Guest Post from BereavedSingleDad: Where’s my identity?

Happy Sunday everyone,

It’s a pleasure to be able to share another post from Gary, over at bereavedsingledad.blog. This week we are exploring the sense of identity after bereavement and how grief can seemingly change your sense of self. We have also written a little something on the topic over at Gary’s blog too, so make sure you go on over and have a read! 

Katie and Evee x 

What has happened to me? Has grief really changed me as a person?

I remember watching a movie where the lead character was trying to complete an Identity Profile for a dating website. He was most unimpressed that his less than honest answers had not immediately given him gold star status. Flagged him up immediately as a truly exceptional catch. The type of person everybody would be desperate to meet. A cross between Captain America, Tom Hanks, Carl Sagan and Will Smith.

This was back in 2017 and about a year after I had lost my partner and mother. It was a dreadful movie but it did make me think. What happened to my identity? Clearly I was not the same person. Grief had seemingly changed me. I was so confused. Where had the real me gone? Actually was this the new me? What was my identity profile? Back then if I had been completing the personality profile truthfully, my answers would have been something like this. 

Deeply introverted, avoids any social interaction,

Keeps to himself,

Complete lack of confidence,

Expects nothing but failure,

Currently no hobbies,

Avoids eye contact,

Tries not to smile or laugh,

Sense of humour failure,

Desperately tries not to have a good time,

Actually thinks it’s wrong to be happy as I’m grieving,

Avoids showing emotions in public,

Always puts on a faceless mask in public,

Favourite expressions are ‘I’m ok’ and ‘I’m alright’,

Permanently tired,

Absolutely no ambitions or dreams,

Bit of a failure really, not sure why I am bothering. Only completing this because someone told me to….

That profile was not exactly going to entice many people to want to spend any time with me. But that was me back in 2017. Bereavement and Grief had taken their toll on me. Not only had I lost two precious souls but I had also been drained of my life force. I was no more than a shadow of my former self.  My true self hidden. Buried and gathering dust.  In my eyes that was what you did when your were bereaved. Life was just about existing, nothing else. Tears followed tears.

But the real me was still there. Waiting for the right time to reawaken again. Slowly that process started. The key point coming when I realised that yes it was ok to be sad, but equally it was ok to be happy as well. Enjoying life again did not make me a bad person. I was the same person who had met my partner and made her laugh all those years ago. Yes older, a little bit more battered but fundamentally still ME.  But crucially a person who was a little wiser, understood a lot more about the who they were and had finally decided to start living again. One day I might revisit my personality profile. I strongly suspect the answers will be a little different this time around.

18 thoughts on “Guest Post from BereavedSingleDad: Where’s my identity?

  1. I was all those things too except for the sense of humor. My husband and I spent more hours laughing than anything else, and our children went out of their way to keep me laughing. Pretty sure that’s what saved me. 🙂

  2. clairei47 – My name is Claire. I am a mum, a wife and I work for the NHS. For as long as I can remember I have drank alcohol and my relationship with it has become increasingly complex over recent years. I’m 47 and I want to be physically and mentally healthy. I want to be present in my life and enjoy the journey, not drown it out with wine and hangovers. I have had anxiety and depression and I am still working hard to keep them at bay. I am hoping that not having alcohol will help me beat them. I have decided to detail how things progress via this blog. I know nothing about blogging but I think support from others is essential. Maybe one day I can help someone with my story. I started my sober journey on 17th November 2019; long may it continue.
    clairei47 says:

    That profile would look vastly different now I’m sure!

      1. Tina – The best is yet to come. “Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” – C.S. Lewis/Mere Christianity <3 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." --Romans 12:12
        Tina says:

        Not maybe. Yes. Definitely yes.

  3. workinacresnothours – Australia – Frolic and Feed, Land living for living land with God Love and a touch of fairy dust it can be done. Working a small 5 acre farm with my mother, I am a single Mum with 2 adult children. As a single woman its so easy to doubt yourself. My hope is that my antics give you confidence and insite that you too can achieve your dreams.
    workinacresnothours says:

    Sounds like the new profile would have some wonderfully beautiful, fun memories to share & create new wonderful beautiful fun memories to add to what sounds like a wonderfully sincere fun you.

  4. gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com – Gulf Coast of Florida – A retired teacher, I live with my significant other on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I enjoy the beach, walking outdoors, movies, and reading. Hanging Out with Wild Animals is a book series of photos and poems about my encounters with Florida animals. Wonders is a book of poems inspired by the men I have known and loved. Life in Inspiring Places is a book of photos and poems about the places rich in history and natural beauty that I have called home. Excerpts from the books and additional poems can be found on my website. Cheryl Batavia
    gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com says:

    BereavedSingleDad, as I read your post, a similar experience came flooding back to me, My forty-five-year old husband died in 2003 and left me with two preteen children to raise. At the memorial service, I was standing there thinking that my life would never be the same…I would never be the same!

    A poem about deathbed promises I made to my husband had taken me ten years to finish. I posted it on my blog this month, seventeen years after his death.

    I didn’t date for twelve years after my husband died. After my children left home, at age sixty-five, I met a wonderful man on Plenty-of-Fish, and we have been happy together for six years.

    I still think of my late husband sometimes with a sense of loss, but mostly, I enjoy happy memories.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. When I was thinking about losing my identity at the memorial service, I chided myself for such a selfish thought. It helps to know I am not the only one to have had that thought.

    All the best,

    Cheryl

    1. I said things at my partners death bed. Still working through those. So pleased you made your way to another relationship and that it’s been 6 good years. I suspect many of us do. x

  5. Live in the present and find your magic. The rest will follow! Great post! Thank you for sharing Gary’s journey!

  6. Yetismith – I now live in peace, upstate New York with numerous cats. After retiring from a customer services industry, I ran a kitty foster-home in Washington State. When I returned east, those who remained came with me.
    Yetismith says:

    I never had a partner, so you would think I should have been spared this particular pain, but it doesn’t quite work out that way. I also know that if you lose a partner when you are still young, that you owe it to yourself to come to terms with your loss. No loving partner would ever want you to live the rest of your life in pain and denial. I’m glad you are beginning to feel alive again, Gary, for you and your lad.

  7. vincenza63 – Writer e blogger per passione, 56 anni, vivo in provincia di Milano. Nella vita traduco testi tecnici e scrivo. Sono un'appassionata di musica, letteratura, amici, allegria, meditazione e riflessione.
    vincenza63 says:

    Great, simply great.
    Hugs
    Vicky

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