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Monday, October 28, 2013


I was always proud of the fact that I could put my own needs aside for others.  And it may be that I have always been a bit too willing to be other directed.  Since Bruce died though, I am much more focused on myself and my needs or on the fact that my needs seem to be like a dry well with no apparent bottom.  Every now and then, I come to my senses and confront my narcissism - and ask "is this really all about me?" And then I try and think beyond myself and acknowledge that we are all struggling with our own personal issues.  Quite frankly, mostly alone, and mostly just trying to deal with the challenges coming our way.  Often too, without consideration of other people-because if you cannot help yourself-you really cannot think about anything else.

Case in point-my need to bring closure to loss and to be present to acknowledge the loss when so far away.  I am very focused on losing people I love - so ultra-sensitive about this because of Bruce.  But the loss may belong to others and I may not be included in the acknowledgement.  How do I deal with that?  Where does my need to deal with a loss interfere with the coping mechanisms of others-especially those who really own the loss.  I missed a Memorial Service, but this was not mine to plan or be part of - yet I acutely feel the loss.  How will I deal with getting over with it and moving on.  How do I leave it behind?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another Loss

My dear friend Robert died tonight.  Robert was married to my best friend and I knew him since 1974.
He was sick for such a short time, and now he is gone.  I am so sad, sad for him, sad for my best friend, sad for his children.

I am also overwhelmingly sad that my friend has to make the same journey that I made 4 and 1/2 years ago. I would not wish this path for anyone-but especially not the people that I love.
Lil and I met in summer camp in 1972 and we totally bonded.  She has been more like a sister than a friend.  And now I am so far away, so distant, and so unable to be more than a text message.

How can we endure such pain and still keep on going?  The losses add up and still we must be able to manage the day to day "stuff" that in the larger scheme of things seem so unimportant.  But I guess that to a certain extent, the mundane tasks distract us from the loss.  We get buried in the little things-walking the dog, shopping for milk, taking out the garbage.  Maybe those routinized chores enable us to move along.

I keep on thinking about the losses though, and the minutiae that we are preoccupied with.

Robert is now out of pain, I am hoping that eventually the pain will subside for those of us left after the loss.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


When I was married, Bruce and I would regularly plan some sort of vacation or trip so that we could look forward to something.  He reasoned that we worked so hard (and we did) that having something to look forward to - helped to make it through the trauma of everyday life.  Not that life was so traumatic but there are the usual stresses that accompany the day to day.

And then after Bruce died, it was hard to find something to look forward to - I could not plan very well.  Occasionally I enlisted the aid of my daughter, who is perhaps the best planner world wide.  We went on a number of trips and they were a lifeboat amidst my "sea of despair".

And now?  I have run out of energy to keep this all going.  The only thing that I am anticipating is going back east for a funeral.  I have nothing ahead of me these days and even keeping what little gives me joy is an effort to put in place.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

So Tired

I am trying hard to get things back on track and continue to ask myself - when will things get easier?
It seems that I work so hard and yet so little comes back.  I am very tired of working so hard, and it does not seem that there is much to look forward to .....  I know that I need to create something that will be sustaining and good and that I can derive some pleasure from, but I am out of steam.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye

I have recently thought a lot about saying goodbye.  I really never got a chance to say goodbye to Bruce.  It has been like that for the losses I have faced.  They have happened in my absence.  It is definitely more about what I need than about the person I am saying goodbye to.  But I would have liked to send my love and appreciation before the end.

But I wonder-do we ever really get a chance to express all of this?  In some cases, probably most often we don't.  Is it possible to ever really acknowledge our love before we know that we won't get another chance?

I lament being unable to be there as my friend is dying.  And to say goodbye.

Monday, October 14, 2013


While it is true that I can be in touch with my emotional climate instantly, it is also true that I have difficulty understanding what is behind the feeling.  I can usually name all that is going on, but how much I can blame each event or activity for my emotional distress is questionable.  I think that this is common.  I have witnessed friends mislabeling their unhappiness and changing something in hopes that their life will be better for it.  Getting divorced, moving, changing jobs...... and often the feelings come back after the newness wears off.  So mis-attribution is something I have seen and understood.

So I am stuck in this incredibly sad hole and there are many issues that cause me turmoil. My friend's husband is very ill and dying-I have known her forever and him almost as long and the feelings that accompany his illness are resurrecting the big gaping grief that will forever exist in my heart.  But life around me is also fraught with negative energy-the potential of my children moving away, the change on the job front, the difficulty with new relationships, my neediness and the issues surrounding my loneliness.  All of these issues make it difficult to move along.  I want to put the blame somewhere.  In reality, I guess the answer is to just move along-continue the slow shuffle and hope for the best.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hills and Valleys

My emotional state can best be characterized by hills and valleys.  Sounds bipolar?  But the hills and valleys are not always impressive in the highs and lows.  Except for the occasional despair-like the one experienced this weekend - I usually can deal with the emotions that seem to drive my life.

And I wonder, as I have in the past, whether this is who I am and my ultimate challenge is to try and keep my emotions in check.  I can, at any given moment, tell you how I am feeling.  And I do.  When people ask how I am-I honestly tell them.  Most of the time, people do not really want to hear how I am.  They want the stock answer, which is "fine".  And I have decided finally to give people the answer they want.  I find that when I honestly answer, people then criticize me or comment on how frequently I answer this way.
When Bruce died, and people asked how I was doing, I told them that I was not doing too well.  I wasn't.  I did not want to worry about what others would think, or say.  I was not doing well and I wanted to respond truthfully.  Why ask if you do not really want to know?

So how I am-I am okay.  Am I really okay?  Today I am.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Life on Grief Street-checking in

Long time between posts.  Monday, Bruce would have been 59 years old-almost 60, and it struck me and I cried all weekend.
And at this point, the tears came easily, and after a "tear storm"-I did feel better, for a time and then it would start again.

I am surrounded by loss these days.  And maybe that is the state of the world for me.  My best friend's husband is very sick and it does not look like he will grow old with her after all.  We have been friends for decades, and at 15 we sat in a rowboat at summer camp without much to complain about (although we did).  Now with childbearing, childrearing, career building behind us-we both contemplated some quality time with spouses after many many years of marriage. Bruce died almost 5 years ago and now Robert is so sick...., so suddenly her life is changing.  All hopes for the future - gone.

And there are other losses as well and I am overwhelmed by the weight of them. 
I need to work on lifting my head above the rapids approaching and try to feel something beside bereavement.

More tomorrow, I promise.