Since coming back from my husband’s funeral in June things seemed ok. I was preparing to travel with my daughter’s family on a trip to Canada. I became more and more anxious and time ticked away and a week before the trip had a melt down. I had been crying daily and getting more and more upset.My anxiety had reached a level where I knew I had to do something. Discussion with my doctor’s Nurse Practitioner helped me to see that I wasn’t ready or able to take that trip. Fortunately my daughter had wisely taken out insurance that allowed anyone to cancel for any reason. She completely understood my decision. The minute my decision was made a weight was lifted.
I was really unaware that I would be so affected by the trip to Savannah with the funeral, visiting the city and seeing friends. After his death over 14 months ago I had no idea that it would cause me to react so strongly. I should have remembered that we were together for over 58 years.
Because of covid we had to postpone my husband’s funeral. Now we have it planned for June which is the time that my family can come. Today I sat down to plan the service. After working in churches most of my life I do know what my husband would want done. I will do my best to see that he has full military honors since that was a large portion of his life. He was a graduate of West Point and lived his life according to their motto “duty, honor, country.” I want his being put to rest to reflect his life.
You would think that this would be the hardest thing to do but it was a sort of closure to me without all the emotional baggage that day will bring. Since I am so familiar with the liturgy it is good for me to think about the words and make good decisions about how to best honor him.
This has been a good days work and one that is comforting in some ways.
It is so easy to get sad thinking about the coming holidays. Christmas was always so special to my husband. He absolutely loved it. At the moment I don’t even have any decorations that are suitable for where I am now. Since I don’t go out much I guess I will have to search Amazon for some things that will work. This is a small apartment and I don’t really need much or have any place for it.
We always had the biggest tree that would fit where we were living. It actually took up more space than I would like but nothing else would do. One year he was so irritated with the tree having so many old ornaments that didn’t look good that he went to the local shop and bought everything off of the display.
He really didn’t care about getting things for himself but was always concerned that we did all the things for others we could afford. There were years when we had guests at our dinner table who had no one to be with. We used to joke that we took in strays. It was our joy to do so.
Things are completely different now and I know it will take so thought on my part to make the changes I need to. I am blessed to have family to be with and new friends to share with. My life has been rich and will continue to be.
It is difficult to explain what I am experiencing so that it makes sense. My thoughts have been going in many directions lately. I have revisited so many scenes from my past. A video has been running in my head most of the time. Visiting the past is becoming a big part of my grief process. The moments when life was so wonderful pop up and bring me both joy and pain. It reminds me of the idea that when dying we see our life pass before us.
When I lost my husband my focus was on losing his present person. Missing him day to day was front and center. Things to do took precedence and I would wake each day with the nagging feeling that there was something I was forgetting to do. Just the normal routine of living had disappeared.
Now that I am mostly settled in my apartment and have a new daily routine I guess it frees my mind up to explore the things that made our years together so amazing. Now I can bear to immerse myself in the times that bring my grief to the surface. I am more able to endure the pain so that I can also feel the love and joy.
I love C.S. Lewis. His books have inspired me for many years. Today I came across this quote from his book “A Grief Observed.”
I don’t think I had thought about grief in this way but it is so true. I have been washed in fear. Not constantly but over and over. Just when I think it has disappeared it comes again and overwhelms me.
It makes me wonder why fear? What am I afraid of? There is no clear answer. Some things can be seen such as being alone but others are not so obvious. Most of the obvious ones have been dealt with…finances, paperwork, moving, but still the wave comes.
Each time I can feel it tugging at me…wanting to pull me under but then it subsides. Each time it is possible that the pull is less strong but not enough to really feel.
Time will pass. The wave will someday bring memories of love and joy and the fear will recede. I only pray that it continues to lessen with fear and increase with love.
Last week was a lost week. For some reason I was in a bad place and nothing seemed right. It is the first time that I have had such a down time. I think the impact of everything that has happened since last March finally got to me. (Covid, husband in hospital several times, moving to another city, downsizing to an apartment from my wonderful home, losing my husband, paperwork, changing everything from ours to mine.) A lot to take in over that short time. I guess I wouldn’t have been normal if it didn’t get to me. Just letting it all out helped.
I have begun doing mandalas for healing again, my attitude is different and I feel better. Strangely enough the dogs are behaving better. I am sure that my upset has been affecting them. Yes, I am still grieving and that will take time but I feel more grounded
Grief is a funny thing. Some people think it follows the pattern of acceptance by Kubler-Ross. That pattern was actually developed about acceptance of a coming death. In my mind grief is different. Having run two years of grief support group and feeling my own grief I think it is much more erratic. It comes and goes like the waves of the ocean. I am certainly feeling that. I can go along just fine and then suddenly something will trigger tears.
We can’t run away from grief. Instead we have to go through it. We have to experience it. Hiding from it or trying to deny it doesn’t work. It can take a long time. Sometimes people have no idea what to say to us when we have a loss. Some comments can be upsetting but we just have to understand that most are well meaning.
It has been and will continue to be particularly hard due to the circumstances we all find ourselves in. Covid doesn’t allow us to do normal things that help us accept a death. Funerals are done with few people or put off until later.
In my case there is also moving to another city away from longtime friends. Being with family has helped but I am not in my long-term home and things are not as usual. I reach out by phone and electronics but it is not the same. I am lonely and missing my place in things. It will get better when we can be with people but for now it is hard.
My faith helps and I find myself leaning on God for support more than usual. I guess loss makes us reach out and understand what is important to us. God is my rock that I stand on.
We all grieve in our own way and I will move through this and find new friends and people to do things with. Being able to go to church will help. Life does go on.
Bouts of grief come and go with me. For some reason driving in the car seems to bring them on. That makes no sense. Grief is always that way. It comes in waves often without warning. Sometimes people don’t realize that it isn’t just a death that we grieve. Any kind of change can bring it on. We grieve for what has been even if we are looking forward to what is to come.
Having moved many times in my life I expect to be sad about what I am leaving but settle well when I get rooted in the next place. In some ways it is refreshing to think that this big downsize means that we will be getting some new furniture of the inexpensive variety. Moving lots of furniture is more expensive that buying new if you are wise about what you buy. We will take things that we love but that is mostly art work and personal items.
A lot of our furniture was passed down from my family and is not necessarily what I would have bought. Even though it has links to the past I have no regrets about letting it go. An estate sale agent will handle that.
It is almost like a new start and a chance to try some different styles that can be modified easily.
This is a difficult post to write. Since my husband has been recently diagnosed with dementia our life has changed. We will learn and adapt as we go but some major changes will have to be made.
Our home is one that requires us both to be able to help with its maintenance. It is really too much for me to manage on my own. It is time to move forward and find the right environment for both of us. This will be heart wrenching and particularly hard on my husband but we need to do it now and get settled for the future.
My aunt ( who was really quirky) always said that if you do all the things you CAN do at the moment then you can stop worrying. This is my plan. We will be taking one day at a time. There are still some medical issues to be resolved and the virus hasn’t helped getting those done but we will get there. God is with us.
There have been lots of ups and downs in our life together. This is just another down to get through and look forward to the next up. On the 9th of June we will have been married 58 years. A wonderful journey.