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Old 10-16-2017, 11:13 AM
5,529 posts, read 1,947,601 times
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Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
In December it will be 3 years since my beloved died. I am doing pretty well. I have a busy life, working part time, volunteering, etc. But the world has not been a happy place lately. This country, whichever "side" you are on, is becoming more and more divided, and sometimes viciously divided. We have seen multiple hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, Puerto Rico being wiped out, the mass shooting in Las Vegas, and now fires destroying whole sections of cities. (This one is close to me - I know or know of many, many people who have lost their homes in the Sonoma County fires.)

I mention all these things because it seems it will never end. And without my husband, I feel I no longer have the kind of emotional bulwark against the assaults of the world that I used to have. With him, there was always a hug, someone to talk to, not to give answers, but just to commiserate, to understand. We knew each others' sighs. I did not just lean on him emotionally, but also the physically. It was such a comfort, when standing next to each other, to put my head against his shoulder, to hold his arm, to sit on the couch in contact with each other. We knew what outside events were tender spots to each other, and we knew what look, what gesture would bring comfort.

Now I feel alone in maintaining a front against all the bad news that assails us. Yes, I have friends to talk to, but it is not the same soul-deep contact with the one who knows who you are and who loves your moments of weakness as much as your rallies of strength.
Oh Grasshopper. I've read many of your posts over the past years, and you are such an inspiration to me and so many on this forum. Thinking of you and sending you so many hugs, my friend. I have no words. Just hugs.
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Old 10-16-2017, 12:14 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Originally Posted by Granite60 View Post
Harry, although I agree with you, I believe the point is that we miss our soul mates in so many ways and one of the ways was in communication, to have someone we could discuss our concerns, current events and our fears, wishes and desires. Some one we felt safe with, some one who supported us and had our back.

I don't disagree with you, Harry, once alone our role changes drastically, now it is survival. No one to talk to over our morning coffee, no one to share our day with, we are simply alone. If something needs to be done, we complete the task. We all of a sudden have to find our new identity in life, rediscover who we are, our wants and needs change. For us widows our income changes forcing us to make necessary lifestyle changes. Our married friends shun us, we are now prone to scams and rip off artists. We have learned never to tell a auto mechanic we are widowed or any business for that matter, we will be targeted. No longer do we have a protector, we learn quickly our new role in life, beware of the predators.
There are times I think the harder task when one in a couple dies is the task of being the one who survives. The extent of protector/protected varies with each couple. In health and relationship issues, my wife was more the protector, with a knowledge of herbs and alternative meds that once saved my life.

You are wise to beware of predators and those who would scam. Changes in lifestyle, wants, needs are part of the process, as is redefining who you are, all the while holding grief. It is rough. Even though widows have (in general) more financial challenges, women are far better than men at eventually re-establishing a social network that acts to protect.

A recent article from the Chicago area pointed out the numbers of widowers who died completely alone with no next-of-kin or close friends to act as estate executor or even to suggest what last wishes might have been. Men are placed in a competitive workplace at an early age, where friendships are goal oriented and transient. What social connections we have are often through the filter of the wife. Once the wife dies, those fall away and the skillset to replace them is not there. In our culture, a non-working older male is often a throwaway. When society frowns upon a widower dating too soon, the male who buys into it may lose even more social skills and connections, to the point of never recovering.

After loss of a spouse, living a life just to survive can only extend the pain. It is vital to find purpose and have that ability to be productive and contribute.
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:48 PM
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I guess I have been lucky: I have not had married friends shun me. I have a group of friends that used to be 7 couples. Now we are 4 couples and 3 widows. But we still have social gatherings throughout the year. I also have another group of friends, some of whom are married, and it doesn't seem to matter. We pretty much did things with just the ladies before, and that's still what we do. As a relatively new widow, I have done pretty well with getting out and about with friends. (That's why I moved a year after my husband died; I moved back to where we lived for many years, so I got my friends and my "home" back.) But I do understand that men sometimes have a harder time in that regard. I have found that you have to really make an effort. You have to email the friend you haven't seen for a month and arrange a lunch date. You have put out the energy to arrange a movie date with a small group of friends, write letters to people who don't live close, say "yes" when people ask you to take a reasonable responsibility, be willing to try something you haven't tried before. It takes a certain amount of courage and for me, it takes some faith that if I try something and don't like it, I can change my mind.

I know we all do need reasons to keep going, to be "productive and contribute." I think I am. I am certainly busy. But there are times when I still have a sense that I am really just waiting to be with my husband again. I remember very well, when he was ill and unable to do very much, that he would express his feeling that he was "waiting to die." Sad as it was, I think his assessment was pretty much correct. But we waited together, and tried to enjoy each others' company, to do what we could within the confines of our home. So now and then I feel that way even now, that when the busyness goes away and I am tired and alone at the end of the day, I wonder whether I am just treading water, waiting to be reunited with my husband. Because in the end, what seems to matter to me is not staying busy, but loving and being loved. That is probably why I miss him when the world is so full of bad news and stresses; everything is so much easier to face when your life is based in love.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:49 AM
Location: Mid-Atlantic
22,706 posts, read 21,750,727 times
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I'm done. I am so flippin' done that if there was going to be a severe thunderstorm in my area, I'd crawl out onto the porch roof and hold my copper bowl in my raised arm.

I've read the lightning strike survivor posts. Not pretty. One guy had his hands blown off and lived.

Thanks for that memory.
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:56 PM
8,218 posts, read 8,498,682 times
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It's sounds like you made an effort to manage well, which is commendable.

I wonder, reading your post, if you might derive a little comfort if some of your volunteering were specifically to help people/groups who are in very bad situations - like Syrian refugees, for instance. It might help to know you were trying in a small way to address one of the problems.
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