I've been doing a lot of reading on the subject and most people report to feeling like they are back to themselves (albeit a much changed self) anywhere between 2 to 3 years. In fact, it is not uncommon for some people to take as much as 4 years to feel more like their former self. Of course, there are always those outliers who can bounce back much more quickly, or those who sometimes really never recover. Something tells me I will not be one of those outliers.
The thing is, is that I am still in love with my husband. Just writing those words hurts like hell.
I still can't believe how lucky I was to be married to him for such a long time. We were truly blessed, and I don't use that word lightly as I'm really not religious. One of my most favorite, yet mildly annoying part of my husband is that nothing about me escaped his attention. He noticed every new article of clothing, jewelry, shoes, makeup, purse, haircut, etc. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a money issue. It was just that he paid very close attention to me. I really miss that.
One of the things they warn you about the grieving process is that one can make some bad financial decisions. The thing is that it totally makes sense because you are trying to fill this endless, gut-wrenching void by filling it up with stuff. Intellectually I know that it is only a temporary fix, but somehow, in the short term, it feels a little bit better.
I'm not doing well, but I'm hanging in there. I think the only way to get through grief is to feel the feelings. Because I have an energetic pup, I get out of bed each day. I don't make it out every day, but I am able to meet with friends when I'm feeling up to it and able to run errands when I need to.
I'm on enough depression and anxiety medication to sedate a horse, but I've had chronic depression for years, so depression is nothing new to me. Actually, despair isn't all that new either. When we realized that my husband wasn't going to recover from his illness, I fell into a pretty deep period of despair. Despair + grief = a pretty scary place to live. To answer the question you may be asking yourself, I am not suicidal. But ask me that question again in the event my BFF passes. One of the hardest things to get used to is waking up in the middle of the night and seeing his empty side of the bed. You have no idea how much that sucks! Years ago, I put on a significant amount of weight. Food was the first thing I thought of when I woke up and the last thing I thought of when I went to bed. Not very functional, I'm aware. Now all I can think about is Eric. Besides thinking about him through out the day, he is now the very first thing I think about when I wake up and the very last thing I think about before I go to bed. I'm a little sad that I haven't had any dreams about him yet. I know those will come with time.
One of the other things I've learned about grief, besides it sucking ass, is that it is NOT linear. Grief is an entity in and of itself. Many people expect you to be over it within months or a year. That's not the way it works. If you are my friend, you will have to be patient with me. Right now, almost everything reminds me of Eric. When you are with someone for 25 years, that is to be expected. And when you've happily been with someone for that long, grief doesn't magically just disappear when a year is up. I built an entire life with Eric, and have never lived alone. This is one of the hardest parts of his passing. I'm a pretty independent person, but now I'm wondering how much of my independence came from knowing I was in a secure and loving relationship? For that matter, how much of my personality came from knowing I was loved and cherished? So many questions, and not many answers.
Even though writing this blog makes me cry, it really does feel cathartic. I'm stumbling through the abyss of grief the only way I know how to. Right now everything still feels raw and a bit numb. I have to have some faith in the process of grieving that I will eventually come out on the other side. I know now that I will never be the same Catherine. I will always carry this grief around with me, but, with the proper tools, maybe it won't suck so much.