Widening my Bereavement support - Way-Up

I value and remain part of this group. This group and you lot have got me through something that I never imagined would happen. 

In these Covid days, all the community and peer support stopped. The Hospice group I was due to go to and another one locally all stopped. In my friends, I have no one who has lost a partner so have felt very isolated in grieving, apart from you lot here.  Having no children and only two family members who are basically a drain on me as I have caring responsibilities, I have been sitting at home with the dogs with no one to talk out loud to. Having this forum has been a life line. 

And alongside this I am going to widen my bereavement support. I have found something called Way-Up - a group/organisation/network for people generally 50+ who are bereaved. I have joined. This might give me some more local connections for future support.  I dont know the reach of the organisation, but I am hopeful that as the world keeps turning, I will turn with it and being a widow will become part of my life experience and I grow with it, rather than it stopping everything. 

https://way-up.co.uk/

It was International Widows day on 23 June and I have been humbled by how relatively easy I have it. 

  • Thank you, I will let you all know how it goes.

    Lizzy

  • Mcc Good news then, hopefully the med's will sort you out, and who knows you may not need to take for ever?

    Stress is one of the hardest things to deal with and when you are already dealing with a bereavement something else on top of it can be the tipping point.

    Enjoy your week and try to relax sounds like this may have come at the right time to give you some "you time"

    Lizzy

  • Yes, I agree with you, dear Darkhorse. It is a different story for all of us, and yet we come together in commonality. Your experiences have been so, so, awful, one after the other. We both know there is no moving on, yet while there seems no hope for us, there is hope for others. 

    My life will never be the same again, it can never even approach it. My own cancer was cured, and then he fell and was gone in 5 months. I veer wildly from detesting some individuals while at the same time loving humanity, and people like you. I know what it is to lose the only person that really mattered. You lose the person, but the love goes on endlessly. I do not ask you to be strong, this is what you are, whether you know it or not. 

    I will think of you x

  • It is seven and a half months since I lost him.  I still don't believe it sometimes.  How can he be gone?  How is that possible?

    I don't post on here much. That is because I'm afraid that if I say how I feel it might trigger someone else.  I really don't want to do that, so this is a 'vent warning'.  I'm about to vent.

    I think I have depression now, as well as the grief.  Everything looks negative and hopeless to me.

    All I do is wait.  I go through the ritual of daily life on autopilot with no sense of enjoyment or purpose.  I merely exist. I still don't eat and sleep properly and I feel exhausted.  I feel bitter too.

    Definitely I think there is a point where people begin to expect you to have begun to 'get over it'.  People seem to pay lip service to the belief that you don't get over it you just accept it. I think I'm supposed to be over it now, or well on the way.

    In my experience at least, there seems to be a socially acceptable way to behave as a widow / widower. Early on I felt like I was supposed to put on a brave face and then be told my feelings are natural and how well I was doing despite everything.  That's a lot more comfortable for other people than showing real emotion, and they won't want that. People will back off and gently suggest that you visit your doctor (as if you hadn't thought of that already). I've even been told recently that I'm not my usual cheerful and lively self any more!  Well, that was my fake brave face that's beginning to develop cracks.

    Then there are the ones who've googled the grief process and think they know about it.  It felt to me like I was being treated as a set of symptoms, and not an individual person with real feelings.  Anger? check. Mood Swings? check. Insomnia? check. Anxiety? check. Feeling overwhelmed? check.  ... "That's grief.  Perfectly natural.  Nothing to worry about." And they immediately lose interest.  It may be natural pain, but so is a broken bone.  People wouldn't be so dismissive of that.

    Not everyone is insincere but many turn out to be.  It used to make me angry to hear the platitudes and to be on the receiving end of their somewhat patronising helpful 'advice'. ("Have you thought of doing something that you used to find interesting?  Take your mind off it.") That's more or less stopped now.  Sympathy seems to have a 'best before' date.  When I needed practical help these people were nowhere to be seen, but they are great at giving me uninvited advice.  Perhaps some of them do mean well - or do they?  Discovering who was sincere and who wouldn't even spare me a brief condolence led to some surprises.  I found that I mustn't even think of taking their insincere enquires about how I feel literally.  Their eyes glaze over.

    I think at this point along I've used up all my sympathy points.  But I don't think I ever wanted pity; I wanted empathy.  When you meet an empathetic person, you feel it.  Perhaps it is the depression talking but I've found this a very bitter experience.  I only hope that if the time comes I can be empathetic and not make the mistakes of some people I've come across.  I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.  I think maybe empathy is too much to ask of most people, especially during a pandemic.  Too close to home perhaps.  But the experience has made me feel even more isolated.

  • Oh Dunlin

    What a accurate  thread and one quiet a lot of people can relate to. Its just over eight months for me, seems like yesterday but on the other hand think how comes eight months have gone with out him.

    Its so hard at times, i am lost and a lone, even my children do not understand, if fact last weeks i shed tears, and when asked why, i said i miss him so much,well a reply got my back up reply was Don;t we all,its different for them yes it was their dad, but they have other lives tYo go home to, i am at home alone. Was married a long time how can one recover  when you have spent more than half your life with the one person you have loved.

    You are not a lone in how you fill, at times i think i am becoming a sad  alone person, nothing to look forward to, still trying to sort out all the jobs that need to be done.

    you vent away every one can understand where you are coming from, at least here we all understand what this journey entails and how it makes you fill at times..

    Take Care Ellie xx

  • Hi Ellie,

    Thanks for your reply.

    I felt guilty venting in that way.  It is so very hard struggling with all this, day after day for months without end.  Sometimes it seems too much to deal with.  It gets on top of you.

  • Hi Dunlin,

    Don't feel guilty, my husband died last Christmas Eve and I feel as you do. We had known each other 52 years. I can't see a future without him, and as you say, it's hard struggling with everything day after day. I dread waking up each day.

    Jane

  • Dorothy, there is much that connects us. There are some who think they move on.....that detestable term....but I like to think of it as the way up. Moving on to me signifies leaving him behind, which I don't think you can do any more than I could. Good luck to them. I agree also with your description of other humans.... I detest some with a vengeance....others I am madly jealous of who have kept each other and don't deserve it....others I love....some I am grateful to because they make effort with a very cranky old woman. The love does go on...but so does my 'teenage obsession'. We were totally obsessed with each other, lived and breathed nothing else and that it the bit I find the most difficult. I am nearly 17 months on. Things have changed I'd be lying if I said otherwise. Antidepressants have partially quelled the tears which increases my pangs of guilt and longing, almost desperation in intensity. He was my healer. The nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks and lethargy remain. It is as if my boy is fighting the seratonin. I am grateful Dorothy you haven't told me to be strong like many do...but its a misconception to think I am because I am still here. I am here because I deserve the punishment and torture because I didn't do enough to save him. There were many things I regret and things I allowed which I think hastened his end and did so painfully.

    I don't know if he was able to be there for your own cancer journey....mine never made it and it scarred me forever. I am cancer free, but obviously have to wait the five years for the official bit. I bitterly regret having that operation now...a lost opportunity....but I accept it as part of the punishment now.

    I don't know which is worst my friend....you losing your soulmate in such a short time or me watching mine tortured over four years and slowly torn from my body..... I almost feel your pain.....and the same resignation I feel that others will recover.....good for them. But I also think you and i were incredibly lucky to have a bond that ties us to another soul indefinitely.....I send you my love and thanks xxx

  • Dunlin,

    first off you should not worry about offending anyone on here because of your feelings. It is highly unlikely anyway and in some ways the purpose of this site is to vent in comfort and with the support of others. I have done it many times and very selfishly not even considered others! That you have shows you are a decent human being!

    Not going to deny a single word you have said....but empathy is only ever going to come from someone who has been where we have. I actually cringe to think of my past efforts to comfort others. The ones you describe, as much as we detest what they 'advise' are simply ignorant well meaning individuals in the main. Others want to make themselves look good, supportive pals or make themselves feel better because they haven't avoided you yet. True empathy comes from painful experience lovey. It is not their fault they are ignorant...and that is something to be grateful for in a way for I wouldn't wish this on anyone. To find it a bitter experience is a manifestation of what you have lost. People have different perceptions of empathy as well as different ways of coping themselves.

    I now live alone in a tiny cul de sac and am disabled. The cancer treatment attacked my arthritis terribly. So I rarely bump into anyone. I had a breakdown which affected my memory too, and have a severe hearing loss, so unless they trouble to march up to me, which most don't, the majority are off the hook. I am depressed, have anxiety etc. I even asked for a PTSD assessment & found the doctor had referred me for CBT. Counsellig failed miserably for me and even made me worse by reliving it. He knew this, so why send me for CBT which I also told him I don't believe in.  It is just a way of trying to make you see different points of view. Thats fine if you had a big row etc but death is final. The events are set in stone for me and I think also for most bereaved who are as traumatised as we are.

    Different folk have different tolerance levels, but they all agree that eventually, 'enough is enough'. on 23rd I will be at the 17 month mark. Way past any tolerance, let alone owt else!!! I think cracks in understanding start to appear around 3 months and by 6 they are valleys. At my length of time all pretence has gone. The fact that disbelief you feel about your loss has not even hit home yet does not touch them....at ALL.

    People also focus on the mental side too...they don't understand the massive physical jolt you take. they also focus only on the death impact. When you see someone fall ill the torture that causes regardless of length of time, is incalculable. In my case the journey was 10 years in total of which 4 years was his cancer journey and so far another year for mine. When you see someone you love become ill, you neglect your own needs, own body so by the time you lose them you already took a big physical hit. You get prone to other things, depression, anxiety yes, but also your immune system is weaker, you may have ballooned in size by comfort eating or go the other way like me and drop weight.  You become aware of existing pains which are magnified.

    Someone spoke of existing and going through daily routines....it doesn't even feel like that for me...existence could be a goal to aim for if I could be inspired (I can't). I only occupy space and steal oxygen. Every morsel of food tastes foul & struggles to go down because I know he cannot eat anymore. I feel nauseous often. Other times I live off chocolate or cake etc whatever will go down that tastes a little less foul. Other times I chew and spit in the hope some tiny morsel slips down to stop the inevitable unwanted pangs of hunger. ....and it does work. I am back up from an 8 to a 10/12 (though at one point I was a 22/24).

    The bitterness you speak of still stabs, still overwhelms all these months on. If feels like blink of eye but also aeons ago and there is no reconciling the two. What most don't realize is they add to all of this and to everything else involved. They tell me continually how well I look (really?)  and as you say, how well I am doing!

    Sadly those in similar devoted relationships will all too soon understand how very wrong they were....and will expect our empathy... which they will get from me if I can give it.

    I have been lucky enough to be supported by another widow 6 yrs down the line who has given practical help and advice and comfort. We don't see everything eye to eye, because her priorities are not mine....but its as close as it gets. I was 15 when I met John and she was 14 when she met Paul, so that childhood bonding is something we share and that helps hugely.

    I am always here if anyone needs me. It is often the blind leading the blind but all we can do is try for each other xxx

  • Ellie,

    They simply don't understand and will be confused by your anger. You can't make anyone understand. People think if they lose a beloved close one, like a Dad or sister or even a child, it is the same (or worse) than losing a life partner and soulmate. It is truly awful for anyone losing a loved one, especially a child............but it is NOT the same as losing your soulmate! 

    Your soulmate knows your intimate secrets, the depths of you (probably better than you do yourself). Even losing a child does not entail this. That is horrific in different ways...my son lost his little boy last year. It will be his fifth birthday next month.

    But to lose your foundation, your rock, your confident, best friend, lover, healer, your everything is on another level because they held your being, your existence and influenced it and who you are. Being alone magnifies the loss too.

    We have all had to bite our tongue at the phrases flung at us as if it is WE who don't understand.....I deal with it by being glad they don't know what they are saying.

    Love and hugs to you Ellie x