I’ve often heard it said that those who lose a spouse don’t sleep at night. While I have many nights that I wake up for a bit, I generally can fall right back to sleep. By the time I go to bed, I am usually exhausted so falling asleep isn’t really an issue.
It’s the long daytime hours that I’m struggling with. There are plenty of things I could be doing or maybe should be doing but I am not finding the energy. I did make it out to the store today – had some Kohl’s cash to spend, but even then found the time in the store to just drag on and on. I am so used to having Keith beside me 24/7 – it’s been that way since he retired in March of 2011. I don’t mind being by myself at all and I do enjoy the quiet time, but it’s an eerie silence. I go in another room and come back and reality hits me once again – there is nobody to share the hours away with. The good news, so far, is that I haven’t resorted to eating away the hours.
Sometimes when sitting in silence, the thoughts come rushing in like a giant wave washes over the shore. It’s overwhelming when it first happens. With so many emotions flooding me at once I have resorted to saying something that I never thought I would. Why? It’s more of a feeling rather than a thought – why do I have to hurt? Why must I do this alone? I know the why for part – because my husband got cancer and it was aggressive and he could not be cured. Keith and I never did the pity-party stuff with his diagnosis – not because we weren’t sad, but because there was not a thing we could do about it. And just when I want to feel sorry for myself now, I am reminded that I do get to live and breathe; my life was not cut short. I can imagine Keith telling me that the pain I am feeling now will be washed away with a giant wave pulling me into heaven when it’s my turn. It is the “why” part of me that would very much like to be at the beach to feel that wave now.
I think about before I met Keith. I was a single mom. I didn’t feel lonely – ever. It wasn’t because I had kids to look after; they had time with their father that left me with “alone” time. What I really think happened is that I was blessed with such an amazing relationship so full of life and love and laughter, that missing him because of this is what creates the deafening silence. So yes, I’m lonely, but I still feel loved by him and this is what makes it all bearable. Keith was the most patient person I have ever known – I know he is being patient with me to get through these days so that I can think about him and only smile; not have giant tears stream down my face out of the blue.
Yes, these are early days and I will get used to my new normal. I just need to learn to be patient with myself.