Friday, November 12, 2010
I don't really know where to begin, and this being at a loss for words is new for me - as anyone who's read my longer-than-the-blog comments knows.
My husband had more than his share of health challenges but no one expected him to die, least of all, me. Nevertheless, die he did, and I'm still trying to figure out how to proceed from here. It looks like I'm going to be a hay farmer, at least for the time being, since he bought all this.... stuff... with that goal in mind. I don't even know what half of it is - some of the things look more like a cross between a carnival ride and a helicopter crash than actual farm equipment.
Money disasters? Nah, you don't want to hear about them. Everybody's got a money disaster story this year, and some are a lot more interesting than mine.
My house is pretty much destroyed. I spent all of August and September caring for my husband, frequently in hospitals far from home, and October and November being Stuck. I finally figured out that the reason I was Stuck is because some part of me thought that if nothing changed at all, if nobody moved, then maybe time would somehow stand still and I'd get John back. Since that obviously isn't going to happen, now I need to dig in and get the mess cleaned up - not just his things, but the living room and the laundry room and you name it, it's a colossal disaster.
One of the rooms I couldn't bring myself to go into was the kitchen. Cooking and eating together were things John and I enjoyed doing, and doing it alone seemed wrong and just too sad. So I lived on apples with cheese or peanut butter (apple tree out back), microwave popcorn, takeout and Scotch. And I didn't move. For six weeks.
So, somewhere between July and now, I gained ten pounds.
I'm beginning to UnStick. I've taken walks every day recently and have begun to sort through the two laundry baskets full of mail and paperwork. I bought some vegetables. I have good days and bad days, and I don't push myself too hard but I am beginning to push a little bit - I'm afraid if I don't, I'll stick in the quagmire forever.
And I'm starting over, six pounds heavier than when I first started here almost a year ago.
I'm opening a new chapter in my life - new in almost every way, with no husband, no kids at home, no set path - and I'm interested to see what will happen next
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Safely home from our trip (although we took one of my daughter's, "This way is only a *little* bit longer and looks like it's so much nicer" routes, so a ~ 6 hour trip was accomplished in only eight hours....)
Daughter #1 and I had a lovely visit with Daughter #2 in Pittsburgh, PA. It was absolutely wonderful to be away from home and every single pressure therein, from grief to firewood. We ate fattening and expensive food, went through the Phipps Conservatory - huge interconnected greenhouse sorts of things with all different plant collections studded with unbelievable Chihuly glasswork here and there - went t a couple thrift stores (I bought a dark blue cashmere 1940s-50s swing coat for $45!), went to a great funny play, and in general hung out and laughed and relaxed. It was tough to leave, although another couple nights on that sofa may well have done me in entirely. We'll all be together again in only a month for Thanksgiving - we're going to do that in Pittsburgh as well.
It was wonderful to come home and see all the lovely supportive comments left for me by my friends here. You all have really been a great help to me, and a great comfort as well.
One day soon I'll be reworking my SparkPage here completely (by my own instinct, as well as SP majority rule, I'm keeping the Scooter name for now). I'm ready to start living more healthfully and finding out where the new paths lead.
And on that note, I'm crawling into bed for a good night's sleep!
Friday, October 22, 2010
(although, honestly, I was better overall until I looked out the window this morning and discovered the world was all covered with cold white stuff.)
I make little daily forays into normalcy, taking care of all the regular stuff and dealing, somewhat gingerly, with the more difficult things. For those of you who lift weights, and lift heavy, you know how the first four or five lifts go easily, then the next one, the form is a little off or you don't get the full range of motion? Doing emotionally difficult tasks, like cleaning out his drawers and closets, is like that for me. I can do literally a few minutes work at it, then it becomes minutely more difficult, so I stop and go busy myself with something else.
I also have to be careful doing mindless things like washing dishes, because my mind, if not directed, tends to dwell on sad or unpleasant images, (maybe it's part of the chronic depression thing, just magnified - I'm not sure) so I drag my computer into the kitchen and stream Food Channel or NPR or something.
But overall, I can feel myself edging back into what passes for normal. Rather like when one has been through a long illness, I do a little bit more each day, allowing for setbacks and days I can't budge off the sofa.
Mostly, though, I've gotten out of that period where spontaneous misery lurks, and things are looking better. At least early in the day. At night all bets are off, so I tend to go to bed even earlier than I usually might (like, *cough* 7:30.)
Grief is as much a time of self-discovery as anything else I've ever experienced - you just have to be brave and listen to what it's telling you about yourself and your life. And as you learn, the pain ebbs.
I've also discovered that, as awful as this may sound, I can work the Recent Widowhood thing to my advantage. Phone bill late? "My husband used to take care of these things for me [a blatant lie] but now that he's gone...*sniffle*..." and the phone company falls all over itself accepting my payment without even imposing late fees.
Today Daughter #1 and I are off to visit daughter #2 for a couple days, returning her car - with its new transmission - and generally goofing off. Dogs will be groomed while we're gone, which is always a treat to come home to.
And I sincerely hope that all that white stuff is gone by then. It's coming soon to stay, I know, but I'm just not into Dreaming of a White Halloween.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Okay, yeah, that all sounded a little melodramatic yesterday when I said it. I didn't mean so much, "I have no future at all now! *sob*", as simply that what we'd planned isn't going to work out and I have to chart a new course, for which I as yet have absolutely no plan. It's more along the lines of the Reinhart School of Had I But Known...
I have no idea about grief support groups, but I've never been much of a group type person - never even liked Weight Watchers. I trust myself to get through this, like I've gotten through other tough times. I'm getting tired of all the crying - as I mentioned to someone here- and I can just imagine how tiresome it must be for the poor folks around me.
The Hospice people haven't been in touch in a little while and that's fine. I have the cremains (love the word) here now and we're not planning any sort of service, at least at the moment. Stuff - little stuff especially, to which I've always been particularly vulnerable - catches me off-guard now and again and I choke up, but all and all Im trying to look forward rather than backward, tie up loose ends (who knew there would be so many?) and move on. Unsteadily, maybe a little crookedly, but on.
The first couple days I relied on a loose mix of Xanax, AppleJack, and Subway, but I've cut those either down or out - besides, if I don't start cooking daily soon, I'm going to drown in CSA potatoes and baby eggplants. And we can't have that. Somewhere around here I've got a great recipe for an eggplant/apple casserole, which is perfect for these fall nights.
As I recall, some terribly clever person pointed out that the only certainty was change. Nothing like getting whacked in the head with an aphorism to get your focus back to where it should be.
I am thinking of changing my name here. Scooter was my husband's nickname for me, and it makes me unnecessarily sad to see it, so I think I'll change it .... only I have no idea what to change it to. Any suggestions? And remember, this is a family newspaper.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
(I actually came over to the computer to pay my electric bill, but got distracted and here I am.)
I keep trying to compare this to when my mother died two years ago, and this morning I understood the difference: when a parent dies and you clean out the house and put everything away, you are essentially letting go of your past. It was over anyway, of course, and you're just dealing with the tangible reminders of it.
When your husband dies, you have to let go of the future that the two of you had planned together. I know there never were any guarantees, but you automatically count on certain things, and giving them up is hard, hard. The past is still defined, but the future you "knew" is gone and there are no guidelines for a new one - it just feels like no future at all.
I know that's not right, that there will be a future of what I make it and all that - I honestly do acknowledge the truth of that - but putting one foot in front of the other and walking alone into the completely open future doesn't feel like liberation and possibilities. Not yet anyway. Maybe someday.
Now for that electric bill.
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