Blind and stripped bare

Lido has been sick off and on the past couple of weeks and ended up with a temp again on Thanksgiving. We made it through the day and most of the evening before it became apparent that he wasn’t feeling good and I had to step away from the dinner and friends and sit with my sick child. Times like these are what I find to be some of the most difficult. Playing host, hostess, mother, father, cuddle buddy…everything all at once. It isn’t as if there is one of us to steal away and take care of our kid and the other is left to do dishes, make dinner, etc. That person isn’t here anymore. I’m not sure how to be a single parent. I didn’t sign up for this. I never ever wanted this and thought that I would never have to be this person. We shared so much in our relationship even prior to having a child. Over the past year – or actually maybe over the past several months – I’ve tried to be the same person I was in a relationship, or maybe I’ve been trying to have the same relationship minus one as we had prior to the crash. I’ve tried picking up and doing things the same way as we used to do them but this means I’m doing not only what I used to take care of but what he did. It isn’t working too well. On many levels.

On one level it is just way too much and I feel like I am failing on many levels. I used to be the type of person that would dive deep into whatever I needed to at the time. I didn’t neglect other things but I could always depend on that other person to pick up the slack. I tend to do this even now, but soon realize that I just can’t work this way anymore. I have to find balance. And if that means my house is a bit dirty or my laundry isn’t done or the foundation work gets pushed aside for a few days – well – it does. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have those days where grief just hits me hard. It isn’t like it used to be. I can at least function at a higher level than I did in the first 6 months or so…instead of spending days in one comatose position, I am usually at one day a week now. Sometimes it is just one full day of doing nothing. Other weeks it is a cumulative day over a period of days. One just never knows when the grief monster will strike. But I’ve learned to just go with it. That is why I’ve learned that I just can’t do all of it. What makes me sad is that I never wanted to do all of it and I just wish he was back here with me to be a part of all of this…of our life. I wish it could just go back to how it was. We worked well together. Constantly evolving and changing and working on all of this.

On another level, doing things like we did, it reminds me too much of what I had. In some ways I’m tired of the constant reminder that I was happy. In other ways I search for the reminders of what I had. To remind me that it wasn’t a dream. I’ve yet to find balance with this. I’ve yet to really sit down and let the grief completely wash over me. To remember us. I’ve put some strong blinders on, I feel. On the other hand, I think it during the quiet times, that I have the most trouble with. I talk about him, remember little things all day at night, when I usually laid in bed and started relaxing for the evening, reading or meditating, this is the time that I find it most difficult to remember things. This is when I block everything and try not to remember. This is something though that I know I’ve needed to work on. I want to remember and I want this connection during this time. I want to be open to him and to dream about him. I’ve even started moving back to the part of the bed that I typically started out on…closer to his side with my arm draped across his chest and my knee bent and resting against his leg and my foot rocking gently against his. I have no idea if this is healthy. I don’t want to pretend that he is still there but it brings me back to what I knew. It relaxes me. If my mind wanders and thinks that he is actually there beside me – I’ll take whatever moments are available because I know sooner rather than later the realization that I will never be able to touch him again will hit. But for a few brief moments, I’ll have that life again.

I’m only a little over 2 months into what will be the second year without him and I find that it is harder. I’ve read that this is typically the case with most widows. I’m not sure if it is harder but you are sure dealing with things without the ‘comfort’ of the fog that surrounds the newly widowed. I know for me, the first 3 months was complete and utter shock. I could still function but if I could have seen myself, and looking back on that time, I would have seen a hollow person, glazed eyes, almost a zombie. I was a zombie. I was the living dead. After those first 3 months, this is when being able to function did not exist. All grocery shopping was done with the single intent of getting food that was easy to fix for Lido. If he went to daycare, I came back home and went to bed. I set the alarm to make sure I woke up in order to pick him up. The less I had to do, the better. The days that I felt like I could do more, I definitely did. I tried to be ‘on’ in the evenings with Lido but I know there were days that he wasn’t at daycare and he played as I slept. I put up baby gates to keep him in one area that was beyond baby-proofed. I cried all the time.

The days that I felt like I could do more grew until I could function two or three days in a row. It kept getting better. I learned that if I did anything outside the ‘comfort’ zone (eg. my sofa), I needed at least three days or more to recover. Eventually, recovery days grew shorter. Around 9 months is when I felt like I could start things, that I needed to do something. I needed to get back to the living instead of being the living dead. I think that is about the same time that I started with house projects and the foundation.

And now I find myself at 1 year and 2 months and the grief hits hard. Harder. Lido deserves more than what I’ve been able to give him the past year. The ‘fog’ has lifted and I find myself blind and stripped bare. What was once known will never be known again. What once was, never will be.

Stepping back and perceiving myself as blind and stripped bare makes me feel like I should go forward and embrace this ‘rebirth’. Part of me wants to grasp this with both arms and another part yells ‘no fucking way’. Again, trying to find a balance. Being able to create a new life without leaving the one I had behind. For some looking in, you may say that this is an easy task. It is daunting. How do you stand before life as a being that is half of what you were? A being that does not know true laughter any longer because their heart is still missing. A being whose skin is so raw that sunshine, movement, music, love can make them bleed? Balance. Being able to move forward and find the life you were meant to live right now…while being okay with leaving some of the things you did in your past life behind. Taking things with you that you want to take. Learning who you are every day.

Part of what holds me back is because I don’t want to lose that person that Doug fell in love with. The things that he loved and the things that he had to get used to…At the same time, I know that some of those things, I don’t want in this new life. Especially the things that he had to get used to. There are things about him that I want to be. That I want to take into this new life. I also have to be okay with not taking some of the things that we both loved about each other. They may not be right for this life right now.

If I have learned anything over the past year, I’ve definitely learned that each of us on this path will know what is best for them. They may make decisions that may look crazy to those on the outside but in the end they are decisions that they needed to make at the time. Those decisions may have positive or negative consequences but that is what that person needed to do. I know that one can go down a path or do something without realizing that they have actually made a true step towards healing and growing into this new life, this new person.

I know just in the past two days I’ve done this without realizing it until tonight. I decided yesterday to put up Christmas decorations. Last year on Christmas Eve I ran down into the basement and grabbed our Christmas stockings and hung them on the fireplace along with the Santa hat and Xmas tree headband…That was all the decorating I did. All Christmas presents were ordered online and shipped already wrapped. Essentially I did nothing. This year however I vowed that it would be different. I figured last year I could get away with not doing anything because a. Lido was so young that it didn’t really matter that much and b. there was no fucking way I was decorating. So yesterday the Christmas ornaments came out and Lido and I went to get a real Christmas tree. Most of the decorations and ornaments were up by yesterday evening. This morning though I decided that the house needed to be decorated on the outside. Outside decorations were purchased and the outside of the house was done by this evening. The entire time I kept saying that it was for Lido. I wanted Christmas to be fun and memorable for him and I should start now.

What I didn’t realize until now was that I was creating something in this new life. I was attempting to create…many things for the future. I was also holding on to what was part of my ‘past life’. What Doug and I used to do. The evening we spent putting up the tree (not real) and hanging decorations. I even kept the paperclips that we had used to hang ornaments on the ornaments. I found balance. Creating something that was Lido’s and mine while bringing the past with us in many forms. Balance.

Unfortunately with that balance is grief still. There was no fire in the fireplace, no music playing, no beer or wine being drunk. But that is okay. Putting up the decorations as quickly and efficiently as possible in hopes that the mind does not stray to the dark side…is just fine. I have my quiet time right now to remember what I had.

Is this still being balanced?

For right now.

For tonight.

For this moment.

If it got me past the grief monster – yes.

Although I can’t run from grief and I’m sure it will hit me like a ton of bricks in a few days…I’ll take a pleasant day of putting up ‘Christmas” and seeing my son’s eyes light up. The grief monster can wait.

Explore posts in the same categories: Flying Dodo, Lido, Uncategorized, Widowhood

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