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Old 08-17-2018, 01:12 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,140 posts, read 1,105,988 times
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Thank you for your post, cleasach. I am sorry for your loss. A lot of what you say rings true for me, even the grocery shopping. I wish you well also.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:43 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,140 posts, read 1,105,988 times
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I suppose I am lucky because I do have friends that check in with me fairly regularly. They ask me how am I doing? They invite me to their birthday parties, or they want to do something fun with me. I often don't return their calls. Especially early on after his death, I didn't return calls. I just couldn't talk about it, or simply didn't want to.

Because the answer to their question about how I am doing, is that I am full of despair and sorrow. I cry myself to sleep. My heart is completely broken. So that is why I do not return their calls. I don't feel ready or able to attend parties to celebrate birthdays, or to celebrate anything.

I understand now why people used to wear black for a year. I feel uncomfortable wearing color, it certainly doesn't reflect my emotional state.

I was told today by a friend that she thinks I am avoiding "moving on" with my life. Well. Maybe I am, but I just am not in a place where I can do that. I can't celebrate anything like birthdays, my heart is too broken. I am grieving. People, though well meaning, don't seem to want to allow me to grieve.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,839 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterflyfish View Post
I suppose I am lucky because I do have friends that check in with me fairly regularly. They ask me how am I doing? They invite me to their birthday parties, or they want to do something fun with me. I often don't return their calls. Especially early on after his death, I didn't return calls. I just couldn't talk about it, or simply didn't want to.

Because the answer to their question about how I am doing, is that I am full of despair and sorrow. I cry myself to sleep. My heart is completely broken. So that is why I do not return their calls. I don't feel ready or able to attend parties to celebrate birthdays, or to celebrate anything.

I understand now why people used to wear black for a year. I feel uncomfortable wearing color, it certainly doesn't reflect my emotional state.

I was told today by a friend that she thinks I am avoiding "moving on" with my life. Well. Maybe I am, but I just am not in a place where I can do that. I can't celebrate anything like birthdays, my heart is too broken. I am grieving. People, though well meaning, don't seem to want to allow me to grieve.
How to react to friends and acquaintances can be tricky. We all hear that the death of a spouse will sort out who your true friends are. As important is the effort that we make to keep valued friendships intact, even under the stress. As is always the case, every situation is different.

A person who is extroverted can sometimes find that some solitude is needed and the manifold social connections require too much energy, energy that is needed for the healing part of grief. A full social calendar of social events may simply not be possible for a while. If the connections are still there and nurtured by both you and your friends: "I do appreciate the offer, and I value your asking me, but am not yet ready. Please don't write me off though, just allow me more time." you may find that at some point you want to honor the request, as much as to support the caring of your friend as for any benefit you might get.

As a very strong introvert in real life, I had to actively work to seek out new friends even as I was working through the first stages of grief. It was doubly strange and awkward, and many times I just wanted to cocoon, but recognized that it was my only way forward. ... and yes, even though males don't commonly wear black for a year, I needed to show black as part of my process and as an expression of the reality of my life.
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,140 posts, read 1,105,988 times
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Well said, harry chickpea.

I am not completely turning away from and neglecting my friendships. I value them now more than ever. But during those first months I did. And still, I politely decline attending events that I just don't feel up to.

For my work, I have to put on a happy face and "fake it". That takes a lot of energy, so in my personal time, I don't want to have to do more of it, if that makes sense. Having said that, I do think that having to face the public with a smile has been really helpful for me. On some days, it has helped lift me up and out of my grief.
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,140 posts, read 1,105,988 times
Reputation: 3677
The more I do it (faking happiness) and as time passes, the easier it is getting. Sometimes my smile is not even fake, it is real.

Progress!
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
16,469 posts, read 15,905,878 times
Reputation: 38730
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I lost my husband of 40 years (best friend for 48 years) seven months ago.

For me, while it is difficult at times, sometimes it brings sadness AND happy memories to go to the places that I went with my husband. And, as I visit the places again there are less and less sad memories and more and more happy memories.

Maybe you could try watching a sunset one night, perhaps just start by opening your shades a little wider each night. Yes, you probably will cry a lot that first night and probably the second night and maybe the third night or even many nights. But, I suspect that you will start to cry less and remember your happy memories more and more each time.

I predict that someday you will be able to sit on the beach, during sunset, and be enveloped with the love that the two of you shared and not the sadness of his passing.

Best wishes to you.
I am a widow, too. I posted the above about a month ago.

Everyone grieves at their own pace and along the their own timetable. What has been most helpful to me has been to attend a weekly, drop in, grief support group that is only open to widows and widowers. Everyone is in the same situation having lost the love of their life. It has made a tremendous difference in my life and the lives of the other participants. This support group is a free service, to anyone in the community, offered by a local hospice organization. It is ran by a trained grief counselor. They actually have two groups, one for widows/widowers for those whose spouse died less 13 months earlier and a "second stage" group for widows/widowers whose spouse died more than 13 months earlier AND they are beyond the active grieving stage.

My BIL is in a widow/widowers grief support group/classes with a religious base. It is also free and the same group of people meet for 16 weeks, with each week being a structured theme, but you can sign up for another group after the first group is completed. I believe that my BIL attended weekly classes for close to a year after his wife died. He felt that the group/classes were extremely valuable.

Another thing that has been very helpful to me is talking with my sister, who is also a widow. Her husband of 50 years died a few months before my husband died. Not only can we share emotions and talk when times are rough, since we both knew each others spouse personally for many, many years so we can also share remembrances and interesting things that "others" would not get. My sister can tell me "Remember when my husband used to do X?" and I, of course, would remember it. That can be a plus over talking to complete strangers.

Good luck to you and I wish you well. I highly recommend either joining a widow/widowers support group or find a relative or friend who has lost a spouse and talk with them. The loss of spouse is very different than the loss of parent or loss of friend or loss of child.
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Middle of the ocean
27,437 posts, read 17,619,243 times
Reputation: 39916
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterflyfish View Post
The more I do it (faking happiness) and as time passes, the easier it is getting. Sometimes my smile is not even fake, it is real.

Progress!
That is good, and your time frame is your own, you do not grieve on another's schedule. The whole "fake it until you make it" has a lot of truth in it.

It helped me to remember my friends mean well, even when they said something absolutely stupid.

You can't know what it's like if you haven't gone through it, and even if you have, you still don't know what is like for another person.

I found most of my friends and family were fine with me sharing what I needed, so if I didn't want to talk about it, or whatever they were more than happy to accommodate.

People want us to feel better, thus the "you should be moving on." Bwah. If only it were that easy. But they don't understand, and really, that's a good thing, because they haven't had to experience it.
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:39 PM
 
2,251 posts, read 4,311,198 times
Reputation: 3709
I have some friends who check in pretty regularly and understand when I don't reply right away to text messages. I also have friends who are clueless (and i don't say that in a bad way) when it comes to what not to say. They just don't know so it doesn't upset me. It's just interesting. I have had people ask me if I am going to sell my place because "I could never stay there if xyz passed away. I would have to move." Others say, "How are you going to pay for everything alone?" "Why are you still wearing your wedding ring?" "How are you going to get into another relationship when you have so many pictures of him all over your place?" Some others believe if I'm not feeling up to an outing that I am purposefully wallowing when oh boy, that is so not the case.

Then there are the people who are widows/widowers that you think will relate to your situation and be empathetic but instead they lecture you on how you should take their advice because they've been there, when all you were looking for was someone to say, "I'm really sorry that you are going through this," and understand that everyone is different.

It has been about 2 1/2 years and my heart is still broken. I am functioning day to day just fine and not in a puddle of tears on the floor every five minutes, but nothing is the same anymore. Most things that I really enjoyed doing are not nearly as enjoyable anymore. I have taken up a few new hobbies and while they are a nice past time, they do not fill any void that I have and it's just a feeling that nothing is as nice as it was when he was here. I have also been handed some major life challenges that I have to face alone and that doesn't help matters.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:43 PM
 
Location: SWFL
21,429 posts, read 18,139,040 times
Reputation: 18797
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterflyfish View Post
For my work, I have to put on a happy face and "fake it". That takes a lot of energy, so in my personal time, I don't want to have to do more of it, if that makes sense. Having said that, I do think that having to face the public with a smile has been really helpful for me. On some days, it has helped lift me up and out of my grief.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterflyfish View Post
The more I do it (faking happiness) and as time passes, the easier it is getting. Sometimes my smile is not even fake, it is real.

Progress!
I wonder sometimes if I hadn't quit my working with the public job when my husband died, if my grief would have been shorter. I will never know but I could not stand regular customers trying to pick me up now that he was dead. I had to run away.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Polynesia
2,140 posts, read 1,105,988 times
Reputation: 3677
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I am a widow, too. I posted the above about a month ago.

Everyone grieves at their own pace and along the their own timetable. What has been most helpful to me has been to attend a weekly, drop in, grief support group that is only open to widows and widowers. Everyone is in the same situation having lost the love of their life. It has made a tremendous difference in my life and the lives of the other participants. This support group is a free service, to anyone in the community, offered by a local hospice organization. It is ran by a trained grief counselor. They actually have two groups, one for widows/widowers for those whose spouse died less 13 months earlier and a "second stage" group for widows/widowers whose spouse died more than 13 months earlier AND they are beyond the active grieving stage.

My BIL is in a widow/widowers grief support group/classes with a religious base. It is also free and the same group of people meet for 16 weeks, with each week being a structured theme, but you can sign up for another group after the first group is completed. I believe that my BIL attended weekly classes for close to a year after his wife died. He felt that the group/classes were extremely valuable.

Another thing that has been very helpful to me is talking with my sister, who is also a widow. Her husband of 50 years died a few months before my husband died. Not only can we share emotions and talk when times are rough, since we both knew each others spouse personally for many, many years so we can also share remembrances and interesting things that "others" would not get. My sister can tell me "Remember when my husband used to do X?" and I, of course, would remember it. That can be a plus over talking to complete strangers.

Good luck to you and I wish you well. I highly recommend either joining a widow/widowers support group or find a relative or friend who has lost a spouse and talk with them. The loss of spouse is very different than the loss of parent or loss of friend or loss of child.
Thank you, germaine2626. I have looked into grief support groups but just haven't attended any yet. I might give it a try one of these days. Thank you again for your well wishes.
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