Back in my real world, when Ben existed, he managed all the money and did so with quite a bit of success. He was very good at investing and made some smart moves when it came to stock picks (although it was I who insisted on purchasing Lululemon shares and I who insisted on purchasing FB shares). When he was alive I didn’t think he was that great at sticking within a budget, but now that I have to do it I understand that it is not quite as easy as it sounds.
I have also discovered that my main vice / coping mechanism since Ben died is to try to buy myself happy. In my mind I can hear an advertising voice asking the questions:
(Insert deep, rhythmic announcers voice here)
Are you sad because Ben isn’t here to help pull out the Christmas tree? Well why not buy yourself some new shoes that will sit in the closet to help ease that pain?
Are you climbing into bed alone for the six hundred and seventieth night in a row wondering how you will cope when your practically adult children all fly the coop? A little online shopping before falling asleep will probably make you feel better.
Do you find yourself less than inclined to cook because it was your husband’s job and he did it so well? You should just go to a restaurant and buy your dinner.
Are you worried sick about your upcoming surgery and the fact that Christmas is coming but you will be laid up with little time for shopping? Why not just run out and spend copious amounts of money on the kids without thinking about it or looking for a good deal?
I wonder how many people develop addictions when their spouse dies? When they find themselves staring at the empty chair, or wondering who in the world besides themselves still thinks about their spouse, I wonder how many turn to booze or drugs? Or shopping.
Christmas is coming. Again. I remember just before The Last Christmas I said to Ben, “What if this is our last Christmas?” and he cut me off before I finished speaking the last word and cried out “It won’t be. It won’t be.”
But it was.
Another year has come and gone, and on countless occasions I have turned to him to tell him something and found empty air. Empty air. Another 365 days have passed in which he doesn’t know what is happening with the kids. Another 365 days where I haven’t had anyone to turn to when they’ve made stupid life choices that could have serious repercussions in the future. Another 365 days without a shoulder to lean on.
And so I have shopped. As it turns out, it doesn’t help, but it sure does leave me broke.
I have met people who lost everything when their spouse died. I lost my heart when Ben died, because Ben was my heart, but I didn’t lose our house, or the ability to provide life’s necessities to my kids, send them to school, pay for their sports, or even lay hardwood floors in my home. I lost everything that meant something to my heart, but I did not lose everything. I know people who lost their homes, were forced to move, downsize, wonder how they would find the money to repair their vehicle or if they could even afford to keep one at all. EVERYTHING. So I fully understand how obnoxious it would sound to one of those people to hear me complaining about a need to control my spending when it comes to shoes, eating out and decorating my house. I get it, and that’s not the point I’m trying to make.
I am trying to say that I’m scared. I’m scared of the fact that I can’t seem to figure out how to fill the empty air around me. I suppose I should be somewhat relieved that I’m not filling that empty air with booze or drugs (although Justin Trudeau says it will be legal in 8 short months), but I do need to fill it with something more than shopping. I'm not talking about filling my time ... I fill my time just fine. I mean the air. The space. There's a difference.
I need an adult to talk to. I need hugs (God how I miss those hugs.) I need a shoulder to lean on. I need my person. Apparently they don’t sell that online, but I sure keep looking.