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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 was  told on Friday I may be able to drive at the end of next week, I am so looking forward to that, it is over a month now since I had the operation on my leg and graft and I have spent most of that time with my leg elevated.  Luckily I always have many meals frozen in advance in my freezer and friends have been kind and brought me fruit ( I can't eat chocolates...lol) so I haven't starved. The major frustration for me is that Spring is here and I can't get out into the garden to do all that I have to do.  I have someone come in to do the heavy housework and my daughter did some shopping for me while I sat in the shopping centre and drank coffee but no-one has even thought of the work that needs to be done in the garden.  Looks like there will not be herbs or lettuce or any of my usual produce through the summer months now.

Friends have been kind, I have had flowers given to me and cards and encouraging emails.  One friend brought me a box of DVDs including all of the Downton Abbey series so I have been binge watching that.  It makes a change from reading and crocheting both of which I have used to keep my mind off myself and my troubles.  I do miss my regular activities but without being able to drive the car and without the ability to get around it is hard to do much.  I wanted to visit the cemetery as it was the fifth anniversary of Ray's death last Tuesday but I will do that when I am driving again.  His name was mentioned in church today when anniversaries were read out.  I wanted to be there for that and managed to get through it okay.  At this stage there is still a wave of grief but it is not the tsunami of previous years. I think five years out I am much calmer and accepting of what has happened.

In a way I still mourn what might have been.  I know that means my acceptance is not complete but at my age forced change and loss are one and the same.  I have changed a lot of things but still look at photos of Ray and I together and think "if only.." My daughter didn't go till after lunch on Tuesday, the day of the fifth anniversary as she wanted me to have company at least part of the day.  Life with my feet up has been a bore but with the donor site now declared okay It seems there is only one leg to go. Shirley has stayed in close touch through this week as has Trev who keeps telling me he wants me to go to Broken Hill soon so he can look after me. But the summer temps there this week established a new September record and resulted in dust storms and that does not appeal to me right now.

Some of my friends from Ray's old Stroke Recovery group have been in touch more frequently than usual. A lot of acquaintances have expressed concern but I have no real worries about my situation, I figure I have reached 70 and have lived a great life with few regrets so this is just another happening along the way.  It just takes patience to get through it.  Earlier in my widowhood I would not have been as optimistic but I have learned that life goes on regardless of circumstances and somehow we get through the bad times and come out the other side.  Yes, I have suffered from more loneliness that usual but it is bearable now, loneliness is one of the factors of everyday life for me now. I wish it were otherwise.

I did have a trip to hospital last Monday, Shirley took me there because one of the community nurses was worried about some heat and redness on the graft site.  Finally after three hours I saw a surgical student who said the wound was okay.  The graft has some cell death on one edge but is okay.  The community nurse who was here on Friday said it was much better than Monday which is good as was the news that in another week I can drive. Like many other times the trip to hospital was a learning experience and a reminder that there are a lot of people much worse off that myself. It s so easy to feel sorry by myself when I am alone but I know it is not good to wallow in a "poor me" session every time something goes wrong. 

I was glad I did get to church today, the first time in four weeks and it was good to catch up with some of my friends there. They seem to be getting on without me so no-one is indispensable. I really miss the company more than anything, though I have had a couple of visitors in the past week from among the church members. It is never the ones you expect is it? I don't know whether I will be glad to get back to all I usually do or not. Maybe I will start back slowly as my leg will still be painful for a while yet. At least this has given me an idea of what it is like to be disabled and a far greater appreciation of my life as it usually is.  I do have a lot to be grateful for.

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Comment by laurajay on September 30, 2017 at 1:29pm

Sue.  Good news.  Know you will be happy to have back your  getting out  and driving ability!   One thing is  certain..sooner or later  these  losses of different  abilities  will  increase!  All the more  reason make the most  of all we are given and still have!   And reason too  to plan  for life changes when the changes  are permanent.  If someone had told me  what would take place in the five  years we've been  widowed  I never ever would have  believed  them. 

  Keep on healing, Sue!      BTW    off topic   I have fallen in love with some of the Netflix offerings  from  Australia  and occasionally  find myself  marathon  watching., Great distraction  and highly entertaining. Enjoying  "Offspring"  these  days.    Have a new crush....lol      lj

Comment by only1sue on September 29, 2017 at 3:52pm

I had some good news from the community nurse  on Friday, the graft is finally looking better.  I may be able to start driving again next week.  So going to enjoy that feeling of freedom again.

Comment by Callie2 on September 25, 2017 at 5:58pm
Sounds like you're on the mend, Sue. It's hard to be patient, I guess, especially when you're used to being so active. Could you do some herbs in pots maybe? You could do that sitting if maybe somebody could assist with putting soil in them. I don't know which herbs you plant but many do well in pots. Hope you're back to normal soon and enjoying your spring!
Comment by Blue Snow on September 24, 2017 at 11:42am

Sounds like a lot of the goodness you've been spreading in the world has come back to you in your time of need. I'm glad you're healing and will probably be driving again soon.

Comment by laurajay on September 24, 2017 at 5:53am

Sue.  Sure is good to read that the roles  have reversed  and you have had caregivers  attending  to you  when you could not attend to things yourself.   All the secondary  losses  as we age can make it very difficult if you are left  alone to struggle 24/7.   I think we are both 5yrs out and I know where grief is not as fiercely  intent  the changes in our abilities  bring great  challenges.  Had to give up having a garden here too.  Have no money  to hire help.  No longer drive though  the car is in the  garage.  Mine was  insurance  rates--highest rates of  any U,S. state.  My  changes  in five yrs  have been so vast.  The limitations with being unable to do everything  myself   have frustrated  me. Hopefully you will regain your strength and be able to go about your  activities soon.   I binge  watched  Downton  Abbey and loved it.    Bet you will  too.   Pain  is a part of getting old especially  if you do not  constantly  use pills for relief.   Keep your  positive   attitude Sue  as it helps healing.  Every decade we add  to the limitations in our lives and the salvation is to find ways to make life manageable  by adding adjustments  that make things easier to  do.  Having cared  for  Ray  so long successfully  I'm  sure  you'll do a fine job  for yourself  .     Be well.     lj

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