A year ago I thought things couldn't get any worse. Clearly, I was mistaken. I'd always been told if a widow/widower could 'make it through' the first year, chances were good they would survive, not that I particularly cared to survive. When I started seeing a grief counselor last January I expressed some relief that I somehow lived through the holidays. She gently informed me that often the second year is worse.
I will tell you at the time I found it hard to believe, but she was definitely correct.
People, she said, expect you to be better by the second year. They are less sympathetic, more likely to feel you should just get over it and move on, unless of course they are themselves widowed, then they may or may not understand. I nodded and listened, but didn't really believe it.
In my mind once I got past the day of Bill's death in September 2017 I should be over the hump. I would have survived our anniversary, Thanksgiving,(my favorite holiday), Christmas, New Years, my birthday, Easter, his birthday and a slew of other days that would remind me of what I'd lost. There were the birthday's of our children and grandchildren, graduations, the anniversaries of the deaths of those we loved dearly and so many ordinary days that triggered memories of happier times.
What an idiot!
Things began to go quickly downhill as September 6th approached. I got through his birthday in July with a three day casino binge with the girls. We ate, laughed, cried and gambled and the time passed. In August my youngest daughter sort of crashed and burned, becoming suicidal. All of us were extremely distressed and riddled with anxiety wondering what the 6th would bring. In the end it passed relatively quietly. I painted my bathroom.
I admit that night I heaved a small sigh of relief. Okay, you've got this I told myself. You, who have never spent more than three nights away from him in all these years, have slept alone in this big bed for 364 nights. Granted, each and every night was pure hell, but I still woke up each morning whether I wanted to or not.
Then, on September 11th, my middle son suffered a near fatal heart attack at 32, his third, actually. He was supposed to be at my house that day. Instead he was at his brother's. It saved his life, for here, where I live, help is much too far away.
Things began to spiral rapidly downhill. He did okay, recovering as only the young can and threw himself into caring for his year old son, but for me I was once again sucked into the abyss.
I did not understand this. Each day became sadder, darker and longer. My son was doing well. I'd made it through the first year. Why was I going backward? I tried to think of all the possible reasons.
I am estranged from my youngest son and have been for nearly a year. It's painful, but becoming more of an annoyance and his ex-wife makes sure we get to see the grandchildren. Every now and then something he's said or done gets back to me, but mostly I ignore it. We all make our own beds. I hope he finds comfort in his. I think losing Bill was the most crushing blow I could have been dealt. The rest seem like small bumps and bruises. Does that sound cold? It probably does, but I am and I'm not sure any sort of warmth will ever return.
When our anniversary came round on November 1st I was a wreck. I dreaded Thanksgiving, which also coincided with the death of my father in 2013. I wanted to cancel the whole day but didn't. We only had fourteen for dinner instead of our usual 20+ and that was fine with me.
Now Christmas is coming. It's gift cards all round as I'm not shopping. In fact, I haven't been doing anything. I barely touch my computer, have not been able to write much of anything, and never, never pick up the phone to call anyone. Each and every day is misery. About the only thing I do is go to the casino for some mind-numbing one on one with a slot machine. Even that has gotten boring and I feel listless and unfocused. In fact last night I was there with my daughter. She is having problems with her foot so I left her in the back and went to get my car from valet. Here's the thing, I got in the car and drove away, forgetting to pick her up! Now that's freaking nuts! I don't know where my head is. I was thinking, looking at the Christmas lights and just drove away. Thank God I didn't get far, but still, who does that shit?
I was laughing so hard by the time I got back to her I couldn't even talk. Grief, Widow's Brain, whatever the hell it is will make you crazy.
This morning, sitting at the table watching the birds it came to me. Last year I was numb. I was in shock. I was still believing it was all a nightmare I would eventually wake from. Maybe that's God's way of keeping you from driving off a cliff, I don't know. I was also sick, really sick, several ambulance rides sick. I could not eat. I could not sleep and I became dehydrated over and over again. Last year I got through all these sad days in a fog.
This year it's all too real. This year I don't have the luxury of disbelief. So, in my opinion, the second year is really the first, at least for me. I am in my right mind, or what's left of it, I mean expect for that thing last night which was bizarre to say the least. This year I feel everything to the 10th degree and it will be the real test for me.
Oh, one more thing I wanted to tell you. I went to a physic! She wasn't worth a nickle of what I paid her but I felt desperate, so deeply depressed I was willing to try anything. I did send off a request for an appointment to Theresa Caputo from her website months ago, but never heard a word back. Not even an acknowledgement or a reply saying she's too booked up. It was a disappointment as I do believe she's the real deal.
I don't know when I will post again and I don't know if these posts are helping anyone who is going through the same struggles.
For me it helps to get what's on my heart down somewhere.
This page is now my blog/journal about Widowhood. I'm not qualified to give advice. I'm new at this. I don't want to be qualified. I don't want to be a widow, but no one asked me. These are my thoughts, fears and feelings. Please don't equate them as anything but that.