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Going on alone

sunray

Registered User
Sep 21, 2008
1,442
East Coast of Australia
It is three months since Ray died. It is lonely here in "our" home. At least while he was in the Nursing Home I got to see him ever day. Now I don't. Now there is just me fromthe time I get up in the morning till when I go to bed at night. If I want to have company I actually have to go out and look for it.

I do try to fill my days. I do some of the things I did before like selling tickets in the Lions Club Christmas Stocking, I did my last shift on that on Thursday afternoon. I have minded my grandchildren a couple of times, joined other widows for coffee, concentrated on tidying up and throwing out rubbish,downsizing the house. Why does it all feel as if I am just sitting and waiting for something to happen?

Now I am supposed to "look forward, not backwards" as a friend told me. I can clean the house, buy in food and presents and celebrate Christmas with the family and then....what? What to do when the family go home and back to their own lives.

It is school holidays till the end of January so no meetings, a lot of people away on holidays so not much activity around the place. I've always made January reading month so will organize books and put a comfy chair on the verandah and do some reading. It is really just filling in time.

At night I am still hainvg sleepless nights and the occassional nightmare. I still wake up straining to hear his voice calling me, to hear him breathing beside me. I turn the light on and I am alone. Not a good feeling. I was a carer for 13 years so I guess it will take a lot time to get over that.

I miss Mum too. I miss the visits to the Nursing Home and the conversations there. It is strangely quiet now it is all over.

Sue.
 

gringo

Registered User
Feb 1, 2012
1,189
UK.
Hello Sue,
I know how you feel. My wife is in a CH. and I sit in an empty flat and wonder what to do. Problem is there doesn't seem to be anything I want to do. Once you've sorted out the cupboards and the drawers etc. that's it. TP is a Godsend of course, but I do agree, it feels like you're waiting for something. I'm still able to visit of course, but somehow that makes it seem worse when you come home to nothing.
And now its Christmas! Keep your chin up.
 

meme

Registered User
Aug 29, 2011
1,953
London
just wanted to say I know that aching pain of being alone and missing loved ones , makes your chest literally hurt......a hug for youx
 

Pinkpea

Registered User
Oct 27, 2012
63
I wonder if there is anyone in the nursing home who doesn't get visitor who you could befriend, I'm not suggesting replacing ray by any means but you sound such a loving caring person and there are so many lonely people, you included. Maybe if you were to approach a different NH it wouldn't feel like you were disrespecting his place. Can you join in with casual chat in the tearoom here, I am sure it would be nice to share the things you are feeling up to doing, it might encourage you to push those boundaries that feel so constricting to you right now if you "had" to report in each week, although sometimes just breathing feels like an achievement when it hurts so much to be on your own. Don't give up sunray, we're here for you. X
 

CraigC

Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
6,632
London
Glad I ready your thread Sue, thanks for posting so openly. This is the first time for many years I wont be visiting mum and dad at xmas - even in the care setting I loved to see them at christmas, just made it complete. I thought that things would feel a bit better this year but I do find the constant reminders painful, never noticed it all so much but they pulsate like beacons - the Happy Christmas Mum and Dad cards, never mind the brother cards. Just seems like so many reminders everywhere pretty hard to block it out and just 'enjoy' the festive season. And the dreams / nightmares seem to have seeped back this time of year.

Sue I did got to dad's home and give some cards and hugs to most of the staff. It was therapeutic for all of us I hope. I can't just cut off my memories and move on, doesn't work for me.

Just wanted to say I know that aching pain of being alone and missing loved ones , makes your chest literally hurt
I agree.
 

sunray

Registered User
Sep 21, 2008
1,442
East Coast of Australia
I thought a lot about Ray and I on Christmas Day. To my surprise Ray's name was never mentioned. No-one said: "I miss Dad" or "I wish Pa Ray was here". I got the usual Granma presents, bath lotions, money cards, and to my surprise a red pullalong suitcase which my daughter said was for when I decide to travel overseas. It was as if in their minds my old life was over and a new life had begun.

Today my daughter and her family went home as they had stayed on for an extra night and when they had gone the tears started for me. Maybe none of us wanted to be the first to say Ray's name and to mourn for him and share what he meant to our family. For the sake of the grandchildren we were all putting on brave faces.

I did enjoy the company and was happy with how Christmas turned out, bad weather but good food and despite all being crowded into my small house a good atmosphere. But I did wonder if I was the only one feeling the pain of missing Ray and Mum now.

Sue.
 

sunray

Registered User
Sep 21, 2008
1,442
East Coast of Australia
The Word for the Year?

I offered to have three of my grandchildren over New Year's Eve for my daughter in law who works on Police Assistance Line (like an Emergency Line). For me to have them benefitted her as she didn't have to pay for a Babysitter and me because I had some company.

It is grand to wake up on New Year's Day with the sound of kids in the house. Mind you they did tire me out. Now they have just gone so I can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. For me keeping busy is what dulls the pain, too much time to think and I am crying again. I want 2013 to be a much better year and it is up to me to make it that way.

The grandkids asked to go to the beach this morning about 9am and I would have loved to have taken them but three little ones and me on my own? Not a good idea.

There is a new craze not to make resolutions for the New Year but to have a Word of the Year. I could not think of an appropriate word but have decided on one Alex (6) uses all the time. He says: "Why don't we do .....Granma? it would be fun?" and most of what he suggests does sound fun, just not appropriate for a 65 year old widowed grandmother of seven. So my word for this year is FUN. So if you can think of something that is age appropriate and inexpensive and sounds like fun do please let me know.

I am trying to balance out my life. I don't want to make any sudden moves but I do need to move forward, in my grieving and in my believing in myself again.

Sue.
 
Last edited:

piedwarbler

Registered User
Aug 3, 2010
7,189
South Ribble
I don't know what to suggest Sue but you do have a talent for writing; maybe a writing class would engross you and use the time you have? Sending you a hug and very best wishes for 2013 x
 

DeborahBlythe

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9,222
Hello Sue, a hug from me too. I'm the last person to ask about fun. My idea of fun is a warm bed and a pile of books. However in your case fun might be attached to your grandchildren, lucky you. Wishing you well for 2013. x
 

Karjo

Registered User
Jan 11, 2012
481
How about a trip to the travel agents and get some holiday brochures. Then if and when you are up to it you could try out that red suitcase. You may even make some new friends in a similar position.
Loneliness seems such a huge problem for society as a whole. And its not just the elderly-so many young people with demanding careers and separated divorced people go home to empty houses. I think this is a huge problem for future mental health issues, but we are just not geared up as a society to help ourselves or admit the problem. I really do wish the government would help us tackle these issues. If we could have incentives to share our houses without feeling we would be stuck with a stranger we did not like, or face tax bills and other liabilities we are not up to handling. A bit more imagination, I'm sure it must be possible. We are not supposed to be alone and I so fear it myself.
 

Helen33

Registered User
Jul 20, 2008
14,697
Dear Sue,

Wishing you courage, peace and strength as you travel through the new year. It sounds as if Christmas with the family was a great success even though the word Ray was not uttered. I could identify with this when Alan died. I realised that family didn't want to upset me by referring to Alan so I mentioned him regularly in any of our conversations whether oral, email or text. Maybe they needed this 'permission' from me. Anyway it did change things and I was much happier and so were they.

I like the idea of a word for New Year rather than a resolution. So it is to be FUN for you. When Alan died, I knew that I needed to re-acquaint myself with the wider world. Caring for him meant that I had somehow become very disconnected from the world around me. I found this step very hard as I had lost my confidence quite a lot. I began by joining a new canoe club. Some inner voice told me not to go back to the old but to step forward to the new. Although it felt terrifying to go, I did go and it was the best thing I could have done. I was with people but not too near. Water people can be so friendly so that made it easier for me. Eventually I found myself waiting for the weekend so that I could go and that led me to realising that this was not enough for me because I was so alone for the rest of the days.

I then joined a beginners t'ai chi class. Then I tried a computer course on desktop publishing. I began swimming again. These things were starters.

Whatever your next step, I wish you all the very best Sue.

Love
 

Kebuck2012

Registered User
Nov 28, 2012
48
Its tough

It is three months since Ray died. It is lonely here in "our" home. At least while he was in the Nursing Home I got to see him ever day. Now I don't. Now there is just me fromthe time I get up in the morning till when I go to bed at night. If I want to have company I actually have to go out and look for it.

I do try to fill my days. I do some of the things I did before like selling tickets in the Lions Club Christmas Stocking, I did my last shift on that on Thursday afternoon. I have minded my grandchildren a couple of times, joined other widows for coffee, concentrated on tidying up and throwing out rubbish,downsizing the house. Why does it all feel as if I am just sitting and waiting for something to happen?

Now I am supposed to "look forward, not backwards" as a friend told me. I can clean the house, buy in food and presents and celebrate Christmas with the family and then....what? What to do when the family go home and back to their own lives.

It is school holidays till the end of January so no meetings, a lot of people away on holidays so not much activity around the place. I've always made January reading month so will organize books and put a comfy chair on the verandah and do some reading. It is really just filling in time.

At night I am still hainvg sleepless nights and the occassional nightmare. I still wake up straining to hear his voice calling me, to hear him breathing beside me. I turn the light on and I am alone. Not a good feeling. I was a carer for 13 years so I guess it will take a lot time to get over that.

I miss Mum too. I miss the visits to the Nursing Home and the conversations there. It is strangely quiet now it is all over.

Sue.
Grief takes a long while to make any sense, and then it can craftily change shape and leave you trying to make sense again. Go gently, you are in shock and it sucks... see GP ask for help x
 

Loopiloo

Registered User
May 10, 2010
6,118
Scotland
Dear Sue
I thought a lot about Ray and I on Christmas Day. To my surprise Ray's name was never mentioned. No-one said: "I miss Dad" or "I wish Pa Ray was here"....... It was as if in their minds my old life was over and a new life had begun.

Today my daughter and her family went home as they had stayed on for an extra night and when they had gone the tears started for me. Maybe none of us wanted to be the first to say Ray's name and to mourn for him and share what he meant to our family. For the sake of the grandchildren we were all putting on brave faces.

I did enjoy the company and was happy with how Christmas turned out.... But I did wonder if I was the only one feeling the pain of missing Ray and Mum now.
I know the feeling, although I am not widowed like you; Henry is a few miles away in his care home. I could count on less fingers of one hand when he is ever mentoned. It is as if since he went into care 19 months ago my previous life is over and I should start a new life. We've been together over half a century. The last 7+ years he was at home with dementia being the third party in our marriage. I hear words such as "he is safe, he is well looked after" etc.,etc., and sometimes feel they stop short of saying "now get on with your life".

Not the same situation as yours of course, Sue.

If no one mentions him, neither do I. Except to my daughters when approriate but they both want to "remember him as he was". They don't really want to know how he now is. One neighbour friend I see every week always asks how he is, and with genuine interest. (her mother had Alzheimer's) I can talk to her naturally about Henry knowing she is at ease about it, which puts me at ease. Sometimes we laugh when I tell her something he said and she will reply "That is so like Henry!"

With others I am conscious that they may not wish to say anything - very possibly because they don't know what to say. Perhaps it is up to me...

I think what Helen wrote is good, how she mentioned Alan regularly in conversations, oral, email or text. I can understand people feeling awkward, not knowing what to say, and perhaps Helen is right. They need 'permission' to talk about Ray. About your Mum.

Then Christmas does bring out the "putting on brave faces" too, doesn't it. I am sure you were not at all the only one missing Ray. The first Christmas, and so soon after his death, and with young grandchildren, would be difficult.

We don't want to be someone who casts a shadow over festivities so we go along with them, family and friends. That possibly applied in your situation, no on saying they missed Ray because no one was sure how you, and the others, would feel about it.

But neither do we want to obliterate our husbands from our lives. I think Helen's advice is worth considering. Mentioning Ray during conversations, in a natural way, and then the others will probably do likewise.

Three months since Ray's death is a very short time, Sue. Grieving takes its own time and course, it is an individual thing. Yes you want to move on in your grieving and believing in yourself again - and you will. Perhaps after January and holidays are over and everyone gets back to normal living you will find it gradually easier.

Try not to expect too much of yourself too soon. After all you have been through, it will take time to find yourself again, the Sue you were - the Sue you are. But in time you will get through this limbo period, I feel sure of it.

Love
Loo xxx
 

jessibee

Registered User
May 14, 2010
11
Early days

Oh, Sue, it's really tough. I am sorry.
I really miss my dad.
I cared for him long distance for 5 years, and we were very close. The rest of the family did a bit, they weren't so close to him and were always a bit too busy. They are all closer to each other - it's always been like that.
I have been in counselling and it really helped me to understand who I am and help me adjust to that big bit that's missing.
Recently I started a knitting group in a nearby cafe. I really like just going and knitting with other people. It's small, and we just chat and knit and have coffees.
I hope you find something sometime.
It's really early days for you. I know I felt like I should have moved on pretty soon after he died, now I know I'm nowhere near feeling whole again. Be gentle with yourself.
I wish you well and send you love.
 

sunray

Registered User
Sep 21, 2008
1,442
East Coast of Australia
"firsts"

I knew Christmas and New Year would be tough and then had a meltdown on 2nd January. I thought I had overdone it on New Year's, minding three of my grandchildren from 6pm till noon next day. They are aged 11, 6 and 5 so it had been a busy time.

In the end it occurred to me that it was the anniversary of my Dad's death (he died on 2nd January 2000) so I went to the cemetery and paused at his grave which Mum now shares and at Ray's. I didn't stay long but I did come home feeling much better.

I just have to go through all the "firsts" and maybe then I will feel as if I am recovering. If I feel I am stuck I will seek counselling. I know I need to change small things to feel as if I own the house now but am aware that it all takes time.

I have done some bereavement counselling for others as part of being a telephone counsellor so "know" all the right things. Head knowledge and heart knowledge though are two different things. So if I feel I need help I will make sure I get it.

Sue.
 

stefania

Registered User
Dec 13, 2011
24
Hi I don't come on here very often my dad has Dementia and both he and my mum live with us. this christmas was the worst we have ever had and I'm scared that it will be the last christmas memory that I will have and will forget the good ones when they are both gone.
 

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
Transition

Dear Sue,
How clearly you explain this state of limbo ...... "Why does it all feel as if I am just sitting and waiting for something to happen?"

The sudden vacuum and silence are paralysing, but reading your posts, I think you have already found various ways of dealing with it all. Grandchildren generally don't allow any sadness to linger, and they will also be the ones to pick up on remarks like "oh, Grandad Ray would have said/done/liked ....". I used to have to force myself to utter such thoughts, when I realised that nobody else dared mention my husband's name. I continue to do so almost 5 years after his death, because I need to speak his name, hear his name, and keep his memory going. I absolutely want everyone to remember the fun things he used to say and do, and I don't apologise for keeping on about him.
I also missed the contact with the professionals who used to support us, especially towards the end of my husband's illness: all their visits stopped instantly, absolutely nobody ever came back after he died ..... the GP, the CPN, the care team or the nurses. I knew that their job was 'done', but I still felt rather abandoned.
It is hard to make a fresh start after so many years of caring, but you sound like a very strong person and I am sure you will discover new joys (often, they cause pain, too, since you are unable to share them), and perhaps you will find a place to help others with all the experience you have gained along the way. If you have a local Alzheimer's Society Office, they will welcome you with open arms - as a Volunteer Befriender, Fundraiser, Organiser, Helper - all very rewarding roles once you feel ready for it!
Best wishes, Carmen
 

1009

Registered User
Feb 19, 2010
9
South Wales
I can relate so much to this post. My husband died 6 weeks ago after many years (5 diagnosed) with early onset dementia. My family have been brilliant but of course they have all had to go home and back to work, and the carers, (2 coming in 4 times per day) and other professionals have moved on. 2nd January was also an awful day for me so yesterday I went shopping. I met someone I know who said 'you are still young you can meet someone else' I know people don't know what to say in such situations but I was so upset that someone would think he is replaceable. I offered to have the grandchildren today & overnight. Their parents were delighted to have a rare night out and the children have lifted me and kept me occupied. I have grieved over the years for my husband as the dementia took over but this is so final, I miss him so much.
 

sunray

Registered User
Sep 21, 2008
1,442
East Coast of Australia
condolences on your loss

1009, so sorry to find out your husband died six weeks ago. It is such a blow, you expect it but then when it comes it is awful, the loss of partnership, the loss of presence, the loss of all those hopes and plans for a future togather. Looking back I can see how much I was in denial as I always thought "somehow" things would get better.

It is thoughtless of any of our friends to say such things as you are young enough to remarry. It may be true but it is extremely insensitive. Maybe we should start a thread using all the insensitive things people say to recent widows, I am sure there are hundreds of silly things people say. I was about four weeks out when an elderly male friend asked me had I found a suitable companion yet!

At least here, on a thread like this, we can vent and feel supported.

Sue.
 

noisette

Registered User
Oct 27, 2011
1
No future plans?

These negative reactions to ceasing to be a carer amaze me. There are so many things I long to do; so many other family members and friends I would like to spend time with; so many local events going on;so many places yet unvisited.My list of things to do one day is so long that it will take a good few years to accomplish. Are all other carers so much nicer tha n me that no one shares my longing for freedom?