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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."

 Almost three weeks ago I lost a man whom has been important in my life. He was  the man  I went out with in 2016.We had an argument and didn't see each other for some months but we moved in the same circles so decided that a cup of coffee in the shopping centre was okay maybe once a week. From there we built a strong friendship, resumed a meet up once a month at a couple of markets and generally supported each other. For that reason I have visited the hospital and helped his family work through the last twelve weeks of his life. It was hard to do but that is what you do for a good friend.

On the day of Lyn's funeral a woman who has been my best friend since the age of seven died. We were inseperable  through our school days though less frequently throughout the early marriage and child raising years as we lived hundred of miles apart. Jean and I have always had a very strong friendship, phoning each other and writing letters when we were too far apart to visit. She was the godmother to my elder son who shared a birthday with her younger son.  She died  48 hours after a brain bleed  when the machinery supporting her was turned off. She was my best friend and I never got to say goodbye. 

I am devastated at losing two good friends so close together. I know at 71 not all of my friends will outlive me but I hope a few do as  good friends are so hard to find. All I can do now is keep on with the daily routine, keep close to my small circle of friends, continuing to do the things I do each week But like the period after Ray's death there is that foggy feeling back again.  I know this is not the same as losing Ray but it is still affecting how I think and what I want to do. Today was the Lions Club fundraising BBQ at one of our homeware stores and I didn't really want to be there. I did manage to stay on till the end of my shift but it was a real effort.

My daughter will take me to the funeral as it is quite a way from here so I will get to see her children too. I have just seen the others. I had  Trevor and Alice here for a week and during that timeframe had a lunch out with Pam and the kids and had a dinner with them on another night at their apartment. It is good to see the cousins together. Hopefully when I am gone they will remember the good times they had here. Alice aged six and Alex aged twelve are both fond of computer games and finally found a game they could play together. They are both very competitive so in the end we declared it a draw. It is good for the boys to play with their small girl cousin, it brings out the gentler side of their nature.

We have just had a few days of rain so the gardens are looking much better. Trevor moved some of my heavier concrete pots so I could weed them and fertilise them. For now the gardens look a bit dedraggled but I am sure will have more blooms over all once the rain soaks in. It is late Spring and the night temperature is still low. On the 13th October 1971, the day my older son was born, it was a hot 39 degrees and this year we will be lucky if it is more than 25 degrees. The rain as usual was heavier on the coast than inland so this does not mean the drought is broken. Which means our Lions Club will still donate money to the Drought Appeal.

I find myself thinking back over the years now, something old people do. I will miss Jean greatly for many reasons. One is that she was the only one who called me by my high school nickname "Dusty" which she shortened to "Duss". She and I shared so much history. As a late extra after three boys she was a lonely child so her parents used to take me with them has her companion. This led to a lot of adventures causing her father to name us " the terrible twins" and in truth it does feel like I have lost a twin. In losing Lyn I have lost a generous and amusing companion. Towards the end of his twelve week time in hospital he didn't speak a lot but one afternoon waking from sleep he looked at me and said: " beautiful".  I know I will never  have people in my life who can replace those two.

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Comment by only1sue on October 15, 2018 at 4:35am

At Jean's funeral today I met up with her three older brothers. The youngest called me "little pest". My daughter was shocked but he explained  he last called me that when he was a teenager. The boys are planning a reunion day early next year and will send me an invitation. And so life goes on. I will be a little sadder for a while is all.

Comment by laurajay on October 8, 2018 at 12:45pm

Sue- Once again  thinking  of you in your sorrow and  asking  God  to comfort  you as you pray and reflect...  As you have  heard me say...after 70  more and more  deaths  occur  among  old  friends,  family  members  and neighbors.  The painful  part of the life cycle.  Yet  the grace of  our Lord  keeps us going as we yield  to his will in our daily lives.   I wish  you added  health  as you continue  to recover  from your own  illness.  Take care of you.     lj

Comment by DIVA70 on October 8, 2018 at 10:04am

So sorry for your loss. I am 70 and I understand. Last year during this time we lost our pastor and his wife. This was the first double funeral I had ever attended. He was our pastor for over 13 years so we had developed a very close bond. He had gone through dialysis and was a kidney transplant recipient. When my husband had to go on dialysis he was a huge help. Just a few weeks after burying the two of them another church member passed away. She was only a year younger than myself and we had been friends for over 40 years. As if that wasn't enough we ended the year with the passing of another member who had taught my children when they were youngsters in Vacation Bible school. Needless to say it was a devastating period of time for all of us as we are a small congregation and like family. The first part of year bought even more heartache. Our oldest member passed away in February. That was sad but not unexpected. She was 98 and had battled with Alzheimers. The next two however hit me the hardest. One of our dearest friends and also a member of our church was in a rehabilitation center and seemed to be improving. She loved corn beef sandwiches and always lit up when I came to visit because she knew what I was bringing. But suddenly she took a turn for the worse and never recovered. It was so hard seeing this once lively and active woman deteriorating day by day. After two weeks she was placed on ventilator and when the doctors confirmed she was brain dead her sons made the painful decision to let her go home to the Lord. Several members were there with her until the end. I would have been there too but my dear husband suddenly was stricken too and rushed to the hospital. He passed away a little over a week after she passed. We had raised our boys together. Over the last 40 years we had shared so many wonderful memories. Now both were gone. And then just two days after my husband passed away my dearest cousin passed away. Can you imagine? I was at the funeral home making arrangements for my husband when the hospital calls and tells me to get to the hospital because my cousin was in ICU (I was his next of kin and his contact person). I agree. It is hard to see old friends and loved ones pass on.....I have cried so many tears and have been so despondent at times but I am so thankful that I had each one  in my life. They bought me so much joy and I will be forever grateful. 

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