The last little bit has been very busy for me. I have report cards due at school tomorrow and I’ve been sick (again). I’m finally getting over it but I’ve fallen behind in the things I need to do. So I’m writing this at 10:00 pm at night, just after finishing report cards, which is not like me but I haven’t had any other time. Not to mention that there’s still everything around my house that needs to get done and it’s just sitting there waiting for me. It’s times like these (among many other times) that I feel alone.
I guess it really has to do with living alone. I alone am the only one responsible for managing my house, cooking, cleaning, Tango (my dog) and taking care of me (extra credit to the widows doing it also taking care of young kids). Gone are the days of, “I am swamped at work, would you be able to figure out dinner tonight?” or “I’m not feeling well, can you take Tango out today?” If I don’t do it then it doesn’t get done. It’s a lot to do and it’s overwhelming at times. David and my family help me when they can but it’s not the same ownership or shared responsibility as sharing the house. I know I could ask for more help but I know everyone is busy with their own lives and I really don’t want to bother anyone with silly little things. Plus, it’s not like I’m the first person ever to live on her own. I just had the advantage (or disadvantage?) of knowing how it could be different and shared and so now it’s hard not to think of that.
I do sometimes pretend to ask Mike to do things for me when I feel like this but really, that’s my crazy, tired widow coming out. Like knowing there will be no response, I’ll say, “hey Mike, do you think you could take a turn watering the plants today?” or “I cleaned the washrooms, could you vacuum the floor?” And then I half laugh to myself because what else is there to do when you’re overwhelmed and tired talking to yourself/dead husband about stupid, unimportant chores? It just solidifies that if I don’t do it then it doesn’t get done.Read more
Summer is winding down and I have no idea where the time went. And when I say I have no idea, I mean it both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, because the time has flown by as it always does, and literally because I cannot remember what I did for the last two months. Honestly. I feel like my brain doesn’t work anymore at all. Is this to be a life long by product of Ben’s death?
Ben’s gone forever. Did he have to take my brain with him?Read more
Seriously there are just not enough hours in the day. And then when I think about it, there aren’t enough days in the year, or years in a life.
There’s always so much to do…so much stuff to deal with, bills to be paid, shopping and work to do…I can’t remember being this busy when Mike was still alive, at least after we closed our school. Looking back I am so grateful we had what seemed like slow, happy days together before he left us, and after he’d retired. Maybe that’s not how it was; sometimes I panic that I can’t just quite remember how it was anymore. Am I starting to forget things about my previous life? Is this just how it’s going to be?Read more
Saturday morning I woke up with a 103 temperature.
So as soon as a reasonable hour hit, I called my parents, asking if they could look after John for the day.
On short notice.
Yet another thing I hate about widowhood. That sometimes you need to call on assistance to the point where you KNOW it's impacting others. Maybe asking them to go that step beyond their general helpful-human being willingness to help. Especially if your circle of available assistance is limited.
I didn't get to write last week... I was with my son in our local children's hospital after he developed an autoimmune thingy.
First while being assessed in emergency after some four hours of the usual waiting and it's 2am, the doctors tell me even though he isn't a typical presentation they suspect something called Kawasaki's Disease, and the biggest concern is if it goes on too long it can cause issues with the coronary artery.
Of course, this heart-issue widow hears with respect to her only child: "this disease is easily treated however you need to know it can cause issues with his heart blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
There is a saying in Zen: Before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After Mike died I couldn't function coherently at all for about a week. I couldn't focus on the basic necessities of cooking, cleaning, errands...even driving. I really could not drive for at least a week. Thank goodness my family and friends were around to help. They literally had to do it all those first days. It's why I understand now the Hawaiian tradition of immediately showing up at someone's house after a death, bringing food, and staying around to help out with whatever was needed. Back on the East coast where I grew up people may be more likely to think they should leave you alone to grieve - I don't know, maybe some people might prefer that. But I don't think I would have made it that way. I am so grateful my house was full that first week.Read more
Here's what I'm noticing as I begin to build a life with someone since Dave died. I'm struggling to let myself be helped.
I fight against the idea of my boyfriend doing things for me. I'm torn between the desire to let myself be a part of a couple again and split the work up - You do the finances because you love it and I'm terrible at it. I do the gardening because I have the green thumb. You do the litter boxes because you always remember to and I leave them for weeks before I remember- and continuing to learn to do it all by myself.
Being with Dave for almost half my life meant that I got away without doing certain things. I never had to learn to a whole host of tasks that he took care of. Just like he never had to learn to do certain things too. He took care of his stuff, I took care of mine. All those tasks he did, I'm learning to do now. From scratch.
My car broke down.
It's been acting up quite a bit lately. I took it in and they said it needed new struts. That wasn't cheap. But it was still making weird noises and behaving strangely. A few weeks ago it didn't want to start...then it finally did, so I immediately drove down and had a new battery put in. Then a few days later it still didn't want to start...when it did finally, again, I drove it back down to the shop. It stayed there all day and the guy tried starting it dozens of times, and it was fine. *snort.* Of course the car behaves for someone else. Then a week or so ago it was like Mt. St. Helens...enter, new radiator. But it still wasn't right. I know my car. Something was wrong.Read more
I've written before about how my personal routines went out the window after Ian died.
John was only 13 months when Ian got sick, and 16 months when he died. Getting him into a bedtime routine, let alone to going down at a regular time just never got re-established after the initial "everything gone haywire" period. We both developed bad habits, which now need to be broken.
I've tried a few times to get something resembling a bedtime routine established. The issue I have is with consistency.
Those bad days, when you're just exhausted from life AND grief, when there's no one to back you up and tag team with, when you can't keep your own eyes open long enough for 1 round of The Gruffalo, let alone 4 or 5, it's so easy to just revert to bad habits (like letting him fall asleep in front of the TV in my bed).Read more
I could lose my house. In fact, I probably will.
For the first few months after Mike died that thought kept me awake at night. It was the single biggest fear I had in that terrible, dark time. I felt like I was choking on grief, and drowning in panic. I could barely breathe when the waves of fear came over me.
I went through every channel I could find to try and keep it. I was constantly calling the banks and talking to different people. I filled out so many forms and applications my head was spinning. I found a wonderful local nonprofit to mediate for me and pestered my attorney with questions and freaked out every time I got some disturbing letter in the mail. I have a stack of paperwork about two feet high from it all and that is no exaggeration.