Time Frame > Beyond the First Year (1+ years)

Broken family --how do you forgive yourself?

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PLEASE, forgive yourself. It has been five years for me. I met someone within a few months of my husband's accident. I was in the deep throes of grief. Thinking back, I don't know what the hell I was thinking, really. I do remember thinking I was dying myself. I truly, truly felt I was dying myself because my grief was so profound and unmanageable. There was a Saturday night I remember where I collapsed in a withering, bawling heap on the living room floor. I was hysterical and I felt like the walls were closing in on me. My 17 year old son called my sister while my 15 year old daughter called several of  D and my couple friends to come to the house immediately.

It was about six weeks or so after D died. Up to that point, I had been doing everything a grieving widow and mom is supposed to do. I was meeting with a grief counselor. I had seen a doctor to keep tabs on my health and started some meds for anxiety. I was also trying to be mindful of what my kids needed and striving to maintain a bit of normal for them, cooking meals, going to their activites.  My friends were there for me, but truth be told, it was at the point where even my most ardent supporters were returning to their own lives and the writing was suddenly on the wall that I was alone. My kids were becoming more and more independent with college on the horizon. It was a sudden reality check that I was unfathomably alone. The emptiness overwhelmed me and I had a true breakdown. I was completely nonfuctional for about a week after that.

At that point I knew I could only be there fully for my kids if I made a life of my own. I needed to survive and figure out what would make life worth living for me. All of my friends were married. My family lived states away. I only knew being married for 23 years. Truth be told, I wanted a friend and a companion. So, I decided I would try to meet someone. I was very careful, and I was also a bit lucky. I did meet someone within a few months and it turned out to be what I needed.  I was still very much grieving, and no doubt running from my grief, but he was ok with that. He didn't push me at all. My kids saw me getting out a bit and recognized that I was a better mom because of it. I am sure friends worried about me and some people no doubt judged me. In hindsight I sort of judge myself, but I also realize it was what I needed and fortunately I was clear thinking enough to keep my wits about me and not be taken advantage of.

Bottom line, we do what we have to do to survive, to get through this unspeakable loss the only we know how at the time. The way we do that is different for each of us, and sadly sometimes even we widows judge each other as I have found out on this board from time to time. We just have to do the best we can and try to make the most conscientious decisions we can for ourselves and our kids. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we make mistakes; we pick ouselves up and move forward.

We've all done things we regret post-loss; my second year was one mistake after another. Please forgive yourself. No one else will understand the emotions that drove you to make those mistakes. You will get stronger!


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