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Happy New Year everyone..... We have all heard that in the past few days and some of us have smiled and nodded and some of us have turned away. It is not a happy prospect for a lot of people, those recently bereaved, those on their own. I am lucky because I have my younger son and smallest granddaughter here for ten days so plenty to do and company for a while. So I can say : "Happy New Year" and smile. But when they go home  I will probably feel much the same as before but at least will have some happy memories to look back on.

Summer is hot!  Record temperatures through the the Inland. Trevor is enjoying being away from Broken Hill but is feeling the humidity more than he used to when he lived here. Today was particularly hot so we stayed inside and stayed as cool as we could. Luckily I have many DVDs little ones love so Alice has been occupied. I know you would happily swap your winter for a day or two of our summer but when it goes on being hot day after day it is hard to take. I am lucky here close the coast as we often have a sea breeze late in the day to drop the temperature. We can get a better night's sleep than our country cousins who never feel cool day or night.

I have survived another Christmas without Ray, it went quite well. I went up Shirley and family and had a couple of days with them, she brought me home Christmas afternoon. In a way I was glad to be home. They are kind and it was great being with the grandchildren but there was that empty feeling that Christmas and other seasonal holidays bring that that one special person is missing from the party. Maybe I will never lose that feeling now. Ray and I were  together 46 years, 44 of them as man and wife so that is too much time to forget.

I had a sad  phone call today, to tell me one of my dearest older friends has just lost her older daughter. We never expect our children to die before us so what words can you say to bring someone comfort?  She asked me to pass on the news to her old church friends so I have been doing that all day.  I am always willing to be of service to others, both my church's  and  Lion's Club training, but some jobs are definitely harder than others. The case is in the hands of the Coroner so it will be some time before there can be a funeral.

The long school holidays mean a lot of meetings are on hold for the month of January. This gives me extra time which I usually spend reading. That is on hold until Trevor and Alice go home. I also don't go out a lot but with them it is extra shopping, meals out, trips to the beach etc. We  met up with the three Adelaide grandkids on Monday and all managed to get sunburnt as it was much hotter than we had expected  and we were in the water for too long. So we are keeping away from the water for a few days. I think we might go to the movies tomorrow. Plenty of new releases to see.

My gardens are beginning to look straggly as they do in mid summer because I have had less time outside, too little time that should be  consigned to weeding and watering, they have had too little TLC from me. I will try to make it up later. Or maybe I will just pray a lot more for rain, both here and in the country where my friends need it much more than we do. Australia is such a land of contrasts, there can be drought in one section, floods in another. So that does make praying about the weather a bit of a challenge.

Life still has it's serious side as  I realised today. Not everyone is in happy circumstances, not everyone is fortunate enough to have grandkids around, to be able to go out for the day or to have finances that allow for meals out. I need to count my blessings more often.

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Comment by riet on January 5, 2019 at 10:34pm

Laurajay, 

I broke my hip replacement and had a lot of self-pity .. I am recovering now, and had a lot of help from my children and grandchildren. I see how much worse your illness is. I miss my dear husband every moment, he helped me through previous operations, and now I have to face it alone. How can a new year start without him? I can only give you a warm hug. And hope you get better soon

Comment by laurajay on January 5, 2019 at 8:47pm

Sue-I am fully aware  of the  possibility  of  continued  pain  from  nerve damage  especially after age 70    according to my extensive research .It[s why  I did not  post  about the shingles  because  being alone  I'm not certain  I can live for  months or years  with this  pain  so constant.  Makes  me  anxious  when I really need  to  lower  stress  to lessen  the  pain.  Beginning  7 wks.   Very nasty  stuff.

Comment by only1sue on January 5, 2019 at 7:58pm

Laurajay, I know from Mum's experience how painful shingles is, there is an after effect of nerve damage too in some cases that extends the time it takes to go. Hope the pain starts to ease soon for you.

Comment by Tekwriter on January 5, 2019 at 2:22pm

I too thought about what it would be like at Christmas without my sons. Both of my sons live at home. It is not because they are deadbeats but because of choice. We bought a large house in the country 8 years ago and they helped. We cannot afford it now but the the three of us are getting another home on 2 acres we can afford. Anyway, I have never been alone at Christmas and felt so sad at the thought of it. laurajay I pray you are better soon.

Comment by laurajay on January 4, 2019 at 10:14am

Unfortunately  I spent  the holidays  separated  from  my three  beloved grandchildren  who  give  me purpose  and  love to share...not  by choice  but by a painful case of  shingles.   Gifts  still wrapped  and  waiting grateful  for  delayed  giving.  I cried  and  cried.  Horrible relentless  pain  even at almost 6 weeks  non stop.  No point  in sharing about this  because  I want  no advice, scripture or  old wife's  tales  about  relatives  or others  etc.   TIME   and patience  are needed  and  I am in pain and unless  you've  been there...like grief...you cannot  know.  My faith has waned...my  spirit is dampened.  Alone is  hard  but  sick/afflicted  and  alone is  the  bottom...  Sue,  you  are  well-spoken  as  a cancer  survivor  and it's nice to hear  you have  time with those you love....makes  me  smile for  you.  Here  I asked  God  for healing  and to please  keep  the  bitter  winter  weather  at b ay  a little longer...  He is  doing  the  later...I still  await  the healing.  My compassion  for  others  suffering  has  so  deepened with this affliction.  I pray  2019  will bring  wondrous  healing  to  many who perhaps have  no hope  or lost  hope.  I pray  for  my hope  to be  restored as  well.   I thought   grief becoming  suddenly  widowed  was  the  worst.  It  is not.  There is always  possibility  of more  added  on....but on the other  hand  there  are  small  and  large  miracles  happening  every day.  I'm  lined  up for those!    Blessings.       lj

Comment by DIVA70 on January 4, 2019 at 4:51am

I agree it is a blessing to have children and grandchildren . In my case both my daughter and I decided it would just be too much to spend Christmas doing the usual family gathering. My Tony was so much apart of all the festivities we felt it would have been too overwhelming since this would be our first Christmas without him. So she and I took a cruise to the Caribbean. One of the last conversations we had before he took ill was about my taking a cruise. He knew that was a dream of mine and he was all for it! So we went and it was the right decision for us. For 6 glorious days it was as if I had been transported to another planet. It was relaxing and it gave me time to really reflect on how blessed we were to have had him in our lives.

We returned three days before New Year's Eve. Again my daughter and I had decided to forego the usual festivities. Instead my youngest son and his family came over for dinner. I hadn't seen my five youngest grandchildren since right before their aunt and I left on our cruise so it was fun seeing them again. They love coming to grandma's house since they know there will be lots of sweet goodies that they aren't allowed to have at home....all kinds of drinks filled with sugar and lots of chocolate. My daughter-in-law and daughter started a fire in the fireplace. This was the one sweet gesture that reminded us of Tony. He loved his fireplace. It was actually a very happy moment we all shared . The children put on their pajamas and left so they'd be home before midnight since my son had to work on New Year's Day. I cleaned the kitchen and then quietly waited for midnight. Right before midnight I did what Tony and I had done so many times together. I prayed and I thanked God for having given me such a wonderful husband. He wasn't a perfect man but he was the perfect one for me.

New Year's Day marked the first day in 50 years that I started without my husband, 47 1/2 years as man and wife. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks and I must admit I cried as if it were that day he left us to be with the Lord. However, one thing I have learned from my Griefshare meetings is to be honest about my feelings. So when friends called to wish me Happy New Year I politely thanked them but reminded them that for me it's just a new year without the happy. Some calls I purposely did not answer. My daughter has returned to work. My sons have settled back into their routines. (the oldest lives out of state so we keep in touch via text messages and the youngest lives about an hour away) Now, I must learn to manage my life as one. I think I have stated this before. I will never marry again. I don't envision myself with another man ever and I am content with that knowledge. I just have to learn how to adapt to being without my anchor. Yesterday was Day 3 of 2019 and it was a relatively good day. At least there were no tears. Today is Day 4. The day isn't over yet. Your last line perfectly expresses how I feel at this moment. Like you I am fortunate enough to have my grandchildren around, I am physically able to do for myself, and I have the financial means where I can eat out or buy that pretty hat if I so desire. All in all I am blessed. May we both continue to find peace and joy as we travel this road of life.

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