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As the days, weeks, now months have slowly passed since my wife died, I had things I had to do. Busy work yes, but it wasn't something I had ever done before.  These required changes to my day.  Getting up early, contacting random companies and people, going out of my way.  It was torture but it kept things moving in a direction.  I now wish there was more I had to do that was required just to keep me busy. 

Unfortunately, just the other day I woke up, got myself ready in the morning like 'normal'.  I had that moment in the bathroom where I went to get something ready for my wife out of 'habit'.  I stopped, moved on to the rest of my morning.  I got myself dressed, had breakfast and made my lunch.  I then had to look at her lunch bag sitting there waiting to be filled as well and again had to stop myself for a minute.  I left to go to work and decided I should drive to the cheap parking and take the bus like 'we' had done for the last couple years.  I hadn't done this but twice since losing my wife, and now I know a reason why I probably shouldn't have done it yet.  I got to the bus and lucky for me I had just missed the previous bus because my eyes started to water.  I had turned to look to my side to say something about just missing the bus and it again dawned on me that I was there alone.  By the time the next bus arrived I had gotten passed that a bit, but I don't remember the ride at all anymore.  The old routine is just so wrong.  She isn't there. I have tried to cover up a bit.  I watch TV shows we always did, but I keep crap piled all over her side of the couch so it isn't empty.  I drive to different grocery stores than we typically shopped which takes a little more time but allows me to avoid walking through the same old aisles waiting for her.  I have put a box of tissue and a couple coupon magazines from BJs on the passenger seat of the car to avoid it being empty.  I have found that as things have slowly started to settle, my routines are becoming increasingly painful.  I know some people have said that 6 months is worst than the beginning in some ways, I can see how that could be.  The numb, auto-pilot mode that I was in for the first 2 months is gone, the 'must' be done things are gone, the constant checking and asking from friends and family have slowed to a trickle, now I am just going about doing the things I have to do like it is all 'normal', routine...

Routine is painful, but it isn't like I can continue to pay the high price of parking to avoid using the cheaper way of getting to work, it isn't like I can continue to drive 30 to 40 minutes out of my way to do groceries rather than going 5 minutes from my house.   And I can't leave my living room a mess if I want guests.  I am going to have to slowly become comfortable being in places that we used to frequent alone.  Man I miss the old couples routines, the things we did together, the stuff that we were able to banter about to make them go faster.  Doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms or the kitchen, working on the lawn.  All these seemingly basic tasks have become painful reminders of my loneliness.  How do people get passed this? Seeing the ghost of your person out of the corner of your eye because you expect them to be there?  

I feel this will just be another of the many things I will have to become used to regardless of the pain.  Boy do I miss my old normal. 

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Comment by SweetMelissa2007 on April 19, 2018 at 7:11pm

My answers to your questions are that I did the time while working on areas of my grief that were in need of attention ...
I rarely if ever read a specific plan by others to cope w/grief for this long term journey - most of it was day to day winging it or sound like busy work - hobbies, chores, joining clubs, etc. Those didn't cut it for me - I wanted peace of mind - it was a good challenge to keep me searching as well as open to try new & different modalities. Whenever I was alone w/my conscience I asked myself a great many questions I desperately wanted answered. I immersed myself in spiritualism - it satisfied my thirst for knowledge, wisdom & guidance. I'm not promoting religion - I'm prompting you to ask yourself what you are willing to do to heal yourself. Are you willing to develop beyond who you formerly were to help in navigating through your grief by gaining new coping skills. Learning to live on your own is a daily part of existence - it can be full of emptiness as well as not satisfy your need for answers or guidance ...
Counseling is good when in need of a sound board. Its good to talk outloud to hear what you are feeling & thinking. It provides opportunities to do your own problem solving including ask the clinician for advice. There is alot of information to choose from, its a matter of seeking them out & devoting time to learning ...
Take care ...

Comment by Tess on April 17, 2018 at 3:15am

Tony, you write so beautifully about your loss. Those things are experiences that resonate with me and probably many of us. I remember coming home from work with something so interesting that happened, excited to tell my husband...

It is a rollercoaster of emotions lacking any rhyme or reason. The trouble is that the emotions are unpredictable and immediate with no schedule, so we are subject to their abrupt interruptions.

I am sending comfort and hugs your way.

Comment by bayoured on April 14, 2018 at 5:05am

Dear Tony you are singing to the choir. I do believe at the 5month mark is so much worse than the 2 month was. I was numb and on auto pilot as well. Know I am in the aftermath as I call it. I wish I worked so I would at least have that to look forward to. I don't know how long this journey is but I pray for all of us to find some peace along the way. Hugs, Angela

Comment by laurajay on April 13, 2018 at 7:10pm

Tony.  At six years  I can  answer  your  question of how you get 'passed  this'. Simply.  one day at a time,  one old pattern or new pattern.  One old normal way of accomplishing daily tasks.  You plow along and do them until  they become  normal  doing them alone. It can take  a long time...years  even  but  you will change  if you keep on keeping on. There's no way to hurry it.  No way to avoid it if you are honest about it.  You're  gonna  hurt.  You're  going to  miss what you had  and sadness and wretched  feelings are going to visit you often when you least expect it. It's grief and there's  no going back.  You can keep busy  and  build  a new agenda of life activities with time  but  wanting to have the pain and loneliness   gone takes more time.  In  my opinion  it's too soon for you - but you are on  the  road.  You are very aware  of details  in your life...try  adding  some new details of your own to think on...not just the past memories with your wife.  Go easy  on yourself and bow  to the will of your grief by giving it more time  to work through your understanding ~  It's  OK to feel as you do for as long as you need to...just  keep biding  your time.  I know you'd rather  hear some flowery spiritual message that it will be fine very  soon.  I can tell you it will be alright in time but I cannot  tell you when in all honesty.  You are not  alone. Not  in spirit or in flesh.  Godspeed, Tony.    lj

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