Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Weather Is Gray. And So Am I.

I’m not exactly sad enough to be blue. I’m not depressed enough to be black. I’m falling somewhere in between the two.

Next week is my husband’s birthday. I know I’ve mentioned this before...but his birthday is really my hardest day (I’s really hard to narrow that down, isn’t it?).

What’s interesting is that I don’t think most people know that. The holidays are obvious grief triggers, so people are watching me closely then. I’m fortunate to have friends who will always remember the anniversary of his death and really take care of me then. But his birthday is something that most people don’t remember...and it’s hard for me to explain to others why it’s Milestone Mountain for me.

I’ve started to think of his birthday as the start of “the next year.” Instead of thinking of his anniversary as a huge milestone, I sit around and think, “This is the 4th birthday he’s missed.”

My husband is the same age as my sister and her husband, as well as a lot of my friends, so that always makes it interesting. I look at them and wonder what he would be doing now. Would he be advancing his career like some of them are? Would he be taking my son to golf lessons? What kinds of changes would we have gone through together?

I’ve learned enough about myself, in the last few years, to know that the week before the actual day is the worst for me. I get tired. I feel drained all of the time. I snap at my children because the slightest request suddenly seems overwhelming to me. I cry for no reason (usually in the car). And since most people don’t realize how hard his birthday is...they have no idea what the hell is wrong with me.

What compounds the problem is...I don’t like to tell them. At least, not when I’m actually going through it. It’s hard to believe that someone who started a support page can get pretty bad about talking about her grief with others...but that’s the truth. I retreat back into what I think of as “my cave.”

Most of the time, I write about how I hope that people start to have a better and more positive attitude about life because I want them to know that a happy life is very possible, even in our situation. And don’t get me wrong...I like my life. I can do my life. I’m starting to get to a pretty good place.

But this is one of those times when I truly understand that we sometimes just need to wallow. So, just so you know...when you tell me that you’re just feeling sad...I get it.

I don’t need anyone to fix this. I don’t need anyone to take me out for a spa day (but if you offer...I won’t argue). I don’t need anyone to try and make me feel better.

I need to feel what I’m going to feel for a few days.

I know I’m making it sound simple. It’s really not. It’s not easy for me or the people who care about me. I don’t like to talk about what’s going on. I would rather turn inward. And for someone who lives her life so...outward...when I get like this, it’s very confusing to those around me.

The feelings I have are indescribable...I could never do them justice with words. If I tried, it would never make sense to someone who isn’ There is a cloud in my soul and I just have to be patient with myself until it dissipates.

Usually, on the actual day of my husband’s birthday...I’m fine. I can talk about what a great guy he was. My feelings will have come to the surface once again...and I can actually explain what’s going on.

Until patient. I’ll be a different color in a few days.


  1. I really wish I could take you out for a spa day. And I know what it is to need to wallow. (((HUGS)))

  2. My late husband's birthday is the week after christmas, but I have always used it as a day that the kids and I can do "Daddy's Favorites" day. A day where we can eat his favorite foods, drink his favorite drinks, do his favorite things (hike, fish, etc) and talk like daddy did, etc. It turns out to be a fun day.
    On the other hand, I find myself more irritable the week before his death date which is Dec. 7th. Yes, the Christmas spirit is not here until after that date.
    Will be thinking of you in the coming weeks.

  3. Oh Sweetie! We who run grief pages, and support blogs are the WORST at sharing our grief! We are the people who work out our grief other ways, and helping is one of them...BUT when we need to let the pressure valve off we are the WORST BABIES about doing it! LOL Kind of like doctors make the worst patients...yeah I dig sweetie. No worries, black or blue I love you and admire you!!

  4. Wow, this is how I felt last month. My husband died 3 years ago October 25. The weeks leading up to it were emotional--crabby, snippy, sullen. My kids could do no right. Now it is over for a year and I'm able to focus on life again. You are coming to my office next Thursday to speak. I would love to sit and chat. Meeting other widows my age is good for my soul. Until then, try to keep swimming.
    Xoxo. Tammy M

  5. My husband will forever be the age he died. Not easy. He loved birthdays! My decision was to remember him with love and on the calendar wrote "remember with love." Also for the anniversary. Somehow doing that helped. But the ache for him is always here.

  6. Anonymous...I have a problem with that too. Especially when I turned the age he was when he died.

    Tammy...You're kidding! Can't wait to meet you! I may be in and out quick (because of kids) but let's definitely meet up for a minute...maybe we can make a plan to do coffee?

  7. My husbands birthday is the 20th and it will only be my 2nd one without him-and today and I was soooo short and horrible to my kids (2 yr twins)and after reading your post it all made sense and put two and two together. You inspire me every time I read a post. I can't wait to be in the place where your are-not at this moment but in general!!

  8. The skies and mood of Colorado certainly parallel those of Indiana! I really thought I was moving into the "acceptance" stage of this nightmare after 8 months. I am just tired of being sad. I want to wake up and it be spring again. But, back to my point (yes, randomness in conversation seems to be my norm now!)...and then, what do you know...Christmas music! I have been a blubbering mess for a week.

    Again, back to my point for writing...I am sincerely and deeply sorry for your loss and sadness. If nothing else, I have learned to just go with it; not beat myself up over feeling sad. Let those with the "helpful" comments spend a week in our shoes.

    Thanks again for reaching out and making the rest of us feel "widow-normal"!