Day 42: the recollecion deficiency

Memory has been an issue for me. Forgetting my husband’s voice, things we did together, and how much we meant to each other. Oddly enough, I am not concerned about my lack of memory. He’s in my head, he’s just hiding for now so I can get through the day. I have faith I will recall things as I have been, in bits and pieces that I string into a whole.

Today it has been 6 weeks. I can’t decide if it feels longer or shorter than that. I think it may feel longer because days have been passing excruciatingly slow. Today also marks another significant day. It is the day that not one single, solitary person called up so I could hear another human being’s voice or stopped by to visit. I disappoint myself with how much those calls and visits really mattered to me and kept me going as far as feeling slightly less alone. I know I should just call someone and beg them to talk to me, but I can’t bring myself to because I would feel like I was putting them out by inflicting the sad reminder of my existence on them. This may or may not be true, but my silly widow mind is convinced of it so it seems better to just not remind anyone I am still here and still need support. Besides, I guess this day was inevitable and will undoubtedly be followed by many more days like it so I may as well battle through and come out the other side perhaps a little more self reliant. I still hate the feeling abandoned.

Today’s accomplishment: As I had an abundance of time on my hands, I started puppy training. I guardedly believe she may have learned the word “sit”.

Day 38: down, down, down

I can’t seem to go any significant chunk of time without crying. Actually, crying isn’t the right description. It is more body bending, heart wrenching, screaming sobs of despair and loneliness. I’m losing myself in this seemingly insurmountable grief. I know I am supposed to be discovering a new me throughout this journey- the me without my husband that stands tall and proud and can take on anything the world dishes out. I wish someone could point me in the right direction to find her because she sounds like a bad ass. She is nothing like this hollow shell of a former person who is so very desperate not to be alone.

This will sound wrong but I have found myself being jealous of widows whose husbands died after an illness. I do not for one single second wish that my husband had suffered the ravages of such a slow death, but I do envy the time they had and the knowledge when things got bad that any conversation could be their last. These women got to say the important things, to talk about the “what ifs” of her future without him, to make sure he knew without a doubt the depth of the love they shared. They got to say good bye. I am not trying to say their grief is less than my own or they hurt any less because they could see it coming. There is nothing positive about losing your spouse no matter the circumstance and certainly there are even more difficult circumstances to wrap one’s brain around than my husband’s sudden death due to a seizure. I just wish I even had 5 minutes to squeeze every single “I love you” in so he could hear it and understand how much I meant it. But instead, he was just gone with no warning whatsoever and I am left to say all of the things I needed to say when he was here into thin air.

I keep trying to remember if I told him “I love you” enough. I know we said it a few times a day every single day, but did I tell him through my actions? I can’t be sure of that because my brain won’t conjure up the memories. People tell me stories about us and they sound familiar and I can picture them happening, but much like becoming a widow, part of me feels like all of this happened to someone else. It is strange to be completely consumed with an aspect of your reality and still spend so much time distancing yourself from it.

Today’s good stuff: I discovered my brain still works for job related things as I had a very productive meeting today.

Day 34: a big wad of nothing

I’m backsliding. I have been trying so hard to be positive, to squint to see a hint of dawn in this moonless, starless night. I’m not able to do it. This is the lowest, most lonely, and most helpless I have felt so far. The first week was more varied emotions, but I had disbelief comforting me like a warm hug. The shock is releasing its hold on my brain, which is obviously not the brightest if it thinks I’m ready to fully absorb the magnitude of my loss. I yearned for things to be different before. Now I know they can’t be and am starting to feel just how empty inside I am. I have no idea how to recover from this. I have no plan to get through. I have nothing.

Despite this, as promised, here is the positive of the day: A friend came by and helped me with the small dead tree in my front yard and helped me assemble the puppy’s large pen I’ll be putting her in when I am leaving the house more. It was very kind and so appreciated.

Day 33: exhaustion

I think I may have gotten to the point where I need to go to the doctor and get something to help me sleep. It is the oddest feeling to be so close to falling over from exhaustion yet so unable to give into sleep. I think most of the time I’m in a foggy place in between sleep and wakefulness, dipping my toes into each side of the divide when it becomes absolutely necessary. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I like the fog, but there is some comfort there. I cannot see far enough behind or ahead to be anxious or afraid, I just have to be, which has its own set of challenges but none so hard as the other options.

Today’s positive: The lobster rolls I bought with a forgotten gift certificate have arrived and actually sound good for dinner!

Day 30: scaling Mt. Everest

I’ve had some speed bumps lately. Actually, they aren’t even speed bumps, they are the even less steep speed humps. But for me in my current state of broken mind, they feel like a mountain that only the most skilled and prepared experts would dare to attempt to climb. I am no expert. I am neither skilled nor prepared.

I have never had need for an attorney before, but now facing the uncertainty of the probate process there are some decisions that must be made that I am ill equipped to handle. This is scary. I had been operating under the assumption that my primary responsibility would be wading my through this impossible grief journey and all the other details would sort themselves out somehow. That sort of thinking was naive and uninformed. It is time to get my hands dirty in paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork.

I keep asking myself how this can all be happening. My life was pretty damn good. I had a wonderful husband that expressed every day how much he loved me, that thought of me first above all others, including himself. He was a good man. I know it is natural when someone passes to raise their life and contributions to this world to the level of a near deity. My husband was not perfect, but that doesn’t matter. He was perfect for me. I always felt like I took care of him and required someone to look out for in order to be happy. These last several weeks it has become clear that we took care of each other in a positive, symbiotic sort of way. We were never alone because we had each other. We made each other laugh in even the most stressful times. Every time we fought I always told him “We are not fighting because I don’t love you, we are fighting for our relationship because I love you so much.”   Now I have nothing left to fight for besides myself, and I don’t even know who that is any more. It is just another leg of my journey up Everest.

Day 28: four weeks

It is hard to believe it has been four weeks for completely opposite reasons. First, time has slowed to an uncomfortable, never ending crawl. I feel like if I spent my days watching the hands of a clock tick by the hands would stutter in protest with every single move. The other reason is that before this happened, I thought there was no way that if anything happened to my husband that I would survive a single day without my heart simply giving up. It didn’t give up, despite my utter indifference if it had decided to do so.

A majority of my time now is spent alone. Some people still call and ask if they can come over. The answer to that (unless it is a rare day where I actually have to leave the house) is always an enthusiastic yes. Mostly, I get a lot of “Call me if you need anything”. People mean well when they say this, but what I actually need besides the impossible obvious is to be asked to spend time with me with a specific time and place so I can say yes or no. I am very bad at asking for help and it would be humiliating to call someone up and say “I’m not doing anything, but I need another human being to sit with me as I do nothing so I can experience someone else simply breathing around me.” Other people have the blissful advantage of still having their lives in tact with one missing factor so getting back to the usual is easier. For me, everything I do, every thought I have, and every decision I struggle to make is accompanied with the thought “My husband is dead.” I am consumed with this fact and it governs my entire existence. I don’t know what to do.

Last night was actually nice. A friend of mine, her husband, and two year old asked if they could come over and have dinner with me. Like I said above, that is the way to do it! I said yes because I had no plan and Fridays have been tough since his seizure began just before midnight Friday, July 25 so it is kind of like having two death anniversary dates. One for when it started and less than an hour later when it ended technically on July 26.

My first thought upon accepting their invitation to keep me company was it actually sounded good to cook. This involved my first trip to the grocery store by myself since he died, which is a testament to just how much shopping was done for me in the early days to stock me up on everything I may need. I used to shop alone all the time, but this time besides buying the components of a basic meal, I was also shopping with only my own needs involved. There was no looking for an unusual item to buy in order to surprise my husband. It was just essentials. It was depressing. But like everything else I do nowadays, I just popped on the auto pilot and got it done. One more hurdle down, a few million to go.

It did feel good to cook. I had been not doing it because even though it seems simple to just cut what I would usually make in half, the idea of doing that has been a huge mental stumbling block. This was a chance to cook for several people. It was kinda perfect. I hope they let me cook for them again some time and it was nice to have help cleaning up.

I keep looking for some deeper meaning to everything that has happened and have decided there is none. The impact of his absence on me and his sister, the sudden ceasing of his important, selfless work, and the void he left behind cannot be attributed to any greater plan or purpose. It is a cruel joke no one is laughing at. My goal is to just ride out this wave and figure out how to give my own life greater purpose, to have a plan for me, and decades from now go to my own grave laughing. For today, I will simply sit as I am accustomed to being, completely and utterly alone.