Journaling for the Newly Widowed

24 Feb

Journaling was extremely important to me when I was first widowed. I would write like I was talking to my husband, cry and cry, but then I would feel better after getting it all out. I also posted online with a support group. Today I looked back at some of my old posts and wanted to share them because I am at a different stage now, but I would like to share what I was feeling those first six months. Nothing will ever compare to that pain I felt when I first lost him. It was the worst day of my life and the days following were not much better. So for those newly widowed I just wanted to share so you are not alone in feeling these things. Also, I encourage you to journal, it is healing (also pretty painful), but worth it. It helps to feel like you can communicate with your spouse, you get your feelings and tears out and on a bad days down the road when you feel like you have gotten nowhere, you can look back and see how far you have come.

Here are some of my posts:

Aug. 18, 2010 (Just over a month after my husband passed away)

Ug, I went shopping today for a friends birthday. It took me forever to find a present and actually leave the store. Half the time I felt like I was in a different realm from everyone else.

I kept thinking how I bet most people had no idea how f’d their life could be in a moment, and I was jealous of their ignorance. I wished that I could be lost in the mundane details of everyday life and little worries like the people shopping around me. I wished I could be upset over something stupid and have it be the worst thing going on in my life.

Nothing compares now, and my husband is always on my mind.

I was always a very optimistic person, and I couldn’t understand how people could be so dark and pessimistic before he died.

I could understand today though.

Hopefully tomorrow I won’t be able to. It hasn’t been like this the whole time, but today has been particularly suck.

10/09/10

I was at home depot today. A little girl was carrying around paint rollers and her mom and dad were having a great time with her. She was adorable. I had to look away. I can’t help but imagine my husband and I in their place. It’s a strange thing. We were such planners. He wanted to wait 4 more years to make sure he would be around as much as possible, and not be gone on deployments etc. I was pushing for a little earlier. It is really hard to accept that it just isn’t going to happen. I have a hard time believing that I will ever be in the place of that couple without him….I just want him to be the other half of the picture….and I am feeling sorry for myself. Thanks for your indulgence.

10/21/10 3 months

I am a bit late on this, but oh well. So at 3 months to the day I was at a baby shower. I thought I might be a mess, and it turns out I was okay. I was worn out that night and cried a little, but the day was fun and I got to catch up with a lot of old friends.

I am about to start two classes (online) and just got offered a job yesterday, which I am very excited about (that is in a different post). This is good because I don’t know what to do with my time really.

It’s still up and down, but more controlled….well I did cry on the plane just a few days ago when the guy next to me asked me about my husband, if we had kids, then I said just dogs, and he asked if kids were something we wanted in the near future (ENTER TEARS HERE). He was an older guy and very nice, but definitely too many questions. (I was avoiding throwing out the “i am a widow” thing at first obviously).

At first I was taking my ring off and on, and now I wear it all the time. I am wondering though, for work, if it would be better to not wear it so that type of conversation doesn’t come up all the time. But then I don’t want creepo guys to think I am single either…:P

Still trying to figure out where I am going to live, no rush of course, I can stay here for about another year. So just wondering if I should buy our house or a new one.

So overall at three months, I am doing okay. I see friends a lot, I have made it through several baby showers, one memorial, and have my first wedding coming up. I am overall enjoying the majority of the day, but have random bouts of crying and missing him intensely, but I have managed to keep most of that at home and more evening time, instead of the video store (which I have done), etc.

Hope everyone else is getting along okay. I can’t believe it’s been three months…but life keeps on going, the earth it still spinning and the sun is still coming up. I’m still trudging along and trying to see the beauty in nature, and believing that good things will happen again. Getting the random call offering me the job was a great boost to my morale and encourages me to keep focusing on the positive.

11/11/10 Our Anniversary

Thank again for all your suggestions and thoughts. So I did go up by myself, and it was tough. I cried all night before, like I hadn’t in a while. Then I drove up and was okay until I got close and then cried and cried. I sat there for about an hour. Took pictures of his new headstone with his card and flowers for our anniversary. A Vietnam vet came up and talked to me (I must have looked quite pathetic). He asked if this was my brother or dad, and when I said “my husband” he said “oh, God.” Then he said it was good I came up for Veterans Day, and I said I was up for our Anniversary, he said, “oh God.” He was so honest, and I knew that he could totally understand, yet he said that even with everyone he has lost he could not imagine losing his partner. I thought that was very sweet of him, considering how much he has probably experienced.
He had not only been in Vietnam but lost his son 3 years ago at 20 years old in Iraq. He said he mentors returning vets with PTSD, which helps him deal with his own from his experience. I was really glad he came and talked to me, and I wonder if my husband had a hand in it.

So I finally left, and cried about halfway home (about 1.5 hours) and then got a phone call from a friend. I could barely hear them and they talked so much I couldn’t get a word in, so then I was annoyed and no longer crying. So that was good.

Then a couple good friends brought me flowers and took me to dinner. It was really good. I came home, talked a bit, then took a bath and went to bed.

The ring thing didn’t happen. I guess I am still back and forth about it. It’s just not time yet. I am doing much better today, but I am way behind in homework. So I better get to it. I hope everyone is having an okay week and Veteran’s Day.

11/15/10 (4 months)
Tomorrow is 4 months that he has been gone. Sometimes I feel like I want time to speed up, maybe just so I know what is going to happen. He always teased me about that, I would always try to get him to tell me what my presents and surprises were beforehand. I miss him a lot, and I feel like as time is going on it is getting harder to see how my life is going to be without him. I can’t imagine an actual relationship with someone, I try, but it seems impossible for some reason. I notice guys a lot, but when it comes to anything other than that, I am intensely uncomfortable and awkward. Maybe I am just looking for him, expecting to recognized him suddenly and ask him where he has been. Eh, so still moving along in this process….So rings are still on, they help to keep unwanted guys away, and avoid bad feelings from other people….and I love my ring, it seems like a waste to leave it in a box. But I do feel like it is also starting to feed some denial…

Other times, I feel like a free bouy in choppy waves. Just floating, in a bit of a haze, but still getting somewhere.

This month I have started exercising and eating better. Some of you may be experiencing what I am, where you look at yourself almost out of body, and think “how did I get here?” Of course that statement applies to more than just being in shape in our situation. Anyway, so I have started eating clean and working out. It has made a great difference in motivation, my outlook, and gives me something to focus on. Here are my inspiration and workout gurus website: www.toneitup.com . They have free videos, tips, etc on youtube also.

Events….
This has been a tough month. Our anniversary, his headstone being placed, first trip to Arlington, first wedding, birthday party, engagement party, more friends announcing they are pregnant….phew.
These were all tough, and I felt sometimes like they were sucking me back out like a rip current, and sometimes I just had to let the current take me so I could gain my strength again.

School…wow it is hard to focus. I am not sure if it is specifically because of widow brain, or more of the lack of a schedule…although I am glad to be doing something, it makes me feel better about myself.

Work…got offered a job I was suppose to start just as everything happened. It hasn’t started yet, but I am glad that I will have that to look forward to. I think it is going to be quite the challenge to start working full time again after not working 40 hours a week in a long time.

Bubble baths, books, inspirational quotes, friends (the real ones) and widows

All these things have helped me get this far. I have a close handful of friends that truly are a Godsend. I feel very lucky to have them.
Quotes, I have always loved them, and that has not changed. I love posting them on facebook and they motivate me. Other widows…I am incredibly fortunate to have a group of widows here where I live. We are all very similar because of what our husbands did for work, and everyone is a sudden death. Just seeing them living life is the greatest benefit of having them here.

Challenges and let downs….
Friends, the not real kind. Friends that you thought were close, but really just seem to be uncomfortable, or don’t want the widow cloud around them. I bit frustrating considering I was there for them, but luckily I have plenty of other great friends, and they see it too.

Guys, the creepy kind. Yeah, some guy friends are real punks. One in particular comes to mind. Ug. He is annoyingly persistent and oblivious. Went to dinner like I have with other guy friends, yeah, I don’t think that was what he was thinking. Now he is getting screened. Yeah, I have the right NOT to answer his call.

Tears… still happening, not as frequent though. But it seems when they do it is for a longer period of time and a more intense pain. Here’s a weird observation, coffee seems to encourage these episodes…so I have weaned myself off.

I am happy a lot of the time. Especially when I am with friends. I can once again appreciate nature, the changing leaves, the sunset sky, the birds, and even the ridiculously early Christmas decorations…instead of the dark apathy I felt before.

So I will stop rambling. I hope this helps some of you out there, no matter where you are.
Hang in there.

Books recommendations:

A Grief Observed (I am still reading this) C.S. Lewis

The Shack, Paul Young

Widows Wear Stilettos

Proverbs 31:10-31

11/15/10

I think all situations have their specific hardships, beyond the obvious one we all share.
I just remember staring out the window, wanting to go see him, so confused, my brain wouldn’t let me understand. Why couldn’t I go to the hospital? I needed to be there to make him feel better. But he was never in the hospital. He had already died, about 3 hours before I even knew about it and instantly.
I didn’t see him for days. It drove me crazy the entire time, I remember just being in shock, staring and staring out the window, waiting for him to come home, or for me to be able to go see him.

I am sure it was hard for people to see me basically out of mind.

When we finally got to go, I had to sign paperwork, etc. I was about to scream at everyone. He was just in the next room, and obviously he was waiting for me. It was almost like as time was going on it was diminishing my chances of bringing him back.
When I saw him and his casket I literally ran to it. And cried and cried. I couldn’t bring him back, I couldn’t help, but I did feel a little better that he wasn’t waiting anymore. I felt much better to be with him, and if they would have let me I probably would have climbed right in and said “see ya, I am going wherever he is going”.

But I didn’t. I just left a note with everything I wanted to say or him to know, in his hand.

Hang in there,

Youngwidow26

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3 Responses to “Journaling for the Newly Widowed”

  1. codemom March 6, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Youngwidow26, I have to tell you this touched me so much. Hearing/seeing the changes that you have gone through on this journey just makes me feel I am not alone.
    Ten months for me tomorrow and I still haven’t been able to journal. I am so afraid to unleash the pain. Maybe it’s better to let it go, as painful as it may be.

    • YoungWidow26 March 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      Thank you for the reply. I am so glad to see your comments, and it makes me feel that I am not alone to hear from you. It means a lot to know that you are reading. Journaling is scary sometimes, and often just too exhausting to even start. But once I start writing it usually flows out, along with tears, but I truly do think it helps me heal. I would love to know if you try it. 🙂

  2. izzy April 18, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Youngwidow26….Thank you! There’s still hope for me after all. Tomorrow is the 50th day since my beloved passed and seeing the changes you’ve made thru this new chapter, gives me hope…

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