, so very lonely to hear is voice, lost in the evening's when we chatted the most, suddenly crying at the gas station, inability to go to any local grocery store without getting nauseous, anxious and then dizzy. Holding his favorite little crystal to my heart (like a hug) that he became attached to when learning how to meditate. Talking to him often during the day. Reading every book I can get my hands on about grieving and seeking out comfort and solace in poetry and even Death Cafe's. 

I know I will heal, survive and thrive but more importantly I know I have to "swim my way" through this tumultuous sea of massive waves crushing my body one moment and soothing my soul the next. It is what it is. I REFUSE to DENY myself the adventure of widowhood regardless of how crazy, sad, depressing, lonely, etc, etc it may be. It is what it is and I'm trusting that if I try to embrace it that my "new identity" will begin to surface and my deceased spouse would be so proud of me that I "took his challenge", dove into the depths of it and in time with alot of self-care, self-love and "being gentle" with myself I will come out the other side of this deeply confusing and sadly necessary time in my life. In a way doing so honors him, me and our 31 years of marriage and all the struggles and joys we shared during those years.  

Comment by sis on April 29, 2019 at 7:13am

Those friends actually feel that they are being helpful, but grieving is a process that is much like fingerprints, and is different for each of us. I don't know if they have experienced the loss of a spouse, but until you do there is no way to understand what is happening. Every grief experience is different for each of us and we have to go through it at our own pace. Both my sisters lost there husband 10 or more years before I did, and even though we are blood, we all have our own ways to cope and handle things. I agree, just smile and thank them for thinking of you, but take care of things the way you need to and in your own time table. Only you know when that is. God Bless

Comment by BESTBUDS1 [Norman} on April 28, 2019 at 9:18pm

There is no road map , nor one size fits all in grief. It is a personal experience , and nobody has the right to determine if you are or are not grieving the way they think you should. , and i mean nobody.The simple fact that your are on this site and reaching out to those who walk the path of grief from 1 day to many years , shows much of who you are and where you are in your own journey, into the unknown. Right where you need to be, is where you are and each new day brings you one day farther along.. Those who mean well and have never been in our shoes, consider the source and disregard any ino that confuses you , and/or ask someone in your shoes if needed..Loving was the easy part, now grieving is the extension of that Love into a new life as the new you. Nobody has all the answers , but what can be given here in experience , can bring the knowledge we need to make it more understandable. Talk , Talk , Talk, to those who get it and remember only YOU know what is right for you. Best wishes in the days and years ahead...

Comment by laurajay on April 28, 2019 at 7:29pm

I'm  at  seven years...and  I can  tell  what  you  need  to do for  you   NOW  because everything  gets  harder  as you  age  and  there is a tendency  to kinda  of forget  the  things  you  need  to do to  stay  well.  Your  friends  are  meddling in strange  territory.   Smile,  nod  and then  ignore  them!!! When  your  mind  has  order  and  the  medical  is dealt  with...there  will  be  the rest  of  your  life  to grieve/mourn  etc. your beloved.  Handle  a  plan  for  finances  too.  Get  things  in  order  for  single  living.  Makes   it  easier  in  years  to come.  Don't  expect  these  respected  friends  to know  anything  about  what  you are going  through-  unless  widowed  they  haven't  an  honest  clue.  4 mo  is  no time  at  all.  Do  follow  your own  mind  and  heart now  because the  stillness  and  listening  will  come  when  the  time comes  for  your  soul to seek  comfort  and  understanding.    Self  care  is extremely  important  now-  only  you  to truly care  about  you-  do  it.    Hugs~  laurajay

Comment by Dee1960 on April 28, 2019 at 5:39pm

Agree with Barb, plus 4 months is too soon for people "giving advice" -- there's all the legal junk you have to do, getting death certificates, changing legal stuff, funeral (if you had one) stuff -- don't let other people tell how it's done. We all do it at our own pace. You may find yourself, one day, being still to "hear and listen" -- but one step at a time. Do take care of yourself. Sorry for your loss. 

Comment by vintage56(barb) on April 28, 2019 at 4:55pm

You are doing what you need to do, for you. Don't let other people tell you where you need to be in the grief process. Not everyone is the same.

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