Charles died a week before Memorial Day. That last week became Funeral Week, of course, and then, summer. I knew pretty much instantly that the summer couldn’t be ‘about’ anything but handling, dealing, adjusting, accommodating this enormous sea change. Grieving and mourning has been a constant layer on top of, and splitting focus with… getting the household accounts changed over to me, learning how to take care of the apartment, inventorying and organizing as much as possible so I knew What We Had and where everything was. Finding and organizing paperwork. Identifying bank accounts, insurance policies, retirement accounts. Notifying everyone, sending thank you’s, handling a suddenly-active social calendar of phone calls and visits – and balancing my own impulse to pull back into my turtle shell with recognizing that my friends and family were also mourning and grieving and they wanted to take care of me and make sure I was OK – and I needed to take care of them right back.
There are no real timelines or deadlines, of course, but I definitely had in the back of my head something like, ‘ok, don’t worry about your own stuff so much, just get through it’. Have as many cocktails as you want, eat all the chips and salsa, enjoy your ice cream, go out to restaurants and order up as much as you feel like, don’t beat yourself up. But also that, at some point, I needed to turn the meter back on and start behaving like a responsible person, and so that would probably be After the Summer.
It’s time for the Summer of AAAUGH to wrap up. The apartment is at a reasonable place of equilibrium. Much to do, but nothing that can’t sit and wait. The accounts are basically settled. There is much estate stuff left to do, but it has to wait until the courts do their thing, and nothing is sitting there desperately needing to be settled (much as his two outstanding credit cards would like me to believe otherwise). Once I have the paperwork declaring me the executor, I can knock that stuff off at my leisure.
A ‘new school year’ automatically kicks off new routines. I need to get the horn out of the case and get my chops back for rehearsals, which start .. gosh, probably next week? need to check that email. Need to do more and better food prep, and start low-carbing again. Kick up the exercise. I don’t mind being fat per se, but I do mind feeling blah and having no energy and having things hurt, so dropping some weight is something I can focus on that will improve quite a few things (like regaining a wardrobe). Cut down on the booze, see what that helps (besides my wallet).
I guess the point is I knew I wouldn’t have mental energy to deal with the AAAUGH and myself, but now I’m getting to the point where both are not only doable, but necessary.
Yesterday was our eighth wedding anniversary. I knew it would be tough, but I got through it OK. Rather than setting home crying and looking at wedding pictures, I went to the office and actually got quite a few things done. I’d posted on FB and Twitter, “Dammit, dear, you’re supposed to be HERE.” (very true) and a lot of friends and family reached out to make sure I was OK (thanks, everyone). It’s all part of the general grief, of course, of He’s Not Here and He Should Be, but specifically I’m irked that we only had seven years of marriage (and change). We were engaged for eighteen years, ferchrissake. But we behaved as if we were married pretty much from the start, so yeah, we can call it 27 years, really.
But the whole wedding thing really doesn’t feel very long ago at all, and right underneath the shell of sadness is a whole bunch of terrific memories. Our wedding was fantastic and it came out exactly how we wanted. The before- and after-parties were totally fun. Months of planning paid off. And we had a great honeymoon, too (trip to Puerto Rico, Caribbean cruise). And we loved being married. C was better about the themed anniversary gifts than I was – last year he got me a copper heart (which is hanging on my bulletin board at work) and copper flowers (I’m not kidding) which are on our front table. I don’t even know what the eight anniversary gifts are – by the time I would have looked it up, it was moot.
I was talking to a co-worker about this yesterday – I have not been wailing and gnashing my teeth about “I was promised forever and he left me”. No one’s promised anything like that. We can all leave at any time, and you need to know that. Of course I wish he was still here (and healthy, which he wasn’t at the end). But what a glorious time we had! It feels a bit like coming to “The End” when reading an amazing book. “Oh, damn, I wish there were more book, but what a wonderful story!”
I have more books to read, I think. I don’t know what my new life is going to look like, but I know there’s going to be one.
More soon. I had a nice weekend away last week that deserves its own post.