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Hoping the act of simply writing this post will help the topic title! Like everyone here, I am experiencing deep grief over the loss of my anchor, my confidant, my supporter, my beautiful mother 2 months ago from lung cancer. Just when I thought I was getting ‘over it’, my husband’s bladder cancer which we endured/survived last year has returned to his lungs. Whilst it’s early days, the prospect of losing him as well is too much to bear. So rightly or wrongly, I write the below as a coping piece should his prognosis get worse so I can deal with it. (Having said that, the journey with cancer and what I perceive to be the issue is also a type of grieving even if they survive!)
I recently read Susan Sandberg’s book “OPtion B”. She lost her husband suddenly and wrote the book to help other through the grieving process.
Her points are good-in line with many other people’s writing on the subject. However, most of the important healing exercises, involve people. She has a massive network!
I on the other hand, live in a rural community with no kids of my own (2 step children in their 20’s).
No family in the state I live in. Husband’s family (Mother and Brother and my husbands’ kids) are useless with a capital U. The whole family is on the spectrum so not a hell of a lot of support to be found there, we barely speak to eachother. My father (no real relationship) is also on the spectrum/emotionally defunct. Friends are fewer due to Covid and my remote location so I dont see them very often. I also stopped trying with so many as my Husband gave me such a full life and I thrive on deep, meaningful connections which rules out so many people!
My issue is, I feel utterly alone and helpless with the prospect of being alone or simply without the 2 most important people in my life. The friends I do have and my interstate sister-in-law on my side, seem too busy with kids, work, etc that I don’t even feel I can tell them of my grief and my husband’s news. I think it’s common to feel you are a burden to people if all you seemingly do is cry and be ‘down’. (Nina Simone said it better!) I certainly feel this and more acutely when I do open up to someone and then….nothing. No follow up. I see a therapist once a fortnight for an hour but that’s hardly a comfort for the time in between. I had to give up my dream job during Mums decline and subsequently have lost any sense of joy and hope. Finding it very hard to motivate myself to exercise, be creative (was a painter) as there is nothing and no one I can find to make me feel any more than ‘just okay’. IS everything up to me to fix?
In addition to the socially-motivated healing practices of: making connections, ‘getting out there’ and seeking comfort from your ‘circle’ etc , Sandberg also talked about finding new purpose and gratitude as well as envisaging a bright(er) future. Maybe It’s all too sudden to think about conquering these things but I feel these are near impossible and just make me angry. The only real support and joy I had in life-my mum and husband are now in the balance, I have no clue where to find new reserves of these life giving elements. Maybe I’m too selfish to want to help others in this emotional state, be grateful for the ‘times we had’ and think of a bright future?? AM I missing something? She makes it all sound so achievable. Is it just my thinking that is the problem? Or is it just f^^ing hard doing it solo? What else can make you feel better when you feel, in your soul, alone and blank?
I’m only 41 and thought this was going to be the best decade… I could really do with some ideas as to where and how to find strength.
Thanks everyone and apologies for the long winded story!..
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