Maybe I'm just tired as I've been up since 2:00 a.m. today. The past couple of days have been bad. On Tuesday, I had a grief therapy session in the morning and then did the Zoom call in the evening. I think both brought a lot of emotions to the surface. On top that, my aunt called later in the evening to see how I was doing. She lost her husband in 2013 to lung cancer. We talked for about 45 minutes. I think the combination of these three things on Tuesday have made the last couple days really rough. I just look around the house and all I want is for my wife to be back. I know that is not possible, but does not stop me from wishing it was so. I opened up the house this morning to let in fresh air, including our bedroom, which I've not slept in since she passed last month. It's still torn up from the night she was taken to the ER. I laid across the bed, reaching out to where she last laid on it, but was overcome with emotion and had to close it up. Even now typing this, I can barely see through the tears. I walk around the house in a daze, just on autopilot, not sure what to do with myself. It is just too, too much. I feel like half a person, lonely, and afraid of the future.
Hi Rick - I sent you a long private message as well just before this (I do remember you from our zoom group), but I can tell you I did the same thing. Eventually though I knew my DW was saying to me "what are the "heck" are you doing? Make the bed, wash my cloths"! I'm not joking, that is what I know she would be saying. I'm not sure how your wife was, but know that is what she would be saying that, wanting me to go on. That really helped me and continues to help me. I fully know what you mean by typing through tears. I did that yesterday with the Pen Pal that WV set up for me. Its good that I'm such a good typist that I don't need to look at the keys ... did you do the Pen Pal program?
I highly recommend putting the bedroom back to something like normal. It's hard, but necessary IMHO. Even if you can't sleep there yet, leaving it as is may make you re-live it every time you see it.
I remember the event vividly as it is. Re-living it many times daily would have driven me mad. FWIW
Hi -- I remember you from the zoom call. I'm sorry you've been having such a hard time. My husband died suddenly 5 months ago and it does get better. Sure, I still have my days where I sit around and can't do anything and I still have my crying times, but it's not as severe or disabling as it was in the beginning. I understand about not wanting to go in the bedroom -- I keep my husband's tv room closed up -- but I agree that you should try and clean the room/make the bed. I'm so sorry because I know that will be very very hard.
Keep coming to zoom mtgs!
Thanks for all the support. I am doing better today after a good night of sleep. Well, I fell asleep around 8:30 last night and other than waking up a few times for short periods, I slept until 5:00 this morning. Still early, but total hours of sleep were better. Decided to trim some vines on the front of our house this morning. Weather in Oklahoma City area is going to milder than usual for this time of year the rest of the week. Temperatures at least 10 degrees below the average of mid 90s. Nice. The vines I trimmed are between two windows on the front of our house. The grow like crazy after any rains. My wife would trim them early in the morning before sun came up as her fair skin could not take too much. I always disliked doing the as they seem to get ants in them, which I loathe. I've trimmed them once each of the last three months as she could not do it anymore. I sprayed them with bug spray attached to water hose before I started trimming. They do look better, but I always told her I would not be said if we took them completely out. Anyway, it felt good to be outside and not have it be mid 80s already at that time of morning.
I will give some thought to what Estragon said and consider making the bed in our room, even if I am not ready to sleep in there yet, as a way of reclaiming some control. Of course, the rest of the house is another question. Other than my room full of scifi collection, she is everywhere I look in our house. Her personality in the way out house is decorated is in every room, every bookshelf, every cupboard, heck, even our backyard just exudes her personality completely. How do I reclaim control on that short of clearing 90% of the stuff out? The flipside to that is her personality is everywhere and I can feel her close to me. It is a dilemma.
Not sure if replying to my original post is best way to respond to those who replied to it, but I am doing it. If there is a better way, please let me know as I am pretty new to this social media type of communication. I look forward to our next Zoom call. Take care.
Regarding the rooms and all your wife's belongings and "touches" and "decorations". I can only offer to tell you my feelings - but I at one point I felt the same as you but it has changed over time. I see something of hers, or something she did or created or had a hand in and many times I think and sometimes still cry and say "oh ... this is her "whatever" or "oh, she did "whatever" - and I would breakdown. Now, after 7 months, I STILL have those times, especially if its something I come across that is hers that is out of site, but some other times, I now see and think of those same things and I don't cry, and even smile at times. They are things I WANT to see and WANT to keep now. I even wear some of her socks and t-shirts! I could not do ANY of this before. I did NOT plan on it being this way - it just BECAME this way through time. So, what I wanted is happening and I hope it continues to happen even more. I wanted to keep her memories and love and remembrances, but not bring the pain with them. I still have a horrible time with photos and videos, because it brings directly to my mind all the things that we could never do together again in this physical life and how I never realized how happy I was during those times -- so that is a terrible thing for me. I want to see her, hear her, but when I do its devastating for me. I hope one day I can look at them again for more than a second or two. So, just from my own experience, I would say don't rush anything, don't push through anything you don't want to or question. Instead of looking at it as a bad thing that her personality is everywhere and that you feel that you have to clear everything out to remain in control, eventually I really think you may find her touches in your environment a blessing. I mean, its so very obvious that you loved her dearly. IMHO, when the time is right, you will be able to do what you need to do and what is best for you while thinking of your beloved wife as well. I can tell you that I NEVER would have thought I could do anything like what I'm doing now, but with time etc., and yes, thinking what my DW would like as well, I am having less of those terrible times, and when I do, they are less terrible than before.
Now, I know some would say "you are in love with a dead person" - and I would say YES, I am and will always be. My DW will always influence what I say and do now, either consciously or unconsciously and I'm always going to love her. You don't love someone more than yourself for decades and that just stops. I know I am handling my terrible grief better because of realizing this - that same love is starting to give me strength and wisdom now instead of only pain and sorrow.
I hope maybe something I wrote will help ..Take care ...
One thing I did to help get my head wrapped around the whole "stuff" thing is to clear a 4 shelf niche in the kitchen that formerly held stuff with no meaning to me. On the top shelf of the niche is a picture of us in a happy place and happy time. That is our history. It's gone, but it's immutable and will remain so as long as I remember it. It would still be gone and immutable even if she were alive today. It just is. The other shelves remain empty. They represent the future, and will someday be filled with what I hope are reminders of some future history worth living.
It's just a small space in the context of a house full of stuff, but it somehow represents some sort of progress, and makes the eventual dealing with the larger "stuff" issue seem a bit less daunting. I have an adult beverage at the end of the day, remember the time from the picture, and let myself think a little bit about what those empty shelves might someday hold.
Carousel - I think replying to your original post is the right way to continue a conversation on a particular topic ("thread").
IMHO, putting the bedroom in particular back to a more normal state is important. Shortly after my wife died suddenly in late January, one of my daughters (a PhD in psychology) told me to avoid things that caused me to re-live the event. The re-living process can apparently lead to "complicated" grief and PTSD.
Grief is pretty complicated as it is, so I did a couple of things in the early days:
1. I wrote an email to myself with the details of her death (from a brain aneurysm). Rather than repeatedly retelling the story to those interested in or needing the details, I just sent a copy of the email. Remembering and telling the details would involve re-living it. Forwarding an email doesn't.
2. I got rid of the aftermath of the paramedics, strewn clothing, etc. from the room she died in. The room is still there, and in much the same form as it always has been, but not in a form that triggered a constant remembering/re-living of those horrible few minutes on that horrible day. Instead, it looks like it did for the 10,000 or so much happier days preceding.
Even having done these things, the memory of that day is burned into my brain. I can see how constantly re-living that day can lead to the type of disfunction my daughter saw in her PTSD patients. This is why I suggested tidying up the bedroom.
In the days after her death, I couldn't bring myself to sleep in our bed. Sleeping on the couch gave me intense lower back pain though, so I had to force myself to.
Over the next few months, certain things really set me off. For example, I went to check on our remote cabin at ~2mos out. Seeing her shoes lined up near the door for her return in the spring did it, so I packed up the shoes and brought them back for my daughters to find them a home. Some such things I've just packed away for now.
Most of her clothes are still in the same closets and drawers. I still have to go through her desk. I mostly kept her houseplants alive. Her voice is still on the answering machine greeting. These things can wait. At 6mos, it still feels like "our" house. These things bring on the better memories, but not so much that day. At some point, or maybe over a period of time, I'll make it more "my" house. Or not. Maybe I'll move. I dunno. That's business for another day.
Until fairly recently I was in a pretty debilitating mental fog. It's still there, but getting better sleep seems to have helped a lot. Melatonin (~10mg) near bed time seems to be helping.
I felt, and mainly still do feel like less than 1/2 a person. After 40+ years together, I think of "us" as being like a Venn diagram, "me' and "her" are the outside part circles, and "us" is the overlapping part, with the overlapping part taking up most of the area. The loss of the "her" and "us" parts leaves only a weird crescent shape of a person. I'm also afraid of the future without her, but will work on making the weird crescent shape left behind a bit less weird over time.
This has been a horrible week for me as well. I think it may be (on the east coast) the combination of heat & humidity trapping me in the house, the upsetting news on TV (COVID - he died of COVID), too much paperwork to do that I don't want to do, not being able to focus to read anything, baseball, then no baseball. This is just a horrible time to be grieving because there are no outlets. I've been saying over and over, "I just want you home." I went to the grocery and saw someone with their mask hanging off their chin, and I just walked away because I was SO angry. That drained me.
I am so glad to hear someone else say that this is an especially horrible time to be grieving. You are experiencing the pain of losing someone soooo close , along with trying to handle the conditions of that loss. My husband died of COVD in April and I still cannot watch any news. I wonder when I will feel even OK to hear about COVID ever again.
I too say every day that I want him back. I say it multiple times a day, knowing full well it is not going to happen. I suppose my brain does it automatically even though it is not reality. The grieving brain has a mind of its own!!
Rere - You are so right - the grieving brain has a mind of its own. I don't know who I am. I used to be strong, now I am fragile. I have even had panic attacks - and one thing I always knew about myself, is that I don't panic, I act. I have even panicked over trying to get dressed to walk my dog--dressing for heat, humidity and mosquitoes is overwhelming! I used to remember things, now I don't even know what day it is. It's been a little over three months since my husband passed, and I somehow expected to be managing better by now. Ha - I was so wrong - it's even harder. But I've heard that a lot of things get worse before they get better. I think volunteering would help, but I have some lung scarring from an infection 40 years ago, so things I once would have done are off limits because of the chance of catching COVID.
Carousel mentioned the Venn diagram description - and once I would have understood, but now it seems like a complicated corn maize. I've also done what Carousel said and tried doing one thing each day - the problem is now I have dozens of things started but not finished. And my wonderful canine companion is telling me it's time to prepare for a mosquito onslaught. He takes care of me, so I cannot deny him this evening activity. However, I prefer walking in a blizzard to being outside in this heat. YEAH - My brain just did a bizarre leap and I remembered where the dremel is - it's been hiding in plain sight for over three months! Now I can do my dog's nails - but that's definitely a challenge for another day.
FWIW... I've found I have no capacity for multitasking any more. Although I used to be pretty good at it, the only way I have a reasonable shot at doing a thing (like making toast, or paying a bill) without screwing it up is to focus on the one thing. I've pretty much accepted I won't be the same person on the other side of this, whenever/if-ever that is.
I am heartened by the way you have described how you are feeling. I too cannot multitask anymore as I cannot focus long enough to remember things. I too need to accept that I will not be the same after this and that is how it is supposed to be.
Thanks for making me feel that I am not crazy or alone.