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Getting what you ask for, only to find out it isn't what you want

As I started down this path of rebuilding my life without my wife, I had nothing but good intentions.  Clear up some things that needed to be done so that I didn't have to keep revisiting this chapter over and over again.  It seemed simple.  Change names on bank accounts, close out credit cards, update insurance policies.  I jumped into the financial morass quickly and with a fevered pitch.  Filing this or that.  Organizing what I had to do next was a way of compartmentalizing the thing I couldn't tolerate being true.  I told people I didn't get angry over my wife's passing, but I got angry with CVS when they kept putting me through the wringer on changing the name on our Extra Care account so the emails didn't come saying "Hi Christine".  They offered to close the account, I was insistent that wasn't appropriate.  I argued with a credit card company over allowing me to hold the account rather than close it but change it to me as the owner.  That they could check my credit and approve me for the card but just keep the account we had held open.  All these things were distractions, I got a few small victories but most of this went the way you would expect, new accounts the old ones closed.  

Then came the fact that CVS did exactly what I wanted them to.  They changed the name on the Extra Care account to me.  In that moment, I thought I had won.  The next day an email came still with my wife's name.  They said that the system had about 14 days of emails already in the queue so it would take a bit before I would notice the change.  14 days to the day, got an email "Hi Anthony"....Damn! Tears ran down my face, I had cancelled my wife from another part of my life.  How could I have let this happen? Wait a minute!! I made this happen... Seriously this was all me, I had no one else to blame or to point at.  I sent 10 emails, made 5 or 6 phone calls.  Yelled at some poor lady on the phone about how stupid it was to throw HIPAA in my face when the reality was that my wife no longer had the right for HIPAA protection! I did this.  

3 days after this, I get a call from my lawyer telling me I should get the title on my house adjusted and that I should call him back to explain the process.  Well that ain't happening folks.  I would sooner remove my name from the house than hers.  This was her house, no doubt about it.  I wanted to move 10 years ago, but she loved it.  I will likely never sell this house, I may buy another house somewhere, but this one I will likely never let go of.  I can say that now of course, still raw from my loss still under 5 months.  Truly though, I don't believe I could sell this house.  It may look nothing like what she left me in a few years, but it will still be her house.  

CVS isn't the only account that changed for me.  I removed her from the bank accounts, although not from the mortgage, I removed her from the retirement accounts.  I changed the beneficiary of my life insurance and my retirement accounts.  The fever is gone now, I no longer feel the overpowering desire to deal with the finances and paperwork affiliated with her passing.  It is hard though, I know, like I know nothing else, that part of that means the weight of this whole thing is starting to crash on top of me.  The busy work that was a distraction is gone, and so I have started to slump a bit.  Camp was a great way of pulling me forward for a while but now it is over and I have to start to figure out how to traverse the next few months without weekly or monthly targets laid down for me.  I went from one distraction to the next, and for the next 90 days it is just work and home again.  No more vacations, no more trips, no more paperwork that must be completed.  I got it all done, I got what I asked for, but now I want the distraction back, I want to have to do it all over again, just to get buried in the busy work so I don't have to get stuck in my own head thinking about what I no longer have. 

That said, I know I have to make things to do, find new things to keep me motivated.  Make new targets, and achieve them.  I am working on it, but at the moment I am just a bit depressed and ready for a break, but unfortunately there isn't a break from this. 

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Comment by Rzh895 on April 11, 2018 at 5:15am

So good to hear I'm not the only one dreading the time when I have all of the paperwork in order. I've told many people that it is a real pain, for which I have no patience, but it gives me something to do. None of my former passions are of interest to me right now, and I'm starting to panic that the paperwork will be completed soon. Thanks to the physical mess my pack rate husband left me, I still have a lot of clean up to do in his office - so far I've removed 3 truckloads of JUNK, with much left, so that will keep me busy and helps me grumble at him for leaving it for me to do. When that is done, though, it will be time to start reinventing the new widowed me...not something I look forward to. It's frustrating, because I was doing just fine with the old me. Those on the "other side" of the immediate grief tell me that if I do it well it will be a good thing and I'll be better off. Probably so, but it just seems such a monumental task for a 61 year old woman! Sometimes I'm glad that I do not have to work; other days I wish I had to get myself together to go to a job. Yup, this sure does suck. 

Comment by Aenor on April 10, 2018 at 9:12am

I had to change the title to his car, which meant taking his death certificate to the courthouse. I just sat in the car in the parking lot and sobbed, and this after I'd dealt with a dozen other things and been reasonably OK. The sense of loss just slams into you at unpredictable times. 

We had just moved to this town when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, so the entirety of the time we've been here (supposedly our retirement home) has been spent dealing with his being so ill, then better, then worse, then very bad, then............He died Jan 21, 2018. My first frantic thought was, "We (my sister has lived with us for years) have to move back to Illinois!" (I haven't lived in Illinois in 40 years...........but we have family there, which we don't here in North Carolina.) I literally was obsessed with the idea of putting this "dream house" on the market, packing everything, finding a house 800 miles away and moving because it would be something to do that would keep my occupied! 

And then I suddenly totally ran out of energy............and the idea of moving, at least this year, went back on the shelf. I'm glad I'm not facing something so huge, but haven't figured out anything smaller and more manageable to take its place. I'm used to working, but retired thinking he'd need me, and then he died literally a week later. So now I feel like I just drift through pointless and dull days. Not what I thought retirement would be, that's for sure.

Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on April 9, 2018 at 5:38am

When I wanted Bob to stop his penchant for adrenaline seeking ventures, I didn't mean I wanted him die to put an end to it ... Arrgh! That sucked!

Like many, we seem to run out of things to do. For me, it was a lack of desire to find new or different activities. However, the ideas started to come & just like those before me it began w/organizing photo albums, converting dvds to cds, memorials, hobbies, traveling (not so much for me), redecorating - painting is a big one. Geezus, at 49yrs old I even thought of joining Holly Holmes in the boxing ring. My mind came up w/some real doozies back then. However, what I learned in the beginning is that projects had to be small & quickly wrapped up, otherwise, if I had a melt down or boredom set in (that's a screamer!) I had a very difficult time returning to the task at hand ...

I read somewhere "Be happy with what you have while working toward what you want". Some quotes are hair pulling due to their simplicity as if life were like that, most are good for those who are not grieving. Lots of ups & downs, sharp turns kind of like a ride on Disneyland's Space Mountain rollercoaster in the dark - the emotions calm & grief eventually ends ...

Blessings ...

Comment by tooyoungtobealone on April 5, 2018 at 7:03am

I relate to this post so much. I just passed the 4 month mark of losing my husband and I am fully entrenched in the financial and business end of things. I already sense when things are settled, I will fall apart again. That wont be for a long while though. My husband did not have a will, and our minor children inherit half of everything. I am working with my lawyer and now a GAL for the kids to buy them out of our house! It's crazy making, but keeps me distracted from the loneliness and grief.  I try to stay strong and keep things as normal as possible for them but the truth is nothing is normal and never will be again.

Comment by Tess on March 30, 2018 at 3:05pm

Tony, you really don't realize the insulation that those necessary tasks provide from the full grief that eventually surfaces. I felt the same way. Everything was done in a perfunctory manner. When I had time to breath, it wasn't a breath of relief, but rather a stifling breath of the sadness that I suppressed. Know that we're all trying to find our way with some of the greatest comfort coming from those that have been through it. Hang in there. 

Comment by bayoured on March 29, 2018 at 12:12pm

Tony I remember reading that the 4 and 5th month were really hard for a lot of people. I didn't understand why. I do now as do you. After the numbness wears off you start with all the busy things that need to be done. They are frustrating and endless it seems. Then you have them all done and the busy work is gone. Now what ~ you are left without the distractions and too much time to think. Approaching the 5 month I see what others were talking about. I guess it will give us some time to regroup and change focus on what lies ahead. I call it the aftermath phase. Take care and be kind to yourself. We will get to the other side of this journey one day at a time.

Comment by MartyG (ver. 2.3) on March 29, 2018 at 6:54am

Wow, Tony....sounds a lot like what I went through with Sharon.  I even brought a death cert over to CVS so they wouldn't keep sending me TXT's on prescriptions for Sharon that needed refills t be ok'd.  Flustered the whole store #'t know what to do !! TXT's finally stopped.  Now all the details are done.....and i am done!!   Drained.  I, too, have set a few modest goals for myself chief of which is to save enough $$$ when, added to the wholesale value of my house (and, yes, I got the deed changed for a mere $450 YIKES!!) I can then have enough $$$ to pay the entrance fee.  Get a "Life Care Plan" residency so that they will take care of me should I lose all my marbles are become otherwise incapacitated. Going to hospice and Grief Share mtgs. Doing chores for no one to see the results but Oh well... Thanks for this blog post, helps to know others are at the same point on this march toward who knows what or where. Ok...all for now...back to the "new normal"

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