Author Topic: I am bereft  (Read 94 times)

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Offline TeresaT

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I am bereft
« on: February 13, 2021, 10:08:20 PM »
Where to start? I have found this place to see if it is somewhere I can use words to try to help me through my bereavement journey. I lost my husband Chris, my best friend, my soulmate on Christmas Day 2020. I am blessed with a very supportive family and good friends but, with Covid restrictions, I am home alone for the first time in 30 years. My go-to has always been writing but at the moment words are almost too powerful, especially when spoken. I am trying to find a way to build my new community, socially distanced of course. My journey has its own story, I am sure this is the same for others.
Where do I go from here? How do I reach out? How can I be brave enough to move forward? This is my reaching out and I do not know where it will lead me but maybe it is my first step forward into a new world?

Offline Sandra61

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Re: I am bereft
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2021, 01:16:22 PM »
Welcome to this site, Teresa. I am so sorry to hear about your husband and so sorry that this happened on Christmas Day; not a day you would like to have as an anniversary I am sure. What a terrible thing to happen on Christmas Day. I am so sorry. Sending you a hug.  :hug:

It is early days for you, so don't force yourself to try to move forwards. Just take each day as it comes for now. I am sure that will be challenge enough.

Writing and talking both help a lot with grief, so when you do want to do either, do try to. I found writing did help me lift some of the burden of pain and emotion for me.

Finding your way forward I found was a matter of taking things one step at a time, but I am doing that over time. I am further into this journey than you, and I can honestly say it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but it does get easier over time. There are sometimes bad days or weeks even, but gradually there are also better ones. If you can take it just one day at a time, that will be enough for now. I am sure others will have good advice and hope that you do get some help from talking to others here.

Wishing you well.  :hearts:

Offline Karena

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Re: I am bereft
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2021, 12:07:56 PM »
 :hug: I am much further down this journey than you it will be 10 years later this month since my husband died from a stroke so i apologize in advance if it seems i am rambling on, it has been a long journey but at the start if found seeing how others here had managed  theirs helped me see it is possible.

On the anniversary, as i do every year i will put daffodils to float  in the river for him as that is what we did at the funeral - the river is near an old church and passes through most of the places he ever lived and it is a favorite spot for family picnics etc in the summer.
It was his second stroke the first had left him with some disability - but he was so looking forward to the daffodils in the garden coming out and the spring to follow and he didn't make it to that point - so they became an important symbol for me - I also, later that year, planted native daffodils in our favorite places  just planning that and traveling to do it  were the first real steps forward i could take - i had imagined at the time that  the funeral was the last thing i would do for him but it didn't turn out that way at all - I had to move house so spent the summer re-creating our garden in mini at the new house as a living memorial too him and  from doing that  and going out to plant the bulbs i found the natural world was a great healer - i was never quite as alone when i was outdoors.

But I also went to some very dark places in the first months - thinking there was no point in my life any more - kids all grown and had their own lives and my job was nothing world saving than at some point i imagined a conversation if there is any kind of afterlife in which i had thrown away my life after he fought for his and realized it would not be the best conversation to have  - so i made the decision that if there was no point trying for myself i would live my life for him and be his eyes on the world - do the things we said we would and didn't get round too and the things he would have enjoyed and i would have watched from the sidelines - none of it was easy just going places on my own was difficult and even harder going back to places we had been together - our retirement plan to move to our favorite place and live in a caravan by the sea  was smashed to bits - but i go back to that place now whenever i can and feel closer to him there than anywhere even though i know that plan will never happen now.

Social anxiety didn't help it wasn't new for me, but he was the confident social one and i hid under his wing and now there was no where to hide. In time i learned to pick the battles i needed to take not the ones others did - there was a thread on here about  eating out alone - something i just  thought i could never do that i am too scared - but then later  realized it doesn't matter for me  - i dont need too because it isnt an end goal for me - there are plenty of take-away foods available and plenty of corners to hide in.

Getting through  airport security was different - that cant be avoided so i learned to be super efficient in packing having the plastic bag tickets passport etc exactly where i knew they would be - it didnt stop me checking over and over again but it meant a quick check not a public panic attack i allowed extra time to travel to the airport my kids thought it was hilarious but it worked for me -when i got to a transit airport i would be off  locating the gate then working back to loos coffee machines etc. If ever i couldn't climb over hurdles or move them i found ways to go round them.

I found props as well - a camera validates your presence somewhere - not that we need too, but sometimes we feel we need too - i would set myself a task to take very specific pictures  - car radiator grills at a vintage show - roof gable ends in Manchester when i had to break a journey for a few hours and couldn't face sitting in a cafe or going in shops but i had a task to do instead so i was fine - and i would get so absorbed in them i forgot about all those people round me.

More recently i have realized that the things i thought i was doing for him were in fact his gifts to me - he was helping me move forward and he was supporting and guiding me to do it just as he did in life - I still miss him and i still talk to him - he will always be part of my life just in a different way from being physically present.

In lock down going out and doing anything that is much more difficult of course -but i did also write and finding this place to do it helped a great deal - i wrote him letters and made diary entries but i also wrote poetry - which you would think is more difficult  than just writing everything down but i found that in having to make sense to a reader. in a fairly concise way - short lines and sentences grouped into verses it needed some kind of order and that helped me make sense of my own thoughts and cut through some of the brain fog.

I also did some on-line courses -and that is something you can do in lockdown  -future learn do free short taster courses they are set by universities but anyone can do them you lose nothing if you drop out because it isnt right for you then  just sign up to another one and even online there are comments sections so you speak to others through the comments and get into discussions with all kinds of people from all over the world about the subject of the course but without the angst that goes with social media.

At first I was randomly choosing anything that sounded interesting and  then looking back through the ones i had done  i realized i had made a winding path path with them without knowing  they were connected -my random choices took me into ecology permaculture third world development journalism creative writing and art in medicine - i am a graphic designer - so i put it together (eventually) and got involved with a charity who design school gardens in africa which include outdoor classrooms and provide food from the garden to the children which in turn allows more children to be in school and brings in the whole community.- so what started as something meant to fill the time and distract me from my loneliness could be something more  when i eventually  joined the dots. 


- as Sandra says one day at a time one small step at a time and its a roller coaster journey sometimes you think you have taken no steps forward at all but you will look back and realize you have.

Your journey will be different to mine -  all our journeys are and all our interests are - for the people who started that thread  eating out alone in a restaurant is important because they really want to be able to do that - for me eating out is something you have to consider as part of traveling somewhere and there are ways around it - i also tried to join two things locally - the WI and amateur drama -purely because people meaning well said thats what i ought to do -and  it wasnt for me,  it is a journey where we will make mistakes like that as we discover what is the road for us to take  - the point is to find something that is for you, and finding something that isn't is also a way of learning what is - not a deafeat.
 
Here we know we are different and  that there will be different ways people grieve but their isnt a "right way" to grieve and there are different steps we  take to move forward  and for me that means moving forward with him, just in a different way -but not leaving him behind - that wont be the same for everyone either but we are here to support each other and hold out the hand of friendship to all who find themselves here.