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Grief -Year Three Starting


Lainey

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When the first anniversaary of Lars' passing rolled around (Dec 11, 2010) I wasn't sure I would be able to handle the day. Our kids and grandbabies came over ,we cried, toasted Lars with his favorite Scotch, reminisced and had a meal that he loved.

This year was going to be the same as far as I was concerned. Yesterday I was busy with taking two g/children Xmas shopping etc. After supper I put a favorite Christmas CD on and soon realized my mistake. It was the one that Lars loved to sing to.At that point the tears started, cried off and on until I went to bed at 11pm.

This morning I figured I would beat the tears and go walking at the field house before I began supper preparations. Not so much.. I wasn't even in the house before the tears started again and continued all day.

I think most of my fear is letting go of Lars. Knowing he will never be back with me, I know, is reality.But how do you just let go of something that was the most precious ,wonderful thing in your life? Can someone shed some light on this? I know it's supposed to get easier,and most of the time I'm doing okay? Now I'm afraid of what year #3 is going to be like.

Lainey

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Hi Lainey,

I do not believe we need to or should let go of the person who was the love of our lives, who changed us forever and whose death changed us further. I never intend to let go of Bill and I will grieve this loss until I join him on the other side of death's veil. What I do want is to be able to smile again, feel some joy again, develop passion for something (like my painting or helping others walk their paths). I believe those can co-exist. I can grieve Bill's death, hang on to the love we had and still have while I also create some kind of meaning in life for myself while I am here. I get into dark places where I am just totally bereft and loss, sobbing endlessly, but in the bigger picture, overall, I do see myself being able to function better, take some interest in painting and helping others one on one....if I thought I had to let go of Bill it would only increase my grief. I already had to let go of his physical presence. Life can not ask more....death can't either.

I understand the pain of the anniversaries. On the first one, I drove to the cemetery and sat and wept. I also drove to our honeymoon site and sat and wept and smiled at the memories. We had two honeymoons...one nearby right after our wedding and one in Hawaii 6 months later. The second anniversary of Bill's death is in March. year two has been really really tough and different than year one. Year 3....is a mystery unknown but what you and I do know...we will survive....and someday perhaps thrive.

Peace,

Mary

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I posted this elsewhere....this blog is helpful...her husband died the same day Bill did....

http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/rethinking-ways-to-think-about-grief-part-i/

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Hi Marty,

Thank you for that piece. It IS me....even the 5 pounds since Bill died. I also went to the site she got the quote she used:

http://www.powerfulintentions.org/forum/topics/the-truth-about-feeling-sorry?xg_source=activity&id=1335877%3ATopic%3A1218132&page=1

It is an excellent article also. Both so so helpful. My head and heart are in combat these days as I KNOW these things but the 16" journey from head to heart is a long one, it seems....I need to listen to my heart more for sure. I posted the following quote on FB last week:

"When there is confusion between your heart and your mind, don't listen to your mind because your mind knows everything. Your heart knows only YOU.

Thank you for this.

Mary

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Somehow it reminds me of the story of the Little Prince...I need to dig it out again because it popped into my mind when I read your reply.

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That is it! Thank you. I did not have time to look it up....I am on deadline. I love that book...and The Giving Tree...and Velveteen Rabbit...and a bunch of others. Thanks, Mary

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  • 8 months later...

I just found this post and realized that my year three has started. Only the last few days it feels like year one, month one.

When these aftershocks come - and so late, it feels as though I'm drowning in grief. I'm really tired of life and don't seem to be thriving at all.

I honestly don't know if I can ever find my way out of this.

Melina

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Melina,

I know we can't compare grief but the start of year 3 for me was still extremely tough. As time went on...I am 6 months into year three now...it is getting a bit better. July was a setback because I sold Voice and suddenly I had what felt like nothing...and the loss opened the hole....still dealing with that...but overall I have to say it has very slowly gotten a bit better..enough to believe that someday I won't feel as badly as I have in the past and continue to feel even now. Again, I know we can't compare but maybe you will begin to feel better as you get further into this year, Melina. I hope so. I know this has been a tough tough journey for you and all of us. It still is.

Today I went to the basement and decided to deal with 4 of the many boxes. We moved in here and Bill was sick so I just let the boxes of things we did not need sit. So today, who knows why, I opened 4. The first three were ok-hard but ok. The 4th was full of many of the cards he and I exchanged over the many years. We exchanged cards on the 22nd of each month plus tons of others for all the years of our marriage. His are loaded with poems and so are mine...I thought I had read them all last year but knew many were missing somewhere. Well I found them today and for 3 hours cried, cried and smiled as I read and read. The difference is that doing this did not send me plummeting to the horrific places I have been...as it did a year or even months ago. I hope you can begin to experience some of that relief soon, Melina. I really hope so. I read your other posts and I agree with you that finding something besides work and some social things will help when you are able to define that. That itself, is tough but possible, I think, even if what you choose is not permanent.

I wish you peace, Mary

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Thanks Mary, maybe I just have to plow through this year the way I did the last one. I'm just worried that the energy is being gradually drained from me, so that come year four I'll be a dried out husk of a person.

I still haven't been able to look in our photo albums. I wanted to get started on that so I can scan all the old negatives and have them stored digitally as well as on paper - just in case anything happens to them. But I can't seem to force myself to look at them.

How lovely for you to read all the cards from Bill. We never did that kind of thing. Or I might have done that at the beginning of our relationship, but as time went on, there was so much else going on - like kids. I did find an old letter he'd sent to me once when I was visiting the states with the two oldest kids when they were toddlers. He was in Norway fixing up a house we bought. It was sort of bittersweet.

I'm sure selling the Voice was a difficult decision, but I'm sure a very wise one. It's understandable you'd be feeling down after such a major decision. But I'm glad to hear you're doing a little better.

At times I'm so tired I just feel I'm waiting around for my time to pass on and be with him. That's pretty depressing, I guess. And I have our kids to think about. I think I've hit a plateau and here I stand.

Melina

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Melina, I came across this piece today and found it helpful.

http://www.huffingto...&comm_ref=false

I found a couple of the statements in this piece inspiring as I (like so many others here) try to figure out a new purpose, a new meaning for our lives...(apart from the basics of being ourselves, giving, being compassionate, etc.). Maybe we can call it discovering a new passion, one that has been hiding inside of us that can now surface. Some of us who are further along this grief trek might find something in this piece helpful. I especially like the story about Adam Steltzner, the NASA scientist who headed the team that designed and carried out the successful landing of the Mars rover, Curiosity. He was open and trusting of himself. Not that we need our new meaning or purpose to be that gigantic. It might be quite ordinary...small but meaningful for us and born of our passion. That is what matters to me...passion. Sort of the "follow your bliss" approach. For me, I MUST believe that slowly, ever so slowly in my case at least, the passion to which I wish to dedicate the years I have left will surface i.e. that I will know what it is I want to throw myself into...hence my decision to sell my publication which no longer interested me, (the passion was gone and it ate up my energy) and make some internal space (and time) to explore the next step. It is like a trek through a desert as we carry a heavy pack back of grief that we are attempting to absorb, accept and integrate...it all takes time and we are an impatient people. Yesterday a friend said she was concerned that I had too much time on my hands (in response to my tears about reading dozens of Bill's poems that I found yesterday) and wouldn't I like to take a class to fill my mind with something and keep focused. I tried as gently as possible to let her know that I was grateful for her concern but that I deliberately created this "time on my hands" to focus on the next step. She is one who says yes to everything and struggles with stress because she is then overloaded. (Our doing culture) I had to smile because we seem to live in a world that just can't tolerate, allow for or use transitions...it has taken me a while to get here but as I live with the pain of losing and missing Bill which is always present no matter what, I think I am also growing a bit...crossing a bridge of sorts. Right now I am on the bridge trusting it will hold me.

Just a thought that I offer you with love,

Mary

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Melina I think you are hitting that point in time when you can't stand the whole crappy grief thing and need to start formulating a new lifestyle that you like! Feeling grief and just getting through each day is getting really old. You sound sick of it all and worn out from living pain. But what now? I'm sure the qustion screams at you all day long. It did with me. Been there. Stood in the front window looking out and was completely stumped. Paced the house. Walked around the block for the millionth time alone. What now? What now? It was worse than the crap I had already been through. Being sad all the time was a hell of a lot easier than trying to figure out a way to live a happy life again!

Making any kind of uncomfortable change was not only difficult but horrifying. My twenty years with Mark were engrained. He was my life. It made absolutely no sense to me that I had to start over. But at some point you will be ready to take the step and try something, it will be uncomfortable. It will suck each time for a while but it gets easier. It's a part of our grief journey. It's your next sucky step. But after trying different things something or somethings should start to click and you begin to feel better doing some of them. The trick is finding somthing you enjoy or finding people you enjoy. And hopefully both! If you don't take the leap, or maybe its a baby step. you'll stay where you are at for a while longer. It might be another day, a week, a year. Maybe the rest of your life. Welcome to year three.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Cheryl,

I've been thinking and thinking about this last post of yours, and have come to the conclusion that you're right. I have to do something. I have to make a change. I can't sit here for the rest of my life, waiting for my time to pass over to the next stage of existence. That will come, but in the meantime something has to happen.

So I've almost made a surprising decision. After 30 years abroad, I think I want to move back to the states. There's a lot to consider, but at least I have a tentative plan. I've got four sons and three of them are planning to settle in the US or Canada with wives/girlfriend. I also have friends and siblings there. I'll have to discuss the matter with my youngest son - see if he would like to come with me - get his masters degree in the US maybe. Or work. I don't want to just up and leave him here alone. And the dog should be portable.

It's a little scary. I'm glad I spent such a long time here in Europe, but now that my husband is no longer here with me, living here feels pointless and lonely. Looking back, I think I left Seattle at a young age because I felt stuck and I wanted adventure. Now I'm planning to do the same thing - but in the opposite direction. I wish my husband was here with me and that we were planning this adventure together. But hopefully he's rooting me on.

Melina

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Melina,

Wow...good for you. I wondered if you would ever come back but thought all of your sons were staying there. Good for you...it is huge, I know, and I admire you for taking it on. You are right, something has to give...Keep us updated on your plans. Are you thinking of Seattle?

Mary

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Melina, I came across this piece today and found it helpful.

http://www.huffingto...&comm_ref=false

I found a couple of the statements in this piece inspiring as I (like so many others here) try to figure out a new purpose, a new meaning for our lives...(apart from the basics of being ourselves, giving, being compassionate, etc.). Maybe we can call it discovering a new passion, one that has been hiding inside of us that can now surface. Some of us who are further along this grief trek might find something in this piece helpful. I especially like the story about Adam Steltzner, the NASA scientist who headed the team that designed and carried out the successful landing of the Mars rover, Curiosity. He was open and trusting of himself. Not that we need our new meaning or purpose to be that gigantic. It might be quite ordinary...small but meaningful for us and born of our passion. That is what matters to me...passion. Sort of the "follow your bliss" approach. For me, I MUST believe that slowly, ever so slowly in my case at least, the passion to which I wish to dedicate the years I have left will surface i.e. that I will know what it is I want to throw myself into...hence my decision to sell my publication which no longer interested me, (the passion was gone and it ate up my energy) and make some internal space (and time) to explore the next step. It is like a trek through a desert as we carry a heavy pack back of grief that we are attempting to absorb, accept and integrate...it all takes time and we are an impatient people. Yesterday a friend said she was concerned that I had too much time on my hands (in response to my tears about reading dozens of Bill's poems that I found yesterday) and wouldn't I like to take a class to fill my mind with something and keep focused. I tried as gently as possible to let her know that I was grateful for her concern but that I deliberately created this "time on my hands" to focus on the next step. She is one who says yes to everything and struggles with stress because she is then overloaded. (Our doing culture) I had to smile because we seem to live in a world that just can't tolerate, allow for or use transitions...it has taken me a while to get here but as I live with the pain of losing and missing Bill which is always present no matter what, I think I am also growing a bit...crossing a bridge of sorts. Right now I am on the bridge trusting it will hold me.

Just a thought that I offer you with love,

Mary

Mary,

I have also been thinking about this post of yours. I've been doing a lot of thinking, as you can see. Apart from missing my husband, I've also been missing - well...my life, I guess. I miss living my life. Grief seems to have occupied my creative areas and forbidden any passion whatsoever. Grief and guilt.

I've been isolating myself a bit more from things lately, and wondered if I was moving backwards again. But during this isolation, I've been rediscovering things I like to do. Or used to like to do. Figuring out who I am again. That's when the idea of moving back home cropped up.

Like you, I believe I've needed this time on my hands. I don't have a lot of it since I'm working full time, but what's left over, I try to use in ways that make me feel a little more alive. Does that make sense?

I'm so glad you're experiencing growth - and crossing that bridge. I'm also experiencing growth, but the bridge is still a little wobbly. I may need a little more time.

Still following in your footsteps....

Melina

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Oh, and I'm not sure if I want to return to Seattle. I'm actually thinking of the east. My foreign psychology degree won't allow me to work as a licensed psychologist in the states without a PhD. With the exception of two states - West Virginia and Vermont. So if I were to choose - I guess Vermont.

But I'm sending my papers to an evaluation service, so we'll see.

Melina

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Melina,

I do so understand. I know you are behind me a bit (since our husbands died) but it seems like you are reaching this point just about the same time I did...i.e. where you continue to grief (big time) but also want to look at your life and see where it is going and create something in it. I understand about grief occupying your creative areas...and I understand the need to put our feet on that bridge into our own lives. Believe me my bridge is quite wobbly. I have days that feel as if I am back in 2010....and frankly, those feelings are still ALL present every single day. I am just more able to co-exist with them. Tears are easily tripped off. I am crying as I type this because just acknowledging the pain, brings them forward. BUT, and this is important, I function better overall, am starting to see some interest in SOME things...no passion yet. Even my painting is not a passion and I have to push myself to do it most times and there are many many days where I never enter my studio. BUT, at least I want to now. I, too, isolate myself in some ways. Never totally but I say no to things I have no interest in doing. I keep getting invited to the Sh*tty Barn (that IS the name of this old barn that the owners fixed up) for music there (even folk not just the noisy rock stuff that I hate, NO classical) as it is incredibly popular. I say no. I do not go to the fancy dinners at Taliesin (black tie as Frank Lloyd Wright ordered) as I hate parties. Etc etc etc. So as a result I am not OUT there but I was never an OUT there person. Bill and I led a quiet life with a few friends. All this to let you know you can reach a balance where you spend time with friends but you are not racing about in a social whirl.

Yes, it all makes sense. You are moving along your own path (just as we all are) towards a life that will always be empty of our husbands but which we must fill with something of passion or at least interest...all in our time. I do spend a lot of time alone now...more than in the beginning when everyone was calling...and I actually want that time for me. Many times, if not most, it is lonely but I use it to read, paint when I can, walk Bentley, etc. This wobbly bridge we are on will hopefully carry us to a place where we can find something to be interested in, something meaningful and a way to give back. Those all matter. I do not seek joy. I see meaning. I hope you are proud of yourself because you should be. You are doing this your way and in your own time you are making good decisions.

I would also choose Vermont over West Virginia..I think. I guess it depends on where you are in both states. I would certainly seek a university town (that is how we consider being near Madison) as there is a great atmosphere that seems to grow out of that environment. Blacksburg WV is an innovative town. I remember reading about how they were the first to wire the town for internet years ago. Wherever you choose....you are always welcome to visit here at some point. The wobbly bridge gave me an idea for perhaps my final painting in my series called Grief. I will have to make a note of it.

Soooo glad you are finding a small flicker of light in the cave of grief. It is not the life we wanted for ourselves but considering the options (i.e. sitting in the dark cave forever by ourselves vs creating something...who knows what yet) it is the better choice. It just takes time, time to allow ourselves to move at OUR own pace.

You said you were following in my footsteps...just so you know that IF I am ahead of you...it is only by inches. :)

Peace and love

Mary

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Oh, and I'm not sure if I want to return to Seattle. I'm actually thinking of the east. My foreign psychology degree won't allow me to work as a licensed psychologist in the states without a PhD. With the exception of two states - West Virginia and Vermont. So if I were to choose - I guess Vermont.

But I'm sending my papers to an evaluation service, so we'll see.

Melina

What exactly is your degree? specialty? I assume it is a masters....in psych but how is it different than a masters in psych here. My masters is in clinical psych and I got grandfathered in as a clinical social worker when Wisconsin created that option for a year. So my background is more clinical than social worker but the insurance companies would not cover a master level clinical psych person. I also have about half of my doctorate but never finished. Long boring story I will share someday. You might qualify for a national counselors test which ends up as a license in all states but it means sitting for a long exam which your mind (if it is like mine right now) might not withstand.

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I am a licensed psychologist in Norway, with a specialist degree in neuropsychology and what's called a "Europsy" add-on degree which allows me to practice in Europe, as long as I speak the language. Which basically means the UK. My degree is called a "Candidatus psychologae" - which is what there was back then. I've been a licensed psychologist for 25 years and a specialist in neuropsychology for 6 of those years. Hey, can you get me a job in Wisconsin? ^_^

Metteline

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I am unclear about whether your license would be honored in Wisconsin or not. Here is the website. I suggest you contact them and talk to someone there via phone or email.

http://www.drl.state...rdid=50&locid=0

Wisconsin is pretty fussy about licensing...so you might have to sit for a test or meet some local standards like our Ethics stuff. But you are best to contact them yourself I think as you will have answers that I do not have. I do not have many professional contacts since we got back here but step one is to find out what you are eligible to do. Frankly I would be checking several states that are of interest to you...just in case. Let me know what you find out.

Peace

Mary

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  • 4 weeks later...

Melina, What a big decision. I know you don't take it lightly. What an adventure to undertake. The process of making changes is so scary and painful but the reward when you realize it's all about your own happiness is genuine. I wish you well as you begin the process. You should be proud of yourself for even thinking so big!

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