It’s been 15 months since Clare passed away, but despite “moving on” with the rest of my life I still sometimes find myself dealing with mild depression. I had expected to occasionally feel very emotional at times when viewing certain scenes in movies or on television, or when listening to certain music. But I had not expected to continue to occasionally experience brief but very intense feelings of painful loss and weepiness. Obviously, I was wrong.
I attended several “recently widowed” support group meetings but felt that I had little in common with the others in my group. Perhaps it is because many widowed Alzheimer’s disease (AD) spouses have already gone through years of “anticipatory grief” while watching their loved ones slowly die before their eyes. Others in my group were dealing with their spouse’s unexpected death, but I had already felt widowed in many ways during the 3 years when Clare was living in an assisted living facility and nursing home prior to her death.
When Clare had been in early to moderate stages of AD, I had participated in a very helpful weekly support group exclusively for AD spouses. Unfortunately, no support groups exclusively for widowed AD spouses seem to exist. I cannot say with certainty that such a group would have been, or would now be, helpful to me ... but I wish I had the opportunity to find out.
It’s not that I have become a social recluse. I socialize with others in three weekly bowling leagues, I exercise several times each week at a local Y, and I usually go out to eat at least twice a week with family or friends. But I think I would be further ahead in my “moving on” and suffer fewer periods of mild depression if I could meet someone with whom I could enjoy a more special relationship several times a month.
I suppose that I could try online dating to increase my chances of meeting a special someone, but I just don’t want to do that. I did go to several social mixers and activities for "sociable seniors," but too many women my age (70) or younger seemed to be looking for serious relationships and I’m not looking for that. After living alone for four years, I have come to enjoy my ability to do what I want when I want.
What I really want, I suppose, is a “friend with benefits” ... a woman to enjoy being with as a friend while also enjoying a physical relationship. But I do not want a FWB to be with me every day or even several days a week. I just don’t want that serious a relationship. However, if I could be with someone truly special a few times a month, that would be perfect.
Some surviving AD spouses have been helped by therapists to deal with their grief. For me, writing has always been my therapy. I found it very helpful to maintain a journal for nearly 10 years while dealing with Clare’s AD, so I thought that writing about my current feelings would be helpful.
When I finished this journal entry, I thought that maybe other widowed AD spouses with similar feelings might find some comfort just by knowing that they are not the only ones who feel as they do. So I decided to post this journal entry today just on my own site as Personal Blog #1. Whether or not there will be a Personal Blog #2, or any additional personal blogs, remains to be seen.
If you’d like to comment on this blog post and have me reply, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and write “AD blog” in the subject line. I truly hope that someone out there may be helped by reading this blog as I was helped by writing it.