The other night, my mother and I were sitting around watching some truly horrible reality television when she asked if I had anything gooey and chocolate-y around. A quick check of the freezer revealed that no, I did not. It was 9:30 at night. I put a pair of jeans on over my nightgown and became that woman. That disheveled woman wandering the bakery at Giant at 9:30 at night. Utterly, shamelessly, obliviously in my own universe. I haven’t been in that place since I was up night after night with a newborn.
My mother was alternately dying laughing and absolutely mortified. Mike and I had a Christmas tradition where on Christmas night after everyone went to sleep, I would sneak out to McDonald’s in my pajamas and get burgers at 11 o’clock at night, but there’s a big difference between going through the drive through with a coat on and wandering around Giant out in the open.
Looking back on it, I’m a bit mortified. But I got cake.
I’ve been re-reading some old journal entries on my blog and trying to remember the person I was before July 12. From what I can gather, that individual was organized, neat, competent, spontaneous, independent, and fun to be around. Today I live in a home that is cluttered, I can never find my keys, wallet and phone, I seem to be constantly asking friends and family to keep me company, I can’t find it in myself to return phone calls, and I seem to be fearful and needy.
Being in my home is both a blessing and a curse—I hate being there where he died but I hate going out. Our home was Mike’s pride and joy—we occasionally talked about getting out from under it, but he said he’d just be devastated if that ever happened. It was tangible proof of all he’d accomplished after a youth of being told he couldn’t possibly amount to much. We lived in our home 3 days shy of 7 years on the day he died and were talking about all our good memories. Now all I can seem to remember is that night and the four month expanding nightmare that has followed. But if I should leave it, I will be in a place without him, a place he never knew, and I can’t imagine that either.
I cling to Leah as my lifeline, but I also secretly want her to leave me alone so I can lie in bed and cry. She is the most patient and sweet little spirit, far too good to be stuck with such a mother as me at the moment. And I have always prided myself on being a darned good mom.
For three years, I worked hard to cultivate a positive attitude and general optimism about everything in life. Mike’s death robbed me not only of my husband, but also of my sense that things would work out for the best and everything would be alright in the end.
I loved who I was as Mike’s wife, but I don’t much care for myself as his widow.
The third in my reflections for my writing-based grief support group…