I’ve had a few people inquire why I haven’t written much lately. How come I don’t have a daily chronicle of widowhood? The truth is, I do write every day. Mostly just a phrase here, a thought there.
I then gather up all those little tidbits to make into an article and that’s when I realize that they are mostly the same. I’m finding that widowhood is a repetitious process. An empty void interrupted by scheduled and unscheduled events.
The void is just that. A void when everything feels like it is being sucked away. My energy, my health, my happiness. It is a grey, bleak place that seems timeless and endless. It is where I am most broken.
The void is all around me, circling, waiting to pounce at the worst moments. Driving down the road and a song comes on the radio that brings back memories. Watching TV and automatically turning to comment to an empty space. Grocery shopping and holding up an item and asking, “How about this?” to someone who isn’t there anymore. Those are the moments when I fall into the void.
The worst time for me is when I am returning home from an errand or an event. I still automatically pick up my cell phone and dial my husband’s number to tell him that I’m on my way home. The sharp pain in my chest is almost unbearable when I realize that I have no one to call. And then I fall headlong into the void where I stay for quite a while.
It’s hard to keep the void at bay. I busy myself with things and places and chores. Constantly trying to keep myself away from the gaping maw that threatens to engulf me. I am not normally a chatty person, but yet I find myself desperately clinging to conversations, trying to divert my attention away from me and towards someone else. Because I don’t want to think of me. At least, not the me I am now.
I still don’t know who this broken person is. I can’t seem to reshape myself. I can honestly say that at this moment I am merely existing, taking whatever comes the day, throwing myself into any and all projects because the doing is a distraction from the being.
Some of the thoughts I jotted down were mere questions. "How many tears can a person shed?" Right now, I say an infinite amount. I have yet to reach my limit. "How does one handle the extreme loneliness?" For me, I have my service dog and I cling to him like a lifeline. I go nowhere without him and he seems to feel my need as he never lets me out of his sight. My heart aches for those widows that do not have such a loyal and faithful companion. I am pretty certain that I would not be here if I did not have mine.
Other notes I have address specific issues. "Need to learn how our automatic gate opens." I never thought twice about that, but really and truly, if it broke, I’d probably be stuck because I don’t have a clue. That was within my husband’s domain. Somewhere there is a manual, but even the thought of searching for it cause a severe drop in energy.
Learning everything that he did, that he took care of…it’s a full time job. At the same time I still need to work, run the errands that he did, figure out how to do the chores or at least figure out how to pay someone to do the chores that he did. It’s never ending and at the end of the day I am not done with what I needed to do, simply because I ran out of mental and physical energy. One aspect which saps my strength is the underlying cause of why I have so much to do. There is still a voice inside me crying out to the heavens that it is not fair, it is not right, this is not the way it is supposed to be. And even though I try to tell myself that life isn’t fair and that these things still happen, I can’t quiet that inner voice. I can’t comfort it. Mostly because I don’t believe it either.
Another note simply says: “I need you.”
That one pretty much speaks for itself. I need my husband by my side. I need his strength, his love, his willingness to stand by my side no matter what. Unfortunately, there is a very nasty financial situation with a medical company that I have been dealing with for years. The company has made it a personal vendetta and is prone to engage in a few dirty tactics that often leaves me speechless until I muster up a defense. Needless to say, when my husband was alive I felt invincible, that there was hope that eventually we would prevail because together, we could handle anything.
Now, I just feel vulnerable, and like a pack of jackals, the medical company has sensed it and started to pound on me again. Each letter, each action feels like another blow that I can’t duck. I feel so alone and any interaction with them leaves me driving home in tears, sobbing for the strength and protection I have lost. I know that I will eventually resolve this situation but I can’t help but wonder if I will break before that happens. It is wearing on me bit by bit like water dripping on a stone, except that the stone is cracked now and threatening to split into pieces, whereas before it was solid granite.
My last note I wrote just a few days ago. It says “Make something good happen.” So I am, hopefully. I volunteered for an organization that helps widows and widowers. They have a 3 day ‘camp’ in a couple of weeks, luckily here in San Diego. There are workshops, seminars, helpful classes on everything from finance to finding love again. I am looking forward to it. I have talked to people about it and they say that it is a joyful occasion. There are some tears, but mostly it is people gathering together who have experienced the same hell and learning how to enjoy life again. I’ve also volunteered to run a local chapter as there is a North San Diego chapter but not one for South San Diego and what we call the East County. My hope is that in helping others, I can help myself.
One last note that I will write about is one I have a hard time obeying. The notes says to just let myself be. Simple as that. That it’s okay if I have to take off of work early because I suddenly am overwhelmed with grief. That it’s okay to shut the front door and not answer my phone for an evening. That it’s okay when I suddenly shut down while out with friends or family. That it’s okay to just be.
I’ll try to write more often. Even if the posts become a little repetitive. Because that is what widowhood is about right now. Repetition. The same feelings, the same reactions, the same deep breaths, the same minute by minute existence.
But this is a blog about the journey of being a widow. I said in the beginning that I will try and be completely honest about this journey, the good and the bad. So I will make a more concerted effort to document each step...even when it is just going around in circles.