It’s been a long time since I’ve written. I wanted to chronicle each phase but I’ll be honest….after living through it all day, the last thing I wanted to do was talk about it. The past few months have been exceedingly rough. Holidays, dark cold nights in an empty house, financial troubles, work troubles and all of it without the emotional and unwavering support of my husband. It was pretty depressing.
Still is, in fact.
I’ve been living in what is termed a “widow’s fog”. Time moves differently in here. I look at the clock and hours have gone by without my even noticing it or accomplishing anything. Or I look at the clock and think that I have just lived through the longest two minutes of my life.
I’ve stopped looking at the clock.
Instead, I let the days and time roll on as they will. I try and keep up, not always successful. Or sometimes too successful so I find myself at the end of the day wondering what else to do to fill up this empty space in the time vortex I am swirling around in.
Nature abhors a vacuum and so does grief.
I do find myself doing odd little things over and over again. For instance, I went to get a glass of milk. Took the milk out of the refrigerator, went to get a glass, looked out the kitchen window for a few moments and turned and immediately put the milk back in the refrigerator while holding my empty glass. Then I suddenly could not remember why I was holding an empty glass. It was only after I had put the glass back and walked out of the kitchen that I remembered.
This happens quite a lot.
I find myself touching objects, just to make certain that they are real. Because of this fog that permeates into every aspect of my life, sometimes I’m not sure if what I think happened really happened. So I need to touch a door, a lamp, a counter….anything to ground myself that I am really here.
I believe it is because half of me doesn’t want to be here. Half of me is still desperately clinging to the past trying to hold onto my husband as hard as I can. I find myself imagining what he would say in certain situations or how he would react about something that happened, and in the imagining, he is here with me once again.
He moves around according to my own physical location. If I am at the store, he is home waiting for me. If I am home, he is at the store or running errands. If I am in the bedroom, he is in the kitchen. If I am in the kitchen, he is in the bedroom.
I know that is wishful thinking, but I’m afraid that if I accept the reality of my situation (and yes, I am excruciatingly aware of the reality of my situation) then I will enter a dark place that I won’t be able to crawl out of. So I hide from it like a little kid hiding under the covers. The kid knows that the monsters are out there but as long as the covers stay tight, it’s all safe.
I have even created a fort for me to live in. I have moved my office into the bedroom, brought the good TV in there to hang on the wall, set up a little work station with everything I need. I eat, work and sleep in my bedroom. I decorated it with mementoes of my husband, images of butterflies, inspiring quotes. I have made it my sanctuary, so much so that when I walk into another room of the house I feel like a stranger. I tell myself and other people that it is to consolidate during the winter, save money on the heating bill. But I know that’s not the real reason.
That one room is my home now because that gives me free reign to imagine my husband in more places. Maybe he’s in the family room watching his cooking shows, or maybe in the kitchen practicing new recipes, or in the office doing the paperwork he hates so much.
I do know that I am starting to accept is death. I started correcting myself when I speak of him in the present tense. It brings a sharp jolt of pain when I do, but I think I’m getting enough scar tissue to make it hurt less and less each time.
This fog is an instinctive defense. I understand that. It is my brain’s way of helping me process through all of this crap. Most of the time it is helpful, sometimes, not so much. When I look back at the last time I posted, I can’t believe it was in August. In my mind, it was just a few weeks ago.
Time goes slowly and quickly in the same moment.
How? It all depends on what I’m thinking about. When I think of my husband’s death it seems time has gone by so quickly. When I think of my future, it plods along at a snail’s pace. Same moment, different realities.
Reality is what we make of it. There are certain aspects that are beyond our control, but how we deal with them is what sets our reality.
In the famous words of Adam Savage from the Mythbusters: “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” And it’s true.
This is where I am at right now. This place. This moment.
This is my reality.