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Old 04-11-2013, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Glasgow Scotland
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Can happen with divorce too....
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:14 AM
 
Location: SWFL
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Originally Posted by dizzybint View Post
Can happen with divorce too....
True, especially if you are not the one filing for it BUT it's also a different kind of grief IMO. Your soon to be ex-spouse is still alive. The feelings you have are more of anger than despair. In divorce you may see that person again, in death you know you won't. In divorce that person can always be walking, talking, breathing, in your mind if not in actuality. In death that is not so. In death you KNOW you will never get to talk to or see that person again and that pain is so much more than the pain of divorce. Been there, done that and now I even talk to the ex on the phone but know I can NEVER talk to my husband again and that pain is so much more than it ever was in my divorce.

Both situations are painful but pain from death is a thousand fold more painful.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Southwest Desert
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I have a friend who never recovered from her divorce. (And she got divorced 50 years ago.)..Her husband left her for another woman and just left her a note telling her he was leaving one day. (Just out of the blue.)...My friend said she was "shunned" by the other wives in their well-to-do social circle and felt "left out in the cold."...Over the years she created a new life for herself but never remarried...She doesn't trust men or women very much and even had trouble trusting me at times. (Or her kids.)...Obviously she never really worked through her grief. But she insists she's "fine" and "dandy." (And even superior to others who let their feelings "rule them.")...About 3 weeks after my husband died she told me it was time to "grow-up" and get on with my life and stop being so "mushy" etc...She takes pride in being a tough "survivor" and has no patience with people who "waddle-around" in emotions...It's sad that her husband left her so many decades ago. And sad that her former friends "shunned her." (Way back when.)...But she doesn't see how she is "punishing" anyone who tries to be her friend (today) for the so-called "sins" of people who hurt her in the past. Sad!
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Sunset Mountain
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Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
Hi kat well i was a young widow I was 35 and one thing that stood out in my mind was when my aunt patted my hand and said "Oh dear not to worry you will find someone else " UGH , excuse me do you think that is an appropriate thing to say ? really ... Now on the helpful side the ladies in my church group brought all kinds of food I remember not having to cook for weeks and believe me when i say I was in no shape to cook or do much else . My husbands death was very sudden and it was unexpected . I never got to say goodbye he was killed by a driver while out jogging . One of the worst things to ever happen to me besides being stabbed and almost dying .
I'm so sorry for your loss phonelady. I learned through Sarah how to be a decent "well-meaning friend". I was fortunate she was honest with me about things she did not want to hear-like "you're young!" she lost her husband when she was 33 unexpectedly. She taught me how raw and new the world looked to her now, and how short-tempered she became at first to those who didn't understand what she was going through.

Thank you for sharing your story.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Sunset Mountain
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Originally Posted by eidas View Post
I'm with phonelady61 - the worst (stupidest) thing said what "oh, it's OK, you're young & will get married again" maybe the stupidity of this comment help me in some weird way.
Best thing was a guy I knew simply saying "you're not the first one to lose their spouse"

I also became babysitter, since people figured I "didn't want to be alone"

prior to my husband (i've long since remarried) dying, his grandmother passed away...grandparents had been real fun people. My BIL said he didn't like to visit grandpa because it depressed him. That comment stuck with me when family/friends avoided me.
I hear this a lot. It's very hard to know the proper etiquette around tender issues such as widowhood if you have not ever dealt with it personally in your culture or growing up.

Sarah was the first widow I was very close to-and I learned so much about myself as well as more about her because of her experience.

Sarah didn't want to be alone-but successfully pushed everyone in her circle far far away from her and her pain. I was very pushy and pushed back. She asked me once, "why didn't you leave when everyone else got the memo I don't want to be around happy people anymore" I said, "I would want you in my life if it happened to me, and I would want you dearly at my side for all times."

I was using the golden rule without really knowing it.

I've started writing a book about our journey to help "well meaning friends" understand where their fears come from, to connect with their friends and family after such a great loss, and how to be supportive without being a jack-azz.

When i searched for material to read, there was nothing really written for the "well meaning friend" so that's when I started joining widow support groups to see how I could be a better friend.

My meaning was well put, but my execution was awful because I found very angry and bitter grieving widows ready to crucify me for asking questions.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Sunset Mountain
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Originally Posted by smilinpretty View Post
For me, my whole life as I knew it was gone. Being a Care-giver for seven years, I wasn't able to develope friendships, we were new to area. Left with my two dogs and I, I found I had to develop new roles in my life and wear different hats. All kinds of people slamming the door into my face, but when a door closes I find another opens.
All kinds of first times and I have learned to trust no one but myself. Honor thyself. No one will honor me but ME. Expectations from others? None. I move forward in my life and I am slowly developing into the person that fits me. I can't be there for anyone but myself. I try not to look backward but forward and "smile" often. Hey, what are the options?
Each chapter of my book I chose a quote to start the chapter. One I found so profound was this:

"“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”


― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I love that because, as Sarah explained it once to me, "Kat, these feelings were always inside me, but they were hidden, either by fear, or political correctness, or whatever. Now, it's like the veil is gone and I have nothing left to loose. It's sobering, without the numbing effect to kill the pain in my heart."
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Sunset Mountain
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Originally Posted by Marcy1210 View Post
I was 57 when my husband died suddenly of a heart attack at 59, six days before his 60th birthday. I was out of town, opening up our "snowbird" condo in Tucson, so I didn't get to say goodbye, although we talked into the wee hours of the night telling each other how much we loved each other and eager to see each other. Friends were there to help with planning the service, arranging for food, and so on, but once the funeral was over, so were they. I stayed in town, at our house for three months, and not one call. Nothing. I decided to sell the house and move to our vacation condo in Tucson. I started over and am doing well. I didn't get to grieve for almost 2 1/2 years, so these past months have been really hard on me as delayed grief is settling in and taking over....it's definitely hard.
I'm so glad you went out there, if anything to try it! Sarah still has nightmares almost every night about walking into the hospital after he had suddlenly passed in the night. She did not get to say good bye either. She shelved her grief for the first two years and went on "autopilot" she calls it. I just never tied trauma to her grief until I moved in with her a year after he died and heard her blood curdling screams at 2 in the morning.

I also realized no amount of therapy was going to be enough unless it was a really good therapist which she seemed to not find in her area. I would get rip roaring pi$$ ed off at her local friends who were supposed to be checking in on her and well, i don't know, being her gorram friend??

But they all stayed away, and after a year and half, and after I started to write our journey down, I began connecting the dots. One friend couldn't face the fear of loosing her own husband, and seeing Sarah's sadness made it too hard for her to go back to her happy life-which equated really deep down as guilt for being happy when Sarah wasn't.

so she stayed away.

Other friends didn't know what to say or how to say it, so they stayed away.

It didn't make sense to me, but it's very common. I'm still doing research and I thank you so much for your stories.
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Old 04-12-2013, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Sunset Mountain
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CArizona View Post
I have a friend who never recovered from her divorce. (And she got divorced 50 years ago.)..Her husband left her for another woman and just left her a note telling her he was leaving one day. (Just out of the blue.)...My friend said she was "shunned" by the other wives in their well-to-do social circle and felt "left out in the cold."...Over the years she created a new life for herself but never remarried...She doesn't trust men or women very much and even had trouble trusting me at times. (Or her kids.)...Obviously she never really worked through her grief. But she insists she's "fine" and "dandy." (And even superior to others who let their feelings "rule them.")...About 3 weeks after my husband died she told me it was time to "grow-up" and get on with my life and stop being so "mushy" etc...She takes pride in being a tough "survivor" and has no patience with people who "waddle-around" in emotions...It's sad that her husband left her so many decades ago. And sad that her former friends "shunned her." (Way back when.)...But she doesn't see how she is "punishing" anyone who tries to be her friend (today) for the so-called "sins" of people who hurt her in the past. Sad!
No, she won't see it either. It's probably a coping mechanism that screams help from deep within-but buried under a lot of hurt and anger.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Southwest Desert
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Kat...Thanks for starting this thread and for sharing your stories too....I am on the other side of the fence right now. About a month ago my longtime friend called and told me that her husband would probably die any day...My friend and I don't live close to each other anymore but stay in touch by phone when she has free time to talk...My friend's husband is at home and has hospice care. And my friend's sisters and other family members take turns coming to stay with her...Lately I've detected quite a bit of buried anger and resentment in my friend's voice and tone when she calls. Plus I know she is tired and exhausted...Even though he can barely talk and has trouble breathing and can't walk or move around on his own my friend's husband has become somewhat of a "dictator." He "barks orders" at his wife and makes daily lists of things for her to "do" immediately. (Like sell his truck and handle all kinds of things that could be put-off a bit.)...I feel like I'm "on-call" too and "jump" every time my phone rings. Is my friend calling to tell me her husband died? Now I'm a little more relaxed about his impending death because a month has passed...But I know he could still die at any time and it "weighs" on my mind...Also it's hard for me to listen to all the "orders" my friend receives each day. (And all the relentless "demands" from her husband.)...I've known my friend's husband for decades. (Since before they got married.)...I can't help but feel "protective" of my friend and sorry that her husband is "wearing" her "ragged" right now...It's a rough situation for me because I've always been close to both of them....I lovingly remind my friend to take "good care" of herself too whenever she calls...I worry about her health and mental state and all the anger she is "stuffing." (And all the daily worry and trauma etc.) Normally she is mellow and easy-going... She has an opinionated family and I'm sure everyone is trying to tell her "what to do!" So I don't want to be like everyone else. But I can't help but worry about her. (All the time!) Wish I could do more to help.
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Old 04-13-2013, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Sunset Mountain
1,385 posts, read 2,744,928 times
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Sarah would tell you "just be there for her, listen to her, and ask her to be honest with you-mean it when you say you'll do what what you can, and just be there. Whether it be at 4 in the morning when she breaks down, or at noon for lunch to do nothing but let her cry."

Sometimes, just a hug is all that is needed while friends sort out their emotions. That's what Sarah tells me. Just be there. It can be that simple.
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