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Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

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About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk
 

How grieving changes

16 November 2011

I miss Jane. But when I think of Jane, I think of Jane the way she was the last 10 months of her life. When I see pictures or watch footage of the last 10 months, I get a lot more emotional than when thinking of the Jane I married years ago. That Jane seems so far away. Almost a different person that needs to be mourned separately.

Why? I don't really know. The last year we had together was so incredibly intense. It was filed with nothing but love. My love for her reached a depth I never thought possible. The feeling of being responsible for her, that it was up to me to make her as happy as possible and to keep her safe was rewarding. Yes, in a selfish way, it gave me a purpose. The feeling of being needed by someone you love so much is a very powerful stimulant. It keeps you going when you would otherwise have given up.

And frankly, Jane was just very endearing and cute when she was ill. Yes, it was sad to see her mental capacity decline but on the other hand, she also became more 'cute': she wanted to cuddle all the time, wanted to hold my hand whenever we stepped outside, told me she loved me all the time, trusted me, smiled at me. All the things we sometimes forget to do when we are living busy lives.
This Jane was only Here and Now.
She was not our past and not our future.

I miss caring for Jane. I miss my hand being held. I miss the smile she gave me when we were watching Doc Martin. I miss her. But......

That Jane was ill. I miss that Jane immensely. But to a certain extend, I can accept that she died. That Jane was a different version of my Jane. That Jane was ill. That Jane was dying. The outcome was inevitable. That Jane was always going to be temporary. That Jane was suffering and is no longer suffering now. So I can more or less accept that without anger. Just sadness.

Recently, when thinking of Jane, I have started to think of the healthy, happy Jane I knew for so many years. The vibrant, beautiful, witty, funny and fiercely intelligent woman who stole my heart. And I think of the good times we had. Of the future we had planned. Of all she had to offer to the world. Of what we had together.

This Jane had a future and a past. With me.
This Jane was my life. My future. 

Of what we will never have.

And I cry. And cry. And cry.

And the feeling of incredulity has arrived. I constantly wonder: How the FUCK did this happen to her. To me. To us? What happened?

But mostly: I miss her so much. The future looks so empty. I am not saying I will never meet anyone else. I probably will. But the idea of never having Jane in my future is beyond words.

And I cry. And cry. Last week was absolutely terrible. I was unable to function. I just cried and cried. Did not go to college. I just cried.

I have massive pictures of Jane on my wall. They gave me comfort when I was mourning the ill Jane. Because they reminded me of what she used to look like. They helped me remember the happy, healthy Jane. Now these same pictures make me cry. Because they are not just pictures of Jane anymore. They have become knives of memories that cut so deep. Like they are actively trying to say: LOOK AT THE LIFE YOU ARE MISSING! The pictures are rubbing in the fact that I will never have that again with Jane.

I am worried that this phase of mourning will be much harder to overcome. Much harder to live with. It is easier to accept a sick woman has died than a healthy one.

I am so incredibly lost. So incredibly sad. So incredibly empty.

8 comments:

Julie said...

There are points here that the normal-Julie would pick up on, would want to talk about with you, but none of them are appropriate or have a point. So, instead of my just remaining mute, of my reading and feeling useless, here ... (((M))) ...

Dutchcloggie said...

Thanks for that.

I am well aware of the many flaws in my thinking right now. But that is the problem: my brain and my feelings are miles apart and I don't know which one I should rely more on right now.


Btw, I AM thinking of Barry and the fact that you are having a shitty time of it too. (((J)))

Julie said...

Thanks for that. Just last night my younger brother and I both agreed that Baz is making no progress and will be sent into a Nursing Home probably early in December, not by us but by the rehab unit. We go up there again in 3 hours. This has been a crap year all 'round, really.

Julie said...

I am one of those loopy parents who send their kids up with wall with newspaper cuttings! I have just sent this link to Kirsten, and you might find it a useful read. I did, just for my own situation and trying to remain forward focussed. It is about breast cancer, but not about breast cancer.

http://theconversation.edu.au/breast-cancer-appears-to-cause-brain-injuries-4287

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you had such a miserable, wrenching week. My heart just aches for you and I'm sending you strength and encouragement to get through the days and weeks ahead.

Your thinking is not flawed, nor are your feelings. They are all part of your grief and should be honored as such. Again, I urge you to be gentle with yourself while you heal from your hurt and I offer you the mantra I often use when I'm overwhelmed: "There is no way around it except through it."

[I initially wrote a long comment, but deleted it. I empathize with what you're feeling and wanted let you know that by sharing my experience of losing my partner, but everything I wrote sounded like one of the idiotic things people said to me after Sherry died. Many people were kind and most of them meant well, but sometimes the things they said just pissed me off instead. I actually made a list of the most offensive, callous remarks people made while trying to comfort me and called it, "Stupid Things People Say." I now understand that they were trying to be helpful but just didn't know how to go about it. However, that lesson stayed with me and I try to remember it when I'm offering comfort to others. Hence, the deletion.]
--Tamela

hodders said...

Hiya. I recognise the different persons you describe - well person / unwell person memories. Can't offer anything clever to say - I leave that for others, for example to Tamela above. Just got to go through the grief I suppose. Not sure which is worse, the 2-4 weeks of continuous grief after a death, or the stabbing flashbacks that you describe, that seemingly keep coming at random moments. For how long??
As always, very well observed.

Didi said...

Oef Marieke, wat kan je goed beschrijven hoe het met je gaat! Je hebt er geen barst aan, maar zonder het echt te kunnen voel ik met je mee, ook omdat je het zo helder kunt beschrijven. In de war..? Gevoel en verstand niet bij elkaar..? Vast.. maar in bovenstaand verhaal lijk je beide dingen toch goed op een rijtje te hebben... Het is alleen zo zwaar, naar en alleen.. lees ik eruit.. Hou vol..! Didi

Dutchcloggie said...

Thanks for all the nice comments. As most of you will know, it really helps to know others understand and that I am not talking complete bullsh*t :-)

I sometimes wonder: If I could stop grieving and feel better today, but it would mean forgetting about Jane, would I take that option? The expected answer is of course NO. But I am not sure. There is another blog post in that I think.

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