Over 50s Lifestyle

What do you do when life doesn’t go to plan? How do you cope?

November 8, 2020
When Life Doesn't go to Plan

“As you read this, my Hubby and I are taking a few days away to reconnect with each other.”

That was my opening sentence of my last newsletter to subscribers back on October 18. Life has a habit of throwing curve balls and we never know what each day brings and when our strength will be tested. 

I wanted to write this post because, you, my readers mean a great deal to me and although I don’t really have to explain, I wanted to fill you all in on what is happening at the moment.

Instead of leaving for a few nights away at beautiful Ballina Manor, on Sunday morning at 5am we were called to the hospital as my 94 year old, mother-in-law, Luisa had had a stroke and was not expected to survive.  After 11 days, (longer than was expected) she passed peacefully on 29th October.

You might say, ‘she had a good innings’ but to us it was totally unexpected. My husband had spent a lovely couple of hours with her on the Thursday. On Saturday, I visited a normal and our ‘project’ for the day was to transfer her winter clothes out of her wardrobe and bring in her summer clothes. She even had selected her outfit for Mass the following morning.

There was no hint, that anything was wrong.

The funeral is next Thursday, so I wanted to write a quick post to explain my absence and also that I may not be as regular with my emails or blog posts for the next month, or even until the rest of the year.  I’ve cancelled all my interviews for the podcast, haven’t written any blog posts and my mindset isn’t in the right place to do this at the moment.

For those of you who have experienced the loss of a loved one, you can understand that we all grieve and cope in our own way.  I’ve had to draw on inner strength to support my husband and his family during this difficult and unexpected time.  Part of my ‘job’ was to send daily morning and evening text updates to the family as well as spending hours with my husband and MIL.   The staff at her aged care home were so loving and caring to her and to us.  We were also pleased that she could return to her own room in familiar surroundings to spend her last few days.


How am I coping?

Not that great to be honest.  I have days where I just can’t function and have to push to get through them.  Everyone says that is normal and to be kind to myself. If you know me, you will know that I would also be giving that advice to others but I’ve come to realise that we all have to find our own way to get through.


What is helping?

After sitting for long hours with my MIL I realised that I wasn’t looking after myself and my needs.  My husband and I were sitting most of the day, grabbing a quick coffee and not eating well.  I knew I had to change this as we needed to keep healthy and strong. Since her passing we have been busy organising her funeral. Life goes on.

What is helping at the moment?

  • I’ve continued to do my Strong Healthy Women Workouts three mornings per week. I’ve not always felt like doing it but I have felt so much better mentally and physically after the session.
  • I’ve taken long mindful walks along the beach where I live
  • I’ve been surrounded by love and support from my children and friends. I have a weekly chat with a small group of friends who are scattered across Australia and the world and this has helped me tremendously.
  • Yesterday I went for a long run with my Saturday Sisters and had breakfast with them. It was good for my mind, body and spirit as I pushed my body to run and then enjoy some time with my dearest friends.
  • I’m reading more – mainly books that I can get lost in and not have to think too hard about the content 
  • I’ve stepped out of the blogging world for a time 
  • I’m doing what I need to do that I feel is right for me and today that was writing this post to you all to explain.
  • I revisited two of my podcast interviews that were pertinent to me at this time. Grief and Loss with Karen Chaston from Live, Love by Design, and one about Creative Memorial Planning with Jenny Leigh Hodgins.  This experience has reinforced my belief that we need to make arrangements for what we want to happen when we die.

I had a few podcasts already scheduled so here are the last few for your listening (or viewing on YouTube). 

What have I learned about coping?

  • I’ve learned that we all deal with situations in our own way and for me that might be taking time out when I need to, but also reaching out and writing to you all to stay connected. For me, it is also tying up loose ends and responsibilities so I don’t feel like I’m letting people down.
  • I’ve learned it is okay to just ‘be’ and not do anything
  • I’ve learned that some days you feel churned up inside and you just need to get through the day
  • I’ve learned that sometimes it is okay to not feel okay.
  • I’ve learned that given time, life will get back to some sort of ‘normality’ but…

I’ve also learned that when major events happen in life, it can be the perfect opportunity to make changes in your life going forward, that perhaps you have been to afraid to make in the past.

So that has been life for the last two weeks and thank you to all who have sent loving messages of support. Until next time….

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12 Comments

  • Reply Donna Connolly November 8, 2020 at 11:14

    Hi, Sue – I am so happy to read that you are taking the time for you (and Mike). Sending BIG hugs to both of you. Remember that all of the SSs are only a phone call away!

  • Reply Michele Somerville November 8, 2020 at 13:18

    Hi Sue, please accept my condolences on the unexpected loss of your beloved mother-in-law. You have lots of wisdom to go around and you are right, you don’t need anyone’s permission. Thank you for taking the time to let us know what is going on .In the process of sharing your experience, you offer a lot of practical wisdom for your readers. We all grieve differently, but grief is a process, I would say a necessary process, as real as death itself. May time time away be helpful, and even restorative. Blessings, Michele

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au November 8, 2020 at 16:27

    Hi Sue – I think you and Mike are doing an amazing job of coping with Luisa’s passing and then having to manage all the funeral service, eulogy, etc on top of it. I’m sure the service will be beautiful and will be a time of reflection and being able to say goodbye to a woman who obviously had a wonderful effect on those around her.
    Being kind to yourself, using the time for some reflection, and leaning on Mike (while being his support) is a sign that you’re looking after your own wellness and that will help the grieving process too. Thinking of you both and sending love xx

  • Reply pah November 8, 2020 at 23:09

    baby boomers are going to get abused and treated like garbage in the retirement homes. Thanks to Trump pissing off every group of people, literally everyone hates baby boomers now. Maybe you boomers shouldn’t have been so selfish and ruined your children’s future with your short-sighted greed. Enjoy those retirement homes, and good luck, boomers!

  • Reply Natalie November 8, 2020 at 23:12

    Hi Sue, I’m sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and Mike and I’m sending big hugs to you both. Thank you for taking the time to let us know what’s happening. Take care.

  • Reply suzanne November 8, 2020 at 23:29

    Sue, thank you for taking the time to share this sad news with your readers. Wishing you peace and healing.

  • Reply Sue-Anne at SisterStay November 9, 2020 at 04:30

    Look after yourself, Sue. We are all thinking of you and wishing you and your family peace and closure. xx

  • Reply Candi Randolph November 9, 2020 at 04:46

    Sending all my love and prayers to you and your family, Sue. Thanks for sharing honestly with us about where you are at and how you’re feeling. Take all the time you need to start the healing process and see where it leads you. As you said, it might be the perfect opportunity to make changes in your life. xo

  • Reply Patricia Doyle November 10, 2020 at 07:39

    Sue, Thank you for sharing with us what is happening in your world. Sending you positivity from the other side of the world. Please be as kind to yourself as you would be to someone else. We will all be here when you decide to come back.

  • Reply Debbie Harris November 10, 2020 at 12:11

    Hi Sue, I have been thinking of you, Mike and your family since hearing the news and I am glad to read your post about how you are going at this sad time. Thanks for being honest and sharing what’s going on. Grief is a very personal issue and you are doing the right thing in taking time out and being together as a family. i will be thinking of you on Thursday as you deliver the eulogy and sending your strength and hugs. xx

  • Reply Christine November 13, 2020 at 10:31

    Tough time. I’m glad you’re able to find ways to work through it and support your husband as well as yourself. The more we love them, the more we miss them.

  • Reply Christie Hawkes November 13, 2020 at 23:13

    Hello Sue. I hope you are continuing to take care of yourself and that you are surrounded by love and well supported. Thank you for keeping us posted and for sharing your insights. Sending love and healing your way. XO

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