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Don't tell me what I should do


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I talked to a friend today and it was all I could do to keep from hanging up on her. She really badgered me about what I am going to do and then telling me what I should do. She said she had talked to a lot of widows and this is what I should do. I don't care how many widows a person has talked to if they haven't become one they don't know what they are talking about. She said, you can't stay in that house alone, you need to get somewhere that you can be around people. I am around the people that I want to be around. My daughter, my brother, my niece. I have a friend that I go to lunch with on Tues. I have a friend who lost her husband five years ago( he was my pastor and I knew him well) we understand each other and it is a comfort to talk to her. I have a friend from church, she still has her husband but it helps to talk to her because we know a lot of the same people, went to church together until my husband got sick. 

My friend has a husband with dementia that knows nothing except to walk around the house and follow her. He can no longer carry on a conversation and forgets to go to the bathroom and he is afraid of water so she has a hard time cleaning him up. She thinks I am lucky and she envys me.  Her husband is 86 and in good condition.  I know she means well but I don't know what  I want to do. I don't know if I want to sell my house, I have many memories of my husband here.She tells me I need to. I could go and live with my daughter and she would like for me to but not now. She thinks I don't need to do anything in a hurry. She does not want me to put my husband's clothes away and Oh it is so hard to look at them. Especially his shirts and his shoes. My family is not telling me what to do. I feel bad that I resented her talking to me the way she did but it was very upsetting to me. She just kept on and on. She calls me often because she needs someone to understand what she is going through. What she does not realize, yes, she thinks her husband would be better off dead, He would not like to live as he is but he doesn't know how he is. He is happy, I can hear him laughing when she calls me.What she does not realize is how she is going to feel when he is gone. She says he is already gone. She says she thinks it is harder than me losing my husband. She is going to feel very guilty after he is gone. Just like most of us feel some guilt, I know I do because some times I got tired of caring for my husband, emptying the bedside commode and the smell It had. I got tired of pee in the floor and washing the many towels I wiped it up with. I got tired of having to strip the bed and wash everything. I got tired of him being so negative about everything. I could go on and on and I feel so guilty for the things I thought and did. Now when I look back I would give anything to be able to do all those things for him again. I had no idea that I would miss him so terribly and feel so ,  I don't know how to describe the way I feel. It is like someone is throwing icewater on me every time  I think of him and realize that he is GONE!   For 58 years we shared our lives with each other and I think of when we were young and we had so much fun. We barely made it from payday to payday but we didn't care as long as we had the money to spend the weekend camping at the river with our younger brothers. He loved my mama and Daddy and nearly every Sunday morning they would call because my daddy had thought of somewhere we could go. My husband would drive and daddy would drink a few cans of beer. My husband had never even tasted beer or anything else with alcohol. My daddy would ask if he wanted one and he would say no and my daddy was very proud that he wouldn't drink. They were like our best friends. I have gotten off the subject here but I am just upset and want to talk to people who understand what I am going through. As you all know it is NOT easy. I wake up every morning and realize he is gone. This morning just as I was waking up, I heard a noise and just for a second I thought it was my husband falling. I see him in my mind's eye everywhere. I know all the places that he fell. I see him rakeing the yard trying to find car keys that I took away from him and threw over my shoulder into the grass because he was mad and going to drive away in his truck. And he did because he had an extra key that I did not know about. He was gone a long time and I never asked him where he went. I just preached him a sermon about what would happen if he caused a wreck and someone got killed and how they could take everything we had. I was unkind to him. He was confused a lot of the time and I would lose patience. Kenneth, I am so very sorry for the  way I acted toward you and if I could do it over again I would do everything I could for you with all the love in my heart. But it is too late.

 

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Dear Martha Jane, my heart weeps for you as you go through this grief. It is so heart wrenching.  You are not only his precious wife but also his caregiver in his remaining days.  I speak from experience,  I took care o my wife the last six years of her life but not at the level you were thrust into.  You did the best you could. Not of us is perfect and we get tired,  We are not machines we have hearts, and love and compassion. Your friend does not know what she does not know.

I call her advice "UNSOLICITED ADVICE" people are entitled to their opinions but that does not give them license to try to direct yours.  I just ignored the advice and changed the subject.  If they persist, I would tell them that we are not discussing this anymore and if you continue I will leave the conversation.  You sound too polite.  I had to learn to care of myself as much as I cared for my wife's mother and my precious wife.  I pray you get some rest and comfort.  My prayers are for you to comfort you and for God's peace (Shalom)  - George. 

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Martha Jane,

Let me echo iPraiseHim's statement. Your friend does not have the right to direct or even suggest your actions. Your daughter is right, do not act in a hurry to take on any other life-changing decision. It can wait. You will know when you need to take the next steps.

 

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Martha Jane, I'm approaching my second year and only now am able to tune out this"advice" my family/friends offer so freely.....I have decided to downsize.....But so many memories will be left behind........I find by clean walls or a total new town may be in the cards....but only when I'm ready.....

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I don't know what to say Martha Jane....I agree with the other comments...glad we have this space to talk..as the rest of the world doesn't get it..but eventually we all experience loss....

So then I try to savor the loved ones I have and live in the moment.... And then reality takes over...that he's gone...and I am on my own...

I liked being married.

I don't like being a third wheel....

But I digress...

 

Hang in there Martha, he loved you.

Hugs, Marie

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10 hours ago, martha jane said:

And he did because he had an extra key that I did not know about. He was gone a long time and I never asked him where he went. I just preached him a sermon about what would happen if he caused a wreck and someone got killed and how they could take everything we had. I was unkind to him. He was confused a lot of the time and I would lose patience. Kenneth, I am so very sorry for the  way I acted toward you and if I could do it over again I would do everything I could for you with all the love in my heart. But it is too late.

Martha, my Angela had Dementia and convincing her not to drive was an obstacle....I had the same discussion explaining lawsuits, potential financial ruin if there was an accident.....I  recall losing my temper in the early stages but once I understood, everything was OK....Martha, the blessing of short term memory loss, My Angela or Your  Kenneth didn't remember the times we lost our patience.....When I look back,I would trade anyone of our yesterdays to what I have today.....on the lighter side,  I sure give thanks to the people who came up with Depends and some of those similar products...remember the good stuff

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12 hours ago, martha jane said:

She said, you can't stay in that house alone, you need to get somewhere that you can be around people.

I had a sister that harped and harped on me the first year after George died about how I needed to sell my house and move to Portland.  I am a country girl, not a city girl, what is right for her is not right for me, I would miss this place, the deer the elk, and this is where I've laid my husband's ashes to rest.  I tried telling her all that but she wouldn't listen, she's pushy.  Finally I told her, "Tell you what, how about when YOUR husband dies, I tell YOU what to do!"  She didn't speak for a while but she got over it.  She got my point.  She'll never stop being pushy, it's how she is, but I needed her to BACK WAY OFF...NOW!!

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12 hours ago, martha jane said:

She says she thinks it is harder than me losing my husband.

Tell her when she says that it feels like she is invalidating your grief, which is why we should never compare losses.  To each of you your position is harder because that is the position you are in, you haven't walked in each other's shoes.  There are aspects of them being dead that seem harder, there are aspects of dementia that seem harder, but each situation deserves validation and understanding...NOT comparison!  This isn't a grief contest!
It sounds like it's hard to get through to her, she doesn't listen to what you say...I think I'd keep repeating myself to her.  I know she needs a friend there for her, but so do you!

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My good  friend is getting tired of my grief.  I try to do things and be positive, but if she asks me how I am doing, I tell her the truth. I told that I wish there was a pill I could take to make the pain lessen.  Well. Then it started.  She thinks I should go on antidepressants.  I told her that I tried it once and had a bad reaction.     She thinks I should keep taking different ones.  I am not going to take them.  She tells me that I must WANT to feel this way.  Another friend who has never dealt with this kind of grief!

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18 hours ago, Gin said:

She thinks I should keep taking different ones.  I am not going to take them.  She tells me that I must WANT to feel this way

Gin, I'm sorry for your friends that are responding this way.  I hope you tell her that her remarks are NOT helpful.  Have you tried a grief support group?  Maybe it'd help to be around someone who understands how you're feeling and understands that a pill is not going to make this go away.

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