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Things I've learnt since becoming a widow and retired

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Marshall, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Long post but I needed to do this!
    - it's down to me now. Everything - household management, cat sick cleaner upper (!) and cat carer, car management, etc... I did do this mostly anyway but now it's just me. No-one else to rely on. Son-in-law is an enormous support, he comes and helps and is always at the end of the phone
    - People you thought were friends aren't and people you thought weren't friends are
    - Family is very important - for support, help and conversation. My sister-in-law (is French and lives in London and we only met up one or twice a year for the last 30 years); she texts me every single day since Hubs died and we are now close)ish) friends. Her mother died last week and she has turned to me for help and support - no problem at all. On the other hand my brother (who has always been rubbish with keeping in contact) has been rarely in contact.
    - It takes time to get over a death and you just have to go with the flow and not stress that you haven't done this or that, etc. It's hard at first, there can be a tendency to think that you are 'superwoman' and will get back to normal asap
    - Don't make any major decisions
    - Don't be afraid to say no if you are invited to something and it causes you stress. Just say no and explain why. You will be invited again.
    - You know when you are ready to move on. I don't know how - you just do.
    - Small things throw you - next of kin, making a new will, memories of something you did together. Again, just go with the flow
    - Don't be afraid to cry - I was at first
    - Don't be afraid to relive the death - I was with him and remembering it has helped me to accept that Hubs is gone
    - When you are ready - plan projects to carry out. They give you something to do and to look forward to
    - Plan 'outings' to break up the day

    There is more but you are probably fed up with all this now!

    A lot of this what is written already about bereavement and it's true.
    - Ring others - don't always wait for them to ring you
    caress, suzuki1690, Shedman and 33 others like this.
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    You seem to be looking at your circumstances with clear eyes @Marshall . You've still got a lot of living to do and I hope many good things come your way - although there's bound to be some c r a p just like for the rest of us. xx
  3. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    We’re not fed up, Marshall. We’re willing to listen and support. Also, this will happen to many of us in the future. Maybe sooner than we think so your thoughts and experiences are helping us all to consider these things.

    I think you sound very clear headed about it. What are your thoughts about future work? Or will you relax into retirement?
    bonxie, colpee, Lara mfl 05 and 9 others like this.
  4. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Life is not a once for all trial, Its a life lived and influenced and motivated by the ideals, dreams, hopes and experiences of both the participant and those who surround them.
    Cut your self some slack. Along the way you will get lost,stop and and have many regrets,but each thing that happens is certainly going to change you and your plans.
    Pleased you have managed to make it so far..get going more and try hard to just enjoy being alive...And if something gets in your way tell it to S** off and carry on if you can.
    It is what I do. I can live with many regrets but realise I can only do that for the past, the future who knows. That we face with hope and expectation.
    Alice K, Jamvic and Marshall like this.
  5. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    A lovely post @Marshall ..... I have a friend whose husband is terminally ill (she has also lost a son in law very recently from a virulent cancer and her 96 year old mother died in hospital just before Christmas ) I found your comments touching and will keep them for her to read when the time comes.
    Shedman, Alice K, colpee and 3 others like this.
  6. smurphy6

    smurphy6 Senior commenter

    Thinking of you Marshall.
  7. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    That is all so true.
    An uplifting post to read.
    Life changes forever when you lose a loved one. But it is still for living.
  8. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    This is what has puzzled me the most during my widowhood. Those so-called friends were nowhere to be found when I was at my lowest point and some new ones stepped up and have stayed the course.
  9. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    You've had massive, life changing experiences during the recent past Marshall. Please carry on telling us about how things are going. You need to be very proud of yourself for managing through everything. And you’re helping others to understand.

    You have plenty of life to live. In a different way perhaps, but I hope that you will find happiness and contentment again in due course.

    I find both your and @BertieBassett2’s comments on friends interesting. I wonder what the reasons are for those behaviours.
  10. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I can't answer/don't have the answer for what has happened. I think some of it is that they are afraid of addressing the question of death and they then back away.
  11. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    I'd say that a lot of this is simply about getting older and wiser.
  12. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    This! :)

    I know when someone I knew lost her partner, she said it was as if suddenly every married friend suddenly assumed you were after their OH. Or they didn't like to 'have odd numbers' at the dinner table ., so stopped inviting her. . . . .
    Marshall and BertieBassett2 like this.
  13. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    A friend of mine said some old friends found it "too upsetting" to continue the old ways they had with her and her husband while acquaintances said "Come along to this with us" . She started walking with our group and has become close to a recently widowed chap and they are having some good times. Not suggesting anything at all here, just that people can surprise you. Most people who lose a husband or wife have been through hell and deserve some respite, if not some fun.
  14. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    It's odd that some people see others as half of a couple, and when that couple no longer exists, there's a vacuum.
    I'm single.
    I've always been single.
    I get invited to things as ME - an individual.
    I'm a threat to no couple.
    I'm often the 'odd' person at the dinner table.
    I'm ME.
    My friends are my friends.

    Good luck, Marshall - it's others who have the 'problem'
  15. sunshineneeded

    sunshineneeded Star commenter

    It was good to read your post, Marshall, so supportive for others who are in a difficult place. So glad your family are there for you. Keep in touch, we're all thinking of you. x
    Lara mfl 05, bonxie and Marshall like this.
  16. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Another thing I've just remembered:
    step daughters are struggling with their dad's death and they are turning to me for help. This isn't a problem - I keep them involved and informed but I sometimes don't know what to say.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, you're not a bereavement counsellor so you just say whatever you think will help. Or say, "I don't know what to say."
  18. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    They probably just want to know that they’re not the only ones finding it hard and that it’s perfectly normal to feel like they do.
    Marshall and grumpydogwoman like this.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It helps to know that you're hurting too. I have found this (although I'm not dead yet) with my lot. They have a moan, I have a moan. And you see it from a wider perspective and don't get lost in your own little ditch. Then everyone starts consoling everyone else and it makes it better! Mostly I make THEM better as they then think that perhaps their pregnancy gripes aren't all that important! :):p:D

    So don't spare them any details @Marshall
    They ought to know you're not exactly having a whale of a time. Not ALL the time. You're doing pretty well but you do have your moments. So that gives them a chance to feel a bit more sorry for you and a bit less sorry for themselves.
  20. HistoryEducator

    HistoryEducator Occasional commenter

    I went to bereavement counseling just 15 months after my husband died. It gave me the space to say what I couldn't say to friends and family.
    It became very cathartic and working part-time enabled me to be occupied but also deal or not deal very well with the paperwork!
    I have a very small circle of friends and family that help.
    Last May we had a big family celebration and I didn't cope very well, that was the impetus for the counseling.
    I have good days,
    bad days,
    coping days,
    disaster days ...
    I've been told to be kind to my self
    That is not always easy.

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