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The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-14-2006, 06:46 PM   #1
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The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Grief fades within 6 months for many widows
For nearly half of older people, loss of spouse triggers only fleeting sorrow


Reuters, March 14, 2006

WASHINGTON - The sad image of a grieving widow may not be entirely accurate, according to a study published on Tuesday showing that six months after the death of their partner, nearly half of older people had few symptoms of grief.

And 10 percent cheered up, according to the survey...


Jarhead, don't dare let your DW see this.


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11827977/
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-14-2006, 06:56 PM   #2
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

I can't decide if the article is comforting or depressing.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-14-2006, 10:03 PM   #3
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

It is good, Martha, for sure. It's OK.

Greek legends aside, it would not be good for people to die of grief. One has to go on.

My mother died at 72. Pop was only a year or two older. They were partners and best friends and great people. We kids thought Pop wouldn't last a year, but he grieved and went on and died at 92.

Back to the Greek legends, it would work for me if we died at the same time and were turned into trees, but unless we get snuffed in a car wreck together, one of us will have to go on. (Considering how we take care of ourselves, it is a toss-up who gets the first coronary or *c*a*n*c*e*r* or whatever evil end-game the gods have in mind for us.)

Back to the survey, it is easy to believe that 10% would find relief from a long vigil or simply jubilant that the old b*stard finally kicked the bucket. We are talking widows here, it seems, and there are plenty of dicks that would make the world a better place if they checked out.

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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-14-2006, 11:27 PM   #4
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

The amazing resilience of the human spirit. Life deals you an unexpected and difficult hand. Do you wallow in misery? Or do you learn to view it as an opportunity. Do you fear change you cannot control? Or do you embrace change?

It looks like most people find a way to move on. Good for them.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 05:19 AM   #5
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

I wonder if the study would show the same results if they used widowers instead?
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 09:46 AM   #6
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

I guess we're softer of the heart, we in the Bunny family. Almost without exception, when a spouse dies, the other withers and passes on within a year.

I know if I lost my wife, it'd be a good bit longer than six months before I'd stop grieving. If I went, i'm sure she'd wait at least 182 days before putting in a pool and hiring a pool boy.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 10:55 AM   #7
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

i didn't get over the loss of my partner for about 7 to 10 years. then the ol'man's death hit me hard initially but after a year i was ok. my best friend's passing took about 2 years. my dog about 11 months. i expect to deal fairly well with mom's death as i've already been, in part, grieving for the 12 years since alzheimer's took hold.

i'm naturally a care free kid at heart (read: immature) but i find now i have to fight for my happiness. it is a battle i fully intend to win. (where are my toy soldiers when i need them?) i consider early retirement part of that arsenal.

harvard medical school's nicholas christakis found that "new research says you can die of a broken heart. when one spouse becomes ill there is a heightened rise of death for the other. for instance, a woman whose husband was hospitalized with dementia was 28 percent more likely to die than if her husband had remained healthy.....during the first 30 days following a wife's hospitalization a husband's risk of dying rises 35%. the first month after a husband's hospitalization, a wife's risk of dying soared 44%.......stress is the major factor....."

i've read other studies that suggest that up to 65% of caregivers of alzheimer's diseased victims die first. the caregiver dies before the patient. of course most of those are elderly spouses so the stat doesn't apply to me. still, dying first, how telling is that.

"our life is always deeper than we know, is always more divine than it seems, and hence we are able to survive degradations and despairs which otherwise must engulf us." ~~ william james 1842-1910
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 12:21 PM   #8
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Within one year, my Dad died, my Mom died, my wife left me and my youngest son went of to college, leaving me with an empty nest. I had never really been alone much before, I had always had roomates or close friends across the hall or a girlfriend coming over often. Then years of marriage and kids. I was lonesome and sad! I found things to do, but tears were never very far away. More than once I washed out a contact lens by crying too hard.

Looking back, I realize that I didn't want to hurry things; didn't want to deny myself the opportunity to fully feel what had happened to me.

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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 12:48 PM   #9
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

I wonder if the study would show the same results if they used widowers instead?

My grandmother says there are no widowers, only widows! I think in her senior citizens group, there's only one man in the whole thing who's unattached. There are other men there, but they go with their wives. Anyway, Grandma says the women are all over him like stink on a skunk!
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Mikey, what a sad story.

My mom died 40 years ago and my father 23 years ago. My father often shows up in my dreams.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 02:54 PM   #11
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

The few months leading up to my mom's death were the hardest of my life...

But it was harder on her...

My dad is actually doing ok; he has a new "girlfriend", plus he grieved for several years, as mom's health got worse.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-15-2006, 08:43 PM   #12
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969
I wonder if the study would show the same results if they used widowers instead?

My grandmother says there are no widowers, only widows! I think in her senior citizens group, there's only one man in the whole thing who's unattached. There are other men there, but they go with their wives. Anyway, Grandma says the women are all over him like stink on a skunk!
My dad's Sun City has something like 5 single men living there, about 1500 single women, and the other ~1200 are couples...
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-16-2006, 08:49 AM   #13
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute 'n Fuzzy Bunny
My dad's Sun City has something like 5 single men living there, about 1500 single women, and the other ~1200 are couples...
Looks like Del Webb & Co has done their lifestyle research!
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-16-2006, 08:58 AM   #14
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

It sounds good on the surface, but those 5 guys (my dad included) are afraid to leave the house. We were all out in his driveway yesterday getting ready to hit the road and three old ladies stopped by in their golf carts to flirt. I immediately sensed the 'fight or flight' response building in my dad.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-17-2006, 03:04 PM   #15
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

The article must be taken in context with the message the authors are attempting to convey. I agree, in part, with the overall concept of the article which is most people learn to live with the death of their spouse. However, I would also add from personal experience with many widowed persons that this is not as easy as the article would have you believe.

I have been active in a number of grief support groups and several specialized internet support groups over the past few years so I believe I can address this issue from a pretty solid base of understanding of the grief and mourning process.

Losing a spouse is one of the hardest things you will ever experience. Losing a child would be darn close. Many people expect to take the three days off that most corporations allocate to berevement days off and then get on with their lives. This is not possible. The loss of a spouse is a loss of your present and your future as you knew it. The hole it creates in your world is beyond your belief until it happens to you. My father died a few years ago and I saw what my mother went through after being married to him for over 50 years. It has been seven years now and while she is not actively grieving his death; she will mourn his death as long as she lives.

When my wife died a few years ago I was suddenly thrown in to this new world. It was a very empty and black place to be. The pain of loss was nearly more than I could take. The emotional shock overwhelms the intellectual part of your brain that tries to get a grip on the event. The emotional side wins out and the cascading events create a repeating cycle of events that must take place before your brain can resolve the conflicts and regain balance. Grief is a profoundly debilitating condition that affects every facet of your life and your being. It creates a physical-emotional-intellectual cat fight that takes many people months to resolve enough to re-enter a working or social life again. Some never make it all the way back.

I have written tons of stuff on this subject and will not attempt to replay it all here. The short of it is we all vary in how fast we can get through our grief. Some may "feel better" in 6 months but that does not mean they are "back to normal" again. They will never be the same person they were before the loss. It changes you forever and there is no going back. You can either go forward and face your grief and work through the loss or you can get stuck in it and spin in circles for a long long time. Feeling better at 6 months is not the same as being finished with mourning. I frequently communicate with fellow remarried widow/ers and we all share similar feelings about the experience and that is you never stop mourning the loss of your former spouse. Even those that have been widowed and remarried more than once state they still mourn the loss of each spouse.

I find the article to be misleading and would love to see the questions they actually asked these people. My opinion is the article is distorted and biased.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-17-2006, 06:36 PM   #16
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

good observations stever and all well put. i wonder though about the loss of a child. i've heard that is the hardest loss. also i think one point the article makes is that death might be somewhat easier to handle as we age. that, generally, losing a loved one at age 35 might be a different experience then losing one at 65. of course this is not to say that it can't be devastating at any time of life.

in dealing with my own past grief & impending grief for mom, i have tried to formulize on simple terms the nature of relationships and how that affects the grieving process. this is what i think i have found:

the nature of a child's relationship with parents is that from the first they are always in our lives and then they are no longer there.

the nature of a parent's relationship to a child is that first the child is never in their life and then the child is always there.

as well, the nature of the relationship of significant others is that first they are not in your life and then you expect them in your life for the duration.

so losing a child or a life partner is about the hardest thing to handle. because the nature of these relationships do not prepare us like they do when we lose a parent.

in any case, life should be easier. all of this is too hard. and when it is my time i certainly intend to speak to whomever's in charge about some seriously needed redesign.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-17-2006, 10:09 PM   #17
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
...so losing a child or a life partner is about the hardest thing to handle. because the nature of these relationships do not prepare us like they do when we lose a parent.

in any case, life should be easier. all of this is too hard. and when it is my time i certainly intend to speak to whomever's in charge about some seriously needed redesign.
Reminds me of Woody Allens's monologue at the beginning of Annie Hall. Two old Jewish ladies are having dinner one summer at a resort in the Catskills. The first says,* “This food is terrible, just terrible." The second goes on, "Yes, it is horrible, and the portions are so small."

Likewise life- it is full of pain, suffering and remorse- but somehow we always want more.

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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-17-2006, 10:35 PM   #18
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
. . . life- it is full of pain, suffering and remorse- but somehow we always want more.
ehhh. . . I can take it or leave it.
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-17-2006, 11:47 PM   #19
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

Pain, suffering and remorse are small parts of all of our lives. To be learned from, and then kept small.

They keep us human in our future actions, but have no value in our todays,
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...
Old 03-18-2006, 10:27 AM   #20
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Re: The Grieving Widow? Maybe Not...

"... because it feels so good when I stop!"
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