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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 need to accept my scars as being a part of me.  When I was learning to be a telephone counsellor for Lifeline, a suicide prevention telephone counselling service staffed by volunteers we had a lesson on being "real". One of the things our facilitator asked us to do was to stand in front of the mirror naked each morning for a week and say: " This is who I am and who I will be all day."  Boy was that a life lesson, nothing to cover up who we really are. I think it is time for me to do that again , experience my self as I am now.k

My scars are from the last two operations but I have emotional scars too. Some of the reason I am ashamed of the scars is because I had accepted myself the way I was. I have aged since my widowhood started six years ago but I have adjusted to that or thought I had and now that has changed since the operations. I guess if Ray was still alive and he accepted me the way I am now I would find it easier to accept myself. Ray always had a way of normalizing a situation. "Why worry?" he would say, " they don't pay your rent." Now I have no comforter. I know I shouldn't look for approval in others but I still do. And while Ray always looked at me with the eyes of love, others are more critical.

I have just come back from a week out at Broken Hill with my son and for four of the days his daughter Alice. The flight in was scary as we flew through a dust storm. It is really a sand storm as Broken Hill is on the edge of a vast inland wasteland. I was glad the pilots get instrument training as there was no visible landmarks, at one stage they believed it safer to land at an alternate airport but we did eventually land in Broken Hill. I was very impressed and very pleased with the positive outcome to what might have developed into a serious situation. No worries on the flight back apart from a head wind that made us arrive twenty minutes late in Sydney.

Now I am back home it is a busy life with end-of-year events happening every few days.  I have scaled back a bit as where once I could go to three events in a day I can now do two comfortably. It is partly because my left leg when tired feel more like a log and can be painful when I am overtired and partly because I am ageing. On Saturday I went to the WAGS Christmas party. Yes,, there was dancing after a nice lunch but by 3.30pm I was tired and glad to head on home whereas in years past I would have stayed and helped with the cleanup. I am a bit sad about that but it is reality.

This week I have two events, one on Tuesday night and one Thursday at lunchtime. Both are group functions. I am conscious when I am with couples of my solo status as I feel I need to ask: "Is it okay if I sit here?". I know it is a bit pathetic but it still seems polite to do so. I am conscious of my widow status in a society which exspects that usually people come in twos. As I have said before I am no challenge to anyone's marriage but still conscious of suspicious glances if I sit in the wrong place. It does make going to these less comfortable.

But there are places where I am fully accepted now and I love going to those. There I can just be myself, Lions is one of those too now. Church is full of older widows so I am just one of them. I can sit anywhere, talk with anyone. It is good to have places to go to like that. I hope some day I have that confidence everywhere I go. I am getting better at being a solo, not exactly happy to be on my own but accepting that that is the way life is.  I know there are people who have been that way much earlier in their widowhood but it has taken me six years.  Maybe I am slow to accept change. Well actually I know I am. But I get there in the end.

The future may have scary events but I am not going to anticipate problems, if troubles occur I will deal with them as best I can. As usual I get by with a little help from my friends.

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Comment by only1sue on December 16, 2018 at 2:51am

Every time I see someone I haven't seen for a while they ask: "How is your leg?" It is hard to explain that my  leg has healed but now I have lymphoedema, have the toe to waist pressure garments, have some restricted movement etc. I want to be able to say: " Healed,. I have  no furthe problems." But it wouldn't be the truth.

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