I wonder what it would have been...

by Doris Hingst
(North Atlanta, GA)

I'm on my second year of being retired and it truly has been a difficult journey.

I lost my mother in 2009 and my life took a turn. Although I'm married with 3 grown children, the loss of my mother was devastating to me. I'm an only child.

I retired in 2012, but I don't have hobbies and all I do is think about my mother, and I cry a lot... to the point I had to start seeing a psychologist to help with the anxiety and the panic attacks which I still have.

I pray a lot and tell myself I have a full life to live but the sadness is overwhelming.

I can't help thinking if I wouldn't have retired I would have been OK. I never had these issues when I worked.

Thanks for letting me post.

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Good comments
by: Nancy

From TJ. I'm going to get the Artist's Way. My sister and I were talking yesterday about how much our creative passions have helped us. She is an artist, has really developed her passion since she has been retired. I do quilting as I have mentioned before, and my passion has also developed. It has morphed into an interest in vintage sewing machines.

I also like the idea of writing every morning. I type my prayers on the computer and sometimes save them, sometimes not.

Walking is something also I need to get back into. My arthritis has gotten significantly worse just of late. I use the excuse that I can't walk as much as I used to, but as TJ said, just 10 minutes can make a difference. I can walk 10 minutes.

Animals, TJ mentioned horses. I have dogs. When I am having a bad day, I hug my dogs and talk to them. Also, the walking, one of my dogs can't walk very far, but neither can I, so we are a good pair!

Hang in there you are not alone.
by: TJ

Greetings from South Africa. As you can see from the comments you are not alone. I lost my Dad, got divorced and retired all within 12 months. I would like to contribute in this way.

LETTING GO: This is a tough call but an essential process you MUST go though. You have to go through the process.

I for example collected all my dad's personal belongings and over a period of time packed them away in boxes and locked the boxes in a room. That was tough. I would not let anyone into the room.

Then one day I was ready - I carried each box out to the vehicle (a sort of ritual) and then saying good bye watched the vehicle leave. I have no idea where the boxes went to.
Sounds strange but there was a good feeling afterwards.

Two books also helped. The Artist's Way and the The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Do not be put off by the word Artist. Everyone has a skill. You have a skill and it will come to you. One chapter refers to Morning Pages.

Treat yourself to a A4 hard covered note book with good paper and a good pen. Find a quiet place in the house or garden, a big pot of tea and write at least three pages. Write anything you want, whatever, what you see out the window, anything but anything. Do not be disturbed during this time. This is your time.

Get into the habit, same time,same place and three pages each day. Then close the book and put the book away where no one else can find it. Do not disclose its contents to anyone. Do not refer back to what you have written the day before. Each morning is a new day and just write and write. Its a good feeling. You will feel you have off loaded and you can carry on.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is worth a read.

Above all you need to keep/get fit. I walk daily and now up to 25km a week. Your walk needs to be more than 10 minutes. You will be surprised what problems are solved and what ideas come to you after ten minutes walking. I now get quite cranky if I miss my walk.

For some reason I visited the local stables and befriended a particular horse. Horses are very good listeners.
Grooming the horse and talking to it was very therapeutic. The horse could read my mood of the day and responded - so I had to be in a good space otherwise he would give me all sorts of trouble.

Finally a daily TO DO LIST. Ticking off what you have achieved each day is a good feeling. The list gets longer and there is some excitement completing a task, ticking it off,and going onto the next.

Before you know it you will find a niche, an interest - a hobby - a skill - an art and then there is not enough time in the day........

Hope this helps and take care.

Wendy: WOW TJ - Kudos to YOU! Great stuff... I have the first book, The Artist's Way, but never quite found the time to read it. Finding it today and diving in! LOVE the idea of writing every morning, a "morning dump" in a way. Thanks ever so much!

Bereavment Planning
by: Joe W.


Hi! When I go to some workshops at the senior centers, the topic is often how joyful retirement is. However; before you can practice that upbeat retirement you might still need to handle any personal, mental, emotional and spiritual areas before you can handle a retirement plan.

Give yourself some time for bereavement then get yourself back on the retirement saddle ready for anything that life brings you.

Take Care!

Joe W.

With Sympathy
by: Goldie

My thoughts are with you and may you find comfort in knowing others share the sadness of your loss. Please join us online...click on the right "Friendship Here" link. You are not alone.

life working
by: Anonymous

I have been retired for almost a year now and find that there is now an opportunity to think about things that were pushed into the background before. my sister passed away two years ago and that was very difficult for me. she was my best friend. since i retired i have had to opportunity to grieve for her and think about life and death and realize that life is what we make it. i don't mean money and things i mean how we feel and think. it is difficult to do "nothing" after so many years of being so busy. So i volunteer and i find it fun because as a volunteer you can do things that you have never done before. I have found that i love people and saying good morning to people when i do reception makes me feel good. I thought i could garden but i am bad at it even though i love flowers. i still smell the roses.

Been there, done that.
by: Gail

Dear One,

You are not alone! I too lost my mother and was devastated. I also lost in that same 3 year period my best friend, my father, my aunt, my uncle, a cousin and a sister-in-law. It was heart breaking and I reached out for help, also.

What I've learned is it takes time to heal and to give yourself all the time you need. Work is a diversion and only delays the grieving we all must do when we incur loss. Cry if you feel you should, but laugh also and chose to remember the best times - the times that make you feel warm and cared for. Life is a process and so is grieving.

We all go through it but in our own way and in our own time. Let the feelings flow and you will move on and have much better days ahead, I promise. Best wishes.

Helping Other Mothers
by: Anonymous

Why don't you see what you can do to help elderly women who do not have a child to help them. It might be they were childless or that the children are very far away. There are a number of organizations which can put you in touch with such and some will ev3en offer a little training.

I Understand
by: Patti

Oh Doris, my heart goes out to you because I can relate. A younger brother died in 02/2013 and it so devastated me that I couldn't function. I couldn't even do the tasks of daily living. My grief totally debilitated me. He's not my only sibling but he was the closest one to me. I had to retire because I couldn't do the job anymore. That's not really the way I wanted to end a 36 year career.

It's been over a year and I am still struggling. Like you I don't have any hobbies. I'm not a crafty person, I'm not an outdoorsy person, and almost every day I wake up and think "what am I going to do all day?" Everyone says "do what you want to do - do the things you couldn't do when you were working." But I don't want to do anything. I liked working; my job was complex and interesting and I miss it. Oh sure, I could go to the mall and walk around or go to the library, or go for a walk, but it would just be the equivalent of busy work...just something to fill up time. I don't really have any desire to go to the mall.

I too have been to a psychiatrist and am on medicine, and I see a counselor weekly. I take a water exercise class twice a week which I do like and it helps to move around. I also do volunteer work, driving people to the doctor. I love doing that because the people are so nice and so grateful.

If you want to write me outside of this forum my email is pgw121953 at yahoo dot com. I'll always listen.

Retirement & Losing Dad
by: Betsy

I know the devastation of grief very well!! I lost my Dad in July 2012 and retired in 2013. My retirement is the biggest thing he looked forward to. We talked about in for years before and as it grew closer he got even more excited than me.

He was 91 when he died of old age and arthritis with some dementia but there was never a time he didn't know me and would always ask me about my retirement date.

Fast forward to 4 months after his death. I was still working. After moving out if my sisters house (I moved there so we could help each other out), I had found an apt close to work to avoid the long commute in winter.

I started at first feeling a sense of nagging emptiness. I have always lived alone and am rarely lonely. Then it got worse and my emotions got out of control with anxiety, depression, crying spells, insomnia and a profound feeling of the "loss of Home".

The only way I can describe the crying spells is a deep sense of despair felt in my heart, my gut and sometimes my whole body! It ran so deep that it felt like someone was literally ripping my insides out. I had physical symptoms too - aches, pains, flu-like symptoms, a knot in my stomach that felt like a rock - and a deep sense I was going crazy! I hated everything in my life and my new apartment was a nightmare of problems. I was profoundly and noticeably unhappy with everything in my whole being!! I did not relate any of this to Dad's death. In fact, I thought I was handling it like a champ!!

I thought I had the beginning of a terminal disease and/or that maybe I was even dying, so I went to my doctor who examined me and listened patiently to everything I was saying. Then she asked me about my personal life. When I burst uncontrollably into tears after I mentioned Dad's death, she said I was grieving! She was very sympathetic and asked me if I would see a counselor who specialized in grief counseling, a woman who had just started at our clinic & health care facility. This saved my life!!

The first thing my new counselor did was show me a 3-page list of what grieving actually entailed - physically, mentally and even spiritually. I had almost every single one!!! It was clear then that I was in a deep grieving process from Dad's death.

I was shocked yet instantly relieved to know that I wasn't crazy or sick with some deadly disease. There are so many symptoms of grieving you will be shocked too!! Some are inrecognizable as grief. You might think they are totally unrelated. You might think you are going crazy. You might think you have some devastating disease developing.

I will not go into the list here (it's way too long) but I'm sure you can find them online if you google "symptoms of grieving".

I finally retired, but I am still in grief counseling. I don't think it's any different being retired than it was working! Grieving Is tricky and can affect every single thing in your life. It is a very long road to recovery!! It is a process that is very different for everyone. It continues to shock me on a regular basis just how deep and painful and long it can be!

It's important to know there is a lot more to grieving that was originally thought even just a few years ago. Never judge yourself for the ways or how long you grieve. It's your personal process. The road to recovery can take months, even years. It does get better, but it's important to know you are not alone and, most importantly, you are not going crazy!! Grieving can be very cleansing with the right counselor. It saved my life!

Thinking in retirement
by: Anonymous

I have been retired a year now and one of the things I have noticed is that I have time to think about things that were always there but pushed to the back of my mind. So I grieve the death of my sister , she died two years ago. I think about the future and my own death. How to live for now, do volunteer work in something that you have never done before,, sleep in and my big one,, don't feel guilty for doing nothing..... Cry if you want for losses and try to be thankful for what you have..and then do something even if is only going to the local mall... And people watch... That is fascinating.

I so feel your pain
by: Nancy

I lost my mother in 2008. Ours was not a good relationship, but I still grieved a lot. I got over that grieving, but I grieved my job a lot when I retired. I retired the last day of 2011.

What has truly saved me is my hobby which is quilting. My hobby has been literally a lifesaver. Hope you find a hobby or something in your life that you are passionate about. I send you my support.

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