Was not prepared to be single mom

I'm new to this site, but will throw my story out there for any pearls of wisdom that might come back my way.  I am facing the challenge of raising a very large family after an unexpected loss.  My husband died at home in May 2009 of a massive heart attack with no warning.  I am now a single mom to 5 children between 6 and 13 and have 3 older stepchildren who are also grieving the loss of their dad.  I have a busy career and wonderful co-workers who have been understanding when I have to juggle responsibilities, but I sometimes just want/need time to not be a mom and to focus on my own challenges in adjusting to this new reality. When those days come when I could use a good long cry, I find it is interupted by a soccer schedule or other deadline.  In addition, I feel like a social oddball because I'm not a bitter divorcee, am not desperately looking for a relationship, but sure miss having a guy's perspective and some grown-up conversation. Short of hiring a live-in nanny and hitting the dating scene, does anyone have more affordable and palatable options to suggest or things that have worked for you?

Replies

lindalun
lindalun

I am sorry for your loss. My husband suffered a cardiac arrest in May and went into a coma and passed away on July 4th, 2009. Unlike you my kids are grown up but it is still hard to have to take the role of both mom and dad. My husband was the one who listen and spend a lot of time with them since he was not working due to health issues. My son loves music and my husband was also a music lover and they had that in common. They were best friends and he is hurting so much. My daughter and her dad loved to watch cooking shows and talk about food and she misses those talks. Life is not what it used to be but we have to make the best of it for our children. I understand that you are overwhelm with everything. Can you ask a friend or neighbour to look after the kids while you go out and have a coffe with some friends? Did you husband have a brother, maybe you can talk to him about they way you are feeling and get a male input. Maybe you can set up a schedule so you can have some time alone or go visit some friends. Can your step children that are older help with the younger ones? Talk to them and explain that you need help. I hope you find some sort of solution. I hope you have a good day.
wannabebeachbum
wannabebeachbum

Thanks for the response. I wrote back earlier, but it disappeared, so here goes again...
First of all, I\'m so sorry for you loss. It must have been awful to \"lose\" your husband to a coma and then have his death follow many weeks later. I can only imagine that May and June were agonizing times for you. I guess there is no good way for loss to come, is there? Thanks for your suggestions. I get out socially every now and then and I have a sister in town who never had kids of her own and helps when she can. It\'s just hard to find someone willing to watch 5 kids at a time. My two stepsons are in the Navy far away and my stepdaughter lives nearby, but is having a tough time coping with the loss of her dad. Jeff had two brothers, but both had heart attacks like he did at age 51. One survived, but has not returned calls or mail for several years--he didn\'t come to the funeral and in fact I\'ve never even met him despite the fact that Jeff and I were together 20 years. My mom lives about 2 1/2 hours away and at 80 gets a bit overwhelmed with all the kids. I have been able to hit the gym pretty regularly, so that serves as a bit of an outlet. It\'s hard to find people my age to hang out with because they are either in relationships or going through break-ups and I don\'t feel as connected to friends in either situation. I\'ve always liked hanging out with guys socially, but it is awkward to hang out with Jeff\'s guy friends now that he\'s gone. I know none of this is unique to my situation--I\'m just trying to get used to it and figure out where I fit in anymore. I want positive male influences in my kids\' lives, but I don\'t want that to be misconstrued as being on a manhunt, if that makes any sense. We adopted two of my sons as orphans 4 years ago and it seems so unfair that any kid should have to go through losing 2 dads by this young age. I feel a huge sense of responsibility to try to keep their lives as normal as possible. I know I need to take care of myself, but I\'m definitely no higher than 6 on the list of my priorities. I\'m sure it will get easier with time and my kids are actually doing really well. Weird part is that I\'m still sort of living as if I\'m waiting for something to happen, instead of living today. I feel like I\'m just treading water until something happens to make this bad dream go away. I\'m guessing that\'s a feeling you can understand. Thanks for listening.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I\'m sorry for you loss. My husband\'s been gone almost 3 years now. It was a sudden accident and he was hopitalized for 5 1/2 weeks before he died. I never left his side. I was hoping to walk through the door the same day he did, that didn\'t happen. I still have good days and bad days. Coming to DS was one of the best things I\'ve done. I don\'t have time to go to a support group because I work two jobs and take care of a small farm (welcome the work). Everyone here has been so helpful. It\'s nice to know there are people out there that truly understand how I feel. Last Jan. my son commited suicide. So it threw me right back into a spiral. Had I not been able to come here and voice my feelings and have people help me through I don\'t know what I would have done. Keeping busy for me anyway is the only way to go! It sounds like you don\'t have any issues in that department! My family has always been great but they have not been through what I have and although they are there for me they can\'t totally understand how I feel. We are all here to support you!
Debbie
wannabebeachbum
wannabebeachbum

Thanks, Debbie. Your story breaks my heart, but I\'m glad to hear that DS has helped you heal your heart more than once.
As for keeping busy, I agree that helps. And I agree that people who haven\'t walked this path can\'t totally understand. My mom keeps comparing my situation to when she and my dad divorced after 25 years but it\'s not the same. None of us CHOSE to be walking this path and there is no option to turn back around. I imagine January is a tough month for you---God bless as you get through it.
CJ
KipB
KipB

Hi I lost my beautiful wife of thirty years to cancer in July.It has been a struggle for sure. The people on this support group have been wonderful and it\'s nice to know that our feelings are shared.
As far as duties domestically, I wrote a journal yesterday, about women\'s work which you might find amusing. Take care and peace. Kip.
wannabebeachbum
wannabebeachbum

Thanks, Kip. I checked out your journal entry and, unlike others, it didn\'t make me cry--it made me smile. Thanks for that. I\'m no domestic goddess, that\'s for sure, but I\'m trying to keep up. Jeff used to be the cook, so that\'s been the biggest adjustment. He was like McGyver in the kitchen---give him a pan, an onion, some sort of meat and stay out of his way and he had a great meal whipped up in 5 minutes. I think one of my kids\' biggest concerns after he died was how we were going to eat!

Looks like you have a beautiful family--hope they are healing ok.

CJ
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi - I just read what you wrote. I\'m so sorry for your loss and understand the whole single parenting thing. My husband died suddenly and without warning on 9/1/07 leaving me with two of my kids still at home (they were 11 and 14 years old at the time). Through many dark days of grief and innumerable changes in our lives and in myself, with God\'s strength and the comfort and help of many family and friends we have somehow made it this far.

Let me know if there is any encouragement or support I can give you. I haven\'t done everything right as an unexpected single parent, but I haven\'t done everything wrong. Stick with DS -- it\'s truly a lifeline. The people here understand and really care in a way you won\'t find anywhere else. It\'s because we KNOW each other\'s pain.

All the best, Tami
wannabebeachbum
wannabebeachbum

Thanks, Tami. I sent you back a hug and then noticed you had the date of your half marathon listed as next month-guess you don\'t need a training schedule at this point! Which one are you running? I did the Mississippi Blues half in Jackson and was hoping it would be warm and flat--wrong on both accounts--but still a cool experience. I was supposed to run it with a friend, but she had to bail at the last minute, so I felt a little intimidated flying down there and trying it without any support. I took my iPhone on the run in case I needed to call someone for a pep talk, but the phone froze at about mile 4, so I talked to my husband instead. (not outloud). I swear I felt him with me at one point and I was committed to finishing. So glad I did it. Ironically, a 41-year-old guy died of \"natural causes\" during the race-not that there is anything natural about running in a marathon in 11 degree weather---but it was yet another reminder of how fragile life is---I intend to live mine to the max while I\'m here and to stay healthy for my kids. Glad to hear your story. My kids are 6, 10, 11, 13, and 13, so I\'m afraid I have a boatload of teenage years yet to navigate. Did it once with my stepkids, but had help then. I have a feeling this is going to take a lot of running!-ha, ha

Smiles-
CJ