Friday, October 9, 2009


What a horribly depressing, selfish, poor pity me post yesterday. It was a good thing I drove my son to club volleyball in the evening. It is held in the town next to us but a good half hour away. Since it was raining, I did not want my son to drive the van so late (practice ended at 10:00 p.m.). It is also where my dad lives in his facility. So after dropping my son off, I spent some time with my father watching him play cards. Then there was a little time left to pop into Borders where I browsed the craft books, new calendars and self-help section.

I am always drawn to the books about self-actualization and the Law of Attraction. Basically, the theory presented in them is that I have created the current life I am living by the thoughts I've had because like energy attracts like energy. In regard to my financial crisis, I should not be reflecting/referring to my debt and bills. Rather, I should be thinking such thoughts as "My prosperity will be increasing soon" and "My life will be improving," etc. A lot of positive self-visualization stuff too.

I do have to say that after flipping through some of these books I was somewhat inspired and my mood improved a little. But I just struggle with these concepts overall. They trouble me. Because I believe (and this is also based on experience) that there are times when life is or seems impossible to manage/get through/tolerate/survive. Certainly people affected by natural disasters did not wish or think them upon themselves. Surely I never wanted my husband to die and thinking such thoughts led him to the cancer. Isn't it irresponsible of me to stop focusing on the financial setbacks of my life right now? How can I not think of them if they are such a significant aspect of how we are living?

I actually think the books I was looking at last night are written for those people lucky enough to be only worried about what to make for dinner or where to go on vacation. I need a meatier book that deals with real catastrophe and problems. Like dealing with the financial aftermath of your husband's death when there wasn't sufficient life insurance to cover the bills. Or, for any middle-aged folks out there having to grapple with the current unemployment nightmare, or loss from divorce.

There are problems in life and then there are real problems. I should have hit the grief/loss section to see what new books are out on the topic. Mine are all six years old. Have they come up with any new theories about managing and living with heartache?

The reason all these new age book ideas perplex me is that they are all full of nice ideas in theory - but they never explain how to get from point A to point B. I would surely like to think more positive and optimistic thoughts but when you are in survival mode just trying to figure out how to feed the kids, it is not so easy.

I decided to create another Blog titled "Plunged into Poverty." I think for me at least, that my grief/loss journey has been complicated by other issues besides the death of my husband. It gets difficult to sometimes separate the differing aspects of my grief. So I figure maybe it would be easier to have a blog just for the grief/loss feelings related to death and relationships and then one in which I can describe the financial burdens going on. Anyway, it is just an idea for now. I'll try it out and see how it goes.

I once told my therapist that it is hard enough just trying to get by as a widow. Having to cope with the other losses has just put me over the top. I also find a certain weariness that has settled in from my having been widowed a number of years now. True, I was remarried for two of the six years following my husband's death. But we weren't living together and the eventual divorce probably had more of a negative impact on me than my husband dying. It pretty much took the wind out of my sails to have to suffer such a loss so closely following my husband's death. In a way, I feel more suspect and wary of the world than I ever have! Talk about getting kicked when you're down. I also just recently read that the older you are, the harder it is to bounce back from life's curveballs.

A woman who responded to one of my posts put it very astutely when she said that the grief doesn't really go away with time - rather it just gets different. And I am also realizing that part of my personal challenge in facing all of this, comes from not having a great deal of support to rely on. Going this road alone has been exceedingly challenging for me, as well as a source of continual sadness. In getting to know more about myself as I face these life challenges, I am aware that I need a partner on this life road. I need someone to lean on. I want someone to lean on me. I want to share a bed with a man. I want to cook for a family again and to deal with all the conflict and stress that living with another person entails. I have not done well on my own. But I don't want to get down on myself for that. It is who I am and I'm trying to acknowledge that.

So where have all these rambling thoughts taken and led me?

1. I need a vacation. I need to go somewhere by myself to reflect and have time to devote to just me.

2. I need to somehow figure out how to balance the grief of the past with hope for the future. That truly seems to be the key in all of this. Maybe if I can figure that out I'll be able to write my own self-help book.


  1. A realization that I had, which I recently blogged about, can be encapsulated in this quote (which I only found recently):

    "Time does NOT heal. It simply passes. What we DO with the time we have determines how & to what extent we heal."

    The quote is from my Twitter friend Mark Hundley, a grief counselor. You might appreciate his Web site, Awaken to good mourning. There are a lot of gems there.

    What I did was try to focus on my life as a whole -- not just the day to day, but not just the huge long-term picture either -- and take the steps I needed to improve as many hours each day as I could.

    Hope this helps. This is NOT easy stuff and there is no secret, especially not one that can be purchased (though antidepressants can be magical).



  2. Supra - Thanks as always for your insight and perspective. Can I ask you what specific steps you took to improve as many hours each day? I know it will be different for each of us but we can gain from knowing what others do/did. That is the part of this that trips me up - I need some kind of specific road map to follow and there just isn't one! So knowing what others have relied on might spark some of my own ideas as well as using theirs.

  3. Supa - Forgive me for the spelling typo. I need to be better at proof reading before posting.

    Another comment - we do live in such a quick- fix society where we believe there will be a cure from a book, program, therapy, group, etc.

  4. I have to agree that we do live in a quick-fix society and I think that is part of the reason that people who are not going through what we are going through want us to hurry up and get over it. It's almost expected that if you can't 'fix' something yourself you will seek someone or something who can 'fix' it for you. That being said, I'm not broken, I'm grieving so I don't need to be fixed.

    It is a process that you have to go through, you cannot go around it. The problem is that people want to put you on a timetable. There is NO timetable for grief. It's different for everyone. It is a personal experience that has common threads for most individuals. I have yet to me another widow who feels exactly like I do, but there are enough commonalities that we can each take something from each others experiences.

    Supa, I so agree with you. Time does NOT heal, it only passes and with the passage of time our grief morphs into something different but it still remains. I'm ok with that because I loved my husband so much that I can't imagine NOT grieving his loss.

    I do at times wonder why I have no interest in the future. I live in the now and do the best that I can do. I am always so thrilled for my friends in my grief group who do find love again. For me, I cannot imagine it. Maybe that is a reflection on my relationship with my husband, I honestly don't feel that I could love anyone else. Yet, when my friends tell me their stories there is a part of me that wishes I too could experience what they are doing. As soon as I catch myself doing that though I immediately find myself saying, no way. There is no way I could see myself with anyone else. It is almost like a panic kind of feeling comes over me. Why is that?

  5. Kelly - I have personally found that the perspective of time has gotten really screwed up for me. I try to live in and focus on the future because it is sometimes too much for me to think ahead and too hard to reflect on the past. But life is a balance between past, present and future so I am trying to better handle all three.

    I have also just figured out that for me thinking about the future is so hard because I am afraid/fearful of all the bad stuff that "can" happen.

    About your feelings of panic. I'd just have to say that we all need to trust what our feelings are trying to tell us. If we listen to them, they will lead us to what we need to know. That means sitting with our feelings of anger or panic or fear and seeing where they go. Please keep us posted on how you are doing.