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the third draft



I have finally ( I think) found a more peaceful place. I went to the old support group at Mum's nursing home and spoke about beng a widow and did not cry. I think that is progress. I think going to the grief counselling has really helped. I can now articulate what I feel and not get choked up. It was good to experience that today. One dear lady whose husband died about the same time as Ray still sits with a handkerchief to her face and cries for the hour. She is older and is lost without him. Her family want her to sell her house and move closer to them and she is so sad about that, but feels she has to do what they want her to in order to get their support.


I am finding it easier to take whatever invitations come my way so I have had a few meals out lately, mainly lunches out with other widows of which there are plenty in my church. This has given me the means of forming a new friendship base. I don't think it is a sign that my life is improving so much as it is a sign I am getting stronger, more able to cope. I am crying less and less things seem to trigger the tears now thank goodness.


I think the grief counselling is helping me to sort my life out more easily also. I can "see" something plainer when someone else puts it into words for me. On my own it is very easy for me to get stuck on one particular item and not move on. And I think this stage of my grief is about slowly edging forward. The direction is still hazy. I know there are still many things I would like to do. I should maybe write a list, put it somewhere safe and look at it in six months time when I might be strong enough to start setting goals.


I am starting to claim back my place in the house. Ray left from here in June 2011 to go into hospital, came home for a day in August 2011, fell down, I called the ambulance and after a lengthy examination he was taken back into hospital and some weeks later transferred into a nursing home. He died on 19th September 2012. That means I have been on my own here coming up for two years in June so it is not just six months ago as it would have been had he been home here when he died. I still miss Ray terribly but I am not so wishing for our life together to continue, certainly not the way it was in the last few months of his life.


It is hard to make changes. I go shopping for new curtains and come back empty handed. I do not really want to make changes, this is "our home". It is the house that Ray built onto three times. Our children were not raised here as we were away in the country for 10 1/2 years but this is the house we extended to fit in three teenagers. This is the place they went from when they got married. It is special to me. The furniture was adapted to suit Ray, so he could come home in a wheelchair. The furniture was moved to accommodate the wheelchair so I guess I could decide whether I want to make some changes to the way things are arranged. But basically I love this place which was home to Ray and Sue and the kids.


Some days I still feel sad, abandoned and bereft, that is inevitable. I know life as I had known it for more than 44 years ended when Ray died. But some days I feel more energised than I have for a while and that is a good thing. I just have to try and look for the positives in life. I have to somehow make sense of those 44 years, remember the good times, downplay the bad times. I need to get some perspective on what being "Sue alone" means. I have become a member of a site for widow and widowers and that is helping. I know that when I feel..... that is normal at this stage of my bereavement. It has taken a while to get to this point though.


It was six months yesterday since Ray died, four months today since Mum died. I have only just come to the realisation, six months out, that the past cannot dictate the future. I cannot live in the past, it is gone. I love my husband and always will but to sit here saying I cannot do a thing because Ray would not like it is ludicrous. If I don't do it and do say it is because I don't want to then that is more honest and I need to say that.


There are some great people on here and I will be staying for a while longer but one day it will be time to move on. As you all know I love the Blog Community and have learned so much from you all. Sometimes I need to read through the blog a few times to see all it has to offer. I love Asha's blog and the blogs of the caregivers who meet in chat and have become such a big part of my world. I really wish I knew how to let everyone know what a wonderful relief it is to chat to someone who REALLY understands what you are talking about and yes, can tell them all the facts, pleasant and gross, without them leaving the room.


You are all a part of the best site on the web, no false modesty needed, Strokenet rocks! It has helped me so much to make sense of my world pre-stroke, during the stroke journey and now that that journey is completed. It is good that others can have imput into our lives, that strengthens us. But ultimately we have to live it out ourselves and that can be lonely.


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Sue, I'm so happy to hear you have found some peace and are making progress. I'm sure you know that many of us live in fear of that last step and how will we make it thru it. You give me hope that maybe I will live thru it if my hubby passes before me.... maybe...

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An extreme example, but my father was a mamma's boy. She died 12 years ago but this house and most of her things are still here and just the mention of changing anything sends him into a tailspin. It seems he thinks trowing anything of hers away is akin to throwing HER away. Too final and tangible?


I don't know but I do know this. My grandmother kept clean and updated house...she didn't buy expensive things but when curtains and things started showing wear, she replaced them. If appliances started to fail, my grandfather would tell her to replace it...now. The curtains here are 22 years old--the last ones she bought 10 years before she died when she got sick. Just thin cotton summer kitchen curtains that are now thread bare, discolored, torn. I offered to buy him a new set online if he wanted to pick out a set. For the next two days he acted like I killed the Pope at the mere mention. If she walked into this house I can just hear her now! Because more than those curtains or any other "thing" in here, she prided herself on a clean, functional, comfortable home. Dad, in his refusal to throw anything away or change anything, has lost the real essence of her in this house.


Your house will always be the house that Ray built, and always Ray, Sue and the kids home. I'm sure things changed back then too to keep up with growing children and just life. You're not throwing out Ray nor the memory of him. You're just carrying on what he helped start.



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Sue I'm so glad you are finding peace within yourself. We will miss you when you're gone! But totally understand. You have to move on eventually, for your own sake.

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peace isent that all any of us want..... and i am so hoping you find tht balance --it seems you are headed in that direction.... you are and will continue to be our leader....

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Guest lwisman




It sounds like you have figured out some things about yourself. Take you time. Grieving takes time. Glad you are able to update us on this network. Thinking about you!



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Sue, You sound so peaceful in this blog, so like you know where you're going again. I'm so happy for you. Strokenet was my rock and sanity when Dan first had his stroke. I had no one to talk to, no one who knew what I was going through. I felt hopeless and helpless. You were so very kind, sane, and helpful in my times of insanity and helplessness. I remember my first chat, I went through a whole box of tissues crying, I had little balls of yucky tissues all over my desk. lol Sandy said it so well "You give me hope that maybe I will live thru it..."


Sue, when you do decide to move on you will be greatly missed by all caregivers. You are a gracious, caring woman.


(((((Hugs))))) Mary Jo

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I'm glad you found a group that you can connect with and make friends. When my first husband passed away I was only 37 and most of the people in the widows groups were in their 60's or older. Some friends told me about a singles group that met in a church in our community. I went to this group and not only did I meet Larry but I met several female friends. One of them lived 10 minutes from me, and we all kept in touch for a long time. Friends can be there and share things when our children are busy in their own lives and work.


Enjoy this new phase of your life. You have the pleasant memories with you always.



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Sue :

I am so glad you are finding peace within you. I hope & pray you stay active here, your wisdom is so valuable to survivors & caregivers alike. sometimes I feel its time to move on from this site, but when I see newbie struggling similar emotions like I did in the beginning I feel tug to tell them there is life after stroke or any other grief you are going through in life. so hopefully you will be able to provide that support to newbies here in our blogworld



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Sue I just feel you are an exceptional strong woman from birth and can carry any load on your shoulders plus when the burden gets too heavy you got God. Many people don't have Him in their lives.


I have been through a lot in my 71 years and feel with God I can do what must be done when the time comes my way.


All the best to you and without crying is just a start, you will get even stronger and your time on this earth will be lengthen for the deeds you showed your parents. When you honor your parents the bible says your time will be lengthen. I will always know that.

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You do sound peaceful. This has been a very hard year for you. But, you are progressing thru your journey of grief.

I always enjoy spending time with you. Whether in chat or reading your blog.

yes, you give me hope that I too will make it thru this stroke journey.



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Sue: yes, I agree - you do sound at peace. And really, six months out is not a long time. It was just about that for my Mom, when cousins called and said we are moving your Father's things. That all went to my house and I will tell you a year later when, as a family, we decided to donate, toss, move; I opened the room where his stuff was stored and I smelled him. Melted right on the floor and that was the end of that day! I can't go to Bruce, so will only share my experience with my Dad.


And I certainly understand that your home also belongs to your children. It is their connection to their childhood and their Dad, so of course, it will be a slow go. There are things they will want to share with the grandchildren that only your home gives them.


Best news is finding yourself and the healing. New relationships, outlets. It is time to move beyond stroke and very slowly less painful. The journey continues. Debbie

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