Life of a Widow: When times are tough

I have not been writing as much as I should. I am back to that familiar unfocused feeling, I am also in a mode where I feel like I want to talk to someone and tell them how I am but there is no someone is there? I could probably write for hours tonight. to catch up on the last 6 weeks. Instead I am going to focus on today 1-29-18.

One of my dear friends is fighting a battle with cancer. She has fought with vigor, bravery, and strength. She is unfortunately towards the end of her journey. We threw her  a Celebration of Life Party that was so deserved a couple of weeks ago. She looked beautiful and it truly boosted her spirits. She got to see everyone and enjoy a fancy night. Her husband posted today to let us know that things are not going well. I am home sick with the flu taking meds, hopeless because I cannot even go over there to offer any support. She is a symbol of grace, beauty, and strength. I just want to kick this illness and be able to go see her this week. Since truly there is nothing I can do, I know this is selfishly a visit for me.

Also today, I had to go to the doctor and be treated for the flu. When you are sick you want to be taken care of, to be catered to, to have soup and tea delivered. When you are a widow there is no one under obligation to do that for you anymore. I am so blessed to have amazing friends who brought me soup and coffee or called to check on me.

On top of wanting to feel well,  wanting to go see my friend, wanting to be out of this house and seeing people to avoid being alone right now, I want to be held. Since Matt died I have not really been held by the opposite sex. Let’s face it the online dating of today results in a lot of impersonal meet-ups or group dates, the “hookup” attitudes result in kisses not cuddles. The dates are primarily around drinking, so everyone can loosen up and be less nervous. Thus far none of my online dates went past date 6. The great guy I met organically we dated for two months until his ex won him back. It has been a lonely 15 months.

I want to let it all go away for a little while. Where is the guy I can let go in front of and just be? Does it even exist? When I feel myself get closer or open up I worry the guys back off. I truly have no clue what people want anymore. Quite honestly I am shocked anyone ever meets anyone to date…. more on this topic soon.

 

Life-of-a-Widow-When-you

She grew calm

I am the calm in the storm:

I do not really think I feel anything anymore. I really just allow the hard moments to happen to me and I go along with the punches, waves, bends, and curves. I do not care what happens to me.

When the Narcissist happened I literally watched it unfolding doing nothing to protect myself from the danger and the signs. It took a persistent and unexpected friend to really get me to act on what I knew and walk out.

When the latest thing happened and I should have reacted in some fashion negatively, I did not. I sat calmly and waited. My date even asked me if I was in shock or ok. He looked at me with concern for how chill I was. Dead husband hanging in a rafter of my attic was my reply. I have not shouted, cried, or freaked out yet about it. I suspect I will not.

Old me would have been more crazy, more frantic, more enraged and cried and screamed. I think it would take a lot to get me to respond emotionally again to anything that happens. I hate shock and surprise but I also no longer allow these unlucky occurrences to shake me. I have no choice because the emotions just do not come.

I cannot hardly cry anymore. Maybe a brief 30 second outburst into the fur of my dogs. But beyond that this widow is growing colder, quieter, more worn down. She is reserved, beaten down, and expecting nothing but unfortunate events to continue to find her.

Luckless:

luck·less

adjective

  1. having bad luck; unfortunate. synonyms: unluckyunfortunateunsuccessfulhapless, out of luck, cursed, jinxed, doomedill-fated

I recall saying to my husband once how unlucky I was typically. How bad things seem to find me. I always felt I was a good person, striving to be my best self while being helpful to those around me. Honest, kind, considerate, and giving. He used to say I was selfish sometimes. Maybe I am a little bit. I do not think I am a bad person overall to warrant such circumstances, but that is hard to self judge. I had no idea all this could happen to one person/family. He and I are both luckless.

Brief encounters of Joy:

Things make me smile sometimes or laugh out loud. I try to surround myself with those things first and foremost. I have a couple of good friends that I swear take away the pain by lifting my spirits and making me giggle. It is during this laugh out loud comedy over google chat or Facebook messenger or a bottle of red that I feel like there is life still in me. I have some new friends that I love to visit at the coffee shop. We share our life with each other and those moments I think maybe I will be ok. I see their strength and try to grab hold and learn how to be stronger, wiser, and more assertive.

My joy however is muted by grief:

I wish I could just throw caution to the wind and truly enjoy moments more. I know I am probably damaging a potential relationship right now because of my inability to handle uncertainty, grey areas, and letting this evolve. I know that is because of grief.

This calm widow requires consistency, certainty, understanding, space. She craves joy, laughter, and passion. I think I do a good job hiding the cold side. Maybe you do not even know about it?

If you know me you may be wondering why I need to be more assertive, me the Type A, me the strong coworker. It is in my personal relationships with guys and friends that I allow myself to be walked all over, hurt, and used. I am of two minds it seems.

  • Work: Strong, firm, spirited and feisty
  • Emergencies and conflict: calm, balanced, unemotional
  • Dating and sometimes in Friendship: do not say no enough, not as assertive, sensitive, uncertain, people pleasing

I continue to take to the waves and when they knock me down I simply stay calm… almost debating if they should drown me or I should float with them. The old me would have swum them, ridden them to see where I would end up. The old me would thrash and fight if the waves started to swallow me.

11.5 Months

I guess I am checking in on myself a bit but also trying to be there for others.

I am just under two weeks away from the one year anniversary of losing my best friend to suicide. It is still inconceivable. There one day and gone the next. On a phone call that morning and then gone that evening.

This week I travel for business for the 3rd week in a row. Next week I am home. The following week is dreaded. I still do not have a plan for what I will do and where I will be.

I have been busying my days with work, adult beverages, online dating apps, and chatting with my close friends over the computer.

As I close in on the year without him. I am trying to put into words how much I miss but it simply is bottled up. I miss his kindness, his presence, how much he loved me, his friendship, him all of him. I cannot dig deeper because when I do I flashback to seeing him. The flashbacks have been much more frequent lately. Trigger words like rope for example send me into tears. I am not avoiding thinking of him but thinking of him brings a lot of pain along with it. It is not easy to explain. When someone you love so much has brought you  both joy and immense horror how do you deal with that?

Reflecting on the person I am today. I am a shifted person. Instead of spending my time rescuing dogs I am instead trying to be there for people. Whether it be support groups, private messages with other widows, writing this blog, or lending an ear to a friend or family member in crisis (depression or otherwise). I am trying to be a better person, listener, support, and friend.

Suicide, depression, and anxiety are extremely important topics for me. I have had several friends talk to me about these topics as they relate to themselves, siblings, friends, etc. My eyes have been opened up to how pervasive depression is. I am grateful to those of you who have come to tell me your stories. To help me to shed light on what my husband may have been feeling. Those people know I will be there to help them if they have a bad day. It is now on my radar, you are on my radar, you matter, and you are loved.

If you are wondering if you may be suffering from depression please contact your doctor and get a therapist referral. Here are some of the signs of depression from Mental Health America. The hyperlink below will open up the website for you. I hope that we will continue to erase the stigma on mental health issues. Talking about it saves lives.

What Are the Symptoms of Clinical Depression?

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as chronic pain or digestive disorders)
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

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I interrupt this Grief Wave for a random thought on Wanting and Living

So I know I am supposed to continue on about support systems as I am exploring all of them. It should be Support systems and mediums today. But, this is my blog and my outlet. I do not know who reads it and who does not and that is ok. It is anonymous for a reason. It is here to share my thoughts and continue my honest truth and living presently. I have bottled up some of the stuff beyond the grief.

So, instead of support and mediums. I bring you this….

I am being me. I am living. I am 8.5 months into this and I am ok. I am happy sometimes. I am sad sometimes. I am angry sometimes. I am emotional sometimes. I am quiet and a loner sometimes. I am ready for action sometimes. I do not need anyone or anything really in order to get by (well maybe some help w my 5 pets when I travel!) I am independent, self-reliant, smart, educated, and successful. I own a place, pay my bills, work hard and play hard. My heart is huge and empty but that is just how it is right now. I am learning to go on hikes and swim alone, reading a ton, writing even more, booking yoga retreats and maybe even camping too. I am learning to live like I never have; taking back what his depression took from us. I admit I have been convinced to try the crazy online dating thing. Guys ask me out at bars, random places, or online. I am finding peace and happiness in myself and in this moment.

It is not about getting a date; that is easy; it’s finding a person who I could even consider talking beyond one moment to. The guy that challenges your mind, that shares your beliefs, that makes your heart beat faster, that infuriates you in a good way, that makes you want again. That pulls you closer with one look. That you knew the moment you saw them that they would impact your life forever.

So, I have convinced you this is not need. That I am riding grief waves with the best of them and not drowning.

I cannot control however that I sometimes Want. I want to share things with him, laugh with him, hold him close to me, I want to develop something again, I want my friend to be there more. Who would not want to share time with someone they get along well with. I think I blew it long ago (well that’s pretty much what he said). I expressed where I am at and was shot down. But I was honest, raw, open, and vulnerable for the first time in a long time.

I am doing fine, I am not crying and pining away. I am not depressed. I did not stop living and woe is me. It’s more of a disappointment. I am strong and resilient. I am doing me. I am opening myself up to new things, new people, experiences. I have been through hell and this is NOT going to break me if THAT did not.

The Want I have to let go of is there in the background.

I cannot control how I started to feel, how he feels, or how either of us choose to respond to those feelings or lack thereof. I know that he either feels nothing, feels something & won’t admit it, or sees no reason to explore for a myriad of reasons. Maybe it’s scary to try for him I know for sure it is for me. Maybe for some people risk outweighs potential benefits. Maybe the past is harder to forget than people think. Maybe there is someone else. Maybe he doesn’t want to look like the one who is talking to the Widow Girl. And the worst one maybe a person can be attracted to and friendly with someone, but not want more than that because they simply are uninterested and feel nothing around them. Ouch that one hurts.

It is not about the future it is about the present moment. And now at this moment we are not on the same page and that is ok. It is not my place to change his mind, convince him I won’t hurt him again, or give him my list of qualities. Nor would I want to. It has to be organic. It is not something you chase after. It is not something I would want to rush into. I know that I bring a set of issues and complications that most people would not want to take on. I know that I will be his friend and there for him regardless of this.

All I wanted was a chance to see. My experience is that the best relationships I had started as friendship (I had two amazing ones my late husband and well this person). You cannot get someone to let you in. You cannot change how someone feels and you cannot change how they respond. You can only go by what they say even if you are uncertain you believe it or understand it fully. You can be their friend, drop the flirtations, let your feelings out, then you can push those feelings aside because they do not feel the same.

For myself and my own sorting – I had given it a lot of thought.

  • What it isn’t for me: need, loneliness, settling, convenient, easy, rushed, a band-aid/rebound
  • What it is for me: complicated, confusing, insane, potential, scary, living, joy, fun
  • What it was for me: special, memorable, passionate, outstanding, emotional, amazing, comfort, joy, love, regretful in the end
  • What it could have been: everything we never thought we would ever have a chance at again because of how life went…plus the good stuff we had before…. (and I did not even share the half of it).
  • What it is instead: A friendship that I hope continues to grow strong. I hope it becomes a two-way street where he comes to me too on bad days. I hope he values and enjoys our time as friends as I do.
  • What he did for me: Made me smile and laugh when I did not think I could. Gave me something to look forward to when the messages came through. Was a voice in a very quiet time when only a couple of people checked on me. Gave me ideas and encouragement (paint, write, get out of your head). During this same period of time I started to heal, live, sleep, feel, respond. I give credit in many places for this… mainly to me and the work I did, the medium, family & friends, the therapy, yoga, support groups, suicide survivors, and to him.  This friendship awakened me and brought back something inside my dead carcass. It pulled me out of a dumpster of sadness.
  • My hope for Him: Happiness, love, success, passion. A continued ability to be supportive to those in need, this is a true gift. Forgiveness of the past. Everything to be great and fun all of the time 🙂 ! He is a good man, genuine, and whoever finally wins his heart is a lucky girl.

Here are a few additional and random reflections:

  • I hate the one-sidedness of grief. I want to reciprocate our friendships and be there too for people.
  • I want people in my life because they want to be not because of obligation or perceived needs I have.
  • I am doing me, I am ok, I am alive, I am living, I do not need another person to make me happy.
  • Think before you act because what you put out you cannot always take back.