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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."

So, here I am, back single again.  My husband passed away on August 24th.  This is my new normal: Living my life without the love of my life.  Truthfully, I've done fairly well.  I haven't totally lost it and curled up in a ball and not left my bed for days, though I would like to.  Some part of me will not allow it.  I don't know if I'm headed in that direction or what.  When I think about it, I wonder to myself why I don't just let go.  Why am I not wallowing in self pity, laying in my bed, crying and screaming at the world and God for letting him leave me?  I really do not know and it is all so very confusing.

I'm constantly reading widow websites and blogs looking for some sort of direction.  I've read many stories and it appears that I am not alone in my questions.  Others are looking for the same path. Which way do we go? What do we do? How do we feel happy again? Did this really happen to me?

I found this quote on a blog that fits my thoughts and feelings perfectly:

I remember sitting there in a pile of mush, my heart torn to pieces, and my emotions running the gamut of extreme sadness, terrible anger, and complete dismay. Nothing in this world will ever be as painful for me as that moment. Nothing for me to fix, nothing for me to do, nothing but reality, and a new lifetime of questions and pain.
Surviving that First Year

I know in my mind I will not feel this way forever, but my heart is a different story. I'm not a very patient person and I keep wanting to move on now.  I want to feel better now.  I want my heart not to hurt so much.  I want to be happy right now.  I want to feel like I'm moving forward, not lost and trying to figure out where I go from here.  I've cried, I've prayed and I have researched the Internet for the answers.  Oh yes, I have a goal -- to move from where I live within the next two years -- but will I be doing this alone? How can I accomplish this goal? Where would I even move?  Maybe the goal is too futuristic? Maybe I should make smaller goals that can be completed in a day, week or month? I don't know. That's the problem.  I have always had a goal, always a path or a direction to take.  Now, I feel like I'm starting over.  I feel like the teenager who just graduated from high school who doesn't know where they are going in life, but without the excitement of what lays ahead; what is to come.  How do you get that feeling of anticipation back? 

So, again, I start over.  I found the above blog very helpful; at least it is helping me today.  It is my hope and prayer that it is true. 

I’m here to tell those who are suffering through that first year that you are not alone. You are living with horrific circumstances and it’s not fair and it’s not right. You may feel like you are letting everyone else down, but in reality you are surviving the best way you know how. Forgive yourself for the moments of impatience. Forgive yourself if you don’t have a deep capacity for love. Forgive yourself if all you can do is make sure your home is safe and reasonably healthy.  Your new normal will set in, you will figure this out, and you will survive. The love will return, the desire to thrive will return, and while your life will never be the same, ... you ... will laugh again. 

Apparently, it is a process that has to be lived through. No skipping to the end.  No short cut. No easy fix. I am in the learning phase and I won't graduate until that phase is over and I've learned what I need to.  I can do this.

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Comment by gennaswife on December 5, 2014 at 8:57pm
I feel the same way- read all the grief blogs, the books - I'm ready to take the test. Lol. But he's still not here and it's hitting me that things will never be the same- 2, 3 years not to be happy feels overwhelming. Can we really do this - survive?
Comment by Ellery on November 18, 2014 at 9:49am

I felt just as you did. I was impatient and wanted to know the grief counselor to provide me with a grief end date.  I thought that after a specific period of time, there would magically be an off switch.

At two years and 10 months out, I see now that it's a gradual process. I, too, needed to move house, but had no idea where. "Friends" pushed me to hurry and make a decision, but I couldn't. I'm so glad I didn't, for I would have made a wrong decision. I'm just now beginning to think about it and finding a move to be a bit hopeful rather than frightening. 

Do be patient with yourself and take your time. Only1sue is so right. Surviving and doing only what you must do is really sufficient during the first year. Other than that, do only what you feel up to doing.  Knowing that this is normal would have saved me lots of anguish and guilt.

In your own time, you will begin again.  I'm finding that new beginnings are also a gradual process.

Comment by only1sue on November 17, 2014 at 2:01pm

If you do skip through to the end without going through the grief process someone tells you their pet goldfish has died and you end up in a pile of mush, grief has to come out somewhere.  I guess a lot of people are telling you early days yet and it is.  I am 26 months out and still have patches of feeling blue, not knowing where I am going etc.  Just go through the first year doing what you have to do and one day past that time you will have that light bulb moment and start making plans again.

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