Did I tell you that I joined another widow online support group?? I think this one is better than the one I joined the first month after you passed, or maybe I’m in a better state in my grief process to know better and not get super depressed when I read something that is depressing. I guess reading the posts and comments on the online support group and reading other widow’s blogs have helped me try to figure out, “What kind of widow do I want to be?!” They’ve helped me gain perspective, and truly understand that I’m not alone in this journey, and the emotions, pains, and struggles I go through daily are all very typical and normal of someone in my circumstance. Ultimately, they’ve helped me realize what type of widow I DON’T want to be and the type of widow I strive to be as I continue walking on this journey through grief.
Anyways, no judgement, but it’s just my opinion when I say, with anything in life, the group follows the 80/20 rule -- 80% of the stuff is white noise while the other 20% is inspirational, uplifting, and sage advice / feedback / comments. There has been a few posts that have touched me and helped me in my grief process while there are others that have kept me awake at night for fear of falling victim to the same treachery as some of the widow(er)s are going through. I think one that really did me in was a post from a widow who remarried now, but she still had all her late husband’s stuff in the closets and dress as if he was still alive, so her new husband didn’t have anywhere to put his clothes in since the closet and dresser was still full of her late husband’s stuff. So, she locked herself in the bedroom and forced herself to start purging his stuff. She said it was so painful and she was in utter tears. What I couldn’t believe is how she even got that serious with someone to the point of marrying him while still having all of her late husband’s stuff in her closet and dresser. I read that post when I was in bed, and let’s just say, I couldn’t sleep all night and I didn’t end up going to work the next day because I wasn’t able to sleep at all that night. I started to worry that I would become this widow if I wasn’t careful. It’s been almost 9 months since you passed (9 months! I can’t even believe it’s been that long come to think about it), and all your stuff is still where you more or less left it when you passed. Anyone coming into our house wouldn’t even know that you passed away if I didn’t say anything since I’m living in a house with all your stuff like you are still alive. I mean your dirty laundry is still sitting in the corner you left it -- I know I fixate over your dirty laundry, I don’t know why. The cleaning lady has organized them neatly into piles in the corner of the room where you left it before you died. I don’t know why I can’t bare to start going through your stuff, but I’ve been telling myself that I’ve been ready for a couple of months now, but still when the weekend comes, I always find something else better to do than sort through and start purging your late husband’s belongings -- in all honestly, I barely want to do that for myself, let alone your stuff. Maybe i should just not even go through anything and just put them in boxes and take them to goodwill...I mean, really?! Why do I feel the need to go through each item and ask myself whether this item is worthy of keeping or purging -- it’s not like I have to konmari your stuff. There’s nothing you have that will fit me and anything I want to keep, I already know what they are. So, really, all I have to do is find the things I want to keep and close my eyes and toss the rest into a box marked for donation. But alas, I’ve gain no traction on this front. However, I did finally toss out your toiletries yesterday. I’ve been waiting to clear off some space in the bathroom counter by getting rid of your toiletries that I won’t use for about 4 months now, but even that I haven’t been able to do!! Today was trash day, so when I was taking the trash cans to the curb yesterday, I remembered I had to toss out my favorite pillow that Jesse decided to spray while I was gone for two weeks in China and Japan. I guess he wanted to make sure I knew how he felt about me leaving for two whole weeks. When I was walking into our bedroom, I saw all your toiletries sitting on the bathroom counter, and I don’t know what got into me but I decided that today was the day. I grabbed a bag that was laying on the floor near the bathroom sink (I had just purchased shampoo and conditioner earlier in the week and I didn’t put the bag away so it was still sitting on the floor) and I just impulsively tossed everything that I didn’t plan on using -- your stuff and mine also. There was no discrimination in the process, I just hastily tossed everything that was of no use to me any longer in the bag. As I was walking out of our bedroom with the bag full of stuff to throw away, I felt this pang of emotion hit me and knew that tears were forming and about to burst out of me. But I held back the tears, not because I thought crying was bad or I didn’t want to cry, I held back the tears because what I was carrying in the bag was old products and toiletries that I didn’t use anymore and you obviously wouldn’t be using anymore either. They had nothing to do with you or how much I loved you, or whether it signaled I was somehow miraculously ready to move on with my life and start finding myself a new beau. They were just things that was taking up space on the bathroom counter that I decided to toss out. So, I won and I was able to successfully hold back the tears. But later that night, when I was getting ready for bed, I stared at the empty space where your things used to be and started crying. Not because I threw the stuff away, but because I was fixated on the empty space on the counter and I couldn’t bring myself to move my stuff to occupy that empty space. So, that space on the counter remains empty (while the other side is cluttered with my stuff), but I’m sure I’ll eventually stop fixating on the empty space and will find the courage to move my stuff to occupy that space. But for now, I have to remind myself….it’s all about baby steps. I guess in some small way, this was a precursor of things to come. I wanted to see how I would react or felt after I did it because I know I’m ready to start going through your things and finding new homes for them, I just haven’t had the strong call to action to do so, but I’ve made arrangements for LE to come and help me during Thanksgiving break. I hope by then, I’ve ready myself mentally and emotionally since I refuse to be the widow that is able to get remarried but unable to purge her late husband’s things. I know that there’s no such thing cut and dry and black and white when emotions are involved, and most of the time, but this would be way too messy and gray, even for me.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.