Found this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-brody-fleet/loss-of-spouse_b_5285920.html and this one http://www.thewomenseye.com/2011/08/27/interview-carole-brody-fleet-on-changing-the-face-of-widowhood/
Basically she is saying it’s OK to do whatever YOU want. It’s your life and only you can decide what to do and how to live it….it’s all in your hands now!
In the second one she does hit the nail on the head with a couple of things she says like “at least you were prepared”. Can definitely relate to that one!!
I haven’t read any of her books but might just have a look at them. She was much younger so not sure if that has any advantage for getting a start on your “new normal”.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief…..no right way or wrong way…..no timelines or schedules as to when it’s OK to…….blah blah blah. You just live those first few months and hope like hell to get through them.
I have to say that I think I did what I wanted to do…..I know I over thought everything, and still do, because all of a sudden you’re the only one that make decisions, no matter how big or small. Did I care what anyone else thought? Truthfully those first few weeks, months etc. who gave a rats a$$ what anyone else thought. Did I do the right things? Who knows and really…..who cares?
I do remember reading years ago, before it happened to me, that when a loved one dies you should not make any rash decisions. Sometimes that’s easier said than done because depending on what it is, you may have to make one of those “quick” decisions. But I think I managed that part of widowhood right (or how I thought I should). No biggies were made that first year because who knew what life would be like. Would I enjoy work more without the stress that I had at home? Could I afford NOT to work….could I retire? Chipping away at getting rid of his “stuff”….I thought I wanted to keep everything…a year later a more practical and realistic side of me had come out…..no, I do not need to keep all those shoes, coats and NO there isn’t some family member that would want them!! Do I stay here or sell my house….where would I go, what would I do with all my “stuff”. You are so overwhelmed by everything it’s difficult to make a rational decision…..how you feel today is not how you feel tomorrow….that old roller coaster ride. Over time it goes from being that colossal huge scary ride to the children’s Thomas the Train ride at the fair….way easier to get off of after that first year or so.
The garage….I really thought long and hard about that one. Did I really need it, was I going to keep that old mustang? Yes to both…..the shed was going to fall down and where would I have put all that stuff. The reno added value to my home, which I am going to stay in for at least the next few years. And the car….he loved that car and so do/did my kids. Realistically I wouldn’t get anything for it in the state that it’s in so selling it isn’t an option at this point. I might rethink this down the road if I ever do sell my house because I’d have to think about where I could park it!! If one or the other of the kids has a bigger place with a garage, well…..it’s theirs, if not I guess it’s gone.
That trip to Hawaii…..that was maybe one of my poorer decisions. Not really that bad but I certainly hadn’t thought about the dynamic of the family changing…..how the death of one brother kind of changed everything. I noticed it almost immediately once we were there…..why I hadn’t noticed it before, who knows. It was interesting and an eye opener. I think we still had a good vacation, I mean we were in Hawaii…..how could you not, but would we do that again…..very likely not a chance in hell!! That’s not to say we can’t all get together…we do and did last weekend and had a good time…but we’re all not certainly going to share a condo….ever!
Financially I am lucky because we had all our ” ducks in a row”. A smart decision at any time in life.
As for what is yet to come, who knows. I’ll play that by ear.
Did anyone say “I think she’s crazy”? I don’t know….well I’m pretty sure there were a few people that said that about my trip to the Middle East….I too thought I was maybe a little crazy…but even that turned out fantastic and I’m so glad I went. Does it matter if they did say that about anything I’ve done? Would I have done anything differently if they had said that to me? Not really, unless of course my decision was so bad that it could physically or mentally harm someone else….
One of the best things I did was to make sure….push/force myself….to keep up my social life. I’m lucky to have great friends and family that didn’t leave me out of things….certainly helped me get over being that “third” person, which I did sort of worry a little bit about. It was just the first few times I went out…..getting over that hurdle, like those first phone calls, it was the hardest part…..once you’ve got the experience under your belt you’re good to go the next time. There are still some things that just don’t happen because there is just me…..like a quick little weekend getaway or a day trip to here or there….not something that I would enjoy doing by myself. I might have to work on that though…..I haven’t tried it so maybe I wouldn’t mind it at all.
I do sometimes miss the companionship….that’s a hard one. It’s not like it’s all the time either so I can live with it. But there are those days where I would really enjoy sitting on the deck with a nice glass of wine chatting about future plans or what we did that day or the day before….maybe some day. You do get used to being on your own, sort of set in your ways…..not a bad thing really but…….
I might just have a read through one of her books…..not sure I would have enjoyed them before now….because everyone has advice, right? But it’s all up to us what we do and how we do it. Kind of like those books you get when your first baby is born……you can stress about trying to live by that book or you can pick and chose what you think is a good idea for you…..not everyone is the same, not everyone deals with whatever issues arise the same. God, life would be boring as hell if that were the case. There are no “rules” that HAVE to be followed but that doesn’t mean that we can’t live and learn from others experiences…..whether you do or not, is up to you!
It’s kind of like golf…..where I’m going soon…..I can’t golf worth crap but I love it. Practice makes perfect they say so we’ll see if I do get out more often. I am such a bad golfer it’s not funny…..we’ll sometimes it is but that’s another story. My Dad was a golf pro….taught golf!! So what happened to me? I think I was just too headstrong as a kid….I hated being told what to do and still do! But I know a lot about golf from the many times being out with him……I could probably teach someone how to golf until you get to the part where you have to show them how their stance or shot should look like or worse still…..where the ball SHOULD go. It’s like reading a book about how to do something….all sounds great and looks like it would be easy peasy…..until you actually try to do it yourself. There are just some things that you’ve got a knack for and some you don’t….but if you enjoy it, you keep giving it a go and at the end of the day it’s not so much how it all turned out but whether or not you had fun doing it or making it!!
So it’s OK to do whatever you want to do, which is hopefully something that you enjoy. The main thing to remember for going forward…..my advice for what it’s worth…..is nothing will happen if you don’t make an attempt to make it happen and most importantly…..you cannot change what has happened! All the dreaming, wishing, hoping, what “if’s” etc. can’t change the past….it is what it is. You can chose to live in it but what will that accomplish…..nothing really. I think I’ve survived because I hate grief….I hate feeling sad, I hated the feeling of guilt and anger and all those other emotions that bubble up and over….it was lot of effort some days but forcing myself out of those emotions was worth it for me. I know that’s easier said than done for some people….if so, find someone to share that with….someone that can help pull you out of that grief hole and see the light of day, which is hopefully a sunny one!!