Monday, November 3, 2014
The loss of a spouse is one of the most stressful things a human can ever go through. One day your life is just as you expected it. You may be struggling, you may be happy, you may have your McMansion, house in the 'burbs, or apartment in the city. You may have kids, or fur babies, or no babies, and your life is going on predictably as planned. Then it changes in the most drastic way possible.
There is no more forever for you.
No someday house.
No someday kids.
No someday car.
No someday anything.
You do gain some things, however.
You gain financial insecurity.
You gain stress.
You gain grief.
You gain a big empty bed that you never want to sleep in again.
You gain a bunch of people in your life....but then, just as quickly as they come, they go away again.
No warning, no nothing. Just gone. Not everyone goes, but I think it is the incredible influx that people that show up after a loss suddenly disappear. I belong to a lot of widow groups, and this seems to be a common theme. I'm not sure if death makes people uncomfortable, or I make people uncomfortable, or this new person that I portray that seems to wear my skin but isn't really the me from 2 years ago is unlikable, but it is what it is.
I would like to say that the secondary losses don't bother me much, but they do. Sometimes it's just nice to be able to have someone to grab an impromptu drink with. Or someone's shoulder to cry on. Or someone to share silly stories with. I don't think I have ever felt as lonely as I did when the losses started, and especially now, coming up on the 2 year mark. How lonely a room full of people can truly make you feel. How much it super duper sucks to ask for help and not get any. Having someone new in my life helps too, but it is almost worse. Since all of the secondary losses, I feel like I dump my grief on him, thereby forcing him to have to deal with part of me that I am sure he would rather not. It almost feels like bitching about an ex to your current love....and that is still against the rules, right?
Secondary losses don't just extend to people either. Some of us lose our houses, cars, utilities, pets, parents, siblings, children....and after the loss of a spouse all of these losses can compound grief tenfold. I've even lost my empathy.
I've tried curbing the losses...being less needy, trying my own coping skills so I don't rely on everyone else so much, self-care, getting involved in school, and cutting the people out of my life that don't really belong there, but really, it isn't necessarily enough.
Then I stop and think...are some of these secondary losses really losses? When I break it down...if all of these people are gone, did I really need them in the first place? Sure, it stings that they up and bounce with no notice, or that their lives have become too busy to fit me into it, but it forces me to confront my stuff head on, with no one to lean on but me.
I learned how to go out by myself. Eat alone. Buy a single movie ticket. Make phone calls to ask for public assistance. Negotiate. Save money. Take control of my addictions. Take control of my habits. Re-learn how to be myself. Not necessarily move on, but move forward.
By myself; but with the support of those I know really WANT to be there.