Catching you Up

Dear Friends,
This blog lives a vibrant life on Facebook and I copy to this space for those who are not Facebook clients. I don’t know if you’re out there, as you don’t reply, but just in case I keep on keeping on. Sadly I seem to have not posted the last few posts here, so I’m trying to catch up. I really would love to read any comments should you have them, so I can know whether people read this blog or if I am just wasting cyberspace.

Oh terrific! Just discovered my posts here are up-to-date. Following is the current one.

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A week ago I received a very thought-provoking comment from Nancy; thought-provoking to me because our circumstances were so similar. I started to write a reply to her, but decided that posting my reply as a free-standing comment may better serve us all. Following is a copy of Nancy’s comment and my reply.

Nancy Burdick-Botzek
November 10 at 9:28am

I became a widow at age 45. (he was also 45) We were together 23 years and it was a week before our daughters high school prom and graduation. It’s been 8 years now and I still have day to day struggles. what people don’t understand is that I don’t get his pension or his SS checks until HE would have been at retirement age. (2022) People are used to widows being retired. My financial hardship makes it difficult for me to get the doctors care that I need for this healing process. I’ve come along way, but some mornings I feel like it was yesterday he was there. Don’t let people push you to do anything you are not ready for. Some like to give advice by looking from the outside in. Unless you’ve experienced it, no one understands. Allow yourself to do what is best for you. God Bless and I’m so sorry for your loss.

Nancy,
I have put off replying to your comment until I had time to write a reply worthy of what you have written here. Hopefully that time is now and I will have something cogent to say. Yes; it is cruel that we cannot have access to our spouse’s retirement until they would have had access to it. At the same time, I see that there is some wisdom in this, regardless of how much we could use those funds *now.* Although there is never a good time for such a passage, it being just before prom and graduation is particularly cruel. That’s how I felt about my husband dying just before my children’s 16th birthday. Honestly, there was nothing I could do to mitigate that. All the celebration that should be associated with that passage is condemned forever. There was nothing I could do to make it better. Nothing any of us could do, although dear friends bravely tried. My hope is that my kids were so immersed either in their own lives or mental fog that they cruised right through it without too much damage. My son wrote, this year, a beautiful essay about that time—stuff I never had heard from him. Lovely.

I also understand the difficulty of finding healers when your finances don’t allow. I found a very good resource in the bereavement center that was associated with our hospice. I have spent a *lot* of money on psychiatric care for all of us, and was fortunate to have the resources for this invaluable service. Currently I’m under the care of a psychologist who happens to accept my (very expensive) insurance, so that is a help. Mostly I am in debt in many ways to my courageous financial advisor who, with Adam, crafted an investment and life insurance plan that they thought would never be needed. I still cry to think of their work and care for us.

And speaking of crying, I did so just today, as I thought of Adam and all that is lost. We were fortunate to have children rather late in our marriage and thereby enjoy years of married life together before the responsibilities of parenthood intervened. I am deeply thankful for those years. Nevertheless I will always be nostalgic for the years we haven’t had, the years, the *now* years, when I had anticipated opening a hobby business for myself and spending time at the beach with my husband.

Instead, I commune with him as often as possible spiritually. I’ve found ways for this to be fulfilling.

You are so right about not letting people push you into things. I have spent two years focused on getting my children to the place they are now. I am now trying to rebound from that, and in the lucid moments discern what is right for me. I find that most people push you into things because it is uncomfortable for *them* to have you, their loved one, in an unstable place. This should be none of our concern. We love you, friends, but must find our own path in our own time. The asteroid has destroyed our environment and we cannot rise quickly from the ashes, despite how much we’d like to be a phoenix.

Thanks, Nancy, for your very thought-provoking comment.

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A Calling?

I continue to struggle with what to do next. I’ve complained in this forum about people pushing me to get a job, and one of the reasons I complain is that nothing I’ve considered feels right. Maybe my aspirations are too high. I have lots of interests, and think that working with any of them would be fulfilling. But what would soothe and fulfill my soul? I’m afraid of the answer that keeps pushing at me. I would like to be a social worker.

I always thought social workers were people who dealt with the indigent. That held absolutely no appeal for me. When Adam and I started going through this trial we were offered the help of social workers at every turn, and I was amazed to find that they help people through stuff, not just “through” the department of social services.

This is the first time I’ve admitted this “out loud.” I think it’s silly for someone my age to embark on such a career. Maybe I could do social-worker-lite as a voluteer somewhere or something. I don’t know. But I’m feeling a stronger and stronger call to work with the bereaved.

This is not at all what I’ve imagined for myself and those of you who are my close friends and family will think I’ve lost my mind. Why on earth would I put myself in a position every single day to relive the most devastating time of my life?

Because I lived through it.

I’m not really sure what to do about this revelation. Stay tuned, or respond.

More Conference Thoughts

I’ve been struggling to say something about the conference I went to, the one featuring Eben Alexander and Raymond Moody. I was excited to “blog” about it, but instead found myself exhausted and confused. Thinking I just needed time to digest all the info that had been presented in such a short time, I decided to give myself a break and let things percolate. Having finally arrived at a couple of conclusions, I give you this post.

Much of what was presented at the conference was stuff I already knew through reading the speakers’ books. Moody is well-known for following up Kubler-Ross’s work with his own studies of near-death experiences. Interestingly he admitted that he didn’t really believe *in* life after death despite his years of interviewing people regarding their near-death experiences. Yet, in the last three or four years, he has come to believe.

Alexander believes. He was basically an agnostic before being stricken with e.coli bacterial meningitis which infected his cerebral cortex and basically took it out of commission, meaning that his experiences while in coma could not be written off as figments of the dying brain.

It was galvanizing to listen to these men talk of their experiences and research. Moody, especially, was convincing, talking about similar stories as far back as the ancient greeks, citing Plato’s Republic.

Although so very interesting and moving I left the conference feeling I’d not received what I went for. Couldn’t really figure out why for a couple of days. Finally realized that I’d been wanting one of them to say that our loved ones are beside us every day, just across a thin veil that is easily crossed if we just pay attention. They alluded to this, but it wasn’t a large part of the presentations. To my disappointment.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the conference, though it was too closely packed into one very long and full day, which was exhausting in the end. I did buy Alexander’s new book, Map of Heaven, and maybe that will answer some of my lingering questions.