Life as a Widower

A young widowed father opening up about living with loss

just everything

Some days are really hard: some because something specific happens and others because nothing specific happens at all. These days I find the latter the most challenging; the days when I can’t put on my finger on what’s wrong with me are suffocating. They are the days when I don’t want to talk to anyone at all because I can’t explain how I feel and because I don’t even want to have to try. I’ve only ever met two people with sufficiently contradictory vocabulary to express this feeling. When asked to summarise what was affecting their mood, both Desreen and Jackson would respond with the same answer: ‘Just everything!’

What I’m starting to find particularly challenging is that, since Desreen’s death, grief is always to blame. It’s boring; I feel like there’s no longer any diversity to my melancholy or bad temper. I find myself to be a completely one-dimensional misery. And, when I think logically, this lack of depth doesn’t really make sense to me because of course I also had bad days before my wife was killed. The problem now, however, is that the bad days seem to spiral. When I feel miserable about something I can’t identify, the grief presents itself. And when the grief presents itself, I feel more miserable still. And when I start to feel more miserable than I felt in the first place, the grief intensifies. And then I think I’m having a bad day because of the grief. And then I wonder if the grief is now so deeply entrenched that it was the cause all along.

I suppose some days just everything makes you feel bad. It’s just too bad that these days the ‘everything’ part feels a whole lot bigger than it used to.

8 comments on “just everything

  1. Sheila Lancaster
    February 12, 2014

    I know exactly how you feel. Some days I think I am coping ok and then it hits me time and time again…life without Mark and having to survive on my own with 2 young boys. It’s nearly 14 months since my husband passed away from a brain tumour although at times it feels like yesterday as if time has stood still. I would never have imagined my life journey would be like this. Big hugs to and your gorgeous son, Jackson.

  2. Felicity Wilson
    February 12, 2014

    Ben, there is an amazing social observer much admired here in Melbourne. He is described as a cartoonist but he is so much more than that above all, he encourages the reader to think. So, if interested, Google Michael Leunig and see what you think. His work spans over 30 years and features in newspapers and discussion groups. He might just have an illustration for “just everything”.
    Melbourne Australia that is. We claim him as a National living treasure.

  3. Helene
    February 12, 2014

    I can relate totally to the spiralling of misery and sadness. When I hear something or see something that saddens me, or more so when things make my children sad, the enormity of the sorrow keeps growing. Something that shouldn’t have such a heartbreaking effect on you, well, it just does. It’s 3 years on 23 February since my husband died. I watched a movie ‘Daddy day camp’ with my son recently. A funny, family film, lots of nonsense and that one caring and loving line which set us both off onto a spiral of emotion. Tears, silent yet continuous. ‘ I love you daddy ‘, ‘ and I love you son ‘ – finished us off for the rest of the weekend. 💕

  4. handikwani02
    February 12, 2014

    Sometimes it is what happens around you which triggers the feelings that you thought you were managing to deal with. I just find February a difficult month with all the emphasis on Valentine’s day activities. It suddenly hit me that I was all alone so there will be no-one to fuss over or to kick a fuss for me.
    So like you rightly say Ben ‘everything is not alright’!

  5. Celia Iannelli
    February 13, 2014

    So true….its a domino effect….something is wrong, anything, like bringing the firewood in, (something my husband did)……then out of the blue…grief attack….

  6. RK
    February 13, 2014

    I have followed your blog and I find what you go through and feel very much resonates with me. I am a young widower; I lost my wife about 8 months ago in a terrorist attack and have a young daughter to raise. When I think I should be getting ‘used’ to the loss I find my grief getting more intense. But I have to put a brave face and pretend Im okay. Some days my intense grief has triggers I can identify others dont. Its very tiring. And as you said, boring. aargh.

  7. janenegregson
    February 13, 2014

    with great love comes great grief. Unique to your relationship, but so many similar feelings resonate. Lost my honey 8 months ago, 3 kids, sometimes they are all I have energy for. Its tiring to long for someone so completely. But I do

  8. Sarah
    February 13, 2014

    It saddens me to read your pain. Xx
    Theres lots of us who feel just like you do, and your sharing hopefully gives you a little strength back when you read these replies, as your blog strengthens me when i feel like that. Thank you for sharing the oddity of grief. It comes in many guises.

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