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It helped me to focus on what I did not want

[This is a response to my post of 1/13/03. Jan sent this to the Circle list on 1/19/03. It is reproduced here with her kind permission. -- Robert Young, Webmaster]

a woman in grief Hi Robert,

I have been reading the replies to your question, and agree with all of them, especially the 'rehearsing.'

All sorts of things would come into my mind of how I would be when Tony died, the funeral, and afterwards, and in fact I mostly acted as I had rehearsed I would.

This might be partly due to the fact that when a partner is sick for a long time with no hope of getting better, I think some of us might start the grieving process before the person dies. I know I did.

On a practical note. The house we lived in was very isolated, which suited us just fine while Tony was alive.

I knew that I would not be able to live there on my own, after Tony had gone.

It caused me a lot of extra heartache during Tony's illness, because Tony never took on board that he was terminally ill (or if he did he did not share it with me, or anyone else for that matter) and I was anxious about how I would handle living there alone, after the departure of my daughter Fi and her fiancëe who came from Australia to support us.

When Tony died, not surprisingly I did not know what I wanted to do about it, and a close friend suggested that rather than try to focus on what I did want (as that would have been impossible at the time) I focus on what I did not want.

This helped my thought process considerably, and one thing I was sure I did not want, was to live there alone. I needed to sell up, and move closer to the village where I would not be isolated.

It was very hard during the first few months of grieving to put the house on the market, agree an offer etc, but I kept the thought in my head that I did not want to live there alone.

Eventually the house sale was complete, and as I was still unsure of what I wanted, have rented a place next to neighbours for the time being. I am going to have a house built for me close by.

My house sale was not because of downsizing because of mortgage worries, as we did not have a mortgage.It was simply the fear of being so isolated. My imagination went into overdrive, of all the things that might happen!

I would like to suggest that if the feeling of isolation might present a problem, then if the partner is speaking openly about his death, it might be one thing to consider moving whilst the partner is still alive.

Because Tony has never lived in the house I am renting, and will not see the new house, it does not seem part of 'us' which I would have preferred.

Just my few cents worth.

Hope it helps.

Kindest regards,
Jan of the Irish Warriors Clan


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