Monday, September 12, 2011

Are you a newly widow, or about to become one?

Been going thru my files and came across this.
Maybe it will help someone else. You see I became a widow, April 17, 1986.
A year later a friend lost her husband and I wrote this and then I refined it
about 8 years later for another friend. And that was 10 years ago.(now 25)

I have a friend who became a widow 2 weeks ago… and thought this was
worth repeating. .....(had a post on it in 2006)

What I learn by being a Widow.

Do not give away his personal things for a minimum of 6 months, and year
if possible. If it hurts to see them, then pack them in boxes until a year
later. There is need to give things away maybe share in helping the grieving.
I don't know. But if you wait a year, you give or sell things that are done with
your head and heart. Not just your heart if you do it right away. I did not follow
this rule to the fullest and learn to regret it. IF you are to give anything.
ONLY what your husband told YOU he wanted given away, if anything ever happen.
You will be amazed at the people who will come up to you and tell you or your
children that your husband said they could have an item if anything happens to him.
Then there are the "helpful friends" who will buy his things at a small price.
My husband had guns and he was a mechanic-welder. I had offers of $25 for
a $300 rifle and $10 for a pistol. "To help me out.”
If you really need to sell, get help from someone who is NOT going to benefit
from it. I went to parts stores that sold tools and asked them. Told them of
my lost and that I didn't plan on getting rich from these sales, but I didn't want
to be taken either. The owners were very helpful. One large piece I wrote
to a dealer in Spokane, explaining and they, too, were helpful.

About 3 weeks after my husband died, I came home and just the look of the
yard, set me off. I was mad. I was mad he left me. (as if he wanted to die) I
was mad he left me with the whole mess. The yard wasa mess. Over grown.
I worked in Sandpoint, 25 miles away. Leaving at 4 am and coming home
almost 3 pm was too much. I couldn't keep up with the housework and the
yard work. We had been on disability with Social Security. We had just
three children left. Two were to graduate in 3 weeks.Our SS was to be cut
that same month he died because our youngest was 16 the day after we
buried him. And SS had decided to mess around with the check. They would
put in $3000 and then take it out. I was going crazy. If he were here I wouldn't
be in this mess. Damn him!! Why didn't he watch his health all these years?
For 3 hours I swore, cried, and even wish it was me instead. So there will be anger.
Anger at him, God, yourself. The “ if onlys”that will drive you crazy.”
"If only” if I had said. If only I had done whatever. But this too will pass.

The nights. Days are usually fairly full. I had started a job 11 days after
his death. It was good. I was kept busy - too busy to think. The nights
were hard. Then I remembered watching a late night show and they
had George Burns on. It was after Gracie had died. He was talking about
how hard the nights were for him. Then he slept in Gracie's spot. He said
it was a calming effect. First, there was the smell. Then the fact when he slept
in his own place, he would look for her, in her spot.But he didn't feel for or look
for Gracie, when he was in that spot. And it wasn't natural for him to look at
his own spot. It worked for me also. Maybe it will for you.

Every wedding, birth of a grandchild. You will be there thinking if only he
could see this. Then you got to remember he is - just up above. While there is
comfort in that - it isn't the same. There will be a time when something real
important will happen and you will think, oh gosh, wait until I tell him.
Then you remember you can't. With me it was downtown and a friend had
told me of a mutual friend who had a heart attack and died the night before.
And my first thought was how upset Marv will be to lose this friend.
Then to realize they are together now.
It has been 10 years now for me.(now 25) And I have gone on. I have a very
special friend in my life(I married him 12 years ago). When Marv's face faded
unless I had a picture, I felt I had betrayed him. But I still have him in my heart
and always will. He was my husband, my lover, the father of my children, and
most of all - he was my best friend. I miss him. Always will. But I would want
him to go on. I would not want him to mourn me forever. To be alone.
And he did not want me to either. We talked about it. We said it would be our jobs,
our children and then whatever happens - happens. One day at a time. Good Luck

After 6 to 9 months, some of your friends will change. The women seem to feel
threaten when you are around, when their husband is around. The same
women who had their husbands helping you at first. They seem to be
uncomfortable. Like you would be interested in their husbands. Fat chance.
Your husband is still very much on your mind. Maybe they are thinking
of the old "gay widow" from the 1920's. And some of the men. It is weird. I have
talked to some of my friends who have been widowed. After a while some of
your husband’s friends may make a pass at you. Myself, I was so out to lunch,
I didn't catch it. Then when I caught on, I was embarrassed. Did I say something?
Did I do something to get this reaction? Even had one say -"well, you were use to
getting it and now you can't - so I, uh - uh, thought I could help you out."
When he said "it", I was so dumb I didn't know what"it" was. By the time he got to
the "help you out", I was sick to my stomach and wanted to up chuck. I think I mumbled something about I DON'T THINK SO. And left.

My children were and are good to me. Except at first I felt like they thought I
died too. They started talking about getting rid of this and that. And finally
I had to put my foot down and say. I will take care of things. I will decide
what goes and when. And when they asked “well what are you going to do
with the tools. You can't weld. You can only do limited mechanizing.” I told
them I knew people who did know how to operate the tools and whenmy car breaks down then I can have them fix it with the tools. And I will let them borrow the tools if they
need them in exchange, for the work. Which brings up another. Borrowing of
AND WHEN. AND IF THEY BRING THEM BACK. I lost a few tools as I
forgot who borrow and if they brought them back. I made a list. One of them
was a $300 piece. Believe me when you start asking if you loan someone something, it
can get sticky.

Your sanity
A year later you will find out you did do something unbelievable. And when it
dawns on you – you will doubt your sanity. It is ok. It was the stress of the time.
I hid 3 expensive tools in an old shirt under my bed behind some boxes
that I stored there. Found them there. Could not remember putting them there.
A friend , who lost her husband had hid a gun in the basement behind a large box.
It was rusted when she found it two years later. She thought she had sold it.

The first Birthday, Father’s day, Thanksgiving and Christmas are rough.
After the second one it gets easier to deal with. Then as the years pass you
really won’t think about the day itself. But you will find yourself bitchy, out of sorts.
And wonder why? Then you think about what day it is and it will dawn on you
this is the day he died. But life will go on. Keep yourself busy doing things you like.
There is always the nay sayers who talk behind your back.
“Well, if I was in her shoes, I wouldn’t be doing that and the answer to that is
LADY,YOU AREN’T IN MY SHOES, and Thank God you aren’t. There are
those who will stare at you because you are laughing. Some times things are
funny in sad situations. It does the soul good to laugh . The main thing after all
that is said and done. Is to take it one day at a time. EVERYDAY.
You can not live next week or tomorrow TODAY.

If you can—sleep on any major decisions. Life will go on and so will you. Just don’t
live in the past, just visit it from time to time......Good Luck. If I can help,
by listening or answering any questions....just ask. Now 25 years later I
can tell you life will go on. Life will be good. And some times God will bless
you twice. He did with me... he gave me the King, with whom I love very much,
and is good to me. But be careful, who you date, and get involved with…
and if he is pushy, run… fast as you can away from the situation..
Wait a couple of years to get married. Get to really know the guy, and
like the first time around… he isn’t going to change with a wedding band on
your finger.. so what you see before is what you get. Make sure he is what you
can live with… I waited 13 years.. you don’t have to wait that long, but 4 years
is a good measure. You be careful, as there are some pretty bad ones out there.
NEVER EVER, EVER…give him money. If he asks, run, run as fast as you can.
Most good guys come along when you aren’t looking for one.

Live your own life, go to dinner with friends, be the male or female, enjoy what
interest you. No woman NEEDS a man, but they can enjoy their company with
no strings attached. A good relationship is when you compliment each other’s life.
Good luck…


Dimple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dimple said...

I am not a widow, and I don't expect to become one anytime soon, but this is full of good advice. Bless you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice. I wonder if you have any advice for the friends of a widow . . . what's helpful, what's not, etc. Having not been in their shoes, I worry about inadvertently saying or doing the wrong thing.

Word Tosser said...

excellent question..A...
it is hard to decide what to do as a friend... and how close of a friend.. best friend forever type, pretty much know.. as they know the widow pretty well inside and out.
For those who are good friends, it is hard to know what to say, and you can say just that.You don't know what to say.. but what to do.. let them know if they need anything.. to ask.. and you will see if it is something you can do.. and tell them you really do mean that.. but then give space.. for about 2 or 3 weeks.. and then take them out to coffee just to talk. Let them talk about anything.. life, her husband.. what ever the subject. Because after 3 weeks, people start to back off... and the emptiness starts. And some times just a movie and coffee, both or either.. is just the ticket. And then you can get a feel how much your friend needs.. weekly girl time, or monthly girl time.. But low keyed times, no pressure are good. And let her talk about her husband. Because some people feel like they shouldn't bring up his name. Just because he died, doesn't mean he is gone from her memory. Good memories. And thanks for not only the question, but for being a good friend who wants to know what you can do.