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a hard week coming up


swilkinson

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Sunday is 1st September, it is Father's Day here in Australia, the first since Ray died. The following Sunday 8th September would have been his 71st birthday, this makes for a hard week for us as a family and one that will surely stir up emotions. I don't plan to do anything on Sunday 1st but Trev and Edie are taking me for a picnic on Sunday 8th. This is their way of making sure I am not alone. I am often alone. Sometimes it feels as if there isn't a place for me in other people's lives. The long period of me devoting my time to Ray because of his invalidity took a lot of our friends away and now me being a widow seems to have taken more.

 

I definitely need new hobbies, something with people involvement as I really think I need to step outside my present circle and make some friends my own age. As we went through Ray's journey with stroke we lost the friends who were our own age as they were still working. Now of course they are travelling overseas or going round Australia in their campervans and caravans. I can't do much about the travelling in a campervan, I know some people do travel as a single but very few women my age would feel it was safe.

 

Now even the friends I made on the stroke journey are fading. Hard to think that what we had in common, what bound us together, is now gone and somehow I need to acknowledge that and be able to pick myself up and carry on alone. When spring and summer are here I will have to find some outdoor activities to participate in. I need to prove I can go for a walk by myself, go to the beach by myself, no good sitting here waiting until someone invites me to go, is there? The safer places are probably ocean pools where I can stay if there are families close by and public walking tracks like the one I used to take Ray to beside the Lake.

 

One thing I have done lately which would amuse my friends if I told them is go to youtube and sing some karaoke. John Denver tunes last night as someone on my Facebook page had a link to John Denver. I used to sing, used to dance, used to be the ringleader in a lot of fun stuff. But I am talking before Ray's strokes started which let's face it is 22 years ago and I was in my early 40's. I am not that same gal now and need to find things to do that are age appropriate.

 

I guess what I am talking about is how to bring that joy of living back into my life, the kind of thing that makes your heart sing. Yes, I love being with my grandchildren and enjoying family time wth my adult children but a lot of that is out of my control, I have to wait to be invited rather than be able to just impose myself upon them. I'd love to be able to do it on impulse but the way things are at present that is not a possibility. It sometimes feels as if there isn't a place for me in other people's lives. The long period of me devoting my time to Ray caused a change in relationships both in our family and beyond into the wider community.

 

My grandchildren only knew Ray as an invalid. He had the first stroke in 1990 and went back to work for 8 1/2 years. Then in 1999 he had two more in rapid succession and they retired us both, me to look after him. It was while he was in Bendigo Hospital that our daughter told him she was pregnant with our first grandchild when she visited him there. I think her son Christopher and our oldest grandddaughter Tori are the only ones of the grandchildren who remember Ray upright and walking with a stick unaided. When they were little and I minded them one day a week he could still throw a ball, was still able to read to them, still able to laugh and joke and tickle them, still able to have long conversations.

 

As you know he had six more strokes 1999 - 2011, each left him with more deficits, physical and mental, and eventually dementia as well so the little ones remember that "Pa Ray" as old before his time, an old man in a wheelchair or hospital bed, which is very sad.

 

For me, it is only in the last few weeks that some happier memories of our time together are finally emerging. I do sometimes remember a joke we laughed at or an experience we enjoyed together. With the one year anniversary of his death only three weeks away I am glad this is finally happening.

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Sue :

 

first few years are the hardest after any major life changing event. but all we can do is put one leg before another & place us outside of comfort zones & something interesting will happen in your life. I know giving advice is easy thing to do. Change is hard thing to adjust to, but who knows future something beautiful might be waiting for you at the bend of that road.

 

Asha

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Sue: our Brittany, of course, remembers her Bruce as the vital, stable, stubborn man who was so important in her life. Izabella only knows Uncle Bruce as the WC. So sad. But honey, those are the cards they were dealt. Better to have known him than not at all.

 

Britt often says that about Grandpa Palmer, who of course she never knew. But we keep him alive in our memories for her - pix, stories. John Michael is very much Grandma Palmer, but there are moments, facial expressions that are so much my Dad's.

 

Yes, very tough week coming up and thankfully Trev and Edie understand that. As long as you won't be alone all weekend.

 

Sue, I rock on out every single night. Part of that is the musician, part being my Mother's daughter. Today when I did the toilet check on Bruce, I put him in the BR. Went on to make the bed, singing something from the Jimmy Buffet that I had heard on the way home. The smile on his face was ear to ear. Said "I love hearing you sing again." It is the soul honey, your essence. Rock on and at the top of your lungs. Best therapy there is!

 

You are going to find your groove. That I know. Debbie

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Yea Sue,

 

Getting outside your circle you got now will be good for you and will ease the pain of losing Ray at this same time a year ago just ahead of his 71st birthday. He was your life for many years together.

 

I think my life is divided up between four wives now and at times I sit and think about the good, the bad, and the ugly things that came about in each marriage. I keep coming back to the present one, the good one, and living this life is great since I had the stroke too. I'm so darn glad it happened now rather than many years ago with one of the other wives I had.

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Sue: I can identify with so much of what you said. Getting outside your comfort zone and being grateful for what you have. One thing I thought of is that since I am the stroke survivor, I am really alone except for my caregivers (thank you God). Most of my friends have "disappeared" and I try to remember I too can reach out on the phone or internet and not have to join a club or drive my car. My days are pretty much the same and I see the same people each week - 2x/week I work out (brief but it is getting out) having my hair done. I think about all the good Jerry and I had (it'll be 2 yrs in Oct). and, yes, it has gotten better and I don't cry much any more. I think a lot about the gratitude I have for the trips we took and things and people we saw and met before my stroke and before Jerry died. If I look at things straight on instead of upside down, it is always better. Hang in there Sue. Leah

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Guest hostwill

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Sue, you are in my prayers, May God comfort you during the times you need him most,

-Will

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Hello Sue - Your blog has really touched me. I don't think we can ever be prepared for losing a life long partner, even though when we have cared for them sometimes for many years,we know that eventually their passing will be another sadness we have to meet. Can I tell you about my cousin whose husband died 2 years ago this coming Christmas eve - she was prone to getting a bit depressed every now and then and when her husband died she said that she was going to get out of the house every day even if it meant walking to the shopping centre for a coffee. She has managed to do that most days and says just getting out has helped her confront her grieving. I believe that it is when our soul mate suffers their stroke that we begin our grieving process and upon reflection there are a couple of things which have helped me - the first one is walking - I belong to a womens walking group and getting out with women about the same age every three weeks and walking has been so cathartic for me. Something else which has really helped is music. When John goes to bed - much earlier than me - I listen to music - my music, just for me and that too helps. So keep your dates with John Denver, take care and hang in there. I am thinking of you. Jill

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Sue, thinking of you, in my prayers. It is good that you are getting out of your comfort zone, remember it takes time,. Enjoy your music, I love reggae, and RB, music calms the soul. God Bless,

Yvonne

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Sue, you are so insightful. Yes, life changes but you are so young at heart. It is hard to do stuff by yourself but it is very doable. I have started doing more stuff by myself because Wm cannot do them with me. I go to the gym and shop. I also walk the dog by myself. It is amazing how many people are out by themselves. It is also amazing how many people are with others. Ruth

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