Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Is It Just Me ....

                                                 picture from here

.... or does anyone else ever feel like moving away and starting over?
From everyone that knew them "before" .... and from all of those friends who can't seem to see you as anything but "different" ..... and it all seems to get worse as time goes on?

I have now passed the 4 year mark.
This is my life.
I am no longer married.
I am single.
I get that.

And yes, I am different than I was, but I'm pretty much accustomed to the fact that my husband is dead, has been dead for 4 years and isn't coming back.
I want to be treated the same way that they treated me 4 years ago.
I don't want to be treated with "kid gloves".
I don't want to stand out in any way.
I just want to be Janine.

But that's not what's happening.
My "couple" friends seem to feel like I'll fall apart if I find out they're doing things together, as couples.
So they do things, but they feel like they can't let me know.
I hate that.
And I don't get it.
It's been 4 years.
If I'm used the to the fact that I'm not married anymore, why aren't they?

I live in a smallish community.
Many people knew "us".
We've lived here for 20 years and have been very active.
So most people remember.
They remember Jim and they remember Jim and me.
And I guess they have certain expectations ..... or maybe they have no idea what to expect and so they go out of their way to not treat me the same.

All I know is, that after 4 years ..... I feel like I need to move away.
I need to move somewhere where no one knew "us".
No one sees me as Janine, Jim's widow.
Poor Janine.

I don't want friends to feel that they have to treat me in some special way.
I don't want friends to feel that I expect to be treated in some special way.
I'm sick to death of being "special" because I'm a widow.
And I'm ready to move forward.
Wherever that may be.

I realize that I'm the "first" person to be widowed amongst almost all of my friends.
I realize that this has all been new for them, too.
I know that they, pretty much like me, don't know what they're doing, so I can't blame them for flying blind here.
But come on!  It's been four freaking years!
Trust me ..... I know he's dead!

Is this just me?
Are these just my friends?
Or have any of you felt this way?
Have any of you actually moved to start over?
That's exactly how I feel.  I want to start over.
And while leaving here and leaving some of the memories would be sad, the possibility of a new place, new people, no memories and no expectations .... feels exciting.

For those of you who have moved to a new place .... how did it impact you?  Both negatively and positively?
Did you feel more freedom to start over as just "you" in the new place?

Or is this just a "phase" of being widowed?
And it will pass before long?

Please share your experiences with us.  Because I need a change.  And I can't believe I'm the only one.
I just want to make sure that if I do it,  I do it right.

And please ..... tell me that it's not just me.

50 comments:

  1. After my husband died in Sept. 2008, I stayed at my house for one month to tie up as much paperwork as possible. About 5 weeks after his death, I had fixed up my van enough to go on the road and I drove across Canada and down through the U.S. to Bisbee, AZ. I had arranged to rent a house for 4 months. Although that first winter was difficult, it was so nice to be away from my house and the area as my husband had been ill for almost a year and everyone had acts so freaky during that time that I couldn't leave my place fast enough.

    In the spring, I returned and worked on the house and our farm getting it ready to sell. No one ever stopped in even though they all knew I was back and working on the house and cleaning up the barns, etc.. When the house was sold, I drove away feeling like I didn't care if I ever saw it again. In fact, when I have driven to that area a couple of times to visit my old neighbour, I approach from another direction so that I don't have to see my old place.

    I know I'm pretty different than most widows. I spend about 2 to 3 months on the road traveling each year - camping my way back and forth across Canada and the States between an old 1860s Greek Revival house (derelict house that stood empty for 10 years after the widow who owned it went senile and died) -- and the house I rent up in the mountains outside of Bisbee, AZ.

    For me, it has been an incredible experience to live as I do. Yes, it is difficult as hell and takes so much energy and determination. However, almost no one knows my past and when they meet me, they aren't treating me like a widow, or like wife-of-Don. They just see me as this adventurous woman who goes where plenty of men won't even venture (I camp a lot in the back country of Utah, Oregon, California, Idaho, and New Mexico).

    I am so glad I didn't try to stay in my old house. For me, when I returned to it after that first winter in Bisbee, it was just horrible as I approached the house and turned into the lane. Entering the house, I saw all the furniture sitting arranged as I had left it -- pushed in funny places to make space for the recliner where my husband slept during the last few months of his life. It was like entering a ghost house. I had to spend the summer there fixing it up to sell and it was not a happy time, although I had a new puppy running around in the midst of everything.

    Anyhow, for me, cutting my ties to the farm we owned for 35 years was a good move. I feel free -- a free agent -- doing my own thing and starting all over. I do think it helps to go to a place where a lot of other people go to start over. This is a town where a lot of people come to do just that -- so my recommendation to anyone contemplating a similar path, is to find the kind of community that is a bit off the wall and not just a bedroom community of couples. I went where there were artists and musicians as that is where I knew I would fit in best. Go where the people are your kind of people.

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  2. Thank you for the post and also to the previous poster. Can't really see me camping like the previous poster but hey, it's great food for thought! My late husband and I went to Bisbee so can see the attraction there also. Thanks for the great ideas and sharing!

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  3. My husband of 25years died July of 2008, I moved to a new city in Jan of 2009 with only one sibling in town that new me "before". I have no regrets. Most of our "friends" were gone after the funeral it seemed and those who maybe stopped didn't know how to treat me. I have made a new life, remarkable women have befriended me and know little if anything of my past. I do still feel a widow but less and less each day, I am single but not looking. I have returned to where we lived (4 hours away)but only to visit very close friends and avoided most places and people. I have my memories and that is enough for me. It is perhaps easier for me to have done this since we had no children but that also makes it more difficult, no one to share those 25yrs of memories with in an involved way. We are all traveling this journey by different paths and should judge no one for the one they choose.
    Deb

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  4. First comment from me... a lurker though I have been reading for over a year.

    YES! I feel exactly the same way and am in the middle of contemplating this exact same thing. Do I stay in my small town, where everyone knows me, everyone loves me, my kids have memories of their dad...both early childhood and then a year of dying from brain cancer...and I will ALWAYS be known as the "XXXX widow?" Or do I move for a fresh start? Compound this with a town where, in a world of intact couples, or bitter divorcees, they feel like they know better than me what MY timeline should be!

    My son still has 6 months of high school left, so there is not much that I can do about it yet. But, I am hovering. I am enjoying my friends, I am enjoying learning everything I can about home ownership and repair (cause I just might sell it!), I'm enjoying playing on the mountain where my late husband built all of the trails. But, I am travelling 5 hours away just for a date on New Years, and I just bought new living room furniture which will replace the stuff he died on.

    I'll continue to lurk...but if you would like to read about my experiences, feel free to peruse my blog. I'll be reading the comment section for advice....

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    1. My husband died in October 2008 of brain cancer. My youngest child was just thirteen. My son has five months of high school left and I am already beginning to check out city living in Chicago. I am very excited about the idea of living in the city and all the "New Life" it will bring!

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  5. I haven't left, but often want to. No one can really win around me - most typically stay out of touch until the contact me "meaningfully," which is tiresome, while others pretend like nothing happened, which is also tiresome. I just want my old freedom back, howvever that may be. This carefulness of everyone, and knowing that they know, adds a layer to being alive that I definitely resent. Nothing is just itself anymore.

    It would be hard to leave our home, the evidence of our life here. But at the same time, it feels small and tired. I feel somewhat hobbled by finances, but really, that could be solved. It's more a fear of more losses, a series of worries. And there we are right back to resentful that everything is tied to this. Nothing is just a free choice anymore.

    And bev - I didn't know that! The part about the house being owned by a widow. I rather like that.

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  6. Gosh Janine, I have thought about this so much. My daughter moved out about 3 months ago and my son lives in another state. I am coming up on the 2 year mark and itching to start a new life somewhere else for exactly the reasons you stated. I am also tired of the "look"... there she is, the poor lonely widow. The couples we hung out with, always include me but it is just not the same.

    2012 may just be year of breaking away!

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  7. Wow! How courageous. That is an amazing story.
    I have felt that way Janine but not to move just to open up my friendships. With my husbands death I have realized some important things. I had a few friendships i held onto, because I had always had them. They weren't exciting or growing or even fun anymore. A few months ago. I ended them. Not dramatically. In a kind letter "it's all me, not you" and I felt so free. I now have space for new friends. We had a close knit group of couples we saw very frequently. Those relationships are changing too. Not bad, just different. I was out recently with close girl friends and was talking about the pressure (after one year) to make people realize yes I was still grieving. Even though I wasn't falling on the ground sobbing (save those moments for the bedroom, not casual friends) . So it is hard to have happiness or joy with people constantly observing you for signs of your inner emotional life. I have never felt so noticed and so studied. For someone that is private, I really don't like this at all. This makes me want to move.
    So this close girlfriend piped up with "of course! You are filled with grief all the time! It will always be this way!!!" But the way she said it didn't sound like compassion or recognition but like a death sentence.

    I thought "always!" ALWAYS? How would she know. Her husband is still alive. I will always have grief, but it can't feel like this forever because I wouldn't make it if it did. It will change and move and yes, he will always be in my heart forever. The grief will transform with time. I believe that because I come here and read about it.
    So, sometimes it is misunderstood even by the people closest to you.

    I don't want to move because I love our home, my kids and grandchildren are nearbye. BUT - I have three trips planned this year. Two big ones. I am going to travel a lot more and in doing so - have the expanding relationships I want. Where people also see that yes, my husband died but I am still here - standing - still a person. Still alive.
    Thanks Janine for opening up this wondering.

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    1. expanding relationships I want. Where people also see that yes, my husband died but I am still here - standing - still a person. Still alive.

      Love this!
      Sometimes I feel as if I need to hold press conferences lol

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  8. "So it is hard to have happiness or joy with people constantly observing you for signs of your inner emotional life. I have never felt so noticed and so studied. For someone that is private, I really don't like this at all." - to anon above - exactly! The constant feeling of being watched and assessed, that every single action or non-action is a sign of my inner state.

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  9. I am ready to go...I just don't know where to! Same story here, lots of couple friends who now avoid me because of the "death plague" hovering over me. Bright, educated people who I just do not understand, I thought they were both of our friends.

    So I have begun to look online at houses/condos/boats. I have a long way to go in purging this house of 25 years, but bit by bit it is getting easier to give/sell/donate things that have sat for years. Don't know where I'm headed, but it is outta here, no reason anymore to hang around. I like the idea of renting for awhile to test an area out, maybe that'll be next winter.

    As you mentioned, Janine, this is all new for my friends too. Some have lost parents, but none of my friends have lost spouses, and they really don't know how to respond, so they often don't. I don't blame them, but I do try to keep the lines of communication open. My remarks to them lately have been rather to the point, and they still do not really get it. So I am getting better at letting it go, no sense in dwelling on the negative, time to move on from them all. Starting over won't necessarily be easier, but at least everything (house, places you went together) will not be staring you in the face everyday.

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  10. Renting is a good idea. You can stay somewhere for a few months and see how it feels. If it's not right, you just move on. Travel light. A storage locker is your friend, but get rid of as much stuff as you can before you "move on". You'll soon find you tire of dragging the past along with you.

    As for feeling as though you are leaving your spouse behind when you move, it is funny, but I have "found" him wherever I move. During my travels all over the continent, when I revisit a place a second or third time, I have found that my mind has placed him in those places too and it's getting hard to distinguish from the places he has been, and those where he never stepped foot. It's kind of a nice feeling, actually. At the same time, it is not oppressive in the same way that returning to our usual grocery store and whole food store was when I returned to sell our farm after my first winter away in Bisbee. That was a horrible experience and the pain never really lessened. Again, it was so nice to just leave all of that behind and begin making new memories -- selective ones without seeing old doctor's offices, driving past the cancer center, and all the other horrors we lived through the last year of Don's life.

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  11. Such a great post Janine! And so good to read so many responses. Count me in on wanting to really begin again. I do have sons, but they are in college now. I thought I would wait until the youngest gets through so he would still have his home to come to on breaks. Won't be that long though, so I think I will take Bev's advice and start getting rid of the 23 years worth of stuff in this house. Thank you ALL so much for the inspiration to really take charge of my life and live the way I want to.

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  12. I feel the same way as everyone else, tired of being "studied." I crave to be looked at as the fun person I was (am) and not a "lowly, old widow" who is "doing great and so strong." Or how about that look when they ask you "How are you DOING?" But you're at a party standing in a group of people and can't really give them anything but a canned, happy answer.

    To be fair, I do admit that my married life was comprised of mostly married friends. Socially, I did not do things as often with my single friends. Now that I'm single, I do wish to go out more often because I don't always have someone to be with and the loneliness sets in. My co-ed events were with evenly-paired married people. I hung out with women who had kids, not really women who didn't have kids. My single friends called me to do something. I didn't call them. Socially, my events were mostly with people who had a similar lifestyle as mine. True for everyone?

    So this December, I found out that ALL of my single friends also "loathe the holidays" and again, this put me in my place because I couldn't recall ever asking then to just come over and hang out or grab a coffee or drink during what can be a lonely time for anyone who is single. I was so wrapped up in my own holiday business for my family that I never once sat and thought, "Who might need a friend right now?" This year, I had lots of time and space and was extremely humbled.

    But yes, I do feel there is a "cautionary vibe" that most people heed with me because I do all the asking to do things.

    I agree with everyone's comments and I knew I wasn't being paranoid when I posted a photo of a meal I enjoyed on Facebook. There were comments like, "It's SO GREAT to see you are eating!" or "SO glad you're enjoying yourself!" Uhhh, did they think I hadn't eaten for 4 months? That I didn't want to still be invited and have lunch or go out on the weekends? That I never wanted to laugh ever again? At that moment, I knew I was viewed differently than before and some people would never see me as how I wanted to be. I knew I needed to look within to feel whole and not think about them anymore.

    So what do we do if we can't move?

    For 2012, I am going to "pretend" that I just moved to my own town and try to need new people by taking a photography class and doing some cooking demo classes at the stores (They're free at Williams Sonoma), I am joining some meetup.com groups and vow to talk to people at the gym. As hard as this will be for me, meeting new people is the only way I can see as having my own identity. I can't focus on everyone else anymore and how they are or aren't treating me.

    Interestingly, I first felt "normal" when a friend opened up to me and leaned on me for help. I read that after we lose someone, one of the best ways to help ourselves is to give to others and volunteer. I completely believe this to be true and also plan on doing more of this in 2012.

    We are not THAT fragile and that is what I find to be so frustrating. But yes, a very scary and awful thing happened to us so we can't blame them for feeling cautionary around us. I surely didn't know anything about this before this happened. We have to give them clues too. Many want to be with us or help us but really, how does anyone know what to do? Do you invite the mom who has a disabled child for coffee or do you feel sorry for her? Do you get to know the person who moved to the neighborhood that doesn't speak much English or do you assume they have plenty of family or only hang out with people from their native country? We all hold to our own sometimes and maybe this is part of a hard lesson of compassion.

    My condolences to everyone for their losses. I lost my husband and my dad a month apart from each other. May we all find a way to learn to live life to our fullest, be our best and find those people who bring out our best.

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  13. Yes, Yes, Yes! I do so want to get away if only temporarily. A few short trips this year to get "started", but hopefully that will lead to more. You really hit the nail on the head with this one. Thanks for all the amazing support on this site.

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  14. Janice,

    My husband died in January of 2009. In May of 2009, I moved away to be closer to where my parents and siblings live. My daughter, who was and still is in college, decided to go back. She felt, and I believe she somewhat still feels that it was the wrong move. She felt that we were leaving her dad behind. My two boys, who were 14 and 9 at the time, have adjusted well. We still go back to see my inlaws.
    Every time we do I feel the stares of everyone whoknew me as part of a couple. I get a lot of surprised looks and comments from people saying "how well I
    look".

    As for me, I am so glad that I made the move. I feel free to live my new life. I have taken the time to grieve, moving at my own pace through the pain, without the watchful eyes of those who I really wasn't that close to. I have taken steps to continue on with my education to earn my masters degree. I am concentrating on guiding my boys to their life paths. I look forward to doing a lot more traveling in the future, if it's God's will.

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  15. I moved back home to Wa. where I grew up about 4 mos ago. I sold Jeff and I's home last year and had been staying with my BF but I wasn't in a very good place in my journey so decided to try the "new start" thing. It has been really good for me. Yes I miss the "few" friends that didn't treat me like a Leper but we still talk. One of the main reason's for my choice to move was that everywhere I turned was some person or place that reminded me of all that I had lost...my Husband,BF,home,all my 4-legged kids,our business.Now I feel like this is where I need to be to move forward in my journey.Do what feels right for you Janine and I wish you the best!

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  16. I am beginning to feel that I am ready to move forward too. It's been 13 months now and most of the joint friends have just slipped away and those that have not treat me as fragile. I am not sure that I want to be treated as fragile by people who knew that I had to be strong for 25 years to nurse my husband. I have not changed the essential person inside.
    Like Lyn I am going to be taking a few short trips this year to get my moving forward started. There is my daughter and grand children still living here in our small town, but she has her friends and so do the children. I seem to have spent the best part of the year as their babysitter though and I am damn sure that I am not going to be doing that as much this year.
    I have trips planned and start with one next week. If during one of these trips I come a cross a place I feel will suit me then I just may come home, pack up and move on. As I rent, I don't have the hassle of selling this place, just finding where I want to be next.
    Good luck to you all in your futures and let 2012 be the time we all look toward the future while we carry the memories of the past in our hearts.

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  17. It's not just you. Nine months after Matt died, I took my two babies, sold the house we built together and moved clear across the country. Best thing I could have done. Moved back to my hometown because it was too expensive to stay in LA, and I thought I'd want to be in the place we called "home." I was partly right... It was good to come back so that I could realize once and for all that I don't belong here anymore, either. I think I know where I belong now, and it's not in California or Buffalo... I'm planning to move again in six months, and this time I'll be staying put for a very long time! No, Janine, you are NOT alone! XOXO

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  18. I'm not ready to move AWAY yet, but after 18 months I feel I'm closer to being ready to move out of our home. (I'm very glad I didn't move out immediately despite some strong suggestions that I should. I know now that I would have regretted leaving immensely if I hadn't stayed to deal with the memories. AND I couldn't have imagined trying to pack up or purge our home of 16 years immediately after Dave died.
    However, I feel less and less attached to it, and the maintenance on a large home and property can be pretty draining physically and financially. So I plan to do some serious purging this spring/summer to get it ready for sale. By next spring I hope to be someplace else, but it will likely still be in the same area.

    Although the thought of packing it up and leaving town altogether has crossed my mind, I know that in the end (for me anyway) it would only make things harder on me. (If I'm feeling that people don't invite me out now - I don't see that improving if I move somewhere where NOBODY knows me.)
    And I must be a bit of a widow oddity because I find that most friends are still including me in their plans. (It sucks that I'm there alone - but I'm still invited and still go.) Camping is different with friends - heading off to my tent alone was pretty sad the first time.
    Dave's co-workers (he was good friends with a few of them) even invited me to their Christmas party again this year. I was the only single person, but I was glad I went again. I'm finding the only 'group' that I no longer see regularly was his men's baseball team - but they still welcome me whenever I make the effort to go watch them play.

    Anyway, I do sometimes day dream of another life - but maybe it just seems easier to stay right now.

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  19. I felt like that often in the first year and then I met my 2nd husband just before the first anniversary of DoD and 6 months later did move away. Moved to another country in fact. Gave up my career. Started writing. Made new friends. It's doable. People pick up and go all the time. It just depends on what you what and how bad you want it.

    You can be whoever you want to be. Redefine yourself whenever you want to. Good luck.

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  20. Thank you Janine, I want to move after almost 3 years of widowhood, but have one child in elementary school and feel guilty about wanting to move her from a very caring school environment. On the other hand, there is not much for me in my small town--so is a bored mom that healthy for her? Maybe an adventure is what we both need. Annie, love your comment, but I don't know who I want to be! Still working on that,

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  21. I'm not even a year into this journey but I recently went on a trip alone to a city I had never been to before in a state I had never been to and I had those same thoughts...of how nice it might be to just start over somewhere where I'm a stranger and no one knows my past and I can be whoever I want to be.

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  22. Great post and 20+ comments!
    I lost my husband 18 months ago. I really struggled with the decision to move. I lived in a small town for 25 years (my husband grew up in the town, everyone knew him(us)) My frindships faded fairly quickly after he passed. He died of brain cancer which made his last few months of life very isolating for both of us.
    I moved soon after one year of his passing. It came with some critisism from his family and some of the people in town. Honestly, I just couldn't take the isolation,the staring or sometimes the flat out avoidance, you know...when someone sees you in the grocery store but acts like they didn't see you...feeling like I was being judged at every move and the loneliness in that house was unbearable.He died in the house and I never got used to walking in that room again. I actually cleaned it out and shut the door the last few months I lived there. I really can't explain why I felt so "judged" I didn't do anything worth talking about, I havn't even started dating.
    I had some much needed work done on the house and put it on the market.
    I didn't talk much about leaving before I left. I always knew I wanted to move south to a better climate,so I made a plan and followed through.I'm back in school finishing my degree(someting I alays wanted to do)i wouldn't have been able to finish my degree where I lived.

    I have a 16 yr old daughter and it's been a VERY difficult adjustment for her. I feel so guilty for moving her. I take her back as much as possible to see her friends.It was heart breaking to watch her go through changing from a 500 student school to a 3500 student school. She's doing better now, her grades are very good,4.0,but she hasn't made any friends.

    Had it not been for my daughter having such a hard time with it,I would say it's been very good for me in other ways.

    I feel for any widow going through these adjustments, it's not easy. Desicion making has been one of the harder things for me as I stumble through this new way of life.

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  23. Wow .... I am stunned, and very thankful, for the outpouring of support and connection that so many of you feel with me on this topic. And I'm relieved that it's not just me. I know my friends are doing their best, but there's just a divide between us that I hope they never have to cross. And it's not all of my friends .... I think I've been very blessed by the support I've had. But still ..... it's something inside of me. Something that makes me feel it's almost time to move on. My youngest has one more year of high school so I have time to think and plan. I have ideas .... several ideas. I am just SO ready to stop being automatically seen as Jim's widow. I'm ready to sell our home, something I never thought I'd be able to do. But, as I told my children, Jim's not here. Our memories of him will be where've we are. This house that once was the home of 8 people is too much for two .... or one. This town that was once the hometown of 8 of us ..... is also too much for one .... the one left behind. I need a fresh start ... I need to be me without the constant reminders and expectations of "us" ..... and the "before" me.
    Thank you all so much for commenting .... it feels so good to know I'm not alone .... and not crazy ..... or strange .... or ungrateful. I'm just normal.
    A normal widowed person who isn't alone.
    You all rock.
    :)

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  24. I think about it all the time and I'm 7 months out. My close friends have been life preservers for me in this process and it is very hard for me to think about leaving them. On the other hand, the thought of starting over in a new place, away from my small community and in a different job, sounds very tempting. My married lifestyle is no longer applicable and feels like it doesn't fit the "new me".

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  25. Very powerful Janine. I sometimes feel the way you do in my small town - which was my town as a child too - not my husband's but we became a happily married couple here. My bigger feeling is about moving on with my life and not being able to because I am still raising my children. I love them more than life, but sometimes it just feels like I can not stop living the life we made together because they still need that life. My youngest is now 14 and I know that I wish he would stay 14 but he won't. I want to have a plan for when he leaves the nest but feel like I can't begin to make that plan yet , so in the meantime I am the widow sitting home alone on New Years Eve while my kids do what kids do and my friends sit with their spouses looking at the new year ahead with joint dreams. Frozen in time.... that's how I feel. Thanks for your post, it made me sit and deal with these unsettling thoughts....

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  26. God it feels good to know that I'm not alone. I live in the same small town that I grew up in and where my husband and I continued our lives. In addition to being a young widow, I'm also haunted by being widowed due to a suicide, which I feel makes me treated even more strangly (if that is possible). I have a love/hate relationship with my hometown. I have often thought of leaving, but there is alot tying me here (family, job, ect.) I need to find single friends. I hate being the poor, single tagalong.

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  27. My sentiments exactly. It has been 22 months and I have thought about moving away nearly everyday. I did buy a small cottage about two hours away from my home 6 months after Jack died, it was foolish of me, but it was close to my only brother and sister-in-law so it gave me some solace and a place to go that was by the water and very calming. I have three large dogs, so travel is rather difficult now. My main house is too large with too many memories and I always wanted to move, but it is hard to determine where to go. I have one daughter who does not speak to me much, she has plans to marry this year and is caught up with her own life. It is tough to go it alone, but go it alone I must, someday......

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  28. My husband and I lived in our home for 36 years. We wanted to move to the water when he retired. 4 months after he was killed in an accident at our home I bought a condo on the water and moved over a 2 yr. period. It is an hour away, not so far that I can't visit friends and I have a few friends of ours that moved here...I worried about no new people I met knowing Mark, but I have adjusted and am glad I moved. I needed a place that wasn't ours...that we didn't build together, raise our children at and where he died. It also was therapy during the first two years to have something to keep my mind busy. Now going into my third year, I don't miss him any less, it's just not quite as raw as the first two years. I am adjusting slowly.

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  29. Gus - gusplee@yahoo.comJanuary 18, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Hi Janine, I've thought of moving away, "getting lost somewhere" myself.

    I've moved out of our old house. Stayed there for about 9 months after my wife died December of 2009. It was like going to a tomb every night from work. Wondered how I was able to. See we didn't have kids in our 15 years.

    But moving out of the house is not exactly like moving to a breathtakingly different place. I haven't. Not yet at least. I'm expectantly hopeful about the idea and at the same time dreadful that it'd be same old, same old. Maybe that's why I'm not in a rush.

    You're right, sometimes or most of the times, I feel more comfortable hanging out with people who have no clue of what had happened to me. I feel more liberated to act like my old me.

    So it's not just you. At least that makes two of us. Although I'm halfway your journey and I have much to learn about this business of being single again. I still may not be used to couples or families enjoying life when I anticipate seeing them in airports, etc... as I travel. It still peeves me and I look away. The handbook on widowhood seems to be constantly rewritten as often as we try out, by trial and error, ways of coping.

    Your write-up, questions help in this slow walk of groping in the dark. Hoping to visit you the next time for answers, or perhaps more questions.

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  30. Janine, you are definitely not alone. I lost my husband 4 years,4 months, 6 days and 10 hours ago. Six months after he was gone my sons urged me to go on the vacation we always took with two other families. My "best friend" was there the first night while I sat outside. Of course, I cried and said how sad I was and how much I missed him. She said, "Donna and I can't help you because we didn't lose our husbands but you definitely need help." I knew right then that I was on my own. Everyone loved Joe and Kathy, nobody loves just Kathy anymore.All these close friends told me to only stay with "the crowd", any help I needed I would get from them.Not true, you're on your own. The difference between us is that Joe is here in our home with me. I got a dog because our two sons were at college and I was all alone. He is my new "best friend" and he's a hell of a lot more faithful than my old human best friend.I feel Joe here and would never move. I would rather live in the past with my beautiful husband than in the present with a bunch of phonies. They ask, "are you dating yet?". I was with Joe for thirty years, is it so unreasonable that I can't get over him in four and a half? I don't want to be a martyr but the life I built, the future we were going to share together is gone forever.Everything is new, pumps, motors, insurance, lawyers, college loans, mowers, leaf blowers, contracts, banking, making a will (which we did not have). I'm really proud of myself but I don't want to go.....he wouldn't know where to find me.

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  31. Janine,

    I lost my husband this past October 23rd, 2011. I found him on a Sunday morning and it was the worst day of my life!!! I am only 29, he was only 29 when he died. I picked up and sold our house, moved away from everything that I knew and found comfort in, and am trying to "begin again". I wish I could say that it has been easy but it has not! Although I think I made the right decision for myself, I doubt it almost every day! What do you do? Lord know....I don't have a clue

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  32. Wow, I find it so strange that we all get treated in the same manner.....
    My husband died 4 !/2 years ago and we live in the town he grew up in and I'm also at a crossroad as I need to move closer to my siblings in Cape Town but my kids are 13 and 14 and refuse to budge!
    I also sit at home alone all the time and look after my kids needs but it's no life for anyone...

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  33. Definitely can relate!
    My husband passed away almost two years ago now. We both grew up in a smaller community, and were well known. I struggle with the looks, the sympathetic eyes and the silence of those who are not sure what to say. I am introduced to those I don't know as "#&%@-*#'s wife" or those who think they know me because of knowing my husband and what happened. I am given no room for errors or change.Contemplating moving and starting over also.

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  34. Life is tough. I dont know how to move on. Cant think of leaving the job since it pays well. Cant avoid pitiful looks, complete families forever feeling guilty about what I am going through. I am fed up of everything. I feel suffocated. Need to have some good friends who are single, but at present I dont have the energy to be around friends either.

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  35. Just read your post Anonymous..I feel your pain. I am not sure where you are in your journey but I was suffocating too. The feeling of being boxed in-needing the job but no energy for that or anything else. Grief is exhausting. Be gentle with yourself as if you would be with anyone else with a broken heart and spirit. If you make it to work and don't do anything else, that is success. I am at the 2 year mark and the pitiful looks are still there but it will feel more like a surreal movie than a sad ordeal in time because you will move forward but others will be stuck. You will gain strength but in the meantime ride this wave - the less you fight it, the better you will be. It is a tsunami. Keep breathing.

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  36. I let my house go, sold all my stuff, and moved my 3 children to Ecuador. The death of my husband at 34 taught me life is short! I'm going to live it to the fullest.
    All my family and friends must have thought I was crazy, but what is the worst that could happen?!!! All I was getting rid of was STUFF! I wanted to spend more time with my kids (then ages 6 months, 2 years and 10 years). I moved to Cuenca, a city in the mountains. My kids love it here. We go to the market, they love their school, and we all have learned Spanish. Ecuador treats Widows great and has offered us Dual Citizenship. That's great because my 3 floor penthouse (5 beds/5baths) costs just $350 a month and the weather here is always 70 degrees. I don't want to leave!!!
    So when life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Think outside the box, as your world has changed (due to grief and loss). When I wanted to be a stay at home mom, and it wasn't possible because my husband was dead, I made it happen!!! You can too!! Just keep dreaming!

    Besos!

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    1. I hope you'll be able to read my reply and maybe shed some light to my questions. I am 47 y/o. Got widowed 5 months ago. I am in so much grief I don't know what to do with. I have twin boys, they are 12. One boy dropped out of school, too many absences. Unable to deal with his dad's death and has suicidal ideations. I had to quit my job so I can monitor him and stay close to him and help him heal. I am thinking of keeping the house because this is my connection with my husband of 24 years. But this is also where we saw his suffering from cancer and being in hospice care.I would love to uproot ourselves out of here and start somewhere else where the kids will be able to have normalcy again. I would like to stay at home but how can I do that? Health insurance alone will cost an arm and a leg if I buy it on my own. The kids get survivor benefit from social security till age 18. My question is, are there any benefits I can avail of to help me care for my kids and our daily needs, if I stay out of the work force for an extended period of time?

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  37. My husband passed away exactly 10 months ago. I have started cleaning out the basement and the garage. It has been a great feeling to discard old junk. Part of me wants to move and part of me wants to stay, so I decided to clear out the excess "stuff", get the handyman jobs done, and make the house really nice. If I stay it is nice for me and if I decide to move, it will be ready to sell.

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    1. Hi, this helped me to read your post. Thank you. Another sticking point, which I hadn't mentioned, is the presence of The Dog. Many of these posts relate wonderful experiences of new horizons, but with a dog? It doesn't always work. Anyway, thanks very much for your input.

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    2. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to the Soaring Spirits International web site and you can find them here: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

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  38. I am almost at the one year mark. The practical thing to do would be to sell this house and move south to be closer to my sisters. I can't keep up with the maintenance, and it would make sense to downsize. At the same time, this house is one of the "connections" to what I had with my husband. In the back of my mind, I am aware of where he sat at the table, how his keyboard used to clack away in that back room, and how he would have remarked upon the wildlife I see from the back deck. I know I need to move, but I'm afraid it will about kill me when I do. Thanks to everyone for your honesty in striking out on your own, as I must do one day.

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    1. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to the Soaring Spirits International web site and you can find them here: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

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  39. I know EXACTLY how you feel. I wish I didn't. I wish I didn't know what it's like to feel all this anguish, but I do, even though I'm in therapy, even though I was always confident and resourceful. My own problem is a bit different, but not by much. I'm an only child (not really a child; I'm in my 60s), and my parents are still alive, and ever since I became a widow recently, my parents treat me like I'm a needy little kid. I know they're just trying to help, but I don't LIKE to be helped! I used to feel like a wife; now I feel like a daughter. Does anyone out there know what I mean? When my husband was alive, I felt like a useful person. Now, my parents inadvertently make me feel like a little girl going to summer camp for the first time. They keep checking up on me to make sure I'm doing okay. For pity's sake, I understandably don't FEEL okay, but I'm DOING okay. I'm paying bills in full and on time, I'm keeping the house neat and clean, I'm eating right, I'm not making rash decisions or spending money foolishly, and I'm currently seeking volunteer work in order to avoid sitting around moping and ruminating. Can't they see this? They keep giving me the kind of advice that you would give a kid ("Be sure to take your vitamins; don't neglect your health; get plenty of rest; etc). Anyway, my dear, you and the others here are definitely in my thoughts (I would say that you're in my prayers, but I'm atheist). My very best wishes and deepest condolences to all of you.

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    1. I am also in my sixties and my parents are 93 and 87. They have been married 66 years. My mother calls me 4 or more times a day to see how I am doing but she has no clue. She has never lived alone and has never felt the grief I feel. She always tells me I am doing good. How does she know.. because I am walking around and not in a fetal position. I am almost three months out. I want to sell my house because it is to expensive and too big for one person to take care of. I just don't know what the right decision is. Confused.

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  40. PLEASE NOTE: We've moved our blog platform to our parent organization's (Soaring Spirits) website. You will find all the writers you love, as well as an archive of over 2,300 posts written by our team of widowed men and women, here:

    http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

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  41. May I suggest you check out our online community, Widowed Village? We have a robust conversation in there with those in their 60s ... along with much younger members, too. www.widowedvillage.org

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  42. 18 months , prisoner in our room , don't eat wash or leave the house , no point to anything ,don't need of want any advice ! 50 years old ! Went from the happiest wife alive to absolute nothing in the flick of a switch non sign , love of my life there one minute gone the next

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    1. I'm so sorry. I know this is hard. Please don't give up. Find someone you can talk to. Say his name. Write out your feelings. Connect with other widowed people.

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