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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."

     One of the things I have learned about the grief of a spouse that quite surprised me really, is that I'm not just grieving the loss of my soulmate. I'm grieving the loss of part of myself. I feel like the best part of me, that person he fell in love with, died when he did. I used to have this incredible zest for life. To me, each new day with him was an exciting new adventure. I viewed our world with optimism and childlike wonder as long as he was in it. Now, I'm just the shell of the person I used to be. I get up every day and simply go through the motions. There is no excitement. There is no joy. There is definitely no childlike wonder. There is this hole in my heart, in my personality, in the very fabric of who I am, that I don't think will ever be filled back up. 

     Trying to remember that part of myself is tied directly to the memories he and I made together. When I let my mind travel back through those precious moments of us together, I can feel the optimism, wide-eyed wonder and excitement I felt back then. The moment I stop remembering, those feelings are gone. I loved the person I was with him. I don't like this empty vessel he left behind. 

     As I sit here writing this, thinking about all of these feelings or the lack thereof, my sarcastic sense of dry wit (my modus operandi for self preservation) kicks into high gear. A song has started playing in my head.... "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole..." Yes, there is definitely a hole.... a big, gaping one... in my life, my heart, my soul.  



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Comment by AandC on June 15, 2020 at 3:34am

ScarletPlumes takes time but in time, you will begin to live once again, but you will never forget your love. 

Comment by ScarletPlumes on June 14, 2020 at 11:58am

I wanted to respond to each of you individually, but couldn't figure out how. So, I'm going to do it this way. I hope you all see it. I can't thank you enough for your kindness and encouragement. I'm so sorry that we have found ourselves here, but grateful for people who can understand what I'm talking about. 

Rainy (Misty), That "switch" has flipped for me as well. I know that in trying to be the best version of this new me that I can, I will make Jimmy proud of me. This hole in my heart, my soul, the fabric of who I was, is filled with some of the most precious, wonderful memories I could ever hope to have. I wouldn't trade those for the world. I think embracing those memories for what they are, the sweet,precious snippets of a wonderful gift, will help heal that hole. Thank you for helping me look at it in that way. 

OriRising, I am looking forward to the day when I can see the world in a wash of colors again. I think I am starting to get there. I'm trying to "catch" and embrace the glimmers as they happen. It's reminds me of catching lightning bugs as a child. Just because you can't see the twinkle, doesn't mean the bug isn't there. That is what I'm going to try to focus on.  I will try to remember every day to look past the gray and see the colors. 

AandC, I've been getting out and walking and working in my yard since your response. I always used to tell my husband that the joys of life are in the little things. He wouldn't want me to forget that. Thank you for reminding me that I need to remember. HUGS to you!

Estragon, your words struck a deep chord. Your grief is so new and I'm so sorry for your loss. I don't want my grief to define me be default either. I want to have a say in this. I feel like I've lost enough as it is, I don't want to lose the say so in this new person I am to become. I also keep tangibles of history around me. All of the little what nots and knick knacks he had on his desk are now on a shelf in our/my office. I can't quite bring myself to store them away. I'm sure someday I may, but not now. I love the symbolism of the Scotch and the gin. It's a perfect analogy.

Again, I hope you all see this. I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. 

Comment by Rainy on June 9, 2020 at 5:00am

I think we are all familiar with that hole. I fully agree and have often commented on the subj. of losing one's self in the process of losing "our other half".   I have had to do so much work on my self, soul searching, figuring out who I want to be now.  The me I used to be is long gone.  

It's a lot of work to rebuild yourself, it took me a year to even try.  I'm now almost 3 years out and still navigating the possibilities of what I want out of life now, and who I am going to become.  To be honest, I like the person I'm becoming, I have begun to appreciate the lessons I've learned in my grief.  (and still learning) I'm learning to be more relaxed, and happy with what I have.  I'm trying hard to keep focused on learning and growing while celebrating the life I left behind.  Maybe it's an odd way to look at how things have turned out but (while I still miss my sweet Jerry every day with my whole heart)  I also celebrate my achievements since losing him as well.  I know I'm working to make him proud of me, but most importantly I'm plugging along to make myself proud of me.  I'm not really sure when I switched first, I wanted Jerry proud of me now I just want to be happy in my skin again.  I'm getting there... and along the way, I know Jerry is/was proud of me.  My hole is on the mend.  It's full of the love I had, our shared memories, and the lessons I've learned since losing him.

That hole in it's earliest made me feel like I wasn't even human.  Like my soul was let loose and wandering.  It was to date the most awful feeling I've ever experienced.  I sincerely hope you can/will figure out for yourself how to fill your hole with love and light.

Comment by OriRising on June 8, 2020 at 2:56pm

So true. The hole will always be there, but over time you will have more and more moments when you are able to feel excitement and hope. 8 years out, the "childlike wonder" version of me is still gone- but a new version of myself has emerged, with depth and even more empathy for understanding others- the world is no longer black and white, it is all colors. All you can do for now is try to live in the moment, "catch" those times when you have those glimmers back.

Comment by AandC on June 8, 2020 at 2:18am

I understand the hole. It just doesn't seem to want to go away. I have learned to live with that aching pain where that hole is. Some days, there seems to be a knife in that hole moving in and out. It took me a total of 3 months before I could deal with any part of life once again. I was so to myself, but I did begin talking to others for support. They were all strangers who related to me or made me feel alive again. 

It is hard. Grieving is words. I really hate grieving. But, you know, you have to live once again. You have to get back up and try to little by little. Like do one thing you enjoy. Then move on to another. 

I exercise, take walks, play board games, etc. Believe me, I would rather stay in my grieving state, but once I begin these, I feel good for a bit. 

I'm really sorry for your lose. HUGS 

Comment by Estragon on June 6, 2020 at 12:07pm

I know that hole well.  Having spent my entire adult life so far together with my late wife, that life was very much defined as "our" life.  That her life has ended means "our" life has ended as well.  What remains, "my" life, is terribly ill-defined.  Reading what others here who are further out in the journey have to say, it seems that the "me" part of life will develop over time, even if it doesn't seem likely, or even possible.  It will apparently just happen.  Slowly, maybe imperceptibly, but happen nevertheless.   At this point (~ 18 weeks out), I'm thinking I need to start defining what I want "me" to develop into.  If I don't, circumstances and grief might define "me" by default.   That might not look anything like what I want.

One of the few physical changes I've made in the house is to clear out a niche in the kitchen that had some meaningless teacups just gathering dust.  I cleaned the shelves and put only a couple of things on the top shelf, which I look at whilst having my end-of-day adult beverage and a snack. 

On the right is a picture of us together at the wheel of a keelboat in the BVI when we learned to sail.  Happy times.  That's history, and would still be history had she not died.  That "us" history is still part of me, and always will be.  Her death can;'t change that.  The picture represents tangible proof that this history still exists.  

On the left of the shelf is three miniatures of gin from a Scottish distillery her relatives have an interest in.  The distillery will eventually produce a good quality scotch, but scotch takes at least 10 years to mature (often longer).  To be viable for that long, they're producing the gin.  The gin represents my present self, "me" now.  A necessary stand-in until the decent scotch I'd like to become gets the time and work to develop.  

All symbolism, but it helps stop me from endless rumination on the hole I so acutely feel.

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