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looking to the future, is it in the too hard basket?

As part of a Bible study I attended tonight one of the questions that was asked read: "Do you cling to the past or look to the future?" Our (young) minister urged us to look to the future. Maybe for him as a young person the future is still bright ahead but for some of us the future is hard to contemplate.  I can move forward,taking a day at a time, but looking to the future, assuming it is brighter, is not something I seem able to do right now.

In my still grieving state I am not ready to let go of all of the past, some strands are still in place, both as an anchor and as a life belt. I cannot as yet severe those ties.  I feel to do so would be like letting go of a lifeline and letting myself drift into turbulent waters.  I am getting better at letting go but not confident enough to let go fully yet. For me it is still day-to-day, one step at a time.

I was not the only one looking down at my lap as an older couple had just talked about visiting a much loved sister-in-law and brother both in the hospital, not expected to live long and how painful it is to do so. For them looking into the future the death of loved ones stares them in the face.  The thought of parting with two people they have loved as family for over 60 years is not something they want to contemplate, each day they still have these beloved family members is precious.

We are each at a different stage of our journey and it is hard sometimes to see clearly what the other is saying, when we need to be sensitive and agree to disagree, when we need to be able to back-track and reword an answer, when we need to acknowledge that perspective is a generational thing and what is true at 30 is not necessarily true for someone who is 80.  I think tonight's questions and answers showed that well.

I love being a part of a mixed generational group but sometimes it rocks me a bit to see how different attitudes are in different generations.  It also alerted me to the fact that sensitivity is also a generational things and what is acceptable to one generation may seem insensitive to another.

I try not to need to be catered for in a different way to others because I am a widow.  Tonight I was aware of my older friends suffering in their way from what would seem a "normal" process to others, that is the assumption that all old people die.  Well they do, don't they?  But the loss is the same painful process that happens when our younger friends die. Acknowledging we all suffer in some way from loss helps too.

And I know now that is another area I need to look at and work on. Looking to the future.  I need to do this for the sake of my family as well.  I need to acknowledge Life is not all about me and my loss, it is about wanting to be a part of a family that can move on together.  Maybe I have been slow to see that.

My inability to see any kind of brighter future for myself tonight did alert me to the fact that indeed I do have to make a greater effort to "get over it and move on".

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Comment by laurajay on March 27, 2014 at 10:27am

No desire to even pretend to "get over it"  when 44 yrs+ of my life were spent with living and loving the man who was my husband.  Of course I believe God's will is for me to still be here for a prescribed length of time.  To extend my love and compassion to others and to set an example of hope and endurance in the aged may be just the thing.  But I will celebrate my long marriage  by remembering and continuing to be outwardly grateful.   I believe younger women  especially those with children are in a different place when they are left alone and still young. Tragic for them to be robbed at a young age,   many will move on to another love and find nurture in even a second marriage with time.  So be it.   For me, accepting where I am and the extreme challenge of growing old is all I hope for with God's help.  Staying as healthy alone as possible means discipline and sacrifice.  There are many forms that love takes and I hope to move into those with family and friends  but not on my agenda to ever get over the precious years of marriage I experienced...life holds hope even in the grief that will always exist.    Deep within  we will each find the  strength to continue life until our end arrives.   My effort will be placed towards awareness of present blessings and ways to bless others.  I am not alone in this journey  I just have to lean deeper into my strength, my God,  since I no longer have my husband to love and support me.  All is well in the depth of my soul. 

Comment by Marsha on March 27, 2014 at 8:09am

(((((Sue))))) Moving on and getting over it are a myth in my opinion. Yes we move forward and yes we do have brighter days. For the ones of us who have many years of marriage under our belt how do we walk away from our past? There is beauty and comfort in the past with the love who no longer is on this earth with us. For a lot of us there are the children who are now adults who because of the love between 2 people are now here on this earth. So no I will not get over it and move on. I will live my life and continue moving forward until the day it is my time to make the transition over to be with my husband once again. If my future holds a new love then I am open to it. I am taking small steps as I have found, at least for me, I can only handle one or two things at a time. This is a learning experience and I am expanding my horizons.  I am handling things my husband took care of and I appreciate how much he did for me. I am a capable, smart and strong individual. This is a new territory for me so I am doing what I need to do with courage. This is our new life and we are doing the best we can with the knowledge we have. As we learn to do better and expand our knowledge we are all doing better.

My uncle lost his wife this January and his loss at 86 years old is as real and traumatic as any of us at any age when we lost our spouse. So in the end it really doesn't matter when we lose the person we love. The pain is still the same. We all will learn to live life and our loved ones will live on in our hearts. But I will never get over it because my husband was the man I loved and he will always be a part of who I am. Only difference is I am still on this earth.

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