Thursday, June 23, 2005

Being a widow is ....

At one time, on an 11-mile strip of 222, there were 17 widows and I was and still am the youngest one! Now, there are 6 of us left! Kinda scary, huh?

Shortly after my husband's death, there was always someone popping in to check on me. Neighbors, friends, and family members. It seemed like I'd never have a moment to myself to be...whatever. As time passed, however, the stream of people turned into a trickle and now? Well, suffice it to say I haven't seen any of my neighbors in over four years. I can see two of my neighbor's houses from my front yard - it's not that they live a "fur piece" away from me.

I get telephone calls instead of visits. With the price of gas these days, that is understandable! And, I appreciate hearing from these folks, believe me. But, there is something alien to me about holding a phone to my ear and attempting to feel connected to people who had been so important to me years ago. Have I become the obligatory callee once a month or so?

Now, I've been giving my status in the scheme of life a lot of thought lately. And, my conclusion is this - being a widow sucks! Plain enough for ya? Alone isn't so bad - I've felt and been more or less alone most of my life. But the loneliness is downright unbearable most of the time.

That's one reason why I am pleased a friend turned me on to blogging. I can express myself here without worrying about hurting someone's feelings. Many of the people I know only know how to send e-mail and that's about it !

This computer is my lifeline. I've learned how to create and digitize embroidery designs, which I sell on my website. I play word games on Pogo and chat with people I will never meet. As clerk of my state guard unit, I am responsible for e-mailing members with news about up-coming events, preparing reports and sending them to the appropriate sections, and tons of paperwork whenever new recruits join up! I keep in contact with many people about whom I care via e-mail, because their lives are so busy with careers and families, and they live too far away for them to visit me or me to visit them.

Have you ever fixed a pot of beans, or spaghetti sauce, or chili, or meat loaf, or anything that could be classified as a meal for ONE PERSON? Have you ever felt spiritually, emotionally stifled because there's nobody to talk to? Have you ever just chattered away like a magpie at strangers at Wal Mart because of being hungry for communicating one-on-one with SOMEONE? Have you ever thought what good am I to anyone because you honestly feel like there isn't anyone who REALLY cares or understands?

Well, I can tell you, it is absolutely terrifying. Thankfully, I don't feel like that often enough for it to be worrying to me. It's happened enough for me to realize at this point in my life I've gotta accept my situation - but, it doesn't mean I've gotta do it gracefully!


Blogger colcam said...

OK. I've just read thro from the Dog & Hydrant post till now. I've smiled, frowned, laughed and shed a tear or two. Thought provoking, inspiring and beautifully written.
Regards to you and thanks.

10:25 PM PDT  
Blogger Mary Horsley said...

Mickey, thank you for your post. I felt like you were talking to me. I lost my husband two years ago and I still feel the pain. We were separated as I really needed challenge in my life and was teaching near Richmond. He refused to come with me and stayed in Cape Charles. I feel angry because he did not try harder to win me back, yet guilty because I allowed school and job to keep me from visiting often. Every few months I get incredibly sensual and thinking I would like to find someone new, but then I realize that I am really just missing Kenny, that is after I have spent money.
When do you stop grieving?

Mary Horsley
Richmond, VA

7:14 PM PDT  
Blogger Kim said...

I somehow believed if I could make it through the first year after my husband died, I would be fine. It's amazing what we can believe....
I'm now in my second year of being a widow and it seems to be harder. The acute pain is gone and my friends and family, though helpful, have moved on with their lives.
I just can't seem to get myself started in my "new" life. Any suggestions will be most appreciated.
Thanks, Kim

9:17 AM PST  
Blogger sbrooks11 said...

I could not have said it better. I lost my husband of forty years four years ago. And again last night I found myself laying in bed crying for the lonelyness of it. Family and friends say "you must get out more." But when you have been a part of two for so long it is hard to go out as alone. I don't think it gets easier, I think it just gets to be the way it is. The really hard thing is not giving in and being with someone just because you feel so alone. Been there, done that and it doesn't work. Thank you for posting your blog. Sharon

8:23 AM PDT  
Blogger Kate said...

Ooh well here goes - I too lost my husband age 53 - and so quickly - my feelings are so all over the place and its been just 7 months!
On the outside I can act 'normal' but when I close the door I change into a different person!
As With all the comments I've read "what do you do" - it is so unreal even now-
!!?!!??? I'm at a loss for words really

1:22 PM PDT  
Blogger cydne said...

my dear dear husband and father of my two children was killed in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago yesterday. he was a good, decent man..i miss him so. i will be here for my son and daughter but really i want to go to sleep and not wake up. we were married for 31 years and we were so lucky...we had the ups and downs like any marriage, but he adored me and i him....what am i going to do without him..its just too much, its just not right, he's gone forever and i will never never see his face again. the accident ruined his poor body...and he died a short time later in the hospital and i see his hurt body in my mind and i think of his fear of never coming home again, this is unbearable, too huge. he was such a good good man, his committment to our children...well our kids were lucky to have him for a dad, and he loved us, me, he never lied, never cheated and tried so hard to be good in his life and i want so to behave now in a fashion that he would approve of, and i would never off myself, but a real life without him seems over and pointless and just too too empty.

7:26 AM PDT  
Blogger cydne said...

thank you micky finn for the advice....its now been 3 weeks and 2 days since my husband died and the sadness endures...but i have some feelings i am ashamed of,they are a reflection on my poor character i think and if you kick off your blog i would'nt blame you. i have not told another living soul but i'm so unhappy with myself... so here it is...4 days after my husband died his dearest friend flew across country to be with my son and me. he stayed for a week and took care of us, grieved with us and comforted and consoled us...i have some powerful feelings towards this friend which surfaced shortly before he left to go home, i would never act on these feelings but what sort of a person can i be. thank you for 'listening' i just had to get this out of my head.

8:19 PM PDT  
Blogger hopeful said...

Hi: I'm a widow for 10 days and feel really out of it. I have been married for 38 yrs. Was a caregiver for 10 yrs. and my husband had Alzheimers. Did visit a church when I could but not often. Yesterday went to it and was welcomed (group session)It was very hard getting there but my family is all out of state and I'm trying to do my best to meet people.
Try your local church. You would be surprised, I'm sure. I will keep trying to do more. good luck. hopeful

5:59 PM PST  
Blogger Ambrosia10 said...

I feel so lost. Its been almost 5 years now, and I still cry a lot. I do it in secret. I cry a lot at night or when I'm alone. I don't tell my kids very often, because when I do tell them, they can't make me feel any better. Nothing can. It doesn't mean that I don't love my kids and find great joy with them, I do, but the void of my husband can't be filled. It hurts so much. I'm in despair.

2:32 PM PDT  
Blogger Martha said...

I didn't know there were so many out there feeling the same as me. My husband died almost 3 months ago. He loved me all the time perfectly and unconditionally. I am going through the motions and faking it because that's what you are expected to do. I feel as if I did die when he did. My soul was ripped out and it is hard to breathe. How many days , months or years will I have to live without him? Someone suggested that I should have a better attitude and read books that talk about turning the crisis in your life into the life you've always wanted. I had the life I always wanted. We were married for 30 years and knew each other for a long time before that. This is the pits!

9:58 PM PDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

I wish I had had this kind of connection on such a deep and personal level four years ago when my husband of thirty days died suddenly next to me in bed.There was no warning.We had celebrated our anniversary three days before. was numb and like so many of you had no will to go on even though I had a son that I loved very much.

It takes time to work through the grief and each persons journey is different.You can't rush it or you'll pay the price later.You'll have many confused feelings like the gal who had strong feelings for a family friend a short time later.It doesn't mean that you didn't love your husband but that you are desperatly lonely and fearful now the he's gone.Take baby steps and don't expect to stop missing him-the feelings will never go away but will become more bearable in time-time is your friend.

Fight the lonliness by getting involved and stay connected to others.Find a cause,a hobbie and new friends.Surround yourself by positive people and try to inch forward.

It's a solitary journey but there will come a time when the pain will lessen.It's not a club that I wanted to be a member of but widows we are-stay strong-"this to will pass"

5:36 PM PST  
Blogger Diana said...

Mickey, I know that you posted this blog almost 5 years ago, but what you said is still very much pertinent. A lot of times, widows feel like they are alone and the fact that "grief honeymoon" that takes place right after the loss ends pretty much as quickly as it starts does not help the situation.

I've been researching blogs and articles like the brilliant one you've written all afternoon, and I found one written by a woman named Carol Lin, a CNN anchor who lost her husband to cancer several years back. Here's an excerpt from her piece that I thought you'd like because it goes along right with what you were saying:

"I knew if I didn’t go back to work now, I’d never want to go back.

So, as I climbed out of my car on my first day back—trying to muster the courage to walk in—I looked up and locked eyes with my colleague and friend, Nadia... Unfortunately, there was no getting around the fact that we would have to speak... Perhaps with Nadia in the CNN parking lot on that autumn day, it wasn’t what she said that mattered most. It was the fact she made the effort."

She goes on to talk about how, as you said, being a widow does suck and there's no getting around that. I feel like a lot of times, widows define themselves, after the trauma experienced in the loss of a husband, as the vessel of an experience that no one truly knows how to manage. After the event, widows are no longer wives, women with kids, careers, lives, but rather women who once had a husband, but now he's out of the equation, and the identity is derived from the fact that she is single, unmarried, and widowed. This identity is then implanted into every situation of the widow's life, and she is defined by how she strives to progress through the grief and attempt to reinstall some sort of normality in life, however you define it.

Great article, you really hit the nail on the head even back then. Oh, and if you want to read the rest of the piece (she has others on this site that are all equally amazing), here's the link:

12:12 PM PST  
Blogger paula said...

I just happen to come across this ,I am at work. I am a widow of 2 years and every thing you have all said is in my heart. It is painfull. I try to be social and pretend. I sometimes do not know how to act. I even have a hard time going to church because I sit alone ,now. I am trying to keep myself busy . I went back to school. This is only temporary. I cry when I am by myself.

5:25 PM PST  
Blogger cydne said...

my heart is with you dear paula..i do as you do trying to keep busy enough not to 'think' of him and missing him so, but i think now that this sadness never really goes away. have you tried talking with a counselor? the local hospice facility here offers grief counseling...i went a few times, this helped during the most overwhelming times...sort of grounded me, but it all seems very fresh yet even at 2 1/2 years since Dean's passing.....i'm sure i will be thinking of you in the days to come dear one, you have my most sincere sympathy and my very best wishes, thanking you for sharing, cydne

8:20 PM PST  
Blogger iuhacker said...

I am a widow of seven months after losing my 53-year-old husband to a heart attack. I have two children, one in college and one about to start high school. My daughter has epilepsy and was so despondent over her father's sudden death and issues with her epilepsy, she tried to commit suicide last month. My son, who has aspergers had battery charges filed against him because someone said bad things about his dad. I know being a widow is hard, but it is being without a partner...someone to share the joys and the burdens of life that hurts me the most. All my friends say I am doing so well, but I feel I am one step away from falling down a hole that has no end. I try to take care of myself. We just came back from vacation, our first without him, and it has devastated me. It has helped though to hear you all and to know that no matter how much time has passed or will pass, the pain of loss and tears will always be okay.

8:35 PM PDT  
Blogger dsue said...

I have just begun this "Lonesome Walk" and I feel as if I did so well 4 weeks ago and now everyone is gone on with their life. This week I have not left the house for 5 days, I spent my time doing nothing and crying every time I felt like it. I miss him so and tomorrow would be our 34 wedding anniversary. I miss him holding me and just want to kick myself for taking all the little things for granted. I feel like a alien in public, no one knows what to say. At 53, he should still be here with me. If this is how the rest of my life will be, I am not so sure I can deal with the pain. I pray for the Lord to guide me and help me with this heavy heart I have right now.

9:26 AM PDT  
Blogger NiseyFostah said...

I became a widow 7 months and 17 days ago. I was 47 years old and he 57 when he passed. He had liver disease and was waiting for a transplant until he was further diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension which made him ineligible for the transplant until we could get the PH under control. Unfortunately,while trying to manage this complication, he became weaker and contracted pneumonia and his kidneys started failing. We knew his situation was grave but denial can fool those that wish to be deceived. We believed he was going to pull through and get strong enough for the transplant. When they told me I should call my children to the hospital which was an hour and a half away from home, I finally began to believe that death was imminent.I had played the " what if " scenerio out in my mind, but wouldn't conceive that it could really happen. We as a family had to decide that we should discontinue the 24 hour dialysis and mechanical ventilation because the hope for liver transplant had been taken from us and we knew he could never survive without it. We surrounded his bed and talked to him as if we were home in our living room, telling stories, talking to him and telling him how much we all love him.We
thanked him for all the years he gave to us. We told him what a wonderful husband and father he had been and that he'd always be our hero. " Job Well Done, Mr. Foster" we said, job well done! He slipped away peacefully with all of his loved ones around him except his one daughter ( my step daughter) who was almost 9 months pregnant and lived about and 8 hour car ride away.It was the most frightening thing I've ever endured and had to put on the strongest face for my children. I've worked in a hospital for 20 years as a nurses aid and was in my second semester of nursing school when all this took place. I had to try to let my children feel that I was able to handle what was happening so they didn't come unglued. They needed someone strong and I had to be it! I had to explain what was happening when he started having agonal gasps for air as he was passing. I felt like I could faint. I told the kids don't worry, it's a normal occurance that happens to some, he's not suffering. We had him medicated so he would not be frightened or in pain. He died at Massachusetts General Hospital after an 11 day stay. I felt he was in one of the best hospitals in the country and if they couldn't save him, than nobody could have. But, here I am now, facing my first Christmas without him. He was my best friend, and the truest husband and father there ever was. My beloved spouse of 21 years. I know they say that only the good die young, and he was young in his 57 years, but why my husband? Why my childrens father? Only God knows, and I do place my trust in him. I do believe that God must have had either a purpose for him or a different walk for me planned, I don't know which. But, my children and I miss him every day. He's my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. I will love and miss him all the days of my life until I meet him once again. He told me, that one day, when it's my time, he'll come to sweep me off of my feet again! I pray it's true!

9:20 PM PST  
Blogger Marilynn said...

He's been gone about two weeks now. It hurts without measure. There is no greater pain than this. He was certain I would find another. I only want him back with me. It goes up and down moment to moment I can smile and laugh and than cry and feel empty. We had 45 years, we grew up together, he was oh my my mirror image.I have no choice but to move on.

11:02 PM PDT  
Blogger Marilyn Brooks said...

i lost my husband of 451/2 yrs. from a massive heart attack. 6 mos after a stroke. that he was supposed to recover from. we done everything together. it feels like my heart was ripped out of me. i am so lonely. i had retired just a week before he had his stroke. we had so many plans.feel like i was cheated in life. tho i know a lot of people have it worse. have 2 wonderful sons. and a sister. it's just not the same. i would go to work. my health does not allow it. i do volunteer every other wk. at a thrift store. want to start attending church. i feel so bad most of the time. with sinus, gi problems etc. try to push myself,
. he was a great man. so caring & thoughtful. thought this might help. writing down my thoughts.

4:24 PM PST  

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