The (vicious cycle of) loneliness of being widowed.

Haven’t posted for a long time. Haven’t really had the presence of mind to. Christmas is knackering me up big style. Managed to get my November essay in by the grace of God and even managed to get my highest mark ever, however, since then it’s like my mind has been unable to absorb anything academic at all. Conceded defeat, and have deferred my December essay after taking advice from Uni staff and Bereavement Counsellor.  I realised about 3 weeks ago that during one week I hadn’t seen a single person in 3 days straight.  Desperately lonely, and unbelievably down. And the thing about it is, yes I could have gone out, I even had invitations to go, I also could have gone to prayer at church or life group, the problem is I couldn’t face them. I had no problem with others coming to me, but no-one offered, so I didn’t go out and no one came. One thing I can not face is the shops. Food shopping was hard enough as it was (I since found out that many widowed people struggle with food shopping) but with all the Christmas stuff in the shops, it’s even worse. I don’t expect people to understand not being able to face going out, and I know there are times when I shall have to push through it.

Went away with work down south, had an excellent time. Walking, working and talking. Realy helped me. I’m aware that the next few weeks and months are going to be really tough. First Christmas without John who for the record loved Christmas so much, he would have had the Christmas tree up on the 1st of November, in fact, one year I gave in and let him. We would be buying up the big tubs of sweets ready to have people round and for events. We would be getting ready to do the rehab homes Christmas shop, and getting everyone presents. John was great at buying presents… this is so hard. And when Christmas is over then its the run-up to the first anniversary in February. I’m trying my hardest to make sure I do everything to get through it. It is certainly not easy, and but going away helped me, helped my mind and I got some work done and also getting a good essay result obviously helped me, as it was looming and I thought I’d messed it up. So, all things considered, I feel I’m going into the next few months as well as I can be. I shall, however, do all my food shopping online as cannot face any other way. I can not face ay Christmas parties or get-togethers or the like.. so shall decline all. It feels like every day there are more opportunities to miss John and it’s overwhelming.

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He knows…

Women’s conference was hard, but overall good. I didn’t manage to get to all the sessions, and I was a little disappointed by that and surprised at myself, but I’m ok, so it’s ok, if that makes any sense…

I managed to see dear old friends and people from far away which was excellent and I managed to have good conversations with people about how I am doing and explain a little so they understand which has really helped me. The best part about it, was that God saw my heart and actually granted my hearts desire to get to speak to the founders wife even just for a second and they way that it happened will stay with me forever and I will forever be grateful, as the van with her in pulled away and drove off I thought “Never mind, I’ll have to write to her and tell her what I was going to say” when the van stopped, reversed and stopped in front of me, thinking they had forgotten something, I went to open the door and there she was getting out the van saying “I had to hug you!” I couldn’t believe it but I hugged her and she hugged back tightly. She said she loved me and she had loved my husband… I was overwhelmed. All I wanted to do was thank her for letting me stay in her beach house in the summer, I was not expecting her to say anything like that. It meant such a lot that she would think of John and tell me how she felt about him. She really touched my heart that she would stop the van and have it reverse just for me! I will always remember that moment. God knew that I wanted just a moment with her and it was granted.

I also wanted to have a moment with one more person, but as I had been granted some with Sister Julie I was some what content so wasn’t going to push it, and really thought our paths wouldn’t cross and then yesterday I was invited out to lunch with her. She is the European overseers wife and she is so lovely, again she took time to speak to me, and speak to me about John and tell me how she loves me.

I also got time to spend with another friend who John was very fond of due to them being a missionary. He really had a heart for this couple. I took her to the airport and we chatted about John and all that had happened and she asked me loads of questions which I didn’t find intrusive but was happy that someone was taking an interest. It felt very therapeutic as I thought about things in a way I hadn’t before.

So even though at times the conference was really hard and I missed John sooo so much, especially when I saw people he would be proud of doing well, overall God showed me that He knows me so well. He truly does know my heart and He sees me.

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British Stiff Upper Lip

Not to blow my own trumpet but I’m pretty good at detaching myself from a situation that could overwhelm me and just ‘pushing through’ had to do it loads growing up due to one thing or another just to get through school and college and when I first had jobs, so I’m well accustomed to it. And maybe that it is why I am so shocked at myself when it comes to today and the grief I am feeling. I cannot detach myself or put it aside at times. Even though everything within me wants to, there are times when I just cannot.

Take yesterday for a classic example. Its Sunday and if you have read my previous posts you will know Sundays are a struggle for me and church is a struggle for me too. I walked in and greeted a few people and already in the car on the way there I had started crying so I’m on the back foot as it is. Can I tell you specifically why? Not really,  I just felt overwhelmingly sad with grief, and I tried SOOO hard to get it out my system and deal with it so I could go to church and behave somewhat rationally. (I think I can see the subtext of thoughts right there in that sentence but for now, I shall leave it.) I sit down and the next song is one I have heard before and winced at heavily but yesterday it was like a red rag to a bull. ‘Here I am gracefully broken’ I’m not being funny but yesterday it wound me up so bad, I managed to stay in my seat but all I could think of is ‘Are you having a laugh? I am most definitely not gracefully broken and I am very much UNgracefully broken. I didn’t sing and tried to maintain my composure and push through it. Next, we were praying for a dear friend who is not well, and I just couldn’t handle it… it was so emotional I had to get right out of there. Not because I don’t want to pray for my friend, I do and I have been, but it was too emotionally overwhelming for me, and I just couldn’t take it. I really couldn’t even though every ounce of my being wanted to stay I found myself walking out. And I’m ashamed of it. Ashamed that I couldn’t make myself stay.  Ashamed that I couldn’t just pray for my friend and get through it, ashamed that I had let it all overwhelm me. And whats worse is if the situation came up again today I would probably do exactly the same, and that frightens me a little.

There’s a women’s conference on that I am to go to and if it gets emotional, which it’s a women’s conference so it probably most definitely will, but I have been able to keep calm and push through. Now you maybe thinking, What would happen if you didn’t keep calm and push through? It’s a good question and unless I am deceived which I don’t think I am (but then I wouldn’t would I?) it’s not so much that I would have a meltdown and never recover however that is a possibility and I think I have spoken about that in a previous post, it is more that I’m not going to do that for the sake of it, meaning I’m not getting into an emotional state just because the atmosphere is emotional. Now let me get this straight I am not alluding to any emotional manipulation going on here, what I am saying is my response to a heightened sense of emotion is that I really don’t want to get over emotional for the sake of it, and I don’t like it one little bit. I am not scared of emotion, within reason. I am scared of over, unnecessary emotion, because I don’t like it. I think it’s a dangerous game to be playing and one that I do not want to be engaging in. Have I over thought the whole thing? Maybe, maybe not. I hope someone understands. You could argue that my response by walking out was an over-emotional response and yes I can see that too. But doesn’t that just prove my point?

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Hurts so bad.

The pain of grief at the moment is so hard. It’s like a constant dripping. I don’t know what’s really triggered it off, but it maybe that Christmas is looming and I’m feeling particularly lonely and sad without John, and I can’t even try and stop it. It’s agony. And it’s tiring. I can feel myself pining for him and there’s nothing I can do. I can feel the panic that he’s not here bubbling it’s way up to the surface every now and again.  Can’t even write anything else….

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Hurts so bad.

The pain of grief at the moment is so hard. It’s like a constant dripping. I don’t know what’s really triggered it off, but it maybe that Christmas is looming and I’m feeling particularly lonely and sad without John, and I can’t even try and stop it. It’s agony. And it’s tiring. I can feel myself pining for him and there’s nothing I can do. I can feel the panic that he’s not here bubbling it’s way up to the surface every now and again.  Can’t even write anything else….

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I’ll be honest…

Not too sure how to write this blog post really. I am reflecting as I write so it might get messy and interesting…. like the rest of my posts really…

A friend of mine and a member of the church passed away suddenly on Sunday, and now I am faced with a lesser grief inside of the big grief, and that’s very strange indeed. Because I can feel myself going into different stages of grief for him and moving into different ones for John…. I don’t understand, so I don’t expect you to either… but it feels very odd.

Today has been so strange, woke up very anxious about various things that needed to be sorted out and had to ring about 3 different people to get different views that all lined up perfectly which helped greatly, and my anxiety dropped out, thank goodness as it was overwhelming me.

Went shopping as nothing much in the house, then came back feeling very emotional for no reason in particular if you know what I mean… and thought “Oh! I’ve got that documentary on George Michael to watch!’ So sat down to watch it….

Let me first say I used to LOVE George Michael, for many reasons, music, voice, depth and his music and lyrics really connected with me, I was listening mainly to his 1990’s going forward stuff, and when my Nephew was born and tragically passed away after 7 days it was one of George Michael’s songs that God spoke to me through and I didn’t realise it was God till years later…so there’s some background. When I sat down to watch I wasn’t really thinking about any of that…

That documentary wiped me out. I had no idea George Michael’s life had been so affected by grief and bereavement or how many of his songs I had internalised, and had meant a lot to me. And even though the documentary only played snippets of his songs the force on my emotions was so powerful and kind of blindsided me, I sobbed so hard. I have a banging headache and at one point I couldn’t even breathe properly. And even though the documentary was in no way shape or form spiritual, I honestly believe I had a spiritual experience… I know, I know, that sounds like right dodgy theology,  but I can’t help it… I looked back over all the songs I knew from him and all the times and places and things I had felt and thought about and I saw God working in my life… and I was overwhelmingly grateful and…. there’s another emotion but I can’t articulate it right now… maybe it is just grief…

I guess even if I don’t fully understand what that was all about, at least a lot of tears and emotion came out…and my bereavement counsellor would say that can only be a good thing.

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Circles and cycles. 

The so called “5 stages of grief” are not straight forward for anyone as everyone is different and behave and act differently and have different stages some more, some less. For me I am back  where I was a few months ago with thinking everything through. It’s a horrible stage and I’m annoyed that I’m back in it, and I’m dreading if I have to go through this stage again. It’s exhausting. Thinking thinking thinking all day long about everything, over and over again. It’s ten past nine in the evening and I’m going to bed as I’m tired even though I only got up at 8am and have done only 4 hours of study all day long. I hate this stage, cause the thing is there’s only so much you can think about things without trying to guess the future or second guess yourself or your circumstances, or rush ahead in your thinking which for me isn’t so much of a problem as the further off future I can’t seem to think about as it’s too uncertain right now, and any thought I do have either end up with me in unstoppable tears or questioning everything. My main priority is to keep walking with The Lord and honour Him, but because everything has changed with John passing away this has been the biggest struggle I have faced. Also (and this maybe slightly controversial for those who don’t believe in these things) the devil seems to have been tempting me a lot the last few weeks and it gets tiring trying to swerve him, thankfully I know my boundaries and also I couldn’t handle the guilt or shame that I would feel if I succumbed to the temptation at the moment, I just don’t need that complication in my life (When do you ever? But you know what I mean.) So I’m off for an early night. Church in the morning and that’s a whole different mountain to climb…

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