I recently received an e-mail from a family friend & blog reader asking me some questions that were on his mind and I thought, instead of a personal reply, I would answer them here...
Q: How do you think you're doing with grief, loss and loneliness?
A: I really don't know -- I mean some days I think I do fine, others: not so good. Mostly, I miss Bob so much that it is hard to even get up in the morning. But I do. I drag myself up. The dog is a good motivator with this.
I often feel lost. I mostly feel lonely. It seems the world has become an alien place where I no longer fit in. I often ask myself, who am I? why am I still here? and what on earth do I do without Bob? I feel as if a whole half of me is missing. My identity is shattered. And I have lost my purpose in life.
This is the hardest thing I've ever been through: harder than the stroke, the lawsuit, the daily grind of caregiving. Harder I think because I no longer have hope, and before there was always hope, and something to look forward to and work toward. Now, the only thing I look forward to is the day that I may leave this earth and be with Bob again. I no longer fear death, but will welcome it with open arms when my time comes.
Q: What do you think caused the tears at the yoga class?
A: The teacher and also my yoga guru friend said the many people cry at their first yoga class. They say this is because the yoga positions release "toxins" and "pent up stresses" and emotions come flooding to the surface,
The yoga class was strangely intimate with low lights and soft music. Some of the positions we were put in were almost weirdly "sexual" in nature, and perhaps that's why folks like yoga. For me, it brought back feelings/memories I haven't had in a long time. I found myself missing Bob, missing his touch, missing those feelings of intimacy, and mourning the fact that I will never feel his touch again.
Q: Are you still seeing a therapist or going to group sessions for grief?
A: Yes, I see both a therapist and psychologist-- unfortunately my therapist, just when I was getting comfortable with her, has been offered a job in Germany and so I start with a new therapist this coming week. I am thinking about joining another group session when the next round begins, but haven't gotten the schedule yet and don't know what or when they are available. I see a therapist about every two weeks, the doctor every two months. The doc gives me lorazapam, and just doubled my dose. Not sure if it is really working much.... though it does help with calming me down when I drive.
I still meet with a few folks from the spouse grief group as we go out to lunch once a month. This is a nice diversion, but I feel often like an outsider. I am the youngest in the group and conversations seem to revolve around the others' children, grandchildren, vacations and family get-togethers.... They also talk a lot about their hearing aids and other health problems! Only when you get someone, aside, one on one, does anyone bring up the lost loved one....
Q: What do you do for entertainment or occupying your "free" time?
A: All I seem to have is "free time"! Some days really do seem endless and it seems all I do is count the hours until bedtime... I do walk the dog, I read some, sit on the back porch and listen to the birds and wind chimes and watch the sky. We have many ancient oak trees, draped with Spanish moss, in our neighborhood and at night their branches are hauntingly beautiful against the dark sky. I watch way too much TV. At night, all three of us pile on the couch: Kona, Ripley and me. Kona stretched like a long furry snake by my side, head on my knees. Ripley curled on my chest, paw extended around my shoulder. I am swallowed under this pile of snuggling furry love and I find it very comforting and we often fall to sleep like this with the TV on.
I have given up taking Kona to nursing homes as I found it more depressing than anything... I am taking Kona out with me more often, grocery shopping, etc., and we are working on working better together as a team.
Q: Have you thought about writing again?
A: Yes, I have thought a lot about writing again, which I suppose is always to first step toward a new writing project. I have been reading some "how to" books on memoirs, just to get some ideas on format etc. I don't think I want to write a "caregiver" memoir but want to focus more on the lawsuit, the tragedy of what happened to Bob, and the injustice of the whole thing. That interspersed with our love story. I am getting some ideas but have not put "pen to paper" yet. I feel, very deeply, that Bob was murdered by those nurses and believe his story needs to be told.
A friend had sent me a journal to write in shortly after Bob's death and I just made the first entry in it yesterday. It's a start.
I know I'm not blogging as much as I used to --- feels like there is no longer much to say and I feel, sometimes, that no one really wants to hear about me and my grief anymore....
Q: Tell me about life...
A: My life is no where near what it used to be --- but I think, we are all here, in this life, to learn something, to teach something and to grow. I have learned a lot from Bob. I have learned what true love is and what is the most important thing in life --- love. I do wonder what new lessons I need to learn, or what I need to teach, in the time I have left on this side....