Author Topic: Now what?  (Read 3038 times)

midnight_man

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Now what?
« on: June 09, 2015, 09:46:14 AM »
So here I am, a few days away from the 6 month mark and in many ways I feel as if I'm back at square one. Life has moved on for many people and all but my closest of friends and family have resumed their usual level of contact.
In the last few weeks I have scattered my wife's ashes at the place she had requested and spent time with her family for probably the last time for quite a while. Although I feel gla that I was able to fulfil her wishes I am left with this empty feeling that everything has now been done. There are no events/tasks/requests left to be completed and so what am I supposed to do now?
For the first time since the early days I feel the overwhelming sense that I have nothing left. Getting up each morning seems increasingly pointless, as do the majority of things I do each day. I feel trapped in a career I no longer feel any connection to and stuck in a house I don't really want to live in. I wish there was something to aim for, something or someone to get up for each day but there just isn't. It's hard to see how this will ever change. In short, at six months, I feel as bad as I ever have. Not exactly what I had hoped for, but there it is.

tmwenger

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2015, 09:59:31 AM »
I too feel this way. I told my sister it is as bad as I thought it would be. Life without my husband sucks and nothing makes it better. I keep myself very busy but I am just pretending and going through the motions, I am not looking forward to the summer.

sphoc

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2015, 10:03:57 AM »
I felt much the same way as I approached the six month mark, and you hit the nail on the head - everyone else has moved on, but we're still trying to adjust, and we may not have all the "busy work" that takes a lot of time in the earliest days. My six months hit just before the holiday big holiday stretch started (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and his birthday/our wedding anniversary), and I realized that not only was I suffering from my grief, but I was sliding into a deep depression as well.


I don't know what will work for you. All I can say is that for me, I dug in and continued with my counseling sessions, did my best to get through school (I was almost at the end of completing my graduate degree), and I made plans to move out of the apartment that we had shared. It didn't let up a lot for me until after I had hit the one year mark, but looking back, I can see that the work I did and the plans I started making helped a lot, even if it didn't seem so at the time. It felt so pointless and futile and all I wanted was to curl up and fall asleep and wish for everything to just disappear. But I did little things to try to take care of myself and get me through those dark days, and tried to be kind to myself (although my counselor frequently had to remind me on that point because I felt completely worthless most of the time).

anniegirl

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2015, 10:04:10 AM »
The "what" is whatever you want it to be and it's not at all unusual to find that your former priorities no longer cut it.

One of the hardest things, I found, was deciding where my life was going once I had no one to share it with anymore. There was no one else to consult or consider, so many of the things that I'd done because they contributed to the life LH and I were building together seemed pointless because that life wasn't ever going to be.

It's okay to drift along a bit if you feel you still need time to recuperate. Grief is as exhausting as running a marathon, but if you find that this isn't necessary or is too unsettling, it's also okay to look around and decide whether status quo can be made to work or is it time to consider new options.

I moved away. Gave up my career of 20 years to explore other options (I am still exploring). Built a new life that suits me better really than the one I had before.

Give yourself some time. You will figure out the what now. There's no rush and there's no need to feel bad that you are feeling bad again. Grief is an ebb/flow thing.
This is not the droid you are looking for.

widowat33

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2015, 10:07:59 AM »
I felt the same about getting everything done regarding his estate, etc..
There was relief to have it finished, but sadness that it was all over, nothing left to do. There was a sense of finality about it all that was hard to face.
At 11 months out, I still feel as bad or maybe worse than I did early on...but not all the time. Lately I've been having a harder time, but I know it won't last forever. That there are going to still be good days, hours, minutes.
It is very hard to look forward to a future when you know that they won't be in it. I used to be a daydreamer, visions of a future with him. Now that is gone. I can no longer look toward the future, I just take it day by day.
The one thing that helped me was starting college shortly after he passed away, it did give me something to focus on and I felt it was a positive thing to focus on regarding my future.
I know this is probably not helpful or even encouraging, but please understand that you are not alone in how you are feeling. The optimist in me wants to feel as though there will be a time that my days won't be filled with sadness and a longing for someone who isn't here anymore. My heart feels otherwise...

Mizpah

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2015, 10:52:47 AM »
Grief is like hibernation from life.  It's very isolating.  There appears to be little progress or change or activity.  But, in my mind, it's like the principle of activation energy - when water is going toward boiling, the temperature is increasing.  But as it prepares for phase change (from liquid to gas/vapor), the temperature stops rising for a bit and just stays where it is, because the energy is going toward the phase change.  It doesn't SEEM like anything is happening, but very important things ARE happening.  For me, the whole first  year, plus some I'm sure, was all about grieving and living quietly and simply and calmly and healthily.  I had rituals and habits and routines that helped me feel stable and sane.  I worked out and ran.  I ate healthy.  I got enough sleep.  I went to the cemetery once a month.  I saw DH's family regularly (same time, same place every two weeks).  I went to synagogue weekly (even though I don't believe in Gd).  I read.  I wrote.  I sometimes had dinner with one friend at a time - nothing overly social and never groups.  I took long, long walks.  I didn't make plans for the future (even a month in advance, or a couple weeks).  I was letting the dust settle.  I was preparing myself for reentry into life.  I was really delving into my grief.  I was missing him.  I felt outside of life, but I think it was the only appropriate thing to do.  I'm not sure if I'd forced myself to engage in life more actively that I would be in the healthy position inside regarding the loss that I am now.  For me, it worked.  I know some people felt the need to make big changes and see/feel big progress.  But for me, hibernation was not paralysis - it was important.  It was just like phase change for me.  I needed to withdraw to be able to move forward once I was done fully, truly grieving. 

Editing to include: This all brought to mind a quote from Joyce Carol Oates's memoir on the first year after losing her husband, "A Widow's Story."  A friend told her, I'm quoting: "Suffer, Joyce.  Ray was worth it."  I think that's how I approached it.  I suffered and let myself suffer until I started to feel myself coming back to life, and let that happen when it did.  It happened for me around two years. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2015, 02:38:40 PM by Mizpah »
widowed 2011 (DH 28)

Jen

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2015, 12:12:06 PM »
...I feel the overwhelming sense that I have nothing left. Getting up each morning seems increasingly pointless, as do the majority of things I do each day. I feel trapped in a career I no longer feel any connection to and stuck in a house I don't really want to live in. I wish there was something to aim for, something or someone to get up for each day but there just isn't. It's hard to see how this will ever change.

I appreciate the assurances of those who've survived this longer that this feeling changes eventually, but right now I'm pretty much where you are. My days at work are tedious and tiresome; my days off are almost worse, because I have no use for free time-- I have nothing to fill it. I'm lonely, empty, and sad, and nothing I've tried helps, at least not for long. I can *almost* accept that this is just the way my existence will be for the foreseeable future, but if I think about it too long, I get angry and frustrated and so full of pain that I'm back to screaming, like I did in those early days. Needless to say, I try very hard not to think too much. My latest coping strategy is immersing myself as much as I can in pseudohistorical claptrap-- ancient astronaut theories, holy grail, stuff like that. It's nonsense, but distracting-- anyway, it's something to do. Sort of. For now.

((((Hugs)))) I'm so sorry. I wish I had something better to offer.
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

lcoxwell

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2015, 07:56:15 PM »
Honestly, I remember feeling much this same way, at about the six month mark. All the progress I thought I had been making in months 4 and 5 suddenly disappeared, and everything in my life seemed completely pointless and directionless. I remember that sense of being trapped in my own life, of having to force myself out of the bed in the morning, and of grieving harder than I had, since the very first few weeks after my Kenneth died.

I don't know why certain time periods seem to hit so much harder than others, but many have posted on the sixth month being especially hard. While I cannot speak for everyone, I can tell you, that for me, it did get a bit easier for a while, once I made it past the sixth and seventh months. Hopefully, you, too, will find some measure of peace or something in your life that makes it all feel a little less pointless.
"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude." - Thornton Wilder

Thank you, my dearest Kenneth, for loving me and for giving me the best 13 years of my life.

Chrispy89

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2015, 09:51:30 AM »
Grief is like hibernation from life.  It's very isolating.  There appears to be little progress or change or activity.  But, in my mind, it's like the principle of activation energy - when water is going toward boiling, the temperature is increasing.  But as it prepares for phase change (from liquid to gas/vapor), the temperature stops rising for a bit and just stays where it is, because the energy is going toward the phase change.  It doesn't SEEM like anything is happening, but very important things ARE happening.  For me, the whole first  year, plus some I'm sure, was all about grieving and living quietly and simply and calmly and healthily.  I had rituals and habits and routines that helped me feel stable and sane.  I worked out and ran.  I ate healthy.  I got enough sleep.  I went to the cemetery once a month.  I saw DH's family regularly (same time, same place every two weeks).  I went to synagogue weekly (even though I don't believe in Gd).  I read.  I wrote.  I sometimes had dinner with one friend at a time - nothing overly social and never groups.  I took long, long walks.  I didn't make plans for the future (even a month in advance, or a couple weeks).  I was letting the dust settle.  I was preparing myself for reentry into life.  I was really delving into my grief.  I was missing him.  I felt outside of life, but I think it was the only appropriate thing to do.  I'm not sure if I'd forced myself to engage in life more actively that I would be in the healthy position inside regarding the loss that I am now.  For me, it worked.  I know some people felt the need to make big changes and see/feel big progress.  But for me, hibernation was not paralysis - it was important.  It was just like phase change for me.  I needed to withdraw to be able to move forward once I was done fully, truly grieving. 

Editing to include: This all brought to mind a quote from Joyce Carol Oates's memoir on the first year after losing her husband, "A Widow's Story."  A friend told her, I'm quoting: "Suffer, Joyce.  Ray was worth it."  I think that's how I approached it.  I suffered and let myself suffer until I started to feel myself coming back to life, and let that happen when it did.  It happened for me around two years.

Aw I wish I grieved like this!! I eat bad, or don't eat at all, and while I used to be a 'planner' I have now become flaky and non-committal... 6 months is tough. 6 months is early days.. Keep going. Purpose will come back.. It has to, doesn't it? That's what we need to tell ourselves whether we believe it or not.

Ursula

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2015, 04:28:02 PM »
Midnight man, sorry you feel so low but very much understood. I have no magic potion, otherwise would produce it in large quantities and distribute here, but I believe doing small things and taking it all step by step helps. I really like Mizpah's allegory of the hibernation and yes, it is just like that. The turnover slows down, you curl up inside and grow a lot of hair/ fat/ wall, whatever it is. I have concentrated on our child, it has given me focus. I don't know what i would have done without his happy smile and his love and his little arms stretched out.
Maybe it is not 'all done'. Maybe some change would help if you can stomach it. Have you considered moving house? I know it is stressful, but it may give you something to do , next to work. Even just looking for  a new place to live. You don't have to do it in the end, but it may open up new ideas and bring in new impressions. Or do something, you both wanted to do, but never got round to do .It may be sad, but it could also be positive. Ach I don't know, but hope you find some light soon, to keep you going , to make you want get out of that bed of yours and go out see the day and the light. Hugs  and take care
Por que tu fuego a?n me quema, sin ti las noches son eternas,
tu aroma sigue aqu?, no me deja ir.. Por m?s que intente y quiera olvidarte, yo nunca lograre dejarte, cautivo de este amor sincero esclavo de tu voz.. Por que estoy am?ndote, so??ndose, aunque no est?s aqu?..
Y yo te esperare, amor aunque los a?os lleguen sin querer (Marc Anthony)

conflicted

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Re: Now what?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2015, 11:48:22 AM »
Midnight Man,
The 6 month mark was rough for me as well.  (It still has only been 9 1/2 months now)  I had occupied myself with rearranging my whole life, but when 6 months came along I realized - it has been half a year since I tragically lost him.  After 8 1/2 years of being with someone and living with them, then one day you are alone without them forever.....I had the feeling that I couldn't be alone anymore and didn't want to keep feeling so empty every day with no hope in sight; I was ready to give up on life.  I talk to his picture every day and I kept asking him "what am I supposed to do without you??"  And I truly believed he (and God) answered me.  It was about that time that an old friend from high school kept contacting me to see if I was ok. He had been in contact before, but I was so lost in my own grief that I never really responded.  So finally I thought what else have I got to lose?  Luckily, we had a connection, he was able to relate from his own experiences of loss, and has been there for me ever since.  I still feel tremendous guilt for being able to find happiness and laughter, but at some point, we all have to keep living life.  There is no time limit on when you are emotionally ready to do this, but it certainly does help to have someone there and to allow yourself to laugh and smile.  And if you are not ready, I can tell you that finding something that you enjoy to occupy your time helps to keep your mind busy on other things.  I hope you have others to lean on and can find some sort of comfort in hobbies or things that you enjoy doing.  Don't give up and hang onto the good memories of your wife. <Hugs>
In this time I come apart, but forever you will remain in my heart