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widows have bad days too


swilkinson

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I read about stroke depression and I do not have that reason for feeling blue. The sun is shining, the birds are singing but still some days I feel sad. I have a roof over my head and warm blankets and nice food but still some days I feel bad about life. I guess that is part of the human condition. I miss Ray, I miss someone to talk things over with, I miss someone who is on my side. I miss being part of a couple, I miss the real Ray, the laughing guy I married when I was 21.

 

I miss all the plans we had, especially the plan for growing old together. I miss my dreams of the trip around Australia, fishing, swimming, just lounging around in a sunny spot in winter or cooler spot in summer. Who stole my dream? I think it died in 1999 when Ray had the major strokes, that somehow I learned to live with that loss as I took care of him and in the end I did not think about it at all, just maintaining his life was more important than worrying about what we had lost.

 

Everyone says that the second year of widowhood is worse and it is in a way because that is when you get to the realisation that they are never coming back, that this is it, you are on your own now. That is when the "new normal" is here to stay and that only with a huge effort can you change that. This is it girl, you are on your own, no-one to discuss things with, no-one to be the one that cares for you in that special way, no-one to tell you to "go to sleep and forget about it" when someone hurts your feelings or you feel as if you have been insulted or no-one appreciates you.

 

In fact you are now not special to anyone in that special way it is true in relationship, no-one can take the place of your spouse/life partner, not even another new partner. My, my am I feeling sorry for myself? Yes I am. Summer is here and there is no-one to go on a picnic with, no-one to watch out for me if I go body surfing at the beach, no-one to suggest a movie or to read with while I sit on the verandah or out in the the sun. I was sitting on my front verandah yesterday and suddenly I was so lonely. I am not depressed, I am simply sadder some days. On those days I feel like nothing is ever going to be right again. It is a real pity party and I don't have them often but like everyone else I do have them. And there is no-one here to tell me to "snap out of it" now.

 

I am a brave face person. I know I have been chided for that on here and in real life but it is the way I get by. If you have seen the movie "Strictly Ballroom" you know what I mean when I say I go out with my "happy face" on. It is how I was brought up. You left the house with a smile on your face however you felt. And so I still do. No-one knows the heartache because you don't let it show. And why do you not let it show? Maybe it is because both Mum and Dad lost a parent at 16, Mum lost her Mum and Dad lost his Dad. And being English they were taught not to express their feelings in public and we were taught that too.

 

By the way I do get on from day to day. I do community work, I did church visiting yesterday, three little old ladies , well older than me, in their little villas or their comfy room in the hostel of the retirement village where Mum was in the nursing home. Maybe I should have asked myself was this a good day to go as I probably did get sadder as I visited them and heard their problems with staff, their loneliness and in one case the joy as she told me was going out on Sunday, first time for a couple of months. I try not to identify too closely with them but sometimes that happens and I wonder if I will end up like them, in a single room with the family far away and having to wait until they are ready to visit.

 

Just as the first signs of Spring show in the northern hemisphere the first mists of Autumn show up in my valley, showing that winter is soon to be the reality of life. It is common to be a little sad as the seasons change as change is inevitable in our lives. Change is the only invariable, there will be changes, in our body, in our mind, in all our lives. I do try to do as Asha says and "go with the flow", I do use my faith to know that I am never alone, G-d is always with me. But sometimes that doesn't help. I just feel sad and lonely. I know that if changes are to be made it will take an effort on my part and I will make some mistakes along the way.

 

One of the stroke survivors posted a thread asking what you do if you feel depressed? I have a lot of things I can do, like ring a friend, read, do some housework, play some music, sing and dance around the house when I am in the right mood. What I don't have is someone to act as a mood booster, someone to take me out of myself, to put an arm around me as Trev used to do or smile and make silly faces at me like Lucas used to do. yes, I am missing Trev and Edie and their family too.

 

I can get out into the garden, though until it rains nothing much is going to grow, the annuals are drying out and dying, that happens in a drought year which is what 2014 seems to be. And that in itself brings a sadness as I love my garden and want it to grow and thrive. So one of the usual pleasures is not there, I do not have an incentive to garden until we have a good soaking rain and everything greens up again. So I should take myself to the municipal gardens and enjoy them while the summer roses are blooming as mine aren't doing so well.

 

Nothing special I have to do today, although there are some church events tomorrow. That is the routine part of life, go here, do that, help out somewhere else. It is not a bad life, it is a good life, but sometimes it is a lonely life too.

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The one thing Stroke could not take from Ray was his "Essence." Regardless of his condition, there was always a twinkle in his eye, his special laugh, a hand gesture, special (secret from the kids) communication. It is still there, honey. Reach out and find it.

 

I know you are missing Trev and Edie and your summer has been difficult. Know that you are among friends and yes Big HUG! Debbie

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Sue :

 

your blogs are so honest it make me realize how my mother sometimes must feel without my dad. though I am so happy for you that you had such a close connection with Ray for 45 years. its so sweet to have that kind of love for your partner. something to aspire for

 

Asha

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Some days you just need to let the pity party be what it is. None of us can stay there and you are certainly not doing that. But sadness and feeling sorry for our situation is truth--even for many who haven't had major illness touch their lives. In spite of all we have to be grateful for, there are also losses we grieve over. It must be particularly hard to see Trev and Edie move away. Another loss. They are a phone call away but that only helps so much.

 

I find myself paying attention to my single friends. Some have lost their spouses through death, some divorce, some never married. I watch how they manage their lives, how they plan for evenings out. Since Lauren went into the nursing home I feel I'm both married and living single. I'm sure you can relate to this. All family/house decisions are mine alone and any leisure activities are up to me to organize (if I even have the energy or heart for it). But, I still have my husband to share some parts of life with. I think those single women can help guide me in building fun back into my life. It's not the same, I know that. But, if I can call a friend and invite her to an evening at the symphony and dinner, it helps with the loneliness. At least, it has for me so far. But I've only been at this a couple of months--nothing like the much longer period you've been trying to find meaning for your life now.

 

I don't know if this suggestion will help or not, or if you're already doing things such as this. I do know that Lauren and I were quite different people with different interests. In our marriage, we managed those differences just fine but that sometimes meant we gave up some activities that didn't float the others' boat. For me, one of those things was attending symphony concerts. I love classical music and he isn't inclined. On a whim, a couple of weeks ago I ordered two tickets to an upcoming symphony concert--got the best seats I could find--and invited a friend to go with me. We had a good time (no, it wasn't the same as doing something with Lauren). Truth is, Lauren wouldn't have wanted to go and I wouldn't have asked him to. I didn't feel like I was trying to "replace" our special times with someone else. I felt like I was reclaiming something that is uniquely special for me. My own thing. I'd venture a guess that you've already given this and many other options lots of consideration.

 

You are seeing your way through this just as you did the stroke journey. One day at a time, looking things straight in the eye, allowing some time to grieve, taking a deep breath and plunging in with what needs to be done today. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. My wish for you is that you experience many blessings along the way and that every once in a while a great surprise rises up to interrupt the Repeat-Repeat-Repeat! ~~Donna

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Thanks all for the thoughtful replies. Donna, not quite to the stage of booking tickets and asking someone to join me. I used to have two lovely friends who I went to see movies with when Ray was in respite but unfortunately both have succumbed to age-related illnesses.

 

It is still a one-day-at-a-time process for me, not changing things suddenly but slowly changing life to achieve what i need for the future. Your support means a lot in that process.

 

Sue.

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I don't think there would be a way to not feel those feelings, it wouldn't be normal. I guess that makes you normal.... hmmmmm.... not that you feel any comfort in that, for sure. I think even when you get to where most days are good and you feel joy in everything again, there will always be that rogue thought that sneaks in and breaks your heart again. Sending you prayers and hugs, -Sandy

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Sue, I feel sad for you. I'm glad though that you're just letting it out. Sometimes we just have to let it hurt. I do not show a sad face in public either. In private though, sometimes I really "wail". Sending you a hug.

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Guest hostwill

Posted

Sue,

you sound "normal" to me. Losing a loved one is difficult, but you are weathering it very well. Hugs and prayers ascending. have a great day!

 

-Will

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