Uncontrollable Confusion shows in the Mirror

I am lost. I am confused. I am sad. I am alone. I am at a loss as to what I am supposed to be doing with my life. How life even goes on when the one you love has died? These seem to be all emotions I cannot control, rather they are out of control or uncontrollable. These emotions hit me when least expected or when one would think they are expected. Sometimes they do not hit me when I would think they would, which leads to more confusion.

It seems that instead of life getting easier as time goes by, it has gotten harder. It may not actually be harder, it may just seem that way. Especially on days that I am feeling sad and confused. I will probably have many days that are sad for now, so I need to find a way to control how I feel and not be confused and sad. I have no special reason for feeling this way today, at least none I can think of. There is always the chance this is an anniversary of some bad news my husband I received but cannot remember, as there were many days we were given bad news. I made it out the front door and did some grocery shopping as once again there is a chance of snow in the south. At least that I am not confused about, I cannot drive in the snow and I have no control over the weather.

Making it out the front door should make me feel as if I have achieved something, even if it is minor. But it did not. It only made me more confused and not in control. I had a hard time getting out the front door, but pushed myself. Once on the road driving, it felt as if every stop sign, street sign or light were telling me to turn around and go back to the safety of my home. I continued on, with a feeling of dread, not panic, just a feeling as though I were not wanting to be out, that something bad was going to happen. I made sure to go to the two stores I had planned to and when one did not have what I needed I even drove out of my way to another store. Driving home, I noticed the gas tank was half full, ever since my husband had been ill I try to keep the tank full. So, even with the dreadful feeling, I stopped to get gas. This really should have felt like an accomplishment. That I pushed myself to do normal things when I did not feel normal at all. It did not make me feel any better. My guess would be I was not really ready to go out today so that anything I might normally have considered an accomplishment did not feel like one.

I have always been controlling. At least over what I can control. I cannot control panic attacks, but I have learned to manage them. I cannot control whether someone lives or dies, but I have always known that, it is only now harder to accept. There are many things I cannot control, but there are more things I can. By controlling the way I live my life, I can in some ways control the panic, control the circumstances that bring it. But I am talking about a different control in my life. It is more far-reaching and hard to explain. It is this control that is uncontrollable. I do not understand why, but with each day I find myself being further away from the controlled. This is causing confusion. I have been controlling my whole life. To suddenly not be able to control without any reason is where the confusion comes into play. I wondered if I am examining my past too much that it is leading to this feeling, but do not think that is the problem. I need to go through my past in order to be in the present and move towards the future. I think these feelings are coming from something else, but do not know what, that even if my husband were still alive I would be having some of these feelings. Not all of course, just some.

On days when I am sad, such as today I wonder if I will spend the rest of my life grieving. Yes, I used the word grieving, not mourning. I do not like the word and it does not really explain how I feel, but today it seems more fitting. As I mentioned it sounds pitiful, today I felt pitiful. I miss my husband. He will never be back. I have to live with this. I do not know how. I am trying to find out how, but so far, I only feel more alone with each passing day. I know the call from the hospice counselor last week set off new emotions of despair and loneliness. I need to get over these feeling. I need to regain control of my life, as much of it as I can. I need to stop being confused, at least as much as possible. I need to give myself permission to be okay with the fact that I am confused and uncontrollable at times. I also need to be sure that I do not stay in a state of confusion, that though I allow myself to feel that way, I try to get to exactly what is causing it. If I can control it, then I need to. If I cannot control it, I need to find a way to live with it in a calm, accepting way. I have my work cut out for myself. I only hope I am up to doing the work.

Grief and Mirrors

I do not like the word grief. I do not like the word grieving. Both words seem to imply that I am someone to be pitied. Having a loved one die does not make me pitiful. At a time when I need the most comfort it seems another label has been cast on me that is not appropriate. I am not sure what word should be used, but for now I prefer mourning.

I am going to list phrases others say I am uncomfortable with and why:

I am so sorry:  I wonder to myself what they are sorry for. They had no say over whether my husband lived or died.

Sorry for your loss:  Another term that bothers me. My husband is not lost, he is dead. If he were lost I could go out and look for him, find him and bring him home. That is not possible.

My sympathies:  What exactly is a sympathy, another form of pity?

He is no longer with us: Then where is he so I can go get him.

At least he is not suffering anymore:  How do you know he was suffering? I was with him 24 hours a day and he was in pain, but never suffering. And given the choice of living with suffering or dying, my husband would choose to live.

He is in a better place:  How do you know where he is? And if it is a better place, should I throw my life away to join him?

There are no nice words to express our condolences for someone who has a loved one die. Even the word condolences does not seem like the proper word. But it seems to express a little more compassion than the others expressions I have used as examples. I probably have used all the terms above myself at one point or another to tell someone how sad I was about the death of their loved one. I never realized how little those words probably mean to the person who is mourning.

I have a hard time hearing the expressions I mentioned. How am I to respond? If I say thank you, it seems strange I would thank someone for my husband’s death. With being uncomfortable with all of these words, I normally just say, “it is okay” or “it was expected but still a shock it came so soon”. Even my answers are lame. They sound as if I do not care. They do not reflect the sadness I feel. The emptiness. Much like illness, when someone dies, there is a sadness encompassing the whole body and mind.

Then the uncomfortable wording I have to use to tell someone of my husband’s death. I say he died. People look shocked. Some close to me suggest I say he passed. My answer to them is “Passed what? A McDonald’s? Gas?”. They are not amused. I am not trying to be funny. I am trying to point out a simple fact. There is no glossing it over. I am not a child that needs to be told of death in simple terms or terms that make death like cotton candy and clouds. My husband died. Yes, it sounds harsh, but it is the easiest, simplest way to tell the truth of what happened. If I were talking to a child I would soften the way I told them, but I am talking to adults. They are probably as uncomfortable about death as I am.

Death is a part of life my father told me as he was dying. He was right. If we are to live at some point we will die. It is what we do between birth and death, that is where we need to live life to the fullest. Enjoy every minute. Death will come soon enough, too soon for some, not soon enough for others. Not my feelings, but feelings of those who do not want to die and those who have suffered and are ready to give up. As for the expressions people use, I will have to learn to live with it. Be more accepting of their inability to find words of comfort, which is what their intentions are. If I cannot think of a proper term, I should not expect anyone else to. As for how I express myself to others, I need to find a better way. I do not want to give the hollow sounding I am sorry to anyone. Though I do not like the words grief and grieving, it is what I am going through in my own way. I want to learn how to live again. I am not ready for death. While a life with out my husband seems impossible, I know that one exists, I must find the way, no matter how hard. My husband would expect me to live my life to the fullest. I expect the same from myself. I should honor his memory by living my life to the fullest and be happy. Now I just have to find a way.