Sunday, October 27, 2013
I bought VIP tickets several months ago to see Alton Brown. We were going with another couple and it was going to be a surprise for him. He would have LOVED it! I feel so bad the seats sat empty. I couldn't go without him. I couldn't begin to. Our friends said it was fabulous, but weird without us.
So today... I have laughed, I have cried. I have been inside and out. I am a mess. I am SO labile. I really think I am fine, then all of a sudden, I picture one of the goofy costumes we wore for a "birthoween" party... And then I lose it. No costumes this year. No scary foods. No kitty litter birthday cake. No jack-o-lantern cake. No surprise parties. No friends calling in the morning with a happy birthday wish. No funny card contest. No kiss at midnight (our tradition for birthday eves) and a caress of the face of the man I thought I would grow old with. No toasts, no trips. No nothing. Only memories.
I remember the quiet dinners, just the two of us. The surprise parties at restaurants. The family gatherings with the grandkids decorating the cakes. The balloons I had delivered at his office. (He was so mad when I had the big 50 balloon that year!) Being in Madrid one year. New Orleans another. Napa Valley another. I remember how he didn't like being the center of attention, but I made him be anyway some years....and it was always fine. And other years, we did nothing. Just marked the day as another year passing by...
Who'd have thought.
Who'd have known.
I've opted to spend the day alone with the memories. It feels good. My son and family are coming over later for an early dinner. We'll pretend...but there won't be any real laughter or celebration. It is still so surreal. I just want to wake up and have my life put back together again. One way or another.
I keep thinking I should be fine by now. That I should get through a day without a meltdown. Friends tell me it is still very early in the grief process. But, it feels as if it has been an eternity. Some days are better than others. Still waiting for the day that I am not bombarded with some memory that hits me in the gut forcing the tears to explode out of my eyes.
Today. The marker of his birth. Ain't gonna happen. Maybe tomorrow...
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Some are better than expected. Some are worse than one can imagine. And then there are some that remind me I will make it.
I actually know that I won't always hate my life like I do now. That I will feel something other than pain. Things are still very surreal, but there are glimpses. And I am optimistic.
But, I have learned one thing. It is a roller coaster ride of a journey with lots of surprises. Some BIG climbs and dips ahead....that is for sure.
Alan's birthday is October 27. He'll never know about the surprise that I cannot give him. It would have been the BEST!
Thanksgiving is a month after that.
Then, how the hell will I get through New Year's Eve?
Stay in the present and deal with it as it comes...
Monday, September 30, 2013
Whenever my husband or I walked through the front door, we'd shout "Yoo-Hoo!" to announce our presence...the other would respond back with the same. Whenever I come home to our empty house, I want to shout Yoo Hoo! and to hear a response...
That is only one of the many, many, things I am longing for...
I have been incredibly busy. In two and a half months, I have gotten the cars smogged and registered (both were due the month after my sweet hubby died, and were late), found the paperwork, and got the previously taxes done and paid (again, scheduled to be done the week after he died...), cleaned out a storage shed, set up a trust, dealt with banks, pensions, social security, insurance companies, and so on. Had my husband cremated, and put together an amazing memorial service. Had surgery, to drain an abdominal abscess which occured as a result of tearing all my adhesions and abdominal scar tissue when I lifted my husband out of the pool. Flew to Chicago to pick up my dog. Redid the back yard to eliminate PTSD symptoms. Hired a painter for the exterior of the house (should be finished in just a couple more days...), gone through all my clothes, and thinned them down to half of what I had, keeping only those that currently fit, and do not remind me too much of my husband. Gone through numerous boxes and stacks of papers, magazines, and miscellaneous things that hubby had stacked in the retreat area of our bedroom and office (will take a year to go through the rest of them and the garage...)
Throw in driving the kids to soccer practice two times a week most weeks, many many lunches and dinners out with friends, and lots of tv and netflix...and throw in the wails, and howls and tears that have been shed, and you will get a glimpse of my life.
I miss the yoo hoos...
I took the weekend off to grieve. I could not face one more friend, make one more phone call, brush my teeth one more time....I whacked off my hair. Dyed it a hideous red. Cried a LOT, and did not get dressed until late Sunday (yesterday) afternoon. I have to pick out new exterior lights. So I went to Home Depot and Lowes to see what they had. And I lost it. TOTAL meltdown in the store. Although I pretend to be superwoman, I am not. I am broken. Fragile. And very very vulnerable.
How can I do this anymore? How can I make these kinds of decision without my sweeite? How can I get off this F-n roller coaster?
I have to stay on, ride it out, screaming all the way.
I cleaned the kitchen today. I sharpened the knives. I am going to get some fresh veggies tomorrow. And may try cooking for a change. I am counting calories, as of today. I am at 950, and still have dinner to go. with 550 calories to spend. I can do that easily.
Eating crap to fill the void isn't helping. I know that. No one needs to tell me or remind me. Please don't. PLEASE don't. I don't need encouragement, advice, or motivational words. I just need someone to listen. And to shout yoo hoo back when I come through the door.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
The entire world as I knew it was shattered. My heart was broken. My life blew up. Beyond repair. And here I am still wondering WHO I am without my husband. WHERE I am, when I am so lost and confused. And I wonder just how many tears a person must cry before the intense pain goes away.
I never knew the depth of our love.
I know now.
I feel like the scaffolding that held up the building I dwell in crumbled, and I am buried in rubble now...and still haven't figured out how to rebuild.
I am trying. I have accomplished a lot. I could write a list to let everyone know how much I do every day. What I have been through physically, emotionally and spiritually. But the reality is...none of it matters. I am still just going through the motions. Pretending I am "OK" so that others can be more comfortable around me. It is often in the wee hours of the night, when the house is dark and empty, or when I am driving and hear a familiar tune, or pass a place he and I frequented. I often have to pull the car over because I am sobbing too hard to drive.
It is weird. "Out of the woodwork" I have met or found out about so many women who lost their husbands unexpectedly, and way too young. They all say the same thing. It does get better. And I need to slow down because I am pushing too hard. They remind me it is still raw, and it will take months before the fog that engulfs me will lift. That many of them stayed in bed a lot the first few months...and let the house go, and even wanted to let themselves go. So I guess I am on track. It hurts like hell...no better way to describe it.
I am learning so much in all of this. About kindness of friends AND strangers. About being loved. About the power of the prayers of others, when I feel incapable. About humbling myself to ask for help. About how to support others in their times of grief. What to say, and what NOT to say (you cannot believe the things that I have heard...all of it well intended, but whew, people have no clue...) and so on. It still feels surreal. Like it was yesterday or a hundred years ago...which was it? Did my husband even really exist? Where is he now, when I really need him? And did he know how much I loved him? Did I love him enough?
And who will I be when this part of my journey passes? I know who I was before I met him, and when we were together, but who am I now?
Thursday, August 29, 2013
I know I am not alone. I know there are many people who have experienced loss FAR greater than mine. Although, this has been the most difficult journey of my life, I am on it...not by choice, that is for sure.
Some days I can barely breathe. Some days are easier...but EVERY day is painful. I know my life will never be what it was. I no longer expect it to be. I just want to have one day without being bombarded by feeling so lost and alone and lonely and scared.
When my hubby first died, I was so numb. I was in shock for several days. Unable to talk, to focus, to eat, or to sleep. Then the emotions hit...hard. I realized he wasn't at Costco or Home Depot. I realized he really wasn't coming home. I realized I would never see that smile, feel his touch or hear his voice again. Now, I am numb again. But less emotional. I only have periodic meltdowns - for sure when I first get up in the morning, and at night. And several times during the day when something triggers a memory, or I start to say something to him, or I need his help. But, now at least I am crying less than I am not crying...
In all of this, my well meaning friends and family, keep telling me I need to get some "professional help". I KNOW I do not (at least at this point) need a "professional" to tell me it is ok to grieve. To take baby steps. To prioritize. To set limits on what I can and cannot do. To isolate if I need to. And so on... I worked in Mental Health for over 15 years, and did a lot of grief counseling myself.
It is like when my mom had Alzheimer's, I wanted no part of a support group. I knew exactly what to expect, and knew that I would find my way to deal with it...and I did. Same now. NO one, professional or not, can walk my journey. When my mom died, I wanted to help my dad so badly, but knew only he could walk that lonely walk...I could be there to support him, but could not carry his cross.
Someone (who agrees I am right on track and do not need "therapy") showed me the list of Mourner's Rights and I said I would post them. Many fit. Some do not. But they may fit you...
1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief.
No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you turn to others for help, donít allow them to tell what you should or should not be feeling.
2. You have the right to talk about your grief.
Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief. If at times you donít feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent.
3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions.
Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Others may try to tell you that feeling angry, for example, is wrong. Donít take these judgmental responses to heart. Instead, find listeners who will accept your feelings without condition.
4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don't allow others to push you into doing things you don't feel ready to do.
5. You have the right to experience Ďgriefbursts.í
Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out.
6. You have the right to make use of ritual.
The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. More importantly, the funeral is a way for you to mourn. If others tell you the funeral or other healing rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don't listen.
7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality.
If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with who won't be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment.
8. You have the right to search for meaning.
You may find yourself asking, "Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?" Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for the cliched responses some people may give you. Comments like, "It was God's will" or "Think of what you have to be thankful for" are not helpful and you do not have to accept them.
9. You have the right to treasure your memories.
Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring your memories, find others with whom you can share them.
10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal.
Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever.
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