My wife of many years gave us a family. They have families. Those families had children and we helped them develop. We both have serious health issues. Hers stopped in May. I became her 24/7 caregiver in her final months. I wasn’t strong enough to lift her anymore, but family & hospice assisted me. My faith guided me through all of it, and remains my focus. The family remains dedicated to their lives. I’m drifting through stages of mourning trying to center focus on self worth. I’m pushing back against breaking rule number 4, letting others define me as I feel a compulsion to remain a factor in their lives rather than mine. I have to make everything better at any cost, but fortunately, I can’t afford to do life that way. It’s not about me, right? At least, I can step into reality and say that isn’t true. Love oneself before you can grasp how to love others. It’s about balance. It’s about patience. Life finds you. In time, it will abandon you. Your body & mind are gone. One goes back to dust, the spirit returns to its maker. But your influence remains in the minds of those who you touched while here and beyond.

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Dear ‘aching’, you have had such a short time since your wife died in May. The grief is still very fresh, and you have lost all the habits and routines that took up your time in caring for her. What do you do now? You have my sympathy, and the sympathy of all of us who have gone through anything similar.

How do you now manage things with your children and grandchildren? They are still grieving too. You don’t want to impose on them, but you want to keep them close. Perhaps one thing you could do is to talk to them about it – or perhaps to one of them who can understand. What new ‘habit’ will work for them as well as you? Ask you to Sunday tea once a fortnight? (or once a month if it’s a big family). Take a grandchild to a Saturday sport fixture? Schedule a regular phone call?

Sending a card once every couple of weeks (particularly if you have local postcards or crafters making hand-made cards) is a surprisingly good way of keeping the contacts fresh. Try that – it’s easy and cheap. I sent a pack of self addressed stamped envelopes to my grandson aged 6, to make it easy for him to ‘write’ - and he really loves the ‘posting’ part.

You can think about new ‘habits’ for yourself as well. But from your post, I’d suggest ‘family first’.

Very best wishes, Margaret

After reading these posts on the forum, I'm amazed at how few families spend their money for a professional or semi-professional caregivers. It is part of life to do this. That's what $$ is for. Don't involve family members/ They have their own lives. If you wish to include family members in your life insurance payouts, then you could (may) ask for help with the Activities of Daily Living for those who need help.
I'd like to hear from others who feel as I do. Please don't use the excuse of "no money".

My condolences on the loss of your dear wife. Her passing has had a profound effect on you.

Don't worry about those "stages of mourning." They don't apply to everyone, mainly because everybody's different. If you think too much about it, it can be counterproductive, and the healing process can be crippled by analysis.

It sounds to me like you're worried about imposing too much on your family, now that you're alone. If that's the case, you can certainly place voluntary limits on your contact with them, and devote that time to another interest. You have professed to a strong faith, so that might be a good place to start - finding some way to put those tenets to good use with some charitable work.

It's hard to transition out of being a devoted caregiver. We often feel lost and aimless, because we dedicated so much of our lives to our loved one, and submerged all other interests as the caregiving intensified. We even submerge our own personalities, and it's hard to find our true selves again once the journey is over. I know. It's not a comfortable position to be in.

Take your time. Try to relax. Don't overthink. Grief doesn't have rules that you have to follow.

My prayers are with you.

I am not quite sure what you are seeking from the forum but I wish you well.

First I will say that I am so sorry that you lost your dear wife. What a blessing that you were able to be care for her until the end. And I'm glad you have your faith to lean on, as you will need that more now than ever.
It is not uncommon for the spouse who was the caregiver, to feel a bit lost and seem to wander about wondering what they are to do next, and what they're purpose now is to be. Slowly over time, all that will become more clear. But for now, just allow yourself time to grieve the woman you loved, and be good to yourself.(yes it can be about you right now) You deserve that.

My husband died last Sept. and I was his caregiver for many years. I was lost after he died as I was so used to my routine of care for him, that when it was no more, I walked around in kind of a daze.
I am slowly but surely rebuilding my life, and trying to figure out what the Good Lord has for me next. I'm not in any hurry though, as I feel that I deserve to take as much time as I need, as I had given so much in caring for my husband, that now it's my time to take care of me. You make the comment that it's not supposed to be about you, but our grief process is about us. Especially when we lose the love of our lives. We must take however long it takes to properly grieve our spouses, and do whatever it takes to care for ourselves, because if we don't no one else with.

I'm praying for God's peace, comfort and mercy to be with you in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

You've given us a philosophical sketch of your beliefs and how your life impacts others. I don't see a question and I don't now what rule #4 is. I'm guessing at what you're trying to convey. Are you trying to resolve your grief and figure out what your worth in life is now that you've lost your wife? How long ago did your wife die, i.e., how long have you been grieving? Have you come to accept her death? Are you actively trying to build your new life w/o her? With her death, life changes.

You obviously are a religious person, but faith doesn't spare you of the pain of grief or the feeling of profound loneliness. It can give you the strength to face her death, and the power to endure and hope for your future. You might want to speak to your cleric.

Having experienced that journey myself, with the loss of my wife, I would recommend “Getting to the Other Side of Grief, Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse”, a book by Smeenge and DeVreis.

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