11 weeks on, what have I been up to and how am I doing?
So firstly what have I done?
I had my nieces wedding in Scotland which was the first family gathering since Jo’s funeral. We had a fabulous weekend in Scotland with all my family, the wedding was great fun and my daughter is now a massive fan of Ceilidh dancing. She made a great alternative dance partner to Jo. If you don’t know what Ceilidh is please do google it, but basically it is traditional Scottish dancing involving lots of swinging partners around, often at steadily increasing speed and with specific coordinated dance moves done in groups of varying sizes. By the time we were finished I was exhausted and by the end of the night looked like I had been dragged through a hedge backwards but it was great fun. It was tough Jo not being there, she would have loved it. She loved dancing and was always keen to drag me on to the dance floor whenever possible, even when sober.
One advantage of the wedding being away from home was that it was taking part on Mother’s Day weekend which meant we weren’t moping around at home on Mother’s Day. We were busy traveling back and in my opinion that made it a lot easier. I think it would have been a sad weekend otherwise and I feel lucky that we had that distraction, though Jo was never too far from our thoughts. I wish my niece Emily and her new husband Iain much happiness in their new life together.
The next thing I did was join WAY which is the UK based Widowed and Young organisation for Widows and Widowers aged 50 or under when their partner dies. I had been directed to it by my counsellor when I first started seeing her and initially was skeptical so didn’t bother joining. Though following a discussion with a Twitter friend James at the For Freddie book launch who also mentioned it and said he had found it really good, I decided to take the plunge.
There is a small annual fee for members and the registration process requires you to have a UK postal address to send the registration details to, this is done to ensure that members are who they say they are and provides a welcome amount of safety.
Once you have joined there is an extensive website with forums, event notifications etc and local groups for every part of the country, I joined a few groups, Sussex, where I live, a couple of the London ones, where I work and Surrey and Kent which are also local to where I live.
I was quickly pointed through these groups to join the WAY Facebook group and local sub groups which are now where I see most of the activity. The Facebook groups are friendly, full of advice, a great place to ask questions or just have a rant, there is always someone there to provide support. As well as the local sub groups there all also Interest groups, so if you are in to walking, biking, photography, spiritualism and many many more there are groups for you.
As well as being an online support group WAY also organise lots of events for people to attend in person, from holidays to coffee mornings, evening meals, picnics and days out. Many of these events are also for children to attend as well as the parent and is a great place to put children in touch with other children who have lost a parent.
I decided that I would attend one of these events and thought I would start gently with my local Sussex groups curry night. So slightly nervously I attended but I didn’t need to be nervous I bumped into one of them outside and we quickly clicked. Once sat down within a few minutes we were all talking comfortably, finding out a bit about how we got to be here but also just talking about life in general as friends would. The evening went quickly and I found it a really enjoyable night and felt I would definitely like to go again. The lady who I bumped into outside has also been kind enough to link me up to some of the other facebook pages and kept in touch to make sure I can get as much as possible from the group.
I would advise if you do join, that you really do need to join the Facebook groups as they are much more active than the website itself, however if not a Facebook user you can still get details of all events etc through the website.
I am looking forward to becoming a more active user and attending more events in the near future.
The latest thing I have done is attend a medium (Spiritualist) with Jo’s best friend. I have always been a rather large skeptic about the ability for people to communicate with the dead, however Jo was very much a believer, so when our friend suggested going, I thought why not, nothing ventured nothing gained. So we both went to see the medium, but unfortunately Jo didn’t come through but he did say a few things which struck a cord and I was left wondering why would he say that. He didn’t have any details about me before I attended, not even my name, so I am pretty sure he had no advanced knowledge, but he felt I was in transition, that I was leaving people behind and moving on to a new stage of my life and that it happened recently and was moving fast. He did seem to be more accurate with my friends reading and actually that reading was more surprising. I guess the jury is still out and at the end we did say that my wife had recently died to which he offered to see us again for free in a few months time, as he said that it can take a while for a newly passed person to connect.
On top of that I am also still attending my counselling sessions every two weeks which continue to help me process what is happening. Next one tomorrow.
So that is what I have been up to, so now the big question, how am I doing?
Overall I think I have been doing OK, I am getting up, getting dressed, going to work, feeding the family etc. I am still continuing to say yes to everything that is offered to me, I am a great believer that keeping busy is helping, but I am also aware I do need to take a little time to contemplate what is going on and how I am, writing this helps with that.
I think the loneliness has hit a bit harder this month, maybe because of the realisation that my life has changed, I think I have started to accept the reality a bit more clearly, that Jo is gone, that the future is now not as I had planned. I think the view of the future has scared me a little, there is a lot of uncertainty now where previously everything was directed, we would grow old together, retire as soon as possible and have as much fun as possible. Now I see questions, some small, some big, but I suspect I don’t need to try and answer or even think about them all now. Some of them will sort themselves out in time but it has just thrown me a bit. Even things such as holidays, what sort of holiday would I go on. Sitting by a pool on my own may not be so much fun, so I may need to look at different types of things to ensure I can still do activities that I enjoy. I suspect WAY will help with some of these and provide people to do things with and my family and friends will provide the rest.
Also guilt is very much in mind, especially about enjoying myself without Jo or even thinking of the future without her but that is something I have to try and reason with and come to terms with, I am sure she wouldn’t want me to feel that way.
Anyway that’s enough for now, speak again soon.
If you are interested in WAY, please follow the link here and also there is a link to it in my links page.