Today has been particularly hard for me. It has been one month since Patty died and I still see her everywhere I look. This morning, while I was brushing my teeth, I noticed her little bottle of hair spray where she left it last on the countertop and that started me on today’s spiral downward. I think whats happening to me is the growing realization that this will be the nature of my life from this time forward. There will be days where I will be OK, and then I will encounter something which reminds me of her, and wham, the downward spiral starts again. But I cannot yet bear the thought of putting her things away – not yet at least. To me this will be the final act in the process of my putting my memory of her into the past tense. At this moment, that seems like an impossibility for me; she is too much in the present tense in my thoughts for me to even seriously contemplate my disturbing her belongings. I even cannot bring myself to eat at our favorite restaurants because of my fear of my memories of our shared experiences at these places. Silly I know, but real fear on my part nonetheless. The psychologist that I am seeing for my depression taught me to substitute thoughts that are pleasurable to me for those thoughts which put me on the trajectory of a downward depressive cycle. He taught me this before Patty’s death and it works for me. At least it worked prior to Patty’s death. It seems that every pleasurable thought I have conjured up since her death involves her in some way! I suppose this is a kind of testimony to the nature of our long marriage – pleasurable.
I can think of no better word for my feelings than loneliness – a deep kind of loneliness which embodies a despair for which I have yet to find an emollient that works for me. The closest I have come to such a salve is that of television news – in particular, CNN news. This will come a shock to our friends because for over thirty years we did not even own aTV set! That all changed when Patty was diagnosed with breast cancer. We bought a TV set so she would have something to distract her during her hours st home during her treatments. Distraction is what works for me I think. I get caught up in the news stories and I manage to temporarily escape from my loneliness. However. it is only temporary.
My youngest son has lived with us (me now) and he is having the same problems with his Mom’s death as am I. He cooked dinner for us tonight, which was nice for me. He is trying very hard to emulate his mom’s way of doing things, and in his own way, he succeeded with the meatloaf and corn-on-the-cob. He broke down in tears at the end of the meal, however. He and his Mom were very close and he had taken over the management of our yard spaces when she became unable to do so several years ago and is now throwing himself into the tasks associated with bringing her yard up to her standards. In my opinion, he is doing a great job and she would be proud of the the results of his labors. He is performing a labor born out of his love and respect for his Mom. He is doing things that I could never bring myself to do, as I explained in the preceding paragraph. I hope this salve works for him.