From the day my husband passed to now, I have been blessed with all kinds of support from my family and friends. I know that I am blessed from what I have heard from others who do not have the amount of support I have or none at all. I joined an online group of people who are trying to survive the loss of a spouse and I see a lot of lonely people hurting. The majority seem to have little or no support.
As with all tragedies, you will learn who really cares about you and who doesn't. When you are grieving you need people, whether you realize it or not. I had a tendency to want to be alone and I needed time alone, but I needed people who cared about me to check in on me now and then. I had lost my best friend that I talked to about everything, I was lost. Who would I turn to for this?
While I needed people, I needed a lot of alone time as well to process my memories of his death and also our life together. There were about three people who sent me texts every single morning to see how I was. One of these three people sent a Bible verse along with their texts, one told me what their morning was like and what they intended to do the rest of the day, and one just wanted to know the answer to one question, every single morning, “are you okay?” or “how are you?” These texts kept me going.
During this past year, I had three people who helped me to not become a hermit. On Tuesdays, I had “Taco Tuesday” with one friend and her family, one friend invited me to Thanksgiving, lunch on Thursdays, and now and then for her family get togethers, another friend invited me to her house to sit in her gazebo and just talk.
Now to the ones that I found to be supportive only to the point where it served them. You will learn that not everyone cares about you even though they appear to.
One friend tried to control me. I only knew her because her husband and my husband were friends from childhood. She and I had only limited contact with each other for twenty plus years. She tried to tell me how to do certain things for my husband's memorial service, how to 'handle” my grown son, and how to communicate with the guy helping me with my farm. When I said something she didn't agree with, she started with hurtful words. One day she accused my sister of trying to control me. My sister had been there every day for me and still is. This “friend” did not know my sister. I decided I had to limited or completely cut my time with this person out of my life. This was about six months after my husband's passing. After about three months of no contact with this person, I realized how much she was holding me back from healing. She was actually contributing to my pain.
The second person was a woman I worked with for a few years. We immediately became friends and remained so for several years. However, it was after I spent a week at the beach with her a year after my husband's passing that I realized a few things. We never really spent time together except for an occasionally lunch or dinner, I was the one who always initiated the calls, and money is her motivation for living, she had finally landed a great job making lots of money and now she enjoyed flaunting it. I was happy for her because I knew how hard she worked to get where she was now. Before I accepted her offer to go to the beach with me, for support, I thought I knew her and I explained that I may not be my normal self that week. I told her up front that I would be crying, thinking, and spend a lot of time alone. She said she understood. In the end, she didn't understand. She was bossy. She questioned everything I said. She thought I should put her first since she was my guest. I brought her home at the end of the week.
All in all, you are going to have people who really care about you and those who don't. You must remember to put yourself first during this time. You must stand up for yourself even when you don't care about yourself. There will be times when you won't care if you go on another day. Just don't stay in those times more than a minute or two. Take care of you. I leaned on God. God is the one constant in life.
Before I close this blog, I must tell you about my sister. My sister has experienced loss in her life, a husband and a child. She is younger than me and while I was always the one my siblings leaned on because I was the oldest, she is the one I lean on now. She has been there every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. She listened when no one else would or could. She never judged me, she encouraged me. She never argued with me, she always supported me. She listened. If I called her at 3 am crying, before we closed the phone call, I would no longer be crying and I would be able to go back to sleep. Without her, I don't know how I would have done.
Everyone needs someone like my sister. Find that person. If you can't find one among your friends and family, seek one out professionally, perhaps a therapist or grief councilor, a preacher or elder. Just don't try to do this alone You need just one person to support you, but you need the right person.
There will be more blog posts coming on this topic. I have a lot to share. May God bless you always.
Have you ever experienced anything that took you to a deep dark hole and one person was there for you? Do you have one person in your life whom you can share anything with?
Tomorrow it will be a year since my beloved husband passed. It has been a rough road to walk, but I have survived, so far.
There are many lessons I have tested and learned during this time. I want to share these with all of you in hopes that it may provide help if anyone is going through or may go through something similar in the future. To be as prepared as much you can be, before something happens is always better, but it doesn't take away the pain, loneliness, and uncertainty.
Before my experience, I had researched and written about losing a loved one for this blog. You can find all past blogs on this topic under “Grieving Losses”. I think it helped me greatly to have done this research when I actually experienced it personally. I had also participated in a grief support group for about twelve weeks at my church, that opened my eyes to individual differences in the grief process. I look back and I think God was preparing me for this moment. The moment when tragedy would strike and I could pass on my experience to help others.
I have had other losses in my life. My parents, my niece, my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, close friends, and beloved pets. All of them hurt, all of them were hard to accept. I was at various ages when each death occurred. I was 13 or 14 when my first close family member, my grandmother, passed unexpectedly. It was devastating to my mother, it was hurtful and confusing to me. This was my first real loss, except for one childhood pet, a German Shepherd. The older I got, my acceptance matured, my understanding of death grew.
Losing someone that you have shared everything with, your emotions, spiritual beliefs, your personal thoughts, goals and your body; someone that you made decisions with, raised children with, built a life with is devastating.
This is not to undercut the loss of a child, because losing a child goes against nature. We are not supposed to outlive our children. The loss of a child is devastating. However, children grow up to live their own lives, parents are left childless again, empty nesters. To lose the person you depend upon for everyday existence is devastating. If you are married as the scripture says, "the two shall become one" then you know what I am saying when I say, the loss of my husband was like half of me died with him.
I don't know who am now without him. For over 35 years, I was someone's wife. Now I am searching for me again. I can't go back to who I was before I married him, I am not the same. So, I have to go forward. This is a very hard task.
Over the next months, I will sprinkle these lessons throughout my blog. As I am still discovering lessons and walking an unknown path (to me), this will be an ongoing journey and I do not know where it will end up. I will share some of my journal entries during this time. My journal is my safe place (besides my prayer) to express my thoughts and feelings. Keeping a journal helped me a lot.
For now I am looking to the year marker and planning what I will do that day. I have learned that those hard “first milestones” require planning. I experienced several soon after his death, our anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my birthday, and Valentines Day. A couple of my friends stepped up and helped me through these “firsts”. I learned that if you can, do something. Either alone or with someone. Just don't sit and dwell on your loss on those “special first milestones”. Don't run from them, hit them head-on.
There is not deadline for grieving. It's different for everyone. There are those who say “you will feel better when you pass the year one marker”, well, we will see. I don't think we can (or should) say things like that, for some it's months and for some it's years. No one knows how long it will be for us until we are there, until we are actually in the grips of grief.
Stay tuned for more posts on this topic as I am still learning. I still have lots to share concerning this event and hopefully, help for those of you who have lost a loved one, will lose a loved one, or knows someone who has lost a loved one.
Some of you may have wondered where I have been for the last ten months.
I have been in a nightmare. When you have been with someone as long as I had been with my husband and then suddenly an average day turns into a final day for one of you, it's a nightmare.
Over the last months I have learned a lot about life and death.
Fortunately, through my studies of losing a loved one through death that I have written about in my blog over the years, I was better prepared than most people are.
However, when it actually happens, you will experience, as I did, feelings that are common to all who have lost a loved one.
The feeling of surrealism... did this really happen? The feeling of I want them back ... the realization that they are never coming back. The feeling of being lost with no future ... what do I do now? What is going to happen to me? And the most common feeling "How am I going to live without this person in my life?" .... I can't, I don't want to, this isn't fair.
I know of several people (mostly women) who lost their spouses anywhere from a couple of years ago to many years ago, who are stuck in one level of grief. They can't seem to get on with living.
The longer we spend in the early grief process, the harder it is to get on with living because we are comfortable and have become used to those feelings. The thought of going on with their lives while their loved ones are gone, seems like a betrayal of the spirit of their deceased spouse.
We need time to process the event of our loved ones death. We also need time to come to the reality of what our lives are now. But to stay in that time for several years is neither healthy nor is it what our loved ones would want for us.
Over the next few months, I am going to share with you some of the feelings I have felt, experiences I have had, and other aspects of losing a spouse.
But before I close this week's blog I want to leave you with something that helped me tremendously, once I was able to really grasp it's meaning and believe it:
If things were reversed and I was the one who died and my husband was the one left alone,
what would I want for him?
What would I tell him if I had just a minute more with him now?
I would tell him,
I love you still but... I want you to...
LIVE YOUR LIFE!
ENJOY THE TIME YOU HAVE LEFT!
LOOK FOR THE DAY WE WILL SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN
AND YOU CAN SHARE ALL THOSE WONDERFUL STORIES WITH ME
OF WHAT YOU DID AFTER I LEFT YOU!
DO NOT WASTE YOUR LIFE - MAKE ME PROUD TO SAY YOU ARE MY HUSBAND!
AND ABOVE ALL, TRUST AND LOVE GOD!
That's what I would want for him, so I know he would want the same for me. That is what I am going to do. I am going to make him proud to say, "that's my wife, the one who is doing all those wonderful things and who loves God. I can't wait to see her again and hear all about it."
I would not want him sitting around doing nothing or crying all day and night.
I would not want him to waste the time he has left.
I would not him to give up. That is not what God would want either.
It is hard, but we can do it with the help of our creator and with the love we have for the one we have lost.
Stay tuned for more to come about my experience in a living nightmare... and of life on the other side of it.
I pray that my words help someone who is going through something similar.
If you noticed that I haven't posted any new blogs in the last six weeks, there is a reason.
I want to let you know what is happening in my life and ask for your prayers, thoughts, and well wishes.
Six weeks ago a trip to the cardiologist resulted in the death of my dear sweet husband. We have been together for a very long time. He was my best friend.
I will return in a few weeks, maybe sooner if possible to share my experiences with this type of death. I want to share what I have and will continue to learn.
Please stay with me and know that I appreciate everyone of you who have been faithful readers, commenters, and emailers.
Tragedy will happen to all of us, if we live long enough. We can survive, even if your heart is broken in a million pieces, as mine is. My heart will mend but there will always be a scar left by this tragedy.
God bless you all
I thank you in advance
prayers and thoughts.
If you read my blog on a regular basis you know that I stress keeping a positive attitude and taking positive steps to stay healthy physically and mentally.
While I write about issues like this for the benefit of my readers, I need it, as well. In other words, I truly do practice what I preach and I truly do go through the same things everyone else does. The difference is, I know better.... others may not. Where I know what to do and fail, others may not have a clue and be totally lost. That is why I write this blog, to help others figure this thing called "aging" out while also helping myself.
For a while now I have dealt with some personal issues involving members of my family. No, not Covid related issues, more of attitude issues, lock down breakdown issues, and issues that all families face at one time or another. The details may be different, but the issues are basically always alike.
It started out a few weeks ago with a simple concern over health issues during Covid. Keeping everyone safe, even my grown children. Concerns for their safety during the initial outbreak of this virus became all to common, even though there was nothing I could do except ask questions and offer suggestions. If you're a parent you know how well those two things go over with grown children. Not all that well.
Then there were other little things, but consistent things. Things like my washing machine malfunctioned and over flowed, my hot water tank went out, my big freezer full of beef was failing, my car quit on me one evening and I waited 3 and 1/2 hours for a tow truck in a dark parking lot ... and no matter what I did - I still gained weight (the Covid 15). Then there was the conflicts among my family members that were mostly petty, but were still issues.
During this time, the new owners came to take my horses to their new home. I miss them so much, but I never rode them anymore and my time with them was getting less and less. They deserve people who can give them what they need. Horses are social creatures.
I took a couple of weeks off to collect my thoughts, regroup, and charge ahead once again. During this time, I still tried to walk my 2-4 miles a day and learn something new every day. It helped, but I still felt overwhelmed.
This blog confession is to alert you to the fact that no matter how hard you try and how much effort you put into living a life “on fire”, sometimes you have to take a step back and start again. It happens to all of us.
The lesson here is this:
Do not let a temporary set back
become a permanent one.
Everything is temporary.
Keep pushing forward.
Never, ever give up.
So, I am back at it with some fresh ideas. It was good for me to take a few days to regroup and reset. If you need it, take it...but after a few days, always come back...never stay there.
There is a difference in being alone and being lonely. One is good, the other is sad. Being lonely means that you have no one, need someone, and feel in despair. Being alone, can be one of the best blessings about growing older - IF you use it wisely.
Time is something that has limits. We are only here on earth for a period of time and then we are gone. There is no way to avoid death - it will happen. Once you accept this fact your world will open up. It will open up if you don't dwell on the negative aspects and focus on the positive.
Once your children have left to make their own lives and we find ourselves living in an empty and quiet nest, we suddenly also find ourselves with the freedom to do whatever we want.
No one is there making demands our time and all those dreams we once had when young can become reality.
Embrace this time in your life. Use it to your advantage. You can do so much with this new found freedom.
You can do anything you want!
Including sleep late,
stay up late,
watch the movies you want to watch,
listen to the music you want to listen to.......
it's your life.......
All I want to do with today's blog is remind of you of something I had forgotten,
Everyday has new promises!
Everyday has new opportunities!
Everyday is a gift from God.
Look forward to this day.
Believe in the promise of this day!
In today's world it is easy to be sucked in by all the negativity. I have been feeling it myself in the last few weeks.
Everything you love to do and you always had a wide open access to do them, are on hold. Our world is in a state of adjustment.
Hang in there, we will make it. It's rough, but we will be fine. Encourage someone who may overwhelmed in negativity.
In most states, the gyms are still not open, but that doesn't stop everyone. If there's a will, there's a way.
At my YMCA, I attended a number of classes - mostly Zumba (and Cardio Dance). When the lock down was mandated, those classes stopped. Those classes were the one major thing I missed about the Y.
I could do exercises at home with YouTube videos and I could do my weights. I could also take long walks at several local parks and at a couple of malls (on rainy or extremely hot days) that opened up early for mall walkers.
When it came to Zumba, there are a lot of instructors online (mostly YouTube), but they were missing two important ingredients..... my favorite instructors and my classmates.
Very early on, my favorite teacher, Dawn DeWitt, and her daughter, Raven Puentes, offered Zumba via Zoom.
Zoom offered us the opportunity to follow her leadership and also to interact with each other - the teacher and my classmates. We could all see each other and it was "almost" like being there, sort of. Definitely better than not seeing anyone ever.
I love Dawn's teaching technique and she really cares about her students,
always offering encouragement right when you need it. It was motivating.
The point is this, there are teachers who care and those who are just in it for the money and the personal workout. If you look around you will find a caring teacher that will lead you even under the most undesirable circumstances.
If you have such a teacher, show your appreciation. Let them know you appreciate the extra effort they put into reaching out to you.
If you are looking for online classes and you don't know where to start, here are some links that are available anywhere you have internet, no gym memberships required, all free:
Zumba Dance Workout for Beginners Step by Step/ Best Dance for Weight Loss: https://youtu.be/sdoNOB6w1fY
WE LOVE DANCE - 80s Warm Up (Mix by DJ Baddmixx) This instructor is gentle and I like her level of speed and steps: https://youtu.be/Xewf0Ecyrfs
Dura - Daddy Yankee / ZUMBA with Claudio Lopez Utreras - Claudio is one of my favorite online teachers: https://youtu.be/DuVcNbSykv4
Standing Exercises for Older Adults - Using a chair, too: https://youtu.be/mQLzNf8VOIc
Standing Pilates for Seniors- 30 minutes of exercise to Improve Strength & Build Confidence: https://youtu.be/i3PYS_jsA1c
Over 60 and self-quarantined? Do these 5 exercises DAILY - taught by a physical therapist: https://youtu.be/yQ0G5x5hI28
There are videos for walking online,
but really all you need to do is just "walk".
Walk around your house inside or out. Walk your neighborhood, go to a walking park, go to any park, go to indoor malls that open early for mall walkers (I love this, because it's climate controlled and safe).
The important thing is just walk. Start with a goal that you can reach.
If that's 2000 steps, then get 2000 steps a day. My base goal is 6000 steps a day, my daily goal is 10,000 steps a day, and my ultimate goal is 15-20,000 steps a day.
I usually always make my basic goal of 6000. At least 2-3 times a week I make my daily goal of 10,000 steps, and about 2-3 times a month I make my ultimate goal of 15-20,000 steps.
I have a goal to walk,
EVERY SINGLE DAY
NO MATTER WHAT!
Don't use the COVID Lock down or Stay In Place mandate stop you from staying active. It's vital to your health, both physical and mental.
Please share how you are staying active and what you are doing for your health during this weird time in our life. What do you do to keep moving physically and mentally?
Over the last year, I have read a lot of books. Some of them were good, some were okay, and some were not that good. I read a variety of books, fiction and non-fiction. I hope that you are reading a lot during this lock down.
Reading does a lot of good things for our brains and our health. It keeps our brains sharp and capable of recognizing common words, phrases, and ideas. It gives our minds a chance to imagine people, places, things, and events that we have never actually seen or experienced. I relate to some books as taking a vacation when I read them. My mind takes me away from reality and places me a fantasy world for the time I am reading.
I would love for you to comment about what you are reading and if you want to recommend a book, I would love to learn that also.
Please take a moment to leave your book comments and/or recommendations in the comments either here on the blog or on the On Fire Facebook page. Thanks!
Here is a short list of some I read and found good to be good in random order. No matter what your interests are or your needs, you will find that one of these books will fill the order. Enjoy!:
If He's So Great, Why Do I feel So Bad? by Avery Neal - I wrote a blog book review on this book, I recommended it for every woman, no matter what age, read it. It was an eye opener for me and I am over fifty years old. The games people play with our hearts is sometimes subtle, but always cruel.
Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank - A true story about a young couple who while relocating to a city to pursue their dreams, meet a man who turns their spiritual beliefs upside-down. This book has changed many many lives for the better. It will touch your soul.
Choice Theory by William Glasser, M.D. - A new psychology of personal freedom. This book is another recommendation for anyone who wants to live the life you want while not losing people you love and need. It's common sense that is not all that common.
Ashes of Her Love by Pierre Alex Jeanty - A book about recovering from a romantic breakup (marriage, dating, etc.), written in prose. Each page is dedicated to a unique feeling or situation. This book is written in a format similar to prose and it was beautifully done.
Behold a Pale Horse by William Cooper – Cooper is a former US Naval Intelligence Briefing Team Member and he reveals (with documentation) information that will either chill you to the bone or raise your interest to the highest level possible. No subject is off limits if he can find documentation. Nothing.
The Basement Quilt by Ann Hazelwood - This was her first book of fiction and it is part of a series. You will meet some wonderful characters that you will most likely find one that you identify with and will want to read more about. Ann carries these characters throughout her series while also introducing other interesting characters. The stories are a mixture of love, mystery, life and it's changes, and of course, quilting. Quilts play a main role in each of her books in this series. A real vacation book that left me feeling good.
Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King - The wild and crazy imagination of Stephen King is turned loose in this odd story about many many women suddenly falling to sleep with no real reason or seemingly connection to one another. It will leave you asking what did I just read? Love Stephen King.
These are the books I am planning to read this summer:
There is a River by Thomas Sugrue – This is the true story of Edgar Cayce. Whether you agree or believe or not, this book will give you much food for thought on what you believe and what you think you believe.
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King - Should be another good read as it is the sequel to The Shining. The New York Times says “[A] Vivid Frightscape”. Hope so.
If I get through those 2 books before the end of summer, I will start one of these and hopefully I will finish the following before the end of September 🙂:
Healing Secrets of the Native Americans by Porter Shimer - A book full of medicinal wisdom used by Native Americans. It is full of useful information about many ailments.
To Scotland with Love by Patience Griffin – A romance about choices set in the beautiful Scottish seaside town of Gandiegow.
The Quilter's Daughter by Wanda E. Brunstetter – Volume 2 in the Daughters of Lancaster County. A young Amish woman faces tragedy and doubts her faith. She becomes reluctant
to love – again.
America, A Narrative History by George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi – first printing 1984. Written BEFORE our history was revised. 🙂
Reading is a great way to keep your mind healthy. Following a plot line or learning new self help techniques and all the other things we get from reading help our brain retain and build new connections that keep it young and healthy.
There are so many options for “reading” a book. Books can be downloaded on tablets, phones, or computers to be read like a hardcover book. You can also “read” an audio book. A recorded book can go anywhere with you. Your library is an excellent place to download books that are free. You can even request a book and they will try to get it for you. You can also borrow a physical book from your library or purchase a book from any bookstore, online or brick and mortar.
Take some time this summer
(and during the COVID stay in place life)
to read a book.
It won't hurt you and
it will only help you.
Please share your interesting (or not interesting) reads so far this year. Share any recommendations you have, I am always looking for a new book. I get a lot of suggestions from others. Read, read, read!
Sharing thoughts and ideas for the woman over 50 that are helpful, fun, creative, inspiring and interesting. Over 50s who want to remain relevant, happy and loving their life.