growing through the painful days
Today is the sixth month since Mum died, yesterday was the eighth month since Ray died, anniversaries of sadness, painful times still to come. No, I am not stuck in the one place it is more like a rollercoaster than ever, Sometimes I am at the top and can see the view ahead, sometimes I am at the bottom and all I can see is the hill ahead I have to climb. But I am getting stronger so climbing is not the problem it was initially.
One new thing is that I am getting more and more comfortable in my own home. That has certainly been a long time coming. For a while I had to keep jumping in the car and going out to the shopping centre where there were bright lights and people and noise, not just the sound of my own breathing. That seems to have calmed down now. I still have restless days when I paced up and down or keep getting up in the night as if there is something else I have to do. I think these are mild anxiety attacks. From talking to other widows it seems those are quite common in the first year.
I had a bad day on Wednesday, I was fine till chat was over but had the grumbly tummy and the headache and the general unwellness that we all expereince. I think it is then that I feel so ALONE. I know that is how it is, I am here, I am sick, no-one else knows and that is the way it is. I could ring one of my kids but I am leaving that for a real emergency, not just a grumbly tummy so I sat down and cried it all out. "Poor me" etc. But even then in a way I felt I could ride it out. I am stronger than I was.
The dreams of summer are fading now, some trees have dropped their leaves and there is raking and disposing to do. I have loosened the soil in some of the potplants and am praying that we don't get a frost through winter, it is not so unknown here in a real bad winter. There is snow on the Snowy Mountains and Australian Alps so the skiing enthusiasts are gearing up for a good season. It is a great tourist industry for that area and so it is a good thing. The problem is the winds that blow from the south and have us all reaching for our warmer clothes.
I had Trev call in this morning and I asked him to dispose of a couple of things for me, to check the gas bottles, to look in the garage when he has time and see what we can dispose of in there. He listed all the jobs he has to do, the soccer he takes Lucas to, the wedding of a girlfriend of Edie's that they are attending next weekend, the plans for Alice's first birthday that Edie needs help with now she is back working 15 hours a week. I know, "they have a life of their own"...sigh. I think I will pin a list on the whiteboard of things I would like him to do and see if he can do some of them when he has a spare hour or two. That might work.
The crashing and banging next door today is the scaffolding coming down. The new house is almost to lock-up stage now. I am hopeful that the fit-out will be less noisy as it is inside, muffled by walls. The house is painted on the outside so the scaffolding can go, all else will be done with ladders. It has been a very noisy few months and I think that has been adding to my stress levels. I think from now on I should be able to take it more in my stride as it will seem more like a normal home being renovated. I think the chaos next door has been another factor in the "everything seems to be changing " aspect of my life.
I am so grateful for the "lunch bunch" ladies as going to lunch after church has become one of the ways Sundays has become a happy time again. It is nice to think I will go to church and then out to lunch and only have the rest of the afternoon to fill in. At first it seemed like an indulgence, now it seems just an enjoyable part of my routine. I have always said: "I get by with a little help from my friends" and that is certainly true of this part of my life as well.
I wonder how much of what is put down as depression is just extreme loneliness? I read all the time on a widows' site of the loneliness of widows. I think we feel that as survivors and caregivers too so it is not a new sensation. I was so busy looking after the welfare of Ray and Mum even when I was no longer a hands-on caregiver so it was not until they were both gone that the impact of time on my hands and loneliness in my life actually registered. Up till Mum's death I still felt like a caregiver, was still focussed on those caregtiver issues, was still involved in the world of medical solutions and care issues. That is no longer the case.
Now some of that is fading from my mind I feel an emptiness that is hard to explain. Last night I was feeling useless, wondering what the purpose of my life is now, what I am supposed to do. Those feelings come and go. My life does not have a purpose...me who was dedicated to the purpose driven life. But does it have to be? Maybe I need to go to a Buddhist retreat like a girlfriend of mine has just done and learn how to live a life whose purpose is closer to heaven than to earth. Maybe I need to reset my conscience so that I do not feel lazy if I am not busy, busy, busy all the time. I am not sure how I will go about that but will try to make it one of the thoughts I work on when I am on holiday in July.
For now I need to go on sorting through my "stuff" getting the house into some kind of order that is relevant to me. I have heard that decluttering help you to be less anxious. But just maybe I need to stop relying on busyness to fill my days and simply let living and breathing for a while be enough.