The grocery store
It's been one of the biggest grief triggers for me. At first, I couldn't bring myself to go at all. Thank god for the kindness of friends and coworkers who kept my fridge and freezer stocked for the first month or so. Thank god for my closest friends who grocery shopped for me at first.
Eventually, I managed to go on my own, but only to grocery stores Dave and I hadn't frequented too often. Finally, I was and am now able to shop in "our" stores, but every time it's a set-my-teeth, white-knuckle, hurry-up-and-get-it-over-with kind of experience. There is so much Dave in every store I go to. The items we loved, he loved, the items we argued about, the times he'd reach out to snuggle me in the middle of the frozen food aisles when I was freezing from the cold air. It seems like every damn item and aisle there has some history of Dave and me.
I went to our neighborhood IGA today to get my prescription refill and a few food items. I was standing in front of the canned beans, awash in sadness. I must've looked stricken, because an employee walked by, tapped me gently and said "Oh, today isn't THAT bad, is it?"
Inwardly, I said MY HUSBAND IS DEAD!
Outwardly, I couldn't look at him and instead just continued to stare straight ahead at the damn beans. I knew if I looked at him or opened my mouth, I'd come unhinged. So I tried to think of reasons why that day wasn't all that bad. I thought of my friends, my blog, my cats, my house, my health. I got the beans for chili and hightailed it out of that store.
Eventually, it'll get easier to grocery shop, and the holidays are making it especially dicey right now. But my plan to make it easier on me is to take some cooking classes. I used to love to cook. I think I still do, it's just that I need some inspiration. I need to get excited about making new dishes again. Once I do, I figure I'll be able to focus more on that mission while I grocery shop, than on how much I miss Dave. There will be a nice payoff when I get done grocery shopping and more motivation to get it done in the first place.
The second part of my plan is to go to a brand new grocery store Dave and I never went to together. It's going to mean a substantial drive, but it's only 25 minutes from work, so it's not terrible. It's also the same store where I'll take the cooking classes.
I figure once it gets easy and maybe even enjoyable to go there, it'll be easier to go anywhere. That's the plan, anyway. We'll see how it goes.
In the meantime, grocery stores could make it easier on me (and other widowed people...oh hell, on everyone, I'm guessing) by doing the following:
1. Provide a little free booze. Just hand me a glass of wine on the way in.
2. NO CHRISTMAS CAROLS OR NOSTALGIC MUSIC! Just don't play music at all. How about a comedian's standup act instead?
3. Samples. Distract me with yummy samples.
4. Provide tissues here and there. You never know when I'll need a few.
5. I get a free magazine just for looking sad.
6. No more carts with the wonky wheels. They make me mental as it is.
Safeway? Are you listening?