Ok. I have a(chicken) bone to pick.
I lost my husband Jamey 16 days ago. If I baked a cake today in honor of his death and placed a representative number of candles on it, I could make some lame “16 candles” reference, but I digress.
In those 16 days, I’ve managed to do a lot
of things. Here’s just a smattering:
1. I’ve made dozens of phone calls to report his passing and filled out a junk load of “official” documents.
2. I’ve had to go to the county courthouse
to “probate” his will or have his will go to “probate”
(or I don’t know something about something related to a
probate or prostate or prostrate??!!)
3. I’ve gone to work every day except the day of Jamey’s funeral(and Fridays since Fridays are my day off.)
4. I’ve met with our “money guy”Bill to figure out how they heck Cael and I are
going to survive without Jamey’s income.
5. I’ve fielded dozens of concerned “checking-in” phone calls, texts, requests to “drop things off”.
6. I “volunteered” to help represent our karate school, Tiger Kang Karate, at a local township fair.
7. I’ve gone food shopping.
8. I wasted my time(but luckily not my money) on the Mayweather “fight.”
9. I’ve mowed the lawn. I’ve weed-whacked. I’ve washed dishes. I’ve washed clothes. I’ve taken care of the pets. I’ve taken care of Caeley.
I’ve gotten the mail. I’ve thrown out a dead mouse. I’ve cleaned dog poop off the bottom of my
shoes. I’ve brought my indoor plants outside. I’ve hung curtains in my bedroom. I’ve graded exams. I’ve
graded group projects. I’ve vacuumed.
10. I’ve showered. Almost every day.
11. I’ve gotten out of bed in the morning. Every morning. Every single damned morning for the last 16 days.
12. I’ve cried a little and then cried a LOT this past Sunday. At Wawa–when I saw a guy in his 40s dressed in a soccer uniform, That was a tough one.
13. And I’ve watched Netflix…….lots and lots and lots of Netflix. I’ve sat on my couch under my comfy blanket after all my other household and motherly obligations had been done and I binge-watched “The Killing” on Netflix.
And I don’t feel bad or guilty or worried that I’ve sat on the couch watching Netflix.
Apparently, this worries some other people, though.
My problem, I think, is that I don’t lie very well. I’ve been honest with people when they ask what/how I’ve been doing. I tell people the truth ‘cuz that’s kind of how I roll.
I tell people that I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.
I tell them all I want to do is stay in bed or lay around on the couch. Because it IS all I really want to do.
And I think that scares people. And I think that’s kind of weird and unfair.
I lost my husband Jamey 16 days ago.
In reality, I lost my husband Jamey 3 years ago. I’m currently grieving the loss of a life that may have/should have been. For the past 3 years, I’ve been slowly grieving the loss of the man Jamey used to be. That’s a lot of grieving. And yeah, sure, there was the Kubler-Ross standard feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, well—-there’s not been any acceptance yet….I don’t know there ever will be.
But those feelings/experiences haven’t occurred in some neatly prescribed order. Sometimes I feel everything at once. Other times, I feel none of them.
But the point is–I’m choosing to “feel” them.
I’m not “getting my mind off things”. I’m not “getting off the couch and enjoying life.” I’m not “getting out and being around people.” I’m not “getting myself a bottle of wine to forget(ewww…gross, I hate wine anyway).”
I’m sitting on the couch and sometimes thinking about Jamey, Caeley and me. I’m trying to remember the good times. I’m listening to sad music. I’m listening to music he liked. I’m going through his clothes. I’m looking at our wedding albumn. I’m telling Caeley I miss him. I’m asking the dogs if they miss him.
It’s beginning to sink in.
I’m a 42 year old widow.
It’s just me and Caeley now.
I have no husband to love me anymore.
It sucks. It really sucks.
So I sit on my fucking couch after all my normal activities are done and watch tv.
I lost my husband Jamey 16 days ago.
I’ve earned some time off.
I understand everyone’s concern–I really do. People are used to seeing me “soldier up”, tough it out and be Wonder Woman. People are accustomed to me marching into a room, stone faced, and acting like every thing’s normal, even when it so clearly isn’t.
That approach worked when I needed it to. But I don’t need it to work for me now. I need to grieve.
So I’m going to grieve in a way that feels comfortable to me. Even if it means it looks uncomfortable to others.
I have a history of depression. I know what my warning signs are. I know that it is tough to tease apart my current behaviors with previous ones.
Here’s a helpful link on the clinical psychological disorder called Complicated Bereavement Disorder.
Read it and, if you find that I’m still having significant symptoms in 3 or 4 months time that are interfering with my ability to maintain a normal life, please to call me on it. I may be so deep down the rabbit’s hole by then that I won’t be able to tell the light grey from the lighter grey.
Until then, just know that what I’m doing and feeling and not doing is what I need to do. I’ll put my red boots, star-spangled blue shorts, golden bracelets and headband on soon enough. Wonder Woman will return.
10 thoughts on “Good grief! Good grief?”
I don’t know you…(and I didn’t know Jamey, I know his cousin Elaine.) But I understand what you are saying and I believe you are right. No one can feel what you feel but you. Hang in there and do what feels right to you.
Thanks for reaching out and taking the time to respond, Maria.
Saint Anne, patron saint of the home and family and caring mother of our own Blessed Lady, pray for us.
Saint Dymphna, patron saint of emotional “whoopsie daisy” moments, pray for us.
Saint Rita of Cascia, who asks the Almighty that all wounds be healed and the lonely ones consoled, pray for us.
Jamey, your husband; now healed, restored and busily praying along with the Saints,( and playing lots of soccer) please pray for all us caregivers who know the ending will not be a happy one, all those being erased by a malignant brain tumor and all surviving spouses climbing out from the rubble.
I think I need a patron saint of “whoopsy daisies” 🙂
That’s our daughter,and we are so very proud of how you have handled everything during the entire 7 years,and the 2/3 years since Jamey descended into the physical/emotional/mental person that was so different because of the dementia.No one can know what you,or Caeley had to endure.Jamey was still there in bodily form,but the horrible disease,took his mind,his ability to think,rationalize.Of course you loved him,he was your husband,but it had to be so hard at times,as you were dealing with a different emotional,and mental Jamey.How hard it had to be.So Grieve,and cry,when it comes upon you,as well as Caeley.16 days since Jamey/your husband,and Caeleys father has died,and 13 days since he has been buried. So,so Proud of you both,and we love you more then we could ever say. Kim,as Pam said to Jamey the night before he died,(so passionately,and lovingly)thank you Jamey for being a good husband to our daughter,and being a great dad to our grandaughter.Also,thanks for setting up this computer desk on am typing off,and thanks for helping setting up our benches that Elke,and i were sitting on yesterday.Kimberley we all miss Jamey,but he was your husband,and Caeley’s daddy.Yes it has only been 16 days since you lost your husband,and you are a widow,as mom said in the blog about her alzheimer’s,”It sucks”. Do it your way,you and Caeley have been thru hell,and back,and nobidy know’s what it has been like except “youz guys”..
I am pretty awesome, aren’t I?
Well said, Keith. I’d add heroic to the accolades. Damned heroic. I was quite fond of the lad. He was a sweet boy. Neither he, nor y’all, deserved what happened to him. But he did deserve to have someone scawesome with him through it. He was lucky in that regard. Eternally grateful are we.
You mean binging on Sixteen Candles and The Killing isn’t a desparate cry for help? What does that look like? Pretty in Pink and every single episode of Lost? Have you been watching any good movies? Like Poltergeist? I had a Poltergeist dream the other night for some random reason, then I remembered it was one of Jamey’s favorite movies (snicker, snicker). He, Mark and I watched it one night when Jamey was probably 14. He was pretty weirded out by it. During the closing credits I snuck out to the kitchen and stacked the chairs on the table. All the while I was thinking, “This is lame and obvious”. I thought for sure they would harass me for 30 years about what a lame and obvious stunt that was. But no. Jamey completely flipped out. Screamed like a little girl and flopped onto the floor trying to backpedal away like he was in some nightmare being chased by a man-eating lion or a stepmother or something. What a sap, huh? Of course, Mark and I comforted him and calmed him down. Well, OK, we peed our pants laughing, but I’m sure Jamey was comforted by that. Anyway…
He never outgrew that….um…childlike naiveté. He was particularly fearful of the concept of a succubus visiting him in the middle of the night. Yes….I said fearful….your brother was one odd duck.
Grief takes many forms at many different times in our lives. It has many stages and many levels of intensity. It is very important to recognize these stages and just let them happen and embrace them. The heart will heal even though it’s been broken. I have experienced all the stages and all the levels of grief so I’m only advising through experience. You are a beautiful person and all good things will come to you in time. My thoughts are with you.