Just Today, Not Tomorrow

I have come to a place where I am terrified of the future. 

My future. And THE future. The future of where our country is going, the future of the state of things....

On and on and on. 

I have felt this sense of anxiety and panic and fear, since losing my husband suddenly, over 5 years ago. 

But now .... 

It almost feels worse. 


Maybe its because, each new year, I get older. 

Each year, I feel further away from that life that was. 

And each year, I question more and more, 

How will I do this? How will I make it? How will I keep surviving?

Each year, the answers become less clear. 

My husband died suddenly, only 4 years into our marriage. We were still renting a crappy apartment together. We didnt own anything,except his beat up old car that was always in the shop. As an EMT and a teacher, we didnt make great money, so saving money was impossible and never happened. We lived paycheck to paycheck, and things like owning our first home and having kids and planning vacations and retirement options and on and on and on .... those were all part of our future. But that future never came. 

Now, 5 years later, I struggle alone, and I struggle every day. I work 2 jobs, sometimes 3 - just to get by. I took on a roommate and a new apartment - twice - just to keep going. I sold his car, then sold a second used car gifted to me by my brother - in an effort to make more sacrifices, to keep living. I lost my health insurance, because I was covered under his, and now I dont have any. And now, in 3 weeks, I will be leaving NYC, the place I have lived since I was 18 years old, and moving to Massachusetts to stay with my parents, indefinitely. They are offering me a safe and quiet place to finally finish writing my book about grief and our love story - free of worries about bills and rent. So Im taking that offer, because writing this book is one of the only things that makes any sense in my life these days. 

I will be at my parents house for 3 months. Or 5 months. Or maybe 6 months. I have no idea, and Im trying like hell not to worry myself about such things, which is not normal for me, because I wake up worried. I am a worrier by nature. But I am trying really hard to take things minute by minute, to get up each day and write however much I can write, and then figure out the rest later. Because the truth is ... if I think too much about it ... I will be in a constant state of panic . My mind is not normal. My mind goes insane within seconds, until suddenly I am panicking about things that I have no control over or no way of foreseeing right now.

Like, what if I get sick? Who will take care of me? What happens when I leave my parents place? Where will I work? How will I make ends meet? Where will I move to? Will I ever have something in savings? Will I evver feel the slightest bit secure? How will I pay for health insurance? When can I afford to see a dentist again? What if my kitties die? What if my parents get sick? What if someone else I love dies? How will I cope? What about my dreams? Are they gone? What am I going to do with my life? 

So, once I start going to all of those places, I try and stop myself from that uncontrollable spinning that leads to nowhere good. I try to tell myself to only think in terms of right now. Just today, not tomorrow. Because anything else is way too overwhelming. 

Showing 5 reactions

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  • indie
    commented 2016-12-05 19:12:41 -0800
    I am just about to hit the four year mark in about two months. EVERYTHING you wrote about is my own grief manifested. It is all our grief manifested. The best I can do is try to get through every day still, crying when I need to, working like a maniac to keep myself distracted and knowing that this is not what I want but what I am being forced to do. If things get too rough, so bad that I just cannot stand to endure the pain of grief and all its extenuating consequences then I know there are options.
    What I do know is that I will be buying your book because your writing as you have shown here in this blog is immeasurably helpful to anyone going through this. You are meant to go now and have the time and space to write and help others by publishing your book. It is what we need from you. Please go……write…..tell the story as no one can except you.
  • Suzanne Elliott
    commented 2016-12-03 16:55:53 -0800
    One week at a time is all we can do. I just passed the 2 year mark and I relate so well to your anxiety about the future and what will happen to us as we age. One of the things that really helps me each day is getting my exercise and focusing on being grateful for what I do have. I also adopted a little dog and so have him and my cat for company. They are now my “fur family” and brighten my every day – and they are so pleased to see me when I come in from roaming. Let us know when your book is ready. Having a creative outlet is a wonderful thing and will help. Keep stepping out and taking a few risks – it sounds like you are already doing that, so good job!
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2016-12-02 23:38:35 -0800
    I’m at the 5 year point too and thought by now the anxiousness over my future would be better, not worse. But with each passing year (and birthday) I worry more about how I’ll be able to survive when I’m older – who hires 80-year-olds who never managed to get retirement saved up?? Staying in the moment is all we can do, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Can’t wait to read that book!
  • Cathy
    commented 2016-12-02 17:33:54 -0800
    Kelley, I worry a lot too. Over the years since my husband died, I’ve tried to not look too far ahead; no matter what I envision the future to be, it never turns out that way. You have a plan in place for the next several months, focus on that. Take advantage of your parents offer, spend time with them, finish your book. That’s enough on your plate.
    Try some of these guided meditations. Hope it’s ok to share this here.
  • Kim McArthur
    commented 2016-12-02 16:17:25 -0800
    I go for awhile not reading this blog daily and then will spend a few days catching up. Today, this day, reading your blog, Kelley, speaks to me about the fear of the future and it brings tears to my eyes. My husband also died suddenly 5 years ago and I thought I would be dealing better now. But then comes the anxiety of I don’t want to do this by myself, how do I continue on. I kinda feel like a hamster on a wheel, an anxious feeling of knowing I have to keep moving but where to? Why? Knowing that I am not alone in feeling lost, anxious, scared and alone is better than…well, being alone. So, thank you! Can I get a signed copy when your book comes out? Hugs! And always hope for a better tomorrow!