For two months, people have been asking me, “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”. For two months, my response to questions like those, were “I’m okay…I have good moments and bad” or “It’s weird, I think I’m Okay, maybe I am just in the denial part of the process…who knows”. Well, if yesterday was any indication, I think the denial/shock part of the grief process is temporarily behind me. I say temporarily because grief feels like the game, Chutes and Ladders. Yesterday, I couldn’t get out of bed. The grief was overwhelming. I cried so much yesterday, I guess I was making up for the days I haven’t cried. I talked to Tom and told him how much I missed him. How hard this life is without him. My heart betrays my mind sometimes. I know I will be okay. I know I will always grieve Tom, and with time, it will get a little easier. He will always been part of me…but my heart is shattered and finds the thought of this live without Tom hard to process.
I am sleeping in the bedroom that Tom was in, it’s our Master. The hospital bed where he lived and died is still in the room. The big arm that held his communication device is still on the wall. The ceiling lift track system is still on the ceiling. The bathroom is still suited for someone that is high acuity. DME companies that provided equipment like Tom’s ventilator and the oxygen tanks/concentrator have picked their stuff up. DME that the VA purchased us has been boxed up and moved to a storage unit. Despite packing some things up, the bedroom still resembles a hospital room. Those supplies that have been packed-up but just haven’t made it to the storage unit yet take up a good part of the dining room. There is still an accessible van in our garage that I need to sale and get a non-accessible vehicle. Our home is still such a reminder of the ALS journey.
I have a mountain of paperwork that I try and go through from the remaining medical bills that Tom had to closing out accounts and dealing with the legal stuff. Honestly, I can only do about 30 mins to an hour then I am done! The mental exhaustion makes me physically exhausted. I am finding I overestimate my abilities. Thinking I am good, and “I got this” when 90% of the time, I don’t.
Grieving at the two month mark, has me getting out of the house a bit more. Not much, but a bit. When I am out and about, I still think like when Tom was here. I lived life in two hour time blocks if I stepped away from him. If I ran an errand, I had two hours to do it, because Tom was a two person assist, so when he needed to use the bathroom, it took two people. I still have that mindset. At the two hour mark, the anxiety kicks in. I have to talk to myself, to remind myself, Tom is not here. I can be out of the house for longer stretches. I also still stop at certain times of the day that marked his routine.
Two months in to the grieving, I am now starting to experience flashback/memories of difficult moments during the journey. Those traumatic moments. I remember them with such clarity. I recognise what this is and I am looking in to talking with someone. The one thing I know about myself is how easy it is to let the grief take me down into a deep depression. I don’t want that. I lost 10 years to complicated grieve when we lost our twins daughters and a son. I want to grieve in a healthy way, I want to grow from my grief just as I feel I grew from being an ALS caregiver.
The truth is, Month Two of grieving SUCKS! It is hard, and it is ugly. Unfortunately there isn’t an easy way to do this in a healthy manner but to go through it, letting myself feel the feels, and to talk about it honestly.
All my love,