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This site is run by widowed people, for widowed people

Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

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

Although it seems like a lifetime ago, it was four years ago today that my world turned upside down.  March 22, 2012.  The day I came home from work and tried to wake up my Elaine to have dinner, only to discover that she wasn't asleep.  The day everything in my life changed.  The day my life went from stable, happy, full of love and joy and adventure to this dark journey into pain.

For about the first two years, the only constant in my life was change.  Now, life is settling down.  It's not the same, but it's better.  I thought the constant nightmares had stopped, then they started up again.  I still carry an air of sadness about me.

I have climbed mountains.  I'm not making a metaphor, I have climbed mountains.  People think that climbers are fearless, but that is far from the truth.  Climbers feel fear.  Anyone that can look down and see nothing but air for over 1,000 feet below them, knowing that the only thing keeping them from certain death is an 11 millimeter rope, and not feel fear has something wrong with them.  Climbers know fear, they just don't let it stop them.  In the same way, I carry an air of sadness, but it doesn't control me.  I think only widows can understand how that sadness and joy can be in one heart at the same time.  Life is once again good for me.  There is hope.  It would have been too easy for me to fall into self destructive behavior, and I chose not to go that route.  Life is what we make out of it.

As this widow journey goes, I've had it easy.  Or, I should say, less hard than others.  I had no children at home.  I had no crazy family trying to run my life.  I did take a huge financial hit when Elaine died, but I did have a life insurance policy that, while it wasn't huge, was enough to get me back on my feet.  So yes, I had it easier than others.  It was still the worst thing I've ever been through, and I can't imagine anything worse.  My heart breaks when I hear about other widows that lose houses or jobs due to widowhood, or suffer abuse at the hands of family or former friends.

When I first lost Elaine, I looked to those who had been through it for some guidance.  Now I'm in the position of being the wise old man.  I may be old, and I don't know about the wise part, but what I would say to those new to this miserable journey is that there is hope.  The fact that you are on Widowed Village tells me that you are trying to rebuild your life.  We have all gone from a life where we had someone to turn to when things got tough.  Now, we have to figure it out for ourselves.  Don't doubt yourself.  If you can make it through widowhood, you can handle anything.

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Comment by Lynne on April 26, 2016 at 11:15pm

Hi Alan.  I'm almost never on here anymore, so it was interesting to see a post of yours featured on the home page - and it reminded me that you were one of the people that I often saw in the chat room, back in 2012.  It was good to read a bit about your current life and to know that you are happy in your "new normal" - something that we all used to chat a lot about and wish for.  I'm fine, too.  I still have my private practice but am winding it down and will probably retire within the next year or so.  I've been in a nice relationship for three plus years (a widower) and that's added greatly to my overall sense of happiness and being able to truly enjoy this phase of my life.  Anyway, just wanted to stop by and say hello and to wish you well. Take care.  All the best.  Lynne

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on March 22, 2016 at 6:09pm

Hi,
I hope mountain climbing is not a new sport for you. I'm going to sound like party pooper, so please don't take offence if this does not apply to you. Anyhoo, I recall when I was 3-4 yrs out I got a wild hair to try activities that were for the most part "dangerous". It just suddenly came over me to want to try motorcycling, drag racing & 4 wheeling. I couldn't understand or explain this over powering need for risk taking w/my life until grief ended. What I had learned was at that time I had undescribable angst from having no control over my life or feelings. I wanted to push the limits to see if I'd survive as well as make me believe I had some sort of control. I experimented a bit, but w/kids still in the nest it was not for me to go any further. I found in developing myself in safe ways gave me the challenge, control & ability to cope w/future change I deeply needed.

The reason I point this out is for informational purposes in aĺlowing others to be aware of the possibilities of the risk taking urge & it happening between 3-5 years out. There is an old thread titled, "Don't stew, do" in that the author encourages others to try new things. He mentions the purchase of a motorcyle & new engagement. Many members males & females posted buying or being fascinated w/motorcycles &/or remarriage in that time frame. They are all well & fine, but if ones motives & how grief affects these types of decisions have not been factored in/questioned, it could lead to further unresolved grief issues. I'm not saying don't try new things, I'm encouraging everyone to better understand their grief, emotions & motivators, or as it has been said "get in touch w/your feelings" because thete are alot more changes ahead. There is no right or wrong, however, there is learning how to better care for ones self.

Take care!

Comment by deaf widow on March 22, 2016 at 11:43am

Thanks, AlanRRT.  Your story & encouragement does give me hope!  Hugs.

Comment by KayeL on March 22, 2016 at 10:48am

My hopes all are vanished.

I am too young to go through this horrible journey. Hubby was on 40 when he died two months ago, I am only in my mid 30s. He was the best thing ever happened to my life other than having wonderful parents. I am too old to be parents' little girl, and I thought my life was just perfect when I met the love of my life 15 years ago. We met in college and have always been so in love. When our lives together just elevated to the next level- having a kid, this horrible God we so believed in shattered every dreams hubby and I tried to build together. God allowed the cancer to take my husband away. Hopes... what are hopes, I wonder now. Our son will never be able to see his loving daddy again, my wonderful husband left me behind with a broken heart. I have never hate life, but I do now!

Comment by Hope on March 22, 2016 at 8:20am

I also meant to say Alan that I am thinking of you on this day. Yes, you have been brave in dealing with your fear and yes, the duality of joy and sadness living together...that is what I am learning to live with one day at a time.

Comment by Hope on March 22, 2016 at 8:16am

Thank you for sharing your journey. My husband died unexpectedly 8 months ago in bed within minutes. It has been so painful a journey. Its still very hard. I cry most days but am able to go out and engage with the world. I don't feel joy when I am out but I feel ok and sometimes even laugh so I guess that's progress. We were married 30 years and together 35 joyous years. I am 69 years old so I feel the best years are behind me. I just pray to find a certain contentment and peace as I navigate down this winding path. Learning how to live alone is the hardest thing after so much comfort and contentment with my husband. You note encouraged me that I will find a reasonable and better life down the road. God bless you

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