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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."

Just had a nasty email from one of my adult children, we've had an uneasy relationship for some time, now for some reason that has come to a head.  Don't you just hate those times?  Can't see what I can do about it, everything is true from one  perspective if not the unadulterated truth, no love or compassion from this one though.  That hurts me, after all if your family can't support you who will? Maybe the signs have been there for a while and I have had other things on my mind and ignored them.

I feel as if I don't belong anywhere.  I know I need to sell this house before it falls down around me.  I haven't done much maintenance in the last ten years and it shows.Many  little things are wrong with it but they will add up to a great expense.  If I sell and move  that will be another link broken in a chain with too many breaks in it already.

I am starting to feel out of step with the organizations I have belonged to in the past, like the two dementia groups I have belonged to for years.  I need to gracefully withdraw from them now and hope that some of the friends I have made in those groups will continue to be friends.   And if not, so be it. I need to move on, I just can't see where I need to go from here.

How do you reinvent yourself?  How do you "move on"?  I don't know.  I thought I was doing well, making small changes, becoming more my own person again.  But apparently that could lead to division too.  Maybe some people preferred me overwhelmed by the disaster after disaster Ray's long illness was?  Then i was so absorbed in the caregiving I didn't give a thought to what was happening around me.

I am just rambling, sleep eludes me and I can't see the road ahead again.  What an unhappy woman I am sometimes.  Just as well I can still plaster on the smiley face so no-one sees the pain..

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Comment by Blue Snow on January 16, 2014 at 3:32pm

Sue, just because you can't find where you belong anymore, doesn't mean you don't belong SOMEWHERE. It's just going to take some time and effort to figure out where that somewhere is. Trial and error style hunting and re-inventing ourselves is not easy but it's the only way to get from point A to point B. You've come through so much and have proven your mettle over and over again in your caregiver days. Time to re-direct that caring nature of yours onto yourself.

As for adult children (and others) who don't get what you are going through or who seem to have their own agenda when it comes to giving you "advice" just because someone is related doesn't mean they have a proper heart and head for giving support/love when it's needed the most. I'm sure it hurts but try not to let their shortcomings color what you in your heart know is right for YOU to do. If they can't handle the new you that emerges in the coming months/year, then that is their loss.

Comment by my roses on January 16, 2014 at 7:19am

My roses

Hi Sue understand re the house.  I  have been able as a pensioner to get  someone to come and help with my house, one of them was a gardener. He also was a handyman, and had an agricultural degree.  I think you are in Australia?  I am in WA. But when the winter was wet he came in and gradually did some patching up of cracks ,  and other things. He has just come today to help move some things from a porch area because of the devastating fires we had here last weekend. I had to flee from my house.  The fires could come again this week due to the heat.  It was very stressful as so many houses were burnt down. The gardening I get for free, privately I only pay a small amount around $20 per hr to get other items fixed, or even light bulbs changed.  I can't reach the ceiling.  I have also had paving done outside.   Re where do you belong?  It seems many many families just abandon widowed people.  (Even Nelson Mandela family is fighting and suing for the proceeds of the will!!).   I have had to reach out to many, many people to get friendship or support.  I have been verbally bashed by people  who were long term friends and relatives.  The most recent one was on Christmas Day when these friends who we always spent Christmas with said  they did not want me to speak about Wes again as they had their own memories of him.  I was stunned... I got in my car and it was getting dark and went back to an empty house.  I have known this person since 1991. I only see them about 4 times a year so it is not as if I am talking about Wes relentlessly to them.  Frankly I am appalled.  Anyway, when I had the fire come to within 5 mins of my house... it was really serious (last weekend) I had to leave and stay with friends.  I got back home after 3 days and there were so many ph calls and emails - I was surprised as I did not know so many people cared.  Most of them were people we Met when Wes was ill (within the last 2-3 yrs).   If one does not belong I think we have to leave the group behind.   Wes' children have not really contacted me much... he has 3 children and only one has phoned me (twice during the whole year). Yet in contrast  a widower (man) who I met about 4 weeks ago left a phone message saying he was very concerned about the fire and the danger to my home. Also that he was quite emotional (as I was) after seeing other people suffering losses in the fire. I have another long time friend (of 4o yrs) he and his partner were the ones who looked after me this week when I was evacuated from the fire.  I have had a thought, you don't need to reinvent yourself, life will do that for you.  We are forever changed by our loss, and we now need people who accept us as we are. If they can accept our brokeness - then they are likely to be genuine.  Our  relatives are often the worst at helping us or understanding.  Currently, I have a motley crew on board my journey - old friends who are experiencing some issues themselves, a young man of 26 with compassion, a lady Chaplain who meets me once a month. Also have  a big group of  christians, plus a former Chinese surgeon,some of my husband's relatives and of course friends here at WV.  It is my husband's anniversary of his passing on Sunday and I am going out with a friend that day.  I think to do the best for ourselves we have to let the others go.. only travel with those who match our current situation/feelings/.

Bless you

Comment by Morgana (Janet) on January 15, 2014 at 1:51pm

Sue, I can totally relate to what you are saying. All any of us can do is to do the best we can with what we have. People don't understand this journey until they have to travel it. "How do you reinvent yourself?" is a good question. I keep asking myself that and haven't found an answer to it yet. One of these days maybe we will figure it out but I don't know. I am not even sure who the real me is anymore.

As for the home repairs, do you have a friend that can help you and teach you as you are doing them. I've found this works best for me. I'm starting back on doing some of the home repairs that need to be done and it is a slow process. Do them as time permits. We had not done any maintenance to speak of on our home in the 10 years we had been here so it has added up to quite a bit to be done but eventually it will all get done this year. Take your time and do them when you are ready because it can seem overwhelming in the beginning. Hugs!!

Comment by oceangirl on January 15, 2014 at 1:23pm

On the contrary, Sue, I think you have been moving forward. I know what you're saying, though. I really do. Sometimes I think to myself "who and what do I want to be when I grow up?", and.....nada. And I'm 57. I get a lot of "advice" that just makes me feel further that I'm a square peg in a round hole. But I do what I want, and feel ok about it - it's just makes me feel sometimes that I'm being put into the slot of middle aged widow (which is what I am, but not what defines me). I hate that this feeling takes over my perceptions of myself, and my life. Hell...I'm gonna get another tattoo. Hugs, marsha

Comment by Susan on January 15, 2014 at 6:03am
Hugs Sue. I just finished reading Christina Rasmussan's book Second Firsts. It made me feel a little bit better, and I am mustering the energy to get out of the "waiting room" -- that place between the old life that doesn't fit any more and the new life's that I haven't figured out yet. Hope you find some peace today.

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