Total Pageviews

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lonely End of the Year

It has been a rather eventful November and December.  Although Thanksgiving went well,
the day after started a series of events that I am still recovering from.  Long story shortened for the blog-I broke up a dog fight between my dog and my daughter's dog and sustained many hand injuries because of it.  I drove myself to Emergency Department, had stitches, then urgent surgery and hospitalization.  My right hand is still out of commission-and presents problems for writing, driving and typing.  I was on IV antibiotics for awhile and felt awful-now am on oral drugs and am doing better.  It has been a very long month-and the injury left me feeling vulnerable.

And now the holidays.  When I first started dating, I thought that the holidays may be different this year.  I have met a wonderful man but somehow the holidays remain lonely and I am left questioning my expectations and motivations.  What would make me less lonely?  What would a perfect holiday look like?  Of course all of the angst about the time off is further complicated by the fact that it is not even my holiday.  I also feel like such a baby that I am sad and lonely and unhappy.  I want to be able to sail through these experiences with a great attitude-accepting what comes my way and appreciating the good things in my life.

Unfortunately I am sad, and tearful.  But I know that I will get through this and it will ultimately be okay.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Attitude Adjustment

I always believed that it is not about what happens to you-it really is about how you receive what happens.  Well, maybe I did not always believe this but over time-living with Bruce, I understood this all too well.  And I do accept this-that it really is about attitude.  Even in the light of bad things happening-the one escape from bad things is the attitude adjustment.  Earlier this year, I blogged about flipping things-looking on the flip side to be grateful and appreciative.  It seems that lately-I have lost that ability.  I am stuck in a black hole of bad attitude.  I am sad, am anxious, insecure and unnerved.  I am concerned for my future-me, trying to stay in the moment, am plagued by all sorts of future worries.  I am desperately in need of an attitude adjustment.

So how shall I start this process?  It may not make sense to try and understand why I am like this now except to say that maybe I need to re prioritize. Maybe I need to make peace with cutting things out?  Not sure how best to begin.  I only know that an attitude adjustment needs to happen.  I am grateful for the good things in my life-and I do have good things.  Definitely time to re-frame.  I will get back to you.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On the Magic Pill

Well, it was bound to happen.  After a summer of ups and downs-I hit bottom.  Not sure what started the downward slide.  Bruce's birthday, the birthday of my son and grandson, family time, new relationships - I just know that I am overwhelmed and not coping well with the flood of emotions.

I am also 3 weeks off medication.  So what does life without medication mean?  Is it that the emotional me takes center stage and I am less able to modulate the "noise"?  I have been home now for 2 days-trying hard to get some breathing room before being overstimulated by the world outside.
And the world does encroach, the guilt about the work piling up does not help me to settle.  I finally sought some professional help and the medication is back in my life.  Am I backsliding?  And what does it even mean-do I really think that we are all just progressing forward.  Is this journey just about making progress - doing better - feeling better?

Big questions, no answers right now-just know that it is time to try and manage the small things in my life.  I guess the big questions can be put on hold as I struggle to cope with the day to day.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Re-Focusing

The Fall for me is a time of reflection.  It used to be my favorite time of the year-a time to get back to basics and I loved the scenery and the change of weather and back to school supply shopping.  Since Bruce died it has been a hard time of the year for me.  Now I think of the end of the summer without him, the start of the school year without him and the Jewish holidays, his birthday and the beginning of the slow climb to the end of the year and the beginning of a new one.

This summer was an emotional roller coaster as I fully embraced the dating thing.  There were highs and lows as is true of any roller coaster ride.  Sometimes I was thrilled, other times anticipating the worst.  I also sustained an injury and nursed a convalescent dog and chronically ill cat.  But I survived and now am trying to recover my balance a bit.

Throughout it all-I realized that I have lost some focus.  I am thinking about the future and not finding any comfort there.  So it is time to 1)either stop projecting about tomorrow - since I really do not know what is ahead or 2)reframe all of this and find some positives to look forward to.  OR BOTH.

I am realizing that the emotional roller coaster is something that I own.  It is totally me - since I am now without medication and so have no little magic pill to lean on.  Time to take things day to day and stop ruminating about what was or what will be.  Easy to say-hard to do.  Welcome to my world.


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Push

Was I always this pushy?  It seems that I put 120% into some of the activities that I engage in these days.  And I am not content to just sit and wait for things to happen.  Why? 

When did this start?  While I agree that it is important to be focused and proactive, I think that I go overboard in my pursuits.  It colors everything and then I tire and sit back and wait. Drive myself crazy with the "wanting" and "waiting".  And I am so tired to trying to hard to capture some sort of warranty for happiness.  Am a bit distressed that I have to put in so much effort to assuage my loneliness.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Births and Deaths

Two things to acknowledge this weekend.  My grandson was 1 on October 2nd and we celebrated his birthday with a big birthday blowout.  Family was in and we all had a wonderful time immersing ourselves in his celebration. 

Today was my husband's birthday and he would have been 58 years old.  So we recognize the life cycle in the birth of some and the death of others.

Interesting to pair these two things together -  happiness tinged with sadness,  celebration and regret, loneliness amidst the crowd.

Hard to understand the universe sometimes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Holding my heart

Does anybody know
How to hold my heart
How to hold my heart?
'Cause I don't wanna let go
Let go, let go too soon

I want to tell you so
Before the sun goes dark
How to hold my heart
'Cause I don't wanna let go
Let go, let go of you 
 
I heard this song this morning and it resonated with me. 
Emotional turmoil seems to have me paralyzed these days. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Seasons

We have entered the season, the time of the year that leads to the stockpile of sadness.  For me, it starts with the Jewish high holidays and then Bruce's birthday and then Thanksgiving and the Christmas break, New Years eve and then the anniversary of his death. 
Most of the widows that I know have periods of time when the loss calendar is overwhelming.  Too many events that bring to mind the past lives that we led.  Too many occasions to acknowledge our solitariness.   Too many chances that crystallize all the reasons why our lives have taken a dramatic turn.

And yet here I am.  So this year, what is different?  Today marks the first birthday of my greatest gift-my grandson.  His presence on the planet reminds me of all that is good in my life and all that may come to be.  He smiles at me and I realize that he carries past generations - he is part of what I loss.  My delight, my love, my devotion to him is endless.  He has opened my heart and I am grateful.  And although there are plenty of reasons to be sad as the time of the year encroaches-the joy that I feel when I think of him softens the sadness.

Happy First Birthday to the little man!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Counting our sorrow and joys

Ahhh, the Holidays that take place in the fall - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur force us to stop and think.  We review our past and make vows to do better in the future.  We stick to a very small unit-a year....

So this past year has been hard but hard in the different way than the previous years since Bruce's death.  It has been a year of awakening.  I started last year embarking on a road never experienced as I witnessed and participated in the birth of my grandson.  He is all that is good and renewing in my world.  My raison d'etre.  His presence pushed me to experience other aspects of a once abandoned activity.  Being social has not come easy but has resulted in many rewards and distractions.

Multiple ways of perceiving-there are so many positive and negatives inherent in my life right now-thus the title of this blog entry.

The sorrows: 

Of course the loss and the aftermath of the loss. The financial constraints, workload burden (career and then the house and taking care of a dog and cat with health problems that not only cost lots of money but also involve frequent trips to vets and pet stores),  the loneliness in the middle of the night, the lack of focus, the sadness that sometimes engulfs me.

But there are joys:

My grandson!  His smile, his recognition of me as someone that is in his life.  I think I obsess about his knowing me partially because he will never know Bruce.  It affirms my presence in the world as my family sphere has gotten smaller and I have less influence over my offspring.

My children!  They are so there for me.  Ready to listen (sometimes the sorrow is that I get lots of feedback about my behavior and not all of it is good-funny how this reverses.  When they are young - you shape their behavior -when you are older they attempt to shape yours!)  But they are here, close by and I am grateful.

My family!  How lucky I am to have so many family members within a 100 mile radius!   My aunt (like an older sister-and we are so alike), my large group of cousins-they are all so much a part of my life and I so enjoy them.  This month, my nephew moved to LA and I will relish getting to know him better.  Family to me is everything-they represent the people that I am connected to - that I did not have to choose.  There is an ease there.

My ever widening group of friends-my widows, my knitters, my colleagues, my comrade in arms.  I can hardly keep up but they are so wonderful, so entertaining, such a good distraction.

My mental health team-how lucky I am to have a great therapist, psychiatrist and rabbi!

The new men in my life deserve a mention here.  The online adventure in dating has become fun.  Coffee dates bring interesting people in interesting venues. 

Work, a challenge still to crack-I am trying so hard to manage my time and my energy.

So as I rap up this Holiday blog-I am grateful that I can still see the flip side of my life.  There is a sadness that will be with me forever-a detour down a road I thought was open wide as I raced down.  I am realizing that though the road is closed ahead - there may be others that open to me.

I wait at the intersection.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Entertaining the troops, revisited

I have always know about the drama queen that exists inside me.  I think that this is a somewhat familiar
topic here.  The last few days I am caught up with the repercussions of my drama.  I have put myself on display since Bruce died.  Here I am - the widow-anxious to tell all about my experience with grief, here I am reawakened and activated-this is my experience.  To what end and with what goal in mind?  Who benefits from these disclosures?  Are there ramifications?

It is time, I think to pull in the stakes and move the circus.  Take a hiatus from the bight lights for a bit.  Be quiet, be careful, keep my private life private.  Funny and ironic that I am writing this in a blog-but that only brings the point home.  This blog has served to be my voice for most things "agonized widow".  And there continues to be unrest-perhaps I can no longer call this agony.  Even the start of a relationship harkens back to every other relationship that we have had and lost.  Processing these emotions is difficult, and the blog, the story telling is a fairly effective way for me to process.  But I must move past the moment.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

What was Lost

Every now and then I am acutely aware of what I have lost.  As I have written about before-this grief experience has many layers.  Even in the midst of the online dating world-I remember vaguely what it felt like to be loved and to be comfortable in the semi-permanent nature of my married state.  I am on a see-saw of emotions these days.  One minute I am in love, the next I am in despair, worried that the object of my current affection is not interested.  It feels good to be in the spotlight of someone's attention-but that too is a reminder of the pain of being left and the heartache of the loss.

Past joy is not enough for me.  It does not sustain or comfort me.  It does not make up for disappointment or concern about the future.
And it is so hard to adjust and to lower expectations.   


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Love and Belonging

Okay so back to Maslow's hierarchy,

The need for love and belonging is pretty basic.  My first difficulty post loss was safety-I guess I was too shell shocked to understand how many needs were going to be absent.  I likened the loss to having a serious illness-I felt sick and unnerved and that the world beneath me was so unstable-it was difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

Some days are still like that. And it is not just about the loss of a person-it is about the loss of a life that is familiar and comforting even if at times it is not the life we ideally wanted.  And yes, at 3.5 years I am doing pretty well-but compared to what, and in what context?  I am not sure what "doing well" means.  I can cope day to day-again not always being as productive as I expect myself to be.  But the loss prevails-it always comes back to the loss and the past life that was built on fulfilling needs that were identified long ago.
 
As I have written before, I grew up with certain unmet needs.  I felt that I did not belong anywhere.  I was not well positioned in my family-I was sloppy and stupid compared with my sister and mom.  Love was rather elusive-and I struggled with feeling that I was not loved unconditionally by anyone.  Fast forward to adolescence and I was attracted to the physical aspects of love-because it looked like the "real thing".  But disappointment again ensued.  This all led to my meeting with Bruce and the love that sustained me for 34 years.  I finally had the love and belonging needs met.  I had a family and was part of something that I created.

Okay-so when Bruce died the rug was pulled out from under me.  First-I did not have the connection with my family the way I once did.  My children were out on their own-finding their own way of having love and belonging needs met.  I was alone, very much alone after becoming accustomed to being touched, and hugged, kissed and sometimes prodded by a man who hungered for human touch 24/7.  While it took awhile for me to become used to being accosted at every turn (initially he would engage me in  public displays of affection and sometimes would pinch my bottom in front of company) - once he died and there was no one there - I grieved for this too. 

Now I have been reawakened to this need - I long to be touched and loved.  I want to belong as part of a two some.  AND I HATE THIS NEEDINESS but am not sure what to do with it.......


Friday, August 31, 2012

Hierarchy of Needs

Back when I was in my Nursing Program-we spoke a lot about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  Interesting that most of the time we refer to this for childhood development or illness requirements.  As you can gather from the image above physiologic needs are the most basic, followed by safety, belonging (and love), self-esteem and then self-actualization (we may aspire to this but never quite get it).

I am revisiting this theory to try and make sense of how "needy" I feel.  While it is true that my basic needs are taken care of-food, water, shelter and warmth-higher needs have been in jeopardy during my loss.  Safety needs are absent first and then the love needs come into play.

Although I do not have the time today to fully articulate some of my concerns or understand the neediness that seems to drive me-I will revisit this in future entries.

Something more to think about......

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Loving Being Loved

I miss being loved.  And while this statement is easy to misconstrue, it has definite hidden meanings in my world.  On the one hand-the obvious is that I miss Bruce and his loving me.  His love was in part due to need-is that the way it always is?-not sure. 

And I know that I am loved by others-by my children and family and friends.  I am lucky that way because I can love and be loved in return.  What I am talking about here is different-it is the physical act of being loved.  Not quite the same as sex although sex may be involved.  Since moving into the dating world-I have thought about this quite a bit.  The physical act of making love-if one is open to it-involves so many expressions of giving love.  The kissing, hugging touching can evoke not only the physical sensation of pleasure.  It can also impart an emotional lift-like nurturing, feeding etc.   And this is what I miss........

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Home - Part 3

This morning I attempted to go to a morning of wellness with some friends.  As I drove closer to my destination a feeling of sadness engulfed me.  Since I returned to California, I have had a lump in my throat-
I do not usually cry-not even sure how I can push myself to this release but it does not happen.  I feel the lump and my eyes threaten to fill with tears and then nothing.

I made some excuses and then headed "home".  My haven-my place where time stops and I have some measure of control.  There really is a sense of security for me at home.  I will spend the day wrapped in this cocoon and hopefully will be able to venture out tomorrow for work.

Not sure what triggered this latest emotional landmine.  Was it the fact that New Jersey reminded me of the Pennsylvania where we raised our family?  Was it seeing my mom settled in her new home?  Was it the return home to a place where Bruce no longer existed?  Is it the promise of the Fall Academic Year - the close of the summer?  The upcoming holidays and the acknowledgement that my husband would have been 58 years old?  Is it the loneliness?  The lack of a warm human body next to me in the morning-appreciating me, loving me, even being annoyed by me but yet still present-always present?

I get so tired of the work of keeping this all going.  My shoulders are thin and I feel the weight.  I know that I can do it but wish that it was easier.  Maybe home is the solution today-and maybe that is enough...... 

Home, continued

I am back-back "home".  It does feel as if this is where I belong.   I guess there is an actual place that I call home.  I am reminded of my trips to summer camp as a child.  I used to bring a hammer and nails with me to camp and the first thing I did to unpack was to hang up some flannel shirts around my bunk.  Even then, I needed some visuals to create my space.  A space my own.  A space that allayed my anxieties and gave me comfort.

I came in Friday night and closed the door and immediately felt the silence.  I still have a hard time coming "home" and having him absent.  Yes, this is home but there is definitely something missing.  True, I am comforted by the familiar-but still remember how it was to come home to him.  And so I spent the day yesterday on the verge of tears.  Hard for me to cry-a door that won't open for me.

So home for me is where I am comforted and also challenged.  Where I gain my strength and where I confront my weakness.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Home

I have been thinking about home.  Where is it-is home a place?  I moved so much when Bruce and I were young marrieds, we moved for school and for 1st, 2nd and 3rd jobs.  We moved 3 times since coming to California.  Home to me was where Bruce was-now that he is gone-where is home?

This week I am visiting my Mom in her new home.  Her old home was where I grew up, and I did not get a chance to say goodbye to the homestead before she left it.  And in her new place, I am surrounded by some remnants of the past.  There are pictures of me and my sister in the same old frames, there are some of the same items that existed before - and yet the feel is different.  That was also true when I used to visit her in her old neighborhood and it was hard to recreate the feeling of the past.  Everything changes with time.

I guess home exists in our hearts.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Calling in the troops

It occurred to me that I want to start every entry with the phrase "Since Bruce died....."
There are few things that have so marked my life-so I guess I think about the line drawn with the death.
Pre death, post death. 

I am still the same me-but the world I live in is so different.  For one thing, I am learning to call in the troops.  Relying on others is very difficult for me.  Part of that was the disappointment I faced as a child and a young adult.  Hard to count on people and so it made me realize that I needed to take care of myself.  I imagined a strong woman, able to care for herself who never had to ask for help.  I could do and manage everything.  Bruce fed this image of me as Super Girl.  And when I reached out and needed something-there were times that the reality was startling as there was no one there. 

I have since understood that people are very preoccupied and that although they may wish to help, they are overbooked and time gets away from all of us.  I am learning to give freely and not judge when others cannot do the same.  Calling in the troops this summer has meant that I think creatively about getting help.  I have paid an organizer, established a group of high school students to help with house stuff, and even recruited a bunch of students to help with a research project. 

My latest call for help relates to the emotional turmoil that I wrote about in the last post.  So Tuesday since my therapist is out of town, we did a phone session, yesterday I had an appointment with my rabbi and last eve my psychiatrist.  I cannot survive in this world completely independently-we all need some help and I am not afraid to pay for it!



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Roller Coaster World

I think that I have always been an emotional person, very passionate and dramatic.  The highs and lows though take a toll and it is exhausting.  Being caught up in loss has made me re-examine myself, have I always been so up and down?   So impulsive?  Trying to live in the moment makes it difficult to examine the past and the past "me".

There is definitely an up side to passion and drama.  Life is exciting, stimulating and motivating.  My kids accuse me of falling in and out of "love", and the beginning and end of these short relationships are extremely taxing.  Being caught up in the re-awakening of my senses is also distracting.  I guess I see the positives but am a bit concerned about the impact of these short bursts of super charged emotions. Of course, intellectually it all makes sense.  Woman faces sudden loss after 34 years of marriage, woman a bit unhinged, gets some control over life, but remains depressed, then is reawakened and starts to become re-acquainted with the world, with men and affairs of the heart. 

I do not want to lose the passion and enthusiasm for my life.  I believe it is an asset that I can get excited about small things-like an ice cream cone on a beautiful SoCal day.  But I also would love to tame the side effects of the excitement a bit.  Is there a drug for that?  Would meditation be an answer?  I guess it is time to explore.

Yes, the roller coaster ride continues and I am hanging on.  I give myself some credit for being brave - after all I am afraid of heights-maybe not the emotional kind-but who knows?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back in Time

It has been a busy month.  It started with a fractured foot and has now become an adolescent girls diary.
I have been dating and I have experienced a variety of emotions and experiences.  All of it interesting, some of it painful, a few bits of pleasure added in.

What I have been left with is a few thoughts about grief street and the state of the world:

1. The loss prevails.  Every relationship or coffee date that disappoints brings me back to the emptiness of the loss and the concern about the future.  Even though I struggle to stay in the present, I long for a future that is not solitary.

2. Nothing has changed since I last experienced the dating world.  Men are still elusive-they are emotionally unavailable or afraid of commitment - I had hoped that there would be some difference between men in their twenties and men in their 50s and 60s.

3. Dating is still a roller coaster ride and I have never cared for roller coasters.

So I continue to hobble along-need to be emotionally grounded and not so high and low.  I am hunting for some mental help or some brand new drug. 
And so it continues.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Setbacks

Really hard week, and month.....   Life has been too challenging lately.  All the loss re stimulated, and then the crises-one after another.  First Bebe's surgery and the difficulty getting her settled, then her infected foot, and finally on Monday-for me a bad fall and a cold.  I fell in the garage and thought that I had escaped calamity.  Walked all day on my foot and then by 6PM I could not bear any weight on my foot and the pain was excruciating.  Drove myself to the ED-I had to "man-up" and take care of myself in the true stoic widow fashion.  Had spasms up and down my leg and even though I can tolerate pain pretty well was beyond the usual 0-10 pain scale.  Finally found out that I fractured my foot-and was casted and put on crutches.  After two days I graduated to a walking boot and the cold and sore throat became my worst problem.  Bebe was put in the kennel Monday eve because in my condition I had difficulty caring for myself, and so could not care for her-with her cone-head, loose stool, post op situation.

So here I am Sunday eve.  Almost a week later.  I am getting around with my boot, Bebe is home with me and I am going to get through this.  My aunt came and rescued me and helped me to feel a bit more confident.  I chant daily that this too shall pass.

Challenges.  Why so many?  Random attacks without any warning.  Need to be resilient.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

summertime blues

Four summers and counting.  Four summers since he has been gone and I still have the most difficult time.  This summer probably is hard because my children are busy and there is no usual vacation to plan.  I feel so alone this year-but maybe this is true every year-just forget how hard it is. 

How will I continue and how can I move past this?  No strategy yet.  I understand that it is all up to me-but somehow I cannot summon the energy to deal productively with my enormous sense of loss.  I have trouble envisioning a full life around the corner.

So little joy these days.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Loneliness revisited

So much to drag me down these days.  The summer always brings back special memories of vacations - especially as I watch all around me plan trips with their significant others.  Plus there is the cleaning out of Bruce's things, the break-up of the first relationship after Bruce (my choice but still sad).  I also witnessed the wedding of my son - the feeling that my children are now very involved in their own lives and not mine is a reminder of my solitaryness. 
I am a bit pessimistic about the future - it is hard to imagine that I will not be alone for the duration.  And I want so much to be okay with this-but in reality I miss waking up next to someone.  I miss having someone to come home to. 
Trying to stay in the moment and have that moment be okay.
Trying to appreciate the sun and the mountains, my friends and my family.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Back where I started?

It has been lonely around here lately and I anxiously looked forward to the end of the school year but was not sure what I was waiting for.  The summer looms ahead with plenty of work to do and not much that is exciting.  I remain in the dumps and am trying to flip my attitude and plan something good.

This weekend I am going to tackle the start of the purge-getting rid of things from the past-both his and mine.
I am hoping that it will renew me a bit-but I think it will require some effort on my part to get past this hurdle.


Friday, June 1, 2012

And so it goes.....

Hard week, hard month and I am sad.  Funny how the pace of life is sometimes so full and then it is not.
Last week was a trip with a "significant other", followed by my son's wedding.  So-confronted with grief street once again.  Turned the corner and then here I am again.  Said goodbye to the significant other, and my role as the MVP in my son's life (while maybe this is over dramatizing things a bit).  Sure would have been easier to complain to Bruce about the latter.  And so it goes.....

Taking a breath, hoping to move past the latest emotional turmoil and then back out online to see if there is anyone waiting in the wings.  I do miss the fact that even though he was emotionally unavailable, there was someone there.  But he was totally closed off and it was too much work.  It is all too hard-but I guess I need to continue to try.

Hard to be resilient these days.




Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Adjustments - Part 2

Life is a series of adjustments.  Some are monumental - like the loss of a spouse or the birth of a new baby.  Both have occurred within the past three years.  In a few weeks another change is on the horizon.  My son will get married and embark on the next phase of his adult life.  I have been surprisingly matter of fact about the upcoming nuptials.  I adore his bride-a sweet and caring young woman who has brought much comfort to me.  But lately I am aware that my mood is rather dark.  Am I feeling sad that my husband won't be around to witness the marriage of his son-is that what my latest mood is about?  Not sure.  I do know that I am feeling overwhelmed and there is a perpetual lump in my throat.

Over the past few months there have been changes.  I am dating, my mother moved from my childhood home and now my son will take a bride.  The emotional landscape that accompanies this could be volcanic.  I am unsure however what the unrest is about.  It seems that I am overwhelmed by the tasks associated with the changes-maybe an easy excuse to avoid contemplating the changes themselves?  The dating brought about excitement and joy-then insecurity.  I am enjoying the company but have trouble moving beyond and lowering my expectations.  I am trying to lay low and take one day at a time.  My mother's move has uncovered some deep seated concern about her health and my guilt in not easing her way-although to be honest she did not want me to help.  So the little girl in me was re stimulated and I had some of the same feelings that I had as a child.  The upcoming nuptials reinforce my loss and the understanding that I am indeed a "party of one"-waving goodbye to my children as they tend to their own nuclear family.

So much to happen-and I am alone in it.  I guess it was easier to deal with the changes when Bruce was alive.  Although he did not always share my sentiments-he shared in the history and had his own reactions to the changes.  Most of the changes now are good-but that does not always mean that they are easy to accept and deal with.  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Adjustments

I had never lived on my own before Bruce died and I knew that it would take some time before I got used to the emptiness of my solitary life.  I have adjusted.  While it is true that I come home to the cat's meows and Bebe's barking-it is far quieter a place since Bruce has been gone.  There were many changes post loss. For example-the idea that there was no "honey do" list to be completed by another.  If I did not pick up the dog food - no one else would. 

So three years plus later, I turn the handle and walk into the house and am not struck by the absence of my spouse. I am used to the quiet and the control that I have over my space.  And the question emerges-will it always be this way and will I be able to adjust back to the presence of another.  It takes work to adjust.  My entree into the dating world has taught me that.  It is exhausting to figure out the code and to decipher the signals.  How much do I want to put in the effort and what is the return?

I am tentative.  I enjoy the intimacy, and the affection.  I enjoy the company and the idea that there is someone out there who has at least a preliminary investment in my companionship.  But this is hard work.  There are emotional ups and downs and I am totally distracted by my feelings and thoughts.  I have a hard time thinking where all this will lead and I am trying hard not to go there-to just take what comes and enjoy what I can.

More later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Filling the Void

Coping with my loss has been like filling a huge hole in my front yard.  I have images as I write this of the burial site-a coffin sized pit that needs to be filled.  Such is the void that opens us before us.  Some of the women that I have met fill the hole with projects and activities.  Some venture on trips, or join new groups.  I am not sure what I did to cope with the emptiness for the past 3 years.  Perhaps, there were times that I refused to be proactive, instead hell bent on confronting the loss head on as if the sooner that I immersed myself in ti-the sooner that I would be "over it".

It does not work that way.  My newest attempt to fill the void is about dating.  It may be that being exposed to a new male in my life is just another attempt to "fill the void"?  Can someone step in and become that significant other?  This too is an adjustment and like many of the things that confront me after the loss-it is so much more complicated than it seems at first glance.  So I have been "out there", dating and opening myself up to a male companion.  Emotionally - the terrain is extremely bumpy.  I am so labile-first beside myself with excitement and delight and then down in the dumps and sad.  
And also confused.  Where do my issues end and his begin?  So much baggage and none on wheels to ease the burden.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Dance

I have read lots of books about and by widows and they usually are wrenching accounts of the adjustment to life without.  In some cases, I have been enlightened after reading the book by the current status of the women formally known as widows.  Joyce Carol Oates was remarried as her book about being a widow was being reviewed.  Kate Braestrup has a blurb about being remarried on her book jacket. 

Even the "Widow's Camp" is run by women who are now married-and still they call themselves widows.  Not sure I understand how you can be a widow and also be married.  But the point of this entry is that I have not read many accounts of how you let a new man into your life.  There are so many challenges and this is yet an additional layer to the grief experience. 

We are all so colored by our past relationships.  In my extremely limited experience on the dating circuit - there are some "types".  Disclaimer here-again "limited" is true and I am also aware that most people should not be put into a "type box".

There are the widowers, who are anxious to fill the void left by the wife that was plucked from their side.  They have not quite gotten the "living alone" and "caring for oneself" piece ironed out.  The man that I met was still unsure where his wife put the can opener and she had been dead for a year.  He was so excited by the potential "next" out there that he wanted to book a 4 day trip to the Grand Canyon, a place that his wife refused to go to.  He also was ready to sell the house and move into mine!  We had been dating for two weeks.

There are the divorced men, jaded about their past wives and not quite sure why they are dating at all.  They seem a bit hostile and angry.  The terrain there is like a minefield and I was never confident that what I said next would not remind them of what their ex did and said moments before the split.  Hard to get past the anger and the hesitancy here.

There are the guys who are in their 50's and 60's and never got married.  Not sure about them-and about how time seemed to get past them and here they are still single and available.  I dated a man who still drove his mother's Camry.

And then there is my emotional state.  I crave attention and affection.  I sleep with a dog who although sometimes licks my feet is also not particularly loving.  She barks and demands.  Nothing much in the way of affection there.  Also I was under the impression that I could find someone who was ready for the adult me-all grown up and insightful about my needs and inner self. 

But I guess we are somewhat damaged by what has occurred before-and in my case, the fact that I am dating 60 year old men also means that there are physical issues that complicate the climate.  Most have high blood pressure and back issues.  Most are fighting the battle of the bulge although describe themselves as incredibly fit and athletic.  They are flawed, emotionally and physically.  Not sure it is worth the struggle but it is yet another hurdle to get over.  I will hang in there.



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hills and Valleys

Long time between posts.  I have been experimenting with the dating world and it presents a new view on life on grief street.  I have been through 3 coffee dates, 1 lunch date, and 2 "relationships" thus far.  I have entered this new world armed with trepidation and what I thought of as a positive attitude.  So far it has been rather disappointing. 
It is an emotional roller coaster-full of excitement and then disappointment.  Most of all - it makes me realize how much I miss Bruce, and how much I have changed since his death.

Nothing is easy these days.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Resilience

Three years ago.  The day after the death and I was numb.  This weekend was difficult but I made it through.  All about being resilient, put one foot in front of the other and do not think so much about the road ahead.  But if that is true, how does you plan, how do you work towards something better? 

There is so much that is not within our control.  I could not imagine life without Bruce but here I am and I am managing.  I am trying to be proactive - to push myself to create a life that is full without him.  I am trying to envision what I want for my future and to actively work at getting it.  Not sure yet what the vision will be but I am trying not to look back but look ahead.  I am up and down mood wise-but so far I am still here.

What a journey these last 3 years have been.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just when you are ready to get back in the water.....

As a child, I frequently remember sentences that flowed in my brain which could have been the first in a short story or novel.  I still do this today and there were a few that I thought of this morning as I walked my incorrigible beast Bebe.  I thought of the expression "And the other shoe drops" but the one that really said it best appears as the title in the post.

Three years-was I ready to "get back on the horse", start entertaining (literally?) the notion that there is someone else out there to cuddle with and be my friend?  So I plunged in.  These past few weeks have been an experiment with the new computer age dating scene.  Although I have decided that I may not be ready for this sort of thing, it was an interesting ride.  I am okay-a bit down in the dumps after being up in the clouds but there it is.  There may be life after Bruce, or at least a new chapter-but I think that chapter will need to wait to be written.







Friday, February 3, 2012

Turning the corner revisited

I have learned so much about myself and the nature of loss.  I am coming up to the 3rd anniversary of Bruce's death.  Three years and it seems like a lifetime.  But at this point I can look back and sometimes I can see ahead.  I can see some good things in the future for me.  Something new-for when I saw Bruce on the ground the day he died-I thought that my life was over.

And perhaps that is true.  The life that I had with Bruce is over.  What I could not see and even now what remains a mystery is what my next life will be like.  It is like a bunch of short stories-each one standing alone but in some way connected.  I am doing okay for the moment.  Ready for the next short story.  Cognizant that there will be moments that pull me back a bit to the life that I lived before and the longing for that life to continue.

We are so individual in our loss-at least that is true of all the women that I have met.  We are colored by our anxieties, our issues and the nature of our relationships.  If I were to reflect on what has guided me the most in this journey is that I have tried to be patient with myself and with others.  I could never predict what each day would bring.  I tried hard to see some good things, to be open to comfort and care wherever it presented itself.  The couch and reruns of Law and Order were the things most comforting in the beginning until I sought professional help and medication.  There are no rules to this trauma and the way we "should respond".  I just have to put one foot in front of the other and have some faith that there will be good days ahead. 








Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Three Days a Week

The holidays are officially over and it is 2012.  February is just around the corner and I can add another year to my loss.  Three years since Bruce died and my life took a radical turn unto the unknown.  I guess our future is always unknown but I was comforted by thinking I knew the path my life would take and then wham-all bets were off.  I have been dreaming about him again-the dreams where I am confused that he is there but I know that he has died.  Not sure what it all means.

I am trying to take some control of my life and thus the title of this entry "three days a week".  I am reminded of the Beatles song - Eight days a week-but my three days really are not the prelude to a new song or relate to the Beatles.  I believe now in small steps and have begun to think that if I want to make changes in my life-a compromise would be to try and change a behavior for at least 3 days of 7.  Rather than beat myself up for not doing something every day - why not just schedule a change for three days?  So it worked for a bit with running-until I fell while walking my dog and now have a swollen ankle.  I think I can do anything 3 days a week and then the other days I can revert back to my usual behavior.  Eventually I will up it to 4-but as long as I do it for 3 I will pat myself on the back.

So for January at least I am trying to organize a schedule and plan at least 3 tight days of diligent productive work.  I will aim for more - but if I do at least 3 good days-I will congratulate myself.

We will see how this works.