So I went into my email to check it this morning as usual and I got an email reminding me that Chris’s birthday is coming up (next week) and here are some gifts I could get for him.  Ugh.

This just makes me so sad.  My niece pointed out a couple of months ago that we don’t get Chris presents anymore because he is dead.  Yes, niece, that is true.

I posted about the same damn reminder last year https://widowedowl.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/chriss-birthday/   I am deleting it now.  Another set of gut wrenching actions, deleting/closing/removing things that were part of your spouse’s life that they no longer need now.

Having just gotten through our “anniversary”, I am not sure I can handle his birthday.

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What should have been our second wedding anniversary was last Monday.  I survived it.  Last year’s anniversary was terrible.  It would have been our first and I never believed it would actually come.  That God, Chris, the universe, whatever would let our anniversary come and go without Chris being there.  I had a nervous breakdown, broke out in hives, and generally just had to focus on getting through the day second by second.

This year was better in some ways.  I didn’t have a nervous breakdown and did all I could really to just treat it like any other day.  I went on a trip that was good and relaxing and not at all related to my life with Chris.  Minus a panic attack when we stopped to help a car that had flipped, it was overall a relaxing weekend. 

In other ways it is worse.  For me it feels like there is nothing positive about our anniversary.  Honestly, I don’t even want to call it that since well we didn’t make it to a full year of marriage.  There is no marriage to celebrate. There is no “we made it another year together and are happy and still in love” sentiments.  There are no years of memories or traditions we created for this day.  All it brings up is our wedding, which is still just a jumble of painful memories.  For me our wedding, in fact anything involving weddings, is part of the trauma of Chris’s death. It causes anxiety and panic, depression, all of the darkest parts of grief.  Sometimes it is easier for me to just forget it or escape it. 

So I went on a trip to the desert.  Where I stayed at a ranch with a few friends.  I did a lot of riding (more on that later).  Went to the spa, knit, read and tried to focus on the time I was having at the moment.  The past is over, our anniversary is now just another day, and I can’t live in it if I am going to survive. The past is too painful and there is nothing I can do to bring it back or make it less painful. 

Once again, I find myself (the widow’s creed) saying “I survived” to another shitty day.

 

Some new realizations

October 3, 2011

I feel like grief is a continual attempt by my conscious and subconscious to figure things out.  There are so many adjustments that have to be made to your life after losing a spouse that everything changes.  Your daily life, your hopes and dreams, your fears, your habits, your emotional state and mood. Nothing is familiar, decisions are harder to make.  I try to make plans and I usually find that what seemed ok, a day later seems like a terrible idea.  I was never this variable before.  It is a huge adjustment for me, to realize that I have to always have an escape/back out plan, that I can no longer depend on myself to be consistent.  It makes me incapable of following through with anything … when I have the energy to even attempt it. 

I have also realized that I need to develop a new social circle.   I had always thought that I would be able to continue with my friends, who have been wonderful since Chris died, picking up new hobbies and patterns, but my friends were my friends.  But now I don’t think that is true.  Not because of how they act or how they treat me, but because my life path is no longer theirs.  They are married and starting families and I am widowed and on my own.  They are planning and building, while I am breaking apart.  For me it is too hard to watch.  Chris and I wanted to have started a family by this point and watching others who we were close to continue on that path is excruciating. 

It makes me feel so ungrateful for all they have done for me, but I can’t handle the pain of it.  It would be easier if I lived on the other side of the world and all I had to do was send emails from time to time and send gifts, but living 20 minutes away and having to stand by while their lives go on is awful.  It’s not that I don’t want them to have it,  but I want it too.  I want Chris to be alive.  I want to wake up next to him, I want to be going to sonogram appointments.  Instead I have panic attacks, deciding whether to get rid of his phone number, and flashbacks about the worst parts of his death.  The gulf between us is too great right now.  I can’t pretend that nothing has changed. Everything has changed.

So now, I realize, I need to make new friends.  Ones who aren’t married.  But how do I do that?  I don’t want to join a “singles” group.  Dating isn’t remotely possible or appealing.   So I guess I will just keep trying to find groups to join and hope that some of the people are not married.  Do I have the energy for that? I don’t know.

So far I have come up with some ideas, many of them are based on rediscovering things I enjoyed long before I met Chris:

Volunteering (various groups are possibilities Habitat for Humanity, Hospice, Museums)

Community Theater (use to enjoy theater in High School)

Archaeology (started volunteering so far, it’s a good way to spend time, people are generally in college or older and married, so no luck on that front)

Book club (through the library?)

Hiking club

It has been hard facing these facts: I am no longer married, I am no longer getting ready to start a family, I no longer belong to anyone, I am on my own.  It is gut-wrenching everyday.  But I get up, and go to work, and come up with ideas of something to do.