Saturday, 6 February 2010


I'm not sure if wallowing is exactly the right word for it. But certainly feeling uncharacteristically sorry for myself.

I went into the Christmas period in a very positive frame of mind.
My family were coming to me for the festivities, I had managed to buy gifts for everyone, had organised everything like a military campaign and was very much looking forward to it. And it was a happy time. Even without R, there were fun, games and laughter, and it was a joy to have everyone - particularly the children - around me for a couple of days.

Then they went home. And the snow came back with a vengeance.
The rest of the holidays were mostly spent confined to barracks. Friends who were planning to visit couldn't make it because of the weather, and a trip I had planned also had to be cancelled. Had R been here, it would have been wonderful to have been snowed in together with no work to do, and no means of getting to it in any case – there is always a freezer full of food, a stacked woodpile and a full wine rack - we could have lasted for weeks!
Instead it was a frustrating and not a little lonely time.

I once read on another widow's blog that the 2nd and 3rd years were the hardest. At the time I was still bound up in all my raw-edged pain and shock, and couldn't believe how that could be possible. There was no way it could get any harder.
But I am now starting to understand what she meant.

The only way I can find to explain it is that I have spent the last 18 months grieving entirely for R.

Now it's my turn.

I can finally allow myself to really mourn my lost future.
I can let my guard down long enough to admit how bloody difficult this all is. Not just the fact that I have lost the person I loved most in the world, but also that the day-to-day reality is hard. That shovelling snow on my own makes quite a good workout for a couple of days, but the novelty has very much worn off after a couple of weeks. That it really is sodding unfair when the melting snow brings down all the guttering from the back of the house, sending it crashing through the porch roof. That I’m allowed to cry with frustration when I can’t get the 4x4 started – and the only reason I had kept it was to see me through the snow season. That the day-to-day reality of keeping animals is so relentless when there is only one person to do it – and that person has to work full-time to keep the whole house of cards upright. That there is little joy in planning the next phase of the house renovations on my own. That the apparently cheerful, outwardly-coping person is so tired of feeling sad and lonely on the inside.

That was my mood through most of January.

It didn't help that I had a long and difficult assignment to do for most of the month that prevented me getting outside to do the chores that needed doing out there.

Self-pity isn't pretty, so I kept that to myself.

Happily I seem to have found a path out of the Slough of Despond for now. I have made some decisions, started planning things again, and once more appear to have the energy to deal with problems as they arise.
February would appear to be my month for resolutions.
All that is for another post, though.


  1. i, too, have heard from other widows that the second and third years are very hard. but as you have written, you have made some decisions, have things planned. all in all, you are doing all you can to continue on your path. i hope this month, and all the rest in front of you get easier rather than harder. i keep you in my prayers.

  2. J - I'm glad that you've moved on to mourning the loss of YOUR future, even though that is not easy ... we accept (or rather reach that level of acceptance), the shock wears off, and then, as you say yourself, "What Now?" It is unimaginable - the future now, because the central character from the play that was our lives has been removed from the script ... and so we need to re-write the pages of the future ... by ourselves. Having to deal with guttering, cars, snow etc adds to the fear, reminds us more acutely of the loss ... but when those things have been resolved (and I believe they do teach us that we ARE capable) ... we need to find our identities again, to find our feet again, and to live and laugh again.

    But it is hard ... and frightening ... but exhilerating too <3

  3. @WnS: Thank you for thinking of me. It is good to know.

    @Boo: "But it is hard ... and frightening ... but exhilerating too".
    Yes, it is all those things. Sometimes the rollercoaster effect is exhausting, and I would prefer to ride sedately along the flat for a little longer. But essentially it is becoming an interesting journey.

  4. Good to see you back, J. Snow shovelling has taken on a whole new meaning this year, thanks to Boo. And because there has been so much of it.

    I don't know who said that the 2nd and 3rd years are the worst. Probably . But it's definitely not true -- nothing can compare to the gut-wrenching disorientation and despair of the beginning.

    What you say about beginning to grieve for yourself makes a lot of sense, though. And in a way, that's a good sign. There's a restlessness about it, and the beginnings of a desire to get on with stuff. Even if everything conspires against you, the mood drifts and you can't quite get there, it's still a beginning.

    The recognition that there is a life out there waiting to be led, even if it's a miserable one for now -- that kind of revelation simply can't be underestimated. Go with it.

  5. Probably Marvin the Paranoid Android.

    That was what I meant to say. But it seems he (or at least his HTML) went into a general decline, just before he said it.

  6. Good to hear from you, Roads.

    "The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline."

    That made me laugh a lot, as Douglas Adams always does, and put my whingeing into perspective.
    My natural state is one of optimism. I think restlessness is absolutely the right word for how I feel right now - I do want to get on with it, whatever it is!