Author Topic: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!  (Read 8091 times)


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2015, 03:44:06 PM »
I?ve been thinking about this thread and I?d like to add to the previous reply that I wrote. I?m not sure that I really rebuilt as much as I just continued to live and grow. When my wife died I could have stopped living and just gone through the motions of life (and I did for a while). However, looking back over last few years I can see so much change and growth in my life.

Deciding to remarry was not only good for me; it was good for so many lives that are woven in with mine. My new wife has been a huge help to my kids as they move into the young adult stage of their life. She doesn?t try to take the place of their mother, she just tries to help them as a friend and they have responded well to that approach. They?ll often call her with issues that they need help with before they call me. She has also been a big help to me as I watch out for my aging parents and they have grown to love her as they did my DW.

As far as her family goes, I was accepted immediately by her parent and I would do anything that I can to help them. I also became an instant grandfather. My new wife has a grandson that was born three weeks after her husband died. She has a second that was born three months after we started dating. They are two boys that I continue to grow to love more as time passes. Even though they?ll see pictures and hear about their biological grandfather, I have the responsibility of being the grandfather they?ll have contact with. Saturday the older grandson has a father/son outing with his preschool. His father has to work so I?ve been asked to fill in and it?s something that we?re both looking forward to. In the Fall my wife and I are taking a cruise with her daughter and son-in-law to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

My wife and I are both widowed, but our lives continue to touch so many other lives and I hope it?s in a positive way. I guess I?m just saying that I didn?t have to rebuild; I just had to let my life move forward. As I look back, it has moved forward in wonderful ways. It has moved forward in ways that I would have wanted my wife?s life to move forward if it had been me that died.

Let me finish by saying that I don?t think for a moment that a widow/er has to remarry to move forward in positive ways. I just wanted to express the opinion that, for our own benefit, we should try to continue to live our lives to the fullest? well as for the benefit of those we touch. It's not easy and it's not something that happens overnight, but it's worth the effort.



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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2015, 11:21:40 AM »
7 1/2 years.....Best way to sum it up a journey...

In a nutshell....spent first 4 years playing victim. Became an RX drug addict because well I couldn't cope with death, suicide, raising 3 kids. Oh I forged on...took care of things...but didn't really live. Some is a blur...Went through diversions with men (meaning dating 3 months). Had a 6 month marriage..Overdoses twice...flatlined once.

Then I hit my rock 4 years I was lower than I was when I first was widowed.

Spiritual awakening-Saved and Changed my life...That was 3 years ago. Been clean ever since.

Live everyday like it's my last. Travel, throw myself into my kids, redid my house, reconnected with old friends....studies religions, spirituality, meditation...trying to figure out my spiritual experience. Threw myself into career.
I guess the past 3 years has been rebuilding at lightening speed. To make up for 4 years of just insanity.

I feel whole again. I feel happy. I am dating a great guy...but I felt complete and whole before I met him. (Which I refused to date for several years until I got to that point). Never wanted to be in a relationship again starting out broken.

He knows my whole story..he gets it.

So it's been a long process for me-But now it's so worth it.
B.W.H. 9/24/2007

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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2015, 11:42:58 AM »
Rebuilding...a great word for it and a great, thought provoking post.

I am almost 3 years out after losing my husband suddenly in an accident and being left to take care of a 9 month old.

I feel as though I spent the first year "surviving" - just getting through the day, nurturing myself and my son, reorganizing my life to make it work as a single parent. Just trying to get the day to day stuff done, with a few breaks in between. I ate and drank a fair amount and put on a brave face but was pretty miserable.

Then I feel as though I started to get into rebuilding mode - realizing I didnt want this experience as a widow to totally define me and that I wanted to be happy for the years I have left with my life. I was tired of being so down so wanted to work on rebuilding my attitude and my life.

So year 2-3, I decided to focus on what makes me happy and how I could rebuild my life as a single mother. I felt so isolated alone in my small town (I had always lived in the city, my husband and I moved out to burbs) so I joined a couple of local groups, volunteered, worked hard to build new friendships - through this board but also through etc and the clubs I joined. I wanted to feel better about myself so I went on a diet, cut my drinking and started regular exercise for the endorphins - and lost 4 dress sizes + spent money on my hair etc (which I neglected in year 1). I found a grief therapist as well so I could let out what was in my head (I am not good at grieving in front of my family and friends). I completed a number of projects on my house. I tried to re-engage more actively with my work, went to a few job interviews to see what opportunities were out there. I started dating, and am trying to open my heart up to the possibility of being really re-coupled (ummm but still working on this). I started being more confident about my parenting skills by reading books, taking my son on outings so we could bond (and get out of the house) and I have been learning to control my temper better.

Instead of living just day by day now, I am cautiously starting to look forward to what I want to do and I continue to work on what makes me and my son happy and trying to be happy overall. I am not finding this rebuilding process easy admittedly and I have alot of ups and downs (including my mood) but I am working on it !  I have been frustrated as I think I have been doing the "right" things to rebuild but I cant seem to get past the grief of what happened - but as I understand, this is going to be a long process (indeed full of ups and downs).


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2015, 02:49:22 PM »
Rebuilding ... such a no nonsense word, but yet holds mountains of possibilities!  I guess I could say I've started the "rebuilding" process. 

The first year after his death, I just wanted to roll over and die too.  He had the audacity to die suddenly in front of me and our three children, aged 20, 24, and the oldest just turned 30 the day before.  My girls tell me the first year I just walked the halls of the house, didn't sleep, eat, or talk.  Didn't watch t.v., just walked up and down the hall.

After year one I had to make the decision that I couldn't change what happened, couldn't fix it, and he was not coming back.  So I had to change!  I wanted to be an example to our daughters so I started to fight to find myself.  Then life decides to send me a another curve ball, my youngest graduated from college, got married, and moved to Virginia.  So, I learn to let another precious cargo of mine go and give her the confidence that we all will be fine.  I'll come visit and she'll come back to visit.  I was doing pretty good with that when my oldest tells me that her husband lost his job but got another at ASU (in Phoenix) and they are moving with my only grandbaby.  Then, my middle daughter moves out of our house and buys a house with her fianc? (which is fairly close to me).  So, in 4 years time, I've gone to being a family of 5 to now living alone.  But, and here is the amazing part ... I'm coping with it!  I've had some serious conversations with God about why did I have to learn to be alone. 

Now I'm ready to really start my rebuilding ... as I don't like being alone and I want a companion.  I'm just about ready to join a dating website (well, 98% there)!  But I can finally say I joined the living again!


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2015, 08:56:01 AM »
I think for me personally this rebuilding thing has been sooooo difficult.   I often wonder why?  I went through extreme grief when I lost him pregnant and with a 5 1/2 month old baby.   Then it hit me.   It is hard because I do not , have not had any time to focus on myself.  It has been survival raising my boys.  I have no support system near me and currently my Mom my only true support system is battling cancer.   So here I am.   
I get very frustrated as it is not that I don't want to "leap".  It is I truly can't leap.   I have to always look at my limited time and see what exactly I can do for myself.  I run after the kids , the house and everything else.  Me (or any time for me) comes absolute last.  It is easy for others to say you HAVE to do something for yourself.  But honestly even time for friends or others isn't possible or very limited.
So I will put this out in very honest fashion.  I feel like my life is stagnant and on hold.  Because my life is about everyone else and not me.   Rebuilding has been soooo frustrating inside for me and lead to some depressive feelings.  Why?  Because inside I have so much I want to do but realistically I can't.   Yes I do things with the kids as a family which is what this stage is about of course.  But sometimes I am screaming inside for a small bit for me.  It is very very hard to admit this but I feel like rebuilding means very small, small bits for me until I have time.   And that line right there is what makes it so very very hard.   
I have done things for me.   Running.  Took up running and I do love the feeling it gives me and the time to just "be" .  Me , my favorite music and the run.  I try to set goals with other things but truly there is no time.  I am raising 2 boys completely totally alone.  There is no one to take them for the weekend...I have to beg a friend or pay a sitter for a few hours and night out. 
So hard is the word I would use.   In my head defining rebuilding means some things I long for.  But realistically it means most of those remain on hold.  I am not resentful at all boys are my greatest and most amazing joys.   But at times I will  have a "pity party" for myself.  And I do try to fit in anything that is for "me". 
There you go I just bared the soul a bit. :)


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2015, 11:03:57 AM »
I keep coming back to this thread and trying to formulate an answer. Rebuilding for me was hard. The hardest thing I ever had to do in my at that point 44 years. And I was no stranger to life's difficulties.

The first year I attempted to carry on with my usual determined spirit. I was going to make my husband proud of how I managed. I sold my house, got a new job, rewrote my address book, clean slate. The second year I couldn't make sense of why I didn't feel better. I had done everything correctly...I had traveled, managed all the post death business, sold a home, secured a job, moved, managed my dying mother's affairs and then her death. The third year, I bought an old house and remodeled it. And I still felt like shit and lonely. I have no children and my parents had died. So I didn't just feel alone, I was alone and it scared me. Occasionally I would see glimpses of the person I had, funny. Finally in the third year I started to branch out socially and made some new friends and reconnected with old friends. Then I began dating, a lot. Who knew there were so many men interested in dating a middle aged woman in Maine? Oh, and I had the love of three great dogs.

So now I am at 7 and a half years. I am remarried. I have many friends. I have moved to the place I have wanted to live for years.  I have rebuilt. But I am not the same. I cannot un-know what my devastating loss did to me. But I attempt to live every day to its fullest. Some days I succeed more than others. I don't dwell on his death or the aftermath yet it is there in my mind. I rarely speak of it in the real world. Only here in my safe place. My wedding anniversary is next week. That bothers me.

Hard. Definitely hard. But as hard as it was, it is does get infinitely easier over time. Time really does smooth the rough edges.


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2015, 12:17:05 PM »
I, too, have read this thread with rapt interest.  While I am in no way finished with my process of rebuilding, I think about what rebuilding means a lot (and talk about it incessantly to all widows and widowers who will listen - thank you!). 

For about 8 months after Scott died, I did what tfo did: I declared that I'd run the marathon of brain cancer and I was going to keep running through the grief.  I went back to work full time after a week, we did all of our holiday traditions, I took her to the shore and to Paris in the summer, we went to the pool with all of the other suburbanites.  I was just in a delusional fog.  I did myself a huge disservice in that I think the fall was even more traumatizing than his death in some ways.  At 8 months I crashed.  I realized this was it and there was no amount of stiff upper lipping it or mind over mattering it; there was only facing it.  And so I did.  And it was excruciating.  I am a tenured professor and I almost lost my job.  It is hard for a tenured professor to get anywhere close to losing their job.  My child was having all manner of problems; I threw my energy into that and fortunately, some maternal gene deep down somewhere inside me kicked in and it was my raison d'etre for about 4 months.  Then Christmas came and we went to Hawaii to visit friends for a week.  It was good but I crashed again. 

But then things started to turn around.  I made some really good friends here and we started meeting up once a month for an overnight someplace.  I started going to see shows in Philadelphia both by myself and with others and felt so much comfort in the anonymity of the crowd.  I began to realize that a friendship I made on the board might be developing into something more than a friendship.  My year mark passed.  I was back at work full time.  It wasn't perfect but I was doing it.  Summer came.  We went to Rome and I got my research project back on track and maybe for the first time I knew we were going to be ok.  The essential pieces of our lives were back in place, still imperfect but still there.

This school year has been good.  I've made no major changes other than to rectify my child's schooling situation.  My address book is completely different and I've blanketed us with the few brave souls who weathered the post-Scott storm with us and let go of the rest, having recently reached out to those who felt abandoned or offended by me and taken responsibility for some of my weaker moments in the depths of grief.  I not only accept that things are different now, I embrace it. 

Yesterday I had a totally uneventful day.  Nothing happened.  It was just a normal day and I felt content.  Just plain old, hum-dee-dum, living life contentment.  I'm sure I've had days like that before yesterday but I noticed it.  There is a lot that is still wrong (my disgusting house; unknowns about the future) but those things and certainly other challenges would have been there brain cancer or no brain cancer.  The ability to acknowledge that, as I said in another post, some things suck simply because they suck and not because I am a widow was a big light bulb moment in my rebuilding.  Also, even though I am in a relationship, we don't see each other another much so another big moment for me was the realization that I can do this on my own.  I am doing this on my own and am doing it pretty well.  All of these things have helped me realize that while the process of rebuilding is ongoing and most likely never ending, so is the process of living - or at least ideally it is - widowed or not. 

Sorry for the length - over caffeinated today!  TGIF!

A Tout Jamais

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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2015, 01:45:16 PM »

O come, All Ye Rebuilders, hesitant or weary,

O come Ye, O come Ye, and share Your Story

THIS Rebuilder was highly reluctant to start this thread because she is still seeking, still stumbling, still doubtful at times. But to speak the truth takes courage, especially since it is not always popular, and the majority wants to hear a "And they lived happily ever after..." story.

As I said in my follow-up post, somewhere in the middle, our stories are as unique as our fingerprints. We all have come from different directions, and will turn again into different directions. But none of our stories holds any more or less value than the other. They all stand on their own merit!

"If we are not ashamed to think it,
 We should not be ashamed to say it."

― Marcus Tullius Cicero

"Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical!
 Don't edit your own soul according to the fashion!"

~~ Franz Kafka

So, are there any more brave souls out there willing to share??

ATJ  :)

« Last Edit: May 17, 2016, 02:02:30 PM by A Tout Jamais »
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"Je me souviens de toi ... Je me souviens de nous  - Il était une fois -  Je me souviens de tout!"


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2015, 10:15:32 PM »
I may be strange.  I've never thought of myself as rebuilding. Plenty of changes and adjustments. but I'm more of a sailor than a builder
"All the waves must reach the shore before the water calms"-Ray ♡


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2015, 11:00:48 PM »
the majority wants to hear a ?And they lived happily ever after...? story

In the beginning and at the most basic level, which is about all that one can manage in the beginning when you start thinking ahead, yes - probably.

But I doubt that anyone here, in any forum, has that kind of fairy tale innocence or ability to suspend belief after being widowed. I mean, you can't unknow, unfeel what's happened.

When I - as a newbie - I would go searching the stories of those years and more out - I wanted to know that they knew happiness again. In didn't matter to me what form it took. I needed to know that it wasn't impossible.

What scared me was not that there were bad days or that loss still hurt sometimes. What alarmed me were those who never talked about anything else. Who lived in their grief as though it was new or nearly so. Seemingly all the time. Because they never shared anything else.

I think that's why threads like this are important.

It shows that there is no single journey. No right or wrong way. That life is still life with ups and downs and plateaus - just like before. But that people move forward. Maybe not in straight lines and maybe not they way they'd hoped but they go on and there are good things, times and opportunities.

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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2015, 12:04:32 AM »
It's been confusing. At first, it was so hard. I had never felt more alone or more ashamed in my whole life. The way he died was tragic and awful. I carried a lot of shame for a long time, and I was shamed and blamed for a variety of things after he died. I was a huge gaping wound, and salt was rubbed in that wound. Before he died, I could deal with my private life stuff at home and put on a fresh face for the world. After he died, I could not differentiate. I cried all the time everywhere I went. I had zero "control". It was awful. That lasted about 1.5-2 years. Then I went the opposite way for a while. I heard people talk of anger at a dead person and that anger is normal and healthy. I got so pissed at J. Then I questioned everything. Was any of it real? It was so weird. I know that I loved him more than I have loved most people. We were connected in a way that many others on the board speak of. Our relationship got messy with his alcoholism and my trying to save him, but we shared a deep love. That is really all I know.


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2015, 09:04:31 AM »
I love this thread - good, bad and ugly. 
widowed 2011 (DH 28)


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Re: Rebuilding- Hard, Easy, Between? Tell Us!
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2015, 11:46:14 PM »
I was 29 when widowed with a young baby. My 30 year old husband died in a MC accident.  I'm 35 now and I'm 5.5 years into this crazy mess of grief and I feel that I am in a good place of healing now. It's been a long, messy and traumatic process . I was surfing for a while, just surviving raising a baby as a solo parent, dealing with insurance companies, police and lawsuits and finishing the renovations that we had started on our house so if I had to sell, at least I wouldn't be bankrupt, along with all the other issues we face and the anger, oh the anger. That was the first 2-3 years. I don't know if some of you can relate but once all the legal matters and everything was settled, I kind of felt lost. I was so focused on grieving and surviving that once the "storm" settled I didn't know what to do. I was sort of drifting trying to figure out where to go next.
The biggest thing I did was sell our home. It was so hard as it was his childhood home and he wanted to raise his son in the neighbourhood where he grew up. I felt obligated at first to honour those wishes but I had to sell it because even though I finished the renovations, my husband would never be home to see it, he would never be home to share his life with our son, and I just didn't want my son to grow up forever trying to live a life for his father, in the shadow of his father who he doesn't remember. That would be unfair to him and I also felt like I was living in the life that would never be.
I sold our house and moved to a neighbourhood I love, less financial burdens, and surrounded by young families (though that really, really stung at first) my son has many friends his age that are now at his school (he's in K now). It was like a billion pounds had been lifted off my shoulders. I can't explain why, but I was so weighed down by our house and everything it represented, the life that would never be, having to hold onto the childhood home for everyone else and the memories even though anyone connected to it never visited. It was like the house was an entity all on its own.
The move really launched me forward and when the dust settled I did look around by year 3 saying, "Now what??"
I've settled into my new path and now it's not so bleak. I've been thinking about dating, and have dated very casually and thought I was ready for a relationship, but I had lived my life for my husband since I was 17. He never asked or demanded me to, but everything I did was for him and to build a life and future with him, because I love him and I knew it would be forever and I was willing, so very willing even though I gave up some of my dreams to accommodate that. I was willing to sacrifice that for him. After all that he dies on me just as we finally started our family!
The rebuilding and even just acceptance of this "new" path has been slow and painful but now I feel I have a solid foundation again and I built it, with the help of his legacy and love, but it was me who got dirty and did it. I now live where I have dreamed, I run my days like I want, my son and I have a lovely little routine and have been running off my own gumption for 5 years now.
I don't know if I am willing to give that up. People look at me cross-eyed and say, "Why would you need too?" but I just fear that I would again, and have no desire to. If it were to ever happen, he may have to be willing to just fit into our lives, and I wouldn't have to sacrifice or have to build yet another life with someone. I think that is my fear. I just don't know if I could venture down yet another path. I'm not a very adventurous person!  Reading that I may sound selfish, so obviously not ready for a relationship, but perhaps just male companionship without the expectations. That would be what I may be looking for. That's where I am now, who knows what will be next?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 11:51:12 PM by Lola2009 »
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