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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 21 hours ago

I hear you Kaye. Death rocks our very foundation especially in marriage. For the first three months, life seemed like a haze to me. Then I had to deal with both of my husband's lying exes. I spent those next months mad as hell until I came to the realization that this stuff was not true. Some of it was true, but not in the way they were telling it. I'm glad his mother's side of the family is behind me. I do have contact with one aunt on his father's side who was a sister in-law to Gil's mother. This aunt was married to Gil's uncle, and I've known her for almost forty years.  From the way she told it. Gil's mother's side of the family was a doozy. I was just trying to put the pieces of my husband's life together and I thought the exes would be helpful since they were both in their mid and late fifties. You would have thought that I was dealing with two teenage girls with meanest on their agenda. I had to separate the truth from  fiction. My husband did lie about his family life and his life because he was very ashamed of his family and of himself. He had me fooled. I contacted these people because what he told me was not adding up especially when I began to write the obituary. I still have yet to have the memorial service and write the obituary because the things he told me about himself was not the truth. Everything was a big mess the first year. I'm into my second year; it still hurts, but not as much. I'm just focused on getting some peace in my life at this point.

Comment by KayeL on Tuesday

Peach,

Death does change the whole ball game. On top of all the agonies and sadness that we're dealing with, lives in general do not treat us the "left behinds" very nicely. In a way, my in-laws need to keep in touch with me because their only male grand child stays with me. My in-laws are very traditional; male offspring means a lot to them. But they can't offer me much help. Long story short, I still have to deal with reality all by myself, alone.

Every day I don't seem to be able to find any hopes in my life. 2 full years, and I still think life is bleak.

Maybe I do cry less, but I have not been feeling "better." All I know is I am left behind with a broken heart, but not broken enough to make me die. It's a torture to stay alive and sometimes I don't see any reason to struggle with life anyway. 

Comment by Peach on Friday

I  had to add something else. I was wondering why the in-laws dropped me like a hot potato. I was reading on the internet about family law, and how the widows/widowers by law no longer have in-laws after the spouse dies. I barely knew my in-laws and now I can relate and look back at a lot of my grief.II not only lost my husband but I also lost an entire set of people I barely knew. The in-laws headed south and were not supporting at all. I basically told them where to go after they didn't bother to show up to the hospital when their brother was dying. I drove myself to the hospital and after he had passed.  One sister and her family showed for the viewing of his body before it went to the crematorium. I got help from his uncle in South Carolina and that was it. I haven't heard a word from anyone from that side since. The way this system is set up stinks. I could use a few choice words but I don't think such language is allowed here. It makes me wonder what is the point of marriage if after your husband dies, the family disappears with him as well. I feel for young widows who have children and even for the older ones as well to have this kind of abandonment happen to them. All of this ties into the grief process and realizing you also lost your inlaws as well if even if they haven't played a part in the process. Even if we had the worst relationship in the world with these people, it still constitutes as loss if you know what mean. However, I read that if you are a step child, and your father or mom dies and the stepparent is a surviving spouse you are still considered a stepchild. Go figure. I'm done with the laws here. What I'm learning after the fact is that a lot of the way things are set up here just doesn't make any sense.

Comment by Peach on January 11, 2018 at 6:54am

Kaye,

I hear you on this one. I don't miss the friends either. After the first year, people seem to move on with their lives anyway. I'm lucky if I get one call every three to six months. I know that part of the reason for me is that I just don't have the energy to deal with establishing new friendships. The few good friendships I did have either they have passed on, gotten much older or moved away. I have a long term friend and mentor who is approaching ninety in another month or so. She is starting to lose her memory on some things. I noticed a big change in her when I talked to her after New Year's day. I'm getting on in years myself. Funny thing I still feel like I did in my thirties, but when I look in the mirror, I see a matured older face looking back at me. LOL I even bought an expensive face cream to help with the jowls, and it didn't work. I've settled on plain old Nivea crème at this late stage of the game. I haven't figured what I'm going to do with this hair either. Should I do a full permanent dye job or just settle for a semi-permanent rinse.  I didn't have issues like this before my husband got really ill. Now it's taking me some time to get it together. As the old saying goes; "New level, new devil." I guess I will eventually get back there. I hope I make up my mind before my hair goes completely white, and when that happens, oh well. I'm happy for those who still have their spouses, because I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone. I have a niece who is a minister, and she has never been married. I thought she would have an idea on what it's like to be widowed. Wrong again! No one knows what this is like until they are placed in this position. I hope that she doesn't counsel widows, because they will probably come away feeling more broken than before they went to her. It takes a special person to deal with death, dying and grieving. I'm to the point now that some people are not going to get it who have never been in this position. They expect us to bounce back after six months and move on to the next level. They don't place a timeline on divorces. There was a rumor some years ago that it takes five years to get over a divorce. Where did folks get this tidbit of information? Depending on the amount of emotional damage and financial upheaval caused by a divorce, it can take more than five years to get your life back on track.  However, that is a conscious choice made by one or both parties to end a marriage.

Being left as a widow, we didn't make this choice. This is a situation that happened to us. There is no rule book or manual that helps us through this or how long this is going to take. I just want to reconnect with my best friend spiritually at this point.

Comment by KayeL on January 8, 2018 at 1:53pm

Peach and all,

For me here as well. I completely alienate myself from my friends. People here in town are my hubby's church "friends" only. Since his passing, I no longer want to hang out with them. Mostly because their Christian ideals suffocated me. I am not saying I don't believe in the big G but for now I don't want to hear anything about his bigger plan and yada yada yada "lectures." I need someone who is compassionate enough to hear my pain and to feel for them. Yet, none of the people I know, young or older have lost their spouses yet. How would they understand my pain for my hubby was my best friend, my love, my flesh, and my other half. All my good friends are scattered all over the world and they can't really help much.

Being a young widow, as much as I don't want to admit, I am jealous of my friends' happiness and fullness with their spouses and kids. I lost mine, and my happy world is gone, for 2 years. I thought I lost hubby for 3 years but actually it has been 2 years only. That shows I am still living in fog. His absence seems like forever to me. 


I used to have lots of friends but since husband died, I realized I actually don't need friends for hubby was my world, my everything. No one understands me like the way he did. A lone weed is the best way to describe my social life at the moment. I no longer care to go out, to have fun. Movies, fine dining, shopping and etc mean NOTHING to me. There are days I feel bad for my son because he isn't my motivator to take him out. I hate going out seeing happy couples with their kids together. I feel like death brought out the worst person inside me. Some dark sides I didn't realize I possess. When I thought I was the most optimistic and the happiest person, in fact I am the most negative and morose human being instead. Could it be my life was so perfect and when the happy bubbles burst I hit the deepest bottom and changed me to the complete opposite person? I don't know. I half understand what is it I am doing every day and why i am still alive. Ooh dang it, I am in tears again. 

Comment by Lev on January 8, 2018 at 12:33pm

Hi Peach

I also lost my dearest friend/lover/companion in 2016 and i understand you completely.

I have yet to pluck up the courage to attend a social.  The thought of it is draining.

A childhood friend invited me to her 60th birthday party.  I bought shoes and a dress ... i returned it a 

few days later.  And i chose to stay home.

I think that without knowing it, one isolates ones self from social activity and friends while taking care of our loved one.  The time together is so intimate that it just becomes so easy to block everyone out.   

I know that even in our chat rooms i will find the need to pause and then i do breathing exercises and fall asleep/  

What i have done and that seems to have give me an energy boost is to listen to the songs that i used to sing to my husband over the years.  He was the only person who loved to hear me sing.  We used to  have music playing all the time.  All this time i could not bring myself to listen to music.  I even convinced myself that the cd player was broken.  We did not have and i still do not have a television set.

Since i have started to listen to the music again and it is so lovely to just feel the love and not the sadness.  I have more energy and i have started to take walks.  My intention is to start jogging.  

I want to start jogging so that i can join a club and get out of the house regularly.  Be with people in a way that does not require  socialising.

I feel like i need to relearn the art of socialising without feeling like i want to stop midway in a conversation and walk away.

Keeping a daily journal where you write ....just write about whatever comes to your mind. I find that it helps a lot.. I do not read

what i have written.  Let it be for now...

I think that the feeling cannot be explained because it really is about finding your place of peace and contentment and slowly ease into happiness...no one told us that we would feel like happiness has left the building.  The absence of the companionship of our loved one is a humumgus adjustment.

I hope that what i have shared has been helpful.  

As for clothing.  I don't know.  I am also finding a good reason to wear a jeans every day.. So i have decided to match it with a top that is just a bit more than a second skin t shirt.

Take good care of yourself.

Hugs,

Lavona

Comment by Peach on January 8, 2018 at 11:41am

About the friends thing, I think the ones I did have drifted away because they are still a couple. They just don't want to be reminded that one day they will be in my current position of widow.

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 .   

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