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Slide Right On Back………..

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The things I decided I needed to start doing Sunday night with Monday as the start day……….. more aggressive job hunting, get out of the house a little, etc.

Well, that lasted through Monday. It’s about 4:30 pm here and I just noticed I really did jack squat today. The dangerous part I guess is that I really didn’t notice the time go by.

Except for trying to get on with my life (I am not saying that lightly, I know how hard that is for all of us) and getting a job I have nothing else to do.

I had to move (we were going to) at the beginning of this month so I had to go through all of Ruth’s things the 2nd week after she passed. That project no one likes is done. I guess I could go through the boxes of her salt and pepper shakers that I have in storage and make sure none of them got broke in the move. She only has about 500 sets, that would keep me busy for awhile.

Everyone is at work or school. They all have something to do. I just mope along. I should not say mope, time just seems to pass on by.

I know I am doing this (I am a smart guy)

I can’t stop doing it (I know better)

I should be able to stop doing this (I never took things lying down)

So what’s the answer ? I know exactly what I am doing and not doing. I just proved it above. And yet………..… this continues.

Maybe the answer is I am not as smart as I think I am.

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Dear Brian,

At seven weeks I was pretty much out of my mind. Some would maintain I still am--me among them--but it is a different madness. Be patient with yourself. You have been here for two days. And have been dealing with this madness none of us wants to deal with for less than two months--for all that it seems like eternity. Being here longer will help some. Finding a physical grief group will help some. Finding a good therapist--a thing I will admit I have not done, mainly because my teaching eats time, but plan to do once the school year ends--should also help some. You have found us, but we are no longterm substitute for the other two. Contact your local hospice. They will have a widows and widowers' group as well as a general grief group that will be useful to you. Their facilitator is likely a trained grief counselor--or will be able to refer you to someone who is.

It sounds also as though you are unemployed on top of all that. Having been there more than once or twice in my life I know how depressing that can be--especially in a down economy. I cannot imagine combining that with the loss of your wife. I can only guess at the level of awful that must be. And then the stress of moving on top of that. Ouch.

So be patient with yourself and this pain you are dealing with. The pain does not go away, but the ability to cope with it does seem to improve over time. Take baby steps for just this very now. Sometimes I exist minute to minute. Sometimes hour to hour. But in the beginning I was living second to second.

I try to read here every day. I try to post here at least three times a week, even when other things are calling to me--demanding my attention. But sanity is held together at this point with spit and sealing wax. I am so brittle that any mental fall can break me. So I try to build the habits that will heal my spirit. I look for work that will give me an outlet for grief--and that will help me to feel useful again: I have done a 20 mile walk for hunger, am organizing two teams to do the Relay for Life in two different places in June, and I keep teaching as hard as my mind and spirit will let me even though I am retiring in June. Getting myself involved in the lives of others helps to break me from myself and my self-absorbed state. I exercise, walk, clean, organize. I do what I can to get the endorphins flowing through my mind and my body.

Each day is still a struggle. But I am determined to heal. The cancer that killed my wife has claimed one victim. I will not let it have us both. I will destroy it. I will live. My wife would hate me if I gave up and just sat here waiting for death to take me. That would be a kind of living death. So, to quote John Donne badly out of context: Death, thou shalt die.

Start with something small--a daily walk, a handful of thank you cards, refinishing a single piece of furniture--whatever will take you out of your mind and into something else for a few minutes or an hour.

But be patient. Accept that there are going to be days you fail. Things will not be as you plan. Some days you will be overwhelmed by grief or anger or frustration. But slowly--almost imperceptibly--those seconds of survival will become minutes, then hours. Sometimes you will fall all the way back to seconds. The grief comes in waves--accept them when they come. Cry when you need to--and don't worry about what anyone in the outside world thinks. Your healing follows its own path--not the timeframe the world wants it to--or even you want it to.

Building your relationship took time. Healing from this irrevocable destruction will take the same effort and energy that creating and maintaining that relationship did. Be patient. That you loved your wife so much is evident in the pain you now confront. But she will comfort you each step of the way. And when you finally cross the river that now separates you--in God's time, not yours--you will recognize that in the cosmic scheme of things the time of your separation--even if that separation lasts a hundred years--is as nothing in the infiniteness of time.

Be patient with yourself. Be patient with others.



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Hi Brian,

I agree with Harry...be patient with yourself. I am 14 months out from Bill's death and the first 6 months or more are a blur. I still feel that paralysis you are facing many days. I do publish a local magazine and it gives me a focus many days. I am wondering about you volunteering to do something for an hour or so a day...that would force you to get out...your local school would probably love for you to listen to little kids read every day....or something like that...walking a neighbor's dog...some commitment that makes you show up. But being patient with yourself and gentle and not hard on yourself is essential. I have a list of things to do that has been sitting there for a year. It goes with the grieving turf...just can't get moving, exhausted. smart has little to do with it...in pain has everything to do with it. We are here for you. mfh

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We all know the waves of grief and how it almost makes time stand still while passing at an alarming rate during the first few months....I think that's a built in overload failsafe God must have given us, as things are done but we're not sure how and when....the chore of taking care of the clothes is a big task conquered, I did Ruth's within weeks, it allows us some closure and lets us have a powerful reality check for sure, not one I really enjoyed...like everyone said take your time, try and re-group daily if needed I did early on as I was plain and simple paralyzed at times...just remember easy does it....we are here for you....


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Thanks for the posts.

Yes Harry, I am also still looking for a job and packing / moving right after Ruth passed did not help things. I did have a lot of help and still do from family. Without some of them I would be in worse shape than I am now.

I am waiting for a grief counselor to call me, should be today. I am looking for physical help here in Phoenix and hope the counselor will have some locations in my area.

Take care all

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Hi Brian,

I also live in Phoenix. I know of two support groups that you could check into. The first is New Song which is for both kids and adults. The second is Widowed to Widowed, which meets in Tempe and is for adults of all ages. You can learn about Widowed to Widowed by going to www.phoenix.meetup.com If you have kids 20 yrs old or younger you can all attend New Song together and are placed in seperate groups, they meet several diffirent nights and have a West Valley location and a South Scottsdale location. I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have. You can contact me through email. Hope this helps, cheryl

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I can't imagine tackling moving and to do so so soon after being widowed, really can't imagine it. Yes I echo the others, be gentle with yourself. At this point in time I remember feeling frantic. It'd be interesting to go back and read my original posts...

Okay, here's one from three weeks after he died...


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I hear all of you.......be patient, be gentle, slow down, you can't think your way out of this.

Well, I guess I had to try and Ruth always said I could get stubborn about somethings.

Still can't imagine why she said that about me..... ;)

KayC, I did go read some. Thank you for that.

Cheryl, I really appreciate the info, thank you. I will check out the site this morning.

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Brian, dear ~ since you live in Phoenix, I also encourage you to contact the Bereavement office at Hospice of the Valley, 602.530.6970 to learn about all the bereavement services offered there. If what we have does not fit your needs or your schedule, our Bereavement staff can refer you to other services offered throughout the Valley. You'll find further information on the Special Programs / Bereavement page, here: http://www.hov.org/program_details.aspx?id=1

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