Sunday, February 22, 2015

Widow Learning

As I vacuum the hallway this morning and notice the pile of shoes I need to work around, the irony does not allude me.  I remember always nagging Ed to put away his shoes...the pile of easily disposed shoes in the hallway would grow.  How in the world could two people leave so many pairs of shoes in the hallway?  And so it was a constant battle to put shoes away and keep the pile in the hallway minimal.  This morning, I counted 7 pairs. Seven pairs of sneakers, shoes, and boots that belong to no one but me which means I have no one to blame but myself.

Yes, any clutter around the house, any dirt tracked into the house, any kleenex left in clothes pockets in the laundry, I now have no one to blame by myself.  I guess everything wasn't Ed's fault and I'm not as perfect as I would have liked to think!

Of course, I've learned that in my eyes, as a widow, Ed was perfect.  Over the past two years, I have only mourned all that I have lost and all the good.  And if I tell you a story about Ed, he is perfect.  He was the perfect, caring, loving husband and father and there were no faults.  Of course, anyone who has been married for 30 years knows, it really isn't like that.  And anyone who knew well, knew this as well.  But Ed is still on that pedestal, two years after passing.  The reality is that any imperfections or squabbles we had were minor and so these are all pushed to the back of my memory.  It does make me laugh at times though because we weren't perfect...we were a normal, married couple.  Ed was not any more perfect than either you or I.  But I won't tell you those stories.  Ed will always be perfect in my eyes.

I also realize so much that I took for granted.  For example, this fall/winter, there have been a lot of mice I am catching in the mousetraps in the basement.  When Ed was here, I walked right by them and, when I remembered, I'd say to Ed "there's a dead mouse downstairs" never emptying the trap myself.  HA!  Jokes on me because now, if I don't empty the trap, no one else will.  And that's one of the hardest lessons I've learned...whatever needs to be done around the house, whether it's cleaning, emptying trash, fixing something...if I don't do it, it won't get done.  Ed is not here to just take care of things.  Things that used to just miraculously be taken care of.  I would go about my business without worrying about any of these things.  Something I took for granted often in our day-to-day lives.  I miss that and wish I was better at thanking him more on a daily basis.

I've also learned that I still am not comfortable using the terms "I," "me," and "mine."  The house is still "ours" and the contents are still "ours."  I frequently use "we" when referring to something I'm thinking of doing, but I tell myself that the "we" is me and Dan.

This widowhood is a strange thing and every day is a learning experience...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No Time for Grief

There is no time for grief.  I know it's been knocking at my door, wanting to visit, but there is just not time to deal with it and although my life is more hectic than I would like, this is that proverbial silver lining.

As some of you know, we brought my mother home from the hospital on January 29th.  She still requires 24/7 care, but mentally going back to rehab was not an option.  For the short-term, my sisters and I are taking turns providing the majority of her care.  This is supplemented by friends and family and the VNA.  However, the majority of the responsibility for her care, including the majority of days and overnights, my sisters and I take turns, at least for now.

So I find myself juggling the days and nights I need to spend at my mother's with trying to work as much as possible, and also take care of my own house.  The days blend together and I find I need to refer to the calendar often to know what day of the week it is.  Days blend from being at Mom's to being at work to being at Mom's again.  Weekdays blend with weekends and the traditional weekend time to get caught up around the house and run errands and do chores, no longer exists.  Any "free" time I have is spent doing essentials--laundry, cleaning, groceries, etc.

I have cleared my calendar of any "personal" activities--choir, church-related activities, visits with friends, etc., have all been cancelled.  Even updating this blog is a challenge and the only reason I'm doing it now is because OT is here working with my mother.

Add on top of that all this snow!  It seems every day or every other day is spent shoveling and snow blowing and now trying to clear snow from the roof.

I want to be clear that I do not share this to complain.  Just like I would not hesitate to do what I needed to do for Ed, I will not hesitate to do what is needed for my mother at this time as well.  If I've learned nothing else over the past few years it is family comes first.

But time marches on.  Somehow Christmas and New Year's have come and gone in a blink of an eye.  January is now behind us.  What have I done for the past two months?  Nothing really other than be there for my mother.  That is what I needed to and still need to do.  The rest of it just happens to fit in between.

And, yes, there are times when I tire--when I don't think I could possibly do this for another day.  And when I'm on the verge of having my own pity party, feeling sorry that I don't have anyone to help ease my burden or be there to embrace me when I tire at the end of the day, I need to remember to be grateful that my mother is still here and that I have siblings who can help carry this load of her care.  And I am most grateful for my sister Cathy and her husband Tim who have been there for me, without even being asked.  Whether it's to provide the emotional support of a friend or to help around the house--they are there for me always and I know I could never repay them.  And I'm thankful for those friends who text me randomly to let me know they are thinking of me and to share a few thoughts back and forth.  And, it goes without saying, that I'm thankful for Dan--my rock who I wish was closer and that I could see more often.

So every day I get up.  I put one foot in front of the other.  Some day the snow will stop falling.  Some day the days will begin to warm.  Someday, soon, I'll be remembering and recognizing 2nd anniversaries.  And when grief wants to join me on these days and drag me down, I  will instead try to remember to be thankful for what I do have.  For Dan and for my family.  For my friends.  And, most importantly, that my mother is still here.  And I pray that maybe, just maybe if I dare, maybe spring will come and we will be able to rejoice above our burdens and sadness.

That is my prayer...