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Old 04-28-2018, 07:55 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,316,975 times
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His wife died.

"But through his grief, through the good days and the bad, he has documented every single day of their lives trying to adjust as a family of three.

While many of his illustrations are sad, he has also found a way to find the happiness that is left his life, and he finds the humour in having to organised his children’s playdates, Girl Guides, cooking and shopping."

Disney animator illustrates life with children after wife dies | Metro News
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Old 04-28-2018, 08:23 AM
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You have just given me a helpful idea.

Two of my good friends, a married couple, live on a farm about an hour and a half away. The husband very unexpectedly died at work (probably an aneurism) earlier this week, age 71 (also his wife's age) and apparently in good health previously. He was a fine man, intelligent, gentle, warm-hearted and caring, and this is a huge shock for not only his family but his friends.

I am not sure if the wife, a former classmate and good friend of mine whom I've known since childhood, will be able to physically handle all the farm work, caring for the fields and barns, hauling feed and supplies, taking large animals to the vet, etc., in addition to caring for over 20 horses and other livestock daily as she already does. There are also multiple cats and dogs on the farm (neutered, but stupid people drop them off, aka abandon them, and my kindly friends have taken them in, provided basic shelter, vet care and food). Their only child lives in an adjoining state and attends grad. school, and there's no other extended family nearby to assist. A celebration of life is planned for later.

I have been mulling over how to provide positive assistance for my remaining friend, who of course is in shock at present. I am not able and am too far away to do farm work myself, and have no idea if the husband had life insurance (I surely hope so). The wife teaches full-time in addition to caring for the farm animals. The farm is not in a wealthy part of the state and I don't think selling it is likely, at least not at present. There is a tenant house on the farm, but finding good help has been a problem in the past and is unlikely to be easier now (especially with the preponderance of substance abuse in rural areas in Kentucky).

So my friend has a huge burden on her shoulders, in addition to terrible shock and grief.

I will be there for her - told her I'd check in by phone midweek, and could drive over almost any day in the next couple of weeks if she needed me to be there (can't today due to a prior commitment). Being there is probably the best help I can provide right now - but suggestions are welcome.

She has two siblings, both disabled, and her other relatives, who are in good shape, are all out of state. Her husband has a sister in state, but she is rather flighty, can be over emotional, and is not exactly a farm girl type. I think his brother lives in NYC, far from Kentucky. There are also a grown niece and nephew who might help some, but they're young adults and I'm not sure they're still in the area.

But back to my first thank-you: the wife is a gifted artist, though she hasn't done much with art in recent years. Perhaps when things settle down a bit and the shock is less acute and the practical plans are figured out, she can return to drawing and painting to help fill what is going to be a huge empty place in her heart and in her life. I will remember to float that idea by her in a few weeks' time.

Other suggestions are welcome. Thanks again..
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Old 04-28-2018, 02:12 PM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,316,975 times
Reputation: 27711
My sense is that she may continue in shock for a while, and care for the animals put her on autopilot emotionally. IMO, for a widowed woman of 71 she is now in over her head with responsibilities. However, some people thrive on being stretched so thin, and if she is used to a heavy load, removing it could be even more traumatic.

Pragmatic advice may need to come even before emotional support advice and safety net. This is again one of those exceptions that proves the rule of not making any major decisions until after at least one year. For her financial safety, perhaps a "board of directors" to oversee any large decisions and provide advice could be helpful. Her banker, an attorney, and another farmer might steer her into wise choices.

Art as therapy can be tricky. It can and does work, but is generally much different than commercial or even hobby art. The widower in the article has come to a point where he "speaks" in a language of art. I would not expect that of more than a handful of people.
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Old 04-28-2018, 08:29 PM
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Thank you - excellent insights.

My newly widowed friend teaches college and I hope she will take the summer semester off.

She has a number of friends in the horse community - I think it would be best if she could sell or rehome some of the horses, to help lighten the physical burden of caring for them, but that will be her decision to make, of course. I think the farm is debt-free - she and her husband have owned it for over 30 years, but I have no idea how well off she is financially. Her son is working his way through grad. school, so the farm expenses - mostly caring for all those horses - is the main expense that I am aware of.

But it's early days yet, as you noted. I can see my friend drawing or painting as a way of escaping into a therapeutic and productive yet intensely private activity which has the potential of providing satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

She is normally an upbeat and rather cheerful person, with a good sense of humor and a very level head, but this is such a huge blow - and entirely unexpected.

I'll know more by midweek, as we only spoke briefly and it was shocking news for me, too, and I didn't ask some questions which might have been helpful.

Thanks again - much appreciated.
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