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It is funny the contradiction I have become.  I complain about routines being messed up or being painful, and wanting to change things up.  But then I want the routine to be there when I am ready for it.  Yesterday I found out that a restaurant my wife and I went to frequently was filing Chapter 11.  This place is one of the oldest memories I have of taking my wife to dinner.  Yes they are a chain but I was a student and could only afford so much.  I freaked out a little bit about this break.  My wife and I had TV shows that we watched each year, staples of our day and consistent characters in our lives.  A couple of our favorite shows are being canceled this year and again I was not happy.  Someone was taking away more of our things so I didn't even have them to fall back on.   This weekend I went grocery shopping, still the most painful experience I have to deal with on a regular basis, and I found that the bread we had been buying for lunch for the last 7 years was being discontinued and changed.  STOP messing with my life, keep things the same for a while.  I almost left my cart in the aisle and left right then but I needed the other things in the carriage.  I want some new routines that aren't the same, but I want the routines.  I want my cake and I am going to eat it too. 

To top this off, as I was going through the store, where I found out they had changed my bread so it isn't even the same product anymore, I saw on the shelf something my wife would have loved.   A new product that she would have wanted me to buy her.  I reached up to grab it before reminding myself, I wouldn't eat it so I shouldn't buy it.  It was sitting right there next to things i needed, waiting for me to arrive to taunt me.  Where were you 10 months ago when she could have had some? Thank God for self check.  I was in such a mood that if I had to talk to the checkout lady I would probably have had to be escorted from the store.  All this over a bag of chocolate covered almonds? Triggers and Contradictions are my new traits.  Don't step there, there be land mines. 

I try real hard not to punish those around me for my unstable moods.  I try to leave the facade up until I get home and can remove the mask.  But I have to say the facade is tiring, the mask is heavy, and sometimes the other person needs to be put in their place.  My wife was always immensely patient with others, I always had her there to reign me in when I was about to be triggered.  Now I only have myself to try to yank my own chain, but how can someone know that something I have always done, is no longer what I want, or that something I have always bought but may have been the only person buying it, is something I expect to stay the same just because? Contradiction is an evil thing because you can't plan for it.  When you step the same place you have 100 times before but suddenly your foot goes through the floor, this is not something you expect.  I feel like I am stepping through floors often or that someone has put up detour signs and I don't know how to get to my destination that way.  

When I really think about it though, I no longer know what my destination is.  Ha now there is a contradiction, I am heading somewhere and try to keep my navigation going straight toward it, but I don't know where I am going.  I guess for now it is keep sailing ahead until you know and are ready to change then steer the craft toward its new harbor.  

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Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on April 20, 2018 at 7:29am

Hi Tony,
Contradictory - yes :-(
Extreme stress & grief cause the Big 6: dazed, disoriented, distracted, disorganized, distressed & distraught ...
By far the strangest if not worst contradiction is in thinking the loss of our most cherished loved one can easily be put to rest in a matter of months while at the same longing for him/her fresh from loss. FYI, in case you're interested the One Year Rule for the widowed merely implies 12 months of protection from harsh society in a do nothing immoral to break the rule (society expects payment for its kindness). The One Year Rule in no way means a person is healed w/in the year - its more of a break to get matters in order (Ha!) ...
There is a strong tendency to notice changes/criticize ourself as if it was written on a daily to do list by black magic only for the widowed. Another is sudden attention to the non-stop revolving world of change around us when a personal tragedy has shattered our life. Pre-occupation w/death & grief is not an obsession or mental illness or a choice - its another normal part of grieving - another addition that cannot be avoided but worked with as well as worked on once past fight, flight or freeze rawness. Many put alot of energy into ignoring or denying it, however I found it best for myself to take steps to learn new coping skills & improve upon old ones to resolve/put to rest nagging issues. Contradictions can keep a person on their toes to strive for new coping skills or ways to make sense of a their new life every step of way or in doing other things. Either way, it always leads back to the person in transition. I felt many a time that I was some how responsible for every f'n thing that happened in my life - another issue caused by survivor's guilt. Arrrgh!
Contraditions were frustrating, infuriating, exhausting & one I never got use to as well as never meant to. B/c of them I was challenged to find different ways to be actively involved w/my healing process to get stability. I just tried my best to pay attention & understand their purpose for me which was working to once again develop a life of thinking in consistent terms that make-up our character rather than being a scatterbrain. It sucked as far as hard work, however, it was absolutely necessary to keep me functioning on one track - its easy to go against one's own codes of conduct when caring goes out the door. Obviously, it did not go w/out berating myself for some time until I found a better way which was constantly reminding myself I was grieving so as to put that time & energy into problem solving. I had my slips of forgetfulness ...
There's also a constant drive to figure out our future life that we forget is already upon us. Everyone interprets "moving on" in different ways for a variety of reasons as well as in accordance to their desired outcome from grief. For me, it entailed taking care of my emotions - identifying them properly to get an understanding of what I needed to work out lingering issues including guilt (regrets) to resolve them or make them bearable to live with - it has lead to peace within as well as contentment & happiness. Living a new & foreign way of life is beyond our control as well as far different from adjusting emotionaly to loss ...
We learn things we didn't want to know as well as things that eventually make sense/heal - the big & little "Aha" moments that can bring a smile in knowing you are moving on/forward ...

Hope this is helpful ...
Blessings ...

Comment by MidnightBear (Tony) on April 18, 2018 at 5:01am

Callie2 - Thanks for the response, yes complicated it is, I try to shop for 2 weeks at a time now so I don't have to go to the store as often.  I still end up shopping each week out of boredom.  It is better to be grocery shopping than bringing home things I don't need and have no room for. 

Shoosie2 - I was once a big time baker.  I never was trained but I made breads, cupcakes, muffins and other treats on a regular basis.  We had even found ways to reduce the calories but still get the good treats.  There wasn't a month where I didn't bake something, usually multiple things.  The only thing my oven has seen since my wife died has been a pizza.  I have all the makings of many baked goods but just can't bring myself to make them.  I have no choice this coming weekend as my support group is doing a finger food night to share things our loved ones liked.  I will make her chocolate cookies that I used to make each year for Cookie Fest at her office.  It used to be great because she would bring me home some extras to share since I had made the cookies.  While cooking for one is a pain, try to move away from the microwave.  While I don't cook in my oven, I do cook meals.  Remember that we are the torch to carry forward the memory of the person we lost.  

Comment by Shoosie2 on April 17, 2018 at 9:03pm

Hi Tony, callie and Bayoured

I to find myself watching old movies and a few newer series. I can;t watch Game of Thrones, as it it the last thing we watched together. There are still 2 seasons to watch, but it was our series, and I  can't watch them. As for shopping, I have a bit of an edge. I was  French trained chef in my previous life, which gave my Rick ultimate joy in trying new and exciting dishes, since his palate was old-world UK food. He would always unconsciously hum when eating something new he really liked. He only knew how to cook 3 things...Shepard's pie, Spaghetti with meat sauce and chicken curry.Now that I walk down the shopping isles I see the things he use to love, it makes no difference, and all I can do is get what Rick called Chef Mike....microwave. I can't the interest in cooking for just me. The only cooking I do now is Dog Soup for the fur babies, and when my sister's stepson come over other Sunday for supper.. I know this is not self care,. and I can't find the extended energy to tackle the yard.His bedroom, which had a hospital bed, and the guest room that I lived in for his past month, are completely  abandoned and have turned into a dumping ground. My life has turned to crap.  As I have posted in other forums, this is tough week Maybe tomorrow will be different, and will be better. Sorry for being such a bummer tonight. 

'Hugs and Peace

Shoosie2

Comment by bayoured on April 17, 2018 at 6:25pm

I cling to the words of the ones who have gone before us thru grief. They tells us it will get easier in time. I have to believe this or it would be unbearable which most of the time it is. I say to myself almost daily it will not always hurt this bad. I hope and pray for the day that I can tell others the same things they are telling us now. We will get thru this Tony. Thank you for sharing with us as it makes the rest of us not feel so alone .

Comment by Callie2 on April 17, 2018 at 5:39pm

Tony, though it’s been several years for me, I remember similar feelings. I found comfort In watching old, syndicated shows on TV. Later on, I figured it was because I wanted to go back to when things were good and I was happy. And you are right— it is a time when you wish time would move quickly so that the pain will ease, yet, you don’t want things to change because that feels uncomfortable too. Maybe it’s the same reason— those things, those very items you relate to a time when you were happy and you remember both enjoying— it’s hard to let go of that memory because it is a connection to your wife.

It doesn’t seem unusual to relate with things like food. Others here have expressed similar feelings. That first time in the grocery store when you don’t pick up items normally requested by your spouse!  I had a hard time preparing certain foods that my husband really liked. One was Spanish rice, something he loved. He told me when he returned from VietNam, that was the first meal he requested his Mother to prepare for him. 

Grief is a complicated thing. Two lives become so entwined and full of so many memories that almost with everything, we feel a connection. The only thing I can tell you is that in time, these items will not bring the same degree of sadness. I think the feelings you describe are very normal. Really hard though to make sense of these feelings when experiencing them but one day you might look back and find some understanding.

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