Directionless pretty much

That’s so kind. It just feels like, well, 5 months, I " ought" to be happy clappy smiling and coping and not boring the neighbours. “Forgetting things”…well. There are the things I ought to throw out, then there are the things, important that, in error, I have ACTUALLY thrown out. I have to keep double checking every single thing I do now, because I don’t trust myself. I know it will settle down. I know I will get a grip. But, oh… some days. You know.

Dear Will
There is no “ought” in grief. When someone is drowning, survival rests with stopping thrashing about and just letting the buoyancy of the water support you until you are able to breathe and eventually swim…in your own time and at your own pace.
I remember only too well the sheer panic and hysteria of the early days…in many ways I was “fortunate” because my circumstances dictated that I “sort and donate” almost surgically ( the worst thing was selling Barry’s chef’s knives ) as I could only bring the most personal things back to England…but time has slowly helped me to cope and be thankful. I think the biggest lesson I have learned is to plough my own furrow…I have read all kinds of books and internet blurbs and have been supported by many wonderful people on this site but, just like every human who has ever lived, I am unique and my circumstances are mine alone… I accept who I now am and no longer try to be what society would dictate.
It is very early days for you…listen to your heart not to the clamour inside your head then do what YOU feel is right WHEN you feel it is right so to do.
Take care x

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Thanks. Wise words. I understand panic and hysteria, but for me it’s in a kind of slow-mo hysteria, and grinding slower every day. I do wonder sometimes if, like in the old movies when hysterics were “slapped out of it”, and slapped hard, that’s the solution. You know? Wake up. Smell the coffee. Deal with it. How on earth did you decide what was relevant and what was not, what was personal and what was not? What you would need and what you wouldn’t. I also think I am making a mountain out of this. Just take the good sense advice offered and roll with it, let time tell me when it’s right. Like you say, really : plough my own furrow. Worst thing is, I know others are going through this, and I have been before. You have. All the kind people who have responded have. And maybe will again. It’s just in the middle of it all you just don’t seem able to see that clear target in the distance to aim at. Rational me : I know things will become clear, and bearable. Emotional me: %&£*(&"!!!help!!!.

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Hi Wil
You asked me how I came to the decision to clear my husband things from the wardrobe and I will try to explain. I just wanted to ‘escape’ from the triggers that caused me such inexplicable heartbreak and from memories that tore at my heart like a knife. Every single shirt and jacket triggered a memory that my grief could not cope with. I was clutching at things that I remembered him wearing and I knew it was making me feel worse and not better. I wasn’t clearing him out or betraying him although that is what it felt like for the time it took me , but I did it. I just felt that I didn’t need material things to remind me of a lifetime of love.I carry it/him in my heart forever. I hope this explains it a little .Some people can look at photo’s and listen to recordings.I can’t do these things either at the moment but one day I will. I keep the Bob hat that Ron wore to go for chemo sessions.I don’t know why.I just do. I suppose I cope with one part of my grief and not another.

I

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Not replied soon enough. That’s the thing. Our rational bit says “there is no one on the planet that has not gone through this. Even I/me/myself has gone through this one way or another”. And in the middle of (Monday ) night you think ( I mean I think ) "oh I wish I had not done that, whined all over that Ryder website, what on EARTH was I thinking of. ". And then I read what you say, and the whole raft of stuff under what you say, and I think, " Don’t be AN IDIOT. Being rational and smart and whatever. just thank these few lovely people who have been brave enough ( and yes, I do think it is brave. It feels like brave to me. I don’t like anybody knowing I hurt . I , well we, were just not made that way. In these twitter-days it seems outdated. Every body seems to feel every thing out in the open. ) So thank you, sincerely for explaining. I can’t imagine what you felt. But the idea that it felt like a betrayal but in only a limited way sounds like something positive to hang on to. I admire you for doing it. I will do it. Just not today. But I will. I do KNOW I will cope. I do KNOW I will be able to sort wheat from chaff. I do know you care as well, or you would not have bothered to comment. You talk about his shirts, jackets. Memories. How horrible it all is. But I also feel so grateful it was not the other way round. I would not want her going through this.

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I know precisely what you are at, not how you feel, I can’t possible know that, but undergoing crippling inertia. It is three years since my husband died and I am just now starting to get the house sorted out - new flooring next week.

The inertia for me is almost physical, like chains holding me down. I know that there are things that I must do but those damned chains hold me back.

Congratulate yourself on the progress you have thus far and don’t beat yourself up for the progress you haven’t been able to make yet. We all handle grief differently and at different paces.

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Thank you for sharing that AtillatheNun, it’s very reassuring to see that your inertia is starting to lift, after three years. After four months I am finding a similar feeling, I know what I should be doing but can’t seem to get down to anything major. Our house is overflowing , 45 years of living here and three children later, it’s bursting at the seams and desperately needs sorting out. I start in one room half heartedly and can’t seem to complete anything, concentration goes and I just can’t summon the will to get on with it. Grief has such an unexpected and unwanted effect on us and it just feels so hard to get motivated. Have a good day everyone x

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Thanks for telling us all that. It does help - maybe it helps for you too. I can’t guess. It helps to know that grief really IS individual. I mean, it is something we all know, something we have probably experienced, something we can read and theorize about, but when someone is in the middle of what you say, an overburdened inertia, I say a fog where nothing much makes any sense even your brain won’t work, then there is nothing quite like hearing real experience. Even if different from our own, there is always something to pick out of what is said that makes sense. I wish you so much good will, and that you keep finding the direction to push through.

I agree, Wil, we have to remember it takes a long time for our minds and bodies to get over what’s happened and we can’t expect to snap back quickly into normalcy . Had my second bereavement counselling today and my lovely counsellor said we often expect too much of ourselves and we need at least two years to really get back to any kind of acceptable life So we’ll
do it, in our own time! It does help to read of other people’s experience and nice to know we’re normal! Take care

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Hi Will.I often think I should not need other people advising me.I am a strong person.It was my job to advise others.I was always in a position where I was in control. Not anymore.I loveistening to the people on this site and it helps me to post too.I am weak but I am strong. We need each other on here and there is nothing wrong with that. You have to have suffered grief to understand it and to do that on the outside is difficult. My best wishes and keep posting as and when you want to and with no regret.

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Wil. I am in a similar situation to you. I have lost my other half. Same ICU experience. Rushed funeral. Still not sorted out the financial stuff. And I’m also looking for tools to help me make practical progress and take action. I feel brain fogged, slow and stupid. The bank statement is taking me a whole afternoon too. Everything I throw away, all the drugs I take back to the chemist and every organisation I have to tell - makes me feel that I am switching him off. Removing him from the world. I am now the guardian of his history and that responsibility weighs so heavy. When the doctor told me he would be back home from hospital at the end of that week - I hurriedly cleaned up - and accidentally threw away all his completed cryptic crosswords. Now I am beating myself up because I want them back. But of course I want HIM back. But I have got his crosswords from the week before he went into hospital. I have. So at the moment I am trying to choose which things I WILL keep. His treasures - not his old socks (well I might keep one pair). I am trying to curate. I havn’t thrown much away yet - but I’m only on baby steps for now. And when I am trying to make a decision - I use a tool from Lucy Hone’s Ted talk - 3 secrets of resilient people. When you are trying to do something hard - ask yourself: Is what I’m doing helping or harming me? And if it’s harming you - then stop. Because that’s what’s best for you at that moment. And She would want what’s best for you. Ask yourself - what would She want? You will know the answer.

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I’m with you. I feel just the same. I did well at the beginning and I have done a lot and I’m nearly there with all the finances after five months. I need another pair of hands. Everyone thinks I’m doing well. I promised myself to get up, get dressed, keep to normal levels of hygiene and eat regular meals and I do. I got rid of a lot of paper early on but I seem to have got stuck. There is no rush but I don’t want anyone to put pressure on me. I’ll write more when I get there.

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When you say “similar”, it’s almost like reading one of my imaginary posts back to myself. FULLY understand “curate”, Crosswords…I’ll have a go with the TED talks but they irritate me for the most part I have to admit. Sometimes. Sometimes not. Advice : do I want it, don’t I want it. You’re not just the guardian of his history Deb2, you are his history. I keep thinking, no one knew what was she was like, and while I want the world to know, I also want to keep it as the best close secret ever. I had that absolute privilege. That was mine, and, as far as it is possible to know someone else inside out, I think we did. Again, though, that’s me rationalizing again . Perhaps that’s the best thing to do though, go really slow, question every decision for now, and for that advice - again something practical to hang onto - I thank you. When I say “sorted out” the financial stuff…that was a slight exaggeration. The probate people still have all the papers, and half of me wants it to stay that way. This limbo waiting means I can dither and hesitate. When all that kicks off again I shall need, and have to use the brain again : I don’t know what has happened there. Fog you say, me as well, but it’s getting silly now. I small thing done a day feels like Everest conquered. Can’t go on like that.

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Sorry I have not replied sooner. I wish i could say I had been doing something useful on what was a bright sunny and perfectly useable day. I didn’t. I think at the start it’s easier because there is that thing, people around you don’t know what to say, but they do at least say something, sorry for your loss/time’s a healer/the usual suspects : a few months in and there’s just a tacit agreement, an expectation that you won’t still be “going on” about your loss, and that you will - unless defective some way in the coping department - not be going to expect them to say or do anything either. So everything’s OK. Don’t please wait till you " get there" to write more. I’m going to try and keep tuned in here. To be honest, at times i think it is the worst possible thing, tantamount to wallowing around in self pity. At others, it’s a really helpful reminder that it’s actually OK to be hurt. It’s a surprise how many people on here say, for example “I am a strong person” and then qualify that with a “BUT…”., and go onto prove by their example that you are not actually falling to bits slowly, but behaving pretty much normally. Some are not of course, and I’d hope that moderators or others who have needed a bit more intervention and have had experience of that, see that it’s needed, and can point them - I’d say us, me included, should it come to that - in the right direction.

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Hi,
Thank you for replying. My cleaner came today and this is the first time since lockdown, although I have continued to pay her every week. My husband died the first week of lockdown. It was sudden and unexpected. He had Parkinson’s disease but he coped well although his mobility was becoming more restricted. He had made the tea and fed the cat that morning. He was OK at 9.30 am and dead before noon. I didn’t have people around when he died and I don’t now. My husband was directly cremated as nobody could travel for a funeral and only eight were allowed so I should have been alone. The first time I left the house was to collect his ashes and I could not do that for three months because the office was closed. I have a son but he and his family live in northern NY state. I go to a bereavement cafe virtually once a week and I manage to sing virtually with two different groups and I record for various projects. I have done some more paper sorting this morning and will finish my lunch now. Keep in touch.

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Tick, tick, yes, tick, me too. Apart from “sudden”. Amazed at the similarity of experience - by which I mean the events, not how you are reacting to them. That sounds pretty similar though I must admit. Quite where that gets either of us I don’t know. Another sunny day. can’t listen to any music associated, yet on the day of the ( I am so very tempted to say “the disposal” because pretty it up as much as I wish, that was really all it was. Yes, first week of lockdown. Alone in hospital. A chaos of rushing to the shops to try and get food, seeing all the stuff scattered all over the floor, wondering if there was going to be a run on the banks even, then hurrying to get any kind of funeral done before the rules tightened further, or we would have here as they were showing on the TV , compulsory unattended mass graves, all of that. I remember the registrar of deaths ringing up ( you couldn’t visit them, of course ) and saying well, i can only give you another day, you must decide. How could I? A funeral with chairs being wiped down. Hell, no wonder we are going nuts, slowly. Did you feel any of that. That panic. Alone in all that panic. Worse, the thought of her alone in all that panic. Damned TV things every evening, nurses all gathered in the TV room wondering what the heck was coming next. Total chaos. terrible really. Going to have to sort that all out sometime. When did that panic start. when were they all fighting in the shops. What sort of mess would she come home to if she was coming home. Shambles. I have blotted that out till now. thanks for reminding me. No, i’m not being funny. it’s good to try to sort that all out in (my) head. Funny though, after that I was quite happy to be locked down. It felt like the whole world had stopped and was going at the same speed as me. now it’s all started to ease up a bit, I think that is contributing to this feeling I have of lagging behind.

Hi,
I’d got the food in and in fact the paramedics and police were still here when the meat I had ordered arrived. I was pretty much in shock and I didn’t cry until I spoke to the undertaker later that week. Six days after my husband’s death I had to make a decision about our elderly tabby cat. Ten weeks ago I adopted Chilli who is six. She has proved a loving companion and very gentle. She is deaf and so an indoor cat and she gets me up early. I don’t mind but she vomited this morning at 4.50 am and clearing that up was not what I had in mind. My cleaner thought I had done really well. She said that when she spoke to me on the phone that I sounded strong but sad. I am still awaiting a final death certificate, although I have seen the pathologist’s report. The interim certificate has served. I need to do some work now.

Hi Janmezzo, I think I’m in the same position as you,5 months along this terrible road and suddenly a bit stuck. Like you I have just about sorted out all the practical important stuff and manage getting up, dressing, basic hygiene , cooking etc but as for much else, not really. This inertia seems to have got a grip and I’ve also become tearful in a quiet sort of way, okay until someone shows some sympathy then these stupid tears start rolling down my face. Stopped off at some services with my son today and suddenly felt heartbroken as Malc and I always went there together, usually on the way to a holiday, that gut wrenching feeling that you’ll never have your partner with you ever again. It’s stupid because quite clearly I know he’ll never be with me again but things like that just emphasise the loneliness and emptiness we all feel. Today it feels like this is such hard work to keep going, but we will, I’m sure. Reading posts of people further along does seem as if life can improve a bit, with time, so we must hold onto that hope. xx

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That’s so kind of you to respond it really is. I wish I had edited my post really, because there are some words missing, so it actually makes little sense, but then hey, what does right now. I hope you managed to get some work done. I did, actually. Surprised myself. A few little things, but it’s a big thing right now. Yes, keep in touch if you wish. Don’t feel obliged. I’m trying to be honest. I might tune out for days anyway. I am doing my best to “go with the flow”. Good luck to you, especially if cat vomit is involved. Onwards and upwards as the saying goes.

“Life can improve a bit”. It will. I know it will. 5 months and a few days is nothing. You know things will get better. I’ve calmed down a lot over the last few days. The real experiences of other people has woken me up a bit. Take things as they come at you : it’s your business, yours and his, and in my case, hers. We’ll take things at our own pace, thank you very much. ( having said that, I’ a bit shaky around familiar shared places - like your services - but we’ll get there, all of us).

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