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  1. Nog1

    My very own Widow Island

    This is so lovely to read Helen (from a fellow Scot). Nature, solitude and simplicity have played a huge part in my healing too. My DH died 6 years ago this week (and I’m on the other side of 50 now). I can honestly say, at some point in the last year, I have become truly happy and content, and I now feel stronger than I’ve ever been. Life is pretty good and I’m looking with hope and optimism to the future. Who would have thought? Such a long time…. I’ve never been to Muck, but I holidayed in Arisaig a couple of years back – a beautiful part of the world. Sending all my very best wishes to you.
  2. Nog1

    The void

    I really needed to read this..... It’s been 4 years since my DH died very suddenly and unexpectedly. Spending time with random people and unnecessary obligations just did not fill the void for me (in fact it made it much worse). I have had to take a step back and I’m treating myself to the next couple of years of doing only what I absolutely need and want to do - launching the kids to adulthood and, by extension, working to earn enough for us to live on. Aside from that I am spending time reading, being in the outdoors, exercising, travelling when I can and just generally resting – so that I can heal, process and try to figure out how on earth I can move forward from this. It has really “lightened” my daily life and I finally feel like I’m getting some breathing space despite what everyone else thinks. It’s only recently I’ve realised just how traumatic DH’s death truly was and how easily that can get lost in the desire to just carry on regardless for the sake of the family and everyone else. Be kind to yourselves….
  3. Yes another one of the exhausted single parents who has not got time for actively seeking another – between looking after my 3 teenagers, running my own business (from home), housework, garden, dogs, gym etc etc. Just felt I had to add my bit here – have loved reading everyones responses. I am now in year 4 since DH died and I spent a lot of year 3 trying to heed well-meaning advice such as “get out there” re socializing in general, not dating. But in truth I found it another thing on my to do list and a bit of a chore (and I know you often reflect back what you give etc). It takes a lot of time and effort to make new friends; I found the superficiality of meeting new people often drained my already limited reserves. And while some of me misses being part of a couple I really do not have the emotionally energy for online dating. So unless Man Perfect marches up to my door and sweeps me off my feet I will likely be on my own for the foreseeable future…… I do like to think that I am open to a new relationship, but I think in reality I’m not. I enjoy my own company and for the most part I am happy alone and do not fear doing things on my own. I had a bit of an aha moment around the year 3 mark - I was shocked at how I had disengaged emotionally from life in general, although most people looking on would see someone who runs around sorting the kids out, working, organizing holidays, family visits etc. I sat down and really tried to work out what I wanted for me and not for anyone else. And in truth I am often at my happiest pursuing solitary activities, reading, long walks with the dogs, biking etc. So I took the decision to concentrate on and enjoy these activities and not worry about “socializing”. And by doing this I really feel that now I am re-engaging in and appreciating life in a way that suits me personally. Eimear McBride the Irish writer (who had trained to be an actress), was asked about the death of her 22 year old brother: But why did Donagh’s death turn you away from acting? “I realised that I’m not a communal person. As an actor you need to be able to be around people a lot. And I can’t. I couldn’t because of the grief. And then once I’d learned to live with it either I had been changed into a more solitary person or I realised that was the person I had always been”. Don’t get me wrong I am not a recluse (yet) I have close friends and family although not locally. But if my circumstances were different I could think of nothing better than a year or so on a remote island somewhere….. So for now seeking solitude in my limited free time is really much more helpful for me than seeking the company of others. Maybe I’ve rambled a bit off topic but yes I get it…
  4. Nog1

    3 years

    Hi. I have been a long-term reader who moved over from the previous board but I have never posted. Now I feel I owe it to you all to contribute a perspective at almost 3 years out – there seems to be quite a few of us on the board on this timescale. My DH and partner of more than 25 years died mid-May 3 years ago very suddenly and unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage leaving me and 3 kids - who are now all teenagers and still in high school. He was my best friend and, although not perfect, our lives were just so intertwined on a daily basis – even after 25 years he could still make me laugh every single day. I think my processing may have taken longer than many – I was numb for about 4 months and then in a very dark place until 2-2.5 years. In the last year I have gradually felt a shift and more and more frequently I’ve had times where I am absorbed and happy in the present. The low level anxiety seems to be gradually fading. I have had to completely rebuild my life – and I mean just about every single thing - amidst the grief waves and the general day to day living of raising a family solo (and without close family living locally). I am very fortunate to have a small circle of wonderful friends and family who have stood by and supported me, but there have been others who have drifted and others still who I have let drift because there is a lack of understanding and we have little in common any more (and maybe never really did). I’m not really upset about this – I think it is just part of life. I also learned fairly quickly not to expect too much of people and to be grateful for any help offered, because if they have not experienced loss of this magnitude then they will not understand (I certainly didn’t before DH died). Basically people will give what they want to give and what they think you need and that is absolutely not the same as what is actually needed or wanted. And often it is difficult to articulate what is needed. Still I never signed up for this solo parenting and although from the outside looking in I think it appears that we are coping well (and I suppose we are) it is just exhausting doing or being responsible for every single thing. If I don’t do it myself or delegate it it just doesn’t get done. It is tough being a single working parent in a sea of couples, where coupledom is the “social norm”. Yes I realise not every marriage is a happy one and there are some divorced parents but that doesn’t really make it any easier. I fight against the mantra that I am “less” of a person if I have no husband/partner – I know this is not the case - but I fear that even in this day and age many (in particular couples) still believe it to be true. It is also tough when everyone knows your back story – with the best will in the world people treat you differently and that in itself is often hard to deal with. But I cannot move from this area for a few years yet as the kids still need to complete their education, otherwise I would have definitely moved already and started afresh. At coming up to 3 years I miss the “us” more than DH himself – I miss the life we had. But a new life is forming. Gradually I am becoming more confident and stronger and coping has become easier as the children get older. I need to make the most of the “now” and try not to worry about/plan the future. It’s strange but I feel I have been at 3 years for the last few months – it seems a huge milestone for me – more so than 1 or 2 years. When DH died I thought 3 years was a very long time and that I would feel better by then. As so many have said before, I’m not better but I am different, forever changed, in many ways for the better. But life does look brighter now. Although I feel the sadness descend as the week preceding his death approaches and I remember all the little last things we did together, I do finally feel that I am moving closer towards BAG. What a long journey this is. I have read the posts of many of you from around 3 years and they really do resonate. I too, often think, what have I been doing for 3 years? An amazing amount actually – we just do not give ourselves credit for everything we do on a daily basis. Oh how I crave for just a few days when I have no work, no chores, no responsibilities and nothing planned and think “what shall I do today?” Until then I just keep running through the daily/weekly to-do lists…… So I must thank everyone who regularly posts here – you have no idea how it has saved me in my darkest moments just to know that there are (unfortunately) others out there who feel the same and others still who have survived it all and are thriving. I send you all my very best wishes. Be kind to yourselves.

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