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What to do when you need someone to help you make decisions

One of my problems seems to be that I have no-one to bounce ideas off now.  When Ray was his full self, before strokes diminished his intellectual powers, he could always see where I could do something better.  Sometimes I resented that and sometimes I knew he was right and adjusted my plans.  Now I seem to stumble on in the dark and try to get it right but often get it wrong.

I'd like to run my ideas past my adult children but they are "busy leading their own lives" as people so often tell me.  I used to have a couple of friends I could really trust and could sit down with either of them and discuss something through without them getting bored but one got remarried and the other moved away so they are not available now.  I wonder who of my most recent friends is capable of hashing out areas of which I am uncertain or with which I am having difficulty now?

I miss Ray as my life partner, I know maybe the last couple of years he could do little, strokes had taken their toll, but right up to the end of him being with me I could still sit by his side and articulate my thoughts and feelings and know even of he did not reply that he had heard what I said.

Sometimes I really do not know who to turn to.  I know I could ring one of the help lines and just voice my concerns, I used to be a phone counselor for a few years, many years ago and at the end of such a call a caller would say how much it had helped to just say it all out loud.  Maybe that is a solution. Basically most people really do know what they need to do, so I guess I do too.

I sometimes wish my parents were still alive, my Dad who died in 2000 was a marvelous listener and often would see something I had missed so I would adjust my plans because of what he said. I know in some ways I am still very much his daughter.  Mum was more likely to jump to conclusions so not as logical or stable in her thinking but even so sometimes the advice she gave was worth acting on.

What do others do when they are trying to make a decision?  Do you have someone you go to, someone you trust with your thoughts?  My minister is good for spiritual matters but he is just turned thirty and honestly cannot sometimes put himself into the mind of a middle aged widow. Others of my friends really just want me to be "over it" or don't see how they can help me.  I would once have been like them, without the experience of Ray's long illness and then bereavement.  I know some people see the indecision as more a lack of comprehension of the problem.

I know in a lot of my thinking as a widow there is a fear factor:  "What if I make a decision and it all goes wrong" or "what if I have not taken something into consideration" and so I agonize about small decisions that are by no means a matter of life or death.  I want to ask my daughter to help me with some of this, being a woman and knowing me well I thought she might be able to help but tonight when I rang her she said how worried she was about her mother-in-law who is now almost blind and really not coping so much so that son-in-law has gone up to help her and so she told me all the facts and by the time I had listened to all of that I just thought how trivial my problems are and changed the subject.

I guess I will just take my time, make the decisions and if I do it wrong face up to the consequences.

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Comment by only1sue on June 24, 2014 at 4:47am

Decision making on my own is tough.  I always thought as part of a couple, never really made decisions alone that affected our lives.  Of course I did at work and the small ones that affected just me.  It was always our house, our kids, our family, our responsibility.  Even right at the end of Ray's life, and at the end of 14 years of me being his full-time carer that never changed.

I do wonder how at this age and at this late stage in life I can change that and be comfortable with it.  At the moment I am putting off making decisions until the very last minute and I know that is the worst way to handle life.  I don't know if there are any courses I could take that would make a difference but I would really like to change that horrible feeling that it is all up to me and there is a chance I will make a mistake that can't be fixed.

Comment by booktime (Susan) on June 24, 2014 at 4:00am

This resonated with me.

On Saturday I had a long phone conversation with the woman who we got our dogs from. I was not sure why I felt the need to talk to her but she was very supportive and i think I just needed that someone to bounce off the things I was thinking of. She advised making a plan and sticking to it. My issue was I have two 14 year old dogs and I can't see any prolonged care if it gets there. I would have talked to Ed about this....but Lillie was great.

So yes I know what you are saying. And I cried through the whole conversation and after.

Comment by only1sue on June 21, 2014 at 4:59am

I had friends who could help but one way and another they are no longer available so it is up to me to make the decisions.  I wish there was someone else but there isn't for the time being.  BUT I can go on the way I am, as long as no big crisis arises.  Just have to keep up the day to day stuff until the family crisis in my son in law's family resolves.  He is a good fall back for advice but can't worry him while he  is helping out his Mom who is 83 and going blind and has got her affairs in a muddle.  My daughter is holding the fort at home so don't want to bother here either. Time will resolve it all I guess.

Comment by icecream on June 19, 2014 at 1:06pm

Your post speaks volumes to me. One of the biggest things I miss is exactly what you said - being able to bounce things off of my husband. It feels like we have lost our compass, doesn't it?  I am now captain of the ship and have no idea what I am doing. I have teenagers - so I am constantly guessing whether or not I am handling the discipline correctly and whether or not their attitudes are just that of teenagers, or that of deep sadness and anger at the world for taking away their Dad. I needed to either re-paint or side my house last year. I got a couple of quotes, debated endlessly about which contractor, which product, which color, etc. and finally asked a friend's husband to help. He found me a great contractor and did much of the negotiating, I was left to simply write the check. Thank goodness. I didn't know what to do either.  Can I also suggest popping into the chat room here from time to time? Sometimes it is helpful.  You are not alone in your journey.   

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