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A Mere Shadow Of My Former Self


Guest Vickie O'Neil

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Guest Vickie O'Neil

I wonder if any of the group feel this way? That your strength is gone..& you are a mere shadow of your former self..like an actor on a stage. The things you could do together are exhausting alone. I wonder if you've had many of your past relationships, including family, fall to pieces, since your mate dyed? I'm so tired of dragging myself out of bed & pretending I'm OK..I'm not OK. Platitudes infuriate me. I have prayed, I have read..I have desperately tried to find some peace with Pat's death...but it's just not happening.

Believe I've exhausted my family, & friends, too. Somewhere...over the rainbow, there are people that love each other, they are making love & clinking wine glasses..preparing a meal together or chopping a tree down..grocery shopping.

I think I've turned into a wimp & a whiner. alternately with a banshee an angry woman.& the disintegration of my family relationships really hurts.Big family fight over Mom's 70th birthday party...my siblings could not agree, & then Mom & 1 of my sisters attacked my sister who had helped me care for my husband when he was ill..so I stuck up for her. So now I'm not talking to any of my family...except 1 sister & she just OD'D on Avitan

Its a good life if you don't weaken.

Vickie

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((((Vickie))))

A mere shadow.... I can relate to that and also to loads of what you wrote. No.. we aren't "fine" or "ok" and it is exhausting to "act" like we are. I found that I couldn't stand platitudes either at times. Sometimes I was able to just accept those words as coming from someone who meant well but....

Other times?? I found I had zero tolerance and I would try to just walk away as politely and swiftly as I could.

I think Death changes us... grieving ... it creates a new "us" I think.

And I also found relationships changed... some folks who were very close.. evaporate and relationships once intimate are now distant or worse.. a source of conflict.

Dealing with ALL of this at once seems soo overwhelming to me at times.

I want things back the way they were. But I don't think that makes me a wimp nor do I think stating how I feel makes me a whiner.

And.. for what it's worth.. I do NOT think you are a wimp or a whiner!

Just the opposite..

Facing such a significant death..as you are.. takes raw courage. And I think grief itself, it beats us up inside and out. I think it is normal to feel "done" "fried" "worn completely out".

Building a new "fine" or "ok" takes loads of time and energy.. I think it is exhausting work. In my opinion.. real grief work takes strength.. not weakness. And feeling tired and exhausted is waaaaay different than being "weak".

I don't think there is a widow or widower alive that is "weak". Not possible.

The way I feel at times is that I got buried along with them... And it is a wearying job to continue to lift the weight of loss off a me a spoonful at a time.. because that is all I can handle sometimes.

What helps me most is knowing there is no timetable. This isn't a race. (Something I continually have to remind myself.) I just try to back up when it all feels like it is too much. I back up and just deal with what is right in front of me and only with what I can actually control.

Feeling "good" about life?? I don't know...but I had to lower or maybe change is a better word, my expectations of that. A "good" day was just simply getting through it.. a second, a minute, an hour, a day.. at a time.

"Peace" with their passing? Not sure...because the missing is so strong at times. Sometimes I find peace in knowing where they are... somewhere over the rainbow.. feeling no more pain and whole and well once again.

Other times "peace" comes in knowing I simply made it through another day, event or holiday in quasi-decent shape...

My definitions of "peace" "fine" "a good life" are changing. I'm busy finding new ones.. because the old ones don't seem to fit the bill anymore.

The ground we walked on with them, doesn't seem to be the same ground now.

So maybe we are indeed shadows of ourselves because we are growing into new selves. Maybe being a shadow is a temporary condition??

Thinking of you.

leeann

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So maybe we are indeed shadows of ourselves because we are growing into new selves. Maybe being a shadow is a temporary condition??

Leeann, I agree, we are shadows of our former selves because loss has torn us in half and left a gaping void in who and what we are. We won't be whole again until we learn how to replace that void. And as you said, redefining ourselves and merging what's left of our old selves with the new selves we're trying to grow is exhausting work -- added work on top of having to deal with everyday issues as life flows on.

I also agree that no widow or widower is "weak." How can we be, given the challenges we all face? Sure, we feel overwhelmed and depressed sometimes. But being a widow or widower makes you resourceful; somehow, we find a way to pull ourselves back up and move forward again.

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Vickie, I am usually worn out by the end of the day, and sometimes long before the end of the day. I don't think that it is necessarily because I am weaker. I tend to agree with Leeann - dealing with grief takes strength. To get through the "normal" stuff during the day AND deal with our loss every minute of the day while trying to appear outwardly like we are doing okay is very wearying. Hang in there.

Mike

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I definitely agree that getting through the day is very exhausting. Especially mentally. I am slowly trying to get my house in order. We were in the middle of rennovating it. Even though it is going slow, I am accomplishing a lot. But what I am accomplishing is not pleasurable because I don't have my husband to share it. Everything I do in the house was either done by my husband or we did it together. It just doesn't seem the same. And the feeling that you get from that is sadness and lonliness.

Love and God Bless,

Jeanne

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Oh yes we've all felt that way. The good news is that while at first you feel that way ALL of the time, eventually it is just SOME of the time. Still, grief is the most exhausting thing I have ever been through! And after over three years, I can't say it's "over" yet...and I do not think it will EVER be entirely "over". But you do learn to live with it better. And yes, part of that is learning to accept that these changes have occurred, whether you wanted them to or not, learning to continue positive focus, learning to adapt to the changes in your life. There is no doubt that a good deal of the time you feel overwhelmed, tired, the joy has just been sucked out of your life, and you wish you could just lay down and close your eyes and find out it was over and you were with your spouse again. But the reality dictates that you have to go on, you have to deal with backed-up toilets and fallen trees, you have to deal with the car breaking down or losing your job and having no one else to help you out. You have to deal with the everyday decisions you once made together. Sometimes you're winging it and not sure how you're doing at all. But the fact is, we're doing it. We ARE changing, we are becoming stronger, survivors, even when we don't see it and certainly don't feel it. It is easier as time goes on, to look back and see how far we've come...when we're in the throes of it, it's harder to see that. Do not worry about having exhausted family and friends. Anyone that truly matters will still be there when all is said and done...and yes we lose a lot of relationships when our spouse dies...God only knows why, but it happens to us. But we also gain some new ones along the way, and we eventually find a strength within ourselves that we never knew existed. You are not a wimp or a whiner, please talk to us whenever you want, we understand, we've all been there! I'm sorry you're going through it with your family...hang in there and spend your time with supportive people, not non-supportive ones.

Edited by kayc
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Kay:

Even though a lot of our replies are to a specific poster, I feel we all seem to get something out of what someone writes.

I have to say Kay, that what you said, hit right at home. Especially this weekend. Reality does dictate that you do have to go on. I have had quite a few repairs these past few months and I am now dealing with a leak in my basement. It did not make it any easier because we got hit with some of hurricane Hannah. I have put an awning up and it has helped a little. Now I am getting my back wall waterproofed. I can't believe that I am doing these things and working with contractors. Something my husband would have handled. I don't think he would have handled it the same way. Maybe even spending less money. But its making me so nervous and I was so depressed over the weekend. I feel that every weekend I spend most of my time doing repairs on my house and not enough time on "trying" to enjoy myself. And whatever time I did have to myself, I slept. I feel this is not good and I just hope it gets better.

Jeanne

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Jeanne,

Good for you! You're doing it! We can't expect to do everything as well a our spouse did, but they would be proud of us for trying. This IS incredibly hard, but we're somehow getting by, WE should be proud of ourselves!

KayC

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Vickie, I know just how you feel, I don,t want to do the expected things either,my family is trying to be supportive but I feel they are pushing,I know with my head the logical things to do, but my heart trys to stop me. I read this site, and I try to take comfort from the fact that people say it will get easier, I just wish it would be soon, although I have a feeling it will never get easier, I just try to do the one day at a time thing,although that is a hard row to hoe, and I hate every minute of it.

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Vicky, I can understand, I am tired of being tired, and hope that some day soon this feeling of being tired, alone and lost will soon work its way out of me. Some times it helps me if I pray, and sometimes it helps if I talk to my mom. I will remember you in my prayers. Since I have found this site I feel I have a connection out there. Pauline

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