I've been thinking about all the baby steps I’ve taken so far and how they’ve made me feel, and I realize there’s been a few things that I’ve done religiously since you passed. These are things that you usually nag me about, they drive you crazy when I don’t do them. But for some odd reason, right after you passed, I just started doing these things religiously because I kept hearing your voice nagging me in my head when I don’t. I started wiping down the bathroom sink after I wash my face and brush my teeth since I get water all over the place (I blame it on being short and not having enough reach like you do). You even leave a sponge behind the faucet, so I wouldn’t have any excuses for not wiping down the sink. (You give me a hard time even when we had our own sinks. You would make comments like, “Your sink is always wet and dirty, I left a sponge so you can clean up after yourself. I don't know how you use the sink when it's dirty like that?!") Another point of contention was the stove. You felt that the stove should be cleaned and wiped down after each use or when I’m doing the dishes, whereas I felt it was a weekly chore for the cleaning lady and not me. So, whenever the stove got too greasy or dirty, it would drive you crazy and you would give me a hard time about it. Whenever you gave me a hard time about it, I would say to you, “If you want the stove to be clean every time I do the dishes, then you are welcome to clean it yourself.” Most of the time, you would clean it yourself since it bothered you so much. And of course, you would grunt under your breath as you were cleaning the stove, "It's like living with a 5-year old with you." (You make it seem like it wasn't like living with a 3-year old with you most of the time!! 😂😂) But, now I wipe down the stove everytime I cook or when I do the dishes like how you always wanted me to when you were alive. Another thing that drove you crazy was how I left the sponge or dish brushes in the kitchen sink after I used them instead of putting them back in the caddy where they belong. I would always hear you yelling from the kitchen, “SY, where do the sponge (brushes) go after you use them?! They go here, in the caddy, not in the sink! Stop leaving them inside the sink!! Don't you know how much bacteria can grow on sponges that stay inside the sink?!" But, now, I always put the sponges and brushes back in the caddy after each use. I even get annoyed now when people leave the sponges and brushes in the sink. I don’t know why these pet peeves of yours have suddenly become my pet peeves (when I could care less about them when you were alive).
Anyways, back to reflecting on my progress and the baby steps I’ve taken. In February, it was all about acclimating back to work. It was rough the first few weeks but I eventually hit the ground running. Work has been my refuge; it’s the only place where I feel normal and my life isn't crumbing down around me. In March, I started going out with family and friends so that I wouldn’t feel like I was standing still while the world was moving forward without me. I was literally doing something everyday of the weekend. I don’t think I had a free day any weekend in March. This eventually got exhausting for me, you know, I need a lot of 1:1 time with myself. I just felt like I was running around with my head cut off from one place to the next. This is what I would call a distraction!! So, in April, I made a conscious decision to not make a lot of plans with people, so I could spend more time with myself and get re-acquainted with myself. Find out who the person is that stares back at me in the mirror. I also started taking baby steps with giving away some of your things to family and friends, which was hard at first, but is slowly getting easier. This pass weekend, it occured to me how comfortable I was by myself now. The silence and loneliness didn’t bother me anymore, and it didn’t feel strange or uncomfortable anymore. I realized that I’ve grown accustomed to you being gone (even though we, the animals and I, still sleep in our respective spots while you were still alive. We still crowd around each other in our usual positions on the bed even though half the bed is empty now. Nobody has moved into your spot, although I’ve moved a little closer to the center since the therapist recommends I try sleeping in your spot--that’s the closest I’ve come to sleeping in your spot. Even the animals don’t tread on your territory.) Although I’ve grown more accustomed to being alone and by myself, I think about and miss you more and more. I think about you all the time now, and I miss you so much. It’s kinda like another oxymoron (I feel like widowhood is all about oxymorons and paradoxes). The more I get used to you being gone, the more I think about and miss you. The realer it becomes, the more I feel like I’m trapped in a nightmare. I constantly tell my therapist, “I just want this pain to end.” But in order for the pain to end, I have to accept that you died and aren’t coming home and this nightmare I’m living in is real. But whenever I even try to go there, I panic and become paralyze; I can no longer breath or move. Living is no longer an option; life loses purpose and everything becomes meaningless and empty. I can’t look back because it’s too painful, but looking forward is even more painful and unbearable. So, I continue to be stuck in this void, the middle room, the fork in the road--whatever you want to call it--I’m there, frozen and paralyzed, waiting for the nightmare to end.
Whoever said grief was hard must not have made it pass the pain and sorrow because whatever stage of widowhood I'm in right now sucks S***!! Grief is defined as deep sorrow, especially caused by someone's death. I think both your mom and I would agree, we know you are gone (This is grief. We feel the pain and sorrow day in and day out. We still continue to feel it daily in our hearts and minds). But we just don't know that you're not coming back and that we have to actually forge a different life than the one we had; one where you don't exist. And this is the part that terrifies me. This is the part where I can't even begin to imagine because it would be a hell I never want to know. What stage is this?! Is this stage even considered part of the grief process?! Grief isn't defined as fear and terror?! So, where the hell am I?!?
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.