I’ve had a lot of time since my husband died to think about what my purpose on earth is, besides taking care of me, myself and my stuff. We all need a purpose in life, a goal just to get up in the morning. I used to have a goal to get up for, a husband to take care of, cook and clean for. Now I only have me and I am at loose ends. I have too much time. I have no one to tell me to do this and not to do that, to go here and not go there. I have no one to answer to. I used to resent that. But now I see that I need those boundaries. I used to want more freedom. But now I don’t know what to do with it.
At the beginning of this year, I wrote, “If I have no other purpose, skill – my goal can simply be to help someone, each day, in some way. I don’t have to wait to do some GREAT! thing. It can be a simple thing such as a kind word or smile to brighten someones day. It could be an short e-mail, snail mail, an encouraging word, just listening to someone who is lonely. There are many ways to help someone, as many ways as there are people….” and I went on and on describing how to do that -but it was not so easy to do, especially every day, when I wasn’t feeling well. I had to give myself some slack, and I have to give myself even more slack now, without totally not involving myself in anyone’s life. Sometimes I just want to pull the sheets over my head and go back to bed and I do, more often than I should.
I have also found that I have to be able to ask for help a lot more than I used to, and this is not a easy thing to do. I thought my husband was independent, but I find that I am independent too and it hurts my pride to ask for help, and if they refuse, I feel like a burden. We all get old and need help. It is a hard thing to adjust to, not being able to do things that we used to do; – having to have more help with the yard work, that I used to be able to do and enjoyed doing – (And no one does it the way I do – even the young boy I have had working for me since he was about 13, and now he is 17) – having to have someone else change light bulbs as I am not supposed to be on ladders. And so many things-although I have come up with solutions for some things to make it easier. (It is hell getting old, my husband used to say, but it is better than the alternative. I think the alternative is looking better! LOL!)
So how do I help others, when I can hardly help myself? Everyone says I would feel better if I volunteer or get involved in something. I just need to find someone that needs the skills I have and and then find the energy.
I wonder if any other widows or widowers have experienced this. Or even younger suddenly single people who have lost someone. If so, I would appreciate your comments.
(Written Sept 25, 2012 and Jan, 2013)
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