Author Topic: Advice from a DGI  (Read 4218 times)

Jen

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Advice from a DGI
« on: November 11, 2015, 08:50:03 AM »
A well-meaning, caring, loving DGI. But a DGI nonetheless. I'm aware that I'm prickly and prone to take things the wrong way, but I'm really struggling here. I think we can all agree that the major task of widowhood is building a new life-- bonus points if you can make it into something you actually want to participate in-- and that's where I'm falling down. An old friend made the mistake of asking "How are you doing?" So I told her: I'm here because I have to be, not because I want to be. On the surface, I'm okay-- I meet my obligations, I get the kids to school, I do my job, I pay my bills. Beyond that, though... I'm lost. There's nothing I want. Everything I wanted is in the rearview mirror and receding fast. I have no goals, there's nothing I want to accomplish. Is a swift and painless death that doesn't inconvenience my family a reasonable goal? Didn't think so. :-\

So after releasing this diatribe on my unwilling (and, I must reemphasize, very well-meaning) friend, she came up with this gem: "Trust in the future."

Um... yeah. Not so much. I did that, you see. I trusted in the future, I trusted in fate, I trusted in my love story. We all know how that turned out. I don't dare hope for anything else-- hope hurts too much.

I have a suspicion, though, that that's not the right attitude. There's got to be something else. An inveterate nerd, I keep flashing back to V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture-- "Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?"

How do I find hope? How do I find the courage to hope for anything better?

For a little while, there was light in hell. It was still gray, but there was an occasional glimmer... I almost thought I could see a way out. Now it's black again. I don't know what to do. :(
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton

Quixote

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2015, 09:43:08 AM »
Jen, I honestly don't know, either.  I have pretty much the same feeling, like the good and happy part of my life is over.  And I get the "think positive!" stuff so much (hey, I live in California).  Well past the point where people expect me to be grieving, which makes almost everyone a DGI.

What I can tell you is that I figure I might as well try to get through the day.  Maybe the best day now is worse than the worst day with her, but it's all I've got.  I went with the "caretaker of her memory" cloak for a while, but that's a heavy thing to carry daily.  Instead, I just go with "let's see what happens today".

Take care.  And yeah, you've got family who needs you around.  That's something, isn't it?

Wheelerswife

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2015, 10:32:39 AM »
Jen,

I try to keep hope.  I know that this isn't the right path for everyone, but for me, I know that fulfillment in my life came from a combination of two things.  One of those things is a generic category of all things "me".  It was my work, my interests, learning, friends, family. The other thing was being in a committed and intimate relationship.  It seems to me that I just need both in order to be happy.  When I was young, I focused on building my career, and that was great...to a point.  Then, I met my first husband and that second component was added to the picture....and then, I was happy.  Prior to that, I'd say that I was certainly satisfied and challenged and growing, but happiness didn't really come until I had a partnership.

After my first husband died, like most of us, I felt like nothing really mattered much.  Even my work wasn't satisfying.  Once I met John, though, and we started on our life together, happiness came back to my life.  I felt rejuvenated to look at the other aspects of my life as well, and although I went through some confusing times and decided to leave my old profession, I began to build a new "me" component.  That process was still quite incomplete (well, is it ever complete?) when John unexpectedly died.

I've continued on that process of rebuilding "me", and yes, I'm finding some degree of satisfaction there, but I'm not happy.  I don't know if I can be happy without a committed intimate relationship in my life.  Well, really, I don't think I can be.

My hope comes from knowing I have done this once.  I also have hope because many of my widow friends have done this, too.  I have a friend Dave, a widower from the old board.  We struck up a supportive friendship over a year ago and we brought each other through some low times.  He had been widowed four years and seemed kind of depressed, feeling as if this would be his life until he was older than the hills.  Somehow, even in my angst and despairing, I convinced him to go to some meet-ups in his area.  Several weeks later, he met someone, they clicked, and now they are making plans to spend their lives together.  I think...it happened for him, why can't it happen for the rest of us?  He never thought he could be so happy. 

I have to keep hope that someone who is right for me will come into my life.  When?  Where?  How?  I don't know.  I hope I'm not going to be disappointed.

Hugs,

Maureen 
Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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sojourner

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2015, 01:22:10 PM »
Oh, yeaaay- advice from (even a well-meaning) DGI!  My favorite!  ::) For now, I have to say my main motivation for anything is a sense of obligation- I have too many people relying on me to just give up. About all I can do is try to keep things on as even a keel as possible, which is a gigantic challenge even on the best of days. ( Lotsa ADD/anxiety/depression in the family & stability is an absolute necessity.)

I'd dearly love to even just spend one whole day in bed in my pj's, but have never had the opportunity where I felt that'd be such a great idea, even tho my kids aren't little- teens can even be worse sometimes!! I also feel obligated to take reasonably good care of myself, so as not to "kick the bucket" earlier than necessary and add to my family's pain. Happy? No, can't say that I am. But I do hold out hope that I will be again someday, hopefully yet on this side of eternity. In the meantime, I try to stay as involved in my community as I feel up to at any given time, and keep doing those things that have to be done regardless, and try to figure out things to treat myself to, for something I can try to look forward to now & then.

Idn't anything easy about this widda life!!!!!!

Jen

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2015, 05:36:16 PM »

Idn't anything easy about this widda life!!!!!!

True that!!!  :-\

I know I can't go-- doesn't stop me from wishing I could. Maureen, I'm afraid you're right; much as I'd like to be able to say that I am completely sufficient unto myself, the fact is that I work best in a collaboration. It seems like such a waste to me, to think of spending the next 40 years or so just drifting along, hopeless and lost until I finally get to shuffle off this mortal coil.  :(

I guess at this point I'm still hoping for hope. Maybe one of these days I'll find some. If anyone has suggestions on where to look, I'm all ears...
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton

twistedmensa

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2015, 08:27:25 PM »
I trusted in the future, I trusted in fate, I trusted in my love story. We all know how that turned out. I don't dare hope for anything else-- hope hurts too much.

This is true for me, as well. It's as if my life ended at the same time his did. I am beginning to make plans for the future, but it is without feeling or excitement. I am content, I suppose, but not happy. I'm not sure if I will ever attain happiness again.

Trying

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2015, 08:42:41 PM »
For me, hope means the risk of being hurt again.  Sometimes the fear of going through this type of pain again makes me want to close out the world, close off my heart, and avoid any of the risk of rejection, pain or abandonment. More days than not, I am now leaning towards taking those risks because a life without hope comes with a guarantee of pain.  I don't trust that the future will NOT throw me more curve balls, more struggles, more loss.  Life has proven to me, even before losing DH, that pain is a part of it.  What I am hoping for is happiness in between the tough times, love given and received, rainbows between the storms.
You will forever be my always.

sojourner

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2015, 08:54:15 PM »
"... a life without hope comes with a guarantee of pain."
PROFOUND!!!!!!!!
 Yes.

BrokenHeart2

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2015, 01:32:43 AM »
Thank you Trying for your profound statement. Wow it resonated with me.
I don't want it to be his legacy that his death destroyed me.
I need to honour his life by rebuilding my life.

Mizpah

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2015, 09:14:34 AM »
This kind of stuff is so hard, because it likely reflects her deeply-held, sincerely-held beliefs, belief structure, possibly even religion, etc.  Each person's lifeview can be so different, that conversations like this can really only be productive between people who share the same philosophical view, or between two people who have already acknowledged that their beliefs are different, "but here's what I think...."  When people say stuff like this to me, I smile and nod and chant in my head: "Smile and nod, smile and nod."

What's frustrating about this to me is that, I've found in my own personal experience that, things don't just happen (except tragically premature death I guess!!!).  For me, if I wanted change, I had to decide within myself I need a big change, and start trying to think of ways to make it happen, and take actions in my life to change things toward some kind of goal, even if the goal was vague and the end result foggy and unknown.  Maybe some people have benefited from chance and good things just happen and the direction of their life alters with no cause of it coming from themselves.  But I've found that hope, trust, and waiting are not reliable ways to make good things happen in life, and so platitudes like that are unhelpful (in my view). 
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

hachi

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2015, 11:29:20 AM »
  Maybe some people have benefited from chance and good things just happen and the direction of their life alters with no cause of it coming from themselves.  But I've found that hope, trust, and waiting are not reliable ways to make good things happen in life, and so platitudes like that are unhelpful (in my view).

YES! Live intentionally.
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.      ~ A. Einstein

sojourner

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2015, 12:21:07 PM »
For myself, anyway, having hope sure doesn't mean excluding planning and working towards something, like just throwing pennies in a wishing well and waiting for something magical to happen. The idea that hope for the future would exclude effort to change things actually puzzles me. Hope for the future actually is a major motivator- part of what gives me desire to make plans and move forward into my new life.  It gives me the thought that there's something more, better things that could lay beyond what I'm going through in this current, horrible time.

Tricia

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2015, 08:56:03 PM »
Sometimes I feel like we're all overthinking this life thing. Jen, you go to work, you take care of your kids, you are a good friend and family member to lots of people, and you are a darn good writer. And oh yeah, you're also grieving. You're kinda busy. Why then add the pressure of trying to also figure out the meaning of life? And why do people think that just because we've gone through this, we're the keepers of some profound wisdom?

The fact that you are still here and you make the choice to be here day after day means that you do have hope, however faint. You have hope that it won't always be this hard, that this event will not define who you are as a person, that you will continue to give and receive love. The life you have made and maintained shows your hope. 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 09:08:00 PM by Tricia »
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I have almost no idea what I'm doing.

sojourner

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2015, 09:12:36 PM »
So is there a turbo-like button on this thing? Darn technology...how to humanize it?!? Oh, well.

Virgo

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Re: Advice from a DGI
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2015, 07:00:19 AM »
"Trust in the future " What a generic thing to say. Makes me wonder if she even heard what you said or just zoned out.
Jen

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." Dr. Seuss