As every reader here at Griefcase knows, mourning the death of a spouse is not for cissies. It is a solo journey each one of us must make, and a painful one. In a perfect world, a map and compass would be provided to help us through. But as we all know, this is not a perfect world.
Each one of us is special. Each one of us has a story. Each one of us wants her husband back. By sharing our stories, we gain strength, renew confidence, and send the glowing message to widows throughout the world that we're not alone.
This is Jill's story. These are Jill's words.
Thank you, Jill, for being here.
And profound condolences on the death of your husband.
Meet Jill Plummer.
Griefcase: Jill, what can you share with readers about yourself?
Jill: I live in a suburb just out of Sydney, Australia, in an upstairs apartment, which is on one of the main roads out of Sydney, so it is quite busy outside my window. I work five days a week for a pathology company, typing medical reports. (It) keeps me busy. I am 58 years old (sometimes I feel a whole lot older).
My favourite hobby is travelling, followed closely by photography.
No pets in my life as I don't have the room where I live and as I am not here during the day, it wouldn't be fair on them. No family to speak of. Just me.
Griefcase: How long are you a widow? What about your husband, what can you tell us about him?
Jill: I have been a widow for 28 months and 6 days (but whose counting?).
I met my wonderful husband, Bob, in 1994.
It was a second time around for both of us. He always used to tell me that he had waited 50 years for me. We met at a country music show. He was there to watch the band as I was.
We used to see each other at the shows, which used to be once a week. We just used to say hi and joke between ourselves never thinking anything of it. Then one night the woman who had driven me to the show had to leave and told me she would organise a lift home for me. Guess who she asked? You guessed it. Bob, of course. She didn't know, neither did I, that this lift home would be the start of the most wonderful and important relationship of my life. We just clicked. He (Bob) showed me what real love was, always made me feel special. We were never apart from that day.
We were together for 13 years. The best 13 years of my life. I wouldnt have missed it for the world.
Griefcase: Where would you say you are in your grief journey?
Jill: Well, let me see, the first year I found myself on the outside looking in on a world that was very foreign to me. A lot of numbness, and I was just going through the motions. Emotions were like a rollercoaster, tears would flow for no reason. At work, I kept up a brave face and everyone said how well I was coping. Then I decided that I didn't need to do that anymore. If I felt down, then I would let them know it was a bad day. The bad days have spaced out a bit more now. The intense pain has eased a little, it still lies deep in my heart, but I have learnt through reading a lot of books that this is all part of the evil plan that grief has. I have found that if you try to hurry it (grief) up, it just jumps up and says, Hey, slow down.
The second year was worse than the first, I found. I guess it is the realisation that I am alone (which I don't really mind). I miss Bob so much, but I know he is watching out for me.
I went on a world trip earlier this year (10 weeks). It was great and I know Bob would have enjoyed seeing all that I did. While I was away, it was busy and it was an organised trip, but when I came home, the loss really hit home so hard. I found it so hard to get back on an even keel, but one day at a time was the way I did it. I still have bad days, but not as many. Bob lives on in my heart and my memories, and I am thankful for all the good times we had together.
Griefcase: What is the hardest thing you have had to do since burying your husband?
Jill: The hardest thing is just living without him.
All the little things that you take for granted. Like holding hands, hugs, kisses. Even going shopping.
...Realising we are not going to grow old together.
Griefcase: What life's lesson have you learned since becoming a widow?
I have learnt that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. I can do so many things I never thought I would be able to do. Travelling the world was a major achievment.
Griefcase: Any advice for a woman newly widowed?
Jill: I would say to a new widow, "You are not alone."
The feelings you are having are all part of a process that no one would ever want to go through, but you will get through it. The pain will always be there, but it becomes manageable. If you have a bad day, don't worry about it, let your feelings take you where you need to be.
I always find one day at a time works, if not one day, then one hour at a time is also good. Your own grief will let you know where you should be.
Also remember you are not going mad and that these feelings have to be experienced even though they hurt like hell sometimes. Always remember memories can never be taken away. Your loved one is always around keeping an eye on us.
Griefcase: Any plans for your future? Where do you see yourself one year from today?
Jill: Hmmm, I don't usually think that far ahead, but I want to travel more.
...I think in twelve months time I will be a stronger woman who still misses her man a lot, but is able to deal with all the trials and tribulations that grief is going to throw at me.
Jill Plummer can be found on Facebook. Why not stop by and pay her a visit.