Two months ago today, my 42 year old husband of 9 years died after battling brain cancer, He left behind me, his 32 year old widow, and a child, our four year old daughter, Pepper.
This journey of grief has been both harder and easier in ways I never could have imagined. He has missed so many firsts for our girl and other events that make me sad for her and for him and for me. He missed my daughter getting her own library card and her first trip to an amusement park, Father’s day and his birthday, the 9 year anniversary of my stopping self harm for the last time, the time that worked. I can’t bear to think of how many more things he is going to miss this summer or this year or forever.
Pepper has been sleeping poorly on and off. She has had nightmares. And she started talking in a baby voice. My grief counselor suggested a book called The Grieving Child by Helen Fitzgerald that I will start reading very soon. He seems to think the symptoms of her grief are totally normal and will lessen within a few weeks. He says she is doing wonderfully and doesn’t think she needs any direct counseling herself at this time. Phew.
This month I’ve dealt with things I didn’t want to have to deal with. We got his car put in to my name so that I could sell it. It was a really long and complicated process that involved three different offices in different towns and it took over a week to get all the papers gathered that we needed. I almost wanted to keep the car to save the hassle, but I can’t drive. I don’t have a licence and I will need at least two surgeries to my eyes before I’ll be able to start learning. In the mean time it hasn’t been moved since January when they said he couldn’t drive any more and I’m still paying car insurance on it which I can’t currently afford.
I also went to a few of our favorite places on my own for the first time. They all involved books and coffee or both. Coffee shops have been hard. He always knew what I liked to drink so it’s been hard to know what I’m supposed to order. I have to ask the barista what it might be called and describe the drink. I’ve been taking notes in my phone with what my orders are named so I can do it myself next time, hopefully with fewer tears.
I had to open a new bank account and I still have to close the old one, that will happening today. I hate doing anything big without him. He always knew the sensible questions to ask. He was the calm to my panic.
Grief counseling is still a weekly appointment. My counselor says I’m doing very well. I’m managing things. I’m not just crying every moment. I don’t really have that time luxury to be honest.
I’ve taken one of My Jason’s unfinished journals and am writing things in there that I find myself wanting to tell him. I still turn to tell him things and find him missing. It crushes me all over again every time it happens. I also picked up a book at Barnes and Noble called I Find you in the Darkness by Alfa and it is a book of poems that says it deals with love, loss, and healing. I’m coloring the drawings and underlining passages and writing notes to My Jason on the empty spaces on those pages. Writing to him feels weird to be honest. We are atheists so I don’t believe he exists in any form at this point, but my counselor said that it doesn’t matter. Writing them down will get them out of my head and I won’t feel as overwhelmed by not being able to say the things to Jason. He also said that if Jason is gone and saying things to him won’t help or hurt him in anyway, but it helps me, even in a small way, then I might as well do it.
I stopped being able to sleep for a while. There was a week or more where I would lay in bed for hours and hours not being able to drift off and then I would wake up in the night too. I could also feel my anxiety raising and raising and not diminishing to a normal level at all. I had back pain and trouble breathing and I was nauseous. I ended up taking St. John’s Wort again. I’ve taken it for anxiety, depression , and insomnia on and off over the years. I started taking again now after asking my counselor for advice. It’s working wonderfully.
I still cry every single day. I still wish I were dead at least once a day. I still get angry that my husband left me here to deal with all of these things on my own. I still miss him more than I ever thought I could miss anyone or anything ever. I still love him. I am sad in a way that hurts in my bones. I am so desperate for this not be true that it hurts to breathe or think. But I’m carrying on for the sake of Pepper. Minute by minute we’re making it through together by staying as busy as possible.