Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Breaking Point

I know I have been absent.

Honestly, I have been been avoiding writing a post.

Not because I have nothing to say - that day will never come.

Not because I am hiding....well, maybe I am a little

Actually because recently I can't seem to find anything inspiring or positive to write about.

I know, I know....I have lots to be grateful for.

And yes, I know I could be a lot worse off.  What could be so terrible?

Well, I have been at a breaking point.  That point where being happy all the time is taking a toll on me.  Because deep down I am not happy.  And for the last 7 years, I have been putting up this front.

And before anyone gets overly concerned, I am not in any harm.  But, the loneliness is overbearing at times.  The always being needed by others is overbearing.  Please do not get me wrong - I love my kids and I love that they "need" me.....but at times, I need a break.  Just 10 minutes alone.....and without having to pretend to go to the bathroom so I can get that time.  There are plenty of times I wish I could get just a single moment to myself....that there was another adult to help out from time to time.

And I'll be honest with you - (that's silly isn't it....because I'm brutally honest) - I have no sympathy for friends that have two adults and complain about how hard it is.....you DON'T know what it is like....you have no idea.  And for my single divorced friends, I appreciate that you understand how difficult it is to be the one parent available, however, just as I can't possibly understand the intricacies associated with raising kids in a split household....please, do not offer me advice as though my situation is like yours.  It isn't. 

Work is no different.  I love my job and love my employer.  I am extremely appreciative of how flexible my company is to work/life situations and how flexible I can be to my own employees as they deal with personal issues.  However, lately, work has become work.  The moment I arrive to the moment I leave, I am being pulled in a million directions with requests and everyone wants something from me.

So my entire day - between home and work - feels like I am failing.  I am unable to make everyone happy....I am unable to meet the needs of everyone.  And I am unable to find time for a few moments for me.

The worst part - at times (more often than not), an entire day goes by without a care in the world about me from another adult or my children..

Never am I asked "How was your day?" or "What can I do for you?" or "How are you feeling?" or "Wow Mom, you look wiped out."

It gets exhausting.....it gets depressing....it gets lonely.

Sure, if I just jumped in my car and drove away, I know my kids would miss me.  I know they love me.  But sometimes that isn't enough.

And just so you all know....being alone ISN'T always as wonderful as you all think it is.  There is definitely a difference between solitude and loneliness.

We choose to have solitude.  We do not choose to be lonely.

And being lonely isn't something that you can just wave a wand and change.  Those that think you can have never felt real loneliness......7 years of loneliness.

Yes, I have fantastic friends....and I do appreciate each and everyone of you.  But the constant loneliness that permeates my life is not going to go away because I have friends.

It is the intimacy of a relationship.....the having someone really care about you....about wanting to take care of you whether or not you want to be taken care of.....the idea that you are the last thought when they fall asleep and the first though when they wake up....this is what is missing.  It is the happiness that comes from being "needed" by another adult....having someone being a "compliment" to your life. And actually occasionally complimenting you doesn't hurt either.

And please, don't tell me I need to open myself up to the idea of dating.  I have.  You need to have someone interested in dating you to be able to date.

It's a vicious cycle.  The constant being pulled in a million directions.  The rejection.  The loneliness.  The exhaustion of being "up" all the time.

So, there you go.  That is what has been going on with me.  Depressing huh?  But reality.....and more than likely, how most every widow or widower you know has felt at some point in their widowhood.

Follow-up comment ~
Let me add, that this isn't every day.....it ebbs and flows.  There are periods that are just fine then bam....out of nowhere...the breaking point surfaces only to disappear a few hours or a day later.  I am amazed at how many others have shared a similar occurrence with me in the short time this has been posted.  Something that has always surprised me since the first day I began writing RunningStrong for Hope is the number of people out there that "get it."  With each post - whether it be about cancer, running, feelings of widowhood - it has drawn others to me and into my life.  Thank you for all your support and friendship!


  1. I think we should get pins that say "IGI" (I Get It) so that if we see someone wearing one, we will know they are one of us--widows and widowers-- and that they get it.

    I would like to send this to every single person who, in the last 5 years, has made the comparison between divorce/separation and widowhood. I have often said "I am single in a different way than you are. If you wanted to, you could have a conversation with your ex. You could have a night together, or a week together, or start a new life together. If you needed to, you could probably call that person and say 'I am sick as a dog. Please take our child out and do something for a few hours so I can sleep. You can CHOOSE whether to include that person in your life (assuming they want to be included). So, with all due respect, it is NOTHING like the situation I am in."

    And I am differently single because I don't have the same complaints as the people I've encountered in single-parent support groups. I'm not worried about my ex showing up with a new partner, or spending his money frivolously, or being an absent parent. I'm not worried about showing that person that I can get along without them. And I'm not interested in listening to people complain about their issues with their former partner; I can't hear it. I would give almost anything to complain about the way my husband does ANYTHING.

    I get the sadness, the loneliness, the needing 10 minutes alone, the hating the hours alone that follow bedtime. I appreciate that you are so brave that you can articulate these things, leaving me to nod and say "uh huh...sing it sister."

    I hope that every day has more moments of light than darkness and that you will move through the worst times knowing that you are a real hero.

    Sending you love, always.


    1. Thank you so much for your note Sima! Please don't worry....I have plenty of light in each day - but the darkness can't be ignored. And I'm tired of everyone trying to compare or give advice....I know they mean well but it just isn't the same....and to be hones, I suppose I could find someone to date - but I have standards....and I don't date just to date. And there aren't that many guys out there that are willing to understand our situation, to understand that we don't have every other weekend free, that they can't just "stop" over because of my kids (although they wouldn't want me stopping over on the nights they have their kids). I know when we finally find someone, it'll be worth the wait. But whats difficult to explain to others is that we already found the someone that was worth the wait. Hugs to you!

    2. Sima, your post is so true! I nodded my head and cried the whole way through it because I have felt and still feel the exact same way.

  2. I can't say I get it, though there are some similarities in our stories. I lost my boyfriend to cancer and while we weren't married or had kids, I very much believe he was/is the love of my life - I miss him each and every day and keep wondering if I'll be alone for the rest of my life because of that. But, I can take a few moments for myself when I need those, so no advice from me.

    All I can say is that there is strength in feeling lonely and overwhelmed and still tackle life each and every day - I've been ignoring the "darkness" for much too long and it drained me emotionally. Putting up a front during challenging hours/days takes so much energy (at least for me), and that has to stop - thanks for your honest blog post.

  3. "It's a vicious cycle. The constant being pulled in a million directions. The rejection. The loneliness. The exhaustion of being "up" all the time."


    Wow. This is your first post I've ever read, and I'm hooked. *Clicking Follow*

    I don't "get" your personal situation. I know that. But you posted this on my 9th wedding anniversary (oddly) and it really hit home for me because I am in the exact opposite situation and yet feel exactly the same way. Funny how that works.

    Just wanted to let you know that people don't have to be in your shoes to understand the vicious cycle. The loneliness. The exhaustion of being "up" all the time. My husband is really, when it comes down to brass tacks, the only friend I have in this world. I cannot imagine losing that. But pretending that this one legged stool is enough of a support system is exhausting as well. I've never been able to let down my guard enough to stop pretending otherwise, even to myself.

    This post has more meaning than you realize. Thanks.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing and reaching out. It is funny how we can feel so lonely when from the outside looking in, others would think we shouldn't be. Glad to have you following along.

  4. I am a widow. I lost my husband to cancer. I had that intimacy. I was his and he was mine. I have all I need to live, but it just hurts so much to be alone all the time

    1. Paula - Thank you so much for your note. It is so reassuring that I am not alone - although I wish there weren't so many of us having the same feelings.

  5. I love the first response. "I get it" could be the motto for young widows everywhere. Thanks for your post. So true.

    1. I love her idea for pins - IGI! Totally going to start using that!! Thanks for your note and reading along. It's reassuring to know I'm not alone but what a shame that so many of us IGI

  6. Since I started following your blog a few months ago, you have given an outside voice to many, if not all, of the feelings & experiences that I've had for the last 7 years as a widow. My husband died from lymphoma almost 7 1/2 years ago, leaving me a young widow to a 9 month old & 2 year old at the time. There's no question that we have good, rich lives, loving friends, and healthy, thoughtful, well adjusted children that do bring us joy every day. It does get exhausting to wear the happy face all of the time, and there are days that I have to do it to "fake it till I make it" to a brighter day again. It's refreshing and nourishing to my spirit to know that there are others who get it; I just wish they were easier to find & connect with on a regular basis!

    Keep up the wonderful blog, and thank you for being gutsy enough to give it a voice for all of us who get it!


    1. Kathleen - Thank you so much for your note. I am so sorry for your lose but glad that we have connected. I completely get the "fake it till I make it" but boy, if I do it for too many days, the sheer exhaustion takes over - as it did when I wrote this post. Funny, once I wrote the post, I felt this weight lifted...and with each note I've received from other widows - here and on Twitter - the breaking point faded away. It's important that we surround ourselves with lots of friends and family that love us, but with others that can relate to us. If you are on Twitter, please follow me - RunStrong4Hope. Hugs to you and your children!