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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."

Tonight I went to a dinner for an organisation I have belonged to for many years.  I usually sit among the couples but tonight for some reason was surrounded by women.  One of them asked me loudly if I had found myself a man yet, when I said "No" she said: "I thought this year would be good for you because it is Leap Year."  I don't think she meant to be unkind but she certainly was playing it for laughs.  I have known her for many years and wondered if she knew she was being hurtful.  I am three years and five months out now and while I want a partner, I just right now want someone to go out to dinner, to the movies etc I do not at this stage want someone permanent, I thought I was ready but I am not.  I wish I could have taken her aside and patiently explained this as I am sure she would have understood.Remarks like this do lead to a drop in my confidence levels I find.

Apart from that life is good.  I have had some visitors and at the moment they are in Sydney for five days but will be back here after that.  I have enjoyed the company but the extra work needed is tiring me.  I love this long awaited visit from the cousin who I have stayed with before in England but she has brought another couple from her mother's side with her and they are pleasant people, just  bit labour intensive. I live in a lovely area so there is a lot of beauty spots for viewing, photographing, picnicing close to etc.  There are a lot of lovely beaches close by so we have visited some of them.  The male cousin leaves for England next Monday but the two women are staying on with me for another two weeks.

It was very hot today, the hotter weather has returned, late February, early March is usually fairly hot and then it milds out as March ends.  I suppose it is easier to stand the hot weather when you know it will only be for two or three weeks.  The garden is very dry,my tomatoes are small as a result.  I'm wanting  a few days of light rain rather than a thunder storm.  I love my garden and hate to see it drying out. Gardening is one of my hobbies, I also knit, crochet, sew and write (blogs mainly),  The knitting and crochet have to wait for winter or at least cooler weather, it is far too hot to handle wool or acyrlic right now. So the gardening is my exercise in the fresh (hot) air.

Still struggling to come to terms with my widowhood.  I know that I want to accept it and move on and mostly I do but sometimes like tonight I wish Ray could be with me, with him at my side there was no sniping or "jokes" at my expense.  Of course he could not defend me, being in a wheelchair, but everyone could see I was struggling with caring for him and all the labour that took so didn't expect too much of me. And I miss him for so many other reasons.  I know I need to get over this and find myself accepting being a woman on her own but it is a slow process. I am still in transition from being a wife/caregiver to being a woman on her own rather than a widow.

I have until recently continued to go out once a month with the old school friend but know it is just a very limited friendship.  I did the service for his mother's funeral at the beginning of January and have not heard much from him since.  Of course that is often the way after a death, the family are busy settling the estate etc.  And even though he says he is not sentimental he must still feel the loss.  I have not been out to dinner with anyone else this year.  I have a man who was interested in taking me to the movies but he has recently been diagnosed with kidney cancer so is going through the process hopefully leading to some sort of treatment.  So if I go to lunch I go with girlfriends and to the movies on my own if I want to see a movie.

I wonder how long it takes to feel "single" rather than "widowed". When I feel "single" I will maybe settle down a bit more.  There are still decisions I hate to make alone, things I want advice on, sometimes I can find someone to discuss things with and sometimes I can't. I guess most single women face the same dilemma. I know I can discuss a lot of subjects on forums and I do but don't always find that helpful.  The culture in America is different from that in Australia and that muddles the issue sometimes.  All of my male cousins are in England or Canada so too far away to be helpful in that way.  Mostly I get by discussing it with widowed friends but still wish my guy was here to help me to process information and solve problems for me or with me. That may never end as he was such a great handyman.

And so life goes on, not exactly as I want it but I am getting wisdom and strength day by day to go on with the struggle. It is what so many other widowed people are doing throughout the world and I need to put on a brave face and get on with it.

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Comment by Callie2 on February 25, 2016 at 7:17pm
Sue, maybe different but still similar in many ways. Truth is, we need to be protective of what we have so we can survive. I am not materialistic and have always lived fairly frugally and hopefully, my money will last. Your system may be a little opposite--does that encourage couples to live together instead of marrying? Here too, there are circumstances when marriage results in less money. You would think laws encouraging marriage would benefit the government as they can help take care of each other.

As far as those guys seeking much younger wives, hey if they are willing to be still raising children into their sixties and seventies, I wish them well. I know I don't have that kind of stamina. Babies are one thing, teenagers often present more issues and worries.

I still believe if it's meant to be, you will meet someone that is right for you. It's just that the ratios are not in our favor and we have so much more to consider if we are considering dating/relationships. It would be nice to find someone like you say, to just go to dinner or a movie--that would be perfect for a lot of us. Where do we find those type of guys?
Comment by only1sue on February 25, 2016 at 4:58pm

Callie, not sure how to explain it.  If a middle aged man loses his wife in Australia he works and changes what he does at weekends to include his family, a man at that age may look around for a suitable woman and remarry. If a retired man loses his wife his friends say take up golf or bowls , come to the Men's Shed, they don't say you will find another wife, they know he can have a good life without a wife. Our temperate climate means sports of various kinds can be played all year around. Our access to Clubs ( dining, sporting, same interest) means people can gather and men seem to find that an easy way to make some pleasant acquaintances without the bother of having a partner.

Our pension schemes and they way they are taxed discourages remarriage too, pensions are combined and then halved so if I remarry I lose a lot of the benefits I have now, if I marry someone who has no assets he loses because of what I have, this doesn't sit well with a lot of people, there is some dissent even before family and property concerns arise. How will the household budget be administered, who pays who for the difference?  I think this discourages people finding a new partner too.

Then there is those men, divorcees or widowers, who go overseas seeking a younger wife, for that reason a lot of men have wives from the Philippines and Thailand, younger women who sometimes start a family so it is not uncommon to see quite senior men with young children. So when my married friends say there are a lot of men looking for a wife or partner it is not true here. 

With me of course there is the fact that I am "religious" as less than 20% of the population are church attending Christians that narrows the field too.  My Salvation Army family would like me to find a partner who is a Christian and I agree but then the field narrows again.  At the moment I am busy with the church activities I do, I am the pastoral care worker so a lot of visiting, phone calls etc.  One man told me he would "allow" me to go to church on Sunday and I asked him how he felt about the rest of the days of the week.  He said "Oh THAT religious". So some disadvantages are environmental , some are just me. So I hope that makes some sense to you.

Comment by Callie2 on February 25, 2016 at 2:21pm
Just curious, Sue. How do you think our cultures differ? I have never heard that before or ever thought of it. I'm sure there are some, but in relation to widowhood?

If there is a man out there for you, one day you will meet. If you think about it, people meet sometimes under strange circumstances. I often think about that because it often seems connecting is per chance. In my own situation, I did not care for my husband at all when we first met, but I eventually changed my mind, guess it was meant to be. It may all be a matter of timing so enjoy your life in the meantime!
Comment by sunfeathers on February 25, 2016 at 5:28am

You are not alone in your feelings. I've often wondered how uncomfortable the friends we have had for years really are being around me.  Coming up on four months now, no one has been brave enough to say to my face anything about the possibilities of meeting someone else.   I guess what I am really afraid of is that the couples I know are now afraid of me.  Not because of awkward conversation but because they know that I have started a journey that they have a fifty-fifty percent of traveling down some day and that is very frightening.

My husband, also, was a fount of knowledge and DIY skills.  He also could fix any computer problem that I could cause.   I really have no desire to feel single, take my rings off or buy a new bed.  In the mail yesterday, I received my first formal invitation to an event with a reply card with just "1" attending written on it.   Instead of upsetting me that the card didn't say "2" or even "plus one", I realized that is was really just a financial thing, as the couple is paying for their own wedding.  I will attend and I will be happy for them.  The last thing I want in the world is to be the "tragic widow" at someone's happy occasion.   

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