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It IS scary...and if you get to be really old, it's hard to tell if it's worse if your body or your mind falls apart first. When I was a teenager, my great aunt Helen had diabetes (and did whatever she felt like anyway as to diet end everything else), so she had a host of other problems as well. So she used to tell me -frequently - "Laura, don't get old!" I kept saying, OK, OK, and then finally one day I asked her how I was to avoid that. It stopped her in her tracks, she looked around for a minute and pronounced, "Live dangerously!" Hmmm...

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I'm not quite sure where to put this post.  Yesterday was an eye-opener for me.  Where I think I should be in this grief journey as opposed to where I ACTUALLY AM.  How does one learn not to be hard on yourself?  How does one learn to not put so much pressure on oneself? I won't allow myself to believe what I went through with Mark dying, seeing him having a heart attack in front of me, having to give him chest compressions, having his life rely on what I did or how I did something.  I know there are only so many answers people can give.  This forum is not something that should take the place of meeting with a professional.  But, and this sounds really odd, but when I went to see my therapist, the damaged me was not always the person who went.  The functioning, have it together Maryann always walked into the office.  I thought that was who went to the driving instruction yesterday.  To my surprise, it wasn't.  There were a lot of factors going on.  While out driving the course, the instructor was acting like an instructor, but the sensitive me began to cower.  Perhaps he was getting frustrated with me; it was a very tense situation inside my head.  He was trying to get me to do something that was physically impossible, positioning myself to back up the car. It wasn't my car.  These cars have a brake on the passenger side as well for instruction.  Well, he told me I was stepping on the brake too much and it caused the double braking system to override things.  He kept telling me to take my foot off the brake, and it wasn't on it.  He took me step by step through the process, but when it came time for me to just do it, I couldn't remember what he had told me.  Have I gotten too sensitive to everything?  I am not trying to make excuses or feel sorry for myself.  When I sit in my car, and think about driving, I don't feel nervous.  I can visualize myself doing it.  But I've lost so much confidence, more than I realize.  How does that return or is it damaged for good?  You are my family and I value what you say.

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Maryann, I am getting ready to go back to Never Never Land where Billy left me. Yesterday I gave my sister a much needed rest.  I left there crying and have not heard from her.  She knows my "duty" does me more damage than it helps her, and I guess she is angry at me and knows I cannot do my duty.  I cannot describe this without writing a book.  My mama needs inside a room sized padded playpen to keep her from doing what 2-year old children do, and that is to keep them from harming themselves.  A nursing home is not possible.  My sister said she would sleep the whole time.  She slept only maybe five minutes.  I looked over at her, her mouth was open, her head was bent back to the side, and she looked just like Billy's death mask.  I lost it.  I got to hyperventilating crying, could not breathe, chest hurt, and I WANTED TO DIE.  I was driving back to my daughter's house.  I passed the hospital and seriously thought about stopping.  Then I remembered "miles to go before I sleep".  I want to help everyone.  My mom and sister have gone beyond my help.  I am going to have to pay all my mom and sister's bills, but I cannot physically take care of them.  I guess that makes guilt I will have to live with.  I cannot physically do things I could do 10 years ago, and mentally, well, I am just impaired.

So, to giving help to anyone, I am a very flawed person at days away from a seven month loss.  I have to go to Never-Never Land, paint doors and one room. Arrange for movers, arrange for help in cleaning out/off that house that we moved into to take care of family that we have enabled for 54 years. We should have been RVers these last 18 years, but could not because of family and us being enablers.  I have to break that cycle and I am having a hard time. The prophetic words of our oncologist "shoulda, woulda, coulda" are my life.  

I did not stop at the hospital though a room, (padded if necessary) seemed fitting.  I have to finish this Herculean job I started.  I am 73-years old and I have seen limitations.  So, if driving will make you more self sufficient, think of this crazy old lady.  If I can do all of this, then to quote Pooh Bear  "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."  We can do it.  I know you were read the story of the "little train that could."  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..........and we can, because we have no choice.

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Maryann,

Like Marg, I am older at 69. I have always been fairly tough and independent. My self confidence was one of the first things to leave me after losing Ron I am gradually regaining it, but will probably never function as independently as I once did. For me though, age and health are also factors. IMHO, Marg is amazing.

I'm sure you were just nervous. Give it a little more time.

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Karen and Marge...I am almost 77 and I am hoping that I can make it in our new life that we did not want.

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Maryann, I wish I had some magic words I could say that would make you feel better and feel more confident, however, I don't, just to say that I know how you are feeling.  I'm angry with myself again today.  Since Dale died, I too have lost some of my confidence.  Most of the time when I know I have somewhere I need to go the next day, I don't sleep the night before.  I've been having problems with my hips and legs hurting and I guess when I know I have to go some place the next day, I work myself up and I don't sleep well and then my legs hurt and I don't get hardly any sleep at all.  I don't even realize I'm getting myself worked up over going out, but I guess I am.  I will be up most of the night before and then when I do get up in the morning, my stomach hurts, head hurts and legs are so bad I can hardly walk.  I was going to go do laundry this morning and felt so bad when I got up, I couldn't go. I just get so frustrated with myself and like you said " How does one learn not to be hard on yourself?".  I'm guessing the best we can do, is to keep on trying and eventually our confidence will come back.  Coming here and posting and reading all of your posts does help.

Joyce

 

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I made it through those 175 miles without losing my tie rods, ball joints, suspensions, or whatever the hell is wrong with that truck.  For a 12-year-old truck, she and I make it okay. Will turn it over to the mechanics tomorrow.  

I think your probably a young woman Maryann.  (Actually, I just looked and my oldest was born in June of the same year you were.) And, we all are hard on ourselves.  If our mate had been as hard on us as we are on ourselves we would have had them cowering two inches from the floor.  Eleanor Roosevelt came from a rich family but she was told how ugly she was over and over by her family.  She could have become some mindless recluse, certainly thinking she was so ugly, how could she get out in front of people.  How could she be a leader?  I remember my mom and dad discussing her.  They did not do it with praise for her, they very much disliked her.  My family, all of them, were born and raised in the deep south.  Eleanor had ideas that most southern people did not agree with and I remember my folks calling her names.  If my folks, nameless little country people of no importance (except to our own "kind"), how could this ugly woman make such an impact?  She had money.  She had the name.  She was married to the president, but everyone knew he had lovers, she knew he had lovers.  Money does not make you beautiful, fame does not make you smart and brave, all of this has to come from within yourself.  If she can/could do this, so can you.  It is not going to be easy going it alone.  Today I have energy, today I have strength, tomorrow I might be a mass of flesh crying all day.  

The thing is, we do not have any choice.  We were left.  Not on purpose.  I have no idea why we were left.  We do not have to prove a damn thing to anybody but ourselves.  If we can find the courage to do for ourselves one day........maybe next week we will have the courage for one day.

We are all different.  Tomorrow I might wake up with 102 temperature.  (I have to take my temp 2-3 times a day).  My colon is in danger of rupture again and overall sepsis again.  I don't want my kids to see that.  That is why I wanted to take those 50 morphine pills and go so far out in the woods with only notes in my pockets, I figured my kids would not have to see my death mask.  Billy's death mask will haunt me forever.  He was so self-conscious that he would not have wanted me to see this.   

So, being alone is no fun.  Having no self confidence is no fun either.  Actually, living is no fun.  Yesterday when I was hyperventilating I was thinking, this is not good, it would feel so easy to just let go, it would be so nice to just quit breathing.  But, say that there is a heaven, say that our lost loved ones did go to heaven.  Say they might be angels watching us.  You don't have to have my faith (in fact it is so shallow I cannot share it), but if there was any way that they could see us, what would you want your mate to think of you?  Would you want him to think that you honored him by finding strength to go on or would you want him to think you just gave up?  I know Billy was always amused at me for not finishing my multiplication tables, not learning how to swim, being so afraid of the dark, having such terrible dreams.  I don't think he would want me to have another man, I think he probably kept that jealous core even in his perfect world now.  But, if for no other person, do what you have to do to honor him/her.  But, do it when you think you can.

And, I think I just wrote a book.  Maryann, we can do this.  You are not alone.  We might be confident five minutes out of the day (or however long it took me to write this).  When I get up from this chair I am going to see Billy's urn and know beyond any fact, yes he is gone, forever from my sight and I might crumble.  But, we are all in this together.

water.jpg

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Marge,

"Would you want him to think that you honored him by finding strength to go on"

i like that.  I always wonder how I can honor Al.  I do not want to keep on doing the things we used to do.  Those things were ours, not mine.  No more plays and making our own cards, etc.. Maybe just keep living is enough.  He has to know how hard it is.

Gin

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Maryann,

I'm going to respond to your post first, and then I'll go back and read the other posts.

You have shown me what an amazing person you are and I don't think of you as the cowering type,   That said, I suppose we all have our cowering moments.  (I think I'd have been tempted to march back into the DMV and request a different instructor.)  I don't think the situation is a reflection on YOU, I think it's more a reflection on the INSTRUCTOR.  I remember when my kids were in high school and seemed to be the only ones doing well in math (I credit that to their genes and attentiveness).  They told me most of their math class was failing.  I told them that is the teacher then.  My son said the teacher is fine, the kids don't listen!  Again, I said, that is the teacher.  He has to find a way to reach them, a way to get and hold their attention, to make the class come alive for them!  To show them the usefulness of math.  Everyone doesn't learn the same way, so it's up to the instructor to find a way to reach them.

As for your forgetting what he told you, that is the grieving part that gives our focus a real run for its money!  It'll improve but it can take a very long time.  Don't give up!

Be as understanding and patient with yourself as Mark would be, you deserve your own kindness.

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Marg,

Your sister is not doing this while newly grieving a dear husband.  You cannot compare or expect yourself to be as your sister (who has her own limitations).  And be careful falling into the trap that you think you need to pay for everything simply because you are unable to sit with your mom for your share of the "duty".  I have sisters that didn't come sit with my mom, I never expected them to, we're all different and do what we can.  Your sister got herself into the situation she is in with your mom, it's not really up to you to bail her out or make anything up to her.  You can't make up for a lifetime of her own choices.  Maybe your sister should be sainted, maybe not, but Marg, I really hope you see how wonderful YOU are!  You take care of everyone!  Right now, this year, it's time to look after YOU!  And anyone who questions that, send them to me!  B)

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In my humble opinion, I believe self confidence is highly overrated.  In the pasI falsely believed that I had to be strong or fearless or motivated by myself.  I have learned that my strength is shown through my weakness.  .When I strike on my own power, I am limited because I am human. 

I believe God gives each of us powers, traits, and abilities.  It is in my weakness and when I lean on Christ that I am able to do much more than I can on my own.  If you don't have it, ask God for it?  And if you are not a  Christian, ask your Higher Power, cosmic consciousness, to reveal the truth and give you the talent and abilities.

 Before,I found this group I can across a man who was a nonbeliever who suddenly and tragically lot his wife. He went through simular grief  and he managed to cope and adjust to his loss.  It was an eye opener for me.  We all need to, as we are able, give ourselves time and space to grieve and find our way through.  There is no one right or only way through this grief.  we need to face it daily as it comes and not put undue  expectations on ourselves.  Live in today each day.  Shalom - George

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Marg,

just got to your next post...I love the pictorial quote you gave us. And my way of looking at it, any woman who can live in the White House and survive deserves kudos!

I hope to God you don't get sepsis!  Please take care of yourself and check yourself into the nearest hospital if you think something's going to rupture!  Don't make me have to come looking for you!!! 

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WARNING: Faith mentioned here, and it is my own belief, not to force on anyone.

George, you know about my lack of faith.  I cannot say I am faithless, just live in the shallow end of the pool hoping the powers that be let me live long enough to bring it on big time to me, like it used to be.  I left my mom and sister in a mess that I cannot save them from.  I could if I had a million dollars, but I don't, unfortunately.  My duty is to help.  My patience and my anxiety will not let me help physically, and that is what they need.  So, leaning on my strict Missionary Baptist upbringing I prayed from Louisiana to the Arkansas line.  I prayed to Jesus and Billy to please help my son and daughter as they are going through tough stuff right now I won't mention, and Billy's heart, our granddaughter too.  I think of Jesus and Billy as both being kind.  But first, I prayed to God and my dad.  Both were fearsome entities in my growing up years.  God was to be feared and he was a punishing God, and so was my dad.  So, I prayed to both of them and also got a little angry with both of them and told them what I thought.  I turned my mom and sis over to them because I have a little too much to handle on my own hands, and I only have two hands.  

I quit praying at the Arkansas line.  Not sure if they cross over into this state.  And, I am saying this in jest too, but I prayed in earnest for my family.  That was my faith returning slowly, but I'm only 5 feet tall and doubt I will head down to the deep end of the pool until I get settled, if I am allowed to do so.  

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Marge that is a great quote by an amazing lady. She was way ahead of her time.

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Marg,

Just to let you know that you are not alone in your quest for faith. I have now visited four churches in my area(trying to stay close to home). Still looking for a place where I fit in. My former neighbors had invited me many times to visit theirs, so I did. Members and ministers of every church I have visited have been welcoming. Religion has progressed and I have been left in the dust. So far, I have not found one that sings traditional hymns, nor caters to the "doubting Thomas", which i am most of the time. I am not giving up. You should not either. Our faith will appear to us when we least expect it.

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Karen, we are on the same page in our posts and in our life.  I don't think we can forget what we have learned and in looking for faith to help us accept what we must, I think you and I are walking the right path.  But again, this is what I want and what you want, and many others.  Yet, there is still a faction that does not want it, and I am so glad we have a choice.  Your an inspiration my friend.  

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Karen,

I wish you were here, you'd fit right in to my church.  We sing hymns mostly, although they're sneaking in those new songs, I don't like most of them, for one thing, I like to read the  music until I learn it, and they never have music for us to read, just the words on the overhead so we never know what the next note will be.  Plus they seem more repetitious.  The traditional hymns, for me, are steeped in meaning, there's a story behind each one.  It's a small church and the people are friendly, I like that.  I've also noticed how accepting people are of where you're at, that meant a lot to me as well because I was pretty broken when I first came there, following a divorce after 23 years of marriage.  People didn't ask questions, just accepted me in their warm embrace.  You'll find the right one for you, sometimes it just takes searching, but you'll know it when you're there.  I once spent a whole year searching for the right church and when I walked into it, I knew I was home, and it was a big church (7,000), unlike the tiny church I'd been used to.  Sometimes we end up in a different place than we'd think.

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In my grandmother's little Methodist Church, the little country church, all the hymnals have stamped inside "Donated by Elizabeth Matlock Wise."  Now if they could keep a pastor for four monthly services that would be nice, but they seem to have a "circuit rider" for these small country churches once a month.  I noticed that also in the many country churches I pass on my way to Never-Never Land those 175 miles through the little country towns.   

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Christian Opinion ...

Marg, God meets us where we are at.He does not judge us based on where we think we should be.  By simple prayers, God will hear us and answer those prayers. I prefer the more traditional hymns because they are more focused on God.  It took me a couple of years to find the church I now attend. I go to church to worship God not follow a pastor or teaching. If I ever found a perfect church I would mess it up because even though I am a Christian, I still sin. By Grace, He forgives allof my sins,sins;   past, present, and future.  I am not sinless. I strive to sin less each day.

PS  This tablet is giving me some challenges

Shalom - George

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Margaret,

We haven't had a regular pastor for almost two years, we hire pulpit supply and it changes every week, sometimes we have someone different for evening than we did morning.  Our church is doing well anyway, we have great elders and everyone is doing their job, I'm proud of our church for being steadfast though small.

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I don't know where else to put this, so this seems a good topic listing.

i remember a time when boxes showing up here were fun.  Novels, guitar stuff for Steve, little gadgets we'd find and want to try out.  Fun coming home and finding a package.  Now I get medical stuff for me or books on grief.  I can't even think of anything I want to order that would be fun.   I just have no interest in anything and nothing would make me feel better.

The ripple effects of this just keep coming up with new ones.  

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I'm with you on that one, Gwen. Ron used to order mostly useless gadgets from Harriet Carter and we'd order CD's & movies from Amazon. Now I order vacuum cleaner bags. Recently I completed a survey from Cox because they offered a $10 gift certificate from Amazon for doing so. I was sure it would be useful. It took me forever to settle on a Clint Black CD, not because I needed or wanted it, just because it was free and damned if I was going to waste it on vacuum cleaner bags. Ron used to tease me and say "If they were giving away a truckload of watermelon rinds for free, you would take them." He had me pegged. Still, there was no excitement opening that Amazon package. At least it wasn't a bill.

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Karen, Billy always said I would buy a jug of green water if it was in a pretty bottle.  I probably would have too, but would  have preferred purple.  The mechanic called my truck purple, I am so proud.  

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Gwen, I just received a package and for the first time in five years, was excited to open it. I ordered a new runner for my kitchen floor to replace the one my wife had bought years before. I needed it badly as the old one had become so grungy. I looked through her magazines and picked one out thinking as she might and for the first time, I was having fun buying something for the house. It can happen for you one day too. It becomes especially nice when you know you didn't do it totally on your own. Remember we are all products of two people not just ourselves.  A little of them lives inside us. It's like when you look back at something you've done thinking wow, I never would have done that if not for him. That's kind of a cool thing to realize and for just a minute, you don't feel so quite alone.  Not only that, but you treat yourself to something which we don't tend to do very often but should.

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