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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."

Do you ever want a hug so much you ache for it?  That is where I am at this afternoon.  I have been to two funerals in two days, a consequence of being a pastoral care worker for my church.  It is not that I expect it to affect me personally - well I always tell myself that - but I really know it will and it does. I remember again my own mother dying and how I felt at her funeral as I watched the families grieve.  At the funeral today I read the 23rd Psalm, a part of what our church does is supply readers if the family feels inadequate because of their own grief, it is a lovely psalm and today I felt tears coming to my own eyes as I read it.  I always want to do my best for the people who are grieving and help by giving expression to some of what they feel.

I think I am also feeling emotional because it is raining and is predicted to do so for a week so the work my handyman is doing to my house has to be postponed as there is an element of going outside involved.  I have only found this nice little man recently so was hopeful of getting some of my minor jobs done, now everything is on hold until the weather fines up again.  I have seriously thought of just going away for a few weeks.  The urge to change some of my circumstances has been with me since I got back from Hawaii, six days away was definitely not enough, but where I hoped to go to in Queensland is currently under attack from a cyclone so I guess I'll leave that for a while and wait until I can see it at it's best rather than battered and storm ravaged.

When I see a power point presentation of a person's life at a funeral I always wish I could move back in time and get to know them better.  There are the usual collection of little oldies in our church, people in their mid-eighties to early nineties, mainly widows and although I do sit with them at morning tea and offer friendship they treat me as if I am too young to understand what they are going through especially as it relates to their medical problems. That is disconcerting in a way but flattering in another way.  The solution is to see them in a social setting so I sit with them at Fashion Parades etc and try to get friendlier that way.  It is obvious that we all put up barriers that stop friendships from happening. That seems a shame in a way as we widows all have so much in common but the peer group effect does give some limit to friendships I find. After saying that one of my bests friends in church is 99 and will be 100 in May.

We are about to go off of Daylight saving, the mornings will still be bright but the afternoons will be short and it will be dark by about 5.30pm. I do have trouble filling in time in the long evenings once that happens, I am a six hour sleeper so rarely go to bed before midnight.  I have plenty of hand work to do and books to read, old movies to watch but it is the companionship I lack.  I keep thinking that I will get more accustomed to being on my own but that doesn't seem to be happening.  To a certain extent I am more comfortable being alone than when I was first widowed but in other ways life seems simply a case of allowing time to pass. Time that is empty and seemingly unproductive has always worried me, I am not a workaholic but I do like my time filled with worthwhile projects. I guess that is why I overfill my schedule sometimes and simply fall exhausted into bed, sleep comes faster that way.

Just recently I have lost touch with a couple of women friends who are around my own age.  Like Ray and I had planned to do both couples have begun to get some travelling done, both overseas and within Australia. I would like them to feel able to ring me and discuss some of their travels but maybe they feel that as a widow I wouldn't want to do that.  The widow label does seem to have got in the way of a few friendships recently...maybe I am losing the widow label and becoming a "single woman" again in their eyes and thus a threat to their relationship?  I don't think any of their husbands would be attracted to me, after all I am a plain, past middle aged, woman and really a threat to no-one.  I am not sure how to go about restoring the relationships although I would like to. I will have to give it some thought. In a way this has produced another sense of grieving for me, this loss of friendships.

When the weather fines up again I will probably feel differently about life.  I think I suffer from "rain depression" a malady that disappears when the sun shines again. It makes me more introverted, less cheerful, less able to see a bright future ahead.  It gives me too much time to think and so I over analyse my life. Having the rain pouring down outside also gives me a feeling of being cut off and isolated.  When Ray was alive and the family were home or living nearby that never seemed to be the way I felt, instead I felt cozy when the rain poured outside and there was time to sit and read, or listen to music or watch old movies because we were TOGETHER.  And doesn't that make a difference?

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Comment by only1sue on April 7, 2017 at 10:31pm

Lostmyeverything, you are still close to the time of your husband's passing and going through all the "firsts", the first year is hard on the surviving partner.  But even going on for five years out I miss that way Ray could help me get my life back into perspective. We had 44 years together and even if I do start a new relationship it is never going to have that understanding that grows with the years.  Thank you both for your comments, sharing our experiences is such an important part of our healing.

Comment by Lostmyeverything on April 7, 2017 at 8:20am
Only1sue and Athena- I am right there with you. I just returned from my son's IEP meeting at the elementary school. He has multiple disabilities so there is an annual meeting to determine his needs each school year. Always an overwhelming meeting. When DH was well he attended the meeting with matter how busy he was at work, he attended that meeting. He missed last years because he was too weak but the moment I came home from the meeting, he was all ears -listening to everything I needed to offload. He was so patient and always camped me down, helped put things in perspective and helped me accept the inevitable. A family member went with me. The family member has been the closest to me rough out my life - so appreciate the support. Just not the same. The family member came back to my house and left pretty quickly. The family member made me realize how 'intense' I am, especially after one of those meetings. Today, I realize once again, what an amazing man my husband was- how loving, kind, understanding and patient he was with me and our children. On days like this I am lost without him. Life is just never going to be the same- that intense comfort, knowing we were always there fr one anther during the difficult moments- gone forever- I have to find the strength to face these moments alone.
Comment by Athena53 on April 7, 2017 at 3:20am

I miss that about my husband, too.  I'm a worrier and can nearly always find good stuff to worry about!  Ron was mellower and could always help me put things in perspective.  I have plenty of other people I can talk to-friends and family- and some I can trust with important issues- but it's not the same as having Ron here by my side.

Comment by only1sue on April 6, 2017 at 11:50pm

Some days I miss Ray so much, today is one of those days.  A few things went wrong, if he had been here I would have come home and told him what had happened and he would have made a couple of comments and told me to let it go.  Without him I have no-one to do that.  There is so much comfort in just being a part of a partnership that has a lot of years behind it. I will never have that feeling again.

Comment by Callie2 on April 2, 2017 at 2:05pm
I do so understand that "ache" as I often feel the same way. When the kids left home, my husband used to put his arm around me and say "it's you and me against the world". Now it's just me. I don't like having to make all the decisions any more than I like not having someone to share my thoughts and feelings with---yes, the transition is a difficult one. I even think about my Mom and how I could call her when I needed to talk to someone. My Mom was never judgemental and she always would listen. The thing is, there is absolutely nothing I can do to bring back either one. There is sometimes sadness and a little melancholy at times but I guess due to length of time, I am able to "change the channel" in my mind and focus on something else.

I don't think there are any of us who wouldn't want our old lives back! Yeah, that's not going to happen. Sue, I think if it is in the cards for you to meet someone special it will all be in the timing. If it's not meant to be, then maybe search for contentment. You are fortunate to have your health and the ability to travel! I'd be looking to do more of that while you are able. Your blogs and posts are always so well-written--have you ever considered doing some writing?

We are also in the rainy season, our spring. Our grass is just about green then it will really start to grow. For me, it's not just the mental thing, it is physical as these storms make me ache so bad I can hardly walk! You are losing daylight too, could that be affecting you? Well, I hope you get some sunshine soon and your spirit improves! Sending a hug from the US!

Your blogs and posts are so well-written and understandable. Have you ever considered doing some writing?
Comment by Athena53 on March 30, 2017 at 4:22am

We're having rain here, too.  We needed it but I wouldn't mind and occasional day of sunshine!  We had thunder last night and DH loved a good thunderstorm.  Sometimes he'd go out on the enclosed porch overlooking the lake so he could really enjoy it. I'll always be reminded of DH during thunderstorms.

There were a lot of things I did on my own and not as part of a couple, so I get out of the house plenty- but I miss being able to come back and tell DH about things.  And yes, I miss hugs- real hugs, not the more reserved ones at church.

Comment by Kaci on March 30, 2017 at 3:19am
Hello, maybe give your friends a call. I think there are times when we have to do the reaching out. Let them know you're interested in their lives and thinking of some traveling yourself.

Gloomy weather gets to me too. I like the quote: Always bring your own sunshine, however it's easier said than done. Lol

Take care!

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