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Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

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Three years came and went

10 June 2014

Last month, on the 30th of May, it was three years since Jane died. As every year, I was feeling depressed in the run up to The Date. It is strange how that works because I always feel like it is not particularly bothering me. And yet I always seem to have a sense of depression that starts the first week of May and abruptly ends on the 31st.  There is always something that seems to make me depressed. University work, or, this year, a placement that was incredibly difficult and made me want to quite the course at times. I feel low and sad but not about anything in particular. Nothing especially Jane-related makes me weepy or blue. It is just a month of feeling grey: nothing much interests me, no major emotions, good or bad. Towards the end of the month I always think: and then on top of this, it is nearly The Date.

This year, I realised it is the other way around. What happens is that my mental immune system simply gets low in May. Even if I am not particularly thinking about Jane and the things that happened 3 years ago, I guess the month of May just will always bring a blanket of grey to my feelings. So things that I would normally shake off become a lot more difficult to deal with in May. The 30th of May does not mark the crescendo of these feelings. It marks the cause. Subconsciously I must just be spending the month thinking about The Date that is rapidly approaching. And when The Date arrives, it is all over. Things go back to normal.

So much so that when my dad called on June 3rd (my wedding day) to tell me he and mum were thinking about me on this special day, I replied: what special day? In my defence, I had come off shift about 2 minutes before and was walking through the hospital corridor so I had no time to think about Jane and what date it was. My first thought was: oh, he must mean today was the day of her funeral. And that date is not a date that holds a particular emotion for me. So I dismissively said: Nah, this day is not a problem. My dad sounded a bit surprised by this and said: I guess we all deal with this in our own way. It wasn't until a week later that I suddenly thought: OH SHIT! That was our wedding day he was referring to, not the date of the funeral (which was actually on the 8th June). No wonder he was a bit surprised by my fairly blunt: Why would this day be especially difficult?

The first year, each day held its own significance. I remembered exactly what we did and when. So the 19th May Jane went in to the hospice, she died on  30th of May, our wedding day was 3rd June and then the funeral on 8th June all were reasons for me to be especially sad. But as time has gone on, it seems that all the sadness is focused on May 30th. Everything comes together neatly on one single date.  I think that this realisation will help me next year. I will help me not to think I am suffering from major depression. It will help me to accept that I should probably not make Big Life Choices in May. It will help me to accept that in May, I will be sad about Jane, even if there is nothing in particular that is upsetting me. It will help me to say to Fiancee: "I don't know how sad I am going to be but I will most likely be either extra needy or more distant this month. Please stick around, it will be fine once it is June."

Like a flu jab, I can protect myself a bit better. There is still a chance that I will be sad for the whole month, but knowing why will help me to feel less surprised about it. And if I have learned anything from the whole Widow Thing, is that the best way to deal with emotions is not to push them away but to open up my arms, stick out my chest and shout: Here I am!! Hit me with it.

2 comments:

Fiancée said...

Forewarned is forearmed. I knew what to expect from last May... :-P

Fiancée said...

Forewarned is forearmed. I knew what to expect from last May... :-P

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