Any ideas that might help?

Jan, Age 77

I am a widow for the 2nd time. First husband died of heart problems after we were married 25 years. We had a wonderful life did everything together. Ten years after he died I remarried a widower who had been married to a dear friend of mine. We had 10 years together and he died of renal failure. We traveled a lot and even spent 8 mos. out of the year on our boat.

I live alone now and in some ways enjoy it. I have a comfortable home, got a drivers license at age 72 (first one) and have enough money to last me the rest of my life if I am careful. I had a hired girl who I loved like a daughter. Anything she wanted I bought for her. She was always there when I needed to see a doctor or drive anywhere after dark. A few months after I lost my last husband I began having constant AFIBs. I went to the hospital for treatment and was put on a drug which apparently I was allergic to because a week after I came home I didn’t feel right so went to a local hospital. The next morning around 1am I suffered cardiac arrest. Was resuscitated and after several weeks came home with a ICD/ Pacemaker in me.

The only family I have is a stepdaughter who travels a lot both here and abroad. She had asked my hired girl to be my next of kin..the one to notify concerning my medical life and notify her. The girl agreed. I had paid for my funeral and she had all of that info., along with other things that would needed to be done if I was unable to take care of them. The week before Thanksgiving 2017 she quit and was very hurtful…not sure why but think it was because I asked her not to use any damp products on the furniture. I had, and found out it was damaging.

I have no family and although I have many friends (school and college friends, etc) I have few here. In the last month I have had 2 pass and another is in bad shape. Since, I keep thinking am I going to die here all alone.

People here are not very friendly. After my husband died many came here (nearly daily) and wanted things…his clothing, tools, furniture, loans (never paid back) and after I told one of the biggest gossips I was going to sign up for Food Stamps (I lied), no one comes…well except for those I pay for yard work, plumbing, snow shoveling etc., all men. I do have 1 friend nearby but she is a doctor and works long hours. She is up early and when she can, goes to bed early so we only do things maybe only once a month in the winter.

I love to eat out in fine restaurants, enjoy day trips etc. and can pay for it and for another. I’d starve before I’d eat out by myself. Also enjoy the conversation of a man but here there are no men of worth. Either too young, looking for someone to take care of them, or are only interested in using a woman for just sex.

Any ideas how I can rid myself of these feelings and enjoy my single life?

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14 Responses to Any ideas that might help?

  1. Lorraine says:

    No but I urge you to be good to yourself….eating out alone isn’t as much fun as being with friends but it does give you a boost. You need time to grieve for the losses you have endured. I wish you the best

  2. Joan says:

    I’m wondering if you have visited the local senior center? Many of these centers across the US have lots of interesting activities which give people a chance to connect while also learning
    something new. If you have a college close by, many offer enrichment classes.

    YMCA’s across the country also have excellent classes at all levels. Libraries a usually have book clubs etc. Just wanted to mention the class option as a chance to build friendships. Its helped me a lot and has also opened new doors of learning.

    I hear your angst about feeling alone and you are not alone in that feeling, but we must not give up and keep on opening new doors.

    Would love to stay in touch!

  3. Joanne says:

    Sounds like me.. 🙂 Actually I have had a unusual life compared to the norm.. Went to Catholic school through childhood .. was a teenage juvenile delinquent … PG at 16.. dropped out of school..gave baby up for adoption.. married at 18 to an alcoholic … in jail for his check writing.. moved every three months … had three kids – one every year… went bankrupt three times ( 7- 11- 13 ) I attend college courses at night but I seen the money men made and that’s why people go to work … I did anything I could to work with my husband and I went to a trade school in the late 70’s … became a Journeyman … opened my own business… was successful to where I only had two competitors in the state… worked in the Industrial field … my husband died young of cancer … I owned 10 houses including duplex’s paid in full when he died… I met my next husband and he also died and left me his two houses… my Dad always said to buy property because people always need housing or to buy gold for investments… without the Housing income I have a monthly income of $12,000 tax free.. I closed the company after our contracts were finished cuz I didn’t need the money or the hassle of all the taxes, payroll of 35, quarterly reports, union reports, employee disputes .. etc… I then traveled the world but now I care for my last husband’s mother… I want a Class B RV and to travel again… and I will do 🙂 this is just the tip of the iceberg… hahaaa

  4. Diana says:

    Jan, since you have no immediate family nearby, perhaps you should consult an attorney who specializes in elder care. This would be a good time to assure yourself that your wishes will be followed with regard to health and financial issues in the future.

    She could also put you in contact with someone with a Masters in Social Work who can help you explore options in your area. Do you want to remain in your house once you reach eighty or would you enjoy life more in a senior building or community? She will know about transportation solutions, housekeeping possibilities, etc.

    Jan, you need a ‘next of kin’ who has at least a family or professional responsibility toward you. Don’t set yourself up to be taken advantage of.

    And consider whether or not you’d be interested in moving to a senior community in a different place.

    • Fran says:

      I did that — I talked to three. The problem is this: attorneys are bound by law to charge the estate only a certain percentage for their time — but not their expenses. I forget what the percentage is (for their time — administer the estate), but it was a fairly good percentage. [Also, if you need a medical POA — you can kiss your whole estate goodbye — because there is no law on how much they can charge per hour.] And since there will be no one around to monitor the attorney, after we’re gone, the attorney can pretty much clean out the estate with time and expenses. I am not anti-attorney — I was a court clerk for 30 years. I just know that most of them are not competent — and then there are the few who are dishonest. So — now what? I don’t know. More later.

      • Diana says:

        I wasn’t suggesting that an attorney become the executor of the estate.

        I was suggesting that Jan make clear in written form her wishes regarding medical/financial issues.

        And that she discuss her situation with a professional social worker who could perhaps suggest some options that she’s unaware of.

        • Fran says:

          There aren’t any options if you don’t have an executor. The only option is that the local court will take hold of your estate. It will file state and federal income taxes, and it will distribute your money and possessions according to your will. If there are no heirs, the government gets the money and possessions. Even if there are heirs, the state charges a ‘fee’ for becoming the executor of your estate. And the state gets its payment before anyone else does. I’ve seen it happen many times (I worked in Probate Court), and it is sad.

          • Diana says:

            Jan has a step-daughter. She does not have to appoint an attorney executor.

            Since laws vary by state, she needs to talk to a professional in her state and not well-intentioned strangers in online chat.

  5. K says:

    You might want to check out some retirement communities where they have many planned activities that you can sign up for and meet people with similar interests or try new activities.

    If you want to stay in your home think about volunteering. Reading at a day care or volunteering at a school might give you a new perspective. Volunteer as a greeter at a blood bank. People who donate are probably good people since they are doing something to help others.

    If you like to travel go on a cruise or a trip with a group your age or even a mixed age group. Open yourself to listen to others around you. You will hear what others are talking about and might be able to join the conversation.
    We have made friends all over that we met on trips and now travel to visit.

    Open yourself to new possibilities.

  6. Fran says:

    “I love to eat out in fine restaurants, enjoy day trips etc. and can pay for it and for another. I’d starve before I’d eat out by myself. Also enjoy the conversation of a man but here there are no men of worth. Either too young, looking for someone to take care of them, or are only interested in using a woman for just sex.”

    I read your post the day you posted it (I think), and I’ve been thinking about you ever since. Just have been too busy to reply.

    Anyway, your last paragraph intrigued me. 🙂 You sound like you are in fairly good health and good spirits, despite your health problems. You just seem to have a very good outlook on life — you haven’t folded yet. 🙂

    Go out to eat alone. There is nothing wrong with it. (Believe me — no one is looking at you.) And you might be surprised who you might meet.

    I know what you mean about our male peers. 🙂 And the ones who are interesting to converse with usually married. 🙂 But what I did was join a computer club, founded and lead by five retired (married) men, who had VERY interesting jobs before they retired. So that has helped my need for male conversation because, now that I’ve been around there for a while, they will talk about other things besides computers. 🙂 But, no, I can’t go out with them and vice versa.

    I agree with whoever posted that you should check out your local senior centers. Just call the main number for your city (city services — every city has one), and see what your city has for senior citizens. My city has 7 (or 8?) absolutely wonderful senior centers (I am not exaggerating).

    Ask your PCP (primary care physician) if he/she knows any counselors/therapists who deal with issues of aging. Good luck. My city has ONE (who is 65+). Some others include issues of aging in their list of expertise — but a 40 year old has NO idea what is going on with a 65+, and I won’t see one who is not 65+.

    As for actually living in a senior residence — some are very good and some aren’t. However, they all are like being back in High School. Cliques, gossip. I know. I lived in a previous one. I live in one now — and I’m moving out of this one in a few months. But I’m only 69 — if I were approaching 80, I’d probably just stay here.

    How young we feel on the inside and what our aging bodies will allow us to do can often be at odds with each other. Be kind to yourself. And as for being lonely — it becomes more and more a part of our lives the older we get. Especially if we don’t have family. But loneliness is not cancer, it’s not a death sentence, and in older age, it can even become somewhat of a friend. We often learn a lot about ourselves in solitude and in loneliness.

    Please come back and tell us how you are doing.

  7. Pat Damron says:

    Jan – You say that you have many friends away from where you now live. My suggestion is RUN, don’t walk to where those friends live!!! It sounds like where you live is not good for you overall, too much negativity to deal with at this stage of your life. Avoid moving to a small town (less than 25,000 population) unless a small town is where your many friends are. Small towns have little to offer a woman who is looking for enrichment of soul and spirit.
    I wish you good health and good luck.
    Pat Damron

  8. Jeanne says:

    I believe you need to develop a spiritual life.

  9. Laurie says:

    Dear Jan,

    Sounds like you are a vibrant senior with a lot to offer. Would you consider some sort of senior living place for the social aspect, making new friends, fun outings, etc? A co-housing situation would work perfectly for you. Have you considered moving to wherever you have more friends and inviting them to join you in some of the activities there?
    I think that it takes a good while to recover mentally from a scary health challenge and losing your husband as well. Facetime with some of your friends to get assistance with the decision-making process.

  10. mary hirsch says:

    Hi Jan,
    I just read your post TWICE as well as each and every “suggestion” post by wonderful and well-meaning sisters. As you can see, others DO care and are able to give you different points of view. All is good information… And here, I will attempt to offer my “two peanuts” of thought, for what it’s worth…

    You don’t say where you live but I was able to learn a lot about you through your writing. I know that you are: 1)educated, 2)well-traveled, 3)financially comfortable and, unless I misunderstood, prefer the company of men. There’s much to be said for that; I certainly do. But this is NOT about me.

    Your assessment of men is quite correct – and, simply a fact. What you might wish to remember is the super advantages that you, unlike other women, have at your disposal because of your financial freedom: you call the shots. That’s power! Most women settle; you don’t have to.

    The fact that you have heart issues is not a deterrent (I had a stress heart attack 10 years ago for climbing the ladder of success in my field – and would do it all over again!) but at 73, am in great shape (work out daily, health freak and 100% positive and independent) and 100% in charge of my life. You can do that too: all it takes is WILL – and HELP from professionals. You can afford it.

    My “advice” to you is to seek the counsel of a professional to assess your life and your goals – then GO FOR IT! A professional will help you GUIDE your thinking as you bounce ideas around. At 77, I wouldn’t wait; just common sense.

    Consider the PLUSSES in your life, which, from your post, far outweigh the minuses. It’s time to move on. Now! And be in charge of your own life in the most POSITIVE way. Stay away from the negative people and gossipy losers; the world is full of them!

    The world is YOUR oyster, girlfriend. You have the means to explore your options and live where YOU want to. Loneliness is an OPTION and eating alone is an incredible DELIGHT! You don’t NEED anyone to feel complete; you have YOU!

    Get professional help; I guarantee you’ll see the world in a very different light.

    Here’s wishing you the best!

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