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Here I am one year later.  In some ways still in disbelief that I live alone.  It's been one year and I still have his boots next to the door.  I still don't put the toilet paper on the roll (that used to drive him crazy so I did it to annoy him).  The dump sticker is on my windshield and I've become a regular at the dump and the recycling bin.  No snow or ice build up in the gutters, the bird feeders are full most of the time.  I guess I'm adjusting to the routine.  It is just so damn lonely.  I never, ever anticipated the nagging pain of the silence.  The television, the radio, the grandchildren....nothing fills the emptiness of the silence. 

Last night's hosted chat was about dating.  I always said that if I was left alone I would never have the energy to work on making another relationship work.  What I've learned in this most difficult year is that being alone takes as much, if not more, emotional work then being in a relationship with someone.  Perhaps because for the first time in 39 years I was faced with dealing with my own feelings about literally everything. 

What lies ahead?  One year ago today we woke up just like any other day.  At 4 pm a lifetime of hard work, compromise, arguments and forgiveness, tears and laughter came to an abrupt end.  Life can and did change in an instant.  If it can change for the bad in an instant...can it also change for the good in an instant?  I am optimistic that it can.  (Maybe not an instant.)  I don't want to spend the rest of my life wallowing in self pity because of what I've lost.  That burden is too heavy for me to carry.  I hope that on January 31, 2014 I will look back and smile at the new friends I've made and the new memories I have. 

So today I will go through the motions of being alive.  My skin is alive, but everything beneath it is on life support.  I pray that when I awake tomorrow I will be able to take a deep breath and know that I can and must move on.  He would definitely want that for me.

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Comment by Joyce on January 31, 2013 at 6:41pm

Mariann, sending hugs your way, the first anniversary was very hard for me too.  I so agree with your live support statement.

Comment by Barbie Doll on January 31, 2013 at 6:22pm

(((((((Mariann))))))))))  I just had my one year anniversary too and I'm still in disbelief that he is gone and I'm left alone.  If fact, when I looked at his picture today I said, you left me alone, how could you.

I have friends and I have made new ones with other widows I met at my grief group so I have no lack of things to do or places to go but I still feel completely alone.  I also said if he ever died before I did that there was no way I would ever date or marry again but I don't know if I can spend the rest of my life without hugs or caresses or someone to bring me hot tea when I have a cold.  I will never do the online dating sites but I have told my husband that if he should find someone who is perfect for me that maybe he could send him my way:)  He was sick for 10 months before he passed of cancer so he knew it was coming.  He really didn't like the idea of me meeting another man so I don't think I should hold my breath that he will send me someone.  Then again, if he has watched how much I have suffered and how destroyed I am maybe he will reconsider:)

I only hope we will all feel whole again in the near future.

Comment by SkipM on January 31, 2013 at 1:53pm

I can certainly understand the "my skin is alive, but everything else is on life support." I am coming up on 14 months and my birthday Feb 12th. ...I was 16 years older than my wife. I will be turning 61.   In my mind I was always young, active, and dreaming new dreams.  In the past year, in my mind, I have become old. I have spend a year sitting, and waiting for it to be all over. I closed my company, paid off my house. If it wasn't for my 12 year old...I would have just faded away.

   But because I have my son depending upon me, I make meals, I wash clothes, I wash dishes, I teach classes(we homeschool), I take him to Scouts (I'm a scout leader), I go camping(scouts do camp outs). but other than that I have just sat, gotten out of shape, and gained weight. Oh, did I mention, I've grown old? Oh, and I've gotten a bad case of the poor mes! I have come to use the grief as an excuse to sit and feel sorry for myself. Yes I have ups and downs, But I have been settleing into a life of boredom.

     For the New year, my son and I decided to enter a 10K race that takes place in April. I started out doing a little exercise. Then the blues settled in....But somehow I am determined to push forward.  so I make myself workout some. Yesterday I did a 3 mile hike with a 20 pound backpack, and then 30 mintues of aerobics. Today, we went swimming at the Y for 1-1/2 hours, including hot tub and sauna. I am determined to work at feeling better physically. Hopefully, the emotional part of me will also respond.

   As far as the loneliness goes....well, I am not actively seeking a relationship (man/woman), but I feel like God is in charge, and whatever He sents will be good. My next step for now is to find some kind of hobby for me. Baby steps.

  And lastly, I will continue to practice being gentle to myself. I spent a lot of years becoming one with my wife. It will take time for me to become a whole single person. But with time, and "emotional" therapy, I will heal (mostly) and become to new person that God has in mind for me. And maybe someday I will have some to offer to a new relationship? Who knows...this is a totally new and unexpected path that I am now on. But whether I like it or not, I am on this path. Time to quit sitting and growing old.

Comment by Suz on January 31, 2013 at 11:12am

Mariann,

Interesting reading this and the one before. I totally understand the aloneness. I have never been a "phone-talker" so people don't call to chat. I still have woman friends that i see three times a week, and dogs, and a support group and trying to put the house back together and that's that. I am working on publishing (just self-publishing) his Caring Bridge for his dad for his birthday and recording some songs and talks he did. Most of the time I am not wallowing in self-pity but I do feel really alone. 

The thought of dating just doesn't seem right. I wish I had male friendships but I am not sure that male/female friendships exist for the most part. I had my marriage. My ring is on. Maybe someone wonderful will just drop in front of me but he was just right for me. 

I am so glad that I am not afraid in my house, for the most part. I really worried about that. I feel comfortable with my two dogs, but still, very alone.

I am thinking of you on my anniversary. It must be so hard.

Mine is in a few weeks. We were kind of at the same time.

Sending you a big hug.

Sue

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on January 31, 2013 at 8:23am

Thank you Mariann for sharing a part of you.  I know when we get down and the waves hit it is hard to sometimes get back up.  I am trying but it is hard.  I so agree with your statement "My skin is alive, but everything beneath it is on life support."  It is how I feel right now.  Tomorrow is 15 months for me and my birthday.  This birthday is the 2nd with my husband and it seems worse this year than last.

Sending lots of hugs you way and wishing you a soft day today.

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