Seven Months as a Widow

Seven months ago my best friend, greatest supporter, and husband died from brain cancer. It was a four month battle that he lost quicker and more horrifically than we ever could have expected. These monthly check ins just give an overview of how widowhood is treating me and our four year old daughter.

This month we survived Christmas. It was a good day filled with laughter and love and more presents than any little girl needs. And I’m okay with that. We survived and the tree is down and I don’t have to think about Christmas again until I start shopping next June. I am so glad it’s over.

The next thing we’re gearing up for is Birthday Week. In February we celebrate birthday week. My 33rd birthday will be on the 13th, Valentine’s Day is on the 14th, and Miss Pepper turns 5 on the 16th. In years past we’ve done a small gift each day for the whole week or something else to stretch the joy and celebration for all three of us over the whole week, but this year I don’t think we’ll be doing that. Money is very tight and Pepper is hoping for her first real birthday party this year. She’s always had a cake and gifts with me and my husband and her three grandparents. Last year she desperately wanted to have her first real birthday party with friends invited, but Jason was in the middle of chemo and radiation and I just couldn’t handle a party on top of everything else so I promised her we would do a party when she turned 5. And now she’s turning 5 in a few weeks.  Her wishes for her mermaid themed birthday party are a pin the tail on the mermaid game, party poppers that shoot confetti, and a pink cake shaped like a mermaid tail. I’ve ordered everything at this point and am just waiting for it to get here. Unfortunately, even a small party is turning out to be expensive and we’re DIYing as much as possible. That means I likely won’t be getting a birthday gift this year because we used the budget we had for birthday week for her party and a few gifts. Totally worth it though to see her being so excited. I will likely end up with some sort of birthday gift when I share my Amazon wishlist with family so I assume I will end up with a book or two.

No update on my eyes yet. I’m just using the various eye drops 6 times a day and I go back for a check up in February.

We’ve had some drama this month with the landlady that still isn’t resolved. She’s left a note under our door with a complaint and then never bothered to respond to questions about what the issue actually is. At this point I’m just working on finding a new place for us to live. I don’t want to attempt to deal with her any more. It’s hard though, my husband and I moved here together when we had been dating for 7 months and this is where he did the bulk of his dying. I don’t know how to leave our space, our home. I also don’t feel safe or welcome here any more so it has to be done. I don’t know how I’ll possibly afford it though.

I’ve been working with my grief counselor on using our dishes. I now use all of our dishes except for our mugs. Hooray for progress! I’m also working on eating more than frozen pizza. Cooking was never something I was good at or cared about. Jason did all of our cooking because he loved it and was good at it. I’ve eaten frozen pizza at least once and sometimes twice a day every day for the seven months my husband has been dead. I’m finally sick enough of it to try cooking something easy myself and I’ve been doing okay with that this week. I’m pickier with my food than I ever thought so it’s been even more difficult. I’m making progress though.

Pepper’s behavior is somehow doing even worse. I’ve talked to relatives and my grief counselor about her and it seems to just be that she is a very bright and stubborn almost five year old and the behavior has nothing to do with grieving or other issues. It has gotten so overwhelming though. Three times in one week we left somewhere because she was screaming so loud and flailing so much that I had to just take her under one arm and flee the store or library or children’s museum. Absolutely humiliating. Nothing seems to be working so far, but we’re still trying things. Timeouts, taking things away, just holding her and letting her flail. The new technique I plan to try I read about in a grief book I’m currently reading and it really helps me when I’m awake at night and can’t fall asleep because I’m thinking too much about Jason and his dying process. You look around and make a list of things that are the orange or start with a T or something else. Some innocuous list that doesn’t trigger any emotions or memories. I plan to try that with Pepper during her next tantrum and see if that helps her too.

I started a new planner this month and I’m so excited. It’s a page a day planner so I have a full A5 sheet for each day. That gives me enough space for my to do list and appointments, but leaves enough room for decoration with stickers and washi tape, a spot for gratitude so I remember to try and focus on something good each day, and it leaves a large space for journalling or writing to my Jason. We are atheist so I in no way believe the message is making it to him, but I spent 9 years telling him everything all the time and I have so many things I want to say to him each day and I can’t. So having a space to write to him lets me get it out of my brain and then I can focus better on other things. And if it makes me feel at all better, I’m going to do it.

We’re making it. One day, and sometimes one minute, at a time, but we’re making it.

13 thoughts on “Seven Months as a Widow

  1. Thanks for the detailed and honest update. Your landlord is evil I’m glad you are leaving. Maybe it will turn out to be a positive experience.

    Kids can be tough. My youngest was prone to temper tantrums. Btw he turned out to be the gentlest and sweetest man. I used to joke if he was my first there would not have been a second child. His big sister was so easy I was shocked by my son’s behavior. It’s just growing pains but the last thing you need now. Hang in there and know it will pass.

    So proud of you on the dishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for being proud of me 😊 and for the encouragement on the kiddo front. Knowing the behavior is normal helps my anxiety about it immensely, but it doesn’t make it easier to deal with in the moment.

      We always said she was our only child because she was just so difficult in every aspect 😆 I think if my husband had lived we would have had at least one more though. Pepper desperately wants a sibling and she’s not grasping that we can’t do that without Daddy.

      Like

  2. I still think you are amazing. Maybe it’s your organization skills or you honesty about everything but you are hitting everything thrown at you head on. Any time something new or foreign comes up it’s easy to be cautious. Use your researching skills to check out rentals close by or somewhere convenient and safe. I’m glad most things have reviews now so you get a better picture. Ask for a tenant reference-why not? I think you need one of those 100 simple and or quick meals for two cook books you could get for your birthday and maybe have Pepper pick out which one and let it be from her. I’ll bet Pepper would even like to help you do the cooking. She might have some of Jason’s skills. Maybe she could lab a party for you from the dollar store. Great inexpensive things there. Something to look forward to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss as well as your daughters. I can’t or don’t want to imagine what you are going through with all these trials but I can tell you are pushing through and things will get better if you keep at it. I was also 5 when I lost my father but many years later my mom was blessed with a very loving man that took me as his own. Hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I recently read a post on Facebook about a kid who would become violent and very angry. The mom read or was told that red dye found in certain foods could be the cause. The mom started removing foods with the dye and noticed an improvement in her child’s behavior. I’m not sure if this is even related to your daughter, but thought I’d share in case it helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My husband passed away 3 1/2 months ago. The house I live in is owned by a hospital that wants to vacate the houses to may way for parking. They had said we could stay until my husband passed and for a few months after to get my affairs in order.
    I have managed to buy a house in this crazy market, and will be moving in May. I am really dreading moving. I am looking forward to it at the same time. Looking forward to getting away from precarious living. A nicer place. A new place. Dreading not being in the only place that my husband and I lived together. Where he died. It is a real paradox, and I am pushing myself reluctantly into the future while digging my heals in and grasping at door frames. It sucks that we have to go through this.

    My son (who is 17 now) has autism, and we had our share of tantrums when he was younger and non verbal. If I could go back and give my younger self advice, I would say, do time outs earlier. When you know there is potential for an episode, stop what ever it is. For us, the time outs were for both of us. I found I was also much better at dealing with what ever the issue was if I took a time out as well. The other thing I would tell myself is not to be embarrassed in public. It’s small potatoes, and chances are at least half of those people experiencing empathy for you and if they don’t, they’re not worth the concern.

    Anyway, I have been following your story since before my husband passed and I started my blog during his illness. You are (I think) the closest in age widow I have followed. (I just turned 40) and I would like to thank you for sharing. It really does help others. My husband didn’t have brain cancer, (it was renal cancer metastasized to the brain and lungs at first) but he had a brain tumour that they were unable to remove. He was the big reader, being a highschool English teacher. I couldn’t compare to his reading volume, nor yours. Anyway, I guess I just felt like reaching out today. Again, Thank you for sharing! ((Big hugs))
    Tara.
    Ontario, Canada.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry for you loss. Sending hugs.

      We seem to be in similar stages. My husband died nine months ago, I’m 33 years old, and I have one child, though she is five.

      We will be in a new house by May 1st and are leaving the only home my husband and I ever had together and the only home my daughter has ever known. I understand completely the pull of both wanting to move and of not wanting too.

      It is hard to find other young widows so I’m grateful we have found each other. I am also grateful to hear that my sharing my widow journey is helpful to you in some way. Thank you so much for saying so ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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