Super Contributor

Time to Start to Relaunch

It has been a awhile since I contributed to the AARP Grieving Community.  The main reason is that I am still grieving and still have moments of doubt, longing and uncertainty for the future.  I went through all the holidays pretty much alone, which was hard and unnecessary but that is life.  I have heard that expression more and more recently.  That is life – I am not the only one who experienced loss of a loved one, there are others struggling as much or more, time to live again.  I found these platitudes annoying and insensitive for a long time, especially from those who could have shown more empathy and support at critical times.  One of these individuals, actually a clergy from my church, recently told me that he felt guilty.  I have to admit I was angry with him, but now realize he is only human and will have to carry his own burden of guilt.  Hopefully, he has learned the importance of connection for others who are experiencing similar major losses in the congregation.    

Moving on, I realized that in grieving the loss of my spouse, I would like to continue to remember him through kind gestures like planting a tree, writing a letter, listening to music we both listened to, etc. It has helped a lot and brought me back to better times.  That is all well and good, but I now feel that I am leaving out an important someone in this tribute.  Me!  I am still alive with all my memories.  While it is good to remember my spouse, I am thinking of doing that in a broader way by including myself in these tributes.  We knew and lived together as a team for 50 years, enjoying many funny, happy and sad times together.  In the last years, we endured the tragedy of a cancer diagnosis and in hindsight probably handled that as well as can be expected, not fully realizing all the symptoms and decline. We were always hopeful, which as I know now was good and bad.  Good in that we thought we could get a few more years of quality of life, bad because we did not accept the truth at the end that my husband’s days were numbered at a faster rate than expected by either of us.  I saw that first but could not influence my husband to accept it at least not overtly to me.  Upon reflection, he knew but for many complex reasons did not share his emotions with me.  That hurt me terribly for a long time, but I am slowly getting over that both in my head and heart.  I have to say it still haunts me from time to time, coming in waves of regret as I continue to experience loss. 

At the same time, I am regenerating my own self-worth after 10 months.  I have had a number of unexpected challenges and successes.  I am feeling better about myself and ability to handle things as they come up, not always at 100% but some lower realistic range.  I realize there is a learning curve and not to be my harshest critic.  I am relearning to love myself and recognizing I have a place in this world.  Uncertainty brings opportunity and I know now that I have to be open to them.  While I will always remember my husband, I have to do so in a different context.  This perspective hopefully will help reinforce my own value today and in the future. We’ll see how this works out.  Sue

Regular Contributor

Thank you for sharing!  You are not alone!  You are in peoples thoughts as they read your post!!

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