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Being a Widow

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A day in mourning

24 July 2011

8:00
Wake up, realise you are not next to me. Lie in bed, thinking of the mornings we had together.
You are no longer here and we never will again wake up together. The t-shirt you wore the day you died is folded up on the pillow next to me. Should I wash it? Wear it? Throw it away? I can't seem to do any of those options. So it remains where it is.

8:30
Make myself breakfast. Remember how you loved Dorset Cereal with yoghurt which also became my favourite way to start the day. Make tea, open the cupboard and see your mug. Make myself a solitary cup of tea. No need for your mug necause you are dead.

9:00
Back in bed. Nothing to do today as you no longer need my care. I watch tv, remembering the hours we spent watching Homes under the Hammer, Saints & Scrougers and Cash in the Attic. All through those shows, I think of when I watched it with you in my arms. Now it's just me. Because you are dead.

12:00
When I finally drag myself out of bed, in to the shower, I see your toothbrush is no longer there. I miss you. In the shower, I see the shampoo you always used. Can't wash myself with the Dove showercream because it is what I used to wash you in the last few weeks and the smell brings back too many painful memories. So the bottle just sits there as I can't throw it away either.
Getting dressed, I see your clothes that I kept. We used to joke as lesbians of similar size, our wardrobes conveniently doubled when we moved in together. Most of your clothes are in boxes but it seems like a waste to throw away perfectly useable clothes so I wear the same t-shirts I wore before you died. Some of them are mine, some of them are yours. None of your clothes smell of you anymore and believe me, I have inhaled the smell to try and smell you.

13:00
Off to the gym. I remember how you hated the gym. I hate it too but I gained so much weight when I cared for you, I need to do something about it. In the gym, I listen to the audio book of Harry Potter. I remember how you used to listen to that the first time you were in the hospice and when you came home again. Walking past the swimming pool, I have a flashback to when we went swimming a few time together in November 2010. I had to help you to get changed and strap the catheter bag to your leg.

Coming home from the gym, the flat is silent. Of course it is. You are dead. I live alone now.

15:00
Off to shop for food. I dread doing this. All I see is food you used to like. Food we used to enjoy together. I don't like cooking but almost all ready meals are for 2. At the till, I have a flashback from when we went there last. I went to get a microwave and told you to wait for me. When I got back to the till, you had wondered off because you were confused about being alone. With tears in my eyes, I run out of the shop. Home. Alone. You are dead. Never again will I find you.

17:30
Bored with watching tv, I start thinking about dinner. I am not hungry. I remember the food you liked to eat. In the freezer are still your favourite burgers. You will never eat those. Because you are dead.
I am not hungry. Cooking for one is no fun. And we will never again cook together. Because you are dead and I need to cook only for one person.

22:00
After a night of watching tv, I turn off all the lights. The silence is deafening, the darkness falls like a black cloud. The bedroom is silent. As I walk in, I quickly turn on the light and the tv because the silence is devastating. I see the t-shirt you wore when you died. And Bear, which has been with us for the entire 6 years of your illness.
As I brush my teeth, I notice your toothbrush is no longer there. Again. That's right. You are dead.

I am afraid to turn off the light as I am scared of the tears that will follow if I allow myself to lie awake. So I watch tv until 2am, by which time I am so tired I can turn the lights off quickly and fall asleep almost instantly.

It doesn't always work. Some nights I cry for hours. I cuddle Bear. And some nights, I secretly hug the pillow with the t-shirt you wore when you died.

These are just the moments of a random day where I do not DELIBERATELY think about you. Because I know I should not make my life harder than it needs to be. No, these are just some of the moments when it is thrown in my face. Which is virtually all the time, everywhere.

8:00
I wake up and realise you are not next to me. I am alone. Because you are dead.

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