Hard Times



This is not the usual funny post. I don’t feel funny. Today was not a good day, and I had a mini meltdown in the car. I’m not telling you this because I want pity. It’s just that sometimes I think people think I’ve been too glib, too happy and brave for someone in my situation. Not so. I’ve been whistling in the dark. 

I’ve been a widow for nine months now and counting.

When Larry first died, I got a few books on widowhood to help guide me through this transition. They weren’t all that helpful.  I’ve found that I am not like anyone else, and nobody else is, either. I’ve talked to several other people who are dealing with the aftermath of losing a spouse, and none of us have that many shared experiences. The most common denominator is loneliness.

When you lose someone from your life who shared every day with you, pretty much, for 35 years, your life changes in ways you cannot imagine.

I’ve written about some of those.

But one thing I read in one of the books does ring true: it doesn’t necessarily get easier. At first, I was numb. We had such a good, sheltered, happy life here on the farm that it was simple to keep going on like before, more or less, with just one less person around. But little by little, the magnitude of my loss became clear. Suddenly all decisions were mine, alone. I had no one to share my ups and downs with anymore, no one to bounce ideas off of, no one to be there in the morning and at night, and no warm husband to snuggle up to all night. Every day became a struggle, and being home was absolutely the worst.

I had some unique experiences, too.

People disappeared from my life. Some of them were family. Other people suddenly appeared. You find out who your real friends are. You find out things about yourself, the things you can handle and the things you can’t.

I don’t recommend it for sissies. No wonder so many people die soon after their spouse dies. It takes a tremendous toll on you. Sometimes I think it would be so much easier just to cash it in. But I’m a survivor, so that is not an option.

I’m dreading winter. Summer this year was brutal, but the winter will be more so. And when January rolls around, I will have come full circle with all of this. Today the grief is as fresh, and real, as it ever was. And as the feeling comes back, I find it more unbearable.

This is truly a dark night of the soul. So when does daylight come? I’ll let you know. Right now, it ain’t cheer. 

5 thoughts on “Hard Times

  1. My hard time was after losing Melanie, my daughter, in 1996. That first year was a living hell. Some of the comments and remarks that people made were senseless and others down right cruel. They didn’t mean to be. They just didn’t know what to say, but felt they had to say something. And yes, I feel that to lose someone you truly love, does affect your very soul. I can still remember the strange feeling I had. At first, I hurt so bad that my pain was physical, and centered in my stomach area. Solar plexus? And the weird part was that I could look inside myself and see that string of pain go on forever – right into the back of my abdomen. Except, there was no back, no vertebra, it just went on forever into the distance and somehow I knew that was what my soul did. My pain was – complete. Meaning that every inch of my being hurt. I went into the bank and one of the tellers spoke of hearing of my daughter’s loss and said how sorry she was. This was six months after her death. I broke down and bawled – and fled. It was weeks before I could go back into the bank. Anywhere and no where, the tears would come.

    My soul hurting did ease on the anniversary of her death. The weight of grief was lifted from my shoulders. I still missed her, would still often pick up the phone to call her, and then realize . . . But it was easier. Most days I could think again.

    My point is this: it does get easier, but it never goes away. That was a life experience I had, and remember it, I will always. I’ve watched her daughter grow, make her a grandmother, and then lose that grandchild to a car accident. What else life has in store, I can only wonder, and put one foot in front of the other and keep going. I happen to think there is a life after this one, and I talk to her, tell her I love her, and miss her and cry. But the tears have a way of cleansing and the pain, although compelling, is no longer debilitating.

    At first there were more bad days, sometimes bad weeks, than good, but then slowly it turned around. Although, sometimes still, I pace the floor and sob. She was part of me, still is part of me, and I miss her. I am reminded of John F. Kennedy’s words, ” forgive your enemies, but always remember their names.” I remember the names of those responsible for her death. But I have been lucky enough to feel forgiveness. At least I no longer wish to scratch their eyes out . . .

    Advice I cannot give. As you have found from the books you read, this journey is yours, and yours alone. I can only walk along side you, call you friend, and offer a hand up when you fall. My hand is out-stretched to you now, and always . . .

  2. Dee, that is beautifully put. You describe the visceral pain of grief so well. The thing is, we wouldn’t want to NOT feel it. That would be wrong. Yet, while in the throes of the worst of it, we often feel it is more than we can bear. Kind of like childbirth. My heart goes out to you in your pain over losing a daughter. I cannot even begin to imagine your pain. I’m not sure I could survive that. You are one brave, strong lady and I love you.

  3. Dear, dear Brenda,

    I know it is hard and I don’t know how hard, but your real friends care about you. It sounds like you have stopped “running” from the pain and now are experiencing it. It is awful. It has to be. I’m at your back.

  4. Mom, I also know it’s hard. But, you will be ok. You just have to think positive thoughts and think of your life now. Make yourself happy and live the rest of your life the best you can. I kept thinking about that last day I saw dad and I thought only if we took him to the hospital……. But he was ready and I’m glad he went to heaven the way he did, I’m just really sorry that you had to be alone there with him, when he did. I know how scary and devastating it must of been. Just keep strong and do the best you can and take care of yourself. Love, Desara

  5. Reblogged this on Far Out on the Farm and commented:

    I’m reposting this blog entry, just to remind people that no matter how bad it gets, it will change. Now, I didn’t say it would get better – I just said it would change. When I wrote this, I had just met a very nice guy, Mike Ward, who lived in Garfield, Arkansas. We were dating and he was acting serious, and I was not so sure I was ready for that. I had just started a new job, and it was boring me to tears. What I didn’t know is that Mike would ask me to marry him, I would accept his ring at Christmas, and that he would die of lung cancer on May 1, 2013. So see, it gets different. Not necessarily better. BUT, and this is an important but, I met Michael Kaup, almost accidentally, but definitely online, in August 2013. Immediately it was like coming out of the cold and into the warmth of a healthy relationship. Neither of us could believe we got so lucky. So, things change. And sometimes they get better. OK, enough about the old blog post. Enjoy.

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