It is NOT the same

word cloud widow

OK – I have got my ranty pants on here because I am So Tired of hearing the following statement:

“You are lucky – my husband is such an arsehole – I wish He was dead”.

Usually uttered by my divorced friends who keep on telling me How Much Tougher they have it due to custody battles and financial settlements.

And I understand that at this point in time, they truly hate the person they once loved.  That they are hurting and feel betrayed by love.  That legal battles are not fun. Disputes over children are fraught with emotion and righteous indignation.   Financial hardship is hurting their lifestyle.
And I feel the hate for their husband emanating from their mouths in steams of vitriolic rage.

But.

Being widowed and being divorced are NOT the same.

I listen to all these reasons quietly, repeating in my head that the do not know what they are saying because they have not walked in my shoes.

I deeply love my husband.  Still.

I  cry myself to sleep every night.  Still.

In my darkest moments, I fine tune my exit strategy.  Still.

I look upon the compensation payout as blood money.
I am sick of the ongoing legal battle for the insurance company to pay out the full amount of compensation.
I am still trying to live day-to-day on a single wage and the entirety of ALL expenses fall on my shoulders.
I am worried about what will happen to my-husbands-now-MY-share of the farm that is jointly owned with his brother who can’t see that I need the money from the sale of said farm more than I need to retain ties with a farm that I am convinced caused the premature deaths of both his parents.
I tire of being the only adult making major life decisions that affect our children.
I would dearly love to find a great bloke and fall in love again …. but   Greg set the benchmark so high that I doubt I will ever meet another soul who is so perfectly imperfect for me.  Even if I was ready.

But I don’t say anything in response to these friends who tell me that death is easier than divorce because their Dad died and they had to put up with their batty mother who went  insane and life was still so much better than being divorced ….  I don’t comment that losing a father is not the same as losing a husband and I don’t say that almost every widow I know has thought of suicide at one time or another and I don’t point out that her mother’s insanity was probably deep grief mixed with depression and terror.

But perhaps I should.

Perhaps I should say the one thing I know to be true:

Death and Divorce are NOT the same and until you have walked in both sets of shoes and reflected on each experience through the distance of time, please do NOT tell me how much harder you’ve got it.

Anxiety

I have always been highly strung.

I give the impression of being laid back, but I’m like the proveribial swan, paddling furiously under the surface.

 

When I first studied at university, I made sure I got first class honours and a scholarship to finish my PhD.

When I went back to do my Diploma of Education the year before Greg died, I went a step further, getting straight 7s (highest score) and graduating with high distinction at the very top of my class, winning the prize for my year (which turned out to be a fancy dinner and a certificate).

It wasn’t that I was driven to succeed, it was that I was anxious that anything less than my best would spell failure.

 

….and that was what I was like when Greg was ALIVE and using his calming, grounding influence to keep me from shooting through the roof at every little thing that even mildly rocked my plan for world domination world.

 

Now, I find myself unable to calm down when things become a little stressful.

There is no voice of reason there to remind me that nobody is going to spontaneously combust unless I run around like a chook with its head cut off to hose out the myriad of little and big fires in my life.

 

I am currently stressed …. my job is under threat.  It’s a long story that involves a new government cutting jobs which will result in those eager young beavers on contracts (like me) being pushed aside as the old guard who have been working in policy for the past few years, dust off their rusty skills to return to the classroom, pushing us out in their wake.

 

I’ve been quite anxious about how I will support us next year (when my contract ends).

 

I’ve been quite shouty and didn’t I sleep for two nights:  I get more shouty when I am tired.

 

To put it mildly, I’ve been barrels of fun to be around….

 

I am trying very hard to keep some perspective…… but it’s been hard without my human security blanket here to calm me down.

 

Today, instead of flying into a rage or crying or rocking in the corner, I’ve tried to remind myself that possibly the worst thing to ever happen to me has already happened (Note to Universe – this is not a challenge to see if you can up the ante).

 

I have other options for work: we will not starve to death.

 

…and I’ve been spending as much time as I can outside: in the garden; walking through the bushland across the road from my house; strolling along the waterfront.

 

Trying to channel Greg’s calming influence…..

Trying to hear his voice through the whir of my mind.

 

…and so far, I’m succeeding ….. it’s …… OK.

 

…and maybe that’s all I can ask for just now.

 

This is a repost of my post on Widow’s Voice

 

 

My Dragonfly

my dragonfly on 365 Project
Yesterday should have been our 14th wedding anniversary. …. but late yesterday afternoon, this dragonfly brushed against my arm and settled on the garden wall next to me.
…and instantly, I was reminded of the story of the dragonfly and felt like Greg was there with me.

The dragonfly story (from here):

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top. When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

Today would have been our 14th wedding anniversary.

Fourteen years ago, I awoke in my childhood bedroom … well got up anyway … I was too excited to sleep much.

My bestie and my Mum and I quickly ate breakfast and took ourselves down to the salon for hair and makeup.

We emerged hours later, coiffed and painted, but still recognisable.

Everyone ate lunch … not me … I couldn’t eat for the excitement.

Then I put on my beautiful dress, remade from the Guipure lace from my mother’s gown.

I looked beautiful.

More than that.

I glowed.

Lit from the inside.

The flowers arrived.

The photographer arrived. Then we left for the church in a pair of 1970s vintage Holdens.

Dad walked me up the aisle.

Greg was crying: I avoided looking at him so I wouldn’t cry too.

We promised to love each other until  death parted us, (never thinking that death would part us after only 12 and a half years).

I felt so loved and lucky that my face ached from the smiling.

and the kissing.

and the loving gazes into his beautiful blue eyes.

I glided through the reception – everything was perfect.

and we left our friends and family at the party to have our own celebration of our first night as man and wife.

~~~~~

Today would have been our 14th anniversary.

and it’s been just over 18 months since by better half died.

I awoke to the screeching of the car alarm of the white trash across the street.

Well, I got up anyway.  Sleep isn’t so easy for me these days…

I couldn’t open my eyes.

Literally.

It seems I have conjunctivitis to add to my already long list of symptoms typical of my “holiday illness” (I never get sick during work time, just holiday time).

It seems appropriate that my eyes are already red and puffy.

I had a shower and prised open  my red, oogy eyes.

I put on track pants and one of Greg’s old shirts: nobody was going to see me today.

I didn’t bother to do my hair.

but I did brush my teeth.

I look like shit.

I ate breakfast so I could swallow some cold and flu tablets.

…and I sent my mother out to buy my eye drops.

Somehow, this seems an appropriate way to mark this day.

….the second of many lonely wedding anniversaries….

You can’t fix me

Sometimes I want to scream at people: “You Can’t Fix Me”.

because sometimes, I get so sick of hearing that I need to “look after myself” or “do something for myself” or “make it happen” or “chin up” or “forge ahead”.

Sometimes it’s just too much when friends and colleagues minimise my grief in their misguided belief that they would know how to grieve properly if our positions were reversed.

(The same people that go to pieces if they have a sniffle and won’t make it to the gym that day.)

No, they’d grieve properly, have it together within a year and make rational decisions to take their lives onwards and upwards.

They’d “go to counselling” and “get the help they need” to get on with their lives.

Maybe a tasteful shrine with a few candles on the mantle to remember their love.
A weekly visit to the cemetery: fresh flowers on the grave.

They’d get themselves that new job that fits in with their altered lifestyle.

They wouldn’t suffer the grief fog, the loss of short-term memory, the sudden tears, the incapacitating sadness that saps all energy yet prevents you from sleep.

They quote some random bereaved person their aunty’s girlfriend’s hairdresser’s mother knows who has “coped admirably” with grief…. and cite it as “if they can do it, you can too”.  Never realising that the person they speak of most likely is showing them the brave face  and not the face screwed up in the agony which is widowhood.

NO, not for them this incorrect grief….

I am tired of explaining that life doesn’t work that way.

That “The Secret” isn’t based on scientific fact.  You can’t just wish you woes away anymore than you can make your beloved rise from the dead.

…and I hate that they overlook the incredible feat of strength and endurance I go through on a daily basis Just To Get Through The Day.

I wish they could see the progress I’ve made.

I wish they could know how hard this is without me having to spell it out.

Yes I am helping myself.

Yes I am doing everything in my power to move forward.

…and I am doing a bloody good job of it.

But I wish they’d stop thinking that they know how to fix me.

Grief is a long-term thing…

K has had a rough day.

For her, most days are rough: she misses her Dad.

She won’t get over this quickly.

This sadness is long term.

Even though we are working through our grief … together.
Even though we might function OK.
Even though some people think we should be “over it” by now, or able to move on or able to function as we were in the Before.

This sadness is here for the long-haul.

And you know what?

It probably should be that way.

Grief shouldn’t go away overnight.

Grief shouldn’t go away within a year.

It needs to be felt, everyday, until we can run our fingers over the scars without screaming , and see how strong we are.

My Nana

This gallery contains 1 photo.

My Nana was the kind of Nana that everybody else wanted. She baked every kind of confection you could name and she baked them beautifully. She gardened.  A lot.  Her garden was like a mini botanical garden and where I first fell in love with plants. She bought me dresses. She insisted I wear “good” […]