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The loneliness continues...

It has been a little over a year since I lost my wife of 40 years and yet it is as if it happen yesterday. I had an accident at home and ended up in the same hospital on the same floor where she passed away a year ago. 

I spent 12 days there recovering from 9 broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a puncture lung. They wanted to send me to rehab because I had no one at home to take care of me (we had no children and there is no one else close by to check on me) when finally a good friend step forward and offered to come from his home in Texas to stay with me for a couple of weeks until other arrangements could be made. He ended up staying an extra week and then had to return home to Texas for surgery himself. 

 

The real issue is no matter how I slice it , no matter what I do to negate the problem, when I walk through the door, I am still alone. If I get sick, I am alone. My companionship is now a cat. 

 

I have tried support groups and the one thing that I noticed was that everyone in the group either had friends, children grandchildren or other relatives to aid in their support. 

 

I do not have that luxury. I am for all practical purposes alone. 

 

People tell me "Time will heal" . I remind them gently that Time is eternal but we are not.

 

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@RichardR299931 wrote:

It has been a little over a year since I lost my wife of 40 years and yet it is as if it happen yesterday. I had an accident at home and ended up in the same hospital on the same floor where she passed away a year ago. 

I spent 12 days there recovering from 9 broken ribs, a broken clavicle and a puncture lung. They wanted to send me to rehab because I had no one at home to take care of me (we had no children and there is no one else close by to check on me) when finally a good friend step forward and offered to come from his home in Texas to stay with me for a couple of weeks until other arrangements could be made. He ended up staying an extra week and then had to return home to Texas for surgery himself. 

 

The real issue is no matter how I slice it , no matter what I do to negate the problem, when I walk through the door, I am still alone. If I get sick, I am alone. My companionship is now a cat. 

 

I have tried support groups and the one thing that I noticed was that everyone in the group either had friends, children grandchildren or other relatives to aid in their support. 

 

I do not have that luxury. I am for all practical purposes alone. 

 

People tell me "Time will heal" . I remind them gently that Time is eternal but we are not.

 



👋 Hi @RichardR299931 I am so sorry for your loss 😭 Is it a possibility to move in with the friend from TEXAS? Sounds like one AWESOME person to be willing to travel and stay with you!

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Richard, I am one of the facilitators for a GriefShare ministry at our church (griefshare.org).  Even with family for support the overwhelming issue in loosing a spouse is loneliness I am am sure I would experience the same loneliness if my wife of 50 years would pass.  I would urge you to go to the GriefShare and see if there is a group near you.  Second, I don't know what your financial situation is but with the injuries you sustained begin to think about assisted living.  My Dad found friends where he lived, activities, staff that watched over him, and an environment where it is safe from trip hazards.  It is a different lifestyle but one with community.  Also the advice from agoyer is very good.

AARP Expert

@RichardR299931 I'm so sorry you're going through this. I can imagine how isolated you often feel, and as you say, when you need care, who will be there for you? 

 

Jane had some great suggestions about meeting people and making friends and fighting the loneliness! Here are just a few suggestions about getting caregiving help in the future that I hope are helpful and food for thought...

 

  • You might obtain the assistance of an "aging life care specialist" - they have a national association with a listing of them across the nation.. They are trained to help manage care as we get older. You could get one set up on an "as needed" basis so he/she can step in if you are sick or injured (like this last time). They can help you find help etc. Check out their website "Find and Expert" search mechanism. I had one lined up in case something happened to my parents when I was out of town.
  • Familiarize yourself with the services offered by your local area agency on aging. They offer a lot of in-home services, some on a free or sliding fee scale, as well as home modification help etc. You can find yours by going to the Eldercare Locator and doing a search for your zip code. 
  • This article, "How to Plan for Aging without a Family Caregiver" from the AARP website has some great tips - I hope you find it helpful! 
  • I hear your point that in grief support groups most of the other people have some other family and friends nearby to support them. You might ask the area agency on aging if there is any type of a group for people who are aging "alone". In addition, grief is different depending on your relationship with the person who died. You might try out this National Widowers Organization - they focus on men who have lost a spouse. They have online support with men who may be going through similar situation to you, as well as some good resources etc. 
  •  

I've had a lot of loss over the past years - my niece, Mom, Dad and my oldest sister. So I can empathize with the grief and the time it takes for the grief to evolve and for us to learn to live with it. Although losing a life partner is different I know. It seems like you are doing a great job of acknowledging your sadness, which isn't easy but is important. While it does get easier over time, it never goes away...that's why I reference learning to "live with it". 

 

Sending you a big hug - best wishes and please let us know how you are doing and if you have any luck with the resources I've suggested!  

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving

 

AARP Expert

Good morning, young man. For if we are still able to type and reach out to a community, we are young. I have lots of ideas. Partly because i moved across the USA to an insular tiny rural community with zero traffic lights in a county the size of new jersey. Yes, i did come here 5 years ago to be with my now wife, but, i also need friends and it has been a trial to make new ones. And partly because i'm a psychotherapist out here in the hinterlands. I have counseled people who are newly widowed, and people scared of retirement because WHO WILL I BE NOW, WHAT WILL I DO, and people who are plain and simple as lonely as you are.

 

So, put on your seatbelt, LET'S GO FOR A RIDE.

 

I looked up how to make friends and found this: https://bestlifeonline.com/how-to-make-new-friends/. Most of it won't apply to you, and most of the rest of it won't appeal to you, but there are a few ideas in there. Like look up friends that you've lost touch with. And volunteer. But before we get into a specific list, I'd like to suggest the following:

 

Think of making friends, and maybe finding another sweetie/partner/wife (do you know how rare and attractive an eligible bachelor/widow is to the single older females of this world?), AS YOUR NEW PART TIME JOB.  I'm serious. Set up a plan, a schedule, goals. Just like you were going to build a shed, or design an ad campaign, or learn a new skill in whatever your profession was. There are steps involved. This is for the rest of your life. WHY NOT??

 

May i suggest some steps.

 

Google the following: how to make friends when you're older. how men can make friends. find a partner when you're retired. Anything along those lines. Scour the interwebs. And read what you find. Pick the suggestions that you'd like to try. Write them down on a legal pad or in a notebook.

 

Do some more research: looking at your new list, what is possible in your area? What are you interested in? And cast a wide net: if you came to my 'stitch&**bleep**' crochet and knit night on wednesdays in the bowling alley party room in Lakeview Oregon, you'd be surrounded by hilarious, darling, open minded women-of-a-certain-age who'd be delighted to teach you how to crochet or knit. You wouldn't normally be thinking of learning to crochet as a way to meet people, make friends, and what-the-heck, flirt, but as i say, cast that net WIDE.

 

Then set up a schedule. On Sunday afternoon, try calling up Bill with whom you went to college, or George, who used to live next door and moved to New Zealand.  Or Cousin Susie, who's hilarious, and who keeps inviting you to visit.  On Monday morning, call up the local senior center and see if they need volunteers to deliver meals on wheels, or call up the youth mentor program or Big Brothers and Sisters, or the local food bank. On Monday afternoon, see if there's a matinee of a new movie out. Chat up the folks in the popcorn line. On Tuesday, look at a map of the USA, and identify at least 4 people you know in places you'd like to travel to see, which at this time of year might be southerly. Look into renting a small RV. Figure out where the nearest RV rental place is, and check them out. 

 

You don't have kids. Your wife is gone. And there are 400,000,000 million americans, give or take, sharing your citizenship. I'm not minimizing at all how hard it is to put yourself out there. IT IS VERY HARD. You have this opportunity, though. You have enough financial security that your first concern is not how you'll pay the light bill. You are reasonably able bodied now, ouch i know that was hard and hooray for your friend who helped you heal. 

 

And if this entire venture seems insanely hard, then go find a friendly male therapist and go to motivation boot camp.

 

You have nothing to lose but your loneliness.

 

So what do you think? WRITE BACK.

 

Jane,

who doesn't live in the middle of nowhere but can see it from here

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