My view of the world through words & photos
The first few days are quite a blur. I know I made a lot of phone calls, made dozens of decisions, coordinated travel arrangements, arrivals and departures, bought two cemetery plots, consoled others and received consolation.
Day by day people who had arrived from out of town returned home and to their lives. Finally, it was just the two of us – my daughter and I.
So we are now slowly finding our new normal. I’m not sure when that will really occur. While I was very efficient those first two weeks, it seems to be harder now to get some things done. I’m not sure if it’s shock or depression or what. All I know is that it takes a lot of energy to get a project started and even more to get it completed.
I’ve tried for the last several days to go to the Social Security office. It’s not because I dread dealing with the people there. I had to go there to straighten out two different matters several months ago and everyone was very nice and resolved the matters relatively quickly. I was able to easily gather all the documents together according to a list I was given shortly after Bill’s death, so that isn’t the problem. I just feel like telling this organization that Bill has died and completing whatever paperwork is required makes this all so final. [You’d think the funeral and the graveside ceremony would have made Bill’s death final, but apparently not for me at least.]
I spent two days this week going through Bill’s clothing. Pulling them out and determining what I will be donating, keeping and what needed to be disposed of was not as hard as I had thought. It was actually nice to find some shirts and jackets that I associate with special events – celebrations, trips, our date nights. These memories brought smiles to my face several times throughout those two days. Now all the clothes are sorted and waiting to be packed and picked up by a local charity. And they’ve been sitting there for two days. And I haven’t packed them up…and I haven’t called for them to be picked up.
My wonderful friends and family helped clean and do some laundry in that week after Bill’s death. Good thing, since I haven’t been able to face doing laundry since then – thankfully there are enough clean clothes for Beka and I to wear for another few days.
Our book club selection for this month is “I Married You For Happiness” by Lily Tuck. Some of the women in the group asked if I wanted to postpone reading this book and substitute another selection. When I went back to the synopsis of the book and remembered it was about a woman who finds her husband dead from an unexpected heart attack (my husband died in a similar manner) and then reflects on their life together as she waits through the night until she calls officials to notify them of his death. I told them all that we should read it as planned – that I appreciated their concern but I had to face these things at some point and it might as well be now. I’m more than half way through the book and nothing has caused me to cry. In fact, her reflections have helped me recall several wonderful memories from my life with Bill. On the other hand, lines from TV shows and e-mails about unrelated issues have set me into gut-retching sobs.
From what I remember about things I’ve read about grief, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I seem to recall there are several stages that one normally goes through as you face a terrible situation like death or a terminal diagnosis. I did have one person tell me that they are giving me two months before I really break down since I’m handling things so well right now. I’m not sure why this person felt a timeline had to be given. Is this a bet that needs to be won?
I know I haven’t reacted in the same way that many others have. I have not shed a lot of tears in public –no one but God knows how many I’ve shed in private. I have tried to bring strength to my kids who are facing a nightmare no child should ever face. I’ve tried to be supportive of my mother-in-law who faced the unthinkable reality of burying her child (and you are always your parents’ child no matter if you are three or 63). I have found myself staring out into space with no real understanding of how much time has passed until I look at a clock and realize it’s 10, 15, 30 minutes later.
Bill had gotten so sick over the last couple years. He tried so hard to get healthy again, but his heart was so weak. It gives me great solace to know that he is not longer in pain, he no longer struggles to catch his breath doing everyday activities, and that he doesn’t have to live a very restrictive life anymore. Be assured – I’d much rather have him physically with us here. It makes me less sad to know that he is experiencing a joy now that we can only imagine.
And the faith that taught me about that joy, and our family and friends who love us so, are the reasons we are able to move forward – step by step, with a strength that wanes and grows with each challenge, always supported by our God, and those who love us.