Excerpts Shared from the Blog of Authentic You
Editor's Note: Authentic You, a member of the Bridge C-14 community, has graciously shared access to her blog posts. Today we will share Part 2 of her story - a story of deep love and painful grief following the loss of her beloved partner in life.
My husband died 36 days ago. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We had a plan. I was to go first. I knew if he went first it would feel like this. While I tried to prepare myself and cling to the compassion that he is no longer suffering, it didn’t become an antidote for my grief. I would like nothing more then to find the peace that his incredibly broken and pained body is whole again, but I learned very quickly that it doesn’t work that way for widows. I tried to be prepared for it. I built up my resiliency tool kit only to find out none of that was going to help. The 10 books on grief, being a widow, losing a spouse still sit in my room. I have not been able to focus long enough to read anything.
I went from 24/7 caregiver to 24/7 widow. While some people try to “relate” with their stories of loss- brother, mother, father, grandparent, this is different. This is not my first grief rodeo, but this is different. This isn’t the same as losing my parents or friends. I was cemented to my bed the first three weeks after my husband died. I wanted to die, had a plan to die and could have died.
The love and compassion I felt for him while he was here was a precursor to the depth of my pain and suffering I have now. Add in PTSD from events only a few know about, caregiver burn out, walking death row with your love and best friend, financial worries and a passive aggressive mother in law and you have a nice recipe for a suicidal widow.
Not a very inspirational blog I know, but this is the truth. I had thought about suicide a few times in those first few weeks. But then I remembered. I remembered my 17 year old son would be the one to find me and the thought of that made me hate myself. I reached out for help. Please read that again, I reached out for help and developed a plan.
A therapist, an Occupational Therapist who works with PTSD and trauma individuals, 2 grief groups, a few drop in groups and a whole lot of crying of tears. These are how my weeks are spent now. I basically am in an at home program for grief. Covid has opened possibilities for people to get help while remaining in home. In my quest to try and stay, I went and got a puppy. It was combination of insane thinking, loneliness and watching After-Life that brought that about. Turns out, it helps. He’s incredibly good, sweet and so much like my beloved dog Max who died in 2019 that I started to think it is him reincarnated. I don’t even know if I believe in reincarnation but I believe this puppy has been a gift to me and he is definitely like Max. He gets me out of my bed every morning.
I can’t begin to describe the grief I feel. I’ve experienced much loss in my life and nothing compares to this anguish. I am barely functioning some days. I am trying to borrow my husband’s certainty that no matter what I go through I will be okay. He always believed that about me. I don’t know why, but he was always right at the end. So I am doing my best to remember that.
I still talk out loud to him like he is with me. I googled it and apparently that’s normal- phew. I tuck his ashes in below his pillow every night and say “goodnight I love you” and sing our good morning song every morning when I get his ashes out of bed. These little rituals that help me to feel close to him. His pillow and blankets beside me and the shorts he wore the last day.
I am walking around in a fog. They call it widows fog. I find it difficult to remember to eat and drink every day. I’ve resorted to “have to lists ” to remember to brush my teeth, eat and bathe. Basic living is the norm. I don’t have much mental or physical energy for anything outside of just surviving. When people ask me what I need I just keep saying I don’t know. In my head I am saying his name.
Day 36. I count every day and while people assume as the days go on it gets easier, the more the numbers add up, the more difficult it is. There are people that are uncomfortable with my grief, and that’s ok. It’s not their life, it is mine….and I’m doing the best I can to save my own life now and I will do grief the way I see fit. Most of that is by writing and using my private Facebook wall to share every day. This is the first time I’ve been able to blog since he died.
Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. Next year we were supposed to go to Ireland for our 10th. Tonight I found myself thinking about still going next year anyways, which means part of me is hoping my husband is right…that I will be okay.