Quotes from Widows
“I feel so sad that sometimes I don't have the desire to go on. What is left at my age? Will I find another person to share the rest of my life? Do I want someone? Could I re-attach and lose again?”
“Someone asked me if I were enjoying the freedom of not being a caregiver. Freedom? I do not miss the constant care-giving, but I would never say I feel free! Actually, I am somewhat paralyzed by the lack of structure. For me, being untethered is not freedom, but aimlessness. I feel disoriented and often don't know what to do, where to go.”
“I wake in the night and my heart is hammering and I can feel the anxiety all over my body. It’s just plain fear—fear of being alone, unattached.”
"He's gone and I have no home. he was my home. A home is a person, not an address. I feel like a wanderer: homeless, floating free."
"Sometimes he was a difficult man, but he was MY difficult man. I am not going to make him into a god. I'm not going to idealize him. I just miss him, arguments and all."
“When I am alone, I get flashes of what he suffered during those long hospital stays. I see him confused, moaning. I have visuals that are haunting and make me feel a despair that takes over my whole being. What did he think about when he was lying alone in that bed? Did he think about how it would feel to die? I cannot imagine the degree of isolation that he must have felt. I know that we all die alone, but there are degrees of aloneness. Was there anyone to hold his hand during those many journeys into the operating rooms? Did he call out for me?”
“No one wants to hear what I am going through. My friends are sick of my sadness. Well, they are still coupled and say things like, ‘He is at peace. . . . You should be grateful he is not suffering anymore. . . . You should get out more. . . . Take a trip.’ Are these hackneyed phrases said to help me or are they to distance the comforter so he/she doesn't have to face my despair? Why not just offer a hug instead of recipes for my survival.”
“No one can understand what it is like to watch someone die by inches. It is not just that I am widowed, it is that I watched, every day, the disappearance of my partner. After having experienced this long goodbye, I think that losing someone quickly is the better way. There is the shock, but there is no slow, suffering progression to death. The treatment—radiation, chemotherapy, surgeries—they are endurance tests for the soul of the sick person and the souls of the family. I want to go quickly as I don't want all those things being perpetrated on my body and I don't want to know that I am dying. I don’t want my family to have to watch my ebbing away.”
“I wish that I believed in an afterlife. Those who do are lucky. I wish I thought we would be together again, but I just cannot believe it to be true.”
“I cannot sleep through an entire night. It’s two years and I still wake up several times with the realization that he is gone. Sometimes I feel like an abandoned child when I see his half of the bed—empty."
“Sometimes I forget and then I have a few minutes/ hours when I am distracted like watching a movie or laughing with a friend. And then it all comes back—the realization that I will never see him again.”
“I am very angry. It sounds ridiculous, but I am mad that he left me alone. Mad that he smoked, mad that he got sick and died. I know that is the reaction of a child, thinking so narcissistically, but I still feel left, abandoned, rejected.”
“I miss: ‘Hi, I'm home!’”
"Where is he? I cannot understand where he has gone. I understand death intellectually. I know that death is part of life, but that saying does not reach my gut. I cannot comprehend it emotionally. That word: 'gone.' It makes no sense. He has disappeared—that's what it feels like. His clothes are still here, his bathrobe still hangs in the bathroom. I'll never see him again. It is surreal."
“Guilt: I am loaded with it. I think of all the times when
I was unkind and thoughtless. I was exhausted and depressed from care-giving, but I am ashamed of how I acted when I was angry. For me, the guilt is the hardest thing to live with. He was sick for so long and the situation was excruciating, watching him disappear so slowly. He suffered for so long. So did I, but now I have only compassion for him, none for myself.”
“After six months you are expected to be happy again. If not, some people think that you are wallowing. After all, mourning is supposed to be a linear process, isn’t it? It's supposed to be based on some notion of progress. You’re
supposed to gradually improve—step-by-step. Actually, mourning is uneven, a roller coaster and there is no straight line to any emotion. I found that the second year was worse than the first. That’s when I began to realize that it was final.”
"My spouse died suddenly and I have not yet come to terms with the trauma. There was no warning! In one hour my life was over—that is, I was alone and never, because it was so fast, had a chance to say goodbye and say all the things I would have wanted to say if I had known. I think sudden death is the worst."
“I took care of him for four years and I don't know if I ever want to care for anyone else. Maybe it's time to be alone.”
Read on: Recipes from Well-Wishers