A Head Full of Funk

The Inconsolable Widow

The Inconsolable Widow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are certain things that only widows know. And like any exclusive group, we like to keep our knowledge to ourselves.

This is mainly because people outside the group don’t have a clue what we’re going through and rather than get irate about their reactions (last post notwithstanding), we don’t bother them with the detail. But really, there’s an underground revolution going on. Widows are communicating via closed fora and private coffee meets all across the world. It’s like the Resistance, with cappuccinos and Kleenex.

At the risk of being cast-out, I’m going to share one pearl of received widow-wisdom. It is known as…’The Six Month Low’.

It is the point in widowhood when friends have stopped their cross-country pilgrimages to see you, their daily pep-texts have dwindled to once a week. This isn’t a criticism. Lives must go on and just because M was a central part of my life, I can’t expect the loss to be felt with the same sense of perpetuity by anyone else.

Six months is the point at which you feel at your lowest ebb. You have to reach into the pit of your resources for the last remnant of strength to pull you through.

Except, here’s the thing – for me, it didn’t happen. Six months was no worse than four months or nine months. In fact, I’m about to propose a new timescale theory: how about eighteen months? Because actually, today, as I approach eighteen months without M, I’m feeling a mixture of rage and heartbreak, and wondering if I can carry on.

I’m so fragile you could break me with a breath, and so angry I could kill someone. I’m feeling the loss in that space between my shoulder blades and in the joints of my fingers. My bottom lip won’t stop wobbling. I’m scrabbling about in the pit of my resources and emerging with nothing.

I am aware this is liable to change. After all, two days ago I was all for living it up. I guess what I’m trying to say is that timescales don’t work. It’s not an illness from which one recovers. This will go on and on.

Today I’ve got a head full of funk. Tomorrow it may be the musical type instead.

9 thoughts on “A Head Full of Funk

  1. I totally agree. I keep thinking I should be feeling better not worse but memories keep flooding back to bite me in the ass when I think I’m on the road to recovery. Today I followed Chelsea to Lancaster to her new home. I cleaned and tidied for her and then came home alone. Well I say alone but I had devil dog with me. Who actually was a saint today. I used more fuel as I had air conditioning on the whole journey as I was worryin about him passing out. I was freezing. I think he’s going to be a good companion in time. Once this biting and launching himself at me has passed. He almost knocked my drink out of my hand 9 times tonight. Oh well. This is another loss and another journey in life. I’m thinking of joining a ramblers group. Do they drink? Xx

    • Matums – the ramblers – probs not. Half a bitter maybe, in a local pub. I’m half cut so am having trouble seeing the screen, but all I’ll say is NO, don’t join the ramblers. But that#s just me. XX

  2. So sorry my friend. 😦 In my former station in life, as a funeral service professional, there was what we termed ‘the void’ which was the drastic drop-off, often occurring about 3-5 days after the funeral…this was the time we as professionals were encouraged to ‘look in on’ the primary survivor, usually a widow. The void describes the hollow, alone-ness time…the flurry of making arrangements, handling calls, visiting with relatives coming to be with you, and the funeral or burial rites ARE ALL DONE. The relatives and friends have left to go back home. The phone may have even ceased in its ringing entirely. The world and time were quiet at that point. That emphasizes an acute awareness of the loss, as the widow finds herself home alone. We would try to make a house call to deliver the death certificates that would by then be arriving in our office; the widow or kin would be anxious to get them so we would save her a trip and time when we could. This was also a chance for us to spend a little time offering to help with small tasks such as shopping or a ride to the doctor’s or whatever. If it appeared that some helpful ‘aftercare’ resources or materials of reference may be in order, we offered them gently. Mind you, not all funeral homes do this, nor are they able to. But in a small town, it was do-able. Of course we understand that what you are speaking of in this post is much more complicated and it really ought to go without saying, that you are going to have your own unique recovery timetable. And I hesitate to use that word recovery because I know that you will never recover what was lost. It is about the only word to use though when speaking of this sort of recuperation. You have to know that this probably will affect you like this for many more years. And no one with a real care and genuine interest in your well-being would dare to hold you to a timeline or avoid you because they know you are grieving. Try not to hold yourself to any specific guidelines or timetables. But do try to seek help if you feel you cannot rise up from lasting bouts of depression or carry on with day-to-day functions without neglecting to care for yourself or your child. I would hope that anyone who reads this would know that I am speaking sincerely as a friend who cares and that I make my commentary with empathy and compassion.

    • I cannot believe this. Had no such after care, or ‘fore-care’ from our funeral directors. I guess it varies worldwide, town-wide. I felt part of a machine. Was told nothing, had very little choice in anything. The guy who came to discuss our plans for the funeral was pissed off because I wanted M dressed in his own clothes – the guy wanted him in a gown because of ’emissions’. Death certificate was added trauma.
      I know you always speak with sincerity and with empathy, no need to even say that. Thank you for your continued support, friend. XXX

      • Okay, so when I get by to visit you, you point him out to me. I’ll take care of him. The bloody insensitive bastard.
        For his misdeeds, I feel anger. For your suffering, only sadness and tears.

  3. Oh God, please don’t tell me this…. i’m facing 12 months 24th August and have been coping fine, like you 6 months was ok just another day, as was my first wedding anniversity alone!, i’ve ditched smoking and drinking bought a treadmill – which i am actually using! – doing my best to shift the 10lbs of wine fat i’ve developed in 11 months… and spending money like water on the house now i own it! well the Bank and I do but you know what i mean… new central heating system, new multi-fuel stove, new blinds, new front garden from weeds and moss to green slate and nice plant pots and new flooring for entire house, OH and new light fittings, and new wardrobe for horrible 16 year old…. As well as new bras for me! I really don’t want to feel that dreadful sinking how can i go on feeling that dogged me for months after Steve died suddenly, the wishing it was me instead of him, the falling down on a dog walk and sobbing into the mud…. please please please tell me I won’t feel like that again…. I beg you

    • Karen, if it’s any consolation. a friend who suffered sudden death of his fiancé ten years ago has just emailed to say the following (I quote):
      “You know what, you’re not feeling any worse than you did any earlier you’ve just got used to feeling a bit more positive. It does that, comes and goes. But the time between gets longer.”
      Makes me feel marginally better…Love, hugs etc to you my love. XXX

  4. We’re all still thinking of you, even though we say it less often. And I expect many people, like me, read your blog, are amazed by your strength (and enviable prose…) and are longing for you to come out the other end of the tunnel xxx

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