Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Post-Holiday Slump



I should actually re-title this.  Because it doesn't just happen after the holidays.  It happens after every milestone, birthday and, in some cases, Tuesday.

The Slump.

Now, this didn't happen to me in the beginning of my widowhood because, frankly, everything left me slumping.  I was in a two year battle for my sanity which had me completely exhausted.  Every day was tiring because every day was a milestone and I would find myself flopping on my bed after all of the kids were in tucked in, simultaneously proud of myself for making it one more day and annoyed that I was going to have to get up and do it all over again the next.

These days I don't do that.  It's partly because I'm into my 6th year and partly because I can no longer flop on my bed.  I just bought one of those Tempur-Pedic mattresses which does not allow one to flop.  It's got that memory foam in it which will allow you to slowly sink in, but does not have the springiness of a pillow top.  I realized this when, on the first day I brought it home, one of my kids did a running jump/flying leap combo that had her landing flat on her face on a mattress that just doesn't give.  At which point she stood up, rubbed her nose and said, "What the heck is wrong with your bed?"

I like this mattress for two reasons:
1.  My back feels better.
2.  Mom's room is no longer fun so let's not hang out in it anymore.

Ah, peace.  They should really put that in the commercial.

But I digress (I know that shocks you).  Aside from the memory foam, I'm no longer flopping as much as I used to.  Oh, I still have days when I don't want to get up but they've become less and less.  The problem is that when they don't happen as often, you really don't expect them.

Take this summer for instance:  I was so proud of myself for getting through Father's Day (which starts my personal month from hell because my birthday, his death, and our anniversary follow in rapid succession).  I felt good.  I thought I had this widow thing licked.  And then....

A week later, I twisted my ankle, got something stuck in my foot, my knee started swelling, and I got sick.  At that point I went to my therapist who asked one simple question:

"What the hell have you done to yourself?"

I'll tell you what I did.  I got too cocky, too confident.  I actually thought that by successfully getting through one holiday, I could get through them all.  That was when grief peeked around the corner, saw that I wasn't expecting it, and WHAM!  Knocked me on my ass.

We've all done it.  We start concentrating so hard on getting through whatever milestone is in front of us that we forget there is often a price to pay.  We get tunnel-visioned on that one specific day and use up all of our energy to just get through those 24 hours.

And then we wake up the next day sick, sad, and exhausted with an unfloppable bed.

I just did it myself.  My husband's birthday and Thanksgiving were 4 days apart this year.  I sailed through his birthday, so proud of myself that I felt better this year.  Thanksgiving went well, thanks to my sister's family and our participation in the 4 mile Turkey Trot during which we wore the most fashionable head gear.  The Monday after the holiday weekend, I felt a little tired but not too bad.

And then this morning I sat down to read for just a minute and 2 hours later I woke up.

I don't do that.  Sleep during the day???  There's too much to be done!  For a moment, when I sat up from the couch I felt so guilty about everything I should be doing.  And then I stopped because I realized I obviously needed it.

I've always said that my body starts grieving before my mind does.  The crazy thing is that when I actually pay attention to what's going on and what my body is trying to tell me, I'm usually the better for it.

So I don't care that I fell asleep.

And I really don't care if the breakfast dishes are still out, I didn't make it to the gym, and a shower might not be in the cards for me today.

In fact, I just might go test out the floppableness of that new mattress.

So, there.







Widow Chick (aka, Catherine Tidd) is the owner of www.theWiddahood.com and the author of the upcoming memoir Confessions of a Mediocre Widow (Jan. 2014).  She is also a writer for The Denver Post's Mile High Mamas and a contributor to several books on grief and renewal.

4 comments:

  1. Every day was tiring because every day was a milestone and I would find myself flopping on my bed after all of the kids were in tucked in, simultaneously proud of myself for making it one more day and annoyed that I was going to have to get up and do it all over again the next.
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  2. thanks for share...

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