Monday, May 16, 2011


So very tired

This has been quite a week. It was one of those weeks that took so much inner strength, and perseverance, to get through. For one, my now 13 year old has recently fallen so behind in his school work, and his grades were literally tanking. He has some issues, one of which being significant ADHD, which requires a real team effort on the part of his teachers and myself. I have found it increasingly challenging to keep him on track, deal with the emotional fallout of doing so, and not let my anger get the best of me. The same can be said of my ongoing battle in getting the state retirement system to see fit in completing the process of paying out my late husband's pension. I believe that I finally did succeed in making some movement with them, but until I have the check in hand, I will have to remain ever vigilant in my quest to put this matter to rest. I wrote, or better, vented, about this on my Facebook page, and have chosen to re post it here. I thought it might be of use to others in understanding the ongoing challenges of being widowed, and how the business of being left behind, can be quite taxing.

I am so furious with the state CalPers program. It has taken them this long, and many of my unreturned phone calls, and me becoming irate, for them to suddenly say that yes, you are due your husbands retirement funds, and that we will mail it out. And oh, we will pay a penalty fee for the past 6 months since we had the info. needed to calculate and pay out the funds. What? Six months? I submitted my request in Nov. 2009. Where have my husbands funds been since then, and who is collecting the interest on those funds while you fail to pay them to his surviving spouse? Another call, another irate me, another supervisor angry at me, and hanging up, to then get another supervisor to say that okay, we cry uncle, and will pay penalty fees from 45 days after Nov. 2009. My then question was what rate is being used to calculate the penalty fees. Another irate conversation, then me finally taking a deep breath, and receiving the first direct answer of the day.

What is wrong with this system? Why am I having to jump through so many hoops. Has anyone else had to do this? This has been my experience with all death benefits from the beginning. Which begs to question...would it have been different if my name had been Danielle? Remember folks. I was legally married. Equal rights and treatment under the law? It's clear to me, that my type, which ever form that may be, can please stand at the back of the room, and be patient

So, that was a few days ago, and I have since calmed down. Yet, it is indicative of how losing your spouse is difficult enough, but you have to continue to also push onward when you are felling beaten down. This can be so difficult to do, especially when we are left alone to deal with such frustrations. The same can be said for parenting. I know there is a lot of talk in our widowed world about being the "alone" parent, but I was a single parent for most of my adult life. I already knew how to do it alone, yet truly began enjoying, and befitting from, sharing the parenting responsibilities, only to get thrown right back where I started.

I apologize in advance, as I am extremely exhausted, sitting here attempting to write my Monday post without much ability to focus. I don't like feeling like so much depends on me, as I still do not feel like I am back in game form. Yet that is what I desperately need to be in, game form. I have to continuously advocate for myself. I have to stay on top of the kids' needs. And, I also need to remain open to what lies ahead. It's exhausting work, and I'm just not always feeling so sure of my ability to press on. So with this in mind, I wish that I had something more to say here, something insightful, or with better clarity perhaps, yet I just feel tired, exhausted, and unable to remain awake to be honest. I think life can sometimes take a more challenging turn, and you can either fight it, or go with the flow. Either way seems exhausting me, but what do I know?


  1. "either way seems exhausting."

    Right on.

    love you.

  2. No apologies for what is par for the course of a widow/widower. Yes, all of this is quite exhausting and yes, we do it all alone because there is no one else to guide us along. Yes, no one outside of our circle can quite understand the effort it takes to make all these things happen. I get this.......if that helps any.

  3. I can understand about the alone parenting, it's exhausting. I'm dealing with my girls' denied grief, grades, sibling rivalry, hormones, blame, and more. I made an appointment to return to the counselor, but my girls are fighting me about that and it seems like everything else. I'm trying to stay strong as the head of the family, but it's very difficult and yes, physically and mentally exhausting.

  4. I feel for us all, and understand what your talking about. I am tired of the government and Insurance agencies attempting to divide and define families and love. It is not their place , they don't know , they don't feel nor do they suffer our broken hearts and souls. Is our loss and suffering not enough? To wake and function is a fight let alone to dishonor our relationship is apalling. Who we choose to love and devote ourselves to is a matter of our hearts not their policies.. or it should be that way. Love to us all Dawn

  5. Dan, you are right it is all a struggle most people do not understamd! I am tired of being compared to a divorced person!
    To me that have it easy! Get child support/weekends without kids! I would take that! Why does society have to make it all so hard!

  6. I've had many ongoing challenges with regard to Social Security death benefits, and have a long-term goal to change some policies/procedures with this system (as well as OSHA). During my last visit to the SS office, one of the things I told the agent who was "helping" me was that although I understand he is only doing what he was trained to do by his employer and his responses to me are pre-programmed, the next time someone comes to him with an issue regarding death benefits, he should remember that they are there because the person they expected to spend the rest of their life with and raise their children with died (not retired or disabled, DIED), and should respond with a little more sensitivity and consideration. ((((Dan)))))

  7. I hear you. When I become really overwhelmed I take a step back and remind myself to take one day at a time. Just get through today. I also pray alot, my faith is invaluable to me. Remember you are only one person and you are doing the best you can under the circumstances, and if people don't like it, oh well. I've weathered the worst crisis of my life, and now it's step by step, day by day. It'll get better.

  8. I don't have a lot of gay friends but I read a lot of posts from gay widowers from several sites. I have never been able to tell from posts whether someone is talking about a same sex spouse. Love is love, it doesn't matter if you are gay or straight. We need to move past this whole sex bias thing and just let families be families.

  9. Thanks for all the good feedback. I never tire of the comraderie that we have with each other. I too am trying to take the time to explain to those whose job it is to deal with "us" to be far more sensitive, and be far more patient. I know it is difficult for them to do that when they are in a hurry to get home to their spouses, have dinner together, deal with their kids together, shower (together?), get into bed, then nestle into each other's arms!