Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In the Life I Have

I almost never live in the moment.

This is probably why I'm on anti-anxiety medication. I mean, if all you think about are the things that have happened in your past (and usually not the good stuff) or the things that could happen in the future (again, not usually happy thoughts)...chances are you're going to live a somewhat stressed existence.

I'm trying to get better about it, though. I don't think I'll ever be the kind of "mindful" person I'd like to be, but I have been trying to get a better grip on my current reality.

Maybe it's because I'm turning 41 next month and I'm beginning to realize that the horrible stuff I'm worried might happen almost never does and that the truly horrible stuff that has happened I never saw coming in the first place. So, what's the point?

Hey. I'm glad I thought of that. I'll have to remind myself of this epiphany at 3 AM.

One of my turning points lately is how I live my life and how I make decisions. Wait. I should back up.

I thought I'd be remarried by now.

I really did. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be alone this long. But that's what I am. And while I'm comfortable with it, there are certainly moments of loneliness that have me scrolling through or wondering, "If I were married right now what would we be doing?"

Chances are that answer involves turning off The Golden Girls. So I've remained single.

Anyway, I would say for the first...oh...let's years of widowhood, I've lived somewhat of a trapped existence; I've been caught between the past and how my husband and I lived our lives based on mutual decision-making and the future, worrying that the decisions I make would matter later to someone else.

I know that sounds weird, but I don't know how else to phrase it.

It's only been recently - almost 10 years into widowhood - that I've been making decisions based entirely upon my life now. And it really is such a bizarre feeling. I've had to stop myself from thinking, "Oh, Brad wouldn't like that" or "Would the future Mr. Catherine Tidd like this?"

That is the interesting thing about being unattached - making decisions that are solely your own. And, if I can be honest, I thought I'd been making pretty independent decisions for a while. But I just recently realized that I haven't. I have been trapped, completely paralyzed in my own life. Yes, I've made choices, but - and how crazy is this? - in the back of my mind I've been basing them on one of two things:

1. Someone who isn't here anymore.
2. And someone who might not even exist.

Oh, that makes me sad just to type it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dream a Little Dream

 A late night date with my dead husband.

I posted something on the Widow Chick Facebook page about having a dream about my husband. This subject was met with three different responses:

1. Those who've never had a dream about their spouses.
2. Those who have and love those dreams.
3. Those who have and sometimes have difficulty rebounding from them.

I fall into the third category. I (usually) LOVE the dream as it's happening. I'm sometimes just talking to my husband. Or he might just be there in the background.

Other times I found out that he's just been out of town and I immediately forgive him for letting me think he was dead (which, let me tell you, I would never do in real life).

Many times in my dream I'm thinking about all the explaining I'm going to need to do - the move, dating, buying furniture I know he'll hate - but I'm always falling over myself, forgiving him for taking off for the past 10 years.

I wake up disappointed. No, wait. That's the wrong word. Crushed. Sunk. I do everything I can to go back to sleep. And then face what I know will be an off day.

But usually I'm okay the day after. It's kind of like when you dream you've had a fight with someone. You're pissed when you wake up and then your subconscious shrugs it off and everything goes back to normal.

I don't know what it was about this particular dream, but I woke up shocked. Yes. SHOCKED. The first thing I thought was, "My God, I haven't seen him in 10 years." And the next thing I thought was, "I don't know when I'll see him again."

Which was a crushing blow.

10 Years.


I know what you're thinking. It's been 10 years. TEN YEARS. And this is just coming as a shock to me now?

I completely understand why you're confused. Because so am I. Am I really just now digesting the fact that I actually won't see him again?

I have no idea. But it does feel like that initial shock. So while I'm normally able to shake this off by the second day, today has me feeling more drained and weepy than I did yesterday. I feel like my soul has been pummeled and, the truth is, I'm really not sure when I'm going to snap out of this.

See, this is what most people don't understand. 

I'm really going to try and explain this. Just stick with me.

So, after I had that crazy realization ten years after my husband's death that I actually wouldn't be seeing him again, the next thought that popped into my brain is, "But I want to be with him RIGHT NOW."

Now, I've read posts by other widows who've said the same thing and my first thought is that they could be suicidal. I mean, when someone says they want to be with someone who is dead, what does that say to you?

But really for the first time yesterday morning, I kind of got it. I just wanted to be with him. I was so homesick for him that it was a physical ache. And if he can't be with me...why can't I be with him? I wasn't feeling like I wanted to leave this world; I have a great life, wonderful kids, friends I adore, and I'm having a new sofa delivered next week.

No, I don't want to die. I just want to be with my husband.

And I know there are many of you out there who will understand what I mean.

As if that wasn't enough.


This morning I got my kids off to school and I stretched out on my couch. I closed my eyes and I willed myself to go back to sleep, just for a few minutes.

Yes, I was tired (it takes me three hours to get all three kids going to school because of different start times. By the time they leave I already feel like I've put in a full day). But I realized that one of the main reasons why I was trying to get a little catnap in was to see if I could dream about my husband again.

Again, I know what you're thinking.

"She's saying she wants to be with her dead husband and now she's sleeping all of the time. Does anyone know the name of her therapist??"

I know, I know. And I'll call her in the next few days if I can't shake this off.

But it really doesn't come from a place of depression - I just figured if that's the only place I can see him, I might as well give it a try.

Of course, once I got a grip on what I was doing, I popped up, took my shower, and got on with my day. And when I started my car to run my errands, "our song" was on the radio.

I couldn't help but give myself a watery smile in the rearview mirror.

And then I said to the empty (?) car, "Thanks. But it's just not the same."

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Worry About Worrying

 I'm worried that I'll always be worried.


I was in my car a couple of days ago, thinking about all that has been going on in the last few weeks. Let me give you a brief outline.

1. One daughter on antibiotics for a sinus infection.
2. One dog with a "hot spot" on his paw that he won't stop licking so he was sporting the cone of shame for a while.
3. One daughter with cysts in her ankle so bad she can barely walk.
4. One cat who had a cyst we didn't know about on her stomach burst (I'll spare you the details) and must now have surgery to the tune of several hundred dollars.

My son and I are fine (although I shouldn't have typed that - I'm pretty sure I've jinxed us), but I have thought about going ahead and taking our Christmas picture now with a kid in a boot, a daughter holding up her prescription bottle, and both pets in cones.

As I've told the kids, "If we were horses, they would have shot us by now."

Anyway, as you might imagine, I've been a little anxious lately as I carry this load (and the bills that come with it) on my own. And I was comforting myself as I was driving, thinking that at some point this will pass and things will be okay again.

And then I had this CRAZY realization that probably everyone else had the moment they discovered they were going to be parents, but it's taken me 15 years to really get.

I will never stop worrying. Because it doesn't matter how old my kids get...I will always be a parent.

Well, this sucks.

I'm one of those people who still can't get over the notion that there isn't some sort of end game to this thing called life. That there will be no point when I wake up and the bills will be paid, the family is healthy, the house is in perfect repair, and I'm generally happy with the state of the world.

And if that blessed moment ever does occur, it's hard for me to believe that it won't last.

So, I was sitting at this stoplight, realizing that I was always going to be worried about something.

And that has me worried.