Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough.

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That’s me, that is.

Perhaps it’s my hormones that are making me irascible as a cat, but that’s me there, a squatting sumo just waiting for a fight.

I’ll take anyone on, especially if they have an opinion on my grief and how I choose to deal with it. But no-one is immune. That Matt Baker gets it regularly, and don’t get me started on Steve Wright.

Of course, I’m a wuss and would run off in the opposite direction like Duncan ‘Chase Me!’ Norvelle if it came to a real bout of fisty-cuffs.

But fury is fermenting in my guts. I can hear it, gurgling away. It has one means of escape, and that is by knotting itself around my nerves, sinew and digestive tract. And by the occasional outburst of unspeakable profanity and violence directed towards my pillow.

Am I entering the ‘angry’ stage? Have I now ticked off ‘despair’ and ‘hopelessness’ (phew, thank god THAT’S over!). How far have I got to go now for fuck’s sake, according to the manual?

This ‘journey’ is wearisome. It’s becoming predictable in its unpredictability.

When do I arrive at that rose-filled garden of acceptance that everyone keeps talking about? How long before I can come off the pills, drink in moderation and have a laugh about the good times? At what point will I be able to tolerate other people and their concerns again, and afford them the earnest head-nodding of pre-Mark’s death?

I’m off to consult the manual. And then throw it off the wall.

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22 thoughts on “Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough.

  1. If I hear another ‘chin up’ or ‘time’s a great healer’ I swear I will kill someone. What b@llocks! May need a character reference when that day comes! Why do people who have only ever lost an elderly relative feel they have the right to comment on something they know nothing about. You’re so right to be annoyed. Hugs xx

      • Oh my isn’t that just so true.. its 5 months yesterday for me, and so many many times I have heard this already – I just want to punch someone or something… The other day in the office people were talking about their partners pensions and what they wont be getting at the time… i just wanted to shout at least you have a fucking partner… (OMG Cant believe I just wrote that – It felt SO good!!!) Yes I believe time will allow things to become less immediately painful but its never going to go away.

      • Get it all out girl! Maybe widows should be issued with a punchbag on signing the death certificate? This would alleviate much teeth-gnashing and the desire to kill someone…. The pain will never subside. I think we just learn how to live with it. Hugs. XX

  2. Last Friday I answered my phone and someone asked to speak to Angela Burke. Four 1/2 years on and I felt sick. There is no rose-filled garden of acceptance, there is no closure. Ever. But you do come off the pills, you don’t have to numb yourself with wine and you can definitely laugh. Two steps forward, one back, the painful moments lessen but they haven’t ended yet and I doubt they ever will. And, regarding your previous post, I’ve tried to love again with, shall we say, uneven results. I’m not sure I knew how to let anyone else in either. Some widows and widowers succeed. Some don’t. Personally I’ve come to accept my single status. You see – nothing rose-filled about accepting that you are probably going to be alone for the remaining years of your life. Sorry, not exactly a laugh a minute reply.

    • I am dreading one of those phone calls Tom. When Mark died he was due to be going on one of those courses for people who have been caught speeding and want to avoid the points. I contacted them and let them know, you know, he wouldn’t be attending, and the reasons why. (They were fairly convincing reasons, I think). Four months later Mark had a shitty letter from them, informing him that they would take further action if he didn’t attend. Let’s just say I tore a strip off the manager…

  3. no wonder you are angry! it’s the goddamn holidays, you have a little girl, and your Mark is not with you. why, why why??? reading this post made me realize that when I go down the road of “why”, I always get angry, but I stifle myself. don’t want to scare the dog, don’t want the neighbors to hear banshee wails, don’t want to ask the question that has no fucking answer. why not ask, “why?” I. want. to. know. WHY? thank god, I am starting therapy next week – I did have a therapist, but only for the duration of the latest radiation, as she is connected to that unit, and thankfully my rads are done. so I need to move on. I hope the new person has adequate sound-proofing, because I am ready to explode. see – there I go again, my reluctance to be the loud voice of no reason. I really must STOP this. how can anyone in their right mind begrudge the question? I don’t give a flying fuck if there’s no answer. I just feel compelled to ask it, and feel I have a right to do so, even if I end up in a heap on the floor, pounding it with my fists, screeching and sobbing with rivers of snot and tears.

    we are left on a road that twists and winds, and we don’t know where in the hell we are going. there is no map, we are alone, there is no “closure”, and we haven’t a clue as to where or when we will “arrive” and what the hell we’ll do if we ever get “there”.

    but thank the fates that brought you to writing this blog. your raw candor, your incredible ability to express what resonates with us, all the good, the bad, the ugly – what would we do without you? we have to try to find ways to cope – oh, Christ how I wish I could drink red wine (interferes with cancer crap). sometimes we get days filled with such mind bending pain, isolation, brain fog, and desolation . but then life hands us a good sandwich, a phone call from someone who cares, a tiny patch of sun peeking through grey clouds, a night we can sleep til morning with no bad dreams, a day with no bad mail, a trusty dog who just wants to love us, a poem that soothes and restores a little hope, and a chance to connect with you and know we are not alone – and sometimes a moment when we can think of our lost love with a warm heart and a smile. I guess when I find myself in the depths of loneliness and despair, I hold out the hope that I can BELIEVE that I won’t always feel so horrible. i’m not there yet, but at least we have one another to hold onto tightly, and keep one foot firmly planted in that belief, holding on for dear life! but I am not giving up on the huge hissy fit I feel coming on – I NEED it, and I WANT it! and you, too, deserve to feel that righteous anger, and be the sumo goddess if you feel like it. ahhh.. another idea for a good cause – SUMOS for WIDOWS! ouff, let me at ’em!!!

    much love and light, xoxo,

    karen

    • The need to be connected works from this side too Karen. It is so strengthening, having this community to sound off in. I can genuinely say that knowing others across the planet are going through the same feelings as I am make me feel less alone and less of a freak or a pariah. It becomes easier to cope. Leeching off the pain of others, yes I know! I love the idea of sumo for widows. I believe it could take off. Or kick boxing? With punch bags labelled up with all the clichés of grief! Ha ha! Much love and thanks, X

  4. i am leaving this here, because i have no one else to ask. do you ever feel positively desperate to talk, in person, with just one widow – just one! – with whom you could share this huge clusterfuck of the worst pain and loneliness and suffering of loss? someone who tells their story to you, and you to them – not in a group, not with a therapist or counselor, not on-line – just one, real, live woman? i had my first session with a therapist – it wasn’t great, and i felt so sullen, kept thinking well, you’re not a widow, what the fuck do YOU know ? bad attitude, i know. but i am not giving up, will give it a fair chance. if only there was a WIDOW HOT LINE, or MATCH UP WITH A WIDOW, with all the desired attributes of pain and loss one could relate to. it’s not fair that there are a bijillion on-line dating sites, but nary a one for someone who is a widow and would like to talk, up close and personal – in person- to another widow. goddammit. maybe there is something wrong with me, maybe it wouldn’t be the way i imagined – but i just can’t stop feeling such a sense of (repeating myself) desperation. please forgive me – i do not mean to hijack your blog. you can delete this and i will understand. meanwhile, please always know that i so appreciate every word you write, and am so very grateful for your responses when i leave a comment. this issue is not to cast aspersions upon what i feel is THE BEST blog on widowhood i could ever hope for. your support, your candor, your inimitable writing and humor – such a beacon in what is at times a very dark sky.

    much love and light, Karen xoxo

    • First off thanks for the wonderful comments about the blog. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I have found a line to so many like-minded widows and widowers out there through it, for which I am truly thankful. I would never delete any comment from you Karen, sharing thought and feelings is so much part of this, I thank you for your candor and support too. I have met with a few widows face to face over the past 21 months, and I have to say, for the most part it is like meeting with old friends. There is nothing like it. You find yourself admitting to things that you would only ever admit to yourself. My counsellor is superb, but even she reaches a point where she can’t fully empathise. I wonder, do you have something like the Widowed and Young Foundation over there? It is a charitable organisation run for widows and widowers and is divided into regional groups – this is where I have found most of my widowed friends. The link is here: http://www.wayfoundation.org.uk/ – might be worth contacting them to see if anything exists Stateside? I am sorry for your feelings of isolation and utter despair. But know that you are not alone in them. And keep going with the counsellor, at least for now. Huge huge hugs to you Karen. XX

      • oh, thank you so much for listening and for validating my feelings. I have heard and read about the WAY foundation in the UK – I think it’s wonderful, and I wish we had it here. the only resources I could find (no where near where I live) are groups of widows and widowers who meet up at gatherings to socialize. at this point, I don’t feel ready for that. I need a lot more time for just talking one-on-one, gnashing of teeth, and baring of soul with no holds barred. the other options center on either psycho-analysis, or drop-in groups for the bereaved. but I just found out about another potential option – an 8 week closed group program ( a small number of persons who attend together with no drop-ins) called, Moving Forward that has as it’s moderator the woman who founded Interregnum, a foundation that offers a variety of programs based of the steps of bereavement with proven models to help with whatever stage one is in. but it doesn’t start until January. so I guess for now, I will go the this month’s drop-in group and see if there is someone I can connect with here locally. and I will keep seeing my therapist. thank you so much for your understanding and loving encouragement. I start chemo next week, and maybe even there I might find someone.

        much love and light, dear friend (I simply cannot call you WAD!)

        karen

      • Hi Karen
        I am so sorry to read about the tough time you are having. I am also deeply sorry to hear you start chemo next week. My husband is going through it at the moment. I have found a site called WhatNext.com which is a great place to chat to other people going through cancer treatment etc. Its mostly all about treatment etc, but its a friendly place with lots of good advice. I know this is a very basic bit of advice to you, and know you are going through so much more than this site could ever offer, but I have found it a useful place to visit. All best. xx

      • Karen – I attended one of those small closed group sessions and actually (despite my innate cynicism) found it to be quite helpful. I always came away with at least one nugget of advice to keep me going until the next week. I would recommend it. And I agree about social events with widows and widowers – WAY organises a lot of weekends and get-togethers, but I don’t feel ready for that either. With much love and understanding, Lucie!! XX

  5. I wish I could say it’s different 11 years on but anger seems to be the phase I’m stuck in. I’m not angry with him for leaving, I’m angry with every other fucker who wants to know why i’m still “hanging on to it'” who asks why i’ve never tried to meet anyone else, who has actually said the words, “For God’s sake, just get over it.”
    I wish I wasn’t stuck in angry mode. I wish my life hadn’t been totally fucking ruined when I was 36. For the vast majority of days I just get on with it now, so at least you might have something to aim towards. But very occasionally I just want to smack someone with a metal pole. A thick one.

    • That is staggering ‘oh for fucks sake just get over it’. Although I do think there are quite a few people who are thinking it, I have never had that levelled at me. How hurtful and lacking in empathy. Those are the people I’d like it to happen to…(god, isn’t that awful to admit). But you know what I mean. I’m so sorry you’re stuck in angry mode. I feel a nub of anger all the time in the pit of my guts. Perhaps I always will…much much love to you Clare. And thanks for commenting. Xx

  6. dear lucie and joy,

    you both were so generous and kind to offer me comfort and hope. joy, I am so sorry for what you and your husband are going through, and glad you found the site, what’snext, to be so helpful. and I will visit your blog, too. lucie, I appreciate your take on the closed group sessions, and as always, thank you so much for all your love and understanding. yes, that’s often what we need – just one nugget to mull over and keep us going for another week. often, that’s what your blog does for me, and I could not be more thankful to have that something, anything to hold onto.

    much love and light, XOXO

    karen

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