Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

The Curse of the Unresolved

Monday, November 11, 2013
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I have unfinished business: questions that remained unanswered; plans made but not completed; projects that have not been executed; promises that were made but not kept. Over the last 5 years, I have thought of these nuisances as the “curse of the unresolved.” Even though Joe was laid to rest, sometimes it feels as though some of these matters never will be, because in order for that to happen, I would have to be able to speak with him and have him answer. You know, a reciprocal conversation (instead of me talking to or at him in my head and hearing no answer). These are the never to be resolved, woulda, coulda, shoulda, how-the-hell-could-you-leave-me types of questions that I could drive myself slowly insane with. I have learned to move on from spinning my wheels, and (grudgingly) accepted that I can never have an answer. I suppose that is some sort of resolution.

There are unresolved plans we made together. Plans like traveling the country in an RV with the boys on our own timetable, stopping at all the places we’d planned on seeing. Or plans for starting our own elevator inspection company after he retired with a full pension at 48. He’d just completed his degree and was registered to sit for the certification exam, and I’d already started a company name search, and had designed a logo. We discussed plans for buying a second home in Wisconsin in a quiet area designed to make memories and spend time with the kids. We had designed blueprints for gutting the kitchen, and planned on doing the work ourselves. Plans, plans, plans. None of them completed.

In the aftermath of widowhood, the unresolved issues involved questions and plans I needed to make as a result of him being gone. What will I do with his things? Should I stay in this house? How will I raise my sons alone? Will I ever feel like I am enough? Am I being a good parent to my boys? These plans affected my ability to move forward, onward, and away from him. I wasn’t sure I could solve any of them.

Sometimes the unresolved can be a driving force in change for the better, and others, it can hold me back. I accept I will never have resolution in matters that require his direct response. Some of our plans had to be abandoned, and others modified. I’m afraid to travel the country alone with one driver and two young boys, so I won’t until they are older. The elevator inspection company isn’t possible without him. I can’t afford to buy a place in Wisconsin on my income alone. I’m pretty good at home improvement, but some is beyond my ability and knowledge, and require a second set of hands that I don’t have available, or money I don’t have to spend.

I have made new plans of my own. I learned how to do things by reading, researching, and good old fashion trial and error. I am determined that I can do it on my own. I try to decide what is right for me, but allow myself the luxury of indecision. As far as what to do with his belongings, whether I should move, and how I will raise my boys, these matters continue to change over time. Some days I feel like chucking all his stuff, and others I can’t bear the thought of getting rid of any of it. Some days my skin crawls thinking about staying here one more day, others I want to stay here forever. I question every choice I make, and yet I throw my hands up and say, “It is what it is.” I try to decide with him in mind, but I am the one in charge, so it’s my choice. It’s up to me to fix the things I can, even when I have to modify or change it. Will I ever get used to it? Will I ever be comfortable? I think yes, and then swing back to no. For now, I’ll leave it as more unresolved business.


Wow, I really liked your last paragraph because it left things on a good note. I like how you shared your decision-making process as one that goes up and down. I was told there are no final decisions in life, except death. I've switched my mind a bunch of times on decisions. I know that if I panic or rush things, it usually doesn't turn out so well! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us all!

Diana, So so true are all of your statements. I did sell the house because I really had no choice and that is one thing we had discussed I would do years- before his diagnosis. He always said, " when I die, you will have to move after 12 months". Indeed, that is exactly what happened within hours of his prediction and recommendation. Of course my reply was, so how do you know you will go first? and if that is true, perhaps we should move now. Well, we cannot rewrite history, but we can forge into our futures and be positive and hopeful. We have to. One day, we will be comfortable again, and many things will be resolved, but we have to make it our goal. We have to have that vision and then make it happen. We just have to. We will. Hugs to all.

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