Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Change In the Wind

The weather has changed and it was cool and crisp today. I was standing in the breeze at the door this morning and in a moment I flashed on the last time the air had been so cool against my skin. It must have been early May, when Bill and I were preparing for our trip to Florida. The next thing I knew, I was weeping in ever increasing wailing sobs. This went on, off and on for a couple of hours, and there have been one or two minor aftershocks in the late afternoon and evening. 

Now, before you start writing in with advice and calling frantically to see if I am OK; I am fine. This is normal. I don't do this every day, but I have done it before in the past five weeks, and I will do it again in the coming weeks and months. I never know what will trigger it. For the first few weeks, I had to be careful of grocery stores, because something about doing anything related to the normal chores in caring for Bill -- like buying groceries -- would get me started. Today, it was the cool of autumn approaching, or because it was a Thursday, or maybe that I just needed some time to weep, and wail, and grieve.

In the days after Bill died I had a great deal of trouble moving forward. I had trouble moving! It was as if the air was molasses and I was slogging through it in slow motion. One of the tools I have always used to keep me moving forward is a TO DO list. Whether it was problems with focus or simply too many tasks, a TO DO LIST usually got me over the hump. So I created a list for things to do each day, because I didn't feel like doing anything. It was things like Feed/Water Dogs and Water Plants and Eat. When I look at that list now, it makes me laugh. There were 13 items (THIRTEEN) on that original list. I must have thought I was Wonder Woman! In addition to the life-sustaining items, I had things like Dusting, Take a Walk, Do a Load of Clothes.  It was way too much pressure and it didn't take long before the list was merely looked upon as suggestions for things I might do in a day. Now my daily TO DO list is limited to three or four items and at least one of them is something fun.

Today the list included getting a start on cleaning up the office. The office started out looking like this:

And a few hours later,

There is still a lot to do in here, but at least I have a clean surface! Next step is to get the book sorting project finished.

Before I leave the subject of lists, I came across a list I had written in July. On it I had listed three items that I had misplaced and wanted very much to find. The list was a kind of prayer to St. Anthony, if you will. One item was a gift to my daughter when she was christened, and I had misplaced it over a year ago and was heartsick over it. Another was Bill's Medicare card, which I was concerned I might need. Finally, there was a favorite photograph of my son and me when he was a toddler that had also been missing for over a year.  You guessed it. All three things turned up in August!


Emily said...

The office looks great Mom! Wish it'd been that clean when I was working in it ;) Now about that gift...

Chip Browning said...

Having lost touch for so many years and not having paid enough attention to more recent events in your life through Facebook, I was unaware of your husband's passing until reading this post. I'm very sorry to hear it and my thoughts and prayers go out to you. Make the most of you sabbatical, but don't make it all about reflection and self discovery. Carve out time to have fun--go see a movie, have dinner with friends, Throw a hissy fit, put day glow stickers on your bathroom mirror, go somewhere and do something you've always wanted to do. And above all else, allow yourself to enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sharon, it's Marianne. I drove past your house on Arcola today, and was sure I saw Bill mowing the lawn in his Speedos. I laughed, and soon I was crying for the old days, when everyone was here and our kids were close by. Hang in there, kiddo. Love you.