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Friday, April 30, 2010


Bruce loved stuff. More than i do in fact. And it is creepy that i still have not gotten rid of anything of his. Almost as if i expect he will come home and get upset because i have thrown his things out. But also because each thing is a memory. And how do i choose which memory to discard? i want them all, no matter how trivial they seem.

i thought that it is a bit strange but did not realize how unusual it was even among the widows in my group. And this made me feel more different and creepy than i normally do. i know that i am an anomaly in the group. i work and they are retired, i struggle financially and they seem to have enough, they seem so well adjusted and i feel so traumatized, and their husbands were all sick for a while and mine just disappeared one day.

Last Sunday when i confessed that my husband's toothbrush remains exactly where he left it on Friday morning the 20th of 2009, they looked at me with alarm. And then i mentioned that everything remained intact, his hat on the coat rack, the novel that he was reading in the bathroom, all of his clothes in the closet. It seems that the day after the funeral, they purged. And now they are all remodeling their houses, making it all over in their singular vision.

i have been told by some that it takes time and that i will be ready one day to get rid of his things. i am not so sure. i guess it is so complicated for me. Overwhelming physically and emotionally. The volume of stuff. But also the meaning of things. And while it is possible to do a little bit at a time, i get home at the end of a day at work and i am exhausted. Part of this is depression-i understand how the day is so much work and my energy level is not what it used to be. It is hard to interact when all i feel like doing is curling up into a ball under the bed and not come out-ever. So going through the day and then coming home and going thru the stuff is too much.
The widows suggested that i put his toothbrush in a drawer-the first step to eventually getting it to the garbage can. Maybe i will try this.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

in context

i think about the past - obviously. i am struck by how things seem when you look at context. So, while i may have complained before Bruce died about being overwhelmed, it was nothing compared to how overwhelmed i am now. i may have been anxious at times or depressed-but again all of that pales in comparison with how i feel now. And i am able to look at others and realize that they may not have a clue about how their life can change in an instant - and whatever they are concerned about can get so much worse-in context.

But i also understand that if i had never been married or had a family, this part of my life would not be so bad. It is only in context, looking back on the past, that i appreciate what i had. For some people it is normal to have a full day and come home to emptiness. Being alone may be part of what is normal. i work with someone who is not married, and lives alone and seems to live a very solitary life. So, aren't i better off that i had a very full life, with marriage and children and career? Or am i worse off because my life is so empty compared to what i once had.

i am not sure.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


i was thinking the other day about how my life has changed. i grew up in a small house where we all shared a small bathroom, and i shared a room with my sister. i enjoyed the solitude that i experienced in bits and pieces, but i think i felt alone a lot-even though it seemed that the house was so small and we were not quiet people. But i never lived alone, and am not sure growing up if i was lonely or whether i enjoyed being by myself. My parents were not home - both worked, and they played poker on Saturday nights while i watched TV. i remember now being alone watching television even as a teenager.

As i was thinking the other day, i remember thinking about the circle of life. We grow up in a family, then create a family of our own. The children leave the nest and then it is just 2. When your spouse dies, you are alone and this may be the first time in your life that you are alone. That is hard, being alone for the first time, because the solitude is overwhelming.

But i am now questioning the premise that this is the first time that i am alone. Yes, i have never lived alone, but i am very familiar with being and feeling alone. Is this different? i guess anything accompanying grief is more complicated, more laden with emotions, more difficult to pull apart. Like a best friend, there are times that i welcome being alone and times when it is suffocating. Living alone may be too much alone time even for me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

the life that was

i wonder if i will ever be the way i used to be. i feel so serious, so devoid of humor. Of course, he encouraged the comic in me, although my family is the first to express that i am not really a "funny person". But i hear his play on words, his jokes, his brand of NY humor all the time in my mind. i do not find anything funny though these days.

Day to day-i am overwhelmed by more sadness and than i am distracted and i push it down. It rises up-usually in the morning, or as i walk to my parking spot anticipating an evening without him. Going home is hard. It is like i have a full time job plus the grief is like the second job that i had to take on. i am tired from all the work-and i am unable to let go of it. Too much hard work ahead as i try to plow through. i am trying to take things one by one, but i am tired and cranky. And there is no relief, i do not cry, and i cannot be comforted. i know that this time will pass but there is no guarantee that next year will be easier. i am still grappling with the life that i lost and the life that is left. it is not enough of a life for me. i cannot change it at this point, and maybe never. i am not sure how to deal with that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

baby steps

i have fallen in to a routine of sorts and still i struggle with the loneliness. A few weeks ago, one of the widows that i know said that although she is lonely, she is only lonely for her dead spouse. i know how that is. It is not about filling the space but about filling the space with him. i get easily frustrated with people who do not share my likes and dislikes. Bruce and i had fallen into a rhythm too. We were comfortable with the same things or we tolerated the differences that we had. Sometimes we could not remember which one of us liked a certain thing and we would argue that it was the other one who liked it.

i still miss him too much. And writing here feels so much like whining that i get tired of the same complaints. Of course i miss him. But this is a way to process the grief. i am not sure what that means yet-but know that it is what i am supposed to do.

Monday, April 12, 2010

evaluating loss

i recently picked up a book that was recommended to me. It is called Living with Loss by Dan Moseley. The beginning pages talk about what is lost when someone we love dies. There are multiple losses. So it leads me to the question - what is loss for me?

i lost my companion, my best friend, my intimate partner and thus my ability to be intimate. i lost my sounding board, my mentor, my solid ground. i lost my shield, my respite, my map, my nightlight. i feel as if i lost everything the day he died. The earthquakes last week were a perfect metaphor for my grief-the ground beneath me is unsteady and i can not even assess the damage.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the second year

i thought the second year would be easier. But i have been wrong about almost everything thus far. it is not that it is harder-i am more used to my life without him. i think that the first year was about getting over the shock of the fact that he is gone. i was numb most of the time and every now and then the pain would rock me, really deep agonizing pain. This year is more like a dull ache that sometimes is irritating and unbearable.

i can't even cry anymore, just one sob, a screwed up face and then that is it. Occasionally i well up when i speak of how much i miss him. Would crying help? i am not sure. So many losses result from this one great loss. And i continue to feel the edges of my loneliness - only rarely aware of the sharpness of the pain. Otherwise, i move through the days and try not to think about the bleakness of my world without him.

Yes, i am dramatic and this blog has turned into one long wailing wall. But it is hard to continue to complain to those around-even if i thought that anyone was interested, there are no words to express my despair. So i do it here, intermittently. i experiment with the words, process the thoughts that occur to me as i sit often in the early morning. i wake up and contemplate how full my life was before that day. How i was enveloped by his love, and that really helped me to venture out into the world. No safety net anymore.

What lies ahead in this second year? i am not sure but i am not very ambitious. i am apathetic and think that whatever i plan i can wait till the following year to do.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

dark skies

it has been awhile. i let the days wash over me, try to be busy and not think too much. But there is definitely sadness in everyday. i think it's been a hard few months but cannot honestly say that since he died, there have been many bright spots. Each day that has special meaning is harder but it is also true that the days leading up and the days following the special days may be just as hard. it probably would be wise to stop analyzing it. Which is probably why i haven't written. Why bother to process through when all the processing does not seem to lead to anything. i guess that is called depression.