During the period of five years being a carer to my husband Laurie, I thought I had prepared myself for his impending death. However, this of cause was proved wrong emotionally, spiritually and physically. I did not expect the pain that eventuated as my life changed. I was lonely with the loss of a husband, a friend, protector and confidant after fifty years of marriage. I have my two daughters, close family and friends supporting me in every aspect of my grieving.
Fearing my own capabilities I drifted into a debilitating sadness referring to myself as a square peg in a round hole. I just did not fit anywhere and struggled to find my identity.
Life became a haze, nothing seemed to matter. One day while out walking I realised I was no longer a wife and the word widow had negative connotations.
I feared the future and I began retreating into a sadness preferring to be alone. Disruptive sleeping and eating patterns created exhaustion that lead to what I felt was inappropriate behaviour.
I attended a bereavement group and amid the many tears, love and understanding I was enabled to move forward accepting my grief. The months passed slowly and adjustment to the changes in my life was something I had to do in my own way and time. Comfort came with sharing passed events and loving memories lightened the load helping to clear the confusion, doubts, fears and loss of faith.
The special occasions like birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and the date of his passing were testing times. The family gathered for each occasion celebrating each event with as much normality as possible. It was hard. The table was set with an empty space and his favourite bottle of Coriole. The celebration was stilted but gradually the sadness turned to laughter as we shared the great times we had together. Socialising was difficult as attending events without a partner I felt isolated and alone truly a square peg in a round hole. I was grateful to leave and seek the safety of my home.
Sharing loving memories and qualities of Laurie’s life brought a greater resolve, time being the great healer.