I started writing this some time ago so it has been edited and finished to catch up to how my life is going. Today I thought I would finish this. Not because my life has gone back to normal, rather there are one or two more blogs I want/need to write. An update on my widow friends. The one whose husband died almost 2 years ago is trying very hard (some might say too hard) to get on with life & make new friends, but still having bad days. The one whose husband died last March just got rid of her husbands clothes and is not ready to move forward yet, though she still has her faith & her church. I am behind them in time and also in my movement towards the future and the normalcy of life. I have no time-table for when I will be normal, I do not think anyone could say when my time will come, or if it will ever come. My only thought is that it would be nice to at least to start to live my life, not just exist in my life.
It has been almost 10 months since my husband died. I have not accomplished much. Yes, I have cleaned the house and donated my husbands clothing & other things. But at some point I got either tired of cleaning or just thought I had done enough for the moment and would start again, later refreshed. At least that is the excuse I told myself. Now, the clutter I cleaned has begun to pile up again. Not as bad, but with nothing to do, my house should be clutter free and spotless clean.
There are many excuses I have been telling myself. Do I tell myself thinking I am somehow fooling myself? That the mirror reflects that these are legitimate excuses? I know some are. But too many excuses I think are coming from my having a hard time getting on with my life without my husband. I need to figure out a way to realize what excuse is legitimate and what excuse is just that, an excuse. An excuse not to live life.
Since I had started writing this, I have been trying to find at least one thing a week that I have been making excuses for and try to accomplish it. I had put off getting routine blood tests for fear of catching the flu…that is a legitimate excuse, even my doctor agreed with me. I am sure there was a part of me that put it off because of the fear I have walking out the door, but the main reason was flu season. I went 2 months ago. All is fine with my blood work. There was a part of me that worried the tests would show I was pre-diabetic, due to not eating correctly and also forgoing dinner for dessert. Luckily this was not the case. That is one example of a small accomplishment even with an excuse thrown in.
I have put off many things with excuses. I am accomplishing getting at least one thing done a week that I have made excuses for. That does not sound like a lot and if I am honest with myself, it is nowhere near enough. It might be the best I can do at this point, or it might just be me, making yet another excuse. But I have to start somewhere. I have to find where legitimate excuses start and excuses I make up start without realizing it. This sounds like another excuse, but this one I think is legitimate, knowing an excuse is legitimate will make me push harder to get past the excuse.
I think just walking out the front door will always be an excuse for me not to go out. To some that might sound stupid. But the fear of panic attacks stop me in my tracks as I try to walk out the door. It seems since my husband died, every day is a hard day to walk out the door. I have had days where I walk out even though the dreadful feeling is alive and well. In the past, when I went out on days like this, I was okay after I got out and to where I needed to go. I am not finding that sense of comfort when I go out on days the fear is alive and well. But I am going anyway. Not all the time, but I am trying. I think my fear of walking out the door is somewhat legitimate, if I have a day where I put off today what can be done tomorrow. But it should only be a day here or there, not my normal routine. I have to forgive myself when I fail, while promising myself I will try harder next time.
My friend who is the widow that is making new friends has been asking me to join the group of women she has become friends with. They go to different places, sometimes each others homes, sometimes to events. I find myself making excuses for not going. She understands, she has been where I am. One of my excuses is that everything is too far away (she lives about an hour & 1/2 away), which is not really a legitimate excuse all the time, it might be at times when it is a holiday weekend or some other reason that would have a lot of traffic on the road. Another excuse, I am not ready to make new friends…if I make new friends they will expect friendship all the time, not just when I am in the mood. My widow friend understands this as she did not want to make friends when her husband had just died, as I mentioned it is only now she is making new friends. Is it a legitimate excuse? I do not know, I only know that I am not ready to make new friends that live far away. I wonder if my excuses are valid.
I have a cousin I have never met that lives about 10 miles away from me. She is more than ten years older than I am. Age is not the problem for me. Rather, she is a lot like a sibling of mine who calls all the time, worried about me. Though I have never met this cousin, we do email and are friends on Facebook. After I reached out to her (I should not have but did not think it through), my husband was dying at the time, I regretted it. But I knew she had been wanting to meet me and become close as we are the only two that live in the state. The day after I contacted her through Facebook and email, she had emailed me over 6 times as well as at least 6 messages on Facebook. She had our lives planned out. My husband & I would spend all the holidays at her house, go to church together, you name it, she planned it. It took me 2 or 3 weeks to finally tell her my husband was dying and I had no time for her. Now she is still emailing and messaging wanting to meet. She tells me that no one can believe she has a relative so close and has never met her. Yes, I have an excuse for not wanting to meet her. My sibling is so overbearing and this cousin seems to be the same…I am not ready to have 2 people overstepping their bounds with me…and this one would live close, my sibling lives far away. I just am not ready to meet her. Just yesterday she emailed me again that we NEED to go to church together this weekend. I am an adult, I do not need someone to tell me what I need. I know I have to meet her and part of me really wants to. I just have a big problem with someone who wants to rule my life, that includes my sibling. At least with my sibling I can tell her off, but this cousin I do not know well enough, it would hurt her feelings if I were not so nice. Is this excuse valid? I do not know. I do know for now I am not ready to have another overbearing relative in my life. I will meet her one day and we will probably get along well, but for now I am not ready.
Those were a few examples of where I am at in this process called grief. It would be much simpler if there were a rule book on how we grieve, but then again maybe not…it might cause more pain if we do not progress as fast as the rules say. There are many other areas in my life I make excuses for, I need to work on them too. If I am sad, that is legitimate, it is to be expected. But I do think I am making too many excuses and missing out on my life. I do not want to wake up one day and decide to really look in the mirror and see that life has passed me by while I was making excuses. So, I will continue trying to accomplish more, allowing for some excuses, yet pushing myself past other excuses. It is not a big step, but it is a step towards the future without my husband to share with.