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Going Backwards?


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Since Mike's birthday on the 19 of August, seems like I am sort of going backwards. I had prided myself on doing pretty well this past year. Mike died on 1-13-10 of a massive coronary, very unexpected, and a total shock. I was in the hospital when he died, having had total knee replacement 2 days before.

I had a really bad couple of months, then went back to work, and slowly seemed to be getting my act together. On the anniversary of his death, in 2011, felt fairly peaceful, and that I was coping very well. Patted myself on the back a lot.

Now suddenly, since his birthday, he would have been 64, I seem to be more weepy and introspective than I have been. I suddenly am looking at all those years ahead of me. I am 65, and come from a long lived family, so theoretically, I could be around for another 30 years.

What am I going to do? I am very busy, retired but very involved in community theater, have lots of friends, and a couple of really close friends, who, like me have lost spouses. But suddenly, I feel adrift, and so very lonely. I do not like living alone, but cannot fathom living with anyone but Mike, don't want to live with anyone else.

I never saw a grief counselor, or went to a grief support group. I thought I was coping pretty well, and it wasn't necessary. I have the great support of the friends on this site, and I have my two close friends who have also lost spouses, and we do get together often, and I thought that was enough. Now I am not sure. After all this time, I just feel like I am going backwards.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Hi Mary,

You sure sound like me. Bill died 3-27-10 so we are in the same arena. I am 71...come from long lived family...Mom was 99. I have the same feelings you have. Since the first anniversary of his death, I have had a difficult time that ebbs and flows. Some days are horrible and others ok but I feel strongly that what is happening is quite normal. It is just so hard. I, like you, have lots of friends and interests but the loneliness is so huge. Missing Bill is just awful. I will not live with anyone else and have absolutely no interest in a relationship now or ever. But I am lonely.

When you say your just had knee replacement surgery two days before Mike died, it makes me wonder about the combination of surgery, drugs given to you in surgery, the suddenness of his death....it takes a long time to come out of the shock of all that. Then as months go one, we start to look at the rest of our lives without that person, finding meaning and purpose and more.

What about a grief counselor for a while? I see one as needed after seeing her regularly and joining a grief group last summer. It helps a lot because, in my humble opinion, just talking about this to someone who gets it and who can reflect back to you what she/he hears helps a lot. It is supportive and comforting.

I think our grief will continue to come in waves. I was just with a friend this evening whose husband died 18 years ago and we got to talking about my grief and as she recollected her husband's funeral she began to cry.....that does not happen often with her but it has happened. Please consider not judging yourself but flow with the grief and pain accepting it as it comes.

Just some thoughts....Mary

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Mary, the first anniversary of Buck's death, which was also unanticipated, will be 10/22. I am 53 and he would have been 54 on 9/16. It's going to be a rough ride between now and the anniversary, and beyond I fear. I move from day to day doing what needs to be done, but have had a hard time of it recently. I can understand your ebbs and flows. I'm at a difficult age for women in terms of ever considering a future mate, not that I'm even that far advanced at this point. I'm convinced no one could ever fill his shoes. But I'm not so convinced I want to be without a partner for the duration, which could be a very long time. I think joining a grief support group could be beneficial for you. I've been in grief counseling throughout my grief process--at least they can identify more objectively than family and friends sometimes.

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Mary,

I'm 53, and may theoretically have even longer to live. I also come from a line of long-lived women. The men on my side of the family don't tend to make it as far. I understand how you feel - that loneliness. I don't want to live alone, but I don't want to live with anyone else but my husband either.

I don't really have much experience with grief groups. I tried one and didn't like it. But then, I was still in shock at that time and I live in a small place, so there was only one choice of group. It just didn't suit me.

But my grief counselor has been my lifeline. I can say anything to her and she's heard it all. She's been a grief counselor for many years and is also a hospital chaplain, so she was actually in the room when my husband died. She saw me at the worst moment of my life.

I would consider seeing a counselor who might be able to nudge you forward, or at least listen to you and help you put things into perspective so that you can figure out for yourself how you're going to live those next 30 years or so.

Right now, the only way I can get through the days is to take one at a time. I can't look too far into the future or I panic. The problem is that we all have to look ahead now and then, or we'll be stuck where we are.

I wish I could advise you, but this is all I can muster, I'm afraid. Hang in there and know that we're all nodding our heads at your words, understanding them.

Melina

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Dear Mary,

Grief is very hard to get a handle on. So many ups and downs. Today is Pauline and I, wedding anniversary, September was Harry and Jane's. I found myself with a lot of tears after I spoke with Harry that morning wishing him a peaceful filled day. Today I feel more at peace. I think because I am starting to get back on my feet.

I have a very good hospice counselor and group meeting I can go to once a week. This hospice group is not a set time. I have seen people who have come from another hospice group in the area that is only 6 weeks. That is not long enough to work through everything you have to go through in grief. I also, when I am not sick, go to my church twice a week. I find that everything together has helped me a lot. What works for one may not work for someone else. Just keep trying different methods until you find what works best for you.

I know what you mean about spending the rest of your life alone. I am 56 and come from a long living family. I want to get my schooling started soon, as soon as I get my strength back. Then get back to work, and go from there. I am trying out for our church choir September 11. I have a lot of goals to reach. I only pray that I will get healthy and stay that way.

Thank you for your warm wishes in my other thread. It feels good to know that everyone on here really cares about each other. Just a kind word can lift a person up.

God Bless

Dwayne

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Mary,

Here it is quarter after four in the morning and I am again in what I call my sleepless mode. It seems about every quarter I get one of these where I can't sleep. Today is the fourth anniversary of when we got Tom's diagnosis and even though we both said we'd fight it I think we knew deep in our hearts how it was going to end.

He was the one who had long lives in his family other than his grandfather who died at 59. Me on the other had only had my grandmother who had made it past 67 and that's going out to include my aunt. My mom will be 85 on next Sun so she follows in her mother's footsteps. I had always looked like and done things like my dad's family so I was suppose to be the first to go.

It was strange but when I got on her there was your post about going backward. I don't know that I'm going backward but I'm spinning my tires and standing in one place. I have done the grief support which helped and gave me some wonderful friends. I have done the counselor, although he wasn't a grief counselor because I really couldn't find any around here, but I still can only live one day at a time. I guess that's better than the minute by minute I started out with but when I see others dating and remarried I don't understand how that can be. I can't even begin to imagine having feelings for anyone but Tom and I'm certainly not looking for it but like others sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming.

I don't get on here as much as I used to because sometimes it sets me back rehashing everything but I still find comfort here too and know that it is ALWAYS here. Know that there are many virtual hugs coming your way. Just keep living and eventually we will all know what our purpose is here on earth.

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Dear Mary,

You took the words right out of my mouth. I lost my husband Larry 4 years ago. Im 53 and feel the same way. I could live a

long time without him. I have no interest in another man. Could never picture being with one! But, Im so lonely for him some

days I dont know what to do. I have good friends and loving kids. But no one can take his place. I thought maybe things were

going to look up because my daughter was expecting. It was bitter sweet but, I was so very happy! She lost the baby last week

another loss to try to understand!! I know the baby is in heaven with Larry but, it still is sso very painful to see my

daughter in so much pain. She never really dealt with her Daddys death. He died of a massive heart attack. Never got to say

Goodbye!!! Throw the pain at me but, it destroys me to see her like this. Ive never seen a grief counsler. But if this place Im

in continues I might consider it. Sorry to ramble on. Just in a bad place today. My point being is your not alone with the way

you feel. Hang in there. Its normal. Atleast for us. Hugs Cris

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My friends,

I am so grateful to read your words of encouragement, and to know that I am not alone. I was really starting to feel like a failure in going backwards. I really do understand that this is a roller coaster thing, this grief, but I guess I forget sometimes. I am not glad that many of you feel the same, but I am so glad to know that I am not alone in feeling this way. I think I will look into a grief counselor. I live in a relatively small town, so I am not sure what is available, but also live close to larger areas, so might explore those. I just really don't like to drive out of town much. However, I do think I am going to need some professional help in dealing with these feelings of aloneness, and dreading the coming years.

I am going to be out of town from Wednesday thru Sunday, but when I get back am going to start looking and see what I can find in some sort of local grief support. I really think I will do better one on one, rather than a support group, but will just have to see what I can find.

Mary, I do think you might be right, about the knee surgery, drugs given during surgery, and the suddenness of Mike's death. I was on pain meds for a while, and maybe I did not fully face the grief I should have been dealing with because of the numbness. And I do know that I felt numb for a long time. Maybe that is partly causing this backpeddling. That is one of the reasons why I think I need a one on one counselor, just to explore and face some things I might have pushed down at the time of his death. I had not really considered these circumstances, and when I read your post, it made a lot of sense to me. I had lunch with my friend Dana today, and she knows of a counselor who is a widow, in Fayetteville, and she is going to get the information for me.

Thank you my friends, all of you. All of you have given me much to think about, and I so appreciate your support, and your kindness

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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Mary,

(((hugs)))

Kay

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Hi Friends,

A little update. I saw my family doctor yesterday, a truly caring man, who was a good friend to Mike. I saw him on a little medical problem I am continuing to have with my leg, a result of a backwards fall down some steps at the Lyric Theater in March. I talked to him about how I had been feeling, and he has recommended a local therapist, and is getting an appointment for me hopefully next week. He will call my cell today after he gets an appointment set up for me. He thinks this is a good thing for me to do, and highly recommends this therapist. We talked a lot yesterday about the ups and downs of grief, and he told me what I am feeling is not unusual, but pretty normal for grief. He assured me I am not nuts.....lol. You would have to understand that Dr. and I always joke like this.

Another thing, I am flying today from Harrison to Hot Springs to spend a few days with my brother and his wife at their retirement/vacation home on the lake in Hot Springs. He is not retired yet from Texas A & M, but plans to retire in a couple of years, in the meantime, they use the house as a vacation home. Then on Thursday my friend Tom, and another friend Vive are driving down, and all of us, including my brother and his wife are attending the Hot Springs Rally (motorcycles...my brother has a harley). Some good friends from Harrison are part of the group that sponsors this rally, and they have 2 big music concerts during the event, Sawyer Brown and Stepenwolf (?). Should be a nice fun weekend. My brother and my friend Tom were best friends in their high school senior year, so this will be a great chance for them to catch up. Great thing is, I get to fly free to Hot Springs, because my daughter works for the airline here in Harrison, and I get to fly free because her family gets to fly free anywhere this airline goes.

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know that I am taking the advice to heart, and going to see a therapist as soon as my family dr. gets the appointment set up.

Thanks for all the encouragement and support.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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