Sometimes, I am tired. Often, really. I know it is a symptom of Depression but believe me, I know the difference between Depression and depression. I don’t think this is depression. Or Depression. this is overload.
They say, as a new widow, you aren’t supposed to make any major decisions for a year, then they throw 100 major decisions that have to be made NOW at you. HEALTH INSURANCE! INVESTMENTS SO YOU CAN EAT FOR MANY YEARS! PUT EVERYTHING OVER IN YOUR NAME BUT OH YEAH YOU CAN’T RIGHT NOW! ad infinitum. Some days, dusting the bookshelf is a major decision. some days, sorting the laundry is, and you just say “to hell with it” and wash the darks and whites together, hoping that the darks have been washed enough they don’t bleed. So far they haven’t.
Yesterday #1 came over for a visit. He commented that I had essentially worked full-time, managing the household, kids, Himself’s cabinet business for a while, for the past 29 years. He asked about vacations and I have had an average of 3 days a year, for the last 29 years, of true, no-taking-care-of-anything/one vacation. Trips with family don’t count because, you know how that is. Vacations with family=double the work for the Mom. Himself and I went to the mountains a few years ago and he handled all of it, the planning, food, preparing meals…all of it. No seeing anyone, no obligation vacation. It was the first time I had ever returned from a vacation feeling truly rested and restored. Mind you, I didn’t mind all those other vacations because I didn’t really think about it. It was what it was.
Now, with Himself out of the picture (physically, anyway), and #4 elsewhere until August, one would think I was Vacationing again..but notsomuch.
Carrying grief is heavy. Fighting those tears behind my eyes that constantly threaten…that’s exhausting. Why don’t I give in and let them flow? That’s even more exhausting. Having to make major decisions when I am not supposed to, whether they involve money or dust bunnies…oof.
All this is truly something a person can’t understand until they’re in the midst of it, experiencing it for themselves. It isn’t like a romantic break up (I have had those…painful yes. Not so life altering), or being fired (ditto), or a divorce (so I have been told, at least in that the person is still alive). People have said those things to me, “Oh, I know what you’re going through!” and “My boyfriend dumped me in High school!” and “I was fired from a job I loved!” and “I was rudely divorced!” I know those things are painful, really I do, and I am sorry they had to endure that. There is no comparison. To try to do that is not only…what’s the word I am looking for…Well, it is pretty much clueless. Not to mention rather rude. In those things, the person/people is still ALIVE. Himself is GONE. There is NO reconciliation in this lifetime (which, honestly, is the only one I can fully understand right now). Those attempts at consolation make me tired. They mean well, I understand that. But people, the best thing to say to someone who has lost a beloved (especially if you haven’t ever), is “May I bring you a (tasty and not-very-nutritious food thing)/take you to lunch/take you to the beach (mountains/antique stores/Atlanta/someplace that isn’t screaming of the beloved’s presence)?” or “Would you like to come over and drink wine and watch a movie/sit by the pool/do something girly and mindless?” Those things have happened recently and let me tell you, it is (for me, anyway), PERFECT.
One of the frustrating parts of all this, for me (because I love my lists and time tables), is the complete lack of a time table and schedule. I want to know precisely WHEN the heavy heart will lighten, and when I will quit bursting into tears every time I see his picture, and HOW to go about with the cleaning up of his stuff and WHAT to do when (these) emotional outbreaks happen at awkward moments.
Last Sunday was an emotional day. Especially in the morning. I walked into Sunday school sniffing and wiping my eyes, and the teacher asked if I had a Summer cold. I replied no, that I had a bad case of grief and I needed him to be funny during the lesson (not really hard for him, he’s a funny guy anyway). He said “Oh…uh…” and I apologized, and told him that public grief was deeply uncomfortable. He understood, as replied that his wife was the same way. He was also funny during the lesson, which helped. That’s the sort of thing I despise dealing with, public displays of emotion. Again I wish for the open and obvious signs of mourning, so people could recognize the situation and feel less awkward about the middle aged lady with the strained look as she tries to hold back the wails in the grocery store check out line.
At least watery eyes and sniffing can be blamed on allergies or a Summer cold. Probably no one is actually fooled by that excuse, but it gives them a way out of the discomfort of trying to be consoling.
Would it be weird to schedule the grief? To say “ok, right before bed (say, 8:00), it is time to sit down with the photo albums and reminisce about the trip/the house we renovated/the putting up of the Christmas tree/that slot car track he loved but the kids ignored…all those everyday things chronicled in photographs, 30 years of life together…would that be healthy? To know *this* is when I can do it and save up the tears and wails for that, so life in The New Normal (yuck. I want the old one back) can develop and move on? It seems so, better than being blindsided or ambushed every 20 minutes by a sock or a book or something. It seems more organized (I do love organization) that way. All the books say each person finds their own way to grieve, which isn’t helpful to me. Or maybe it is. I am not sure.
All I know is that right now it’s kind of full-on. All the signs, the uncontrolled hits in public places, the fatigue and glaring at laundry, the blowing off of normal responsibility (good thing I don’t have a Real Job, right?), and the incredible distaste for anything unusual (even though that’s all I really want, because the Old Normal is is all I REALLY want and it won’t ever be)…yeah, that’s what’s going on. I don’t like it, but maybe eventually I will get used to it. Bleh.
*so. I just googled “how to schedule grief”…do it…you’ll see what I mean.