I feel stuck some days. Frozen in this place of fear; this place with an uncertain future. I guess I thought what so many people thought: that after a year, things would get better; that after a year I would start to feel “normal” again. But here’s a little secret: in some ways, it gets more difficult.
Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.
I don’t know where I would put my grief on a scale of 1-10 comparatively to a year ago because it’s changed. It’s not as raw, that’s for certain, but it’s still there and it morphs often. I certainly feel as if I’ve “gotten better” in some aspects: I can go grocery shopping without crying, I can talk about Paul without crying, I can even spend an entire weekend at home alone without any social interaction – without crying.
What I can’t seem to do is see the future. In fairness, I never could see the future when Paul was alive, but at least I could imagine it then. It seems that when I have something to look forward to I can find the motivation to accomplish anything. When I was getting ready for my first holiday to the UK in November, there was a bit of focus and clarity in my world. OK, I wasn’t as focused as I normally would be for an international holiday, but I was more focused than the months before. When I was getting ready for my next UK holiday in February with my mom, I was even more focused and was able to consider all of the details. Additionally, I was more focused and tuned-in at work and with paying bills and all of the other household tasks which seem so daunting today.
From where I sit today though, there isn’t anything to look forward to – there’s nothing to focus on. Certainly, I do things. I go to my folks’ every couple of weeks and I head out to the gym or the driving range regularly. Sometimes I head out for a little walk or some other day trip. But I don’t have a big-picture goal and that’s so frightening to me. With nothing to look forward to – nothing to work toward – I don’t have the focus, clarity, and motivation needed to accomplish the little things; the day-to-day things.
It’s not that I don’t think there’s a future; I know there is. It’s just that the realities of life seem so overwhelming and with no known elements to look forward to, it’s difficult to find the motivation. I suppose that a lack of deep joy and happiness means that I’ve become rather apathetic. I “think” that the solution to my current state is to find something to reach for – a goal; a future; a plan. But it’s difficult and extremely frightening. More so because any failures as I reach for those things is mine alone to suffer. It’s difficult to create those goals without a sounding board; without someone to help you look at the world; without someone cheering me on. I know that there are people on the peripheral offering support, but I am no one’s priority and I don’t have that “Hollywood Friend” I so wish I had.
There are goals that I want to accomplish, but right now I can’t seem to concentrate on them. They are too big and are far beyond my reach – and too many big changes and decisions need to happen before I can work on long-term goals. I am trying to break things down into smaller, more manageable pieces but even that is difficult to do some days. Feeling “stuck” means that I can only accomplish those things at arms-length which makes me feel as if I’m not accomplishing anything “big”. And, not having that sounding board means that I’m working it out on my own and I’m afraid that I’ll make the wrong decisions. Which makes me stand there, frozen with fear like a deer in the headlights – stuck.
I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this long-term. For now, I’m just trying to muddle through and get to those small personal tasks in between the ever-growing demands of my job. On good days, I’ll accomplish more. On bad days, I’ll be lucky to accomplish what I get paid to do. Thankfully, the good days are coming more frequently. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll find a way to get unstuck. Until then, at least I’m stuck in a life that I can (financially) afford.