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Eunice Beck, RN, on Adjusting to Loss and Finding a "New You"

  [ 384 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • November 2, 2005

Dear Friends, My dear friends, thank you for your support and patience. I think I am finally starting to see the edges of the thick fog that has enveloped me since the loss of my sweetheart back in March. I have never been through anything more difficult, both emotionally and physically. I have lost both my parents, and cared for my mother through her bout with cancer. But losing your life partner, your soulmate, completely redefines you, and requires that you find out who the new you is. Who I am now has many parts of the person I was. I am still a person with CFIDS and FM. I am still a writer. I am still a nurse. And I am still a person who loves life. But I am also now alone. There have been adjustments to make my life more livable by myself, some to help me physically, and some for my emotional health. I am very blessed that I am not a widow that has to watch every penny so I am able to spoil myself a bit. I have many friends who are more like family, thankfully, since I have no family near. My only immediate family, my brother, lives on the other side of the country, so I'm lucky if I get to see him once a year. One young couple have become so close that I have adopted them as my children, so nice since I don't have any kids. They visit frequently, and do little chores for me. And they try to look for things that will make it easier for me around the house. I have long had a mini warehouse cart, left from days of doing craft shows in my past. Thanks to my "son" having found it in the garage, and cleaning it off, it now transports my laundry, and my groceries into the house-anything that is heavy, or that will take me more than one trip to move. I also bought myself a scooter-I got lucky and found a "cadillac" version for the price of a "buick." I also found a power chair in the newspaper for about 20% of the retail value. It was brand new, since the lady it was purchased for got too sick to use it. I don't use it a lot, and usually just in the house, but it is welcome when I am having a really bad day. Which, big surprise, I am having more of. Not a full blown flare, but certainly worse on a daily basis. I think that is beginning to get better, but life goes on anyway. If I am managing thru grief, I'll manage thru pain. I did ask the gentleman who installed the lift on my car for my scooter to adapt it so I can take my power chair if I need too. At the encouragement of a friend, who also has fibro, I had a small pond/waterfall installed in the back yard. I am still learning about how to care for it, and hope to have some fish in it in the spring. It is soothing to sit out by the pond, listening to the falling water, sitting in the sun. Lately, small birds, finches and sparrows have been using it as a bird bath, which is delightful to watch. It is good for my mental health to spend some time there each day. Some time in the not too distant future, I have a bit of remodeling planned. Both of the bathrooms in the house have bathtub showers, which are difficult to get in and out of most of the time. So, when I can find a contractor who isn't too busy, I plan to pull out the bathtub in the master bath and make the space into a shower, with a bench. That small change should make this house I love much more liveable for me. Lots of "things" happening, including getting the estate settled, and legal arrangements for my estate. All of them keep me busy. But my biggest job is learning to be me, alone. To have total responsibility for myself, decisions to healthcare to doing the laundry and cooking. I have only lived by myself once before, for about 6 months, when I was in graduate school. Much different than now. One of the things that is helping a lot is that I am going to a grief group on a weekly basis. Certainly, our individual issues are different, but we are all learning who we are without our loved one. Some have lost children or siblings, but most have lost their life partners. We share what we do to cope, cry a lot and support each other. Some of us get together between meetings. I had a very hard time crying to begin with. I made myself very "busy" with "things". There is also much to do right after a death, but there also needs time for healing. Talking about your loss, getting angry, crying, as well as laughing, are good medicine. Why should any of this mean anything to you? Because the losses we suffer by having our health challenges are just as real and difficult to deal with as the loss of a spouse. We go thru the same processes as we adjust to our lives as they become with CFIDS and FM, as well as the other problems that come with them. Grieving is the same no matter the loss. I hope you will take my lead and do all you can to take care of yourself, physically and emotionally, as you adjust to the day to day changes in your life. I'm trying to put the pieces back together, slowly, painfully, but it will happen. As we say in my support group, you don't get over it, you get thru it. Each of us have that challenge each day. I just have it on an additional level for a time. I miss my sweetie terribly, but I know that we can still communicate. I am slowly moving things, packing them, giving them away. But we will always be together, no matter what else changes. Thanks for listening, and for being such supportive friends. I hope I will have more motivation to write as I continue to heal. I will also try to get to your letters, but even if I don't get to answering them, I love reading them, and feel the love and support contained in them. Take care and be well. Yours in health, Eunice ------------------- I welcome your comments and questions at: My articles and email responses are not being offered as those of a health care provider. The information and opinions included are intended to give you some information about your disease. It is very important that you empower yourself with knowledge and participate in your own search for care. Any advice given is not intended to take the place of advice of your physician or mental health care provider. Always follow your physician's advice, even if contradicted by something written here. You and your physician know your situation far better than I do. Thank you and be well. Eunice

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