Monday, February 20, 2017

How Are You is a Loaded Question - Losing the Dog Daddy


How are you? It seems like such a simple question. 

Do you want the common courtesy response?

Or do you want the truth?

I was brought up to be a good girl, mind my manners, and not spend time wondering how genuine the inquiry might be or talking about myself.  So, my answer would be: fine. Or some polite version of "fine."  

The truth is a wholly different story.  And the truth is that I'm never sure how to answer.

It's hard to know what to say when someone dies. We all want to say the "right" thing to the survivor.  Like me, you may have read articles advising what to say and what not to say.  And yes, there are lists of things that have been said that cause an eye roll (or stomach roll). 

I've known other women who have lost their husbands and as I look back I'm relieved that I pretty much said "good" things and did good things.  

Yet I had no idea.  No idea.  They say there are some things in life that you must experience in order to understand.  The death of a spouse is definitely one of those things.
 

I'm numb and lost in a "widow's fog."  Really, that's a thing and they say it could go on 1-3 years or longer. I was relieved to learn that there was a name for it and that it was not early onset dementia.

When I'm not numb I feel as if I've fallen into a pit of fire with flames wrecking havoc on my body and mind.  

The world as I have known it for 40 years is gone. My hopes, dreams and plans for the future are gone.  Those were created and intended for the very specific duo of Gary and Sue. Now I'm alone.

Every single thing reminds me of my husband.  Might be a memory from the past or might be some basic everyday kind of thing.  Might be a happy memory and might not.  Regardless, everything reminds me of my loss. Every single fricking thing.

I'm crying. A lot.  I'm forgetful, exhausted and I can't sleep.  I can't seem to make decisions or focus on anything.  I'm a swirling mass of confusion, chaos, and pain. 


Back to the question.

It's a dilemma. Because if I am too truthful, you may not ask again. My truth could make you so uncomfortable that you avoid me.  I don't want that. 

Please don't be offended or take it personally if I tell you that I don't want to go to lunch or I just can't talk on the phone.  Sometimes it is just too hard to talk about Gary's death and too hard to try to "be normal."

Please keep asking.

How am I?   I'm not okay, but I'm working on it.

I will be okay.  Just not today.

 

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your true feelings. I am certain that I would feel the same way. ♥

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  2. I'm so sorry. I can't imagine 40 years and then losing someone. I'm sure just doing the laundry can be devastating! I don't know of anything we could do for you, but if you need anything feel free to email or call us. Hug the furry ones. They don't replace your husband, but they are there for you and they love you.

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  3. (((hugs))) Sue, this just tears me up. I don't think any of us truly understand unless we have experienced the same kind of loss. Your pain has to be unfathomable. My heart breaks. Like Emma, (and you and I have said this), I always feel if I call I am intruding (it is just a weird quirk of mine), but I am ALWAYS HERE via phone or email........ALWAYS...and as I mentioned, I am up late!!! xoxoxo

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    1. Thanks, Caren. No worries, we're good :-)

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  4. I am so sorry for your loss! I wish I had the right words to say, but all I can say is that I wish for you to grieve the way you need to grieve. I hope that you will reach out and ask for help, however big or small, if and when you need it.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. Those ARE the right words to say IMHO.

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  5. It is so hard to know what to say. As I told you before, I can't imagine what you're going through. I'm glad you found a widow's group. It must help a little bit to know others who can relate to what you're going through. Sending big hugs your way.

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    1. Thanks, Jackie. You always seem to know the right thing to say to me :-)

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  6. Sending a warm hug, true courage is being honest like you. Stay strong and I hope you'll keep writing and sharing when you can.

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  7. I'm so sorry since our computer retired we've only had minimal check ins and clearly missed reading about your loss. There are no great words when you lose someone you love it hurts for a long time. The closer they are the greater the pain.

    I am thankful you've had the courage and the strength to write a description of the pain which honestly could be helpful for those who want to help but can't understand the depth of pain and how it manifests. There is no quick cure, no prescribed time. It is a process.

    I wish you strength,courage,wisdom,and peace on this journey.

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  8. Sue, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I know there are no words to take away your pain or grief but do know this, it will get better. Reach out to those who can lend you support and embrace your furry children. God bless.

    Pibbles & Me

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  9. Gosh, Sue, we want to understand, and yet we don't...I hope you know what I mean by that. I can only imagine this loss and the truth is I'm afraid to think about it.
    I hope writing this helped you just a little bit....being able to write the whole truth that you don't find it easy to say to people who ask. My heart and thoughts are always there with you.

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    1. Thanks, Jan. Oh, don't try to imagine it! Just try to enjoy every moment you have together.

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  10. I completely get where you are coming from, we lost my Dad in July after a 7 month battle with Cancer, he went from a health fit 53 year old to someone who never saw his 54th birthday. I got to the point where I decided I would tell people the truth when they asked me how I was doing. I became of the opinion, and I still have it, if people don't want to know then don't ask. I used to go to church and it was one of the worst things people were rubbish at, any time I replied with anything other than "i'm fine" they would sort of panic. It really started to piss me off, and so I decided to rally against the norm. I don't want to give you the normal platitudes of it gets better. I don't know if it does, I just think you get used to this new, totally shitty norm. Where you remember how awesome your life was, but can't remember what it was like living it. It's sort of like the feeling you have when you finish a really great book and realise there will be no more updates, no checking in... if you want to talk my email is lauranneblog (at) gmail (dot) com and that's a genuine offer.

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    1. Thanks Lauranne. I have yet to get angry about it and, in fact, rarely say much more that some version of I'm not fine, but I will be. Because unless you've been there you really don't know. Within 3 years I've lost my mom, my dad, and now my husband. And three beloved dogs within the past 4 years. One loss reminds me of the others and it is a deep pit. Thanks so much for the offer. I've saved your email, but please know that I'm not into talking much about it.

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  11. Thank you for being honest! You are a brave woman hang in there and tell us how it is! Hugs to you friend!

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Go ahead... bark at us!