Looking back, I can now see how my time and energy was completely wrapped up in K. and his illness. It occupied nearly all my time and even when I wasn’t physically doing something it had taken up occupancy in my brain. At first it was just renting out a one bedroom in the occipital lobe. Over time it has moved temporal-ly and frontal-ly by knocking out walls and moving in. No matter how much I tried to keep a few rooms to myself, it operated on some law of emotional and neural eminent domain, and as you know compensation for anything claimed by eminent domain just plain sucks. At the end it was quite an elaborate penthouse suite complete with intercom system to wake the lower floors to action on a moments notice.
On a typical day I would get up in the morning and walk and feed the dog. Grab a cup of coffee and breakfast for myself and eat while putting away dishes, folding laundry making a shopping list and sending out bills. I work from 8 to 4:30, which in the nursing world means 8 to whenever-the-work-gets-done. During work was not a break as my husband would call me during work. Sometimes this was just a nice chat and it was good to hear his voice. As he became sicker it would more often be requests to pick stuff up at the store on the way home, to tell me how he was doing or to berate me when I wasn’t able to answer his call immediately. I can hear the sounds of the sledgehammer in my brain knocking down another wall allowing the worry to flood into another room.
Immediately after he died there was still so much to do. People to notify, forms to be filled out, plans to be made. Cleaning, sorting, packing. Going back to work. When it finally all slowed down, I started to see things around me. There was the picture frame that I’d been meaning to glue back together, and I did it. The couch pillows needed to be re-stuffed and I decided to change the color scheme with new pillow shams at the same time. My son had needed a new desk for a long time, so we finally looked and ordered one from Ikea. Just a note here: My son is very self-sufficient, is very unassuming and never complains, so it wouldn’t have even crossed his mind to mention a new desk at this point. There is supposed to be a free room in my brain just for my son but he’d been rudely evicted along with, self-care, fun times with friends, reading books and many other tenants I’d grown so fond of over the years.
I literally had not had any time to slow down and to think about these things. I now have lots of free time and quiet. Some times it makes me a little anxious, because it is like a road that is obscured by fog. It goes on, but to where? I have been gradually working on kicking out the rude tenants in my brain and bringing in a few old friends: my son, reading, journaling. I have made room for one new tenant, and that is Grief. Grief gets a special room with lots of windows, comfy chairs, soft fuzzy blankets and cups of tea in pretty mugs. I plan on spending lots of time there, until someday, down the road, Grief doesn’t feel the need for constant companionship.