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Stuck in Neutral


teriw

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Having just passed the one-year mark and just returning from what was a milestone and really super trip overseas with Bill's family, I'm feeling so stuck. I know part of it is because I'm not working -- earnestly seeking work, but it's not the best of times, as we all know. This past week has been so difficult. I'm very low-key, low-energy, and sad, but not crazy emotional. In fact, I've hardly cried at all. I felt more at home in England than I do here -- way more. While I was away, I felt so strong. I was actually anxious to come back and get on with some things, including working on Bill's book. That all disappeared practically the moment I returned.

I have good friends, a wonderful church, etc. Yet, there is a loneliness that is indescribable. I miss Bill more than I can ever express, and still don't think I've quite accepted that he's gone. But I also am just feeling very solitary -- like that polar bear floating on the iceberg (not to be overly dramatic or anything). I guess with no major milestones ahead, I'm feeling it deeper than I had. There is a sense of not belonging anywhere anymore -- always feeling like an invited guest.

How do you find "home" again?

Not sure what the heck to do next...hoping for some pearls of wisdom...I hate being depressing...it's so...well, depressing.

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Sorry Terri-- no pearls of wisdom to be had here as I feel pretty much the same way. The smallest thing seems to be overwhelming. I am just so sick of doing this all alone. It's hard to go to work and deal with that stress, then deal with parenting and trying to run a house, pay bills, etc.-- I feel I'm barely holding it all together. I am not feeding my kids well, we eat out way too much because I'm not up to cooking (you know it's bad when your kids say "not again" to going out to eat). I hate being this way. I want him back.

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Teri,

I'm sorry you're feeling so down.

I understand.

The longer Harry is gone, the more I miss him. I'm still waiting for him to come home. Waiting to wake up from this nightmare.

Wish there was something I could say to help, but I'm stumped.

Praying for you,

Nova

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Teri,

You've always been very kind to me and though our losses are different, I still want to respond. First of all, you do have future milestones. Your next birthday, your parents 50th anniversary and one year on a job that you love!

You are very artistic, and it must be difficult to inspire creativity while you are grieving so deeply. Fine, you have other talents. I had a college professor tell me that on average we change careers five times in our lifetimes. You seem so compassionate, I can see you mentoring others less fortunate than ourselves. Volunteer until you acquire employment!

One of the last things my Dad said to me was "you need a better job!". Two months later my perfect job fell in my lap. I help the homeless, the disadvantaged and the hungry and if I could afford it, I'd do it for no salary. I'm kept so busy helping other people during my week, I'm content that I'm serving a purpose. Whether we realize it or or not, caring people have the goal to serve to achieve. Get busy Teri, your talents are needed, you just need to find where. Easier said than done I know, but your heart will lead you.

It's the weekends that I have a problem with. If I didn't have to get up every week day to help others, I would have crawled in that proverbial hole and allowed myself to dig deeper into my depression.

You have a beautiful soul Teri. Don't let it go to waste. Get out there! There are people who need you.

Come to Michigan, I'll keep you busy!

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(((Ry and Nova)))

I hate that so many people can identify, because that means so many people are going through the same thing.

Sheri -- thank you for the encouraging note. I happen to agree with everything you said (about volunteering and giving), and congratulate you on your new career. It sounds perfect.

I think this has just been another step forward on the "acceptance" path for me -- a particularly hard one. Of course, it's still a path I'm resisting. I went out with my G-Girls last night and they helped me realize that coming home was a bit like losing Bill all over again. They were right.

I just read something that made me take a step back and see my blessings, and remind me that a lot of "joy" is up to me. It was on our site here:

http://www.lungevity.org/l_community/vi ... hp?t=36841

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Teri, Ry and Nova,

That feeling of lost, that feeling of "I want my ______" and not knowing what to fill in the blank is a part of the process.

It's a painful process - but it can be made better by working through the issues of who you are without your loved one.

Having been exactly where you all are at, I can tell you - it will get better...but not without your help. You have to accept that each person's days are numbered here on earth and that God doesn't make mistakes. It's a hard and bitter pill to swallow.

Teri - for you - it's been a year. I didn't feel at home in my skin without Mike for much longer than that. I didn't know who I was, or worse yet, where I belonged. I believe singleness is a gift from God. Singleness is a calling. Most people feel the great need to connect to someone. When we have been connected like that - and we lose them - the gapping hole is HUGE.

Eventually - with great willingness to embrace the future, you will find "home" again. It may be in your singleness, it may be with a new partner...but nonetheless...you will get comfortable inside your skin again. But you make it happen by not focusing on the past.

For me - I had to leave message boards like this until I healed. I knew what caused me pain and I refused to go there, literally or figuratively until I was strong enough to handle it.

I chose my thoughts carefully, knowing that some things were too painful to dwell on.

Time truly does heal, if you are not picking at the scabs. Effective grieving takes place when you know when to open old wounds.

The power of choice is the greatest power we have. Use it wisely and you will someday find yourself "content".

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Teri I got nothin but hugs and Prayers right now. Been standing in the exact same spot for almost 2 and a half years now. ALl i can say is I can relate completely.(((((((Everybody)))))))))

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Teri:

Your are not "stuck in neutral." This is merely a pause for reflection and to gather strength before moving on to the next phase of your life.

All of us experience "pauses" before moving on. Your analogy is good though: Whether it's a vehicle or life, you can't shift gears without going through neutral--even if you have an automatic transmission! :D)

So just hang in there, Teri et al, because it's definitely going to get better... just not as quickly as you all would like--as I remember too well from the death of my sister.

Affectionately,

Carole

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I don't post often anymore because I feel that I really have little to ofer. I seem to have fallen behind the times. Still when I see a post like yours Teri I feel the need to respond.

It takes time. I know you have heard that over and over again. It sounds simple but it really isn't. Time for me was nearly 5 years and at times I still feel that disconnected feeling after almost 6 years. Part of you wants to move forward but a larger part of you doesn't. That is the part that still can't find a way without Bill. If you move forward it feels as if you will lose what little you have left of him.

Ry you said it best in a post a few months ago. You have to rebuild your life from the ground up. Everything you have ever known has changed, the only way to survive is to change yourself too. Accepting that your loved one is gone is a hard thing but accepting that he will never be back is the hardest. It is that feeling of waiting. It feels like if you just wait long enough without going forward or if you find some key that is missing, he will be back and you can pick up your life where it left off. Something has to happen to shake you out of that time warp. It could be something simple or something earth shaking. In my case it was the death of my ex husband.

I was just starting to see daylight again when he died. I felt myself slipping again but my grandchildren needed me. They were faced with the worse heartbreak of their young lives and they needed me to lean on. I had to be strong for them. I saw my grandson so afraid to do anything that made him happy for even one minute. He didn't want to be happy without his Paw Paw. I tried to tell him that he had to be happy for Denis' sake because he had loved him so much he would want him to be happy. In telling him that I saw that I had been doing the very thing I warned him about. I couldn't face being happy without Johnny. I felt like if I laughed or felt good that I was betraying the love we had for one another. In trying to help my grandson I helped myself.

There are just so many fazes of grief and they don't all fall into a pattern or a time frame. Even now I can remember something and the tears come. It doesn't matter if it is a happy of sad memory if they hit me just right I cry and feel down for awhile. Life goes on but it is not the same and never will be. In so many ways that is heartbreaking but slowly you will learn that depending on yourself is not always such a bad thing. It is just the special touches and words that can never be replaced that leaves you longing for what was.

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My heart goes out to all of you who have lost loved ones. I told someone that in a recent fight with my husband, I cruely said that it didn't matter if I lived or died--my family (including him) would grieve for a little while and then go on with their lives. I then recalled that after saying that I remembered posts that you all have written and the profound sadness that seems to never end for you. I said I don't know what that's about. I still don't but it is a testament to the person you loved and lost. I do believe, though, that their love for you endures even through death and their spirits will rejoice everytime you make a step forward. I believe grief is like so many issues we struggle through in our lives. It's not a once and done thing. Sooner or later, some little or big thing will trigger us and we'll stumble again. It's not how many times or how hard we stumble that counts, it's that each and every time we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and start again.

My warmest wishes for peace for all of you.

Judy in Key West

P.S. Ry, I believe you are the only one in this thread with dependent children. I believe that is a very mixed bag--the children offer a reason to live, to get up in the morning, to keep putting one foot ahead of the other. But being a single parent is hard and doing it while grieving the loss of a partner has to be awful.

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"CaroleHammett"]Your are not "stuck in neutral." This is merely a pause for reflection and to gather strength before moving on to the next phase of your life.

All of us experience "pauses" before moving on. Your analogy is good though: Whether it's a vehicle or life, you can't shift gears without going through neutral--even if you have an automatic transmission! :D)

I like this -- it makes sense to me. Another wise woman wrote me privately to say that the thing about neutral, is that I'm not in reverse -- she was right, and I'm not in reverse. Guess what? I finished my first draft of the introduction to Bill's book -- no doubt the easiest task of the project, but an important task nonetheless.

Moments of joy -- keep seeking those moments of joy. It will get better, but I do believe a lot of that is in our control. We've all known people who stay stuck in sorrow or bitterness, and those who move through it and find joy, regardless of their particular loss. I'm determined to be one of the later.

I'm sorry for all of us going through this.

Many hugs and thanks to all,

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Hi, Teri, and thanks for the kudos (both earlier and above), but my hat's still off to all of you who have been left behind for the strength and endurance you've exhibited. You're my super-heroes!

And more importantly: Congratulations on finishing your first draft intro to Bill's book!

Affectionately,

Carole

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Teri,

Oh how I know what you mean about being stuck in neutral. I feel as if I am a ship lost at sea. I am going around in circles unable to get out of the fog. I have no idea what direction I should be going in. I know that I have not completely accepted the fact that Alan is gone, and not coming back. There are times I will call my home number to retrieve messages, and I almost expect Alan to answer the phone. When the grief does hit the physical pain is almost paralyzing. I have heard enough that with time things will get better, right now I don't believe any of it. The wound it too deep. I am far from accepting that this is how my life is going to be. My therapist and I have lots of work to do!!!

Hugs to all of us who are walking this unwanted journey.

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To all of you... I don't have any magic words of wisdom... my Mom is still very much missing daddy 4 years later... she keeps telling me she misses him more now than before.

I can only say to you, what I have said to her.... "how fortunate you were to have that type of love"... I know you miss it and the loss is huge, but, the other end of the spectrum would be to never have experienced that deep devotion" I am so sorry for all you pain... I wish you all peace. Love, Sharon

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