Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ongoing Musings About Change

I don't think I adapt well to change - I've always resisted it and I'm not one who does well handling problems on their own. So for someone who has been forced to go it alone and had to face so much change not out of choice but out of necessity, yes, where I am right now is to look around me and put my hands up in frustration and defeat. Is this a stage of grief? It is not denial but a combination of rage and envy at the unfairness of life. How does someone work themselves out of this mindset? I can't just stop it or will it away. I have to work painfully through it.

I would be in a far different place if my husband had provided enough life insurance to pay off the house. But that wasn't my reality. Instead my reality is that I lost pretty much everything - my husband, my identity, my retirement, my security, my house, my financial resources, my place in the community, my entire world and life as I knew it. Again, I go back to the if we'd had enough life insurance. I wouldn't have lost my home, finances and so on. Those losses are just in addition to the main one of losing my husband, life partner, lover, friend and co-parent.

I feel like over the years I've lost pretty much everything with the exception of my health and the boys. That is a lot of loss and what I term as multiple losses and/or secondary grief losses. Some widows don't have to face financial destitution and I suppose there are others who are worse off than I am. But all I know is what I am dealing with and facing both past and present. I feel I have been stripped bare of everything that was a constant and known factor in my life. And I haven't done well going on and trying to pick up the pieces. Some of us aren't good in a crisis and lack survival skills or life skills or whatever you want to call them.

I've lost everything, I'm struggling to change, fit in, adapt and do the best I can raising two boys on my own. Am I supposed to go through life with blinders on oblivious to the fact that life isn't fair and others have far less of a hard time of it than I? I've always believed that there is both good and bad in the world and that somehow it all gets distributed evenly throughout one's life. But over the past seven years life has been so challenging I don't believe in the good much anymore. I am paranoid that evil and doom lurk behind every corner. The hope in my heart is dried up.

I believe that my attitude is based on how much loss I've had and how deeply it has cut into my soul. This is a perspective from someone who has faced significant loss (death of husband, divorce by second husband, major illness of younger son, death of mother, loss of home, loss of financial stability, loss of familial support, loss of boyfriend to move out-of-state). Those losses, and resulting stress and change are vastly different from that faced by say a 60-year-old woman with grown children and sufficient financial resources to stay in her home and live comfortably. I interacted with such a woman recently in the baseball stands, and while I was sympathetic to the loss of her husband, I had difficulty relating to her life otherwise. She didn't have to raise her kids singlehandedly.

I can't go through the rest of my life with blinders on blocking out the lives of others. So somehow I'll have to come to terms with all of this. And I hope to gain further insight into how those of us dealing with ongoing adversity after loss learn to deal with and cope with the aftershocks of grief. But in the meantime I don't apologize for feeling the way I do. Surely there has to be someone else out there who has struggled with this in the past or present.


  1. Oh I'm so glad I found your blog! I love your tag line "The world doesn't stop because you're widowed, divorced, depressed & destitute." Out of that lot I'm widowed, depressed and working on destitute - also totally hooked on anti-depressants and as fat as a pig! Lord knows if I'll ever have the time to read all your back entries but I will add you to my regular list from now on. Just knowing you're out there on a similar treadmill to me has brightened my day. Have a hug.

  2. Hi - haven't been here for a while but so glad I stopped by. I'm feeling just like you are and it's so good to know I'm not alone or going mad or being weak to feel this way.

    I also completely get the fact that you felt you couldn't relate to the widow that you met recently. The only thing I would say to that is that every widow or widower has their own unique problems - the woman you met is completely alone with no-one to get up for in the morning.

    I've been widowed nearly five years and I cannot believe how bad it still feels, in fact, it seems to be worse now than before. I miss him more and I am more aware of how lonely and alone I am.

    I'm so sorry you lost your house. I am okay finanically - I don't know how I'd feel if money was really tight too. Mind you, even though things are okay, they would have been much better if there had still been my husband's salary coming in. I too feel as if I have lost everything. My son left home to go to University the same month that my husband died, so I stopped being a Mum the same time that I stopped being a wife. Who am I now? Apart from my son, who is living his own life now, I have no-one - parents gone, in-laws gone, brother gone - I might as well be 80 as 50.

    Thanks so much for posting - stay strong and know that you are not alone.

  3. Leece - Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting. I know it has been very helpful to me to just know there is someone else out there dealing with or thinking about what I am. We'll keep trudging on the treadmill together!

    Puddock - It is so nice to hear from you. Do you know that yours was the first widowhood blog I ever found and read? You provided a lot of support and inspiration to me. Anyway, it just helps so darn much to know I am not alone out there in how I'm dealing with my husband's death as a middle-aged mom. Like you, I can't quite get a handle around the fact that time hasn't healed the wounds like I thought it would. Almost 7 years for me and I can admit that I'm more lonely, sad and hopeless than I was the first few years. It is pretty hard to reinvent yourself at our ages which is what we've been forced to do.

  4. Thanks WITM - I didn't know that and I'm glad to have helped in any way.

    Reinventing - that is exactly how it feels. I sometimes feel as if I am building myself up again from scratch, brick by tiny brick.